Dreams, Creativity & Mental Health
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This research showed that sleep is very different from the passive, inactive brain state it had been thought to be by all the experts up until that time, including the expert in whose laboratory the contradictory discover was made. Instead, sleep has several periodic active phases, now known as Rapid Eye Movement REM sleep, in which the eyes dart about underneath the eyelids and respiration rate changes, along with numerous other physiological and behavioral changes. Most of all, it was soon discovered that the most vivid dreaming occurs during this stage of sleep, which means that most people spend at least percent of each night dreaming, far more than ever had been imagined in the past.
I say "most" people, not everyone, because evidence has emerged that adults with certain kinds of brain lesions and pre-school children do not dream. These laboratory studies gave a material reality to what hitherto had appeared to be an ephemeral and irregular phenomenon, and thereby reinforced the inclination to believe that dreams are somehow of deep and fundamental importance. Within this context, Senoi Dream Theory was the crucial final ingredient -- as shown in great detail in Chapter 3 -- in the creation of the dreamwork movement.
1. Keeping a dream diary provides us a record.
That's because it added the idea that dreams can be shaped and controlled through positive group experiences. It isn't just that dreams contain wisdom in esoteric symbolic form, as Jung claimed, or that they can be used in an aggressive fashion in therapy groups to deal with personal problems, as Perls said. In addition, according to Senoi Dream Theory, dreams can be shared and shaped in groups in a positive and supportive fashion for the benefit of everyone, not just specific individuals with problems.
As the literature of the now-defunct Jungian-Senoi Institute in Berkeley put it in the early s, "Senoi dreamwork emphasizes the deliberate alteration of dream states, the resolution in dreams of problems encountered in waking consciousness, dream 'rehearsal' for activity while awake, and the application of dreams to creative individual and community projects. The human potential movement has long since disappeared, but the dreamwork movement lives on. The people who were said to first practice this new way of thinking about and using dreams, the Senoi, are an aboriginal people who live in the jungle highlands of Malaysia.
Numbering between 30, and 45, for the past 50 years, they live near rivers in loose-knit settlements of fifteen to people. The Senoi are characterized by the dreamwork movement as an easygoing and nonviolent people. Their ideas about dreams are so appealing because they are believed to be among the healthiest and happiest people in the world.
There is reportedly no mental illness or violence precisely because they have a theory of dream control and dream utilization unlike anything ever heard of in Western history. The main source on the Senoi use of dreams is the work of Kilton Stewart , who first learned about the Senoi during a stay in Malaya now Malaysia in In addition, Stewart's writings on the Senoi are supplemented by the work of psychologist Patricia Garfield, author of the best-selling Creative Dreaming , which was reprinted with a new introduction in Although her book has chapters on the dream practices of Native Americans, ancient Greeks, and Eastern mystics, it is in fact built around her chapter on how to learn and utilize what are said to be Senoi principles for controlling dreams.
Garfield visited with some Senoi at the aborigine hospital in Gombak, Malaysia, in Until the early s, Garfield was the only dream researcher besides Stewart claiming direct knowledge of Senoi dream practices. She was that crucial "second opinion" that helped solidify belief in the reality of Senoi Dream Theory. Moreover, she tantalized readers by reporting that her personal use of Senoi techniques led to a decline in the number of dreams in which she was a helpless victim and an increase in the number of dreams in which she had orgasms. According to Stewart: "The Senoi make their dreams the major focus of their intellectual and social interest, and have solved the problem of violent crime and destructive economic conflict, and largely eliminated insanity, neurosis, and psychogenic illness.
As Stewart puts it in a particularly well-turned phrase: "The freest type of psychic play occurs in sleep, and the social acceptance of the dream would therefore constitute the deepest possible acceptance of the individual.
Most of all, Senoi have near-perfect mental health. The Senoi show remarkable emotional maturity. Those in the dreamwork movement who write about the Senoi accept Stewart's claim that this unusual level of health and happiness can be attributed to the way in which the Senoi use and interpret dreams.
For the Senoi, life is a veritable dream clinic. The concern with dreams begins at the break of day. He also recommends certain social activities or gestures which the dream makes necessary or advisable. The dreamwork continues after breakfast at the village council. They discuss the significance of each dream symbol and situation. Each council member expresses his opinion of its meanings.
Those of the tribe who agree on the meaning of a dream will adopt it as a group project. The frank discussion of dreams is especially important in the promotion of social harmony. Negative actions in dreams are discussed with the people who were part of these interactions in order to resolve the problems that might have caused these images.
But the Senoi, it is claimed, not only share and interpret their dreams. Even more significantly, they shape and control them. They are able to have the kinds of dreams they want to have, free of fearful chases and frightening falls, and full of sensuality and creativity. USD Buy Online, Pick up in Store is currently unavailable, but this item may be available for in-store purchase.
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- Why dreaming is vital: Unlocking the power of REM sleep | New Scientist.
- G. William Domhoff.
- Dreams, Creativity and how they are Connected.
- Chapter 1: Introduction and Overview?
We all know that exercise is good for physical health, but recently, a wealth of data has proven that exercise also contributes to overall mental well-being. Consumer-run organizations and other types of mental health self-help are becoming increasingly popular in the Consumer-run organizations and other types of mental health self-help are becoming increasingly popular in the public mental health system. Brenner, I. The characterological basis of multiple personality.
Deconstructing DID. Dissociation of Trauma: Theory, Phenomenology and Technique. Boston: International Universities Press. Butler, L. Hypnotizability and traumatic experience: a diathesis-stress model of dissociative symptomatology.
Encyclopedia of Mental Health - Google Books
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