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Transcript of VIA REGIA Amsterdam.pdf · PDF file 2012. 3. 1. · VIA REGIA WORKSHOP . The...

  • VIA REGIA WORKSHOP The International Dream Conference

    Amsterdam 25-29 July 2011: Rita Westvik, Norway

    Unity and Honouring Diversity.

    WORKSHOP July 29; 13:00-15:00 Amsterdam, Rita Westvik

    we share the Dream

    Professional life, for me never strictly separated from personal life, has been: 1 part media, 1 part politics, 1 part science and 1 part night-life, dream-life included. "The interpretation of dreams is the royal road to knowledge of the unconscious activities of

    the mind." (Freud, from The Interpretation of Dreams, 1900)

    About this dreamer: • 30 years of brainblogging • Paintings • VIA REGIA – an interactive

    e-book manuscript • 2 scholarships

    • Part 1: Theory • Part 2: Day-and night-

    book notes from 1987 and 1997

  • I have been a brainblogger since early eighties and have filled more than a hundred hand written books with dream-stuff. I have now finished my book manuscript VIA REGIA - Tales from the Otherworlds. Although neuroscience and brain research has moved Freud’s ideas more to the periphery; dreams are still the royal road, the Via Regia to the unconscious activities of the mind. Dreams are windows into the hidden self, navigating between many worlds, a VIA REGIA to deeper understanding of our emotional, mental and spiritual development, both as individuals and as a species. To my experience dreams still present themselves in distorted, weird narratives with coded messages.

    "Even a BLIND HORSE WILL FIND knowledge" is the title of one of my dreams. This horse I meet in a dream on a sidewalk restaurant in Paris, where a lot of talking animals use to hang out. The horse has one open and one closed eye, but is blind to both. The horse wants my Red Apple, and resolutely sticks it’s mouth towards the fruit. I warn against a small part, a little bad spot, but the horse is extremely sensitive and sure of himself and eats the whole apple in one gulp — with the exception of the bad little bite. Maybe the horse a variant of Ambrosia, which was the name of a woman who was blind in one eye and sought healing in a dream Temple in ancient Greece. She laughed of cures offered her in the wake state, but in her dream she was healed — for the pay of a silver- coin. Was she really healed? That we cannot know. But we all know the consequences for mankind when Eve ate the apple from the tree in the Garden of Eden.

    Who am I, what constitutes a Norwegian woman like me? In a longer perspective, both you and I are a result of a random link of the amino acids in the beginning of time, formed by dust coming to Earth from outer space; a consequence of a big bang, or was it perhaps a mild exhalation.

  • Perhaps are each and every one of us frozen souls in the era of global warming; a consequence of an erratic moment of indecision some place in cosmos, probably in Africa’s darkness. Breath. Star Dust. Amino Acids. Coincidences. Mitochondria, the power stations inside our cells.

    In the womb we are already bearing an entire world of development in the deeper memory. I think that's why the fetus and the infant newborn dream so much; the brain has to download and save in deep and virtually inaccessible archives all history, all stages, all survival tricks, everything a living creature might need in the next phase; life as a solitary being on our blue planet.

    We like to think that the body is a machine with interchangeable spare parts and that the brain is a computer. In our anthropocentric approach and exaggerated confidence that technologies can save the world we tend to neglect the fact that we are both animals and spiritual/mythological creatures.

    I myself like to levitate and fly in my dreams.-)

    In the first part of this workshop I will share some findings and reflections with you in a presentation based on VIA REGIA followed by a dialogue (to explore the basic purposes of dreaming).

  • The meaning of dreams is not necessarily the most important meaning of dreaming. So: What is the meaning of dreams?

    To dream is paradoxically to wake up; in our dreaming state we make sense of loads of information, store and strengthen signals, learn and reflect - which in turn change our practices in wake practice and make us more alert and receptive to signals and patterns we otherwise would not notice.

    ACTIVE MINDS and PARALYZED BODY characterize out dreaming state of mind-body.

    Sir Eugene Aserinsky + Nathaniel Kleitman discovered REM sleep, but it seems that the dream can occur in other phases, so passive versus active sleep is a possible better description. Active sleep is more a type of lively wakefulness than quiet sleep; speed, life and drama – a state of stimulus, exploration, discovery and colorful experiences – while we are paralyzed in the body. This is nature's way to protect the dreaming creature; that otherwise would be an easy prey – for themselves and others.

    I see dream as a continuous download of information and experience, inherited from times and species we don't know, and that gives us the necessary natural wisdom of life itself. In addition dreams make a sort of an alarm system enabling us to protect ourselves and wake up if something is threatening and simulating danger to prepare for possible threats in wake condition. Reptile brains are dictated by genes. With the mammals comes the emotions; passion, hatred, fear, anger, love, attraction. Nathalie Angier brilliantly summarizes: "The bigger the brain, the bigger the emotions". That is nature's law.

    At an anatomical level dreams seem to have a function of rewiring, reconnecting and strengthening connections between neurons. Some computational neuroscientists talk about

  • the connectomes, as a field of scientific interest connected to research on genomes and proteomes. The USNational Institutes of Health has already begun the “human connectome project”, planning to map the brains of 1200 people the next 5 years (Magnetic Resonance Imaging, MRI, fMRI etc, New Scientist Feb 2011).

    As connectomes and bridge builders our dreams can help the construction of the subjective notion of structures, symbols, and relevance-systems in our wake life. If we don't fully understand what these words mean, it doesn’t matter, just reflect upon the words. Some words grow in meaning over time. It is a good practice to read or listen to something we don't understand – every day.

    Dreams add to our creative, social, emotional and erotic capital and basically determine who we are – or rather; who we are becoming. Maybe it's just music, in addition to dreams, that can capture the deep resonances and dissonances that both the individual human being and our collective life is accompanied by. Musical training seems to significantly alter the structure of our brains (increased auditory skills, higher reading abilities, larger vocabulary etc.)

    What stimulates the brain stimulates our dreaming. Nowadays THE BRAIN AND DREAM FOOD at a physical level is thought to be the chemical group called FLAVONOIDS rather than fatty acids, found in blueberries, cocoa, green tea and red wine. And I would add to the list of affordable dream food: Light, love and long nights. And music, of course!

    So; to the other meaning of meaning: What can be the meaning of dreams?

    How much can we really stand and under-stand ourselves while we live? It is my point of departure that my ability to understand myself and my own dreams are limited. Most of the insights we obtain during our lifetime are through dialogue and negotiations with the living beings we meet and interact with. It is never without friction to mingle with others, but it is the only path to development – if we are not going to be arrogant loners, spin crazy or uncontrolled anarchists. Dialogue is a key to more insights and less war. Dreams may disguise, displace and distort the content. They are at the same time surprisingly shameless in their lack of censorship. Dreams are individual and collective experiences sent to our dreaming minds from the dark unconscious, sometimes to our wake bright minds. It’s my hope that we all will be more receptive to the free streaming from ourselves to ourselves.

    My dreams are not my dreams; something more and bigger than me dreams IN ME. Is there a collective subconscious? We dream the same dreams, “we sail together, we share the dream” – are we co-dreaming? I think so. To my experience more then one person may explore the same dream landscapes simultaneously, the same way as synchronicity takes place in everyday life. We humans are all wandering biochemical factories and museums; the zinc and magnesium in us now was also there in the first soup of life. We are future beings from outer

  • space, who never cease to surprise others and ourselves. The last stop in life is death, the transition to another State of existence. Then our present ecosystem is transformed. The ancient salt lake which forms the sea inside every cell will dissolve; overflow its boundaries, burst through the membranes and into the light, where the language in my vision is speechless, but immensely rich and delightfully understandable. Like coming "home".

    Life may as well be understood as an episode, a field of meaning created between complex frequency fields. Dream in this perspective can be understood as an intangible middle-world between life and death. Or one of Many Worlds.

    I like to think of dreams as oxygen for the learning mind, balm for the brain, snapshots of the soul, an emotional compass at a bi