What we're dealing with in dreamwork, in short, is counterconditioning. Constantly we're blasted by what's all around us with what we should think and feel. It's so easy to let a lot of our decisions be made by all that noise. Meanwhile we're being just as consistently informed from within by a different source. Our dreams tell us what we do think and what we do feel and what we do perceive.
Dreams, like little children, can't help but be truthful. They are the accurate map to our reality. The one we're being spoon fed day and night from external sources isn't so much wrong as it is outdated, like an ancient map with inaccurately depicted shorelines.
Why then is it so assiduously propounded by everything and everyone around us? Because it serves to maintain things as they are and we all profit more than we care to realize by keeping things just as they are. Not just those in economic or political power who are profiting at our expense. Not just those who grow rich as we grow fat or as others starve. Not just those who get powerful when we stay poor; or who get even richer when we try to get rich. Not just those who earn fat therapy fees when we stay confused about who we really are. Not just all of those. But we ourselves benefit from keeping everything the same. It is safe. Just look at the parts of the world today where change is breaking through to the surface - Poland, Afghanistan, El Salvador, Guatemala. Change always involves turmoil, a return to chaos before the new more inclusive order emerges. It's nothing other than the creative process that is at work. Anyone who has embarked on the path of creative personal transformation knows what I mean. True work with dreams often brings disruption and indecision and chaos before it heralds in the higher level of awareness that a lone enables a deeper, truer life. It's not nice to be miserable but it's a little more bearable if we don't know it. So we read about Poland and El Salvador in the newspapers and forget our dreams. If they persist in forcing themselves upon our awareness, then we manage to not understand them. It's easier. It allows us to stay as we are.
If, by working with dreams, we do manage to free ourselves from an intolerable domination like Cuba or Vietnam did, we congratulate ourselves, ignoring that we may have landed under a different but equally intolerable oppressor. The movement toward freedom tries to continue as in Poland but meets powerful resistance. The chaos it entails is too disruptive. It's easier to remain fixated somewhere along the way where we can congratulate ourselves on our progress while doing everything in our power to defeat the ongoing process. But the process won't stop. It will merely find someone else in whom it can carry itself forward. Most of society is composed of dead souls, washed up on the shore of their fixation to a stagnant life. History moves through the rare individuals: "I have a dream," Martin Luther King said.
Domination from any one super strong component of our total souls is intolerable. Total freedom is the only aim. Freedom from within. For each part of us to be free to be what it is. Not for some other part of us, however strong and valid and important, to tell it what it should be. The repressed part will always merely go underground, into our dreams, towage its guerrilla warfare. If the smallest segment of the whole circle is rejected, we don't have a circle anymore. The tiniest excluded part of us can easily sabotage the whole and cause all our good aims to go awry. An age old axiom goes, "As without, so also within." What are our souls like? Look at our world, our society, our environment, our bodies. Need I say more?
So we are polluted, we are dominated, we are ravaged, we are unreal, and hence, we are ineffectual in achieving what can really make our lives work.
These ideas aren't new. Everybody knows these things. Read any psychology book or New Age manifesto. But such knowledge hasn't helped us. Knowing with the mind is of little import. When we know in the real sense, the only sense that signifies, we become, we transform. D.H. Lawrence, poor misled man, was right all along when he talked of "knowing with the blood." Unfortunately though, it was all an intellectualization with him. The disease that his life was eventually overtook him, as it will us all.
There is a way out, though. You don't even have to work with your dreams but dreamwork makes it easier, much easier, for people like us. Krishnamurti maintains that when we become enlightened we cease dreaming. Reality itself becomes the dream that we write. Nothing is forced into the underground to wage its guerrilla fight toward our awareness. Everything that we are is admitted into our being. The battle is over. Freedom is won. Life itself becomes deeper and fuller and more beautiful than we could ever dream. I haven't reached that ultimate state. I have only tasted little glimpses but these have shown me that it is the only thing worth pursuing.
My work with dreams has shown me that our society is a lie. Our lives are lies. The things I have wanted aren't the things I want. The things I have needed aren't the things I need. What I was and am isn't what it is to be a human being. Working with dreams and with creativity (I am writing a novel that came from a dream) has carried me to the portal of a new way of being. I started the dream community of New York perhaps because I'd rather not be alone as I take the next few steps.
Armed with our dreams we have a weapon that can turn this society upside down by turning our lives around. The greatest battles waged throughout history have been within the souls of a few brave men and women. All the rest has been noise, an externalized reverberation from these great happenings. To work with dreams in the deepest sense is to be a leader in the revolution of human consciousness.
First published as 'Dreams as a Subversive Activity' in Dream Network Bulletin, Vol. 1 Issue 1. Reprinted as 'Armed With Our Dreams', in Dream Network Journal Volume 11 Issue 2.