History, both ancient and modern, is full of stories of how (nighttime) dreams have influenced leaders and events in most every culture and time period. Biblical stories abound of dreams and dream work being experienced by major personalities like Daniel, Joel, Ezekiel–to the surreal experience of John’s Revelation, plus more. All of these point to the honoring of dreams as possibly powerful guides. Stories of military generals and warriors dreaming of specific battles and conquests; of inventor’s “dreaming up” amazing solutions and inventions; of artists, song-writers, authors being influenced by (nighttime) dreams seem to lead us to conclude that dreams serve a purpose for us that has insight, wisdom, knowledge beyond what we know as our “common consciousness” (now, what does that mean? dreams must invite convoluted phrases!). Anyway, dreams sometimes do stuff to us!
So, what would it be like if we were to use our dreams as a resource to intentionally explore conflicts, find solutions, increase creativity and empower individuals and groups in order to develop improved leadership skills? The old saying, “Let’s sleep on it!” could take on a whole new (original?) meaning…
My favorite dream work teacher, Dr. Jeremy Taylor (www.jeremytaylor.com) describes how, many years ago, he tried and was failing to help a community resolve some serious internal differences. In a moment of brilliant frustration, he said, basically, “let’s just talk about our dreams…”. After the normal “what’s?” and “that’s stupid!” and other resistances (and because these folks trusted Jeremy enough), the discussions began…turf conflicts and racial tensions declined. These discussions about dreams increased the community belief that “we are all in this together”.
Was this dream work?
No matter our politics, the post-presidency work of Jimmy Carter through his efforts of peacemaking and disease eradication is astounding in accomplishments–controversy and all. President Carter reports, in his autobiographical writing , that he went through a period of depression after his election loss. Sounds normal enough! He had received gifts of woodworking tools from his former staff to encourage his hobby and his healing. He began to make furniture from native woods on his farm. As he worked, he wondered what to do with the rest of his life? One night, while sleeping, he bolted awake! He knew! Start a center for “waging peace”: conflict resolution and health programs for the poorest of the poor…
I make no claims that Jimmy Carter “dreamed it all up”, except, he certainly did as he did! My “conjecture” supports my theory that the deep percolation of President Carter’s depression, brooding, creativity and “sleeping on it” unlocked an amazing mission.
What would it mean if we explored the dreaming mind of our sleep? What ideas or solutions might emerge in our lives and in our communities, in our businesses, organizations, places of worship, farms, ranches and governments, if we, intentionally, explored, listened to our dreams? What if we explored our dreams, especially, through some form of healthy, safe, community sharing and discussion? How might your dreams help change the world???
I know…sounds kinda weird to me, too… but, I wonder, what have we got to lose?