The field cannot well be seen from within the field.
--Ralph Waldo Emerson
In my travels, presenting workshops on dreamhealing and creative healing,
I have found that many professionals (psychotherapists, counselors, social
workers, addiction counselors, etc.) and paraprofessionals (such as hypnotherapists)
state that they came because they experienced limitation in the current
forms of psychotherapy and counseling that are available.
They all come with the sense of looking for something more, something that
goes beyond the abilities or the models that are currently available.
Many of them have been attracted to alternatives such as shamanism, through
books, articles, and interviews, describing these forms of healing.
Many came to learn more because of the sense that what they were doing
had just not been enough. Many have been drawn by an intuition sensed
while reading a flyer, feeling it had something special to offer them.
These comments are a reflection of my own frustration several years ago,
when as a Transactional Analyst and psychotherapist my clients would come
to me after we had met their therapeutic contracts. In the exit interviews
they would opt to continue in therapy, not because something was wrong,
but because they had not yet found what they were really looking for.
The solving of their problems seemed to them only a first step in a far
deeper and more profound process. It was this that led me to contemplate
and explore other forms of healing. I was seeking other forms of
answers for myself and others. This book represents the interim or
status report of my explorations. Although it does not really provide
answers, it does suggest new directions.
This book is about my personal encounter with chaos as I struggled to better
understand the nature of healing. It is a very intimate story since
the development of my work has been a personal odyssey. I share my
story because we know that first person accounts and memories have the
power to speak to the souls of others. Dreamhealing is more than
a method. It is a living process and a philosophy of treatment.
Both the fields of psychology and physics have long been interested in
the interface of psyche and matter. Another way to put that is the
interface of mind and body. Ultimately, they are not separate, but
to see that requires a shift in consciousness.
Since healing's a matter
of mind over matter,
and matter's a matter of mind...
In matters that matter
when healing's what matters,
love is the state
of the mind.
The shift in consciousness is one in which psyche "matters." And
psyche includes both order and chaos. Chaos is not an idea.
It is visceral, arising deep within. It is part of the human condition.
Each of us tends to understand, in spite of what we know about order, that
our life is full of chaos. Most of the important things in our life
seem to be random. Small changes in knowledge, insight, or experience
can impact us in tremendous ways. Things we never expect to happen
can bring irreversible change into our lives.
For me, chaos was not an idea that helped me develop a model for healing.
Chaos theory came later as an explanation for what I was noticing in the
process of healing. I do not think healing is a mechanistic thing.
I do not think we manipulate the body to heal it. It helps, and it
sets an atmosphere and stage for healing.
However, I think true healing is a matter of consciousness. Voltaire
has said that, "the art of medicine consists of amusing the patient
while nature cures the disease." Perhaps Sir William Osler was
even more succinct, noting, "It is much more important to know what
sort of patient has a disease, than what sort of disease a patient has."
Healing is not a matter of how we manipulate the body chemistry.
It is largely based on the attitude of the individual and what underlies
the structure of the body and mind. And what really does underlie
the structure of the mind and body is consciousness.
The ancient Greeks personified healing consciousness as the divine physician
ASKLEPIOS. The core of the art of healing in ancient times came from
the inner connection between the divine healer and the divine sickness.
The god sent both the affliction and the remedy. ASKLEPIOS HEALED
PRIMARILY THROUGH DREAMS.
Thus Asklepios, or Aesculapius as he was known in Rome, embodied
the paradox of healing. The idea of poison and antidote being contained
in one substance is still found in the unconscious of modern man.
It is practiced in the art of homeopathy. The therapy process which
is based solely on the imagery of the individual means that within the
problem lies the solution.
In the ancient healing temples, this psychological form of homeopathy was
applied to ailments both physical and mental. It involved coming
into a right attitude toward the affliction. Our wounds open us to
healing. After incubation of dreams within the sacred precinct, the
entire art of healing was left to the divine physician, who was embodied
in the healing dream, which was the remedy itself. It involved altering
states of consciousness.
One of the things I noticed in exploring psychology and shamanism was my
introduction to chaos, but then I did not have the words. I began exploring
my own healing through shamanism and psychology and that evolved into the
dreamwork. Then, I began drawing maps of the journeys I was going
on with people. I found particular states of consciousness repeatedly
came up spontaneously in the healing process.
I did not have a language to describe some of those states of consciousness.
I would try to describe them scientifically, and felt the reports were
flat. It was just not right. It was like using words or mathematics
to describe a symphony. I would then get into the mystical, new age,
and shamanic explanations, and get turned off by them. They also
were not right. It was like using an abstract painting as an instruction
Then a conscious awareness of the operative principle of chaos came to
me, much like the first trip deeper into dreams. In one of those
serendipitous moments, I mentioned to a client that I was getting interested
in moments of chaos in the healing process. She brought me an article,
which I read about a week later, and everything came together. I
realized I had been observing the healing process taking the sense of self
deeper and deeper into consciousness to a state that can only be described
as an experience of chaotic consciousness for healing.
A DEEP EXISTENTIAL IMAGE OF WHO AND WHAT WE ARE CONTAINS THE ESSENCE OF
OUR DISEASE. The image is revealed in the continually ongoing inner
process of imagery which is revealed in dreams, visions, and gut reactions.
Water is a natural metaphor of consciousness. This deep stream of
consciousness flows through the labyrinth of the psyche. It is the
source of dis-ease and our healing. Water played an important part
in the cult of Asklepios. In Greece the springs of the shrine were
channeled into circular labyrinths, forming a concrete metaphor of the
healing process. Healing "springs" from deep within. However,
first the old rigid images must be dissolved, and THE UNIVERSAL SOLVENT
Clients reported encountering a place, after going through fears and pains,
that is totally disorienting, chaotic. They would, for example, enter
into a gray cloud, and become that cloud, and the mind would go totally
blank. Or they would enter into a spiral, and as they gave over to
the motion of that spiral, they became so totally disoriented that there
was nothing they could hang onto. And that is what we now define
as chaotic consciousness.
There is an essential relationship between healing and irrational consciousness.
Irrational consciousness "works" the cure. Somehow that chaotic consciousness,
the giving up of the order, the letting go of the old structure to chaos
changed things fundamentally. The next set of imagery emerging out
of that chaotic consciousness was always a healing one.
Physical and emotional changes would continue for weeks and even months
after a particular dream journey. They would come back and say, "I
don't know why I am different, but I am different. I'm behaving differently,
I'm reacting differently. I'm treating the world differently.
What used to be a physical problem for me is no longer a problem."
So chaos seems vitally important at the existential level. In psychology,
we have had the idea that we need a "strong ego," that we need a stable
structure in order to function and cope. Dreamhealing shows us we
actually need to enter a less-rigid process of flow, which increases our
adaptability, helping us evolve.
Strength is a measure of what force it takes to destroy or break a rigid
structure. True power, on the other hand, is a measure of readily-available
energy for immediate use. Strength is rigid, while power is flowing.
Empowerment flows forth naturally when we come into intimate contact with
our stream of consciousness.
We are learning from chaos theory that physically and mentally we also
need that disorder to function smoothly. We seem to need to dip into
that disorder because it shakes everything loose and allows restructuring
to occur in the direction of adaptability. All of a sudden we are
free, we are flowing again, and that is the natural human condition of
WE EXIST IN A TWILIGHT ZONE BETWEEN CHAOS AND ORDER. We flow back
and forth between them and that keeps us healthy. We build a structure
and the structure begins to develop flaws and rigidities, and our illness
comes when we hang onto that old wornout, yet rigid structure. But
when we let go, we let ourselves flow back into that primal chaos and into
total freedom. It is like a heart that periodically develops a chaotic
beating pattern to renew itself. We seem to need that within our
To me chaos, healing, awareness, and consciousness are almost synonymous
terms. They are important to the human condition. They are
crucial to all of it including our health, healing, and ability to move
through life. CREATIVITY IS ALSO EVOLUTION. For example, disease
is the crisis that forces the organism to expand beyond its limits and
evolve. It is part of the evolutionary action of natural selection.
Those who adapt, survive. Still, health means more than survival.
An individual can create neurotic means of coping and surviving, but they
limit and distort the functionality of the person.
Of all the new advances to come from the various sciences, perhaps the
largest contribution will come from consciousness studies and their relationship
with chaos. Even physics has recently been saying that we cannot
go much further until we understand consciousness better. The relationship
of the perceiver and the object of perception brings us back to the mind/matter
The marriage of physics and psychology may delve deeper into the mystery.
Physics and psychology have been trying to get together for years and it
has never really advanced beyond the speculation stage. This bridge
between consciousness and chaos may be more than a metaphor.
DREAMS ARE CHAOTIC BY NATURE, AND SO IS MUCH OF SHAMANIC PRACTICE.
Dream incubation, as practiced in Greece, Egypt, and Japanese Shintoism,
also involved such shamanic practices as divination, trance induction,
etc. They intentionally evoked the irrational, and of all the healing
modalities, these two reflect chaotic theory.
There are many topics to consider in applying chaos theory to consciousness.
We hope to show the underlying threads that weave together shamanic practice,
the ancient healing cults, the flowing philosophy of Taoism, and various
modern psychologies with dreams, healing, and chaos theory.
The dreamhealing experience can be used in therapy, or for self-help, recovery,
and enrichment. For those who have been through conventional recovery
groups, counseling, and traditional therapy, it is a way of creating an
intimate relationship with their own Higher Power, which is always molding
the soul through the imagery of the river of consciousness. It directly
impacts the physical, emotional, mental, and spiritual well-being of the
individual. Conventional therapy does not necessarily induce creativity,
nor open a person to the transpersonal realm. Taking our own "JOURNEY
TO THE CENTER OF THE EARTH" means penetrating our depths and finding the
vast cosmos within.
The theory presented here in terms of human consciousness may ultimately
be linked with other theories about the nature of chaos and the universe
to form a supertheory, or paradigm. In this new paradigm, we are
all enfolded within an infinite field of consciousness. It means
a fundamental shift in the way we view the world, the cosmos, and ourselves.
The problem is that medical science and psychological science still operate
largely from Newtonian physics models. Healing science has not made
the leap to relativity theory yet, much less quantum mechanics, or chaos
theory. There needs to be a way to apply the theory to psychological
or other kinds of healing practice. Chaos theory may relativize many
of the old approaches, and provide a key for unlocking more of the mysteries
THE PROCESS OF CREATIVITY IS ONE OF NEW FORMS EMERGING FROM THE VOID, NEW
FORMS THAT HAVE NOT EXISTED PREVIOUSLY. It is not merely a juggling
of existing forms or ideas into a new configuration, but is more of a quantum
leap, a disruption into new levels of consciousness and awareness.
Chaos theory provides a particularly apt metaphor for this process.
In a nutshell, CHAOS THEORY STATES THAT IN ALL APPARENT STRUCTURE IS HIDDEN
CHAOS AND THAT IN CHAOS THERE ARE HIDDEN FORMS. This is much like
the symbol of the Tao. The white YANG side contains a kernel of darkness,
and the black YIN side a kernel of light. In some sense reality is
a twilight zone existing in the interplay of chaos and form. It has
long been known that all systems eventually break down into chaos (i.e.
the third law of thermodynamics, also known as entropy). But what
chaos theory has added is the notion that chaos creates new forms.
If this sounds metaphysical it is because we are very close to the basic
creation myth of most religions--everything comes out of nothing, the primal
CHAOS. It applies to the current scientific creation myth of the
big-bang formation of the universe. In science myths are fantasized
by calling them theories. Chaos as the matrix of creation is a universal
mythic theme. It spans from Taoism (from the nothingness or chaos
was formed the Yin and the Yang and from these all other things were formed)
to Christianity (first there was darkness, nothing or absence of form,
and from this on the first day God created light...). CHAOS IS THE
CRUCIBLE OF CREATION.
In practical everyday ways, chaos theory is adding to our understanding
of processes at all levels: weather systems, social systems, traffic patterns,
animal migrations, evolutionary patterns, fluid dynamics, cosmology, quantum
flux, and on and on. Medical science has discovered that the healthy
heart periodically has chaotic or random variations. The heart with
completely regular rhythms is likely to malfunction and is subject to heart
attack. Similarly with many other physiological systems, including
brainwaves, periodic chaos seems to be a prerequisite to healthy functioning.
The implication is that form and rigidity need to periodically give way
to non-structure and chaos for renewal and recreation. Much as the
"dance of Shiva" destroys the existing forms so that new reality can be
created, we can foster the disintegration of outworn images of ourselves.
This is true on the most subjective levels of our experience also.
If you have been faced with a problem, either physical, emotional, or mental
which eludes solution, that really means that the forms and structures
present in your intellect or other ego coping systems have become too rigid
and locked into some form so you cannot see beyond them. This is
the condition of impasse, stuckness. In essence, you need a creative
solution, one beyond the ego, one emerging from the undefinable creativity
One way of subjectively perceiving chaos is an absence of any form or structure,
a state of no-thing-ness, and when confronted with this the human mind
perceives either total blankness, or confusion and discomfort as the existing
patterns break down. It is a little death of the old self.
For example, after pondering and working on a problem for some time that
does not yield to our usual problem-solving techniques, we become frustrated
and often confused. Just when it seems we have been defeated and
give up feeling overwhelmed, a new and original solution "pops" into our
mind out of nothingness. A complete answer, often symbolic or metaphorical
in form, represents a novel solution. It is a quantum leap in understanding
and consciousness--often a whole new way of perceiving reality.
But letting go of the old forms is frightening. We identify with
them, and to a large degree define our sense of self by them. To
forsake them is to dissolve that part of self, to let it die. Most
of us are only comfortable in the known territory within the limits of
our belief systems. These beliefs define the limits of our reality
and existence. The creative solution often exposes the limits of
our beliefs by moving beyond them, and thrusts us into unknown territory,
and that is frightening.
We try to hang on to the old limits even if it means we are destroyed or
have to hang on to our problem rather than letting go to move into a broader
awareness and reality. We mark the boundaries of our belief systems
with fear and discomfort to keep ourselves safe and enclosed. If
we, by chance, stray beyond them ,we doubt and deny the experiences by
calling them trite--lollygagging, daydreaming, stargazing. We ignore
the images thrust up by our imagination that with some further thought
might reveal the creative solution to a problem that has been plaguing
So we avoid creativity, holding ourselves at bay through fear and discomfort.
The more fundamental and rigid, the more tightly we remain ringed in by
our fears. Conversely, to embrace creativity we must pass through
the discomfort of confusion, and let go of what we know and are comfortable
with. It is, in essence, a leap of faith beyond the known into chaos
and into the void.
It is an inner journey, this leap--deep within each of us. Like The
Fool in the Tarot, we stand at the edge of a precipice. Inherent
in our being and structure is chaos, just as science has shown. This
level of awareness, this state of chaos is our creative consciousness --
CHAOTIC ONSCIOUSNESS -- the crucible of our creative spirit. Only
by entering it, yielding to it, do we allow newly evolved form to come
into being--to arise out of chaos. It is a journey through fear to
a life in which each moment is an act of personal creation and freedom.
In healing, like cures like. The poison is also the panacea.
In learning to live with chaos, it becomes not something to be denied nor
gotten rid of, rather something to be embraced deeply. In embracing
the chaos, and tuning in to its self-directing flow, we feel we have remained
true to the spirit of the phenomenon itself.
In dreamhealing we move deeper into the images, then become them, rather
than interacting with them. So too with other states of consciousness
we encounter. The disorienting, dizzying surrender to the tornado
or whirlpool is a surrender to chaos, an experience of no-form and total
confusion and disorientation. It is like the whirling, twisting molecule
of water in the chaotic world of non-laminar flow.
The experience of committing oneself to the fire means becoming it, and
as the random flickering of the flames, and the torrid heat, disintegrating
into pure energy. Becoming the boiling, flowing, ever-changing body
of molten magma at the core of the earth is felt as a visceral sensation.
These are some of the personal, subjective responses to the experience
of total chaos.
Always, passing through this state, the new order of imagery, thought,
emotion, sensory perception reflected a new and less dis-eased state of
being. The deeper self image undercut the old belief system, and
began to create a new order of being, a new way of perceiving the self
and the world. Chaos provided a new image around which to order the
personality and often the physiology.
Each of these observations had a counterpart in the new science based on
chaos. Order seemed to be present in the chaotic state of mind,
just as chaos really seems to underlies even the most rigid and orderly
intellect. The images themselves that were from the chaos had their
counterpart in the strange attractors described by this radical new mathematical
The images, the deep primal multi-sensual experiences and perceptions that
I was working with seemed to act like psychic magnets, attracting and ordering
the energies around them, which echoed their shapes and forms. And
like the fractal patterns displayed on a computer screen, the quantum shift
came when the attractor values were changed. The old image that lay
on one side of the chaos state gives way to a surprising new image that
arises out of the chaos.
Spirit, soul, beliefs, emotions, thinking, and behavior are all affected.
This 'sacred psychology', (a term coined by Jean Houston), and the Creative
Consciousness Process thus mirror not only the new models of energy dynamics,
but also the ancient dream temples and mystery schools of the healer Asklepios.
Here new physics and consciousness meet.