Accessing Your Life Compass: An Example

 

Your dreams can and do work to show you how to differentiate your scripting from your life compass. Often it takes interviewing to see beneath your own projections onto your dream and to view it from multiple embedded perspectives which together, tend to clarify the priorities of your life compass. However, once in a while, if you pay attention, you will have a dream that is crystal clear and that will smack you awake to your extraordinary and unique potentials. Here is one such example from a dream I had in my early twenties:

There was once an Anglo-Saxon king vacationing on an island in his kingdom, holding a torchlight audience with a group of his subjects on this island. Curiously, as he sat on his throne, one of his legs was propped up on a stool because he had broken it somehow. Even more curiously, his leg was encased in a white plaster cast.

Unbeknownst to the king, his guards or his subjects, at that moment archers in small boats were secretly landing on another part of the island and creeping up on the audience from behind.  They surprise the king, his guards and the crowd with raised bows, taking him hostage and demanding his gold.

The king was in a predicament. He had to either turn over the wealth of his realm or be taken prisoner. The king thought: “People think I’m wealthy, because I’m king, but I’m not wealthy. My family lost its gold in wars during my grandfather’s time.” Not knowing what to do, there was a suspenseful moment in the evening torchlight, with the people watching the king to see what he would do. Then one of people in the surrounding crowd happened to look at the king’s leg and shouted, “Look at the king’s cast!” Some of the plaster had worn off, revealing the warm golden hue of gold shining in the light of the torches’ fire. The king thought, “What is this? How can this be?”

Then it dawned on him: In his grandfather’s time the kingdom had come under siege. To protect the wealth of the kingdom, his grandfather must have had all the gold taken to the royal foundry and forged into the shapes of common everyday implements – spoons, forks, knives, chairs, doorknobs, chairs, and covered with natural dirt, wood and metal alloys, so that they looked like humble, everyday objects. Then they were secretly distributed throughout the homes of the common folk of the country in order to keep the wealth of the Kingdom secret, so broadly distributed that it was uncollectable by conquerors.

Realizing this, the king then said to the threatening archers, “I have no wealth. It is everywhere, distributed throughout the kingdom.”

Now the archers and the people did not know what to do. For the archers, holding the king for ransom would do no good; he had no wealth and without that wealth the people had no loyalty to him and no reason to buy his freedom. The people did not know what to do. The wealth had given the king the power to rule. Now he had none. What should they do? Dethrone him?

But the king’s subjects now had all the wealth they wanted or needed; they didn’t have to depend on the king for anything. To decide what to do with their king, they considered not whether they feared his power, since he no longer had any, but whether he had been a good king or not. They decided that he had, and based on how he had ruled, not his power or status, they chose to keep him as their ruler.

There are several implications that the world view that this dream teaches has had for IDL. This dream/story shows that about seven years before I developed Dream Sociociometry, the precursor to the dream and life issue interviewing protocols that are aspects of Integral Deep Listening (IDL), there were emerging potentials that were heading me in that direction. These perspectives were telling me, “Power and wealth rest on character, not on status or accumulation; wealth is everywhere; it is abundant. Do not base your “right to rule” on whether you have power or status. Base authority on the character that this or that perspective personifies, whether it is yourself, as king or queen over your life, a “deplorable,” or even a dream cooking pot. When closely examined, you may discover that any of these are made out of gold.

Life is abundant; we do not have to live in fear of scarcity. Yes, scarcity does exist and is real, and the way to deal with it is to confidently focus on whatever resources are available. We, as the “king” or “ruler” over our “subjects,” that is, our feelings, thoughts and actions, have to earn the “right” to rule through the integrity and generosity and respect we show not only others, but the microcosm of perspectives which are our “subjects,” in that they are dependent upon us for their expression and health. Our authority, a place of privilege, is not a “given,” and can and will be taken away if we abuse our prerogatives enough for a long enough period of time. Such abuse generally takes the forms of indulging in this or that form of addiction, whether cognitive distortions (telling ourselves lies that make us sick), blind obedience to childhood scripting we should have discarded years ago, enslavement to physical habits of smoking, drinking, drugs, excessive sugar intake, overwork, chronic rescuing followed by burnout; emotional addiction, such as continuous immersion in the Drama Triangle in the three realms of relationships, thought and dreaming, and addictions to forms of anesthesia, such as mindless surfing the internet or pursuit of activities that neither nourish ourselves or the communities in which we live.

Such a dream offers a powerful, authentic, autonomous and totally unexpected alternative to one’s life script. It provides a script, a life direction, a set of priorities that has nothing or very little to do with the socio-cultural expectations in which we were raised. If we listen to such perspectives, become them, and let them soak into our sense of self at depth, they possess impressive and fundamental transformative potentials.

Power comes from the distribution of power widely among the various interior constituencies and emerging potentials that depend upon us. When we demonstrate respect, particularly to the lowest, most useless and mundane, we are validating our right to self-governance.

You don’t have to rely on such “archetypal” and overt dreams to put you in touch with your life compass. Any time you interview ANY dream character from ANY dream or the personification of ANY life issue of concern to you, you can receive recommendations from perspectives that are emerging potentials which align your life priorities with those of your life compass. The result is much saved time and misery and a degree of authenticity that is impossible if you do what most of us do – spend your life living out the role expectations and life script that you learned as a child from your parents, teachers and peers.

Posted in Life Compass

An example of working with a “day residue” dream.

“Day residue” dreams are mundane. You think, Oh! I dreamed of a fire because of the indigestion I had last night from eating that whole pepperoni pizza! Then we quickly forget the dream because we are sure we know why we had it and that it is not important. Integral Deep Listening (IDL) takes another approach. It makes such assumptions and then suspends them and asks one or more character in the dream for their perspective, their sense of why they are in the dream. In the following example of interviewing a dream character using the IDL dream interviewing protocol, we we shall do just that and look at the results.

What are three fundamental life issues that you are dealing with now in your life?

Dietary moderation coming off my fast. Less sugar intake. Fewer second helpings.

Longer meditations; more sense of inner peace.

Generally an even more positive and confident mood.

Tell me a dream you remember.  It can be an old one, a repetitive dream, a nightmare, or one that you’re sure you understand. 

I am looking at a circular object that is flat and that has three segments stretching out from the center. It is perhaps a foot across. A group of people were in danger because of it.

Why do you think that you had this dream?

Last night, June 29, 2017, the last night of my latest 84 hour fast, I wanted a distraction so I watched a Star Trek movie in which a villian named Krall had a similar looking device that he was using to destroy stuff. A good example for working with obvious day residue.

If one character had something especially important to tell you, what would it be?

Circular weapon

Circular weapon, look out at the world from your perspective and tell us what you see… 

I see the very few who would use me for the destructive purposes for which I was created.

Circular Weapon, what do you like most about yourself? What are your strengths?

I am extremely powerful.

Circular Weapon, what do you dislike most about yourself? Do you have weaknesses?  What are they?

I am too powerful to be used wisely; it is better if I did not exist.

Circular Weapon, what aspect of Joseph do you represent or most closely personify?

Grandiose fears that he is much more capable of destructiveness than he actually is. People are resilient; in fact, at his worst he hasn’t a great deal of potency, in the sense of a great deal of ability to hurt others. 

Circular Weapon, if you could be anywhere you wanted to be and take any form you desired, would you change?  If so, how?

I would like to be a very common, practical and accessible power for great good in the world. Perhaps something like a real vajra, a lightning bolt of discrimination and wisdom, mixed with empathy and compassion. I would like to be used to cut through confusion and fear to get to clarity, truth and empathy.

(Continue, answering as the transformed object, if it chose to change.)

Vajra, how would you score yourself 0-10, in each of the following six qualities: confidence, compassion, wisdom, acceptance, inner peace, and witnessing?  Why?

Confidence, 0-10. 10 Why? I am quite powerful; I symbolize both the indestructibility of a diamond and the irresistible force of a thunderbolt.  I cannot die because I do not exist; I am imaginary. The worst that can happen to me is that I am not used.

Empathy, 0-10.  10 Why? I am clear and selfless; that means I do not filter information or get between what is said and the hearing.

Wisdom, 0-10.  10 Why? I can discriminate truth from falsity and confusion from clarity.

Acceptance, 0-10.  10 Why? It is not my job to make the world right or good but I am here to serve those who wish to make it so.

Inner Peace, 0-10  10 Why? I have no worries or fears.

Witnessing, 0-10.  10 I observe everything.         

Vajra, how would Joseph’s life be different if he naturally scored like you do in all six of these qualities all the time?

He would be confident, clear, wise and compassionate.

Vajra, if you could live Joseph’s life for him, how would you live it differently?

I would take refuge in me, that is, identify with or become me regularly in order to build his identification with my qualities. 

Vajra, if you could live Joseph’s waking life for him today, would you handle Joseph’s three life issues differently?  If so, how?

Dietary moderation coming off my fast. Less sugar intake. Fewer second helpings. I would take refuge in my ability to discriminate.

Longer meditations; more sense of inner peace. Become me. It will get easier.

Generally an even more positive and confident mood. Become me. I am both.

Vajra, what life issues would you focus on if you were in charge of Joseph’s life?

Doubt and confusion. I generate clarity.

Vajra, in what life situations would it be most beneficial for Joseph to imagine that he is you and act as you would? 

As above.

Vajra, why do you think that you are in Joseph’s life? 

I am the antithesis of this dream and the fantasy fears it reflects.

Vajra, why do you think Joseph had this dream?

In this dream he was contemplating his capacity for evil and destruction as a consequence of the portrayal of same in the movie he watched.

Vajra, why do you think (some dream event happened) or (some character) was in the dream?

The group of people reflect his fear of his ability to harm others.

Vajra, why should Joseph pay any attention to what you have said? Aren’t these just a projection of Joseph’s own wishes and desires?

I am more balanced, aware and clear than he is.

Thank you, character! And now a couple questions for Joseph: 

What have you heard yourself say?

Becoming the vajra will strengthen these qualities in me.

If this experience were a wake-up call from your life compass, what do you think it would be saying to you?

Do not amplify fear or confusion but do not ignore them either. Instead, meet them with clarity, wisdom, discrimination and empathy.

Look back over the interview and list the specific recommendations that were made:

Become the vajra when I am afraid, worried or confused and when I meditate.

Comments: It is easy to write this off as wishful thinking but several factors work against that. First is the autonomy of the vajra. It doesn’t share my perspective. It is much more confident than I am. Secondly, its sense of authentic potentiality. Third, it feels like an authentic response to the reality of the circular weapon. There was no sense of a desire or need to turn the circular weapon into something else; it felt like that is what it wanted to do because it felt it was too powerful and too dangerous for any productive use. There is no denial that this dream was caused by or dealt with day residue. Indeed, the vajra itself said, “In this dream he was contemplating his capacity for evil and destruction as a consequence of the portrayal of same in the movie he watched.” Regarding the perfect scores, this is generally not a desirable pattern because it is so perfectionistic as to be unrealistic.  However, this vajra does not care whether I think its scores are perfectionistic or unrealistic. It scores the way it wants to score.

My plan is to respect the vajra by listening to its recommendations and following them. I do have a vajra; I’ve had one for years. But I have mostly used it as ornamentation and not invested myself in it. Now I will. My intention is to practice becoming it when I feel fear, worry or confusion and when I meditate as an experiment. I will see if it is an effective means of amplifying within me the qualities it personifies.

Posted in "junk" dream, Dream

Dream Sociodrama Interviewing

Dream Sociodrama differs from Moreno’s psychodrama and role-playing methodologies that are derived from it, such as Gestalt and Constellation Therapy, in that auxiliaries do not inhabit the life issue or dream of the protagonist and then project their interpretations onto the protagonist. Instead, each member makes the life issue or dream of the protagonist their own and each responds to the questions as if it were his or her own dream or life issue. This shifts the focus of the experience from the protagonist to the group and changes the process from personal therapy to collective awakening. For a detailed description of Dream Sociodrama, see Dream Sociodrama.

IDL Dream Sociodrama Protocol

Joseph Dillard, LCSW, Ph.D.

What are three fundamental life issues that you (the protagonist) are dealing with now in your life?

(The group votes on a life issue to focus on, but all three are addressed in the Dream Sociodrama. Alternatively, a dream or nightmare is used.)

Tell me a dream you remember.  It can be an old one, a repetitive dream, a nightmare, or one that you’re sure you understand. 

Why do you think that you had this dream?

If one character had something especially important to tell you, what would it be?

(The group can vote on which character from the dream to interview. Generally, either a threat, such as an attacker or fire, or a neutral, objective character, such as a house or car, is a better choice than a lover or family member, alive or deceased.)

(The following questions are first answered from the perspective of each auxillary as if they had the life issue or the dream; they are not attempting to become, project onto, or interpret the experience of the protagonist. They are speaking for and about themselves as they address the protagonist. Later, after the responses of auxillaries to the entire questionnaire, the protagonist is given the opportunity to answer any of the same questions from their own perspective.)

(Character), look out at the world from your perspective and tell us what you see… 

_____, what do you like most about yourself? What are your strengths?

_____, what do you dislike most about yourself? Do you have weaknesses?  What are they?

_____, what aspect of (the speaking auxillary) do you represent or most closely personify?

________, if you could be anywhere you wanted to be and take any form you desired, would you change?  If so, how?

(Continue, answering as the transformed object, if it chose to change.)
(The following seven questions regarding qualities are used in individual dream and life issue interviews but are optional for Dream Sociodramas.)

________, how would you score yourself 0-10, in each of the following six qualities: confidence, compassion, wisdom, acceptance, inner peace, and witnessing?  Why?

Confidence, 0-10. Why?

Empathy, 0-10.  Why?

Wisdom, 0-10.  Why? I have what wisdom I need to be myself and to accept it.

Acceptance, 0-10.  Why?

Inner Peace, 0-10  Why?

Witnessing, 0-10.

________, how would (the speaking auxillary)’s life be different if he naturally scored like you do in all six of these qualities all the time?

(Character), if you could live (the speaking auxillary)’s life for him, how would you live it differently?

________, if you could live (the speaking auxillary)’s waking life for him today, would you handle (the speaking auxillary)’s life issues differently?  If so, how?

________, what life issues would you focus on if you were in charge of (the speaking auxillary)’s life?

________, in what life situations would it be most beneficial for (the speaking auxillary) to imagine that he is you and act as you would? 

________, why do you think that you are in (the speaking auxillary)’s life? 

________, why do you think (the speaking auxillary) had this dream?

________, why do you think (some dream event happened) or (some character) was in the dream?

________, why should (the speaking auxillary) pay any attention to what you have said? Aren’t these just a projection of (the speaking auxillary)’s own wishes and desires?

Thank you, character! And now a couple questions for (the speaking auxillary; later for the protagonist): 

What have you heard yourself say?

If this experience were a wake-up call from your life compass, what do you think it would be saying to you?

Look back over the interview and list the specific recommendations that were made:

Posted in Dream Sociodrama

Fascinating research on Lucid Dreaming

“Scientists at the U.K.’s Liverpool John Moores University explored the potential link between dreams and problem solving by examining a specific type of dream: the lucid dream. In a lucid dream, the dreamer is aware that he or she is in the midst of a dream, and can take control and direct aspects of the dream. Lucid dreaming is a skill that can be developed, according to some research.

In the current study, researchers worked with 9 experienced lucid dreamers, male and female, between the ages of 18 and 41. Researchers created a control group of 9 participants with similar demographic characteristics who were not lucid dreamers but who did have strong dream recall abilities. Over a 10-day period, all participants were given a nightly “task” to solve. Researchers delivered tasks via email each night at 9 p.m. Both the lucid dreamers and the control group were instructed to read over the task several times before going to bed, and to try to memorize it without actually solving the problem it contained. The tasks were of two types—logical and creative. The logical tasks involved providing factual information in response to a question, while the creative tasks involved creating metaphors.

Researchers asked lucid dreamers to use their dream skills to complete each task. Lucid dreamers were given specific instructions about how to do this, including initiating a dream and seeking out within that dream a guide who could help the dreamer solve the problem. Once the task had been resolved, lucid dreamers were instructed to wake themselves up and write down the answer they received.

Non-lucid dreamers were asked to recall their dreams immediately after waking, to record their most vivid dream of the night, and to solve the task with the first answer that came to their minds. This was also the procedure that lucid dreamers followed—if they weren’t able to successfully find an answer through a guide within their dream. Research analyzed 160 individual dream reports of both lucid and non-lucid dreamers, examining the responses to both logical and creative tasks. They found no significant differences between lucid and non-lucid dreamers in terms of the logical problem solving. When it came to solving creative problems, however, researchers’ analysis determined that lucid dreamers had an edge over non-lucid dreamers. Lucid dreamers were more successful in creating metaphors than non-lucid dreamers.”

According to dream researcher Domhoff, high dream recallers have strong visual imaginations. Images are visual metaphors and may explain why dreaming and particularly lucid dreaming can support problem solving. If that is the case, then it seems a core skill for both remembering dreams and making use of them is the development of your visual imagination. Lateral thinking skills, pioneered by Edward Bono, help develop visual imagination: https://www.kent.ac.uk/careers/sk/lateral.htm

The research study quoted here was found at https://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/sleep-newzzz/201412/how-our-dreams-influence-our-days

Posted in Lucid Dreaming

How Social Media Affects our Cognitive Distortions

A guest post by Marie (marie@noreazon.com)Thanks, Marie!

We see them, and in some cases, we may do this ourselves. We post photos on Instagram containing the highlights of our day: when we feel successful at work, comfortable in our relationship with our significant other, situations in which our cat looks cute (and isn’t scratching our vintage furniture), days when we feel at peace with ourselves. What people don’t see is when we feel anxious, depressed, lonely, angry — or any other negative emotions. They don’t see behind-the-scenes arguments, the mistakes we make or the nights we spend lying awake worried about the future and other things.

How has social media changed our society and overall mental health?

It has changed the medium of our cognitive distortions. Joseph Dillard explains that emotional cognitive distortions are “words or statements that you tell yourself or others than feel true, but when examined factually are found to be irrational.” Logical cognitive distortions may seem reasonable, but really, they’re tactics used to persuade or manipulate while problem solving. Perceptual cognitive distortions are the world views that determine what you think is real life and what is possible. All three of these cognitive distortions contribute to the Drama Triangle, where people participate as persecutor, victim and rescuer.

When we post on social media, we could say the photos and posts are true. We really want to believe they are because they are full of happiness and positive aspects of life. In reality, our Instagram feeds and 140-character tweets are likely emotional cognitive distortions. No one can be happy all of the time, and social media has exemplified the need to be liked and happy in the 24/7 news- and digital-age. From a mental health standpoint, when you see someone who has exactly what you want (a house, significant other, job, child and so on) and that person posts about it constantly on social media, it could affect your mental health. You could feel depressed because you’re seeing everyone’s “happy” posts while you are unhappy.

Here are some ways that social media could affect individuals’ mental health:

It’s an addiction.

More than 63 percent of people use Facebook at least once per day.  If you find yourself checking your phone every five minutes and checking your social media feeds even more, you could have an addiction to social media. You want to check how many likes and comments your posts are garnering, which is an example of all three cognitive distortions. You could present something positive about yourself, and you manipulate an audience to like and comment on it. It determines that your world view is centered on self-esteem built by a social-media platform.

We tend to compare ourselves with others even more.

You see someone else’s utopia and want that for yourself. You begin to ask yourself, “Why can’t I have that?”, which can lead to obsessive-compulsive behaviors and thoughts. We tend to be restless with our lives and have trouble relaxing.

It can lead to cyberbullying.

It’s sometimes easier for bullies to hide behind the computer screen. If you’re in an already fragile state of mind, you could feel victimized in chat rooms, social media sites, private messages or other websites. If you are being bullied online, talk with a mental health professional on betterhelp.com. He or she can help you wade through the world of social media and cyberbullying.

While there are clear negatives to social media, it can greatly help us socialize and increase our connectivity with the outside world, especially when feeling anxious and depressed. Here are some other pros and cons of social media.

Posted in Addiction, cognitive distortions