Field Notes

Your Childhood Dreams Continuing to Show the Way to Life Possibilities PART II

June 29, 2024 - 0 Comments

Dr. Avraham Cohen’s Field Notes
July 1, 2024

Avraham Cohen, PhD, RCC-ACS, CCC
dr.avrahamcohen@gmail.com

Your Childhood

Dreams

Continuing to Show

the Way

to Life Possibilities

PART II

 

 

Photo by Kira Held  https://www.aamindell.net/about-amy-and-arny

 

This Field Note is dedicated to the life and memory of Dr. Arnold (Arny) Mindell (Jan 1, 2040 – June 10, 2024)

 

Arnold Mindell, along with his wife, Amy Mindell, founded the Process Work Institute. They developed process-oriented work, a wide-ranging philosophy and range of practices that addresses multiple levels of living and human experience with inner, relational, world, and spiritual work. Process work, and the exemplary life of Arnold Mindell were, are, and will continue to be influential to my own ways of being and my work. Arnie, along with his wife, Amy, was a teacher to thousands and was beloved by all who were fortunate enough to know him. One of his great and recurrent statements, no matter what he was told was, “I love it!” And I always ‘knew’ he meant it, and that this was certainly characteristic of his way of conveying multiple messages and meanings simultaneously, including ‘this is an opening into a deeper understanding about life.’

 

 

 

(https://www.freepik.com/free-photo/concept-open-door-collage_33752513.htm#query=dream&position=18&from_view=keyword&track=sph&uuid=57cc9ef9-d067-4dcc-934e-95467170491c

 

 

All I know for sure is that dreams are the pictures of states wanting to turn into processes. Dreams are maps of the beginning of an otherwise uncharted trip into the unknown. They are pictures of the unknown which appear in many channels. Because process work is body oriented, I put a stress upon feelings, but dreams are not pictures of just feelings; they are pictures of the way the unknown is showing itself in a given moment.
~Arnold Mindell

Everyone is a Taoist at heart. Everyone would like to follow nature, but we don’t have enough tools yet to put the philosophy into practice… as soon as someone gets sick, they fight the illness, rather than trying to find out the meaning or purpose behind it.
~Arnold Mindell

A dream that is not understood remains a mere occurrence; understood it becomes a living experience.
~Carl Jung

 

Field Note Audio

 

I was first exposed to Arnold Mindell’s particular view about childhood dreams at a seminar conducted by the Mindell’s in Yachats, Oregon. The beauty of childhood dreams is their potentially malleable and predictive quality about what is to come in your life and the opportunities to work with this process of discovery and its unfolding. This work can subtly shape and fine tune your self and the path of your life. Here, we are not talking about taking you out of the path you are on already but illuminating the path you are on and, at times, highlighting certain important features of the path so that you can make the best of the possibility’s life is offering you for your self and others.

As in the last Field Note (June1, 2024), I am going to share further about my early childhood dreams and how I have been working with and understanding them. I had the following dream. I do not recall any monsters in my dream. If they were anywhere perhaps, they were ‘down below,’ of course, it is possible to interpret ‘down below’ in many ways. I suggest that this is the Shadow zone: what Carl Gustav Jung described as the unconscious. Jung gave us the idea that the Shadow contained everything, and most importantly for our discussion, the Shadow contained unrealized potential, along with ‘clues’ as to how to pursue this potential:

I am in an area with huge mounds of earth about 6-10 feet apart. I run up one, and then I am able to leap into the air and glide a brief distance to the next mound. This seems to be a practice opportunity. I felt very excited that I now had a way to be free, free of this impending monster danger. I ran up the side of many mounds and I discovered that with practice, I could glide farther and farther. I thought, “maybe I can fly.” I was filled with anticipation and excitement.

This is a definite initial learning about the ongoing process that is life: that is activating my awareness in the moment, focusing on where I am starting from in terms of a felt sense that is eventually embedded in my consciousness. It is about ‘studying’ my starting point and recognizing that each moment can be viewed as a starting point, and as I become increasingly familiar with a particular starting point the more stability I have to creatively and generatively move from this position, and such movement can often feel not so much that I do something; rather that ‘it’ happens.

As well, this dream is an inner indication about possibilities in life being practically unlimited in terms of all forms of dreaming and imagination. For example, when I was a young teen-ager, I dreamed of being a major league baseball player. At about the age of 15, it became apparent to me that this dream would not become a reality. I recognized that my physical abilities were not remotely at the required level. This was a big step in recognizing that I could be wild in my imagination and still live with the realities of the world as they are. And, for sure the seeds of the knowledge that what is apparently horrible, awful, and unwanted may well be a staging point for discovery about great possibilities of understanding who you are, what your life-doing can become, and how to work towards the revealed possibilities. In my childhood dream the monsters, the chase, and my fear are this initiatory point.

The discovery that such emergence is facilitated by a very significant learning process, that is to not be consumed by the fear of what emerges in your mind. This kind of learning, albeit very difficulty for most, furthers and naturalizes emergence and spontaneity. I like the view of the Spanish poet, Machado, that the path is “made by walking.” The Daoist perspective and practice of Wu-wei, non-doing also informs us of a ‘Way.’ This ‘Way’ can also be experienced as a vision and feeling of life as flow, natural, emergent. Wu wei can be understood as non-doing.

What I have been elaborating is the basis for an understanding of life for me. By this, I don’t mean “what it all means” or “what it’s about,”: rather, about how to be as fully as possible present in the moment in life, and how to study and follow myself and life, and this includes exploring the biggest seemingly unanswerable questions about existence.

Surely, my dream is a lot about cultivating imagination, the freedom to dream all kinds of dreams including the biggest, even most seemingly impossible possibilities. Imagine: as a small boy I dreamed up the possibility of flying above the earth to be free of the monsters that chased me. Of course, there was something in my environment that encouraged this and that did not impinge on the natural emergence of dreaming and imagining. My parents were both in their own ways people who did think quietly outside the normal and conventional paradigms, and who were quite likely to speak truth as they saw it. My intellectual and imaginative life was quietly encouraged.

As it turned out I had many versions of this dream, and over time my ability to leap and glide further improved. This seemed to be a foreshadowing of my persistence in pursuing what mattered to me and my understanding that persistence can pay off in terms of becoming an ever-changing version of who I am and pursuing what mattered to me. I was also learning how to enter into the process of whatever I had in mind as a developmental process, discovering that possibilities are indeed possible, and that the difficulties are important as they helped me to learn that these difficulties invariably contained the seeds of emergence into a new view of the world and myself.

The Dream Evolves

I am flying with ease. I have a great ability to change direction and altitude. I am looking down on vast green fields and seeing groups of people here and there. I am above it all. I feel free. I have an ability that no one else seems to have. I love this experience and the associated feelings of elation and exuberance. I float freely, gliding, turning, diving, rising, and totally enjoying my ability to be above it all and swoop and soar and change direction with an intention or a thought. I seem to be no longer subject to monsters, gravity, and the ways of others or anything else that might compromise my freedom of being. I have a way and means available to me. The Path is mine to ‘walk,’ create, and follow.

My dream can be seen as reflective of the puer aeternus, a child god who is forever young. I recall, when I was 14, saying to my Dad that I was looking forward to turning 16, and that I wanted to be 16 forever, just like Peter Pan. I was aware that at 16, I could have a driver’s license! What else did I need to live my dream life? Well, at this point in my life, looking back, I can say that I have expanded my vision to flying above and beyond a driver’s license!

A dream manifestation for me has been the ongoing generative young in spirit energy, curiosity, and engagement with life. I attended a talk many years ago, given by the American poet, Robert Bly, who referred to himself as a puer. When asked what brought him down to earth, he replied simply, “Diapers!” Surely something must bring us down to earth. I have had many ‘grounding’ experiences, some great, some not so great. For sure something in me was never destroyed no matter how hard my crash seemed to be. I would say the puer spirit is still alive in me!

While in the midst of creating this Field Note to my great surprise I had a dream:

I am in the air. I’m not so much flying as I can move in any direction, rise, and dive without any thought or intention. I have a feeling of a connection to an energy that is directing me. I can soar at will although I do not at all have any feeling of wilfulness. I am totally free. Well almost! I have a slight feeling that something shadowy is present. Associated with this I feel a slight feeling of anticipation/trepidation, which is accompanied by a physical sensation in the area of my heart and that emanates through me to the space between my shoulder blades.

Certainly, this current dream has been fermenting for many years and has emerged in synchrony with my current focus on childhood dreams. This recent dream seems to be indicative of my own sense of inner freedom and while still having a shadow component it is clear to me that this indicates a huge step along the path to my own felt sense of freedom, and further points the way to an ever-increasing sense of liberation in the service of discovering what lies behind the always dark curtain.

I hope you have found some resonance and inspiration for your inner work in this two-part series about working with your own childhood dreams, and for the therapists, hopefully some ideas for working with your clients.

As always, many thanks to the indomitable Heesoon for her dreamy support with this Dream Field Note.

Shalom to you,

Avraham

PS I will take a break from Field Note writing over the remainder of the summer. The next Field Note I author will show up October 1, 2024.

PPS No guarantees but should you have any ideas or wishes for topics to be addressed in the Field Notes, please send me a message for consideration.

PPPS As previously mentioned there will be a guest field note published September 1, 2024 and authored by, Dr. Larry Green.

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