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  • Writer's pictureSunita Asnani

#4 Dream Lab. And Then I Wake Up.

This post is about using Art-based Facilitation when working with dreams and visions. The dream lab and how we can use dreaming for our visions.

Intro. We are particularly imaginative when it comes to dreaming.

The dream rush

Whether we remember it the next morning or believe we didn't dream it, each of us dreams four to five dreams a night. We spend about a third of our lives sleeping, and that also means in a dream frenzy.

Our most intense time begins when we turn off the light at night.

Every night anew, our brain releases a wild firework of electrical nerve impulses. These are sent from the brain stem to all other brain regions in a completely chaotic manner. We experience this phenomenon as a dream.

If we really look at what we experience in a single night, it is comparable to experiencing a multiple change of consciousness under the influence of multiple drug experiences simultaneously! It is no wonder that some of the best art, songs and ideas have been created while dreaming or waking up.

The daydream

The latest dream research shows that there is actually no clear boundary between waking and dreaming. We are usually somewhere in between, both at night and during the day.

Our brain dips into a dream-like state about ten times a minute with each blink of an eye, a retreat into the inner realm to process experience.

For a long time, the cerebrum was thought to be primarily concerned with responding to the outside world. Today, we know that the cerebrum is primarily concerned with itself - only a small fraction of its neurons are connected to the outside world. Our brain is more than 80 percent busy sorting out information, condensing, organizing, managing, storing, coordinating - and finding rest.

Sweet Spot

So if we're half-time dreaming - why do we pretend the dream world doesn't exist? We carry our (unconscious) dream world around with us, to the office, to the team meeting, to the bus. This state, between dreaming and being awake, is full of atmospheres, feelings, images, intuitions...And that's where the sweet spot is:

We are particularly receptive to ideas, new contexts and visions. We design incredibly different views of reality.

So how can we tap into our wonderful, crazy, daydreaming part? Both personally and collectively?

This doesn't require sweat lodges, drums, or soul stripers. In the dream lab, we'll take a sober approach for now.

What is the Dream Lab?

The Dream Lab is for individuals, communities or organizations who want to tap into the potential of collaborative dreaming.

In the dream lab we investigate the questions

How does our body dream, how do our cells remember dreams?

How can we tap into the dreaming part individually and collectively?

How can we harness social dreaming for ourselves as individuals, communities, or organizations?

It's not about interpreting or making sense of our dreams, but about the state of dreaming itself.

We examine - in the awake state - the state of dreaming.

For this we have developed a formula, a body journey. Anchoring in the sensation of movement and sense forms the basis of this journey.

The Dream Lab starts as a workshop and laboratory for dream and movement. Successively, it transforms into a collaboratively designed vision - installation.

"Und dann wache ich auf" ("And then I wake up") was originally a dance piece by Victoria Hauke about how the body remembers dreams. From the rehearsal process, Chris Lechner and I developed the Dream Lab.


The four components of the Dream Lab are

1. thought inputs on dreams

2. a guided body journey

3. instructions for social dreaming (inspired by social dreaming)

4. exchange & reflection

We set impulses in a playful, exploratory, moving way that allows us to dive into the physical reality of dreams with our bodies.

The Dream Lab is suitable for Every-Body - anyone interested in tapping into the creative potential of dreams.

Group size: 6 - 24 participants

Use and Effect

The Dream Lab can be used for different effects, e.g. cultural, team or vision development.

The amazing thing is - every time we share dreams in a certain way, we experience that our dreams, although deeply personal, put us into a strangely familiar, accessible collective reality. We all "understand" the dreams of others because we have had similar dreams ourselves. An inner dream - picture book opens up to which we all have access. Through this we are connected to each other in a primal way.

This connection, this trust, and this opening to the unconscious has manifested itself every time the dream lab has been conducted. An optimal basis for a focused identification of common clues and themes dormant in the unconscious.

A rich breeding ground for working out common dreams, values and visions. Let's dream together.
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