1. Commitment – All dreamwork students, dreamwork therapist students and trainers are asked to clearly understand and commit to these guidelines.
So the second step after understanding these guidelines is commitment. Commitment is a sustained choice is a chosen direction for a definite period of time. Little core learning is possible without also a core commitment. The uncommitted can always escape into their defense systems, whether good for them or not. A commitment to a value means you choose for the value over any ego desire that may arise. Of course we are not asking for a life-long commitment to anything. This is not a religion but an approach for focus in living life. If you have a methodology that works in reality you do not need a dogma. But to have professional standards that are real you must of course experience them as real, as a challenge to your ego, and in this way you ground ideas and words in direct experience of yourself practicing living up to your values and commitments no matter what.
2. Professionalism – Professionalism is a commitment to living the core and necessary values of the form one chooses to work in. It means choosing for objectivity over subjectivity.
It means the building of personal integrity by a serious study in the form as well as using the form for personal change and growth. It means staying in the program for the length of the commitment and doing what is necessary to experience both oneself and the program as fully as possible. It means allowing honest feedback from fellow students and trainers so as to sort out and face the reality of one’s own being. It means also when one’s training is over that one still practices the fundamentals that one would teach to others. Who you are outside is also who you are inside. What you do inside is also what you do outside.
3. Study, Work, Discipline, Caring – These four key words indicate what is really necessary to work honestly with one’s dreams at a core level of integrity and personal development.
With dreams it is so easy to fool oneself and others because of the human tendency to project inner content onto outer content such as the symbolism of dreams. Study means to apply what is being taught to yourself and in your work with others. Do more than is asked for in training sessions. Live the process as a way of life while you are in it.
4. Work and Discipline mean keeping to an ongoing commitment to do the assignments and to do them well. It also means doing personal work on one’s dreams and on oneself. Keep at it.
Do the needed things even sometimes when you don’t want to do them or are not feeling well. Come to training sessions whether you feel well or not when you can. Work and discipline keep the focus, channel the energy, help deal with and not give in to the regressive pull.
5. Caring means supporting yourself first so then you can also support others. Trying to take care of others first and not really dealing with yourself is intrusive behavior, badly motivated to increase one’s ego-importance.
How much better it is to care for oneself rather than project longing to be cared for and appreciated by others. One is realistic and the other is projective, unrealistic and often intrusive, trying to manipulate others rather than take one hundred percent responsibility for oneself. True caring comes from grounding oneself in one’s own process so that when one participates in another’s process there is a degree of objectivity that allows the person being supported to have their own experiences and values. What an amazing experience it is to learn to care objectively rather than subjectively which is so often hidden manipulation of others.
6. Responsibility – We operate under the aegis of a commitment to take one hundred percent responsibility for your own actions and whatever reactions you have within yourself. This means a commitment to practice not living through others, not blaming or praising others when one is suffering or feeling joy.
To truly use dreams and dreamwork as a major guidance for how we live our lives means taking one hundred percent responsibility. We need this because we do not know what dreams will bring up for us. In concrete terms we ask committed students and trainers to follow the whole of the dream and its core issues, rather than follow the dream ego’s position in the dream or the waking ego’s position in life. What separates this approach to dreams is that we make the clear distinction between what the personal, subjective ego wants and what the greater center that produces the dream gives us to deal with.
We are an advocate for the whole dream in its wholeness and not for the ego to assert control and dominance. Thus while most approaches assert that the dreamer is the final person to decide what the dreamer means we take a different position that the dreamer is only part of the process and not the decider alone. Those who interpret dreams are inevitably keeping ego control over the dream content and its affects through labeling symbols with particular concepts, symbol experiences or “aha” experiences. We have found and taken the position that we have dreams because we need to understand and deal with our fundamental issues.
It would be far too easy to exclaim to one’s dream group or instructor, Aha! Now I know what my dream means! Do you? How can you possibly know why your dream has come to you if you have not objectified it and done dreamwork with it that takes you further into personal change and experiential reality?
7. Following The Dream – Every approach or form for lifestyle living must have a fundamental focus. Ours is the dream itself and its dreamwork.
We make the fundamental assumption that dreams are a major source of guidance and development if we do committed dreamwork with them. Thus it is extremely ethical to make the conscious commitment, and live it, to following one’s dreams for guidance and chance. But if you have a methodology you don’t need a dogma, as said before. Following one’s dreams doing dreamwork means developing a fundamental honesty and integrity to actually go through changes and new choice-making based on seeking to resolve issues raised by one’s dreams. Integrity is based on what is directly experienced and not on what one says about oneself.
Following the dream means, not interpretation, but action. And seen positively, what a wonderful and challenging experience it is to have originated from within oneself a master guidance more powerful and real than any guru or master. Of course, some people can have a change and healing process evoked by working with those wise in the wisdom of the self and the world. But to contrast this, what an amazing experience it is also to consciously develop and ongoing relationship with one’s own dream source, thereby changing and making conscious one’s life.
8. Guidelines are guidelines and not rules. They are general principles for living a committed life to the values chosen.
When decisions need to be made reference to the principles agreed upon should be made and then applied to the specifics of a person or issue. We cannot live simply by laws and rules in following the creative source such as that which produces the dream. Reality is always changing and we must change with it. We live by principles and not rules. We do not base our decisions or our behavior on precedents set in the past but we do apply realistic principles for living that apply in the contemporary now. In this spirit we can keep developing into the future, letting the past go as soon as it is no longer that relevant. Commitments are always made in the now as a dedication to chosen values also into the future, as far as one and one’s organization are able to carry these values out.
We do not practice judging people right or wrong, good or bad, but we do evaluate not only ourselves but others we are working together with.
Let this always be in a spirit of both caring and honesty, and with the goal to sort things out, heal what is possible and end things that are not consistent with our focus of working clearly and honestly with our dreams
by Strephon Kaplan-Williams