In most of the groups that I've participated in
throughout my life, whether educational, political, artistic, professional and
even ones based on mere conviviality, the undermining elements of factionalism,
ego conflicts, and various other differences have interfered with achieving a
lasting sense of genuine conspiracy. Originating in the shadow sides of our
psyches and hidden by our facile personas, these factors serve to discourage
healthy and effective group functioning on many levels, in terms of achieving
consensus, creating viable solutions to problems and gaining clarity of
visionary goals/objectives for the group. Why, in spite of sharing common
interests, political, socioeconomic and humanitarian values, are we
unconsciously antagonistic towards the groups we choose to be a part of? What
kinds of subjective reluctance do we harbor in fully contributing ourselves to
the group consciousness? James Hillman observes that, "the Self is the
interiorization of community" .
Yet what exactly prevents us from reaching the Self, the ultimate core of the
psyche and experiencing truly universal communion with others?
My experiences with persistent group dysfunction prompted me to develop
"Integrative Dream Narration"(IDN). I first tried IDN on a class of
art students who, along with myself included, could not fully cooperate with one
another in a way conducive to our spiritual, artistic and intellectual well
I had each participant write a dream synopsis on a note card, emphasizing to
use symbolic, transformative dreams concerning wholeness, i.e., getting in
contact with the Self (meaning the ultimate core or nucleus of the psyche). I
then combined the dreams to create a collective story in which all could listen
to and participate in since each individual dream contributed to the
cohesiveness of the narration. The inherent fluidity of dreams became much more
apparent for I did not have to struggle to synthesize the dreams for they all
seemed to coalesce on their own accord like tributaries flowing naturally into a
river and then into the communal ocean. Instead of assuming the role of an
improviser or story teller, I was more like a mediator of the unconscious mind
of the group. When I finished the story, class members sat in peaceful silence.
The narration had evoked a shared consciousness amongst us. We all seemed to be
open to one another and breathing together in the true sense of conspiracy. We
experienced what the Greeks meant by agreement: symphonein, meaning: to resonate
together. No one was prompted to speak right away. The silence was not an
uncomfortable one. We all enjoyed this feeling of being fully present, instead
of just pretending to be together under the guise of a shared interest. None of
us, it seemed, needed to follow the impulses of our egos to rationalize and
explain the experience away.
During the rest of the class, we were able to come to a consensus as to how
the remainder of the semester would be navigated and actually came up with a
syllabus which all agreed upon.
I have since employed Integrative Dream Narration to enhance the integrity of
many different collectives, from musical, spiritual to political, with very
effective, although never predictable results. Many of the resistances we have
towards surrendering to a group consciousness, resistances deeply rooted in
fear, loosen up and a newfound integrity is created. The word,
"Integrity" has its etymological meaning in: "entire, untouched,
unmarred, an original state." What has so thwarted the success of many
different groups, I feel, has been the inability to recognize such a sense of
entirety and originality that is always present, if only subliminally.
Alcheringa or dream time, for example, the Australian Aborigines considered to
be the original state of the world prior to the arrival of human beings. The
world in its unmarred entirety. IDN serves to facilitate a contact with
primordial community, encouraging an experience of inter relatedness that helps
to diminish many anxieties and isolating/alienating effects that are
deliberately promoted in consumer societies where the power of authority is
abused through MMIC. A holistic communication, both in speaking, listening and
feeling becomes possible once the collective dream matrix is brought into
awareness and utilized, substantially grounded in the body politic, so to speak.
Since many illnesses, both somatic and psychic are induced and prolonged by
blockages, encouraging the opening up of communicative channels on all levels,
both conscious and unconscious, allows mind, body and spirit to align themselves
to a healing sensibility, not only from within oneself but from within others as
well. IDN influences and heightens ones awareness of shared experiences, of the
subtle body, that are for the most part rooted in unconsciousness and remain
unrecognized by most of us, especially when we spend so much of our time
maintaining our protective personas when we are amongst others outside of the
comfortable circle of our families and friends.
Dreams in themselves have a fluid, autonomous quality to them. We are
constantly astonished by what our unconscious minds can create. The word,
"Influence", has its origins in the word, "Fluid". Directing
the current of dreams towards communal integrity can greatly enhance the success
and effectiveness of small group functioning and its influence upon our
collective environment. The profound sense of inter relatedness evoked by IDN,
has its basis in synchronicity, or the merging of outer and inner events to
create meaning, to paraphrase it in Jungian terms. IDN evokes synchronicities as
a result of the dreams being combined. On an intuitive level, awareness of
synchronicity becomes heightened, in not only the narrator but the participants
as well and influences the 'direction' the narration takes by sensing what is
occurring when each individual integrates into the group dream dynamic. The
matrixes which synchronicities occur within as well can be perceived, more like
experienced, i.e., the psychic space which encompasses both inner and outer
worlds in which so called coincidences happen. Imagine the possibilities of
creating atmospheres where synchronicities occur like a lightning storm, through
our combined dreams.
I once gave a demonstration of IDN to forty people at Unity Church in
Minneapolis, Mn. Six souls volunteered to participate and contributed their
chosen dreams. One dream concerned a woman who was led by three angels to what
she called a "Wellness Spa.", but she didn't know how to run the
place. Another woman dreamed that her grandmother was pregnant. One participant
dreamed that her ex-boyfriend appeared and told her how sad he was that they
were no longer together. During the course of the spontaneous narration,
everyone arrived at the wellness spa where there was a fountain in the center. I
always emphasize communal places where all can gather in the narrations I
conduct. The grandmother gave painless, underwater birth to a golden baby. The
baby was then handed to the woman who came to the fountain with her ex-boy
friend. I finished the narration, making sure all dreams offered were included
in the story and listened to the enthusiastic comments from the participants and
the audience. Afterwards, the woman who dreamed about her ex-boyfriend came up
to me and confided, "I didn't want to say this in front of everyone but the
reason that my boyfriend and I broke up is because I want to have a child."
As I proceeded with the narration, something in me or rather, in the
Integrated Dream Community, intuited this and had the baby handed to the couple
as some sort of reconciliation that I intuitively sensed was needed. The
combination of these dreams created the matrix in which this synchronicity took
place. As the narrator, my sense of individuality became less and less
pronounced as all the dreams were combined. Perhaps synchronicities occur
outside of the realm of the ego and it is only when we are not solely in this
realm that we experience them.
The synchronicities that occurred during the narration manifest also in
bodily response in both the narrator and participants. At first there is a
considerable amount of tension, which is natural when strangers come together to
form a group. The tension usually is born of the illusion of separation the
participants sense in each other. Breathing becomes restricted (the antitheses
of conspiracy or breathing together). But when all the dreams are integrated,
the tension dissolves and what I sense as the collective heart begins to open
up, the heart of understanding which transcends judgment, definition and ego
centered identity. Interiorization of the communal heart in turn opens ones own
heart creating a reciprocal balance between self and group. As I proceed with
the narration I feel blockages in my own body begin to open, for my body is but
a microcosm of the collective dream macrocosm. I cannot emphasize enough for
participants to pay attention to their bodies during the narration. The results
of opening are beneficial in allowing a person to respond to their own dreams in
a way devoid of the usual anxieties born of trying to interpret (as opposed to
integrating) the dreams.
In another IDN session with two alternative health practitioners, I
integrated the dreams but somehow felt compelled to 'control' the atmosphere. I
was the only man in the room and the other participants brought in some very
powerful, archetypal figures. One in particular was the goddess Oya, the African
Goddess of 'Weather'. My third chakra, the chakra of will power became tight.
There was such resistance within me that I could hardly carry on with the
narration. I then felt it was safe to make myself a bit vulnerable and asked for
help from the others, something I would probably never do under other
circumstances. I then found myself surrounded by the other participants who
began doing some energy work on me. I managed to trust it. The woman who brought
Oya to the forum-kept reminding me that the rocks of blockage and resistance she
perceived in my gut would be worn away by some soothing water. She kept
repeating this while circling her hand near my solar plexus. Suddenly, it
started raining outside. As the drops hit the window panes and I felt myself
relaxing even more. I managed with the help of the dream polis, to overcome some
very deeply fixed control issues through this atmospheric synchronicity.
Once awareness of the relation between ones body and the integrated dream
body is heightened and then trusted, an interactive stage seems to set in as
cited in the above example. Participants are asked in many ways to contribute to
the narration, instead of just one person creating what happens. The interaction
takes place not only in oral articulation of dreams but in working with imagery,
movement and energy as well, creating a foundation on which to base further
involvement in collective dream work. In essence, a Dream Democracy
is being created every time IDN is used.
Integrative Dream work has not only promising therapeutic potentials but most
importantly, political possibilities as well. I sense that with each IDN, a
revival of the original democratic spirit occurs. This potentials of this sense
of renewal will explored in the chapters that follow.
Dream Democracy can be used to integrate the dreams of a dysfunctional family
to create a harmonious dream consciousness. Consider the long range benefits of
democratizing the dreams of the board members of major corporations with its
employees. Or consider integrating the dreams of a republican with those of a
democrat. Consider the theoretical possibilities of integrating the dreams of
quantum physicists. The collective dream body created from such integrations
could hold the key to long range solutions to some of our most immediate and
seemingly intangible problems.
There are several ways the information in this book can be used. I suggest
forming a group that meets once a week for at least eight weeks. Have each
participant bring along a journal in which to record their experiences in. In
the appendix are additional guidelines in case there are issues that arise in
the group. Dream Democracy is a powerful catalyst which can trigger powerful
experiences ranging from telepathy, clairvoyance and synchronistic experiences.
Here are some suggested guidelines for creating the initial forum:
INTEGRATIVE DREAM NARRATION
1. Have each participant (there should be no more than five or six) sit in a
circle and pass around note cards. The dream narrator should leave the room.
Participants are instructed to write their dreams down, legibly, particularly
ones that are highly symbolic and important to them. The dreams should not be
read by other participants. A synopsis of the dream is adequate as long as a
meaningful scene or symbol is included. Extended or complicated dreams do not
work well. Always emphasize to write down an important scene in the dream, if
the dream itself is too long but the participant wants to contribute it.
2. The dream narrator enters the room, sits down and reviews the note cards
that have been gathered, by shuffling through them and imprinting images,
sequences even the tone of dreams in her/his memory. Dream Narrators should go
through the cards two or three times. Writing down clues as to how the dreams
should be connected, on a separate sheet of paper is helpful in making sure all
dreams are integrated. I write the dreams down in a circle and leave the center
3. The Dream Narrator initiates the Integrative Dream Narration by using one
of her/his dreams, one that has been evoked by reviewing the note cards and or a
pre-chosen dream. Once a portion of the dream is conveyed the narrator begins to
integrate participants dreams into the story. The narrator can pause and
instruct the participants to pay attention to their bodies throughout the
narration, i.e., changes in breathing, where they are holding tension, where
they are relaxing, where they are resisting, where they are
4. Make sure to include all dreams before continuing on. When all the
participants's dreams have been integrated, the narrator pauses and allows the
participants to sense the integral presence of the collective dream matrix
evoked by incorporating all dreams into the narration. The participants are
instructed to begin breathing deeply for a few moments, noting where they may be
holding tension in their bodies and encouraging them to let go of the tensions.
5. The Integrative Dream Narration is resumed and then brought to some
'completion', i.e., a sense of wholeness and/or resolve. A dream polis has thus
been created, a Dream Democracy, where real life problems can be brought into
the dream forum and discussed in truly egalitarian fashion without the usual
resistances and ego differences.
After practicing IDN a few times and becoming familiar with the energies of
group consciousness, it will then be time to start bringing real life, 'three
dimensional' problems, ranging from the personal to the galactic into the forum
you have evoked. It is important to have other members try their hand at IDN and
creating a forum, so that all will be comfortable with the group consciousness
that has been created. You will begin to notice different styles of narration
between group members. For example, some will choose a narrative based on the
symbols in the dreams. Others will choose the characters in the dreams and
others will emphasize the locations and passageways and others will emphasize
direction. Other participants will focus on the feeling tones (atmospheres) in
the dreams. No two narrations are ever the same. Often times there will be
members of the group who are very resistant to the idea of assuming the position
of dream narrator. It may take a few sessions before they feel comfortable with
Some important points to consider before proceeding:
In the initial phase of IDN, the very first time dreams are integrated, there
are often times very powerful releases of emotions. Sometimes the tension grows
to a somewhat uncomfortable level, but once all the dreams are integrated and
the collective finds itself in a safe place, a feeling of peace and wholeness
usually then emerges. There may be feelings of spaciness and disorientation at
first. Such often occurs when new ways of being and perceiving arise within us
and seek expression. Hence the notion of 'fixing ' such a shared
consciousness-in essence focusing it on the political realms. Our dream body is
then grounded in three dimensional reality.
I often hear from participants how powerful the first Integrative Dream
Narration experience was for them. I must remind the reader that the word power
comes from the Spanish Poder meaning 'to be able'. Perhaps these participants
were able to trust the group-somehow settling into the group mind more
comfortably. As an Integrative Dream Narrator you will often times watch other
group members experience these things and then learn how to encourage others to
settle into the group mind.
Other participants may not experience the 'connection' that most do during
IDN. Somehow they feel 'left out' and or feel they are inadequately prepared for
the experience. Such is not the case. It usually is that they are more resistant
than others to surrendering to and/or integrating into the group consciousness.
Or the dream they provided for the narration wasn't one that was particularly
important to them.
Often times, participants will claim that they cannot remember their dreams.
If this is the case, have them contribute an unusual 'real life' experience they
have had to the forum. They will usually then integrate themselves more freely
into the dream forum!
At the end of each IDN session, I recommend that you do the
grounding/centering exercise in the appendix, to restore a sense of
'individuality' to each group member-and especially, when exploring the imaginal
dimensions of MMIC to call the group energy back from these places.
The article appeared in Dream Network Vol. 13 #3 and more recently in Green
Egg autumn '98 issue. What, never heard of the Dream Network?
DREAM NETWORK, A Journal Exploring Dreams & Mythology
"Evolving a Dream Cherishing Culture"
Roberta Ossana, Publisher/Editor mailto:DreamKey@lasal.net
1337 Powerhouse Lane, Suite 22/PO Box 1026 Moab, UT 84532-3031
On the Web: http://DreamNetwork.net or by Phone: 800/861-3732
Call for Participation, 1999
Integrative Dream Narration Project
Share a Group Dream!
Richard Wilkerson and Jaye C. Beldo
The Electric Dreams Dream Group will be trying a special project beginning right
now! You can sign on to the dream group by sending an email to
and in the body of the e-mail put only
We are about to start an experiment with the dreamwheel using IDN,
Integrative Dream Narration.
IDN was developed offline by Jaye C. Beldo and I thought it might work well
online. Jaye has joined the dream-on list, and has agreed to moderate the
process. I hope you will all join in!
You can use a dream we have worked on or send in a new dream to Jaye. He will
send instructions out for each part of the IDN exercise, but we have included
the full sequence below.
Also, I am including Jaye's article on Integrative Dream Narration. This will
appear next year in Electric Dreams, but Jaye felt that an overview of the
process would help you resonate with the whole as well as the parts. Please
OK, I'm turning this over to Jaye and he will explain the steps. Please at
least read step 1 to join the process. - Richard
STEP 1: Dream Submission
a. Choose a dream that you are willing to have integrated into a
'meta-narrative'. Make sure the dream is brief and contains an important scene,
person or symbol in it.
b. Please send your dream to firstname.lastname@example.org (Jaye) by the deadline of
January 1st, 1999. If you miss the deadline, your dream will be integrated into
the next narration.
If you don't send a dream, it would be helpful to us if you send some of your
reasons and feelings about this.
STEP 2: Personal Response Work with Integrated Dream Story
a. When the integrated dream story is posted (after I receive a sufficient
number of dreams) please read the story and pay attention to how you respond
when you recognize your dream in the story. Does this surprise you? Relieve you?
Anger you? Please pay attention to how you respond bodily. Does your breathing
get tense or do you breathe easier?
b. Pay attention to how and what you dream after you read the narration as
this is an important indicator as to how your sub and super conscious minds
respond to the integration. Also take note of any telepathic experiences as well
you may have with others who have participated.
STEP 3: Posting and Discussion
Please post comments on your experience with IDN in order to initiate
Note: Once we become familiar with this process, we will ask for other narrators