Dream Democracy:
Integrative Dream Narration
by Jaye Beldo

"In order to see,you have to stop being in the middle of the picture."
Sri Aurobindo

    In most of the groups that I've participated in throughout my life
whether involving school, work, home and even ones based on recreational
activities such as sports, the undermining elements of factionalism, ego
conflicts, and various other differences have interfered with achieving a
lasting sense of genuine conspiracy or breathing together. Originating in the
shadow sides of our psyches and hidden by our outer personas, these factors
serve to discourage healthy and effective group functioning on many levels,
in terms of achieving consensus, creating viable solutions to problems and
gaining clarity of visionary goals/objectives for the group. Why, in spite of
sharing common interests, political, socioeconomic and humanitarian values,
are we unconsciously antagonistic towards the groups we choose to be a part
of? What kinds of subjective reluctance do we harbor in fully contributing
ourselves to the group consciousness? What prevents us from experiencing
truly universal communion with others?

My experiences with persistent group dysfunction, from Rock bands to working
at the local food co-op prompted me to develop "Integrative Dream narration"
(IDN). IDN came quite spontaneously to me one day. I thought that combining
dreams into a story in which each group member could participate would be
quite effective in overcoming the blocks which inhibit group communications.
I first tried IDN in a class of art students who, along with myself, could
not fully cooperate with one another in a way conducive to our spiritual and
emotional well-being.  I had each participant write a dream synopsis on a
note card, emphasizing to use symbolic, transformative dreams concerning
wholeness, i.e., getting in contact with the Self (meaning the ultimate core
or nucleus of the psyche). I then combined the dreams to create a collective
story in which all could listen to and participate in since each individual
dream contributed to the cohesiveness of the narration. The inherent fluidity
of dreams became much more apparent for I did not have to struggle to
synthesize the dreams for they all seemed to combine on their own accord,
much like tributaries flowing naturally into a river and then into the ocean.
Instead of assuming the role of an improviser or story teller, I was more
like a mediator of the group mind that was being created through the merged
dreams. When I finished the story, class members sat in peaceful silence. The
narration had evoked a shared consciousness amongst us. We all seemed to be
open to one another and breathing together in the true sense of conspiracy.
We experienced what the Greeks meant by agreement: symphonein, meaning: to
resonate together. No one was prompted to speak right away. The silence was
not an uncomfortable one. We all enjoyed this feeling of being fully present,
instead of just pretending to be together under the guise of a shared
interest. None of us, it seemed, needed to follow the impulses of our egos to
rationalize and explain the experience away.  During the rest of the class,
we were able to come to a consensus as to how the remainder of the semester
would be navigated and actually came up with a syllabus which all agreed
upon.

I have since employed Integrative Dream Narration to enhance the integrity of
many different collectives with very effective, although never predictable
results since there is little or no premeditation involved. Many of the
resistances we have towards surrendering to a group consciousness,
resistances deeply rooted in fear, loosen up and a new found integrity is
created. The word "integrity" has its original meaning in: "entire,
untouched, unmarred, an original state." What has so thwarted the success of
many different groups, I feel, has been the inability to recognize such a
sense of entirety and originality that is always present, if only
subliminally. Alcheringa or dream time, for example, the Australian
Aborigines considered to be the original state of the world prior to the
arrival of human beings. The world in its unmarred entirety. IDN serves to
facilitate a contact with primordial community, encouraging an experience of
inter-relatedness that helps to diminish many anxieties and
isolating/alienating effects that are deliberately promoted in consumerist
societies where the power of authority is abused. A holistic speaking,
listening and feeling becomes possible once the collective dream matrix is
brought into awareness and utilized, substantially grounded in the body
politic, so to speak.

Since many illnesses, both somatic and psychic are induced and prolonged by
blockages, encouraging the opening up of communicative channels on all
levels, both conscious and unconscious, allows mind, body and spirit to align
themselves to a healing sensibility, not only from within oneself but from
within others as well. IDN influences and heightens one's awareness of shared
experiences, of the subtle body, that are for the most part rooted in
unconsciousness and remain unrecognized by most of us, especially when we
spend so much of our time maintaining our protective personas when we are
amongst others outside of the comfortable circle of our families and friends.
 Dreams in themselves have a fluid, autonomous quality to them. We are
constantly astonished by what our unconscious minds can create. The word
"influence" has its origins in the word, "fluid." Directing the current of
dreams towards communal integrity can greatly enhance the success and
effectiveness of small group functioning and its influence upon our
collective environment. The profound sense of inter-relatedness evoked by IDN
has its basis in synchronicity, or the merging of outer and inner events to
create meaning, to paraphrase Carl Jung.  IDN evokes synchronicities as a
result of the dreams being combined. On an intuitive level, awareness of
synchronicity becomes heightened, in not only the narrator but the
participants as well and influences the 'direction' the narration takes by
sensing what is occurring when each individual integrates into the group
dream dynamic. Imagine the possibilities of creating atmospheres where
synchronicities occur like a much needed rain storm through our combined
dreams.

I once gave a demonstration of IDN to forty people at Unity Church in
Minneapolis, MN. Six people volunteered to participate and contributed their
chosen dreams. One dream concerned a woman who was led by three angels to
what she called a "Wellness Spa." but she didn't know how to run the place.
Another woman dreamed that her grandmother was pregnant. One participant
dreamed that her ex-boyfriend appeared and told her how sad he was that they
were no longer together. During the course of the spontaneous narration,
everyone arrived at the wellness spa where there was a fountain in the
center. I always emphasize communal places where all can gather in the
narrations I conduct. The grandmother gave painless, underwater birth to a
golden baby. The baby was then handed to the woman who came to the fountain
with her ex-boy friend. I finished the narration, making sure all dreams
offered were included in the story and listened to the enthusiastic comments
from the participants and the audience. Afterwards, the woman who dreamed
about her ex-boyfriend came up to me and confided, "I didn't want to say this
in front of everyone but the reason that my boyfriend and I broke up is
because I want to have a child."
As I proceeded with the narration, something in me or rather, in the
Integrated Dream Community, intuited this and had the baby handed to the
couple as some sort of reconciliation that I intuitively sensed was needed.
The combination of these dreams created the matrix in which this
synchronicity took place. As the narrator, my sense of individuality became
less and less pronounced as all the dreams were combined. Perhaps
synchronicities occur outside of the realm of the ego and it is only when we
are not solely in ego's realm that we experience them.
The synchronicities that occurred during the narration manifest also in
bodily response in both the narrator and participants. At first there is a
considerable amount of tension, which is natural when strangers come together
to form a group. The tension usually is born of the illusion of separation
the participants sense in each other. Breathing becomes restricted (the
antitheses of conspiracy or breathing together). But when all the dreams are
integrated, the tension dissolves and what I sense as the collective heart
begins to open up, the heart of understanding which transcends judgment,
definition and ego centered identity. Interiorizing the communal heart in
turn opens one's own heart creating a reciprocal balance between self and
group. As I proceed with the narration I feel blockages in my own body begin
to open, for my body is but a microcosm of the collective dream macrocosm. I
cannot emphasize enough for participants to pay attention to their bodies
during the narration. The results of opening are beneficial in allowing a
person to respond to their own dreams in a way devoid of the usual anxieties
born of trying to interpret (as opposed to integrating) the dreams.

In another IDN session with two alternative health practitioners, I
integrated the dreams but somehow felt compelled to "control" the atmosphere.
I was the only man in the room and the other participants brought in some
very powerful, archetypal figures. One in particular was the goddess Oya, the
African Goddess of "Weather." My third chakra, the chakra of will power
became tight. There was such resistance within me that I could hardly carry
on with the narration. I then felt it was safe to make myself a bit
vulnerable and asked for help from the others, something I would probably
never do under other circumstances. I then found myself surrounded by the
other participants who began doing some energy work on me. I managed to trust
it. The woman who brought Oya to the forum kept reminding me that the rocks
of blockage and resistance she perceived in my gut would be worn away by some
soothing water. She kept repeating this while circling her hand near my solar
plexus. Suddenly, it started raining outside. As the drops hit the window
panes I felt myself relaxing even more. I managed with the help of the dream
polis to overcome some very deeply fixed control issues through this
atmospheric synchronicity.

Once awareness of the relation between one's body and the integrated dream
body is heightened and then trusted, an interactive stage seems to set in as
cited in the above example. Participants are asked in many ways to contribute
to the narration, instead of just one person creating what happens. The
interaction takes place not only in oral articulation of dreams but in
working with imagery, movement and energy as well, creating a foundation on
which to base further involvement in collective dream work. In essence, a
Dream Democracy is being created every time IDN is used.

Integrative Dream work has not only promising therapeutic potentials but most
importantly, political possibilities as well. I sense that with each IDN, a
revival of the original democratic spirit occurs.  Dream Democracy can be
used to integrate the dreams of a dysfunctional family to create a harmonious
dream consciousness. Consider the long-range benefits of democratizing the
dreams of the board members of major corporations with its employees. Or
consider integrating the dreams of a republican with those of a democrat.
Consider the theoretical possibilities of integrating the dreams of quantum
physicists. The collective dream body created from such integrations could
hold the key to long range solutions to some of our most immediate and
seemingly intangible problems.

There are several ways IDN can be used. I suggest forming a group that meets
once a week for at least eight weeks. Have each participant bring along a
journal in which to record their experiences. In the appendix are additional
guidelines in case there are issues that arise in the group. Dream Democracy
is a powerful catalyst which can trigger powerful experiences ranging from
telepathy, to clairvoyance and synchronistic experiences.

Here are some suggested guidelines for creating the initial forum:

INTEGRATIVE DREAM NARRATION

1. Have each participant (there should be no more than five or six) sit in a
circle and pass around note cards. The dream narrator should leave the room.
Participants are instructed to write their dreams down legibly, particularly
ones that are highly symbolic and important to them. The dreams should not be
read by other participants. A synopsis of the dream is adequate as long as a
meaningful scene or symbol is included. Extended or complicated dreams do not
work well. Always emphasize to write down an important scene in the dream, if
the dream itself is too long but the participant wants to contribute it.

2. The dream narrator enters the room, sits down and reviews the note cards
that have been gathered, by shuffling through them and imprinting images,
sequences, even the tone of dreams in her/his memory. Dream Narrators should
go through the cards two or three times. Writing down clues as to how the
dreams should be connected on a separate sheet of paper is helpful in making
sure all dreams are integrated. I write the dreams down in a circle and leave
the center open.

3. The Dream Narrator initiates the Integrative Dream Narration by using one
of her/his dreams, one that has been evoked by reviewing the note cards and
or a pre-chosen dream. Once a portion of the dream is conveyed the narrator
begins to integrate participants' dreams into the story. The narrator can
pause and instruct the participants to pay attention to their bodies
throughout the narration, i.e., changes in breathing, where they are holding
tension, where they are relaxing, where they are resisting, where they are
harmonizing.

4. Make sure to include all dreams before continuing on. When all the
participants' dreams have been integrated, the narrator pauses and allows the
participants to sense the integral presence of the collective dream matrix
evoked by incorporating all dreams into the narration. The participants are
instructed to begin breathing deeply for a few moments, noting where they may
be holding tension in their bodies and encouraging them to let go of the
tensions.

5. The Integrative Dream Narration is resumed and then brought to some
"completion," i.e., a sense of wholeness and/or resolve. A dream polis has
thus been created, a Dream Democracy, where real life problems can be brought
into the dream forum and discussed in truly egalitarian fashion without the
usual resistances and ego differences.

After practicing IDN a few times and becoming familiar with the energies of
group consciousness, it will then be time to start bringing real life, "three
dimensional" problems, ranging from the personal to the galactic, into the
forum you have evoked. It is important to have other members try their hand
at IDN and creating a forum, so that all will be comfortable with the group
consciousness that has been created. You will begin to notice different
styles of narration between group members. For example, some will choose a
narrative based on the symbols in the dreams. Others will choose the
characters in the dreams or emphasize the locations and passageways, or
emphasize direction. Still others will focus on the feeling tones
(atmospheres) in the dreams. No two narrations are ever the same.
Often there will be members of the group who are very resistant to the idea
of assuming the position of dream narrator. It may take a few sessions before
they feel comfortable with the psychnique. I emphasize psychnique over
technique for we are using our psyches when we employ IDN.

*Some important points to consider before proceeding:

In the initial phase of IDN, the very first time dreams are integrated, there
are often very powerful releases of emotions. Sometimes the tension grows to
a somewhat uncomfortable level, but once all the dreams are integrated and
the collective finds itself in a safe place, a feeling of peace and wholeness
usually then emerges. There may be feelings of spaciness and disorientation
at first. This often occurs when new ways of being and perceiving arise
within us and seek expression. Hence the notion of "fixing"' such a shared
consciousness. In essence, by focusing on what I call "political" problems
whether it be a difficult spouse or child, problems with City Hall or even
the United Nations, our dream body is then grounded in three dimensional
reality.

I often hear from participants how powerful the first Integrative Dream
Narration experience was for them. I must remind the reader that the word
power comes from the Spanish "poder" meaning "to be able." Perhaps these
participants were able to trust the group -- somehow settling into the group
mind more comfortably. As an Integrative Dream Narrator you will frequently
watch other group members begin to trust the group mind. You will then learn
how to creatively encourage others to settle into the group mind.  Other
participants may not experience the "connection" that most do during IDN.
Somehow they feel "left out" and or feel they are inadequately prepared for
the experience. Such is not the case. It usually is that they are more
resistant than others to surrendering to and/or integrating into the group
consciousness. Or the dream they provided for the narration wasn't one that
was particularly important to them.

Often, participants will claim that they cannot remember their dreams. If
this is the case, have them contribute an unusual "real life" experience they
have had to the forum. They will usually then integrate themselves more
freely into the dream forum!

At the end of each IDN session, I recommend that you do a grounding/
centering exercise described below.
 

Grounding Exercise
 
1. Sit with your back straight and make sure your feet are placed firmly on
the floor.  It is best to ground with your shoes off.  Flick the arches of
your feet with two fingers of what is called your receiving hand (the hand
you receive energy with the most). Gather your energies back from where ever
you have left them behind,separate yourself from other energies.  Be explicit
that you call your energies in only

2.  Find the grounding cord at the base of the spine, a kind of silver
colored cord and begin to lower it through the chair you are sitting
in...through the floor....through the foundation of the building...through
the earth's crust.....through the granite layer.....through the first fire
layer..........through the conglomerate layer........through the second fire
layer.........and into the earth‚s core.  Ask for a place that is meant for
you to attach and anchor the cord about 1/4th of the way in.

3. Note the state of the earth core and sense its energies. You can greet the
earth core if you like.

4. When you are ready, bring the earth core energy up through your
feet....ankles.....calves.....knees.......thighs......and into the first
chakra at the base of the spine.  Let the earth energy pool in the first
chakra.

5. Now call your soul in through the crown chakra at the top of the head (say
your full name to yourself)  breathe your soul in very gently....past the
sixth chakra above and between the eyebrows....past the fifth chakra in the
throat......call your soul into the heart chakra.  There are two pouches in
the back of the heart chakra which are the home of the soul.  Listen for a
clairaudient (psychic hearing) click.

6.  Open your eyes gently and clasp your hands together.
I recommend doing this grounding exercise before and after Integral Tarot
sessions, Integrative Dream Narration and other intuitive endeavors.
Grounding also works wonder prior to job interviews, auditions,  performances
as well.
 

Jaye Beldo is an intuitive healer, teacher and writer.  He has conducted
workshops at such places as the Institute of Noetic Science, Pathways, Sun
Valley Mountain Wellness Festival, Unity Church, The Theosophical Society,
Mythos Institute and elsewhere.

His articles on Tarot, dreams and yoga have appeared in Ariadne's Web, Dream
Network, Electric Dreams, Pegasus Dreaming, Mythos Journal, New Vision, ONN,
ViewZone and other venues on and off line.

He can be reached at: Netnous@aol.com or 612-827-6835
 

©2002-Jaye Beldo
 

Feedback on Integrative Dream Narration:

    I received a rather encouraging e-mail from a fellow named Don Stevens
who lives in the south of France and who I recently met during his travels to
the U.S.A.  He knew Meher Baba, the avatar of our age. Baba took a vow of
silence for many years and Don would transcribe what Baba would communicate
through an alphabet board.  Many of Baba's books were transcribed in this
way. Don also writes books on his own about how Baba would work spiritually
through people, mostly through amazing synchronicites.
    Baba constantly reminded his followers that we are entering an age of
intuition, esp. group intuition.  His vision fits perfectly with Integrative
Dream Narration for I would like to think such a form of group dream work can
assist in ushering in this intuitive age.  Don's letter  below brings up some
key points that have certainly renewed my own interest in IDN.   Perhaps you
will find it inspiring as well.

Dear Jaye: I have read with considerable interest your description on IDN.
 You have done a lot of very careful and imaginative work on your subject. I
am tempted to offer three very simple observations at the moment. I say only
the obvious when I comment that a key reality which is in and around us is
absolute unity. The second is that you hit on in your method a very important
key in tapping absolute unity when you honor the inner offering of another in
your acceptance of his dream and his associations with it. The third thing I
would like to suggest is that the reality of real unity is very real to you,
and hence you have that wonderful ability to induce it under any favorable
condition in another. And that by no means exhausts or even really begins
what you open up to consideration.  I would very
much welcome continuing our exchange to wherever it may lead us. With
warmest wishes,

Don Stevens