The IASD Celebrates 25 Years of Dreaming
by Dr. Laurel Clark
The Silver Cord...dreams during the conference by Dr. Barbara Condron
|Seven representatives from the School of Metaphysics recently attended the 2009 Annual Conference of the International Association for the Study of Dreams (IASD). The IASD is a not-for-profit, international, multidisciplinary organization dedicated to the investigation of dreams and dreaming. 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 signification of dreaming; to advance the application of the study of dreams; and to provide a forum for the eclectic and inter-disciplinary exchange of ideas and information. IASD membership represents over 30 countries and people from all disciplines including clinical psychologists, academic scholars, therapists, anthropologists, dreamworkers, researchers, artists, educators, writers, scientists, government officials, filmmakers, ministers, and many more. |
Jacquie Lewis, 2009 Conference Host, described the conference this way, “As more and more information about the sad state of our planet comes forth, we as a global community are called upon to find sane answers to what are probably the most serious problems that humankind has ever faced. Since the 1970’s, our individual consciousness has been raised about vital issues like global warming, acid rain, rainforest destruction, habitat encroachment, and indigenous displacement. The reality is, if we have no livable planet, no home, all other seemingly important issues fall away. The good news is that, now more than ever, there is a heightened collective awareness about these pressing and immediate issues.
“So what might one do to help? Well, there are many things, like recycling, making green investments, or buying consumer products with a conscience. But there is also a pressing need for us to use our ingenuity and creativity to make the world a better place, so we can all make a difference. And this, folks, is where dreams can play a part.
“As a unique group of people who understand and appreciate the deeply rich, creative, and spiritual value of dreams, we are called upon not only to make ‘green’ changes in our daily waking lives, but to turn to the wisdom of our unconscious processes for guidance and hope. Dreams can offer this. And they can offer solutions.”
The recognition that dreams offer guidance beyond the reach of the conscious mind is one of the foundations of the School of Metaphysics study. There are people around the world who recognize the power and importance of dreams, using them for different purposes and approaching dreamwork from different perspectives. The IASD conference was a meeting of minds, for people to share their experiences, ideas, research, joys, creativity, and talents with one another. Keynote speakers Stanley Krippner and Barbara Tedlock spoke about shamanism and dreaming. Robert Moss spoke and led workshops on intuition and coincidence, presenting innovative ways to draw upon the power of the subconscious mind for guidance. These are described in his latest book, The Three “Only” Things: Dreams, Coincidence, and Imagination. (The title comes from people who say, “It was ‘only’ a dream; it was ‘only’ coincidence; it was ‘only’ your imagination.”)
As this was the IASD’s 25th year anniversary, on opening night there was a celebration of the history of the organization and the people who have been invested in its development for a quarter of a century. Balloons, birthday cake decorated with the organization’s logo, door prizes, and hula dance lessons by dream expert Patricia Garfield rounded out the party!
School of Metaphysics educators Dr. Daniel and Dr. Barbara Condron, Dr. Laurel Clark, and Bethany Keen all gave presentations at the conference. Barbara created and presented a film called, “Emotion in Dreams.” Laurel gave a presentation on how dream incubation works, describing the steps of visualization. Daniel gave a presentation on consciousness and repetitive dreams. Bethany gave a workshop on yoga dreaming, guiding participants into the reverie state. Laurel also presented “Intuitive Dreaming,” describing precognitive and visitation dreams and their relationship with waking intuitive experiences like telepathy and clairvoyance. Barbara presented research from the Global Lucid Dreaming Experiments conducted at the College of Metaphysics since 2008.
In addition, 14-year-old Hezekiah Condron met many of the leaders and speakers at IASD, conducting interviews on the first dream each person remembered and what they think is important about dreams and dreaming. Dr. Sheila Benjamin and Dr. Barbara Condron served as videographers. Hezekiah is in the process of making a film with these interviews. Perhaps he’ll be a presenter next year, showing his film!
Dr. Sheila Benjamin and Brian Kraichely also attended the conference, volunteering at the registration table and as room monitors. Volunteering is a good way to engage with the people who attend and the people who are leaders in the organization. Dr. Laurel and Bethany also served as volunteers.
There were some fascinating presentations. Dale Graff, former Director and creator of Project Stargate, the government program in remote viewing (yes, the CIA was involved with this before the movie Stargate appeared!) gave a talk on his experiments with clairvoyant and precognitive dreams. He gives himself tests, such as intentionally dreaming the front page of the newspaper three days in advance. Or he will choose to dream a particular page in a magazine. He records the dream image in a drawing, and then compares it to the newspaper when it appears, or the magazine page. His results are astonishing; sometimes his drawings almost exactly match the photo. He pointed out that when there is a resonant brain image (in other words, a memory) of something similar, it is easier to accurately interpret the dream image. He discussed some of the practical applications of such dreaming, and it was research like this that was used for government intelligence.
“Qigong Dreaming” was another unusual presentation. Christine Bjergo is a licensed acupuncturist with a degree in Oriental Medicine and a Grand Master of Sacred Serpent Spiral Qigong. A dream led her to pursue quigong as a personal discipline. She uses dreams of her clients at times to diagnose their needs. She said, for example, if a client dreams of wanting to fly into the sun, she discerns that they need more heat in the body and she will prescribe Chinese herbs that produce fire.
The conference featured a special exhibition of dream art; a juried show in which all of the paintings and sculpture were dream-inspired. There was a multi-media dance/voice/film piece by Lana Nasser, filmed during her recent trip to her native Jordan. There were also several films shown during the conference, including one excellent one on lucid dreams made by two college students, one a student of film-making and another who hosts a discussion group on lucid dreaming. The film “Universal Archetypes,” the first of the Dreamtime television series, was shown twice by the producer and creative director Viki Anderson. She said that it has been nominated for an Emmy award! I hve a brief interview in the film, and Amy Pawlus and I were instrumental in making the pilot which launched the entire project.
At one of the panels I attended on “Key Issues in Dream Education,” I learned something significant. The presenters were all teachers: one is a professor at Harvard Medical School, teaching dreams to graduate students. One is a psychotherapist who teaches students who are becoming therapists at U.C. Berkeley. One is a professor of Arts and Humanities at Corcoran College of Art and Design. He teaches an inter-disciplinary humanities course on dreams in art and writing. The other one is now retired, and used to teach dreams to psychology students at Hawaii Pacific University. They said that dream education in universities is so rare that the four of them know everyone in the world who teaches dreams somewhere! There are a very small handful of courses available. Furthermore, hardly any students who are learning to become therapists do any personal dream work. What they do study about dreams is primarily theoretical, not experiential.
This shows that there is a real need to teach dreams to students in the academic world. Alan Siegel, a psychologist who teaches dreams to students learning to become clinical psychologists, said that his students love his class because his students get to learn about themselves, something they rarely get to do. In teaching people how to learn about themselves through understanding dreams, the School of Metaphysics has something that very few people in the entire world have. That’s how important this education is to the future of humanity.
Dreams have changed the world through scientific discoveries, military intelligence, artistic inspiration, and personal guidance. The International Association for the Study of Dreams and the School of Metaphysics are significant forces in the world to aid more people to pay attention to this treasure that exists within each one of us.•