An Example of Waking Dream Work

The following dreamwork was recorded on tape and then transcribed word by word. The session lasted about 30 minutes; speaking was very slow and you must imagine long pauses between the sentences.

This waking dream work session took place in the spring of 2000 in the course of a workshop attended by about 20 people. This is the reason why the guide is giving explanations, as teachings for the group.

The guide is Nigel Hamilton, I myself am the dreamer.


Dream: "Meeting the bull"

I am going up in a little gondola, I first thought it was a ski-lift, but I get into the gondola because there are children in there, and P. is in the gondola in front. Up on top there is a huge fair, surprising, I thought there would be nothing up there. Many stores, vendors. To the left there is a ski race, slalom, wonderful, the small curves they can make. I want to continue up to the right, on a small path. Not far up, there are animals in the way, probably a bull. He attacks me, I jump over a wooden fence to the left, I am safe, go back down. I can't find P. any more.


Waking Dream Work

Guide: Let’s explore the dream. Close your eyes, breathe out through the mouth a few times. So, just go back to the beginning, describe the scene, the setting and the atmosphere. –

Dreamer: Shall I take you directly to the central scene with the bull? –

Guide: Let's just go back a little first, just to remind me. –

Dreamer: Going up with the gondola... –

Guide: Just stay with the gondola for a few moments, just go with the sensation of rising, going up, up, up, and then to ask your intuition: what does this refer to in my life, like what is it referring to for me and myself, symbolical of something. –

Dreamer: By rising up I come to the snow again and to those waves in the snow, and it's my longing to be in those white spheres –

Guide: mhm, beautiful, perfect places. Ok, so you get to the top, and what do you find? –

Dreamer: All these people and stores and a fair. –

Guide: So it's a bit of an anti-climax, isn't it? –

Dreamer: Yea! –

Guide: You had expected perfection again, and what do you find: the world. –

Dreamer: But at least there is perfection on the left side! –

Guide: Ok. So maybe that's a metaphor that life does have its imperfections, but still the perfection is there too. And that becomes an important spiritual teaching. I know it's very hard to practice, I find it equally hard myself, but, when you look at life, it does help if you can turn a blind eye to the imperfections and look at the perfection some time. So you get a sense, that gives you balance, you see, it helps you to keep balanced. Ok, then you, from seeing the town and the people, you go to a field where there is a bull. –

Dreamer: No, it's not a field. I'm going up towards the right, no snow on the right, just rocks. I decide to go through all this crowd of people and then out and continue ascending, and that's where the bull is. –

Guide: Ok, so now, tell me about the bull, I'd like to know how it looks like. –

Dreamer: Well at first there were many animals there, I didn't differentiate them, also strange animals –

Guide: but it's the bull that you're after –

Dreamer: it's the one that charged me –

Guide: he is the one that's after you, you see, you have to meet the bull –

Dreamer: [pause] it's a stupid bull –

Guide: ok, maybe, but I'm sure there is a nice side to him too. Like there's no part of us that's really so objectionable that you have to completely run away from it –

Dreamer: he is red –

Guide: he is red? That's quite a bull –

Dreamer: he has horns –

Guide: well, why don't you just stand, don't run, come up to him, and look him in the eyes, pat him on the head, get to know him, because he is a part of you. In fact, the reason why he is chasing you is that you keep forgetting him, running away. But you need this bull to help you in everyday life. Just make contact with the bull. –

Dreamer: He kind of wants to look down, if I want to look in his eyes, he's got to lift his head –

Guide: mhm –

Dreamer: he's kind of sad –

Guide: mhm –

Dreamer: he has large black eyes. –

Guide: Now as you touch him, just see what part of your body does the bull correspond to? –

Dreamer: All the sadness is in the solar plexus right now. –

Guide: Right. See, that's the center of power –

Dreamer: [tears] he looks so strong, but he is not so strong –

Guide: mhm, you see, he feels ashamed because you think he's stupid all the time. It's like a bull without horns, a very sorry bull. Give him a chance to prove himself! –

Dreamer: How can I do that? –

Guide: Well, befriend the bull, make him your friend. And let him help you with his strength and power. When there are things that you can't move, he'll willingly push them for you, when there's a load that's too heavy to carry, he'll willingly pull it for you. And he'll be very proud, because he's working for you, he feels that he has a use on earth. So if you think of power, it is not necessarily something dangerous, or stupid, or bad, but when it's harnessed it can be put to good use. –

Dreamer: [long pause] He's got a golden crown now. –

Guide: Aha, I want to say something about that. In many of the major spiritual traditions, the foundations of creation emanate from a quaternity, a throne of four figures. For example in the Bible (Old Testament), we refer to the four beings in the vision of Ezekiel. One is Divine man, one is the Divine courage, which is the lion, one is the Divine insight, which is the eagle, and the forth pillar of the throne of God is the Divine power, which is the bull. Now, if you remove this principle, you cannot build anything, it is a fundamental building block in life. When you recognize the spiritual significance of power, which even the bull can carry, then you have begun to tap into a secret, and that's what is symbolized by the golden crown on the bull.

Now just allow that feeling to emerge from your solar plexus. [pause] You can even imagine, like in the first dream sequence, walking through that plane and being very bold, and being invested with power. [pause] How does that feel now? –

Dreamer: Great. –

Guide: Ok. Well, that almost defines a new meditation practice for you, meditate on the bull. The bull, actually, well, he is the power in you, don't deny that power. (It is simply a quality, an energy that is more ‘earthy’, that is there to help you.) If it's in the service of God, it's perfectly good. If it's used to serve others, to help others, it's perfectly good. So may that help you in your next step. [End of Dreamwork]


Comments: The waking dream work reveals what is behind the fear of the bull and makes it possible to deeply experience a hitherto unknown kind of power. This experience happens in imagination, and at the same time it is very real; imagination has served as the bridge between outer and inner reality. Doing the meditation practices which follow logically from this work will serve to integrate this experience firmly in life.