Issue 35 – June 2008
DREAMS, DAYDREAMS AND
THE INTELLIGENCE OF THE UNCONSCIOUS
Drs Hal & Sidra Stone
As we mentioned earlier in this article, dreams and visualization have always played an important part of our explorations. At the very beginning Sidra, in particular, was deeply impacted by a series of visualizations that initiated her into some of the very deepest waters of the unconscious. With time the work with visualization became less important to us as Voice Dialogue and the dream process became more primary. In recent years, however, we have found ourselves placing even greater emphasis on the dream process for ourselves and with our clients. We have also enjoyed working with daydreams as we discovered how daytime fantasies provided a gold mine of information about what was happening in people’s lives (including ours).
What we first became aware of, was the fact that when people began to develop an Aware Ego process and were able to stand between opposites, the nature of their dreams began to change. They became clearer. They become more organized. We have always known this at some level, but somehow our understanding and appreciation of this process changed. We watched clients begin to decode their own dreams in relatively short periods of time, depending, in large measure, on the strength of the Aware Ego process.
As this process continued, we saw that the intelligence of the unconscious began to manifest in an ever more powerful way, and we found that the dream process itself was becoming the teacher for people. We had experienced this earlier in our own lives as we watched how the unconscious organized itself and seemed to have its own agenda for our development.
What is this intelligence? Where does it come from? What does it want from us? And how does it manifest in our lives?
We became aware of the fact that the dream ego, or how the dreamer appears in his or her own dream, gives us a picture of how the primary self is behaving. This seemed to be true of most dreams, though not all of them. Occasionally the dream ego would represent not the current primary self system (or operating ego) but instead, the disowned self.
Then we began to ask for the daydreams or daytime fantasies of people. These are different than the visualizations of guided imagery. These are not deliberately sought after like visualizations; instead, they are going on all of the time in peoples’ lives even though many have no awareness at all that they are, in fact, daydreaming. They play like background music – and nobody knows who put it on.
For example, imagine that you are driving in your car and someone passes you and then cuts in front of you. You are angry and, in your mind, you begin to talk to that driver, expressing your outrage at what happened. This can go on for long periods of time and can totally destabilize you. Some people will continue this daydream and imagine that they drive after the other person and deliberately crash into him and hurt him. Others will have just a momentary flash of fury or a fleeting image of destruction.
The “you” of the daydream generally gives us a picture of your disowned self. Your primary self may be calm, controlled and rational. The disowned self that emerges in your daydream is an energy that carries the rage, anger, and resentment that is generally kept under control. We found that by listening to people’s daydreams and by making them aware that they are having daydreams, they begin to get a picture of the disowned self.
Once the picture is clear, then there is the chance to explore the self. In this example, there is a chance to learn how to stand between the control and rationality of the primary self that continues to drive carefully and the more uncivilized part of us, the angry, destructive self that can be so frightening to the rational, controlled side.
Rather than trying to change ourselves – which is always a problematical thing to do – what seems to be required of us is a surrender to the unconscious itself as we learn to trust that the intelligence it makes available to us has a plan and direction for us. The surrender we refer to is not that of a passive child who gives up all responsibility. It is, rather, a surrender to a kind of knowing that is not ordinarily available to us. The deeper problems of life can seldom be solved by the rational mind alone. We need the mind, it’s true, but it is only one of our resources.
The ignition of this intelligence is not the same as having a particular religious, or enlightenment, experience. It is an ongoing process that seems to us to be continually wishing to clarify and deepen the Aware Ego process. It wants to help us see who it is in us that is living our lives so we can learn to take over from that part (or self) and live our life with ever more choice. This is not short-term work. As we’ve said, it is a process that continues forever!
We are well aware of the fact that not everyone remembers dreams and we can only be grateful that there are so many different approaches to consciousness that can be utilized in the journey of personal growth. Yet, we cannot help but be amazed at how often the act of standing between opposites will initiate a dream process or to deepen an already existing one.
Where all of this leads is to a natural and organic movement within us whereby the unconscious itself becomes our teacher and gradually the bonding to the outside teacher diminishes in strength. The role of the outer teacher changes to that of a consultant to process. Finally, even this is no longer necessary and the inner teacher takes over completely. We have had the deep satisfaction of watching this happen to more and more people. And so it is that Hal has revisited his Jungian roots, and this work with dreams and daydreams has become one of the basic elements of Voice Dialogue and the Psychology of Selves.
One of the greatest surprises for us as Hal approaches his 80 th birthday and Sidra approaches her 70 th birthday is the ongoing nature of this intelligence as it continues to unfold and bring to both of us new understandings of matters both personal and transpersonal. It has helped us prepare for aging and it continues to help us with all the gifts and the challenges that come at this time of life.
God, the Greater Intelligence, the élan vital, the Organizing Principle of the Universe, manifests in many ways. We feel privileged to have been a part of this manifestation in the work that we have shared over the past 35 years. Others have discovered this organizing mystery in their work with the physical body, in their work with the stars, in the work with cell structure and in a variety of spiritual practices. For us this Intelligence has found us, as we have found it, in the depths of human relationship. And as we observe the various manifestations of this intelligence all around us, and as we feel the organizing principles behind them, we cannot help but feel assured that God is indeed a mathematician.