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Zen & Social Dreaming

Dreaming From the Matrix: Vertices Zazen and Psychoanalysis

The matrix out of which we each dream, pre-exists us. To experience the matrix means to open to the source material of our dreams, the human wellspring of knowledge as it is presented in images and emotion-driven narratives, as past, present and future are condensed into the present moments of each participant’s dream-life. Eihei Dogen wrote in his Shobogenzo, Chapter 38, “Muchu-setsumu,” (Expounding a dream within a dream), “The place where a dream is expounded in a dream is indeed the land and assembly of buddha-ancestors.” As a group studying and practicing together for the first time, our dreams precede our gathering. In conjunction with our personal histories they may lead us through our common discourse in Buddhism and psychoanalytic inquiry into the creation of a new, as yet undreamed dream. Here, as our unique group evolves each day, we may discover how practice, discourse and dreaming are inseparable aspects of the buddha-dharma. This is indeed an expression of the vow to take refuge in The Three Treasures; Buddha-Dharma-Sangha.

The Matrix

Sharing dreams in a social setting or “matrix” is an activity that enhances a non-interpretive listening stance, which in practice increases our capacities for recall and reverie. When listening to one another’s dreams within the formation of a group matrix, our own are recalled from bottomless consciousness that we awaken to when we sleep. Sharing time and dreams in the matrix is one way of honoring the gift of life with others, as presented in our dreams, without interpretation or discussion. We merely sit and open to our own free associations in which dream function is activated in our waking state, accessible for reverie.

Karen Morris is a psychoanalyst in private practice in New York City and Honesdale, PA, where she runs a dream study group based on social dreaming. She is an award winning author of numerous articles on social trauma and a poet. Her first collection of poems, Cataclysm and Other Arrangements, has just been released from Three Stones Press. As an Ambassador of Hope for Shared Hope International, she is a public educator on global and domestic minor sex-trafficking, the commercial sex industry and the culture of demand.

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