Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Orthodoxy and Dreams

For reasons I do not yet completely understand, some ecclesiastics in the Orthodox Christian tradition do not generally value dreams. With due respect for this tradition I believe that in light of new knowledge and experience, this attitude should be reexamined.

In the early 1990s, while teaching a dream seminar in Ventura, California, the week's subject focused on the four basic patterns of dreams that I had identified over the years. These patterns are: Transformative, Motivational, Anticipatory and Traumatic. In describing and discussing the "Anticipatory" pattern, one student asked, "Have you ever scored the dreams in the Bible?"

This question stopped me cold!

"No!" I exclaimed with surprise and then excitement. "Thank you for the question, I will look up and score every dream in the Bible this very night and report next week." Since I was then an active Mormon, as were many of the seminar participants, I used the King James Version as my reference. Below is a "CREEI scan" of my findings from that seminar. Before explaining the CREEI scan, please note that of 19 dreams found, 15 are from the Old Testament leaving 4 from the New. The first ten dreams in the Old Testament are found in the Book of Genesis. The last three are in the Book of Daniel, one of which is considered a vision. All 4 of the dreams reported in the New Testament are in Matthew, three of which are Joseph's, which warn him how to protect Mary and Jesus. The remaining dream of Pilot's wife is contemporary with the later life of Jesus. This dream affected Pilot's behavior and decision regarding what to do about Jesus and the Jewish ecclesiastics who sought his life, but not enough to protect him from crucifixion. And because of this, world history was forever changed.

[Note, this list below does not consider "visions" as dreams, with the exception Daniel's dream just mentioned. Visions might be considered to be waking dreams. Conversely, dreams might be considered to be night visions.]

The very first dream in the Bible (in Genesis) is where God makes a covenant with Abram and changes his name to Abraham. It scores "Anticipatory-Traumatic". Such dreams profoundly frighten the dreamer.

Note also that ALL but two of the 19 dreams in the Bible score "Anticipatory" (prophetic, precognitive). This obviously seems why they were important enough to be recorded in the sacred record.

Only one dream, King Solomon's only recorded dream, scores "Transformative" where Solomon negotiates with God for wisdom and his wish is granted.

The only "Motivational" dream is Egyptian King Abimelech's, which warns him to stay away from Abraham's "sister". Fortunately for him, King Abimelech was motivated to heed the warning.

The seminar student's question allowed us to discover a significant and surprising Biblical treasure.

CREEI scan of Bible Dreams (Click to enlarge)

The CREEI score is based on answers to 12 simple questions, which may be answered Yes (+), No (-) or Don't know (?). The questions can be asked of ANY dream (OR external experience). Note that the term "CREEI" is an acronym composed of the first letters of the key words in the first five questions.

The Twelve CREEI Questions
Questions briefly explained with respect to the dream self in each scene:

1. Is the scene Clear? (Can you describe it clearly?)

2. Is your Role proactive or responsive? (Rather than absent, passive or reactive.)

3. Is your Emotion (passion) high?

4. Are you Expressing your emotion?

5. Are you Interacting with others? (Rather than withdrawing or being alone.)

6. Is the scene complete or resolved? (Is there a sense of closure?)

7. Is it pleasant? Does it include satisfaction, joy, beauty, aesthetics and/or abundance?

8. Are you secure? (Do you feel safe?)

9. Do you have a sense of healthy self-esteem or self-worth?

10. Are you being your authentic present self? (Rather than pretending.)

11. Are you becoming all that you can be? Are you on the path towards self-actualizing? (Rather than procrastinating.)

12. Are you beloving of all beings? (Do they experience their own beauty in your presence?)

Scores can be examined in terms of the Four Patterns mentioned above. For those interested in how these patterns are developed, see www.creei.org.

Ten CREEI Assumptions
1. Dreams are images from the heart that reflect waking life.
2. Dreams are personal metaphors, thus the dreamer is the ultimate interpretive authority.
3. The CREEI Process may be applied to any event, whether dreaming or waking.
4. Dream content need not be disclosed (a safety mechanism).
5. The CREEI process is non-interpretive.
6. The CREEI process is non-judgmental.
7. There is no such thing as a bad or meaningless dream.
8. All dreams are of equal value, whether fragmentary or lucid.
9. Dreams always contain new information.
10. Peace and joy exist (can be found) in any dream or event.

In further contemporary support of the importance of applied dream work, the Reverend Jeremy Taylor, author of When People Fly and Water Runs Uphill, has published his Ten Assumptions that are similar to those of the CREEI Process. Dream work is at the center of his highly effective ministry to prisons, troubled neighborhoods and community building. Here they are:

Jeremy Taylor's Ten Assumptions about Dreams (click to enlarge)

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