This is an excerpt from DREAMHEALING: CHAOS & THE CREATIVE CONSCIOUSNESSPROCESS, by Graywolf Fred Swinney and Iona Miller, c1992.  Using his roots as a Gestalt Therapist,  Transactional Analysis teacher, and shaman/therapist Graywolf developed Dreamhealing as an experiential therapy practice.  When Chaos Theory came on the scene, he noticed that the metaphors of this new science of self-organization reflected his healing practices.  Developing these analogies, he came up with the Creative Consciousness Process (CCP), based on a model of consciousness and the new paradigm.  As more research on complexity and chaos theory emerged, he and I revisioned therapy as a process of liquification, and chaos consciousness as a healing force.  Long-time friend, noted dream researcher Stanley Krippner mentored us through the process of writing the book, attended our conference on Chaos and Consciousness, and provided an Introduction to Dreamhealing, detailing Graywolf's calling to the shamanic path.




by Graywolf Fred Swinney and Iona Miller, c1992

ABSTRACT: The dream guide is one who has navigated the river of consciousness many times before.  Aware of the nuances of the territory (s)he can invite others into that deep world, providing a sense of confidence and safety.  Preparation for being a dream guide includes experience on both sides of the process.  It involves working through one's own issues and letting go of personal agendas.  Along with the DREAM JOURNEY GUIDELINES here is the basic "how to" for intuition to play with.  These are not strict protocols, but guidelines or suggestions for moving through the levels of the psyche as described in our ego model.

He will manage the cure best who has foreseen what is to happen from the present state of the matter.

As a dream guide, it helps to empty yourself of knowing, let the dreamer choose the image that opens the work and leads the way.  A good dream guide does not lead but rather follows the dreamer's process to the dreamer's own definition of satisfaction.

                                       --Ann Sayre Wiseman, DREAMS AS METAPHOR

Anatomy of a Dream
Flowing with the Dreamstream
Venturing in the slipstream of Consciousness
The Dreamguide's Issues:The Wounded-Healer
Therapist as Strange Attractor
A Different Reality
Chaotic Imagery
Co-Consciousness: We TWO Are ONE
The Dream Guide and Chaos Theory
Entering the Flow
Contact Graywolf at Aesculapia Wilderness Retreat: Individual sessions, and workshops


A dream is a stream of chaos, a river of undifferentiated consciousness and creativity, flowing through the self-scape of the psyche.  It is shaped by the frozen states of consciousness, the existential images, that define and mold the self and the reality of our perceptions.  And, when it finally emerges into awareness, the images and plots that are presented to our almost-waking self are reflections of these states.  They are another way of seeing the self and the reality we create, except one less prejudiced by our ego.

When we are asleep the ego is asleep. The ego is turned off and free consciousness has reign.  Awake we order all we sense into the conformations of our "pre-ceptions"; but asleep, chaos reigns, and the structure that emerges as the dream is like a holographic image (in multi-dimensions) of the deeper self.

A hologram is an image that is formed by reordering the reflections of a laser beam from an object.  As the light encounters the object, like a pebble dropped into a pond sends ripples to the edge of the pond, an interference pattern of the laser's wave form is created as the reflected and source waves interact.  If we could stop the action in the pond and measure the ripples, we could reproduce their source. So too with the patterns of waves caused by the laser's encounter with the object, we can reproduce an image of the original object.  This interference pattern is what is recorded in the hologram's negative.

Interestingly, the entire image is in any part of the negative; if you cut the negative inhalf, the whole image is recorded in each half, just somewhat fuzzier.  The whole image is in any part of the negative, the universe in a grain of sand.

The dream is just like the hologram.  The passage of the consciousness stream through the psyche, and its encounter with the frozen consciousness states, cause ripples and patterns.  When they reach our awareness, they create images of the deeper self that formed them.  The whole is in any part of the dream.


To the shaman/therapist, nature repeats at all levels and in all ways.  In chaos theory, this is expressed in the self-similarity of fractals.  Like the hologram, fractals repeat the basic conformation of their "parent" pattern.  They repeat that same basic form over-and-over on different scales.  The broad-strokes of nature appear as flow.  The guiding metaphor of dreamhealing is the concept that a river and the stream of consciousness have much in common.

Guiding a dream journey is like guiding a white water river adventure.  Graywolf's River Teacher is also the river of inner consciousness (dreamstream) that flows through the dream-scape and self-scape.  Both are full of rapids and turbulence, back eddies that trap one in circles going nowhere.  There are calm, deep, peaceful and serene stretches and unexpected twists that open new vistas. Both the river and dreamstream inexorably flow to the primal ocean, the sea from which all life has arisen, the ocean of chaotic consciousness.

Like the River Teacher, the consciousness stream is full of boulders and rocks that define the river and make the rapids and turbulence.  These boulders are the frozen images that define our dis-eases.  The dream guide, like the river guide, undertakes to bring his fellow adventurers safely through the turbulence and beyond the rocks.

Water always seeks its own level through flow along the path of least resistance.  In the river there is a flow of water that is part of a cycle.  It is a process--and that is what the stream of consciousness is--it is a flow.  Within the river what makes the rapids is the rocks, the obstructions. They are the hazards.  They create turbulance around them.  The psychic equivalent are the frozen states of consciousness, the frozen existential images, which obstruct the free flow of creative consciousness.  They are what creates the turbulence within our psyches.

Basically, that is what a rapids is--a turbulence, where the flowing system is far-from-equilibrium.  Of course, that is where all the excitement is in a river trip, and also in the dream journey.  You have to get into the turbulence.  Another interesting thing is that in a real river there are eddies or backcurrents that are created around rocks.

If you get into these eddies you just spin in a circle and go around and around in them until you can get back into the flow.  In creative consciousness work it is the same thing.  You find these little fantasy loops.  They are always right in the middle of the crises, the rapids, and always reflecting this rock or this frozen consciousness right in the middle of the river.

This is where the idea of being imaginative as a guide comes in within the dream journeys.  Typically, people will come for dreamhealing when they are in a crisis.  In dreamhealing the eddies are the games they play, the patterns they get into, their self-serving fantasies, their wish fulfilling daydreams, or excursions in the "heavens" of their belief system.

When people speak of the outer river, they notice it is always the same, yet totally different in every moment.  It is constantly changing, becoming different than it has has ever been or ever will be again.  It is so random that the same water you see at this instant will not be the same as the next.

That complex, dynamic flow is also the description of the consciousness flow--always changing, yet always constantly the same in essence.  And it is also the description of chaos--determinate indeterminacy or indeterminate determinacy.  Always the same, yet ever changing describes fractal programs.  They are self-similar, self-generating, and self-iterating.

The source of a river's water and its goal are the same--the ocean.  The source of the creative consciousness flow is the vast sea of consciousness, that primal field of pure potential.  We seek immersion in that creative consciousness for renewal and healing.

The creative consciousness or dream guide and the river guide are much the same. If you think about how they are trained you realize that no river guide can learn this skill from a book.  The training is as much visceral as intellectual.  The experience is best learned from those who are experienced themselves.  Guides learn from other guides whose voices are rich with experience.  They have to go down the river themselves, hands on, by going through the rapids.  They have a guide with them the first few times to teach them the river fundamentals.

That is how the dream guide trains, by experiencing both sides of the process, experiencing first-hand the flow of the dreamstream.  Facing the fear and pain means that any sense of anxiety is transformed into a sense of excitement.  These regions become familiar, even in their ever-changing appearance.  The training needs to be a total experiential training--not a rule-book training.  Yet there are some guidelines (guide's lines) for river running which parallel the creative consciousness or dreamhealing process.

Good guides are intuitive.  They intuit their way through rapids sometimes, reading the river and responding instantaneously with the right moves, easily and automatically.  That is what you must do in the dream journeys.  There are some rules that river guides use, such as "follow the bubbles."

The whole idea of going down the river, if you are a river-runner, is to "stay in the current."  It is when you get out of the current that you get into trouble.  If you are in the current you are going to miss the rocks, you are going to flow through most rapids.  So, you've got to learn how to flow in the current.

This is an essential aspect of being the dream guide, learning how to be in that flow of consciousness, and stay in the current.  Any good river guide knows that how you "set up" determines how you are going to go through that set of rapids.   Setting up is the key to a successful run. You've got to set up where the flow is the greatest, where the most water goes.  That is the best place most of the time.  It is exactly the same with the dream guide, who also has foreknowledge of some possible obstructions.  The point you go through is important, and depends on your intuition, your imagination.

Once you're in the flow you always keep your bow pointing toward the trouble.  You always face the trouble.  In river running you can power-pull away from the rock and avoid a problem.  One of the essences of the deam guide is that you always face the fearful things, the danger, the pains, the frozen consciousness that appears in the dreams as images.  You always face the frightening moment, the dangers, as in the rule of river-running.

We wouldn't send anyone down the river without a guide.  For one thing they would get trapped in those circles, those back eddies, spinning.  They might get caught in a fantasy loop instead of the consciousness flow, because they don't know how to set up.  Guides look at where the bubbles are to set up for the flow.  That is like the intuition in dreamhealing.  That is not a bad way of describing the feeling of intuition sometimes.

Reading the patterns in the river and the hidden variables becomes automatic.  The dream guide watches the shapes of the frozen images, of the feedback loops, and from that he feels the patterns of the stream of consciousness, of the psyche.  That is exactly what the river guide is doing.

Yet, the rules are not set, either for a river guide or dream guide.  The guide uses them, but lets go of them in many situations.  Each journey is different, unique.  You don't always follow the rules.  That is what makes a guide, sensing and instantly responding to the changing conditions.  In a sense you can't have a textbook for either profession.  You just have to listen to the river, the River Teacher, and see what is is telling you.  The river always teaches about life and it is always teaching you about that flowing, dynamic process.  The river provides apt metaphors of life, which can encapsulate an individual's life patterns.

Graywolf had a woman client who was very fearful, frightened of eveything.  She tried desperately to maintain control of everything.  Through most of the journey she couldn't let go, and rode in the raft with him.  Toward the last day of the journey, she finally decided to try it on her own in a tahiti (inflatable kayak).  Graywolf went ahead and she followed.  Half way through she lost her paddle, the tahiti turned around, and she simply decided to let go and floated through fine.  In camp that night, she accused Graywolf of making her let go.  But, no, it was the river!

Another adventurer from Mexico was prone to getting "stuck" in places.  He'd been working on an anima issue, his feminine side.  He would get trapped in situations and not give up.  They came up to Blossom Bar rapids; one guide went through to show the way.  Even with instructions on how to get through on the current, he got trapped on "Picket Fence," with water pressure so strong the tahiti was stuck there to stay.  It wrapped around a big rock, and he could not dislodge it no matter how hard he tried.

He climbed onto the rock, clinging for dear life.  Graywolf waited for the other guide, while the client continued his efforts to free the boat until he was exhausted.  The guides finally got through "the chute", pulled hard and got into the back eddie closest to where he was stranded.  They could only get part way there--enough to throw him a line so they could pull him around to climb right into the raft.

He had to jump right into a raging torrent of water.  It took a great deal of faith to trust the guides, himself, and the equipment.  But he did.  It really took "letting go."  When they got back, he began examining his self-defeating "fatal attractions" to certain kinds of women whom he knows are bad for him.  He decided to let go of that, too.

The role of the guide is the same in river guiding and dream guiding.  In either case you accompany the person through the rapids.  You direct them how to get through the rapids.  You watch, and go through them afterwords if they get stuck or go into a back eddie.  The river guide provides safety.  He doesn't take you places it is not safe.  It is exactly the same for the dream guide.

The guides keep you away from those dangerous things that could flip you over, or hurt you.  The guide has been through many rapids before.  Perhaps they were not these particular rapids, but we know he survived others, and has developed some skill.  (S)He's been through enough of them to read the currents, back eddies, and rocks.  The dream guide is there to provide that security and that sense of safety in the process.  The guide carries the person through their fears.

Another obvious link is that river running is done for recreation. You run a river of consciousness with a dream guide for re-creation.  Dreamhealing is for re-creation, and the difference is only a hyphen.  Re-creation is deep play in the most profound sense, and it is healing.  By re-creating, re-forming ourselves we access new potentials, new possibilities, new vistas.

The river guide is always prepared to leap in if he or she has to.  If someone is running some rapids and gets in trouble, it is the role of the guide to intervene.  They have to be prepared to jump into whatever river is there.  We deal with whatever comes up.  When you head down a river for days, you commit to taking these people into your hands.  There is the same commitment with the dream guide.  It is a shared adventure.

The river guide or dream guide will often go down first to show how it is done.  The guides never push, rather they invite or beckon others through.  "Come on, let's go; I've been here; it's O.K."  So there is a need for trust.  If you're going to be a guide you've got to be trustable.  You can't say "I've been there," when you haven't.  You can say, "I've been through lots like it; let's go."

In terms of the journey itself, the river guide will tell people what is coming up.  Maybe before they leave he will teach about safety.  If you fall in the water keep your feet pointing downstream and trust your vest.  If your feet are out you can fend off or push off any rocks.  Keep your feet pointed toward the danger.

The guide lets you know when there is danger, and admits that it is scary, yet OK.  The guide always has that sense of scared excitement in the most challenging runs, but still gets through.  Both the river guide and dream guide prepare the client with this awareness.

In terms of physical preparation, in the dream journeys it is important to speak of relaxation.  The dream guide might say things like, "If you get in trouble, I'll remind you to breath," or "Use your out-breath."

In preparing for a creative consciousness or dream journey, you let go of any ideas that you have about what this particular journey is going to be like.  Its the same with the river guide--they know that river is always different.  You never go through those rapids just the same way.  They know that.  It's always a new experience and you let go of what you know to experience it anew.  Just the chaotic nature of the river itself assures that.

The good river guide doesn't go into the rapids with a preconception at all--"Well, I came through here last time like this."  Instead, they still keep their bow pointed to the danger, they still have to pull off from rocks, they still have to stay with the current.  It's the same with the dream guide--let go of anything you ever thought you knew about dreams.  Each journey, no matter how many, is a new river.  The unexpected is expected, and this is what defines imagination.

This is where the dual-consciousness is important to a dream guide.  You are in that flow of consciousness but there is still a kind of dual-awareness of participating in this adventure, yet remaining the guide.  You don't take the trip for the client, he experiences for himself, though the guide facilitates or expedites the practical aspects of the journey.


What goes into preparing for guiding people into their dreams?  There are just a few basic directions, but the finesse with which they are applied makes all the difference in keeping the process moving.

Some of the most important points to remember include the following: let the imagination flow; lead or invite the dreamer toward the fear and pain with reassurance; lead them away from ego gratifying fantasy by deepening past their personal belief system; enliven their experience by repeating key elements they have previously mentioned; use the basic "confusion techniques" to override or short-circuit the rational mind; and switch the focus of their awareness from one sensory system to another, for example, from visual to auditory, or olfactory, or feeling.

Just as crucial is your preparation of yourself.  Begin by centering, breathing deeply, and emptying your mind of any preconceived notions about the dreamer and the dream symbols, or where the journey might lead.  You don't want your personality to get in the way of the process.  You may create a neutrality within yourself, and paradoxically, by not being there you are more totally there.

Contemplation or meditation can help you shed any attachments to the meaning of the dreams or the outcomes.  For example, at Asklepian dreamhealing ceremonies the guides may dress up as priests or priestesses, yet they are not claiming to represent God.  The healing notion here is that god is within us all.  Perhaps you have to "borrow" me to see that about you, but the priest is only a mirror.  As long as we are all aware of that, its OK.  Mirrors don't take themselves very deeply or seriously.  They just reflect back what is.

When, as guide, you listen to someone first describe and then re-enter their dream, pay attention to what you are naturally drawn to in the dream.  It may be certain symbols within the dream, or it may be an aspect of the ground of the dream, its background.  Once again, you must approach the person's dream with an open heart and shed your own issues or keep them in abeyance.

To arbitrarily assign a particular meaning to a dream before the dream journey, and before hearing all of the dreamer's personal associations to the imagery is comparable to "mind rape."  Let their drama have all the time it needs to unfold before venturing any amplifications from your own store of knowledge and wisdom.

A symbol may appear in the initial description which you think is "fraught with meaning," or maybe one of your personal favorite images comes up such as your totem animal.  However, this may not be the best doorway for the dreamer to enter.  When opening to what you are drawn to in the dream, try to keep your personal likes and expectations out of the process.  Remember, the dreamer is doing this work for him or herself, not for you.  Just go back to the basics, like encouraging movement toward the frightening prospect.  Invite them into the fear and pain with reassurances.

After a while of practice your intuition becomes quite trustworthy.  Then, after the session, you might even venture to amplify certain symbols adding a mythic dimension to their presence in dreamlife.  Some of the basic Jungian archetypes which might come up include figures representing the shadow, or anima and animus (the inner mate).  Others such as the elements, Earth, Air, Fire, and Water are also significant.

Once again, when listening to the dream, clear your mind and open to intuition.  Notice what stands out for you.  Take a moment to reflect on why you are drawn to it.  Does it seem intrinsically important in that dream context, or the context of their life situation, or is it merely fascinating to you personally?  As they recount their dream, watch their body language, inflection, and words they misspeak or stumble over.

These signals can provide clues for an entry point or inner doorway that shows fear or conflict within the client.  Remember to generally move the person toward the uncomfortable parts of the dream, giving permission and providing some sense of safety for the unpleasant event to manifest, rather than avoiding it.  Remind the client you will be there along with them to guide and comfort and see them through to the conclusion of the journey.

There are three processes going on inside you as dream guide.  It is important to know which one you are tuning in to when you are going to work on a dream, particularly someone else's dream.  Of course, one of them is the intellectual process, which is your mental information about what symbols mean.

You can draw on your whole background experience  intellectually making relationships between what you know about the person and what their dream symbols are saying.  That is an interesting process, and at some levels it is a useful process because dreams can be revealing at that level.  The therapist can derive useful clues on where to take the therapy in other modalities besides dreamhealing from these symbols.


Another level comes from the subconscious and involves that which touches on your own "stuff," your own issues.  We all have our personal wounds.  Inside all of us are unresolved issues based on our life experiences which we have not quite worked out yet.  Most therapists know when they are touching their own stuff because they are drawn to it.  The remedy is to make sure you have a place and time for your own process work.

When your stuff is "up," you are attracted to it in another person.  This same mechanism operates in romantic relationships where people with the same issues, even though they may be hidden, couple up.  The unresolved issues, such as co-dependence can be a very strong draw which is very different from the draw of true love.

A lot of therapists wind up getting people to the point of their own issues and can't take them further.  Because they are drawn to their own issues, they subconsciously or inadvertently direct their own clients to studying the therapist's issues in themselves.

The third level of internal processing comes from genuine intuition, or intuitiveness.  It is easy to tell the intellectual process from the other two.  But it is not easy to tell the difference between your intuition and your unresolved stuff.  So take a close look at what you are attracted to in others' dreams, being with that reflective awareness very personally.  There is no objective answer to this question.  Much of the dreamhealing process involves making subjective choices and distinctions and acting upon them with faith and courage, and trust in the process.

Look for the emotional, intellectual, or intuitive quality of the draw.  But realize that even true intuition can come as a mental or an intellectual thought.  But it seems to come from "out of the blue" rather than building as a string of rational thoughts.  There may be almost a perceptual "purity" to it, instead of it carrying an emotional charge.  On the other hand, it can present with a lot of affect, but the strength of that charge does not come from your personal involvement with the issue, symbol, or image.

Sometimes people come who have issues that mirror your issues, and you are together in order that those things become resolved for both of you.  So you do not have to pretend that you don't have issues.  This is more likely to come up if you find yourself working with friends and acquaintances, rather than as a professional.  It comes up in the personal arena.  In the dreamhealing session you do not lay your stuff or your interpretation of their behavior on them, but your similar issues may illumine things for you more objectively.  WHILE YOU ARE THE GUIDE, THE FOCUS REMAINS ON THE CLIENT'S NEEDS.

However, the question is not so much if it is valid to deal with someone who has your issues.  Rather, it is a question of how you know inside of yourself whether the issue is your, theirs, or both.  If you know it is one of your issues, then you know you are on dangerous ground, and probably have some attachments to outcome and control.  You stand a good chance of getting stuck on some detour to nowhere in the dream journey.  You can't lead them past the point you are stuck yourself.  So watch out for this.  Remember to ask yourself if they are doing this work now for you, or for themselves.

In this kind of dreamwork it is very important for you to keep your issues out of it, and not to lead nor be attached to a specific outcome.  The point is to create a flexibility for times when you are conflicted and can't be neutral.  In chaos theory, as applied to biological evolution, flexibility means adapting "rapidly and successfully by accumulation of useful variations," (Kauffman, 1991).

As dream guide, it means you develop a repertoire of alternate suggestions to move your client and yourself out of the "stuck" place.  One of the easiest is to focus them in on another sensory system, for example switching their focus from visual to auditory, or visceral.  Another is to go deeper by giving suggestions which confuse their rational mind, which opens them to a more receptive state.

THE CRUX OF THE PROCESS COMES DURING ENTRY INTO CHAOTIC CONSCIOUSNESS.  AT THIS POINT THINGS USUALLY GET WORSE BEFORE THEY GET BETTER.  Here you can give suggestions to intensify emotions, and to reassure the client you are there to provide some sense of safety.  Let them know they won't drown, even though awash in the intense imagery.

After all, this becomes a well-known experience for you, and you learn to trust the healing nature of the state.  Just let go and "float" down to the next calm spot.  It is OK to let go.  Create your own particular way of letting the client know that they can accept and surrender to that state.  Help them amplify awareness of that state by evoking more detail from them.

While you are guiding, just let go when you begin to enter those states of chaotic consciousness, and stop guiding.  Just see what emerges out of that chaos -- perhaps a new image, a new structure, a new existential state of being.

THE NEW STATE ALWAYS SEEMS TO BE A REMARKABLE IMPROVEMENT, A VERY HEALED IMAGE.  At first, we could not understand why.  We were speculating that it was part of the natural evolutionary process.  Or perhaps it comes from the safety of the therapeutic setting.  Chaos theory shows that "certain complex systems tend toward self organization and are marked by the capacity to evolve," (Kauffman, 1991).  So that may be part of the answer.

The nature of strange attractors can be viewed in the metaphorical as well as mathematical sense.  They are almost like nuclei around which the chaotic image reforms, creating a new structure.  One of the ideas expressed at the 1991 inaugural meeting of the Society for Chaos Theory in Psychology, which took place at Saybrook Institute, was the concept that the therapist him or herself might BE THAT STRANGE ATTRACTOR.

The personality of the practitioner is always a variable in any psychological experiment.  We had speculated that the safe environment might be the strange attractor, but did not take it that one step further to "psychotherapist as strange attractor."  But that makes sense in light of the charisma mystery-people emanate.

The deduction is that whoever creates that safe environment is a "therapist."  Both clinicians and theorists at the conference were supportive of this idea of therapist acting as strange attractor, even though there is as yet no scientific proof of that.

If, as a dream guide, you are indeed the strange attractor around which that co-creative process of re-organization of a person's internal imagery revolves, it demonstrates how important it is that you have your own issues resolved.  You will probably never solve all of your problems, but you can do your "original pain" work, and provide yourself with a time and place for honoring your own process.

As dream guide if you are a flawed attractor, that flaw is going to be built in and perhaps even magnified.  We have known in psychology for a very long time, that the client frequently takes on the neurosis or the problems of the therapist, but in their own way, of course.  The client inevitably begins taking on a lot of the therapist's characteristics or personality traits.

The unconscious absorption of the therapist's traits happens automatically to a greater or lesser extent as both the self image and worldview of the client is changed, broadened, and enlarged.  In the process of therapy, the client is clearing emotional blocks, reclaiming frozen feelings, and lost or abandoned parts of the self.  This process is experienced largely through images and sensate experience which fuses mind, imagination, and feelings into a gestalt.

The training process of the therapist grants access to a deeper experience of the self which appears to be contagious.  The therapeutic personality has the emergent capacity for curing dis-ease because the mere presence of a healthy personality acts as a tonic or general medicine for those who contact it.  In other words, if you are truly individuated, you can trigger off the same process in other people.

To be individuated means you express your unique essence most fully, rather than learning and practicing by rote.  It means you have explored the heights and depths of your own inner world, integrated that into the context of ordinary life, and freed up your creativity.  This process is contagious because when a person meets someone whose worldview is more expansive, their limitations automatically begin to dissolve.  Through contact with a whole person's worldview, new possibilities become obvious.  It is a truism that few know their own capacity.

THE SHAMAN IS THE ARCHETYPE OF THE WOUNDED-HEALER AND IS PERCEIVED AS HAVING MANA OR PERSONAL POWER FOR HEALING AND VISION.  In today's society the shaman-therapist functions in much the same way.  It is not possible to practice therapy without first having worked through your issues and your wounds.  Doing therapy on someone else will bring up your core issues if they are unresolved.

The idea of wholeness equating with healing is inherent in the ancient alchemical notion of the PHILOSOPHER'S STONE.  One who has been able to make the incorruptible stone within himself has united the opposites within, including masculine and feminine, and the depths and heights of the personal and transpersonal realms.

Unreconciled opposites manifest as conflict, yet carried together, distinct but conjoined, they manifest wholeness and increased psychological health.  Once you synthesize a new viewpoint on reality, you discover a new sense of well-being and contentment.  This is actually more of an on-going process, not a final goal.  It is a process/goal. You can expect many rounds of this same process in life's perpetually changing circumstances.  As you let go of an old worldview, you go through the birth canal and regenerate in a new dimension of awareness.  You have a new self image and many new potentials in life.  Each time you go through the cycle you gain awareness and maturity.

Much of this process goes on automatically in your dreams.  Your personal growth is tangibly affected when your old self interacts with new states of being that arise spontaneously in dreams and dream journeys.  Your new identity comes both from your conscious and subconscious experience, and the shift is from emotions to imagery to awareness.  Your expanding awareness is in part autonomous, with a high degree of independence and self-direction.

If you come upon negative images in your dreams, be assured that successfully confronting these, facing your fear and going through it, initiates an expansion of awareness and changes your self image.  Positive figures in your dreams may be used as a resource, integrating their characteristics into your actual behavior and identity.

True knowledge of yourself is the knowledge of the objective psyche as it manifests in dreams and other subconscious imagery.  To meditate on this is an effort toward self-knowledge.  This is not necessarily in the interest of the ego, but lends some objectivity in answering the question, "Who am I?"

There is a tendency in the helping professions for people to consider themselves "healers."  This is an especially popular term among alternative health practitioners whose practices range from body work, to crystal healing, to channeling, breathwork, naturopathic medicine, rebirthing, ghostbusting, to transpersonal psychology, and more.

Each "healer" speaks of myth, magic, and mystery and offers up their special wisdom as a healing balm.  Thus they are likely to capture and contain the projections of others.  Their unique personalities act as a "hook" for archetypal projection of the client's inherent healing resources.  The projection mobilizes them.  There is a great responsibility which comes with declaring oneself a self-styled healer.  For the dependent, it is their task to carry that projection for a while, until the client can re-own it and develop a relationship to the inner healer.

It is, in fact, this inner healer which truly does all the regenerative work in therapy.  The therapist simply helps the client access it.  But it is the responsibility of the therapist not to kill the projection prematurely, for that is murderous to the soul.  In time, the client truly begins to experience that all the healing resources are within.

The therapist as a strange attractor functions as the nucleus of an unpredictable yet deterministic process of growth and healing within the personality of the client.  The therapist functions as the attractor for a client who is far-from-equilibrium.


Scientists are using chaos theory in psychology to uncover the fallacy behind the old notions of observation leading to predictability in behavior.  We need new nonlinear ways to think about personality.  The old linear models rarely could predict the specific behavior of an individual.

Yet, people tend to behave in characteristic ways over time and in different situations, within their own unique limits.  Still, sometimes individuals are inconsistent within themselves, due to internal conflict or new input.  Chaos theory might disclose the hidden order in these variable patterns.

Some personality theories are based on traits and others on the changing dynamics of states of consciousness.  But whether you consider traits or states as the stable base of personality is arbitrary.  "The effect upon observed behavior is the same; that is, stable internal factors generate behavioral continuity," (Middleton, Fireman, DiBello, 1991).

A personality model can be totally deterministic, and yet not predict specific behavior.  Yet ordered chaos can predict trends.  The strange attractor can be viewed as fostering trends or events in a certain area of influence, but you can't predict exactly what at any given time or place.  This may provide some evidence that the therapist functions as a strange attractor in the psycho-social field because of unique personality traits.

Within the therapist's own personality (and any other individual for that matter), there is evidence to show that chaos provides an opportunity for behavioral change, adaptation, and self-organization.  A personality trait, such as compassion or connectivity, may function as a strange attractor of associated behavior.  One again, this means that one becomes therapeutic by expressing one's unique wholeness along with skills, rather than learning therapy techniques by rote.

In the complex dynamic system that is the therapist-client relationship, the idea is that the therapist has a certain magnetic quality that sort of pulls the being or the mind into a region of peace, stillness, gentleness, or safety, togetherness, and integratedness.  So when the client goes into the state of chaos there is a magnetic pulling, and a feeling of "it's OK to be here."  It is experienced as a settling into a region of chaos that does not result in returning more dissociated and disturbed, but enhanced, more integrated.

Not every therapist has this sense of integration within, which can be perceived by others as a heart-felt experience.  One indicator seems to be the therapist's need to maintain "control" of the situation.  Based on this, the need to address any issues of co-dependence becomes obvious, since extreme need for control and boundary issues play a large role in this syndrome.  They undermine the necessary flexibility.  Therapy is like any intimate friendship, with one crucial difference -- the whole interaction revolves exclusively around the emotional needs of the client, not the therapist.

The dream guide must unite the opposites of gentle-yet-selfless guidance with letting go and trusting the process.  The magnetic quality of the therapist may lead to instinctual choice of one practitioner over another when a client is "shopping" for a therapist.  It might be viewed as a "prepared heart," which may not be perfect but resonates with the client.


Our perceptual systems, our sensory systems have as a prime function the task of creating some kind of order out of an otherwise totally random, confusing morass of information that is available at any moment of time.  We actually have trillions of bits of information bombarding us at a given time.

Our senses and perceptual patterns create some type of reality structure out of that.  In this sense you can consider our perceptions and our senses, our genetic makeup, how our senses operate, as a strange attractor.  Because this is essentially what creates some kind of order out of totally overwhelming input.

IN OTHER WORDS, WE LIVE IN A TWILIGHT ZONE, IN ESSENCE, BETWEEN ORDER AND DISORDER.  What creates order is our presence, our being, our perceptual patterns, our own sensory systems.  As we share common genetic backgrounds, we tend to have senses which are very similar.  Maybe we taste things a little differently than someone else, but basically, unless medically impaired, we taste vinegar about the same.  We taste sugar about the same.  And so we create similar realities.

We come to a consensus about reality.  Yet our common agreements about reality are conditioned by our shared cultural trance (Tart, 1992).  They may be based on that essence of strange attractor.  Deep down inside what holds our view of the world together; what makes it consistent?  How we store that information then becomes important--and more fundamentally how it forms.  The reality we form basically emerges from how we are living.

How do we get that view of reality?  When we begin to form we don't have any consistent prepared pattern.  Yet almost everyone has seen that babies have distinct personalities even as newborns.  Formative experience begins in the womb.

We've got all our perceptual mechanisms, we've got the senses, but we form our existential position, or view of reality, our beliefs about self and world, essentially from our experiences.  They are based on how we perceive, and how our senses react to those experiences.  That stores inside of us.  Especially in the preverbal stage, it is stored as images.  The nucleus of that memory, that position, that consciousness, is a multi-sensual imagery which describes the nature of the self and the world.

If the world is a really threatening place, and Mom and Dad are terrible, and they beat me a lot, I grow up with the existential belief that the world is a dangerous place, and is going to hurt me all the time.  I'm somehow deficient or unlovable.  It's more than words.  It is an image, and not the normal image you might think of.

It might just be colors, it might be a swamp!  Who knows what that image is like in the dream?  When you get down to it, it may surprise you first how complete it is, and how utterly alien it is to any thing you think of as an image of the world.  And that essentially is the order that has been created out of chaos at a very formative stage, a young age.

The strange attractor has been essentially a combination of a person's sensory patterns, perceptual patterns, and the environment and what is happening to them.  It forms the basis of an individual's personal mythology, which forms the basis of the belief system, which forms the basis of how we think and feel about things.  This in turn determines how we behave, which then feeds back in a circular way from our belief system to our behavior.  The circular pattern makes sure everything, positive or negative, gets confirmed.

So, if you go deep beneath that belief system, down to the deepest existential image, then you are at a place where you can really do some changing.  We noticed in dream journeys and other consciousness journeys, that WHEN YOU GET DOWN TO THAT EXISTENTIAL IMAGE--THE VERY BASIS OF THE IMAGE OF SELF--IT IS SURROUNDED BY FEAR AND PAIN, BECAUSE THAT IS WHAT USUALLY FREEZES STUFF IN PLACE.  When you get deep down to that image, there is always a doorway to another deeper level.

Since that is the primal image that formed out of the original chaos, the blueprint for personality, the doorway inevitably leads into the chaotic state.  When a person is able to let go of the old image, and truly take their awareness into that chaotic state, it begins to reform.

Chaos theory states that there is always a structure in the chaos.  Always a new structure, a new form emerges out of that chaoticness.  The Buddhists speak of the death-rebirth experience: in order to be reborn you have to die.  You have to enter into the chaos in order to be reborn.  This is referred to as dissolution.  It is the fundamental level of restructuring which happens in this work.

In developing the dreamhealing process, the question has always been, "What determines the new image that emerges in physiological, emotional, and behavioral change?"  Chaos theory provides the clue that there is this concept called a strange attractor -- an energy field, or something that somehow provides the nucleus around which the new order forms, that determines the shape of the new order.

It seems that is what the therapist provides, partly through the environment, but partly through the idea or experience of co-consciousness.  An important part of this work is the co-consciousness, the fact that as the dream guide or the consciousness guide, you are actually going along with the person.

So, in essence, as the dream guide, you really go into the chaotic consciousness with the person you are guiding.  You are taking a structure in there with you, but no specific agenda.  At the same time you are letting go and entering that chaotic consciousness, as the therapist you are still maintaining a degree of integrity and order within yourself.  As you take the person in, it seems that becomes sort of the strange attractor which allows the client to begin to reform their basic existential image of self.

To some extent, it is going to look like the therapist's existential image of who you are.  It includes a higher degree of unconditional positive regard for yourself, which the therapist has modelled.  To some extent, the client's response is going to effect the therapist's existential image of the world through feedback.  The psychosocial process is dynamic and interactive, and both parties are changed to some extent.  When two people are in proximity, they literally exchange atoms, such as gases, with one another.

This is why it is so important, that as a therapist you are solid.  You provide a strong view that the world is OK.  "I can deal with it; it is safe; even if it is not safe, I can still deal with it inside.  I can center; I am balanced and peaceful."  And if you can provide that, it form the nucleus for the new existential image for the person you are working with.

You have provided this stable core as the therapist in many ways.  You provide it by modeling stable behavior that is still flexible, creative, and spontaneous.  You do it by the way you set up your office, what pictures you put on the wall, what music you play, how you touch them, how you greet them.

But you provide it on a deeper, more profound level, not just the surface level.  Consciousness is transpersonal and has much deeper connections with people.  The therapist as nucleus or magnet is very reflective of who you are, especially during the co-consciousness excursions.


There seem to be two kinds of chaotic imagery.  When we take people on journeys, when we go into chaotic consciousness there are two types of imagery that demonstrate the state.  One of the ways of knowing you are in chaotic consciousness is when you are faced with a blackness or void, or a gray or monochromatic color.  They enter into that, or maybe a sense of emptiness.  By giving over to that emptiness, or grayness, or that blackness, all structure dissolves and it is like a nothingness.  This is a form of chaos which tends toward absolute emptiness or ZERO.

The other form of chaos appears when the journey leads into a spiral.  That is one of the most common forms of entry into this chaotic consciousness.  People spot a spiral, they enter into that spiral, they start spinning, they get totally disoriented, and become almost overwhelmed.  They may become very dizzy or even ill.  That form of consciousness is an overwhelmingness, or infinity.  Out of either one of those we seem to create the essence of the new structure, the essence of the new reality.

We are not really sure they are different, rather they are probably just different sides of the same circle, seen from different perspectives.  On one side it tends to zero, and on the other infinity.  This is not unlike the Gnostic concept of the plenum and the void, being one paradoxical union of opposites.

A plenum is the opposite of a vacuum, being fully occupied in this case by imagery swirling in a chaotic way so it is not differentiated.  So much information is there, it looks chaotic, overwhelming.  It is a fullness rather than emptiness.  In terms of physiology the plenum represents hyperarousal while the void is hypoarousal.

A variation of the spiral, the whirlpool, vortex, or tornado, tends to become overwhelming, while a solid color tends toward the emptiness.  But it can be both.  Sometimes the emptiness leads into the whirlpool, and vice versa.  When you have been there before repeatedly, you come to trust these states implicitely.

The client does not usually know that s/he will be OK, and that is what takes courage on their part.  You can help bolster that courage and confidence with your demeanor and suggestions.  It may be more empowering to view the therapist-as-strange-attractor as catalyzing or triggering the same process in the person undertaking the journey, but that is a more old fashioned perspective.

The therapist may perceive herself as the reforming agent of the process.  However, it is truly mutual, and co-creative in the deepest, most critical sense.  The guide always maintains respect for the voyagers' innate capacity to heal themselves.

As the therapist, you must be careful not to get stuck in either your own or the client's belief system, or at other various levels.  One of the best ways of initiating a journey is to totally empty your mind, and become that completely neutral force, and that is not a contradiction in terms.  It just sounds that way because "neutral force" is only paradoxical when you try to put it into words.

Take yourself beyond any belief systems, beyond any expectations of what you are going to see on the journey, where you are going to go, and how the person is going to come out of it.  In other words, totally divorce yourself from attachment to direction and outcome.


The co-consciousness and co-creative process is a neutral creation.  The therapist can provide that neutrality by coming along without an agenda, or preconceived notion, orbelief system.  There is no attachment in that state to anything except being on that journey.  You must be willing to go down into that chaos with the other person, while at the same time you are maintaining an integrity within yourself.  That neutrality allows freedom.

At the same time as you are influencing the new existential position, i.e. "the world is an OK place, and I'm OK," you are not influencing any specifics.  You are not saying, "this is what you should do and be, or where you should go."  You are not operating at that belief system level.  You are operating at a more fundamental level.

You just provide them with the basic sense that you are peaceful and serene:  "The world is an OK place, and no matter what is happening you are going to be able to flow through it."  And this is really the nucleus or the core, and it is a neutral one, though it is charged with a guidance that is empowering for the client.

If you look at Taoism, one the very fundamental aspects is that out of the chaos came the yin and the yang.  Applying that to this process, except in reverse, the client and guide come down until there is just this paradoxical yin-yangness of the co-creative process, and then that dissolves into the chaos.  It then comes back out.

It is sort of like a dip into chaotic consciousness, and then out--a baptism.  As contributor at that last possible instant before you cross over into that chaotic state with the person you are guiding, you are laying the foundation as the strange attractor for what comes out.  Using this model, we are only trying to provide a consciousness map, so we don't get stuck during the process work.

In the dream journeys we may momentarily leave the co-consciousness, pop up into the rational mind and check where we are against the ego model, especially if we are stuck somewhere.  The journey is intuitive, but it requires some structure for the process to maintain its form.  The maps are not the journey, but they are useful.  Reassurance for the client can provide "drops of oil" for the process, so that what was stuck can simply "slide past."

There is, as in Buddhist meditation, a point where you drop all concepts and conceptualizations.  Yet you find in Buddhist literature voluminous reports of the different states encountered on the inner journey.  All really good therapists have models of how they work, and many write books about them.  But frequently under observation they do not seem to be "following" their own models.

After a certain point, the assimilation is so complete that the intuition can come in with a lot of latitude for dealing with unique situations that may come up.  There is little need to follow even your own policy here, but rather simply do what you already know at the heart-felt level.  This "knowing" is actually a combination of your essence, training, and intellect.  This may feel riskier than "canned" therapy processes, and you may make some mistakes, perhaps needing to backtrack.  But ultimately spontaneous guidance needs to be included.

It is much like learning an art-form.  You learn the basics and the techniques, and then just let it flow.  Do what you know from the gut-level.  There is no need to be a slave to the intellectual process.  It is much like when you climb Mt. Everest, you need a base camp, then you go beyond the safety and structure of the base camp.  The consciousness maps just provide a way we can communicate and teach on the intellectual level.

We don't need to hold the intellect in disdain as do many new age types and other practitioners.  Sure its good to get in touch with the body, feelings, and open the heart center.  But they are not mutually exclusive with exercising your mind.  That is just another emotional reactionary state based on a belief system.  It is a reaction to our culture's overemphasis on the rational mind for 200 years.  There is no need to be at war with it.

Intellect and intuition are actually part of a common field.  It is a valuable part of our psychic balance in life, and it is important to integrate it, not reject it.  It does not have to dominate. It is an integral part of our being, and a powerful tool.  Keep it as an integral part of the process.  It can give you a structure beyond which you can journey.  It provides a vehicle.  It lets you know, for example, when you are stuck in your own issues, so you can back off.

One of the ways we can realize that we are stuck during the process is by becoming aware of a frustration within.  Graywolf has noticed that as soon as he gets into that frustration, he knows he is not really frustrated with their "stuff," but himself, because he is stuck there too.  When it comes time to check back with the map, very often that is the opportunity to drop that attitude and back up into your neutral space again.


There are some sessions that in spite of time, space, and years remain memorable sessions.  Graywolf's first spontaneous experience of leading someone into the swamp--into the chaos--in the co-consciousness state was such a session.  It changed his perspective and philosophy.

The amazing thing at that time was that the client went through remarkable changes and only needed to come back a couple of times.  Prior, it had looked like long-term therapy, not brief therapy.  Providing some structure for the process allows you to go even deeper, allowing for restructuring of the primal self image.  The model is still evolving.

THERE IS A SENSE IN THESE SESSIONS OF SOMETHING BEYOND, BEYOND CHAOS OR WITHIN IT, WHICH RESHAPES THE BIRTH OF REALITY AND THE UNIVERSE ITSELF.  We don't know what it is, but we know it is there.  Someday we will have a model for that, and proceed from there.  Hopefully, it will give us permission to go to an even deeper level.

These models or consciousness maps are not "sacred truth."  But if you want to become a musician, you have to first learn how to hold a guitar, or blow the flute, etc.  Once you learn the basics you can be creative, but there are basics you need.  It may not be important for you to learn how to read music.  What is important is that you know how to hold the guitar and play some chords.  Then we can create music together.  And this is what these models attempt to convey.

The concept of the guide or therapist hopefully serves to clarify some aspects of the process.  When we first started trying to describe this process, all I knew was that we went somewhere, and people experienced something there.  They came out of it changed, emotionally and even sometimes physically.  In order to teach, we needed a model that provided a language that people could understand relative to the process.

Right now not many people understand the scientific notion of chaos or the language of chaos theory.  But the importance of chaos is that relatively soon it may be understood by most people.  It is a major revelation and revolution in science about the basis of reality, much like relativity in the early 1900's.  Ultimately it means we, as psychologists or people helpers, can stop studying human behavior only from the linear perspective or analytical mode, and explore nonlinear dynamics which are relevant tothe whole person.

Humanistic psychology posits that life is lived subjectively, and chaos theory seems to validate this notion helping describe and understand behavior, experience, and intentionality in nonlinear terms.  In the creative process, humans attempt to bring values into existence, whether those values are artistic, social, technological, or spiritual.  And this process of human creativity may have an underlying chaotic process which selectively amplifies small fluctuations and molds them into coherent mental states experienced as thought.

Chaos theory is ultimately a language which can be used with mathematicians, biologists, engineers, physicists, chemists, and anybody who has experienced subjective chaos in their lives.  People are tuning in to this new theory to help explain things to themselves, personally.

That is why we choose to use the language of chaos theory, like strange attractors.  It just seems to fit.  Now, one of the questions that confused us was "why when we lead someone into the state of chaos, don't they come out worse?"  You are letting go of all structure, so why isn't it worse, instead of inevitably better, a better self image?

The use of the word 'strange attractor' is just because there is a parallel in chaos theory, not because this process was derived from chaos theory.  It was not based on it, and didn't evolve from it.  It is based on empirical observation.  They are analogous.  This is how things structure out of chaos through self-similarity.  It produces self-generated spontaneous order.

The innate OKness of the chaotic state is uncolored by personal experience.  The guide serves as the "silver cord" for going deep into that process, yet being able to always find a way out.  As the guide you are the anchor or contact back with ordinary reality.

It is OK to stay there in the chaos during the session, and then move on when it becomes appropriate.  What emerges from that forms a new beginning.  Furthermore, what happens at the client-therapist level is reflected in the larger setting at the group, social, and international level.

We live in very complex, dynamic situations, which are subject to the effects of small fluctuations in initial conditions.  Big changes can result from small fluctuations in individuals.  Even our whole species is coming into a new relationship with the planet.  We don't know what the new strange attractor will be, but we seem to be going into the chaos now, politically, socially, and economically.

The more a system tends toward one polarity, the more the internal energy of that system tends to want to take it in the opposite direction.  In other words, the more rigid someone is becoming, the more susceptible they are to the total lack of rigidity, or collapse.  The more structure, the more order, the more likely they are to go over into the chaos.  We live in a twilight between structure or order and chaos.

Being stuck in either order or chaos is no good.  So we shouldn't think chaos is the greatest thing.  Jung also observed this tendency in individuals toward 180 degree shifts.  He termed it ENANTIODROMIA. The path through, or the Way, lies between the opposites.  Life is lived in a maze of opposites.  Swinging recklessly back and forth leads to inner turmoil and conflict.  This is a continual reactionary, rather than creative state.  Or we get stuck, or go into denial.

Genuine transformation comes through the new image or transforming symbol, which harmonizes the opposites, and creates completely new possibilities.  We are constantly creating, and once a structure gets created we need to allow the dance of Shiva, from structure to nonstructure--the dissolving.  It is the flow that is important. Destruction, recreation, destruction, recreation.  In the dream journey, fighting the process of letting go can result in physical manifestations like jerking, or the ego defense of fantasy cycles.


When Graywolf takes people on the river for whitewater rafting and dreamhealing, he has the help of the river in demonstrating what flow means.  A person can paddle and fight the river all the way, or find that flowing rhythm.  The river includes both rapids and still places.  It wouldn't be any fun at all if it were all rapids or all still water.  If it is all rapids, it is tiring; and if it is all calm water it is still tiring because you must paddle all the time.  The flow is the issue, not being here or there.

As the dream guide you are not helping people to establish a permanent structure.  There is no point to that.  There is no end point to this work of dreamhealing--no conquering hero ("strong ego").  The goal is not even to feel better, or any particular goal.  The structure you are developing now may reveal flaws in itself, then you let that go back into the chaos and dissolve.  It is OK to reform a better structure for yourself.  It is not so scary when you realize the chaos is not a permanent state.

Dreamhealing is similar to LSD therapy in that it helps the client experience the opening to self which lies beyond ego death.  There is recent increase in LSD research again.  When it was banned in the early 1960s, it was being hailed as the treatment of choice for those who didn't respond to other other psychotherapy techniques.  Now it is being used abroad for treating anorexia, obsessive-compulsive disorders, depression, and addiction.

The lower doses used enhance the therapeutic process by making memories and represeed feeling more available.  But as in dreamhealing, the presence of the guiding therapist is crucial.  In OMNI, Oct. 1992, Peter Baumann, M.D. states,  "If a patient feels fear during the trip, they might do anything to distract themselves or run from that fear.  The therapist urges the patient to a certain degree to stay with it, to examine the problems, understand where they are coming from, and see them through."  They report a virtually universal increase in self esteem among their patients.

DREAMHEALING ACCESSES THE SAME STATES AS LSD THERAPY WITHOUT DRUGS.  Feedback tells us that many clients have immediate results where other method have failed completely.  This has even been physiologically documented.  Using biofeedback monitoring Graywolf has guided people into deeper theta states than they achieved with their own therapists.  Now we are investigating the practice of dreamhealing in float tanks.  One group has developed a very thin membrane which  allows for the sensory deprivation experience without undressing or getting wet.

The nature of reality is an endless flow between the opposites.  The subjective comfort of any state is determined by where you have been stuck--if you are stuck on the non-order side, flowing to the order side will feel good.  If you are stuck on the order side, flowing into the chaos is liberating, for a minute or for a while anyway.  Then flowing to the other side is even better.

But you can't go into the dream journey with any pre-set notion.  You have to be with each individual and their unique experience of the process, whether it is comfort or bliss, or terror.  That is the neutrality, and the co-creative process.  It can be different for each individual each time.  Each dream journey is uniquely different.

In Buddhism, as you get more and more focused in meditation, you begin to see how things come into existence, and how they fade away.  The mind gets so sharp you can see the way reality comes into existence.  It comes into sharper focus.  Everything slows down so you can see the process.

The images get created for a period of time, and then they dissolve.  At that point, the mind usually gets attached to the process and is really curious about it providing there is not a lot of emotional content to it.  Even if fear comes up, you just be with the fear and learn to see that emotions are just creations which also arise and ebb away.  Emotions come into existence and fade away.

Once you understand that you can begin exploring other places, without so much emotional content.  For example, as the mind gets into a pain in the leg, the mind begins to focus on all the destruction in the universe.  Moving from the specific to the general, there can be imagery of destruction and holocaust.  But due to the poise developed in training, you just stay with that terror and watch it come and eventually go.  Gradually you get led into this nothingness, which many people actually enjoy.  One of the reasons people don't want to hang out there is because they are afraid they will never make it back.  There is something they are hanging onto, an attachment.  This is the same attachment Krishna spoke about in the Mahabarata.

The unique aspect of dreamhealing over Buddhist meditation is that you can actually have someone there with you, in co-consciousness, when you are going through these things.  Its sort of a guided tour of the bardo states.  It takes the interactive verbal process, and even a degree of psychism, to keep pace with one another.

During a long retreat, people begin to discover the creation side of internal imagery.  Reflecting into the outer world, one can then see the coming-into-existence within something as apparently mundane as a green leaf.  It can become the most marvelous experience, containing the whole of creation within itself.  Dissolution and regeneration leads to an experience of ultimate potential.

You can move between the states, which is what makes up life.  It may feel safer to explore with a neutral, empowering guide.  During a dream journey, be sure to give the client plenty of time to respond in freedom by waiting patiently.  Patience comes from trusting the process, and trusting the person you are working with--not to be safe for you, but to find their internal healing resource.  If you are there totally, you simply do not feel irritation in that state.

To some extent you are actually, as guide, in a trance state or altered state yourself.  Stay alert enough to watch for someone entering into a fantasy loop, for then you have got to do something.  If it becomes a dynamic system that is doubling back on itself, and it is feeding ego gratification fantasies, it requires intervention or guiding.  It is much easier to avoid these pitfalls in the first place, than to backtrack the client back out of them.

We have a philosophy about procrastination, and it really applies to being a guide.  We don't see procrastination as all wrong.  About a third of the time if you procrastinate things will really screw up, so you've got to do something.  Another third of the time, if you procrastinate nothing much will happen, either positive or negative.  Another third of the time, if you procrastinate that is exactly what you have to do in order to free the system and make it better.

The secret is knowing when to procrastinate, and when not to procrastinate.  That again is probably the essence of being a guide.  Most of the time it is appropriate to hang in there with the client, but there are times when it is really best to say "break it here," or "go here," instead of going around and around.  It is knowing WHEN to do that.  You can give them the sense that they don't have to be stuck there, that it is OK to do something else.

Another aspect involved is the essence of the co-creative process.  It is different with each individual you work with.  One might be an experienced meditator with years of inner work, while another might have just had a nightmare the night before and come in off the street.  Each brings something unique to the process of co-creation, and you do something qualitatively different with them.  The words might be similar and a lot of what you do may be also, but the essence of the co-creative process is different.

A client "prepared" by other inner experience does not necessarily have any advantage over someone who has been previously non-reflective or outer-oriented.  Either of them can enter the journey naturally and deeply if that is where they need to go in their journey.  The inexperienced may even have less preconceived notions, or personal interpretations of the experience, and allow themselves to experience it viscerally.

Dreams are a particularly good way of initiating children into the therapeutic process.  Frequently you may be the first one who has shown a serious interest in their inner drama.  They feel much more free to talk about their imagination, and may feel much less self-conscious than when discussing their personal lives.  For example, a child comes with a nightmare of werewolves wanting to tear him apart in bed.  All you have to ask him to do is let that happen, and he's into it, without years of meditation or other visualization training.

Parents won't even think to instruct children in therapy NOT to talk about their dreams, as they might so-called "family secrets," ["no talk rule"].  So often the children feel totally safe to talk about dreams when they are subject to verbal, physical, or sexual abuse at home.

It is a co-creative process which involves every aspect of the client's life and experience.  Expressive imagery comes up spontaneously in dreams which reflects all aspects of life.  You can trust that everything the client has to bring to you is just exactly what they had to experience to get there, ready to do the inner work.

Dreamhealing is not a method, but a creative process you involve yourself in.  If we try to put too much method and structure on it, we destroy that.  When you "become" another, you can empathize with them to such a level that you become that really active listener.  You become one with the person and out of that rapport and bonding you create the journey.

Find more chapters of DREAMHEALING at Iona's DEPTH PSYCHOLOGY SITE

TO CONTINUE THE SYNERGETIC QABALA: Development of the Psychedelic Individual

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Created 8/30/99    Last Updated 3/5/00