Save the World
Yes, that’s right. Dream work can save the world. “Working with dreams in voluntary groups builds community, deep supportive intimacy, and provides a place where creative responses to life’s challenges can be brought to consciousness.” So writes Jeremy Taylor in Where People Fly and Water Runs Uphill.
Just as individuals project devalued aspects (our “shadows”) of ourselves onto others, entire groups do this. It is what “us” vs. “them” is all about. Communities, countries, entire races project dark aspects of themselves, about which they have a blind spot, on each other. I’m sure you can identify how two sides of a conflict do this – easily, if you aren’t part of it. During WWII, Germans projected their shadow onto the Jews. White Americans were outraged about this but continued to project their shadow aspects onto African-Americans for decades after that.
How can group dream work help? Once again, dreams show us these shadow parts of ourselves. Whenever we dream of unsavory or scary figures, we’re coming face to face with our shadow parts. If we learn to grapple with these individually, we’re less likely to succumb to group-think and fall into an unconscious going along with collective opinion without examination. Thinking about contending with our shadow parts, I’m appreciative of that great psychologist, Jesus, who admonshed us to attend to the log in our own eye before we try to remove the speck in our brother’s eye.