A Personal Introduction to DreamWork

butterfly on buttercups

Like every other human being (indeed, or so I have read, like every other vertebrate) throughout the history of this planet, I have always had dreams; but, aside from the occasional unforgettable nightmares and a certain vague curiosity over recurrent themes in my dreams, my attitude toward it all was, until I met and befriended a "shrink" who was enrolled with me in an acting course about twenty years ago now, one of almost total indifference. Today I find that incredible.

Arlette was convinced that one's dreams were important. I insisted that mine were meaningless. Nothing she ever said convinced me otherwise until she got angry one day and screamed at me, "You took the trouble to dream it!" I laughed and managed to ignore this wonderful wisdom for quite some time, but it wouldn't go away. I couldn't forget it and, eventually, after a marvelous romance ended as it had to and I was thrown wildly off balance and began a frantic search to find out who I was and what I believed in, its significance finally sank in.

The search, which goes on to this day (and surely will as long as I live), has resulted in painful awarenesses and empowering insights. Along its way I have found help in unexpected places. I have had no more faithful ally than my dreams.

I doubt that anyone could call what I did during those first few years dream "work" (or, for that matter, any other kind of work). That would imply an intentionality and an organized effort which just wasn't there.

I did not read anything by or about Jung, or Freud or, for that matter, anyone else on the subject of dreams. Nor did I keep a dream journal, or join a dream group, or use any of the many "techniques" commonly offered by "experts." In fact, the process, which I shall never understand, was entirely organic. My dreams just became more and more vivid. Many became terrifying. Many became comforting. Many became both! Whichever, they became impossible to ignore. And, when I stopped trying so hard to ignore them, and slowly started to trust in them, I started to make some small headway.

"All dreams come in the service of health and wholeness." — Jeremy Taylor

It was a number of years later that I was introduced to the writings of Jeremy Taylor by a new friend who had been his student while in seminary. (Thanks again, Sydney.) Since then I've read his books and attended a number of his workshops and have come to believe that Jeremy's is a courageous and lucid voice in a field cluttered with whooey and opportunistic drivel.

Reverend Taylor's starting point is a stunning statement of faith: All dreams, he insists, come in the service of health and wholeness. And it is clear too that he means the health and wholeness of the dreamer, but also, in ever-broadening spirals, that of the dreamer's family and circle of intimates and of the dreamer's work, faith and civic communities. Indeed, he is speaking of the health and wholeness of our entire planet.

If this has a profound echo deep within your soul as it has had in mine since I first encountered it, I commend the writings of Jeremy Taylor as an exquisite resource for anyone curious about the possibilities available through dream work. If you find yourself sharing your dreams with others, whether intentionally, as in a dream group, or casually with your mate or closest family or friends, I believe his insights are essential to avoiding painful misunderstandings and even injury.


"The secret is... there is no secret." — me :-)

I  am convinced that the reason dreams are so difficult to talk about in our Western society with its prophetic religious tradition is that, to take our dreams seriously requires us to confront our attitudes about authority. Taking our dreams seriously demands that we take ourselves and our lives seriously. It implies a belief that "The Answer" lies deep within ourselves and nowhere else; and that each of us has our own, uniquely personal access to it.

To believe this is to have an abiding faith in God and in The Creation. It is a learning that no one seems willing to share. The knowledge that The Secret is that there is no secret at all.

So be it.

A Few of my Own Hints for DreamWork
Jeremy Taylor's Dream Work Toolkit
Jeremy Taylor's Myth and Dream Work Home Page
dream work resources on the Internet
International Association for the Study of Dreams

Maury's Home Page

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Last modified: Wed Aug 20 16:58:43 UTC 2008
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