Paper for the Psiberdreaming Conference 2008 of the International Association for the Study of Dreams
Author: Ralf Penderak (view my profile at http://dreamtalk.hypermart.net/member/files/ralf_penderak.html)
When Rita Dwyer asked me to present “something” about the future of dreaming in this year’s IASD PsiberDreaming conference, I felt very honoured. And I thought: Well, what is this “something”? At that time in June we had some vivid discussion in the IASD psi-dreaming e-group, including the topic of synchronicity. A storm of ideas howled through my mind and I also asked myself: Is there anything new, I can say? Most of the honour goes to those who came before us.
From this brainstorming the idea remained, that I would present something on the future of dreaming from an evolutionary point of view, and show how evolutionary processes may show up in our work on the WorldDreamsPeaceBridge (WDPB), especially in our focussed group dreaming, called Da-Fu Mu (Dreaming of Great Fortune). I’ll explain that concept later. And I also wanted this to be a quantitative work, at least in part. I wanted to include the psi side of dreaming, as well as the transcendental.
I’ll continue with introducing the ideas of two authors, who very influenced my view of human evolution, psi and transcendence.
According to Ken Wilber any transcendence includes (my translatation from the German edition): A deeper inwardness, a higher, wider identity, less narcissism (decentration), increasing relative autonomy. The next (or current) step in evolution in my understanding of Wilber would be the vision centaur, i.e. the emergence of the next, the first trans- rational and trans-personal layer in human consciousness. The vision centaur transcends and integrates that what we would call the common adult cognition, the formal operational thinking, the merely problem solving way of thinking. The centaur gets aware of thinking, of rationality per se. This is why humans riding on that wave can find creative solutions, they can encircle important problems and pose the right questions. Wilber names this stage of human evolution centaur, because it can integrate now body and mind. It can be aware of and watch its own rationality, its own way of thinking. This aspect of being aware, watching, witnessing, consciously embracing is labelled “vision” in the term “vision centaur.”
I feel this kind of awareness is often part of our (my) dreams, as we sometimes shift back and forth between being immersed in the dream situation and then watching it from a distance. Sometimes we perceive both these “modes” simultaneously. Also sometimes we comment on the ongoing dream, or hear “external” voices doing so. This changing of perspectives must not necessarily be related to transpersonal qualities, but I feel it has a potential of raising awareness, that seems to be important to transcend (and integrate) whatever conflict may be there, whatever state of mind we grow over. Wilber writes that the centauric stage is also called “integral – aperspectivistic” by other thinkers.
Another feature of this transpersonal stage is a new moral feeling, a wider, deeper empathy and compassion. Wilber writes: “… for if I recognise all beings as an expression of one self, I’m going to see them as MY self, and treat them that way. Only from this realisation, which is a fruit of the decentration – process of evolution, grows true sympathy and compassion – a sympathy, which neither privileges ego (egocentric), nor a certain social group (sociocentric), humans (anthropocentric), nor which pretends in mere thinking as if we all were one (worldcentric), but which immediately breathes the air of all beings and which is being flown through by the blood, which is one and the same in all beings.“
[link is broken]
In the mid nineties I read a book, that largely influenced my sense of what humans are, and what we can be. It is “The Future of the Body” by Michael Murphy. (“Der Quanten – Mensch”; I’m quoting and translating from the German edition)
In chapter three he goes into „Evolution and Exceptional Abilities“: “For certain forms of exceptional human development are, as I believe, precursors of a third evolutionary breakthrough. With them a new layer of existence appears on earth, which structure can’t be adequately described by physics, biology or the ruling social sciences.”
The list of these developments include: “1.Exceptional forms of perception … including … deliberate distant viewing and contact with beings and events inaccessible to normal senses. … 3. Exceptional abilities of communication, including transfer of thoughts, willpower and ecstatic states by something outside the body. …5. Exceptional abilities of moving [including “astral projection”] 6. Exceptional abilities of influencing environment, including… the ability to influence objects in the distance, without direct physical contact, as in spiritual healing… 10. A personality, which simultaneously transcends and lives up to its own normal self-perception, while it is aware of its fundamental unity with others; and an individuality grounding on all the exceptional abilities mentioned above. 11. Love transcending the common needs and revealing the fundamental unity with others. … Most of these attributes are, if just transient, recognisable in everyday life, but their permanent manifestation signifies breaking with the common activities of human, and if they are over a long term integrated by many humans, it would certainly create a new form of life on this planet.”
I edited this list meaning to focus on dreaming skills. Especially the last sentence links to group activity, in my opinion, and to creation of a new reality.
What is Da-Fu Mu?
“A couple of weeks ago, Kathy Turner from Australia asked, “Is there a name for this type of focused, intense, peace dreaming we are doing?” There ensued a week of conversation on the Peace Bridge, tossing words around from various languages. The word that came up as the favourite of all the Peace dreamers was Da-Fu Mu, which is a combination of Japanese and Chinese.”
Da-Fu Mu is loosely translated with „ Dream of great fortune.“ And that is what we do, we dream abundance, love and peace focussed on different persons, groups, situations. The interested reader might get a deeper impression of the ongoing on WDPB in part three of Jean Campbell (2006) Another vivid source are our monthly updates.
I’m not sure if I’m speaking now for all members of our group, but this kind of group dreaming is nested in a context, a certain view of reality. This paradigm I would describe as: “We are all connected, we are connected with everything, regardless of space and time. Our thoughts and emotions, our intentions are creating reality. Ultimately, we are one.” This paradigm is very likened to the views of Wilber and Murphy about the next stage of evolution I introduced earlier.
Put in one sentence, I would say most of us would subscribe to the view, that dreaming we change the world, that is dream – activism.
But now I’ll look at the dreams on WDPB:
I’ll give some examples I scored with high cognition and deep emotion in the sense of Wilber’s and Murphy’s sense of the transpersonal, looking for traces of evolution in our dreams:
#10559 Dream RitaH:
“Walked through their homes telling them about the war and about the
need to weave together conflicting opinions yet express the truth of
our feelings, no matter how painful … The purpose of the dream was
to express the truth of our feelings yet to move beyond our anger and
weave something new out of our differences. ”
This is for me an example for high cognitive activity inside the dream (The above quote is all dream report!): The complex inner and outer worlds and their relation are seen together (the vision centaur) There is also the aspect of encompassing acceptance on the emotional side, accepting and moving beyond (i.e. transcending)the anger (the ego) and create something new.
# 10657 Dream Valley:
“Last night I dreamt about a wedding celebration, and I was dancing
with an older couple. There was lots of dancing and happiness. A sense
of family and community.
I saw myself walk down a staircase as a bride in a simple white dress,
looking like a younger version of myself. I am happy at joining
together with my beloved. I meet him at the bottom of the stairs and
kiss him. There is a strong heart connection.
I saw a deeper part of the river flowing, I was looking at it from out
side the river. I could hear a voice telling me it is time to go into
the river deeper. I was willing to do this. ”
This is more on an emotional and symbolic side. A different language, that of a picture: Willing to go into the river. Conscious surrendering to the flow of life. Very touching. And here you see, how subjective, emotional my assessment of transpersonal traces.
Another moment appears time and again: The voice in a guiding function. It seems to potentially incorporate wisdom, higher knowledge.
# 10684 Dream Kathy:
“I hear “Be the doctor who teaches them to celebrate.” I think: that
is a really peculiar thing to do.”
Again a wise and guiding voice. Sign of a higher consciousness (and I can’t decide if it is emerging from Kathy’s higher self or if this is a being of its own speaking) It is not unusual, that the dream – ego (as well as the waking ego) has a hard time understanding the messages. There is (or seems to be) a transpersonal understanding in
many dreams, but not always the dreamer identifies with this understanding.
# 10698 Dream Ilkin:
“She laughed and laughed alot. Than shook her finger to me; “You see,
you remembered, how you became yourself, your todays self in all those
years so easily. You are just forgetting it sometimes”. I get
frustrated remembering about another dream a sound whispered to my ear
“Remember, remember the primeminister who was betrayet. They will
never give up”. I turned around and walked back yelling, “I don’t want
quizzes, I want realities”. She said from behind; “Reality is where
you stand and what you remember”.
There is not just the wise lady with her provocative words, but also a lot of thinking of Ilkin about her own identity and the changes in her life, leading me to mark this dream with “high cognition”
# 10828 Dream Nick
“:), but because I’ve seen her photo on the net before, and I know
she’s not so young.
Actually, I kind of instantly know what it means. I happily start reciting
to myself, how cool it is. ‘That this must be the beauty of her inner
Nick is enjoying the blessings of high lucidity. He knows, he is dreaming and does dream interpretation while dreaming. This is meta – cognition, in my opinion, sign of an extraordinary awareness.
Lucidity per se I see as a kind of meta – cognition, a reference to state (of consciousness), a fertile ground for transpersonal experiences. But not necessarily does dreaming grow there, it depends on the openness of dreamer, on her/ his intention.
Nick needs being able to question his experiences and expectations, he needs an intense awareness of his projections and wishes for arriving at interpretations like these inside the dream. All this I see as traces of high cognition of the vision centaur in the sense of Wilber.
I discussed my assessment of transpersonal elements in these examples with my group members and found positive feedback. Must add, that these are very clear examples I choose. There are many more dreams, I marked with high cognition/ deep emotion not so clear. Sometimes I include the reception and interpretation of our dreams in assessing the transpersonal qualities. Sometimes it is just a “gut feeling” of mine.
I’ll include dreams from two days before through four days after the exact day of Da-Fu Mu, unless they are clearly related to the occasion by the dreamer. In some occasions it isn’t possible to cling to this rigid scheme, as different calls for Da-Fu Mu dreaming are following each other too fast. These dreams I label as “Da-FuMu” dreams. Dreams outside these intervals I label “non – Da-Fu Mu.” Date of dreams is how the dreamer gives it, if dreamer doesn’t, I interfere from what he/she writes, or take date of posting.
I’ll look at how dreams behave around the time of official Da-Fu Mu dates (-2 +4 days) compared to non Da-Fu Mu .
I’m looking for the presence of certain forms of cognitive activity, quality of emotions, psi and lucidity. I take mentioning of psi effects as an expression of dreamer’s experience, and as this is no controlled experiment, I’m not asking for proof here. In regard of psi proof, I’m fond of Dean Radin’s work (see resources)
This is of course a rather subjective approach, regarding the quality of data. But it is the best I can do now, given my resources of time and manpower. Of course data would be more reliable if there were a definite manual how to score the features I mentioned and have independent judges score the dreams “blind”. So, I can’t exclude my expectations, my bias, may influence the gathering of data for this examination.
The quantitative aspects of Da-Fu Mu vs. non Da-Fu Mu I’ll present graphically, displaying the named features . I’ll compute h – values according to Domhoff, showing the effect strength, as well as 95% confidence intervals, showing the reliability of results, or in other words, the likely range of effect strength most probably showing up in future studies of similar design. It is typical for small studies like this, that confidence intervals are very wide. This relates to the small size of this (my) sample, and only shows, that science is all about replication, replication, replication, …
I’ll also add some interesting findings about the differences in words per dream in the different sub-groups “psi dreams”, “transpersonal/ transrational dreams”, “lucid dreams” and “normal dreams”.
|ALL DREAMS (Intervals)||DAFUMU Intervals||NON-DFM Intervals|
|Average messages/ day||31||32||30|
|At least one element/ dream marked…||Number of Dreams||% of Dreams||Number of Dreams||% of Dreams||Number of Dreams||% of Dreams|
|anyhow psi related||19||20,43||17||23,94||2||9,09|
Figure 2: Effect size and 95% confidence intervals comparing Da – Fu Mu dreaming with Non – Da Fu Mu for the presence of “evolutionary” elements.
Comment: Be aware, the precognitive effect relates to only ONE precognitive dream. All but one 95% confidence intervals include the “no effect” line. I understand that only one of the effects (the telepathic) is reliably being shown as associated with the “Da-Fu Mu” condition. But due to the small number of dreams marked “telepathic” (5) and the absence of telepathic dreams in the “Non – Da – Fu Mu” condition I wouldn’t rely on this finding, if there were only one study like this one. I rather rely on the small effect of “anyhow evolutionary”, because it is supported by more marked elements.
|Subgroup||All dreams||Dreams not
|Dreams marked “lucid”|
Comment: All five dreams marked “lucid” are also marked “psi” and/ or “trans…”
I didn’t find a way to compute the reliability and the effect strength in these data, but these findings seem to be worth looking for an explanation.
- How do the thoughts and findings in this paper resonate with your experience in (group) dreaming? Do you know of similar studies?Do you think group dreaming will be or should be more important in the future? If so, how can we foster group dreaming?
- How do you explain the findings about Da – Fu Mu (focussed group dreaming) compared to Non – Da-Fu Mu? (Table 1 and Figure 2), are your own findings and experiences similar or different?Do you know hypotheses or theories explaining the effects of group dreaming?
- How do you explain the differences of words per dream in the different subgroups? (Table 2) What do you think about the relation of (dream) language and consciousness?
- What do you think about my study design and statistical approach? Are there any flaws, do you have any suggestions? Comments are very welcome, I’m not perfect and this is my first quantitative work.
I am deeply grateful that I was allowed to bring out part of the precious jewels from our treasure chest of dreams on the World Dreams Peace Bridge, polish and arrange them finding interesting patterns… At least for me they are sparkling now more than ever.
Thank you, my dreaming friends!
The World Dreams Peace Bridge
Campbell, Jean (2006). Group Dreaming: Dreams to the Tenth Power. Norfolk: Wordminder Press
http://www.imageproject.org/groupdreaming.htm includes sample chapters
Wilber, Ken (1995). Sex, Ecology, Spirituality. Boston: Shambala Publications (German Edition (2001) Frankfurt am Main: Fischer Verlag)
Ken Wilber’s website [link is broken]
Schneider, A., & Domhoff, G. W. (). The Quantitative Study of Dreams. Retrieved from http://www.dreamresearch.net/
Domhoff, William G. (1996) Finding Meaning in Dreams – A Quantitative Approach. New York: Plenum Press
This is where I found what I needed for this study, my first quantitative analysis of dreams. Infact I planned to also use the scales of content analysis according to Hall/ van de Castle. I read the book and prepared everything, and then the deadline approached way too fast for me, still working fulltime in my nursing profession. I’m thinking about working with “your” scales in the future.
Radin, Dean I. (2006) Entangled Minds: Extrasensory Experiences in Quantum Reality. New York: Paraview Pocketbooks
Dean Radin’s website:
Figure 1: The four quadrants – model of Ken Wilber. Find the term “vision logic” in the upper left edge, the term “centauric” in the lower left edge. Find a larger version at: http://wilber.shambhala.com/html/books/kosmos/excerptC/intro-1.cfm/
 Wilber, Ken (1995). Sex, Ecology, Spirituality. Boston: Shambala Publications (German Edition (2001) Frankfurt am Main: Fischer Verlag: 315ff)
It needs to be said, that Wilber provides a much more differentiated look at human evolution, than I can present here. Especially he differentiates a common, mean level of consciousness from the (higher) stages of consciousness, certain individuals or groups can achieve or already have achieved. And he sees a dependency in the mean level and advanced levels, as the mean level seems to limit how high the “spearheads” of evolution are reaching. But he also sees, that the “spearheads” attract the mean consciousness to ever higher levels.
 Wilber, Ken (1995), op cit: 320
 Wilber, Ken (1995), op cit: 358
 Murphy, Michael (1992). The Future of the Body. (First German edition (1994). Wessobrunn: Integral, 39-40)
 Campbell, Jean (2006), op. cit: Chapter 11 ff (Part Three, The World Dreams Peace Bridge, especially chapter 13, DaFuMu Dreaming at the Reservoir)
 Domhoff, William G. (1996), op cit: 311 ff (Statistical Appendix)