Blog: Dreaming Alive
by greggechols

The Collective Dreaming Project

As we reflect on the tragedy of six years ago on our nation, let us heed the call of a national figure and begin to actively move our dreams into the "dayworld," and let us do so now!

Date:   9/11/2007 3:51:42 PM   ( 13 y ) ... viewed 2215 times

Once again, the tragedy of September 11, 2001 is upon us. The other day I discovered an article by former Reagan staffer Peggy Noonan talking about this event, and she pondered the effect of Sept. 11 on our national psyche in her July 19, 2002 Wall Street Journal article entitled “The Nightmare and the Dreams: How has Sept. 11 affected our national unconscious.” In that 2002 article she writes of a "baby boom" in New York City since the attacks, and, also:

"A dream boom, too. The other day I spoke with a friend I hadn't seen since the world changed. He was two blocks away when the towers fell, and he saw everything. We have all seen the extraordinary footage of that day, seen it over and over, but few of us has seen what my friend described: how in the office buildings near the World Trade Center they stood at the windows and suddenly darkness enveloped them as the towers collapsed and the demonic cloud swept through. "It was total darkness," he told me. But the lights were on. They stood in his office wearing wet surgical masks. They couldn't go out, but inside their building the smoke worked its way into the air conditioning. So they turned it off and stood there sweating and watching on TV what was happening two blocks away.

Did you see those forced to jump? I asked.

"Yes," he said, and looked away. No descriptions forthcoming.

Have you had bad dreams?

"Yes," he said, and looked away. No descriptions forthcoming.

I thought about this for a few days. My friend is brilliant and by nature a describer of things felt and seen. But not this time. I spoke to a friend who is a therapist. Are your patients getting extraordinary dreams? I asked.

"Always," he laughs.


"Yes," he says, mostly among adolescents.

I asked if he was saving them, writing them down. He shook his head no.

So: The Sept. 11 Dream Project. We should begin it. I want to, though I'm not sure why. I think maybe down the road I will try to write about them. Maybe not. I am certain, however, that dreams can be an expression of a nation's unconscious, if there can be said to be such a thing, and deserve respect. (Carl Jung thought so.) ."


The Sept. 11 Dream Project...what can we do with such a calling? This pronouncement by Peggy Noonan was made five years ago: what has been done to move this visionary idea forward? Our dreams have been talking about not only the Sept. 11 attacks, but about how our national unconscious has continued to ask us to change: as individuals, and as a nation. The war in Iraq continues, despite millions of citizens opposed to this effort. Are we not, as a nation, ignoring our dreams in the same way our government is ignoring our calls to end the war? Are we not listening to the inner voices that attempt to guide our waking lives, ignoring them as though they hold no “real” authority or power? If the citizens of our nation are powerless, ignored by the “responsible” government, then, too, our dreams and visions are being ignored by us, a “responsible” citizenry.

Let us move forward with this "call" of Peggy Noonan's. I imagine such an effort being made, today, as we reflect on that terrible tragedy of six years ago. Therefore, my vision:

The Collective Dreaming Project is a grassroots effort by a talented group of dreamers, including artists, psychologists, musicians, poets, teachers, politicians, gardeners, housekeepers, farmworkers, children, grandparents, lovers, bakers, healers and business people--to name a few--to teach a larger community the foundations of dreaming and create awareness of the reality of our individual participation in the collective dreaming of the species and planet. This Project would serve to host classes, seminars and workshops involving art, music, dance and movement, spoken word, and literature in experiential gatherings to awaken individuals and groups to the power of our collective dreaming, awakening the collective dream within us.

I envision the Collective Dreaming Project as a grassroots movement to awaken each of us to the power of our dreams, and to begin harnessing this power by our very simple and elementary act of working to bring our dreams out of the night and into the day world: if by nothing else, remembering them, talking about them, and being open to the expressions they seek in the world. Perhaps we don’t need to leave our day jobs in order to satisfy this requirement. Perhaps we don’t need to leave our families, our churches, our social organizations; yet, by acknowledging our dreams, we are leaving behind the status quo that says our dreams mean nothing and only express “day residue,” “garbage,” and “infantile wishes and fantasies.” Taking our dreams seriously—acknowledging the imagery and symbols we awaken with each morning—means taking a new road for most of us. It means opening ourselves to the possibility that there is a guiding force within us that is seeking expression. We don’t need to be artists, musicians, or poets in order to be guided by our dreams. We simply listen, acknowledge them, notice them, feel them in our bodies—and the world will respond. There is a much larger dream occurring that we each our dreaming. Our mechanistic worldview denies the validity of the dream, and look at the mess we’re in: global warming, pollution, dying lands and waters, toxic waste, and governments no longer held accountable to the people who elected them. Perhaps by waking up to the messages of the dreams we can begin to clean our psychic garbage and move into a worldwide movement of healing. In this way we can hear the “messages” arising in our dreams and collectively move past this age of terrorism striking across the world. Our psyches, too, contain the energies of terrorism: for they have not been heard or listened to, and want our attention. How else does one become noticed? How else does one make a mark upon the world? Our dreams, visions and intuitions have been ignored, and they, too, will find an outlet for expression—as have terrorists all across the world. Maybe this very psychic act of listening to our dreams will manifest outwardly into the world so that terrorists, too, will find alternative outlets in order to be heard.

It’s time we take the dream out of the psychotherapist’s office, out of the consulting room, and return it into the world via our bodies. Waking each morning with an awareness of the dream, we consciously move it where it wants to go, into the world. This is serving the dream of the collective, not to mention our own individual dream seeking expression. By consciously waking in it, with it and within it, the dream is awakened into the world. We don’t need to bring it to a psychotherapist in order to validate the dream. We may not even do anything with it

Peggy Noonan--a former Reagan speechwriter, certainly not a psychologist, dream analyst, or so-called "visionary"--this woman was hearing something deep within herself back in 2002, and perhaps felt it was an “aside” that needed expression, yet had no form. The Collective Dreaming Project, in working to harness the dreaming energies throughout communities across the world, could serve as a form. This Project is being molded right now in our dreams, through our artistic expressions, and in our willingness to move away from the status quo. No war march on Washington will have as much power as that generated to us each night in the dream. This is our march, this is our protest: listening to our nightly dreams and bringing them into our waking world. We awaken from the status quo in doing this, and the collective energies created by this movement will foster change, and the dream of the collective is asking this in these moments.

I offer this to the community as a means of taking back the dream: our churches tried to squash our dreams and visions centuries ago, and our culture as a collective refuses to take our nightly visitations seriously. Let us take back the power. Let us harness the dreams, and start now.

The Collective Dreaming Project

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Comments (25 of 106):
Re: This Page is L… voide… 12 y
uncomfortable thou… #4652… 13 y
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thanks, Gregg Liora Leah 14 y
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I am !! I am havin… #4611… 14 y
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