Electric Dreams

The Dreamtime:
What is it Really?

Shamai Currim

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Currim, Shamai (2005 July). The Dreamtime: What is it Really? Electric Dreams 12(7).


In this article Shamai Currim takes us on a journey through some of the Dreamtime material currently available. While she is able to pose some of the questions, and walk us through some of her journey, she does not posit that she has any of the answers. That is for you, the reader, to find.

Shamai Currim is a Therapist, Educator, and Educational Consultant and Trainer. She holds a BA in Applied Social Science, an MS in Education, and a PhD in Transpersonal Psychology. She is an Early Childhood and Family Life Educator, a Massotherapist, Aromatherapist, and Reflexologist. She has Certified Polarity Educator/Registered Polarity Practitioner status with the American Polarity Therapy Association and has advanced training in Cranio Sacral and Myofascial work. As a Psychosynthesist, she works with Deep Trauma. She is capable of working eclectically, has been trained to use the Energy Psychologies (EMDR, EFT) and is a Colour/light and Sound Therapist.

Shamai has worked with children and families with special needs, has been active in working with the AIDS and Prison communities, was the Director of a Senior Citizen's Summer Residence and Children's Day Camp for 17 years, believes in being active in reform and has sat on the Steering Committee of the Association for the Advancement of Psychosynthesis, the board of the International Organization of the Helen Prize for Women, the board of the Association of Early Childhood Educators, and as the Executive Director of Eduporta International Education Agency. She was a chosen attendee at the Leadership Training Course at the Canadian Jewish Congress and the first recipient of the Ross-Seaman Memorial Leadership Award at Concordia University.

Shamai is an accomplice with Oh Shinnah FastWolf , a Shishindi elder, and is an initiate of Sant Mat/Surat Shabd Yoga and a disciple of the current living master, Sant Rajinder Singh Ji Maharaj.

The Dreamtime: What is it really?

My first thought on entering into and researching material for writing this paper on working with the Dreamtime was that I would be reviewing material that spoke to the dream space. In my naiveté I didn't include the dreaming wish, the other worlds, or the steps beyond. While I have done much inner growth, have practiced mediation for many years, and have worked over the years with Shamans, Elders, Traditional Dreamers, Mystics and Saints, I had not been aware of the multitude of information that had in the past, and now in the present been revealed, with accuracy and with determination of spirit, to provide the physical provings so necessary in today's concrete world. I had moved well beyond the symbolic language, journals, and lucid practices. I was eager to find, put into words, the experiences I have been living.

Malcolm Godwin takes us into the world of lucid dreaming. He suggests that we become active participants in the dream world, encouraging us to find the true reality. Wolf, when referring to the stages of self-awareness, tells us that the 'observer' is actually a more advanced stage of consciousness. Godwin goes on to say that we should move beyond the assumption that the observer is outside of the observed, but is, in actuality, an affecter of its observations. Of course we know that lucid dreaming actually means taking responsibility for ones own actions/life, choosing reflection over reaction. When the restlessness of change brings with it greater responsibility for choice of action/non action, the dreamer must choose between devotion and devouration. Godwin suggests that the role of sleep is biological as well as psychological, carrying the significance of practicing our waking environment, and he reminds us that "lucidity, or alert attentiveness is closest to the original state of witnessing consciousness". (Godwin, P.77).

Dreams can be used as a tool to empower or disempower. Through the act of visualization or the action of Gestalt, a therapist can move the client from believed helplessness to a felt sense of empowerment, from a loss of self to a strengthened sense of ego. The dreamtime state can also be used to take power away from those that are most vulnerable. Much of my work over the past few years has dealt with the Dissociative state, another form of dreaming. Fred Wolf's introduction of Libet's work and the importance of the perception/time marker signal could be compared to the programming procedures done on Satanic Ritual Abuse survivors. If the abuse is done quickly, and at a very young age, and the stimulus does not reach the brain's perceptive understanding, then, in fact, the abused will feel like he is in a dreamlike state, unable to differentiate physical fact from fiction (dissociation). "They separated their bodies into parts in their minds" (Wolf, P.99) Since, as Wolf says, the ability to consciously veto an action is not the same mechanism as the ability to become aware of the intention to act, and, because inhibitory mechanisms delimit the spread of activity in the cortex, we can understand the use of psychoactive drug induced awareness which depresses inhibition (the cults use of inhibitory and analgesic drugs). He further goes on to speculate that, with electrical activity, or sensory cortex manipulation, the same type of imagery could be experienced by different people, giving possible proof of collective consciousness. Since unification and consolidation form the concept of an "I", largely through the activities of the dreaming brain, the cult keeps the mind of its members in a fantasy reality where they can direct and exploit the victim's inability to reason within moral inhibitions. Wolf also refers to the work of Crick and Mitchison, proposing that since brain neurons are excitory rather than inhibitory, they have the capacity for associative memory. He refers to using memory overload to create memory extinction, leaving certain memories stronger and easier to access, the dream of a person seeking mind control over another.

Wolf, when he refers to the aboriginal people, states that the dream world is considered to be the real time, or real world, while the physical world is considered to be the dreaming. He refers to the objective component (the action) and the subjective component (the awareness of the self in the observation).

He also talks about REM sleep giving us easier access to our waking state, an aid for primitive cultures, and he refers to hypnagogic dreaming, the space between awake and asleep, and the images which can also occur when a person is left in a darkened room for extended periods of time.

When Wolf talks about the essence of time, he suggests that the chronological time line on which we put the events of our lives does not apply to the dreaming. They are not historical-time based. "That doesn't mean they are not real or that they didn't happen or for that matter are not happening now" (Wolf, P.150). This reminds me of the experiences of working with past lives, which don't always follow a logical sequence, or may appear to have overlaps of time. He also states that "Duration is not governed by the clock but by the business at hand" (Wolf, P.151), which in past life language means that it is not important whether the work is, in reality, connected to another space and time. We need to just the work that is presented to us, in the present moment, and is to be dealt with, in the present moment.

I loved hearing the aboriginal story of creation, where each part dreams the next, with the human being last. The basic driving force of the universe is seen as the capacity to dream, to bring into existence, to use the ability to go beyond that which is, to dream. From here we awaken the consciousness that we are more than our existence, and so, have a larger responsibility in the creation and caretaking of life.

In speaking to the quantum wave theory of transactional interpretation, one sees the stream/counter stream that is dependant on the observer for interpretation. In this reinforcement of self and other "they then cancel each other out in the space outside these events and before the initial or offering event and after the final or echoing event" (Wolf, P.163). While this refers to the understanding that there must be two before there can be one (the reality of consciousness), it also reverberates to the loss of boundaries when doing balance/counterbalance exercises. In my experience this form of movement, which goes from the physical to the transpersonal, helps to eliminate physical barriers, aiding the healer to see beyond and within the structure of the physical form. This would help to explain the experiences of the Intuitive Healer or the abilities of the psychic persona.

Whether dreams are replays of daily events, chances for expansion, soul travel, experiences from other dimensions, re-tells, pre-tells, post-tells, or psychic prophecy or intuition, dreams can be worked with, encouraged, cajoled, and understood symbolically or perceptually. We can be observers, active participants, or find ourselves somewhere in between, and we can even 'dream storm' in order to find an answer. We can be catalyst, pacifist, or reactionary. We can set intention through prayer and bring potential forward.

We can be believer, or nonbeliever, and still find ourselves falling into the dream state.

We can believe that the dreaming is our reality, or that our reality falls somewhere between the dreaming and the waking, or that the only true reality lives only in the physical. The dreaming may be our potential, our unconscious, or even guidance from our superconscious. It may be from our state of Id or Ego, I or not I, and can be seen as guidance, repression, or denial from our multi-faceted self. Dreams can be objective or subjective, observed or experienced, group oriented or soliloquy, orderly or in disarray, full of possibilities or actualities, correlated or separated, pre, post or present process, communal or self oriented, telepathic, conceptive, existential, gestalt, precognitive, paranormal, prophetic, or species connected, controlling or controlled, related or unrelated, and may have nothing to do with any of this. Dream theory is still rather speculative and is best understood through experience. We have proof of some theories, perceptions of others, direct experience with others. I like Wolf's idea that ego is constructing causality while Id is synchronizing events and meaning that deal with feeling and intuition, that the future is directing and correcting our actions and always leading us forward, and that the need to see the beyond is a result of early childhood trauma.

Now, if we add in the work of Wilder Penfield, we move into the speculation that certain areas of the brain hold memory, and produce a dreamlike state when electrically stimulated. The question arises, then, whether the memory state is produced by stimulation, or whether the memory produces the stimulation, through the induced fear.

The question that Wolf brings forward, and then answers, is the one that states that children that have been abused, who have the capacity for dissociation or alternate reality experiences, who have the physical ability to suppress the self and effect the change, may be the majority of reported cases of NDE and UFO experiences. He appears to state that this is a physical phenomenon, capable of being induced. Perhaps this gives us another reason for the efficacy of the EMDR work that is being accomplished in therapeutic settings today. It is important for me to note here, as well, that the meditative practice of Surat Shabd Yoga can produce the same experience as NDEs, and that not all practitioners have been abused as children.

Wolf refers to the five levels in the dream. I believe it takes us five levels just to be able to come to a level of conscious awareness. From here, it is said, we travel the five dream loops and the 24 levels of dreaming (Tardiff, 2003) and, with more self- consciousness, we can work with and from the worlds beyond. The Kalacakra system refers to thirty-one realms. The Yogacara didn't work with anything except the inner world. The Cuna Indians descended vertically through eight levels of Kalus and ascended progressively higher through eight aerial levels. My sense is that this opening to other depends on how easily we are able to move out of illusion and beyond the self. I have enjoyed watching my dreamtime move from black and white, two dimensionality, to full colour, multi dimensionality, ethnicity, and otherworldly. I also wish to mention here that age is of no consequence. I have met children who are natural dreamers, able to work and travel in the dreamtime at will. With support they do not lose this ability, but rather, are capable of bringing this forward into their everyday lives. The dreaming and awake states become one.

The questions I came into this paper with were: what is the difference between the dream state and the meditative state? What is the process of consciously moving through the dream loops, or many different levels of the dream state? Is there more of an opening into the dreamtime state now that we, as a paradigm, are moving towards consciousness? Or will that mean that we will no longer have use for/ need of the dream state? I come out of this writing with questions around Quantum Mechanics and the model of waves/particles. I am intrigued by the Heisenberg Uncertainty Principle and its fixed law of imperfection. It amazes me to see the copious amount of dream work that goes on in our society. When I think of the dream state, I think of a state of being/becoming. Our scientifically oriented society seems to have the need to create the provings. If one would move with Wolf's holographic ideal of real and virtual images, one could concede that in order to reach a higher level of dreaming, one would need more clear light, and yet it is this light that creates the alternative action of the electrons. Perhaps when one becomes fully conscious then there will no longer be a need to retain the dream state. I would, to the contrary, like to propose that, when we have reached a full state of consciousness, we would no longer have a need for the body. We will become, reawaken, return to the dream. As Wolf said "Matter Dreams".

What I especially liked, when the material began to come together, is the fact that in all the work, in all the studies, in all the different facets of the sciences, the reality of all of this research really comes down to the one question we all continuously ask ourselves "where do we come from?" For it is in this search for the knowing of self/Self that we begin the journey, lucid or asleep. It is within these travels, this life journey, that that we find our true reason for being/becoming, matter enfolding and unfolding, present in the finding and returning to the nature of our true authentic selves.

  • Godwin, Malcolm (1994), The Lucid Dreamer: A Waking Guide for the Traveler Between Worlds, NY, Labrinthe

  • Tardiff, Lisa (2003), Rattling the Bones, unpublished

  • Van de Castle, Robert (1994), Our Dreaming Mind: A Sweeping Exploration of the Role that Dreams Have Played in Politics, Art, Religion, and Psychology, From Ancient Civilizations to the Present Day, NY, Ballantine

  • Varela, J. (1997), Sleeping, Dreaming, and Dying: An Exploration of Consciousness with The Dalai Lama, Boston, Wisdom

  • Wolf, Fred Alan (1994), The Dreaming Universe: A Mind Expanding Journey into the Realm Where Psyche and Physics Meet, NY, Simon & Schuster