School of Metaphysics Presence at International Association for the Study of Dreams Conference 2008 in Montreal, Quebec
by Dr. Laurel Clark
The International Association for the Study of Dreams is an organization which was initiated 25 years ago by a small group of scholars, scientists, and anthropologists in San Francisco. Since then, it has grown to become an international organization with hundreds of members worldwide. It includes scientists, artists, psychologists, psychiatrists, brain researchers, historians, ministers, educators, yoga practitioners, therapists, writers, and more!
The IASD states that its purposes are to “promote an awareness and appreciation of dreams in both professional and public arenas; to encourage research into the nature, function, and significance of dreaming; to advance the application of the study of dreams; and to provide a forum for the eclectic and interdisciplinary exchange of ideas and information.
This year, Dr. Laurel Clark, president of the School of Metaphysics, and Dr. Sheila Benjamin, past president and area director for the School of Metaphysics, attended the IASD annual conference in Montreal, Quebec. They represented the SOM teachings and were presenters at a forum entitled “The Influenced Dream.”
Dr. Clark presented the results of a Global Lucid Dreaming Experiment research project sponsored by the College of Metaphysics. This study tracked the dreams of people around the globe during a unique 48-day period. Participants recorded dreams during a full moon, a new moon with a lunar eclipse, a full moon with a solar eclipse, and an un-eclipsed new moon. The question of what happens when people around the world intentionally dream at the same time has promising implications for our power to create global changes in consciousness.
Dr. Benjamin presented how understanding dreams can help us understand the hallucinations of schizophrenics. This knowledge can create bridges across a chasm that sometimes seems too wide to cross, enabling us to reach people whose waking experience is similar to the nighttime dreams of people with “normal” brain function. The following is Dr. Laurel’s experience of the conference.
I found the conference enriching in many ways. I especially appreciated the interdisciplinary nature of the workshops. It is a fascinating experience to interact with people whose lives come together because of a common interest in dreaming. For most of the people at the conference, their personal life is influenced by their dreamwork and it is a focal point in their professional life. However, the nature of their professional life is very different. Some of the people work in sleep labs, measuring the brain activity of lucid dreamers. Other people do experiential and personal research on lucid dreams, exploring the consciousness that is awake in the dreamstate. There are other people who use dreams to inspire their art. Some use dreams as a therapeutic tool. Some teach people how to run dream groups in churches.
As a first-timer, I was warmly welcomed by the IASD members. Many have been attending these conferences for years and are like an extended family whose roots are a common desire to understand the self through dreams. I was very impressed by the open-minded exchange of ideas and knowledge and a genuine respect that these world-renowned people have for each other’s work and experience.
Many of the people I met at the conference have unique stories to tell concerning how they became interested in dreams. Rita Dwyer, one of the founders of IASD, is an aerospace chemist whose life was saved by a co-worker who pulled her from the fire when there was a rocket fuel explosion in the lab where she was working. Her co-worker had “rehearsed” the rescue in a series of precognitive dreams he had had.
Dale Graff is a man who has used precognitive dreams and psychic ability as former director of the U.S. Government Stargate program used for remote viewing. He was also saved by a precognitive dream that led him to discover a pair of boots in the middle of the Canadian wilderness at a time when he was near starving, exhausted, and without shoes (his had been lost and he could barely walk).
Jean Campbell, a past president of IASD, has founded an organization called the World Dreams Peace Bridge. She became aware that following the events of September 11, 2001, there were people whose dreams were leading them to act on a vision of world peace. She encourages people to intentionally dream for peace and has organized group dreaming projects. She says, “It has always been my contention that if people work from the dream, not just talk about dreaming, humanity has a much better chance of moving toward a much more peaceful place. That’s the reason I have been willing to work hard for IASD’s growth.”
It became clear to me during the 5-day conference that humanity has a strong urge to understand dreams because dreams connect us at a place within ourselves that is universal. We live in a world in which every day people around the globe are influenced by thoughts and events that occur at home or on the other side of the planet. Dreaming connects us. The fact that we all dream is, in itself, a testimony to the truth that we all have something in common, and that our unity is essential to our being.
I was honored to represent the School of Metaphysics at the conference. The S.O.M. has been invested in dream research since 1973. The unique perspective the school holds is that dreams come from the soul. As such, they tell us about our attitudes, our state of awareness, not about the physical events in our lives. Understanding dreams awakens us to the experience of a greater “Self.” As we have direct experience with the inner self, we can experience ourselves more as spiritual beings. We become more awake to who we are. It may seem like a paradox, that as we learn about ourselves through dreams, we become more awake!
May we all become more whole through connecting with our inner selves through dreams and uniting with one another through our visions.•
Dreamtime: An integrative health series for public television
DREAMTIME is an educational public television series under development that will unravel the mystery of dreams. You’ll learn why we dream, how to remember your dreams and how to understand the simple language with which your dreams speak and offer guidance every night.
We all dream! Since the dawn of consciousness, poignant, frightening and inspiring dreams have colored the fabric of human life. No matter our culture, age, sex, or socioeconomic status, dreams speak a universal language.
During the IASD conference, Chris Lemley and Viki Anderson interviewed dream experts for this 6-week series on dreams to be broadcast on PBS starting this fall.
Amy Pawlus and Dr. Laurel Clark were instrumental in making this series happen. Chris is someone Amy has known since childhood; when she was putting together a funding proposal, Amy and Dr. Laurel helped write the part about why dreams are important, based on the knowledge the School of Metaphysics has gleaned over 35 years. They were also featured in the pilot produced to promote the show and to procure funding. As Viki wrote, “Laurel, we would never be where we are today without our first angels, and that is you, Amy, and the School of Metaphysics! You enabled us to create the pilot/promotional video. That video your interview and stories has been our ambassador opening up many doors and opportunities for us. What a gift!”
You can view a snippet of the pilot and read more about the Dreamtime television series on the web at www.dreamtimetv.org. Watch for it on your local PBS station starting this fall!