IMG_1893This week has been a dream both literally and figuratively. I’m in the middle of the mountains, in the North-Western part of the United States, attending the Dream Teacher Training with author and teacher Robert Moss.

You might wonder what a Dream Teacher is. Many people have asked me this question already. The answer might be longer than the scope of this post, but I’ll try to keep it short.

Jung used to say that beyond our individual selves, beyond our individual conscious and unconscious minds, we are all connected through what he called the “collective unconscious”. It’s like a vast ocean of collective memories, symbols, archetypes that all of humanity shares. It’s where, he believed, dreams come from. The more you understand the workings of the collective unconscious, the more you understand yourself. Yet that is easier said than done because the unconscious has its own language, its own rules and its own means of communicating with us and sadly this is a language nobody has taught us in school.

I have been fascinated by dreams and dreaming for as long as I can remember and I read whatever I could find about this topic. I’ve never really liked Freud’s approach on dreams, nor the obsession of the psychoanalytic movement to interpret dreams, to pin them down and put them into a box and use them as a diagnosis tool on a person’s state of mind. I’ve never really trusted dream dictionaries of any kind, nor superstitions of the sort: “If you dream of a wedding it’s a bad sign…”.

Given my mistrust of dream recipes and diagnoses, discovering Robert Moss a year ago felt like a wonderful gift. His approach on dreams is exactly in line with what I intuited but never could really find support for. He believes we are all masters of our own dreams. Yes dreams are important, yes they are more than random electric discharges of our brain in sleep, but NO, nobody else but the dreamer can really discover what their dreams mean. Others can offer perspectives, having a solid knowledge of neuro-science, psychology, history and symbolism really helps, but at the end of the day all we really need is to trust the value of our own dreams, to be curious about them, just as children are, take the time and find the fun in exploring them and listening with an open heart to what they have to say to us.

A Dream Teacher – what I am working on becoming – is nothing but a guide. Just as a coach supports his clients in finding their own answers, a Dream Teacher supports others in discovering the key to their own night dreams and the lessons these dreams bring for waking life. I might say a Dream Teacher is a coach for the Dreamer. And I cannot begin to say how wonderfully fulfilling this is for me – working with my own dreams and supporting others in working with theirs.

This journey inside the dreaming alone is enough to have rendered this week magical. But there’s more. I haven’t done this alone, but together with 28 other people, each of them carrying their own unique story. Young, old, therapists, business people, writers, engineers, professional musicians – what they all share in common is the passion for dreams and the creative treasures they hide. I realised this week that people from different corners of the planet, incredibly diverse in age, experience or preoccupations, can easily create a community if the share a genuine openness to both teach and learn from each-other. I’ve heard so many inspiring life-stories, I’ve been fascinated by the synchronicities, the surprising twists and turns of these people’s lives, which brought them all here, on this porch in the middle of the mountains.

Last night we had an impromptu concert. A wonderful Native American lady, a professional flute player, sang heart warming Native songs, another lady, also a musician, played old Irish songs on her harp and we, the Romanians, sang our traditional Doina for the Americans.

Music knows no boundaries, just like dreaming. And when hearts speak languages become completely irrelevant. These are my thoughts for you. My day here is just beginning, your day back home is ending. I hope you go to bed tonight with an intention to dream and an openness to receive whatever your creative unconscious may bring. I also hope that tomorrow you find at least one opportunity to speak to someone from the heart, and just notice how that feels.

My dream? To take dreaming into the corporate classroom. I can envision the amazing resources active dreaming might bring for companies and for the wellbeing, joy and fun of people working for them.

Love to you all from the other side of the world and a beautiful poem inspired by the magic of Hawaii, by Robert Moss, from his book, “Here, Everything is Dreaming“.

Island Dreaming
Dreaming is soul sleep
but even more it’s traveling.
You may fly across the water
in your body of wind
following the drumming of the waves
to spend the night with your dream lover.
Even goddesses do this.
Pele left her lava bed for three days
to make love with her dream prince.

Being a goddess, she could bring him home.

It’s harder for humans. Spend too long
with your dream spouse
without bringing him home
and you sicken like rotting silver.
You need to check who you’re sleeping with
because spirits take many forms.
If your prince is a water imp in disguise
you’ll go fish belly white and moist
on the side that rests next to him.
You must learn the vocabulary of dreams.
Never confuse a wild goatfish dream
that begins and ends in your belly
with a dream that comes true
because it’s the memory of a trip to the future.
Don’t mix up a wishing dream with revelation.
Be alert to the visions that open and shut
like lobster pots, quick and true,
on the edges of sleep and waking.
Use the dreams that are given to heal a family
and dreams that show you how to heal yourself.
In beauty and terror, as redbirds or lovely sharks,
as windflowers or razorbacks or honeycreepers,
gods and ancestors are talking, talking.
They show us life’s hidden springs.
They compose songs in us. They give
night names for babies that are coming.
They save our skins when they are worth saving.
Learn to discern when you can sweeten a dream
and soften the sharp future it portends
and when you have to swallow it straight up.
For a second opinion, listen to the birds
or to a bird-man who talks to the wind
or might sail a blossom canoe for you
over submarine tattoos in a gourd filled with water.
In the islands, everything has a body of wind.
In the morning garden, you notice the pandanus
has walked to the far side of the pond
where the fish dream open-eyed;
a palm swapped places with an avenging angel.
Even the land snail goes flying at night
and is the preferred scout of the fiercest goddess.
To become a native of these islands
you must grow double vision, reading signs
in the world and the world-behind-the-world
without going crazy. Persevere
and all your dramas will lead
to the Place of Leaping
where fresh water meets salt water
and you’ll drop your old body
and travel on, as bird or fish or zephyr
to the land tourists never see on the horizon.
Here, everything is dreaming.
On a white beach in the early light
a shark came out of the waters
and became a graceful silver woman
who claimed me as her mate,
there on the embracing sand.
She was so lovely I was not put off
by her hammerhead eyes.
I wonder what unexplainable love child
is swimming out there, in the deep.