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There are all kinds of difficulties the dream group leader must be able to cope with. For me personally, one of the cleverest traps the group may put themselves into is when the dream session has been fantastic! The dreamer presents his gratitude to other members about their ability to really understand his dream, and their valuable views and advice for him to solve his problems. The dreamer may even personally thank everybody for the good work. Everybody is happy.

But there is some Pulitzer Prize administration feeling in this.


I think it was the famous antipsychiatrist R.D. Laing who told a story about mother and daughter in front of a mirror. In the first part the mother is praising his daughter saying how very beautiful she is, and the daughter is protesting. In the other part the mother considers her daughter being very ugly, and the daughter protests again. The idea of this was to show that the positive lies seem to be perfectly right and recommended behavior, but the negative not, in spite of the fact that a lie is always a lie, be it positive or negative.

The dreams don't lie, but the dreamer may escape into politeness. How could he after all the hard work group has done to say that 'sorry guys, it didn't click at all'. The more polite the dreamer is, the bigger is the harmful effect.

In this kind of situation the group may lie just like the dreamer. To get a positive response from the dreamer is so flattering that it leads into temptation to suppress the feeling about its superficiality.


This kind of lies, as harmless and innocent as they seem to be, may cause harmful effects in the long run. At some level, unconscious or not, this may create anxiety about how to surpass the minimum acceptable performance level, creating a goal which the group must attain. This means that the successful opening of the dream has become so important primary goal, that the group cannot stand failures, being disappointed if the veil of the temple is not torn in two from the top to the bottom, and the earth does not shake.

A lie is a strong expression. How can I use such a rude word? Dream group members are not liars! But everybody of us is a social liar. There are innumerous ways we are every day a little bit dishonest to each other because we have to! This social lying is simply called good manners. If we try to be totally, absolutely honest, talking out exactly what we think, we are rude, hurting people around us, spoiling our human relations in no time. 

We have to have good manners in dream groups, too. It is especially important that in dream groups we do not hurt each other. How can we solve this impossible equation?  Every human situation is much more complex than any rules trying to define and regulate them. There are no good rules in the difficult task to find the middle way between rudeness and a diluted, uninformative politeness. We have to sense it, intuitively. Even good manners can complicate the situation. Compared with other forms of gatherings, the dream groups have an advantage just because of dreams. The group has very good chances to attain relatively fast sufficiently deep level of mutual trust, so that overpoliteness as one of hundreds of human communication booby traps is automatically dismantled.

Learning to work, to listen, to help without waiting for social rewards is possible only by experience, not by conscious decision. It is not the act of will. Abandoning the urge to be successful in helping the dreamer happens only by itself. So easy it is: the more we have participated in dream groups, the more we may begin to see which kind of ambiance is needed to get the dream speak with its own voice. We may begin to see that it happens when there are no kinds of pressures, no predefined hurdles to jump over, no need to be better than we are. When everybody is feeling that no one is expecting anything special from each other, in that soil of relaxed freedom the flower of dream begins to blossom.

We know that we cannot always succeed, that there is always up- and downhills in everything we do. So it is in dream groups, too. To feel that one has done his best, listened very carefully, helped the dreamer without pushing him, seen his own mistakes, wanted to learn from them, taken what has been given and nothing more, success or not, is the most satisfying feeling I know.

Markku Siivola