There's a great, worldwide, multicultural tradition that our thoughts -
prayers - meditations - focused intentions have actual power and influence.
Another vast school of thought says we're all interconnected in subtle and
profound ways; our true self is the entire web. Then there are those of us
who most readily access that web in our dreams, transcending distance and
boundaries to share experiences while we sleep.
Where these ideas meet, we find the World Dreams Peace Bridge - a group
brought together by the notion that we can bring our focused intentions into
our dreams, dream together, and magnify our will to promote peace so that it
radiates throughout the web. At least that's the way I see it. Our founder
Jean Campbell, author of Group Dreaming: Dreams To the Tenth Power, explains
the title as reflecting the idea that if "people could dream together, we
would be suggesting that dreams can be augmented in an exponential manner."
It's a leap of faith to think we can thereby change the world. But - dream
with intention, dream as a group, share information, influence one another
on the profound levels on which dreams operate? We do that all the time!
A remarkable group dream took place a few weeks ago, disguised as the
Psiberdream Telepathy Contest. The contest is part of the International
Association for the Study of Dreams' annual online conference. Several
participants were Peace Bridge members - or joined soon after.
The rules: An unnamed person selects four dissimilar pictures and seals them
into opaque envelopes. A set is provided to a person acting as "sender" who
secretly selects one, leaving the others sealed, then spends the night
attempting "to establish mind-to-mind, awake-to-sleeping connections with
the dreamers participating all over the world.... Dreamers are encouraged to
incubate the intention of seeing or connecting with the sender and the
picture, writing down all dreams they have." The next day, all four pictures
are posted online, and contestants post their dreams and choose which
picture they seem to match. Judges award prizes for the dreams best matching
the target picture.
The contest night was a Thursday. The sender was the renowned and talented
Beverly D'Urso. I wrote down a plethora of dreams. In one I realized I was
dreaming, gleefully called out "Beverly, show me the picture!" and took off
flying. Below me was a snowy landscape. A bare patch of earth opened in the
center. Suddenly "a very large dog" leaped into the scene, followed by
another; later I dreamed yet another dog.
Once I saw the potential targets, I zeroed in on Picture #1, a snowy scene
with a bare patch of earth at the center, in which two elf-like characters -
one tall and young in a pale, belted outfit, one short and old and bearded
in a red-orange Santa-like hat - gaze up into an evergreen tree. Bits and
pieces of my other dreams fell into place: Two figures, one tall, one short.
A figure in a pale belted outfit. An evergreen tree. Boys or young men
looking up at what I'd described as "something like a pickle?!" which in
fact resembled one of the branches. Asymmetrical apples and carrots, the
color and shape of the red-orange hat. My white cat leaping toward a little
animal, which I related to a white snow-shape curving toward a small oval
hollow that could be an animal's burrow.
One convincing bit for me was that I twice dreamed a stair-step line from
lower right to upper left, which corresponded to the "implied line" created
by the elves' heights and direction of their gaze - something only an old
art student might care about!
But there were no dogs in the picture. And I didn't dream of an elf or gnome
- the main subject, really.
But Dolores did! She dreamed of "two dwarfs in tall red caps, sitting on a
shelf with downcast eyes, hands on their knees and their white beards
flowing over their knees between their hands. They looked like the
red-capped fellow in picture #1."
Sonia D. matched the taller, younger elf when she dreamed "My [teenaged] son
is wearing a drab gray one piece-suit and looks something like a jester."
Beverly A. reinforced the little old dwarf and his cap, dreaming of a "boy"
who was orange and very wrinkled, and "a red triangular shape that doesn't
seem related to anything. It's just there." Ilkin's brief dream notes
concisely interpreted the expressions on their faces: "Grumbling/curious.
Waiting/looking the way for something. Afraid from precognition. Snow."
Patricia wrote her dream in haiku form:
tiny elves shelter
in the hollowed out birch tree
the dog alerts them
one by one scruffy elves leave
the hollow log
Maia contributed, "First, a dream of placing a child into a small oval
hollow in the earth.. Second, images of caribou and snow, ice, a few patches
of bare earth." Mary Pat, like me lucid and actively seeking the target,
dreamed of woods, cold, and "a landscape full of snow and ice" - plus
red-harnessed reindeer hung with bells.
And a Husky dog.
Two non-competing contest facilitators couldn't resist reporting. Bob Van De
Castle wrote, "The most compelling aspect of my dreams last night was that
there was a scene where I had my hands in snow, which is something I can't
previously recall ever experiencing!" Rita Dwyer dreamed of snow and
evergreens and "Christmas in the air."
Suzanne "dreamed about seeing Beverly eating an ice cream." Curt dreamed "a
black sphere on the upper left of my visual field - I look up to see it..
What I notice about Picture 1 is that there is a black patch in the upper
left of the picture about the same size as the sphere in my dream, and the
two figures seem to be looking up at it."
We excitedly compared notes online. As a group, we'd dreamed up every bit of
Picture #1. But we were also impressed by the group hits on the other three
pictures, especially #3 and #4.
Picture #2 showed a family of apes in loving interaction. Bob V. thought two
of his dreams related: "In the first I was on a bed with a dog's head on my
lap and I was petting him. In the second, a different dog was on the bedroom
floor on its back and sort of rolling around." More dogs!
Picture #3 showed a dark-haired, bare-footed, bare-breasted dancer in a
yellow skirt, dancing for an audience in a darkened room. Liz described her
perfectly, aside from hair and costume colors: "....dancing with her arms in
the air. She has light hair with streaks and a bare top. She is moving her
hips back and forth and she has a thin figure. From about the middle of her
back down she is wearing a see through white garment. She has a smile on her
face and appears to be enjoying herself. She is acting as though she is
dancing for an audience." Peggy dreamed of happily going topless, plus bits
that filled in what Liz missed: a pretty woman with dark hair; the color
yellow; a bare foot. Val, who loves jewelry, keyed into the dancer's
earrings and bangles. David L. K. modestly converted the audience passively
watching the central dancer into several turned-off televisions in a
darkened room surrounding one that was on - which he blocked from the view
of his young daughter, as he assured us he would have done if Picture #3
were being broadcast!
Liz later in the night seemed to dream the Amish barn-raising in #4:
"Themes: Busy working, building. Emotions: frustrated, trying to work Major
structural elements: wood, very large arch shape. I am standing on a high
ladder with many people below me...." Ed described the same scene in table-top
miniature, adding the colors: "Themes: Construction, putting pieces
together. Emotions: Mental focus, annoyance at having someone telling me
what to do. Major structural elements: Edges, lines, geometrical shapes.
Manipulating pieces, building. Blue, white and beige.... Geometrical puzzle.
lots of wooden pencils." Dale dreamed of an assembly/disassembly project, a
crowd of people and "something that resembles a barn or a shed." Janet saw a
tall, empty house made of unfinished light brown wood; Bob K., a house with
no walls, roof or furniture. Gosh dreamed of wooden frame structures three
nights in a row. Terri dreamed she tried to climb up a tall stage at an
outdoor concert. Mary Pat dreamed of a large building in a scene that looked
very much like the picture, especially the bright green sloping lawn. Sonia
D. dreamed, "I receive a 'gift'.... a child's playhouse. I open the door to
the house to discover that it is not fully assembled."
But although four of us dreamed seven dogs total, there weren't any dogs in
any of the pictures. Where'd they come from?
On Saturday Beverly revealed the target: Picture #1. The thoughts she'd
generated in sending it included Santa and reindeer along with elements of
the picture itself. Next she posted descriptions of her dreams on contest
night. "Ordering ice cream, but not eating it." "Open-walled houses" - was
she dreaming of #4, still in its sealed envelope? Or dreaming of the dreams
of the contestants who dreamed of #4? She also dreamed of visiting Ashland,
Oregon - where she'd recently travelled with Ed - in an old car that turned
out to be a near-exact match with an old car Ed dreamed, completely
unrelated to any of the pictures.
And - what's this? She dreamed an "extremely large dog" tried to get into
bed with her!
At this point Suzanne confessed, "Gosh! I'm so confused! You see, Robert
Waggoner and I are doing some dream games too. The last time it was his turn
to do the sending, and I was a bit disappointed to find out that this dream
telepathy contest had the same target night. Since I wanted to participate
in both, I didn't know what to do.. Maybe it's interesting to share what he
Turns out it was a photo of sled dogs on an icy river!
The judges labored for an extra day, reporting, "Choosing winners is very
difficult. Extra awards may be added to cover the strange and wonderful
things that happened during this PDT contest of 2006." While we waited we
talked about how we'd contributed elements adding up to the whole, each
according to our own way of seeing. I wrote that it was "difficult to
evaluate my own dreams' relation to the target without looking at everyone
else's. Think how fun and rewarding it would be if that were the object of
the game. Treat it as a group dream and say, for instance, 'Wow, there's a
lot of snow in here! A lot of dancers too, but even more snow. And look at
all the elves...."
Finally the judges stated that collectively the 2006 contest had "the best
results ever," and named ties for first, second and third place plus several
honorable mentions for matches with non-target pictures and Beverly's
dreams. Clearly they weren't entirely comfortable with reducing this
intricate network to a linear hierarchy. And neither was I. The initial
ego-thrill of being named a winner was quickly replaced by a feeling
something like loneliness. The experience of meshing minds in the night with
people all over the world was far, far more rewarding.
(P.S. Jean has reminded me that she wrote last month of my Albuquerque
mystery and suggested I might tell how it turned out. Bear with me: it's
still unfolding, with the help of my dreaming friends on the Bridge. More
soon! - jf)
The World Dreams Peace Bridge is a group that uses personal dreams for public world peace. You can find out more about the WDPB at: