A guest post by Stephen Aizenstat, Ph.D.
Just over forty years ago, in Isla Vista, California, at a small community counseling center, an image began to push itself forward. At that time, I along with others felt this "presence" more as a "motivation" than a "known vision" with direction, let alone visibility.
Now, looking back, the essential "soul spark" moving through us at that time had a life of its own. Destiny was unfolding in ways not yet seen. Living images are like that. They make their intentions known through "hints" at first, "intimations," not yet clear patterns of what or how the future will be shaped.
Dream Tending as a personal practice continues to inform how I listen, and then respond, to the ever unfolding dream that is Pacifica. I teach the craft of Dream Tending in each of our academic graduate programs. In the weeks to come I will particularize how the work is shared in each department. With each group of students and alums there has evolved a particularized way of listening to dreams in relation to the vision of the individual program.
What does seem to be true, however, for all groups, is that tending living images of dreams invites more than we, as individuals, can know. Through dreams and imagination, other voices offer their ways of seeing, their knowledge, their diverse perspectives. When we listen to the many voices of psyche, more than what is familiar comes into the room. Others are participating in the construction of our Institution and our individual programs’ aspirations.
In tending dreams, the voices of the ancestors are present. The forces living through each of us and through our tradition make a claim on our attention. For me, the praxis of Dream Tending opens a way that honors the imaginal figures as cherished guests. We invite them to take part in the banquet of ideas. We engage in dialog with those who shape our fate from the beginning.
I look forward to sharing with you the particularity of the praxis of Dream Tending, academic program by academic program, in the weeks to come.
Join us July 14-16 for the workshop Introduction to Dream Tending: A Practical Approach to Dreamwork with Dr. Stephen Aizenstat. Special rates are offered for attendees who are keenly interested in Pacifica’s graduate degree programs, and first-time Dream Tending attendees who are Pacifica students or alumni.
Stephen Aizenstat, Ph.D., is the Chancellor and Founding President of Pacifica Graduate Institute. He is a professor of depth psychology with a Ph.D. in clinical psychology, licensed marriage and family therapist, and a credentialed public schools teacher and counselor. Dr. Aizenstat has provided organizational consulting to companies and agencies and teaches extensively worldwide. Dr. Aizenstat has explored the potential of dreams through depth psychology and his own research for more than 35 years. His Dream Tending methodologies extend traditional dream work to the vision of an animated world where the living images in dream are experienced as embodied and originating in the psyche of Nature as well as that of persons. His work opens creativity and the generative process. His book, Dream Tending, describes multiple new applications of dreamwork in relation to health and healing, nightmares, the World’s Dream, relationships, and the creative process. His other recent publications include: Imagination & Medicine: The Future of Healing in an Age of Neuroscience (co-editor with Robert Bosnak); “Dream Tending and Tending the World,” in Ecotherapy: Healing with Nature in Mind; “Soul-Centered Education: An Interview with Stephen Aizenstat” (with Nancy Treadway Galindo) in Reimagining Education; Essays on Reviving the Soul of Learning; The Soul Does Not Specialize: Revaluing the Humanities and the Polyvalent Imagination, with Dennis Patrick Slattery and Jennifer Leigh Selig: “Depth Entrepreneurship: Creating an Organization out of Dream Space”, in The Transforming Leader: New Approaches to Leadership for the Twenty-First Century; and “Fragility of the World’s Dream”, in Eranos Yearbook 2009-2010-2011 Love on a Fragile Thread.