This Active Dreaming will take you about 30-45 minutes to explore. The first time around you are advised to read through all of Level 1 (Steps 1-8) once or twice before beginning, so you feel confident you know what to do. Level 2 on the other hand, can be gone through step by step as you read the instructions.
So, once you feel like you understand all of the activities of Level 1, please begin.
Next, you will proceed to do the remaining instructions step-by-step.
Active Dreaming is the kind of activity that you may find useful over and over again in many different circumstances. Feel free to take it with you wherever you go.
1) Take a moment or two and think about something in your life that you have been wanting to understand or change in some form or fashion. Choose something that relates to and involves yourself personally.
2) Make an “I am” statement.
State what it is you are wanting to accomplish, as if you had already accomplished your goal.
If your intention is to learn Japanese then your “I am” statement would be something like:
“I am enjoying learning Japanese.”
If you wanted to be a better parent you might say:
“I am a loving and concerned parent.”
If you wanted to lose weight:
“I feel good about my body.”
The shorter the statement the better!
3) When you are ready, clearly make your “I am” statement out loud, so that you can hear what it sounds like. Be certain that your statement is worded in positive terms and in an active present tense. Saying “I don’t want to be so harsh any more” is stating your intention in negative (don’t) terms, and it also signifies that you are not actively performing your intention in the present. In this instance you would do much better to state your desired state as if you had already achieved it – “I am pleasant and supportive with others.”
[Think of it this way: Whatever you say has a tendency to create corresponding pictures in your mind, and these pictures will induce certain feelings and bodily changes, and further internal dialogue. The pictures that you are being asked to create with your use of words, should not contain elements of the undesirable state. So for instance… If you say, “I am no longer overeating” you will still somehow in some way see and feel yourself overweight and/or overeating. You will have a very different image in your mind’s eye if you say “I am maintaining an attractive and healthy body weight and feeling good about myself.”]
4) Start to slowly repeat your “I am” statement over and over again internally as you begin to take a walk around. For instance: “I am enjoying learning Japanese.” If possible, I would suggest walking around outside, unless you have a rather large building to walk around in.
5) In walking around it is important that for most if not all of your walking you walk slowly and calmly. It is also important that you continue to repeat your “I am” statement as internal dialogue, in a slow relaxed manner
Let yourself wander around aimlessly. You will want to walk around for at least 10 or 15 minutes. For many people the larger the space they have to walk around in the more interesting the results.
Be sure to allow yourself a full range of awareness.
Needless to say, seeing what is around you will give way to various thinking. Thoughts of various kinds might also come into your awareness based on what you smell, hear, or touch. Changing your position (from standing up to lying down), spinning around in slow circles, and/or tensing up your body, would also have a marked effect on what you experience. Whatever you wind up doing, simply be aware, AND continue to slowly repeat your “I am” statement, over and over again.
6) As you walk around you will almost certainly find that your mind wanders away from your “I am” statement. This is fine. Come back to your “I am” statement as soon as you notice that your mind has wandered. Please do not allow yourself the luxury of getting caught up in other thoughts.
7) As you walk around (keep a paper and pencil handy in your pocket), notice anything in the environment or about yourself, that grabs your attention. If you can do so easily (in the case of a stick, a flower, a piece of food etc.) pick up the thing that attracts you and bring it along with you. If this is not possible then jot down what it is that has captured your attention and then quickly go back to repeating your “I am” statement. (“I am enjoying learning Japanese.”).
8) When you feel complete, and at least 10 or 15 minutes have elapsed, return back to where you are now, and begin Level 2 of your Active Dreaming.
You might want to read through steps 1-8 a second time before proceeding, so you are confident of what it is you will be doing, and then begin when you are ready.
Please stop your reading of the instructions here.
You have now returned back to the place where you will continue your Active Dreaming. Please now accomplish each step one by one, without needing to read ahead.
9) Set down the item(s) that you have brought back with you (if any).
If you were unable to bring anything back with you, then make a simple drawing of the thing(s) and or context that grabbed your attention. Simply having the name of what interested you written down, is not quite enough. It is not at all important whether or not you are currently adept at drawing. The important thing is that you represent your idea of something in other than words. Having 2 items and 1 drawing etc. is also fine.
10) Take at least two minutes and look at the item(s) and or drawing(s), while you breathe slowly. Initiate the breathing from your stomach area, and let whatever thoughts you have just float by as you “only look” at what is in front of you.
Make some simple notes.
11) Think about what it is (concerning the objects, sounds, and/or drawings etc. that you brought back with you) that grabbed your attention initially (when you first saw, heard and or felt them).
Make some simple notations.
12) State what it is about the item(s), sound(s), drawing(s) that grabs your attention now as you look at them. You might have some new ideas from the last step, or you might not.
Once again, make some notes.
13) Take at least another full minute, and once again look at the item(s) and or drawing(s), while you breathe slowly. Initiate the breathing from your stomach area, and let whatever thoughts you have just float by as you “only look” at what is in front of you.
14) Now state how it is specifically that the objects that you have before you seem to relate to both a) Your “I am” statement, and b) Yourself.
One excellent way to do this is to create a metaphor or story based upon the objects your brought back and what you noticed.
For instance: In thinking about enjoying learning Japanese I saw an old abandoned shoe and I realized how comfortable an old shoe can be and how I am feeling really comfortable with my Japanese language ability………”
15) Take another moment or two to take a few breaths originating from your stomach, and then think about your reactions to this exercise.
Make some terse notes.
What have you learned?
Did you not find it interesting to experience how your mind seemed to “self select” objects, thoughts, feelings, that somehow “matched” your “I am” statement?
Active Dreaming is useful in a wide range of human activities.
Making believe that you have already solved a certain situation and noticing your thoughts and reactions when you are in this “I am” state will usually yield very different results than musing over the solving of the problem.
Lots of new ideas usually come out of a session like this. Ideas that people had never even “dreamed” of.