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Should We Control Our Dreams ?

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Control in Systems Theory

In systems theory control is shared by interacting processes that each contribute to balance and equilibrium in the system as a whole enable the system to fulfill its purpose. It restrains as well as guides and maintains the system integrity as a whole. Should we exercise restraint over our dreams? Some people are so overwhelmed by dream content that they need to find ways to slow the frequency of recall. Others attempt, with great frustration, to recall any dream or fragment. Some, plagued with overwhelming nightmares, need to find relief in order to gain equilibrium in life. Should we exercise direction over our dreams? Anyone who incubates a dream--a very common dream skill--is in some measure setting out to exercise, at least partial, direction over dreams and dreaming. Should our dreams exercise direction over our lives? Few serious dreamers would deny the value of dreams for clarifying, at least on occasion, our life direction. Should our dreams dominate us, or command us, hold us in check or curb us? Even here we would, I believe, find occasions to say yes. I believe that if we ponder the question of control deeply we will be compelled to recognize that we are engaged in a co-creative relationship in life at every moment.

The Locus of Dream Control

The question is not a simple "should we control our dreams?" or "should our dreams control us?" The question of control lies at the heart and soul of who we are. From moment to moment we face the choice, the freedom and the responsibility to exercise, relinquish or share control. Instead of "should we control?" it makes more sense to ask *who*is in control, under what circumstances, by what means and for what reasons at each and every moment, in every aspect of our dreaming and waking life. We might then learn to take seriously our relationships, our purpose, our freedom, our responsibility, our limitations and the mystery of our existence in relationship to the vast dimensions and connections between our inner and outer worlds.

I have learned that the locus of control varies fluidly in many dimensions. It changes according to where the dream originates in the body. For example, in the heart I may find a very different dream than in my stomach, throat or head. The dreamer or dream-ego is an inveterate shape-shifter. In age, dress, feeling, intention and context. It is humbling to realize that my inner two-year-old makes so many of my decisions.

Who is the 'we' that controls?

When tracking the locus of the dream during active therapeutic imaging we note that shifts in feeling state, attention in the body, and changes in context, also shift the dream-ego identity as well. At one moment the dream-ego may be an innocent five-year-old. At another moment a traumatized twelve-year-old. At still another moment a future older and wiser self. When the various inner characters communicate, relate and act together, the inner world changes naturally to reflect the resulting changes in the dreamers consciousness. When conflict, confusion or dissociation represented in the inner imagery becomes clear and resolved, the outer life experience, including physical symptoms, shift accordingly. When we recognize and relate to these 'many selves' within us, we are then empowered to move to a higher order of control in our dreams and in our waking life.

The Western Fallacy of Independence

The western myth of the independent controlling ego may prove to be a major fallacy of our fragmented civilization. When we come to recognize that free and responsible choice is rather a product of a relational consciousness in a global context, then we will understand our true relationship to our dreaming universe.

Control is not at all about me controlling the dream or about the dream controlling me. It is rather a control that unfolds from a conscious relationship in which we explore and co-create the universe together. The world of our dreams is a flexible world in which we are able to safely practice and rehearse, to blunder and fall, to discover, uncover and recover. It is here that we expand our consciousness to embrace our many selves and the other. When we bring our dream characters into our waking life they assist us in co-creating a new world. When our battles are fought and resolved in the imaginal realm with full consciousness, then we don't have to act out our violence in the physical world. We are enabled to break through to new and vital ways of being in a healthy world. This is the process of mythmaking. It is where we learn to crawl, to walk, to run, to fly, and together to transform the world. When we are attuned in this way, the inner and the outer coincide. Our dreams and synchronicity then flow together seamlessly as we saw in J's dream experience.

When we trust ourselves and our dreams with others, life expands in its wonder and majesty. When we come into alignment with the myriad dimensions of reality, our dreams and our life respond to us accordingly. We are supported in taking greater or lesser control, or shifting our control to an expanded dimension of reality where we adopt a seamless attitude between our dream life and our waking life. It is ultimately the quality of our attitude that makes the difference, not the degree of waking or sleeping, or our lucidity or nonlucidity.

By affirming a conscious relationship to our symbolic life we can discover and rehearse the deep patterns and consequences of our choices and actions before they are manifested in material form. With the courage, vulnerability and commitment to seek the deeper layers of truth and good in our relationships within and without we have within us the capacity to transform and heal, or to abuse and destroy our world.

This is our final choice....

Part 1, Part2

Dreamland psychic \ Dream Folklore \ Control Dreams

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