The Community of Our Dreams | Catherine Shainberg, Ph.D.

Right now, as this blog is reaching you, I and many Dreamers are having a wonderful time re-uniting with many members of the SOI community who could come to Slovenia for the first International Conference since 2020. We are having a grand time both as Dreamers learning more about this work and as a community of people whose hearts and minds –  and imagery –  are open to each other. We had a smaller taste of this in Bainbridge in April. Both of these gatherings have focused my perspective on community –  as we live it in SOI, as the world lives it  (or doesn’t) and as our souls yearn for it.

Thirty-five years ago, my late husband, Dr. David Shainberg, Professor John Briggs and I created a dialogue group with others to explore the nature of dialog and community. We met every month for eight years. While the goal was noble, the effort did not prove fruitful except for this: no strands of interest emerged unless someone told a story. Around a story, people got animated, engaged, and connected.

I found an entirely more effective way of connecting people when I ran dream groups and worked with the subconscious levels of people’s psyche in my other teaching life. There we were united around dreams and the imagination. The difference was astounding to me and to all those who experienced this common exploration work. In one or two sessions people were chatting like old acquaintances, going out for a coffee or meal, and soon became fast friends. These friendships have endured over thirty-five years, remaining fresh and lively even through a pandemic.

What is the magic?

The DreamField is the magic.

An energetic texture that I call the DreamField links us together. You can feel this field when the sight, scent, smile, sound of voice, embodiment and most of all the feeling sense of another strike your own senses and moves your life force and emotions. When you pay attention to your senses, gazing inward to stimulate your subconscious embodiment  you are engaging the mystery below the surface self of yourself and your reception of the other. Everyday concerns, philosophical inquiries or political exchanges do not engage the deeper self in the same way, however passionate you are about those areas of inquiry.

Kabbalah tells us that before becoming manifest we are an energetic form that the sages call a “blueprint.” Every living form has an energetic blueprint. Connect to it and you connect to the mysterious source of life that links us to all life, an experience that once lived you will never forget.

How easy is it? This is accessible to us all when we pay attention to our bodily shifts and changes in our dreaming – which is our body language. This awareness is all that is needed to  to connect to this ephemeral field of energy, to connect to each other, to create community.

In the Slovenia gathering, it is not just our company – our companionship –  that connects us a community, though that is delightful. It is the heart-penetrating experience of our shared DreamField, the way our individual fields blend, merge, reveal, manifest and create this community. And actually, all communities, even if we are not aware of it.

To experience this awareness, here is a helpful exercise.

Exercise on Community

Close your eyes. Sit up straight. Uncross legs and arms.

Breathe out slowly, counting from 3 to one, seeing the numbers. See the 1 tall clear and bright.

Imagine standing in a meadow looking up at the blue sky and the sun-drenched world.

Breathe in the blue gold light and see it pouring into your heart and into all your body.

See your heart and your openings (eyes, ears, nostrils, mouth) and the pores of your skin emanating rays of light in all directions.

Breathe out. See these lights touching and attracting people, animals, trees, rocks.

Breathe out. See them start to glow in response and to emanate light as well.

Breathe out. Switch your eyes away from the forms to the glow emanating from all these living forms.

Breathe out. See the glow that links all living forms and unites them together.

Breathe out. Open your eyes seeing this with eyes open.