12/10 "Dreams and Fantasy": Maxine Walden - The Kira Institute
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12/10 "Dreams and Fantasy": Maxine Walden

Pema Pera: Maxine will give a talk this afternoon; you can find more background about her on our web site, by clicking on the events schedule
Pema Pera: In RL Maxine Walden is a physician and a psychoanalyst, studying the psyche for nearly 4 decades.
Pema Pera: The title of her talk is Dreams and Fantasy
Pema Pera: And the conversation will be recorded and published on our web site
Pema Pera: Maxine, the floor is yours!
genesis Zhangsun: Most everyone should have received a notecard but if you would like one (the one that was attached to the invite please ping me)
Maxine Walden: OK, thanks, Pema
Maxine Walden: There are many ways to think about dreams,
Pema Pera: (and Genesis is the Kira coordinator, if you have question about Kira, please speak to Gen)
Maxine Walden: and one's experience with and mentoring in dreams
Maxine Walden: of course will be quite important;
Maxine Walden: here I will call upon my epxerience as a psyhoanalyst who is one studying
Maxine Walden: the unconscious ralms of experience. I will focus upon
Maxine Walden: the emotional experience of dreams, not the neuroscience
Maxine Walden: My current notion is that we constantly are dreaming
Maxine Walden: that is we are always processing sensory data from inside and from outside;
Maxine Walden: our minds are sifting through that data, discarding lots of input,
Maxine Walden: sotring up other meaningful bits
Maxine Walden: metabolizing them into meaning...
Maxine Walden: and that this function which I think of as dreaming
Maxine Walden: occurs unconsciously all the time, that is
Maxine Walden: when we are awake as well as when asleep.
Maxine Walden: I think of this as the dreaming function, that is manking meaning,
Maxine Walden: and that it occurs on several levels of experience at the same time, simultaneously, most all of which remain out of awareness
Maxine Walden: until something triggers that bit of potential meaning into the sphere of attentioon as in a dream or a fantasy.
Maxine Walden: (for me fantasies are rather literally day-dreams'
Maxine Walden: that is aspects of the dreaming function I have just been mentioning which occur to us during the day.
Maxine Walden: The word fantasy gets used a lot, but for this talk I will try to limit it
Maxine Walden: to this rather narrowdefinition. So
Maxine Walden: day-dreams or fantasies during the day
Maxine Walden: and dreams at night, or more correctly
Maxine Walden: dreams when we are alseep, because if we slip into a sleep even briefly during the day
Maxine Walden: we may have a significant dream.)
Maxine Walden: Dreams seem to have several functions: 1) as organizer of the emotional experience of the day
Maxine Walden: placing certain experiences into contexts with memories of similar
Maxine Walden: perhaps nodal experiences from the past.
Maxine Walden: Here then the dream serves to integrate current experience with the past,
Maxine Walden: networking perhaps,
Maxine Walden: giving new or evolving meaning to experiences.
Maxine Walden: 2) Dreams are also problem solvers.
Maxine Walden: That famous dream of Kekule who in the 1860s was trying
Maxine Walden: to discern the structure of benzene and dreamt of a snake biting its tail...
Maxine Walden: this lead to his realization that benzene molecule is in the form of a ring.
Maxine Walden: And interesting example of the unconscious at work and presenting to the conscious self
Maxine Walden: an 'answer' to the puzzle.
Maxine Walden: Many of us probably know that experience ourselves:
Maxine Walden: when we feel that we must go to sleep to 'figure something out''
Maxine Walden: in my experience that feeling alost always peceeds having and remembering a dream
Maxine Walden: which often is helpful re a problem or concern if I can just let my mind play
Maxine Walden: with the dream images and let associations to the dream occur without force.
Maxine Walden: (Maybe it is worth adding that we may also problem solve in our sleep without remembering a 'dream'
Maxine Walden: in that some people who do not recall their dreams
Maxine Walden: awaken in the middle of the night with the 'answer' to something.
Maxine Walden: I personally think this process is akin to the dreaming process just mentioned.
Maxine Walden: 3) Of special interest to me is the dream as messenger:
AstroGrl Enzo: it puts a new meaning on the phrase "let's sleep on it" for me :-)
Maxine Walden: in my experience I have found that dreams convey material simultaneously from several levels of experience: perhaps a worry of the day,
Maxine Walden: a background issue or problem,
Maxine Walden: how one's internal homeostasis is, what might be oing on in the body, etc...
Maxine Walden: Or what the next step of understanding about the self or some concern might be.
Maxine Walden: (In a bit, if it is of interest, I can give an example of a dream as messenger, happened to me just the other day)
Maxine Walden: But first, just wanted to mention another item:
Maxine Walden: how to foster our dreams or our remembering of dreams:
Maxine Walden: My sense is that our trying to be reflective of our inner functions, paying attention
Maxine Walden: as perhaps a mothering person does to her small child when she observes, gives potential meaning to an experience that the child cannot know for itself --
Maxine Walden: this reverie function, that is naming and giving meaning, seems to be what the dream function is really doing,
Maxine Walden: and interestingly I think we can foster that function by setting the stage for reflective attention or reverie to our inner processes. Perhaps this is aking to what certain forms of meditation offer.
Maxine Walden: Just one other point before questions or the dream example:
CTYankee Aeon: I've always found dreaming to be the most exhausting activity I participate in.
Maxine Walden: in my experience so called universal symbols of dreams (that is the thought that the symbol of a snake always means X)
Maxine Walden: are not as helpful as the perspective that each dream
Maxine Walden: is unique to the dream at this moment, that his/her
Maxine Walden: own thoughts/associations which take steps toward meaning regarding the dream elements
Maxine Walden: that this is the more useful approach in discerning the meaning of the dream
Maxine Walden: So now to pause for questions or comments, and/or can offer an example of dream as messenger
Wester Kiranov: id like the example
Pila Mulligan: the example, please, Maxine :)
Gaya Ethaniel nods ^^
Maxine Walden: OK, will do...
Wol Euler: (or did you want us to offer ours? :)
Maxine Walden: Background for the dream:
Maxine Walden: recently at my workplace I have been having intense conversations with colleagues
Maxine Walden: about the future of some aspect of the institution we are all guiding,
Maxine Walden: and I have felt them to be paddling up the wrong creek in some ways,
Maxine Walden: and they likely thinking similarly about me. On the evening
Maxine Walden: before the dream I was expressing my thoughts intensely,
Maxine Walden: trying to make some points, hoping to persuade
Maxine Walden: my colleagues of my point of view,
Maxine Walden: and all that seemed to be happening in the room was that
Maxine Walden: things were heating up, which I think was each of us becoming
Maxine Walden: more embattled in our positions, not really listening to one another.
Maxine Walden: sort of amily bible size,
Maxine Walden: So, here's the dream of that night"
Maxine Walden: I and others are looking at a very large book,
Maxine Walden: encased in a hard plastic transparent asubstance
Maxine Walden: such that it could not be opened at all, could not be reached or touched.
Maxine Walden: There are a lot of people trying to open it, getting frustrated, etc.
Maxine Walden: Then for some reason the casing of the book falls away and I am able to
Maxine Walden: open this large book and I find inside
Maxine Walden: that it is moreless a dusty musty interior
Maxine Walden: with old bits of paper, addresses, but nothing of value at all.
Maxine Walden: That is the dream, and my musings about the dream led me back to the evening before...
Maxine Walden: and how each of us was encased in our own position,
Maxine Walden: perhaps with our own bible or precious text,
Maxine Walden: unavailable to the other, or (sorry just got an IM re where we are)
Maxine Walden: so let me regain the thread of my understanding of the dream
Maxine Walden: each with our own text trying to impose our viewpoint on the others
Alfred Kelberry: hi :)
Alfred Kelberry: em.. a bit late. and my seat is taken :)
Maxine Walden: The book of ahses informed me that that there really is nothing of value to be gleaned from
Alfred Kelberry: pema! :)
Maxine Walden: this 'bible' in these circumstances, that indeed when one is being bull-headed
Alfred Kelberry accepted your inventory offer.
Maxine Walden: thought has receded and there is no value other than trying to impose one's view on the other.
Maxine Walden: The lesson from the dream for me was that once again I had let myself slep
Maxine Walden: into a defensive reaction (encased) position with my colleauges who were also similarly encased. And in order to move forward the dream suggests
Maxine Walden: that I stay aware of that encasedness and try to continue
Maxine Walden: the discussions with a more open book,
Maxine Walden: trying to listen and thus perhaps to be more listened to
Maxine Walden: because to do otherwise is not only fruitless
Maxine Walden: but destroys the value of one's considered position.
Maxine Walden: That is all about the dream....questions, comments?
Pila Mulligan: ... did you learn whether any of your colleagues had similar dreams?
Maxine Walden: you know, I have not learned that; it would be interesting if they did...
antares Martian accepted your inventory offer.
Maxine Walden: maybe I should inquire...maybe we could all have more open books, as it were...
Claire Beltran is Online
Pila Mulligan: do you find many shared or coolective dreams in your practice or expereince?
Alfred Kelberry: em.. you share your dream, maxine?
Maxine Walden: I find that many people who are meeting as a group, perhaps as a retreat setting, may have somewhat similar dreams after sharing an evening together
Vidz Aeon: like social dreaming
Maxine Walden: perhaps they know each other so well they share...yes, a kind of social dreaming,sharing ways of perceiving similar things
Caledonia Heron is Offline
Wester Kiranov: If you are at a retraet together your imagery may converge as well, I'd think
Maxine Walden: question about me sharing my dream, Alfred?
Maxine Walden: agree, Wester
Gaya Ethaniel: Since I started to meditate, I've been remembered less and less dreams and hardly any for a couple of years now... is this common experience? [assuming I dream still as much as others] or... does one remember less as one gets older?
Deepthinker Oh accepted your inventory offer.
Alfred Kelberry: yes, you're telling about a dream you've seen?
Maxine Walden: I think as we go through different phases we may remember our dreams more or less;
Maxine Walden: in my experience it does not depend on age at all, but more
Alfred Kelberry: gaya, i can hardly remember my dreams and no meditation applied :)
Gaya Ethaniel: ^^
Maxine Walden: upon how much conflict we are carrying, how much the various parts of oursleves care to know about each other...things like that
Maxine Walden: Also, however, periods of great stress can lead to less dreaming, I think,
Maxine Walden: out of consevation of energy as it were.
Gaya Ethaniel: Less dreaming or remembering less?
Maxine Walden: Dreaming probably takes energy
Alfred Kelberry: oh, "consevation of energy" - i like this thought
Maxine Walden: Thanks, Gaya, you help me correct myself:
Gaya Ethaniel: np ^^
Deepthinker Oh: Sometimes I dream and have a partial memory but I've never found a patten that might lead to what triggers the dreaming. Now I may dream all the time and only remember sometimes
Maxine Walden: I think we dream all the time, it is the remembering of the dreams I am thinking about
Alfred Kelberry: maxine, that's what i heard, too
Maxine Walden: that there are those internal organizing functions, networking functions that the dreaming process must tend to all the time
Maxine Walden: right, Alfred
Wester Kiranov: I was struck by how dreams seem to use a lot of metaphors as literal images - open books, encasedness, value in your dream for instance. Does that say something about the way our brain uses metaphors and images?
CTYankee Aeon: what about lucid dreams that are indistinguishable from reality?
Maxine Walden: yes, it seems that metaphor is used very much by the dreaming self (whatever we wish to call the dream/image maker)
genesis Zhangsun: MAx I am interested in this idea that we are dreaming while we are awake what you call fantasies could you say then that what we see as important (has meaning) makes up the self in which case we live constantly in a dream?
Maxine Walden: lucid dreams: you know, I really know very little about this even tho I have read/heard a lot about it; I think lucid dreamers should inform us more about this/ I would like that
Maxine Walden: gen, yes, I think your statement is an apt one. That in a way
genesis Zhangsun: just to clarify what I said earlier a bit I am defining "self" as bundle of meanings and as you say if meanings are guided by dream is the "self" a dream
Deepthinker Oh: The idea of the Dream of the World, that we live in a dream of our making is quite distinct from the dreams we have at night or even in occasional awake fugues
Maxine Walden: that in the sense of meaning always being generated that we are constantly in a dream state
CTYankee Aeon: I'm an infrequent lucid dreamer, and when I do, I awake more tired than any other exertion.
genesis Zhangsun: What do you think Max would you call "the self" a dream?
Maxine Walden: I think there are many ways to think/speak/conceive of the dreaming process. Self as a dream is of interest as gen suggests,and for me the notion that we really do 'create' our experience of the world, that what we 'perceive' in the world around us has more to do with our internal states
Moon Fargis is Offline
Alfred Kelberry: gen, what is this "self" thing?
Maxine Walden: than the actual 'world out there'. In this way we are 'creating' or 'dreaming' the outer world. But I think Deepthinkier may have something else in mind
genesis Zhangsun: You tell me Alfred?
Alfred Kelberry: yes, you mentioned it before
Maxine Walden: CTY is a lucid dreamer. It would b einteresting to hear more; can imagine the exhausted feeling...
Alfred Kelberry: recursive dream? :)
Gaya Ethaniel: Before I go [bed time here ^^], one more question Maxine. Have you had a dream where you can change/direct the 'storyline'?
Alfred Kelberry: gaya, i often do
Maxine Walden: Gen, yes, I have had such a dream, recurrent, and a sort of 'in this version I will make it come out X rather than Y...'
Gaya Ethaniel: ah
Maxine Walden: Think that is a kind of lucid dream but others may knowmore aobut that than I
Alfred Kelberry: gaya, it's like if i fall, i end up landing softly :)
Maxine Walden: gaya, do you have that experience, change the ending?
Gaya Ethaniel: ah... ^^ so it's not abnormal as I thought...
Gaya Ethaniel: Yes often Maxine...
Maxine Walden: not at all...likely what we recall as dreams and the dreaming experience is very common, tho folks don't always mention it
Gaya Ethaniel: If I do remember dreams these days, they are those I can 'observe' and sometimes 'change'
Maxine Walden: because it feels so private and often odd to the dream rememberer
CTYankee Aeon: the tiring ones are the ones that play out like a day at work, or RL. I know I'm dreaming because there are subtle clues, but there are no exits, no escampe, and no rest.
Maxine Walden: that would be interesting to follow...maybe trying to change an inner story line
Maxine Walden: CTY, as if you feel caught in the dream?
Maxine Walden: That can feel nearly suffocating, and that might be more a dream
Gaya Ethaniel: Thanks Maxine and everyone. It was very interesting. Good day/night ^^
Wester Kiranov: bye gaya
Maxine Walden: which is attempting to work out a trauma or problematic situation, but with limited success (to date_
Maxine Walden: bye gaya
Alfred Kelberry: gaya, sweet dreams ;)
CTYankee Aeon: not caught, no more caught than an ordinary daytime experience. which is exactly what the dream evolves into.
Maxine Walden: how interesting CTY, the merging of dram into RL experience
Maxine Walden: dream
Wester Kiranov: But if you know you are draming, what is stopping you from resting?
Wester Kiranov: *dreaming ;)
Alfred Kelberry: maxine, you're the host today?
Maxine Walden: I think that we have barely begun to understand dreams, ...
Pila Mulligan: I once shared a house with two married physicians (a DO and an MD) -- one night they had an extensive shared dream about the husband's brother that was identical in all the details they remembered and compared, except that it ended with the broher in a car accident and the DO husband-brother dreamed he survived while the MD wife dreamed he died (does that say something about MD's and DO's?)
Maxine Walden: Alfred, not sure if I am the host...maybe genesis is or Pema?
genesis Zhangsun: Maxine time is up! But this has been really delightful and it seems many people have questions for you
genesis Zhangsun: would you like to do this again possibly?
CTYankee Aeon: The setting mostly. Although it's lucid and I can 'control' what I do, if I'm dreaming I'm at work I must 'drive' home...
genesis Zhangsun: we would love to have you back :)
Maxine Walden: lol, Pila, what an interesting circumstance
Pila Mulligan: :)
Alfred Kelberry: well, you seem to be knowledgeable and people asking you questions :)
Maxine Walden: ok, thanks, gen, would like to continue this conversation at some point
Alfred Kelberry: yes, interesting topic. sorry i was late.
Pema Pera: Max, thank you so much for your lively talk, generating a great discussion!
Wol Euler applauds. thank you maxine.
Pema Pera: Yes, Alf, Maxine was the speaker today
Alfred Kelberry: yay! :)
genesis Zhangsun: Yes I would really like to know more about how dreams could free up and empower us in our waking lives a bit more
Maxine Walden: I relly enjoyed it too...!!! Thanks al
genesis Zhangsun: you talked about this connection but would be wonderful to expand on this
genesis Zhangsun: thanks Max
Wester Kiranov: ty maxine
Maxine Walden: happy to try to expand as folks would like
Alfred Kelberry: wait.. is it 8 am in kyoto, pema?
Maxine Walden: will be going, see you all later.
genesis Zhangsun: bye Maxine!
Pila Mulligan: bye Maxine, thanks
Alfred Kelberry: bye, maxine
Wol Euler: goodnight max, take care
Deepthinker Oh: Bye and thank you
Wester Kiranov: bye max
Pema Pera: See you all soon again! We have many talks now here during happy hour. See the events schedule on http://www.kira.org/
CTYankee Aeon: thanks all, nice meeting y'all

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