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Dreams as a Spiritual Practice Fostering Deeper Dreams and Accurate Analysis by G. Scott Sparrow, Ed.D. www.spiritualmentoring.com.

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Presentation on theme: "Dreams as a Spiritual Practice Fostering Deeper Dreams and Accurate Analysis by G. Scott Sparrow, Ed.D. www.spiritualmentoring.com."— Presentation transcript:

1 Dreams as a Spiritual Practice Fostering Deeper Dreams and Accurate Analysis by G. Scott Sparrow, Ed.D.

2 Program Objectives I. To re-conceptualize dreams in a way that makes analyzing them much easier II. To understand how the dreamer's response is the overlooked secret to understanding dreams, and to explore two types of “karmic” responses that impede our spiritual and emotional development in dreams and waking life. IV. To learn a method for analyzing dreams, called the Five Star Method, that is not only highly effective, but also conducive of spiritual development and communion. V. To learn a form of dream yoga that can greatly enhance the quality of your dreams, as well as open the door to radiant, ecstatic encounters with God.

3 I. Reconceptualizing Dreams Discovering the overlooked secret

4 I. Reconceptualizing Dreams A. Story of Actor B. Why we make the actor’s mistake with dreams--age old assumption credited to Plato. C. What we overlook 1. our freedom to respond in alternative ways 2. the impact of new responses on the dream 3. how the dreamer and dream are in a constant interactive exchange. 4. how the dream is about a relationship that unfolding

5 I. Reconceptualizing Dreams D. Sample dreams that reveal the importance of dreamer response. The two UFO dreams (one person runs and hides, and the other meditates. The ending are dramatically different.) The dream of the rats and the snow leopard. A woman, who had been molested, as a child was fleeing a pack or rat, but stops and reaches to touch the rat, which it turns into a snow leopard. The man kneeling before the coffin who, when grieving her death, finds that she still lives.

6 I. Reconceptualizing Dreams D. The great secret of dreaming: 1. that the divine dwells behind the dream, and supports every significant encounter. 2. that communion with God awaits us as a consequence of responding in new ways to significant dream encounters. E. Once we realize that the dreamer has more freedom, and that the dream is really not a message, nor is fixed from the outset, then the dreamer's response becomes the centerpiece in understanding dreams.

7 I. Reconceptualizing Dreams A sample dream that reveals the Holy light behind a successful dream encounter. Frankenstein, Werewolf and Dracula. A man encounters these three figures. At first he makes them go away, then he invites them back and surrounds himself with light, and then he invites them into the light, at which time ecstasy and Light infuses him.

8 II. The Karmic Nature of Dreamer Response Understanding Adaptive Responses

9 Critical Incidents in group therapy The key to working with groups is being able to anticipate and use “critical incidents” whenever they arise. Critical incidents are those defining moments in which a group confronts a serious interpersonal issue, and must deal with it. In order to benefit from critical incidents, rather than being upset by their emergence, it is important to understand their origin.

10 Karma Defined Is it fate? Is it punishment or reward? Is it reaction? Lama Govinda’s definition. If a house burns now, the karma is not the fire, but the response of the owner. Karma is a chronic, adaptive response based on past experience.

11 Two Types of Karmic Responses Reactive Adaptive Response (RAR), based on the memory of loss or trauma, and a desire to prevent it from happening again Compliant Adaptive Response (CAR), based on the memory of early parental, religious, and cultural programming, and a desire to “be good.”

12 Reactive Adaptive Response Trauma or loss (“Y”) gives rise to this belief: I caused “Y” by doing “X.” This gives rise to a formula: If I don’t do “X” then “Y” won’t happen again. Or, If I do the opposite of “X” then “Y” won’t happen again. RAR is adopted to protect the person from real or imagined hurt.

13 Before long, the child learns how to avoid further pain by avoiding certain behaviors believed to have caused the original pain. Unfortunately, the chronic reaction prevents a person from becoming fully present in relationships, and thus limits one’s capacity to be intimate and vulnerable.

14 Compliant Adaptive Response – At an early age, a child is rewarded for being a certain way (A), and punished for being otherwise (B). – By complying with the ideals of the parents and culture, and behaving accordingly (A), I gain acceptance at the expense of a division within myself that results in a repression of a “shadow self” (B).

15 The shadow is comprised of everything considered unacceptable by one’s parents and society, and is the creation and casualty of Compliant Adaptive Response.

16 Before long, the child loses touch with this repressed shadow self. The public self continues to perform in order to “be good” and gain acceptance. The shadow self remains unknown, and expresses itself in dreams as threatening people, and through negative reactions to others, who exhibit out shadow qualities. Before long, the child loses touch with this repressed shadow self. The public self continues to perform in order to “be good” and gain acceptance. The shadow self remains unknown, and expresses itself in dreams as threatening people, and through negative reactions to others, who exhibit out shadow qualities.

17 One very simple and powerful way to determine what stands in the way of a more complete, wholehearted, and spiritual life is to understand one’s own RAR and CAR and work on resolving these unthinking patterns.

18 One way to determine the karmically patterned RAR and CAR responses to life is to study your dreams! There, at a lower level of reflective awareness, you will yourself responding as you always have, perpetuating your longstanding impasses.

19 Reactive Adaptive Responses in Dreams Dream of hooded man (I want your heart) Dreams of leaving the conference Dreams of flying away Such reactions make perfect sense to the dreamer, who has used such tactics to avoid pain in the past.

20 Compliant Adaptive Responses in Dreams Dream of woman who saw Jesus helping those who were "sinful" (showing discriminations based on conventional religious assumptions and programming) Dream of God and the gifts (showing influence of parental attitudes toward having wealth)

21 Consequences of RAR and CAR Predictable reactions to the dream content, the function of which is to bring us: – Old business or the presentation of unfinished conflict – New business or the presentation of one's calling

22 Consequences of RAR and CAR – If we wonder why we aren't experiencing greater peace and spiritual fulfillment, we need look no further than these two types of patterned responses. – Karmic responses (RAR and CAR) ratify the status quo and keeps us living a devitalized, inauthentic existence

23 Now let’s spend some time assessing your own RAR and CAR before we consider how these patterns might manifest in your dreams.

24 Do you do anything repetitively in response to what you perceive as a threat? Do you do anything repetitively as a way to “be good,” win love, or gain approval? Go to Worksheet titled, “Worksheet on Karmic Responses”

25 III. Learning the Five Star Method Becoming a master dream analyst

26 III. Learning the Five Star Method A. Overall approach--35 years in development 1. Assumptions a. Seeing the dream as indeterminate from the outset b. Seeing dreamers as more capable of reflecting upon and responding to the dream. 2. Focusing on the dreamer’s response first 3. Analyzing the imagery more effectively 4. Applying the dream by imagining and planning new responses.

27 III. Learning the Five Star Method B. Let’s open the handout titled “Summary of FSM” and view the introductory video on the FSM.Summary of FSMintroductory video C. And then, let’s do a workshop!! Open the slideshow titled Putting the Five Star Method to Work, which is part of an overall course on learning the FSM, which you may want to take for free. While the course itself is designed for counselors, the method can be used by laypersons who are working with their own dreams, too.Putting the Five Star Method to Work You may also want to view the demonstration video, in which I analyze two dreams from the same person (my wife Kathy).demonstration video

28 IV. Practicing Dream Yoga Middle-of-the-Night Meditation and Dream Reliving For the final component of the daylong seminar, go to slideshow presentation, titled presentation titled IASDMeditationDreamReliving.ppt and view the slideshow while listening to the the audio presentation titled IASDMeditationDreamReliving.ppt This presentation is more lengthy and detailed than the one I did at Bobbi’s. IASDMeditationDreamReliving.ppt


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