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Kirsten Borum.

 

PRESENTATION


"DREAMS AND MEDITATION"

 

Given at the Dream conference of iasd,
The International Association for the Study of dreams asdreams.org
at Sonoma, California July 2007:

 

 

DREAMWORK IS SPIRITUAL WORK. MEDITATION IS SPIRITUAL WORK.
 
I have found that the combination of dreamwork, energy work and meditation is unique in guiding you into your inner world. Helping you proceed on your spiritual path into the essence of yourself, your true identity or individuality, to higher consciousness, creative sources, qualities, potentials. Leading ultimately to joy.
 
I have been involved with dream work as well as meditation and energy work since 1980.
 
I have had a large number of workshops and groups in dreams and in meditation/energy work separately.
 
However, from the very start of my teaching my intention has been to combine dreams and meditation.
 
In my introductory meditation workshops over 2 days I have always touched on dreams asking the participants to pay attention to their dreams and share them the next morning. This gives me the opportunity to comment on them in a sort of loose, more general fashion, and often being able to refer back to the meditative work from the day before. To some people who have not earlier had any particular interest in their dreams this has sometimes been quite a revelation.
 
So, I have endeavoured to make the participants in my meditation workshops interested in dream work, as well as those in my dream workshops and groups, in energy work and meditation with a view to guiding them into combined groups. Working this way will give them the opportunity to intensify their development (spiritual and personal).
 
I have developed a number of techniques for combined dream work and energy work of a more general nature (for group settings). But for the individual work in dream groups I mostly use a more intuitive approach relying on getting inspiration based on the dream, the process and life situation of the dreamer and the present moment.
 
Here is an example
 
A very young woman had a dream, the salient images of which were a man in a white robe and a spring. The scene was set in a green meadow. We talked about this dream, and it made her very happy to have had such a dream, and in particular it affected her deeply that she contained a "wise man" as I called the figure, pointing out to her that he was indeed a part of herself. I prompted her to keep this dream in mind and to remember her wise man potential, when she found herself in difficult situations.So she did, and she told me that actually the mere remembering of the wise man helped her a lot.
 
After some time she had quite a different dream. In this dream she is riding on her bike, and she notices along the road on the roof tops men looking like soldiers with rifles in their hands. Among them a small boy around 6 years. She feels scared and threatened.

Talking
about the dream she identified strongly with the little boy, and she immediately associated the feeling in the dream to very similar feelings from her childhood with a mother who was mentally ill, so that she never felt quite safe with her.
 
Viewing this dream from an energy point of view and linking it to the first dream, I suggested that she tried at home to merge the 2 dreams by getting into a meditative state, re-enter the frightening dream, contact the boy and bring him into the first dream.
 
This is what she told me happened:
"I enter the dream and imagine that I go on the bike like in the dream. I have the same feeling. See the boy on the roof. Now there is a ladder going up to the roof. I climb up, contact the boy and we climb down together. I put the boy on the bike and wheel it along. Go down a road to the left. The atmosphere is getting lighter, and soon I am in the green meadow of the other dream. I see the wise man and the spring. We approach the man and greet him. Then we go to the spring, drink from it and bathe in it. I feel joy when I drink from the spring."
 
So this is a transformation from anxiety to joy, and the more she experiences a feeling of joy, the more it will fill her life, and counterbalance pressed situations of waking reality.
 
I have had a very large number of dream groups throughout the years. They are quite intensive. Only 5-6 persons participate for 4 hours each time. At the start I use some time to teach the participants basic rules of group dream work and have them read at home a few books for the more theoretical details, so that we can concentrate on doing the actual group work. Learning by doing. After some time they have learned to do group dream work on the greater part of their dreams and can continue on without me.
 
Right from the start of the dream groups I incorporate some meditative work like starting the group every time by some sort of meditation. Could be listening meditatively to some music, holding hands, or it could be a small meditative exercise.
 
At the start of these groups spiritual dreams are not very frequent. But sometimes dreams of a spiritual nature or containing spiritual symbols do emerge in these groups, giving me the opportunity to use a more meditative approach.
 
Could be quite simple. Just meditating on a symbol that I would consider spiritual. Sometimes I choose to have the dreamer do it right away in the group, the rest of us supporting the process with our presence and focusing meditatively in our heart chakras. Or I can suggest to the dreamer to do it at home.
 
To meditate on a symbol I simply mean to relax into a meditative posture, eyes closed, and visualize the symbol some place in front of the eyes.
 
Another situation that sometimes arises is a dreamer having a dream worked on that opens up to very deep feelings that are quite overwhelming. This would often prompt me to have the whole group supporting the dreamer like I just described. The dreamer on her part immerses herself in the feeling in order to get to the bottom of it, maybe reaching a release of some kind or even a transformation.
 
Always I am on the look-out for dreams that lend themselves to a meditative approach. It could be a whole dream or it could be dream images or symbols that I would consider of a spiritual nature. How to deal with them grows out of the moment.
 
But what IS a spiritual dream?
To me there are dreams that are quite obviously of a spiritual nature. It could be the content or story of the dream as such. Such dreams should not be interpreted. They can be talked about, of course, to extract a message from them or get insights, even if much more benefit could be derived by using them as an object for extended meditation. Could be some kind of meditative re-entry into the dream which I have used in some more advanced dream groups and do use extensively in individual sessions.
 
And what are spiritual symbols?
They are images that stand out in the dream. They are energy-laden, beautiful, and impersonal. Most often coloured. Their vibration is high. They lend themselves to be meditated on in order to have the energy contained in them assimilated.
Such symbols could e.g. be a diamond, a red rose, a golden horse, a silver cup, salient shapes, like a six-pointed star, or in a dream I once had, a red cloud in the shape of a mandorla.
 
Throughout the years I have had a number of combined groups that have continued on for several years. To qualify for entering such a group one has to have attended a couple of meditation weekend workshops and to have been taught dreamwork in one of my dream groups.
 
I call these groups Development Groups "Dreams and Meditation". They meet with me 4 week-ends each year, and an evening every two weeks. In the weekend meetings I teach them new meditative exercises and meditations, which they are supposed to work with until next time. And we do combined dream/energy work. Besides, they all work regularly with dreams on their own in different dream groups that I have started.
 
I currently get inspiration for new ways of combining dreams and meditation, composed in such a way as to allow free space for individual exploration as well as the opportunity for experiences to unfold. Much of this material has grown out of the processes that have taken place in these groups.
 
Here is one:
Seen from one perspective dreams are feelings, like in so many ways our lives are feelings.
 
I have developed a meditative approach with the intent of replacing negative feelings by positive feelings using the energy aspect. I have used this in the ongoing combined groups where people feel safe with each other. Which, by the way, is one of the effects of the group energy that is generated.
 
The starting point is a dream in which the dreamer is experiencing a negative feeling. Or there are images in the dream that are not "right" or "perfect", like e.g. a mahogany cupboard with a deep crack in it. A flat tyre. An dog with a wound in the leg. A broken ski. A withered flower. They are asked to bring such a dream without my telling them why.
 
If they have brought a dream in which they experience a negative feeling they are asked to re-enter the dream and immerse themselves in that feeling. If they have chosen an "imperfect" dream symbol/image, they are asked to meditate on it to get to the feeling contained in it. In whichever way they are to go deep into the feeling. And – importantly - put a name to it.
 
The next stage is to share their dream and feeling experience with a partner. This will further enhance the feeling, and saying the word aloud to somebody else and hearing it oneself will support one's commitment to oneself as far as this issue is concerned.
 
Then they are instructed to meditatively find the exact opposite, positive word. It could be like hatred/love, hopelessness/hope, rage/calmness. But the point is not to intellectually choose the positive counterpart. It is their own finding of what could somehow dissolve the negative feeling. It may also give them an insight into the background of experiencing the negative feeling in situations in waking reality.
 
The positive word is then incorporated into a specific structured meditation in such a way as to establish it in the mental aura structure. If this meditation with that particular word, found this way, is done several times over a period, it will have an effect. The word (and feeling contained in it) will form part of the mental structure, the mind or thought pattern and thus function as a sort of protection.
 
Here is an example of a technique of a more general nature for advanced groups.
 
This is to look out for and collect dream symbols in the chakra colours, one symbol of each colour. This will mostly be usable for people who have advanced some in their development, as it seems that colours in dreams normally occur only after a person has become more seriously involved in their own development – whether consciously or not.
 
The technique is to place one after another coloured symbols from dreams in the relevant chakra positions, imagining breathing in and out of each chakra. The attention resting meditatively on the coloured symbol in the chakra for a couple of minutes – no analyzing, no interpreting, no thinking. When new coloured symbols occur in dreams, they replace the former.
 
This form of meditation has different goals, one is a balancing function in regard to the subtle energy system, of which the chakras are part, of course. One or more missing colours in dreams suggest weaknesses in the personality's contact to itself in regard to the specific "psychology" of each chakra. Which of course is an information that could be utilized to proceed in personal development.
 
Also it introduces or prompts a meditative practice. And is a training of consciousness to include the subtle energy field, increasing the ability to sense aura colours to get information.
 
As a final example I will mention the workshop I had earlier today in which I introduced one of the techniques that I have developed for the "Dreams and Meditation" groups. This is a condensed way to describe it: Everybody having chosen a spiritual symbol from a dream. Sitting in a circle, each person in turn describing their symbol and what spiritual or otherwise valuable content they find in it, sharing this with all of us and as a gift "sending" the symbol to the centre of the group for everyone to freely pick one or maybe a couple later in the workshop process, to meditate on.
 
I would like to point out that what I find a very important ingredient which is at the core of the successful outcome of combined dream and energy work is the concept of (or rather the reality of) group energy.
 
I focus a lot on group energy and make active use of it in different ways. In the ongoing groups "Dreams and Meditation" this energy will be generated each time we meet, and stay on to be tapped from between the meetings, e.g. by the members contacting the group setting in their memory, or linking to or tuning into the energy of the group. When meeting next time, the group energy is still available and will further intensify.
 
I believe that the effect of group energy combined with the ongoing nature of the groups are extremely important factors in promoting people grow, finding greater freedom, feeling more centred in themselves, having experiences of joy, reaching increased awareness and glimpses of higher consciousness. Feeling safe.
 
In my presentation I have not used the term "negative energy". Energy is neutral, neither "good" nor "bad" in the sense of a value judgment like a positive or negative feeling. Energy is alive. Energy should flow, be in movement. It can be blocked though. Stuck in emotional patterns like fear, anger or depression. So, to work with energy also means to help release such blockages or patterns.
 
I have just described some processes that can take place by combining dream symbols and energy work and meditation in different ways. Some of them are aimed at having blocked, stagnant energy released or moved and merged with energy of a higher vibration, thus becoming available and of use. Illustrated in the example of the young women. Unproductive energy from one dream becoming merged with the higher vibrations or energy in the other dream, which actually contained 3 strong spiritual symbols. The green meadow, the spring and the wise man.
 
I make extensive use of spiritual symbols from dreams, incorporating them into specific meditations and meditative exercises in different ways. Many of them could also be termed archetypal. The important thing is that they contain a high load of energy. They have a high vibration, and that vibration can be assimilated and put to use.