[An ASKLEPIA FOUNDATION Book]
THE CREATIVE CONSCIOUSNESS PROCESS
ABSTRACT: We can speculate on certain aspects of the Creative Consciousness
Process. We describe it in theoretical terms that unite many previously
unassociated elements. It is sort-of the unified field theory of
psychology. But we stress this process is not a theory, but an experiential
phenomenon. This process seems to repeat itself at all levels of
scale, like the fractals of nonlinear dynamics. It seems to have
an over-riding purpose and intent shown in the progressive movement of
evolution. It is reflected in the nature of dreams as a meaningful
adaptive process which facilitates survival. CCP can help us gain
a deeper understanding of our Personal, Environmental, and Transpersonal
states of consciousness.
For convenience, history is often viewed as a conflict between the instinct
for order and the impulse toward chaos. Both are necessary: both
are manifestations of the need to survive. Without order, nothing
exists: without chaos, nothing grows. And yet the struggle between
them sheds more blood than any other war.
The instinct for order is an expression of humankind's devout
desire for safety (which permits nurture), for stability (which permits
education), for predictability (which permits one thing to be built on
another) -- for equations of cause and effect simple enough to be relied
upon. Indeed, without resistance to change, growth itself would be
impossible: resistance to change creates safe, stable, predictable environments
in which change can accumulate productively.
The instinct for order is therefore aggressive. It actively
opposes any alteration of circumstance, any variation of perspective, any
hostility of environment or intention. It fights to create and defend
the conditions it seeks.
The impulse toward chaos is a manifestation of humankind's inbred knowledge
that the best way to survive any danger is to run away from it. The
instinct focuses on the resources of individual imagination and cunning,
rather than on the potentialities of concerted action. Its most common
overt expression involves an insistence upon self-determination (freedom
from restriction), individual liberty (freedom from requirement), and nonconformity
(freedom from cause and effect). However, such insistence is primarily
a rationalization of the desire to flee -- to survive by escape.
Therefore the impulse toward chaos is also aggressive. The very
act of escape breaks down systems of order: it contradicts safety, avoids
stability, defies cause and effect. Like the instinct for order,
it fights to create and defend the conditions it seeks.
Nevertheless stability and predictability themselves would be impossible
without chaos. Chaos exerts the pressure which requires order to
shape itself accurately. Without accuracy, order would self-destruct
as soon as it came into being.
For these reasons, the struggle between order and chaos is eternal,
necessary -- and extremely expensive. By nature, human beings are
at their most violent and belligerent in self-defense. The cost of
their survival would be prohibitive in any less fecund universe.
--Stephen R. Donaldson, FORBIDDEN KNOWLEDGE
THE EDGE OF CHAOS ECHOES EVOLUTION
Nonlinear dynamics is the basis of chaos theory. Chaos theory is
a subset of Complex Dynamics. In the dance of order and chaos in
the process of natural evolution there are three patterns: 1) an ordered,
static, subcritical state; 2) a random, dynamic, supercritical state (chaos);
and, 3) a complex, dynamic, critical state (true complexity). This
process takes place through nonlinear dynamics.
Yet chaos is only part of the behavior of complex systems. The transition,
both ways, between order and chaos is the place where important shifts,
changes, and developments take place. It is where evolutionary dynamics
comes into place. Systems performing a range of simple tasks can
flexibly adapt rapidly simply by accumulating useful variations.
In other words, they can make creative "choices."
More and more science speaks in terms of systems and describes interactions
in terms of systems theory. Human beings are one of the most complex,
dynamic systems we know. Systems science also applies to the study
of relationship at each level of a human system, including cell, organ,
organism, group organization, society, and psyche It relates to the
personal, environmental, and transpersonal self.
Current research indicates that both nonliving and living systems seem
to evolve toward a boundary between order and randomness. They seem to
naturally evolve away from both extremes of complete order and complete
Echoing evolution, there is a drive in the natural world toward complexity,
which creates the need for adaptation. There are patterns and fundamental
principles in the way various systems organize themselves, learn, remember,
evolve, adapt and persist and eventually disintegrate and disappear.
There are varying degrees of complexity in systems, each building on what
has gone before.
The study of complexity goes beyond the explorations of chaos theory, which
provides the mathematical tools for the study of complex dynamical systems.
Complex adaptive systems from single-celled organisms, to individuals,
to societies learn and adapt to changing conditions in the environment
with which they interface.
Chromosomes endow us with encoded offensive and defensive strategies, including
the prospect of cooperation. Positive and negative feedback, both
external and internal is a complex dynamic system. Input is both
experiencial and self-generated.
There is evidence to show that self-organized criticality plays a role
in many complex systems, from chemistry to geology and perhaps biology.
Darwin never suspected the power of self-organization in conjunction with
If we look at the "edge of chaos" which self-organizing systems naturally
evolve toward we find four plausible principles, as expressed by Stuart
Kaufmann of Los Alamos National Laboratory (SCIENTIFIC AMERICAN, Jan. 1993):
1) A system goes through a phase transition from order to randomness
if the strength of the interaction between interconnected agents is gradually
increased. Intensification. Dis-ease.
2) A system can perform the most sophisticated computations at
the boundary between order and randomness. Adaptive agents can develop
good solutions to extraordinarily difficult problems. Transition.
3) Complex adaptive systems tend to evolve toward the boundary
between order and chaos. Liminality. Solution.
4) Organisms change how strongly they interact with others in
such a way that they reach the boundary between order and randomness, thereby
maximizing the average fitness of the organisms. Dynamic adaptation.
So, amplifying a situation, intensifying it, leads to de-stabilization.
This leads to a phase transition (bifurcation). Passing through and beyond
the threshold of chaos, the system de-structures which allows the new adaptation
to emerge. Order is self-generated from chaos.
Each of us has access to limited resources, and our survival strategies
are encoded in our genetic material and nervous systems. We can change
our strategy, individually and collectively, in an attempt to maximize
our fitness, which can arguably be defined as the chance we will survive.
We have strategies that yield fitness levels, depending on whether
we are in a phase of ordered (subcritical), chaotic (supercritical), or
complex (critical) existence.
Kaufmann claims that "...the highest mean fitness is at the phase transition
between order and chaos. By selecting an appropriate strategy we
can tune our coupling to the invironment to whatever value suits
us best. If we adjust thhe coupling to our own advantage, we will
reach the boundary between order and randomness -- the regime of peak average
Kaufmann says that "complex adaptive systems adapt to and on the edge
of chaos. It now begins to appear that systems in the complex regime
can carry out and coordinate the most complex behavior, can adapt more
readily and can build the most useful models of their environments.
I have this feeling that there is something very general going on about
how far from equilibrium systems have organized themselves. I don't
know what that something is yet. But I can taste it."
Dreams are complex dynamic systems. Modern research tells us they
are influential in adaptation by processing short-term memory information
into long-term storage. Dreams help us survive. They take us
into that edge of chaos each and every night. They are uncensored
messages from the twilight zone of chaos-order, reaching into our awareness
and communicating with us at the most sensory levels imaginable.
According to neuroscientist, Jonathan Winson (SCIENTIFIC AMERICAN, Nov.
Based on recent findings in my own and other neuroscientific laboratories,
I propose that dreams are indeed meaningful. Studies of the hippocampus
(a brain structure crucial to memory), of rapid eye movement (REM) sleep
and of a brain wave called theta rhythm suggest that dreaming reflects
a pivotal aspect of the processing of memory. In particular, studies
of theta rhythm in subprimate animals have provided an evolutionary clue
to the meaning of dreams. They appear to be the nightly record of
a basic mammalian memory process: the means by which animals form strategies
for survival and evaluate current experience in light of those strategies.
The existence of this process may explain the meaning of dreams in human
Later in the article, he reiterates and amplifies:
Dreams may reflect a memory-processing mechanism inherited from lower
species, in which information important for survival is reprocessed during
REM sleep. This information may constitute the core of the unconscious.
Because animals do not possess language, the information they process
druing REM sleep is necessarily sensory. Consistent with our early
mammalian origins, dreams in humans are sensory, primarily visual.
Dreams do not take the form of verbal narration.
Also in keeping with the role REM sleep played in processing memories
in animals, there is no functional necessity for this material to become
conscious. Consciousness arose later in evolution in humans.
But neither is there any reason for the material of dreams not to reach
consciousness [as Freud alleged]. Therefore, dreams can be remembered--most
readily if awakening occurs during or shortly after a REM sleep period.
Consistent with evolution and evidence derived from neuroscience and
reports of dreams, I suggest that dreams reflect an individual's strategy
for survival. The subjects of dreams are broad-ranging and complex,
incorporating self-image, fears, insecurities, strengths, grandiose ideas,
sexual orientation, desire, jealousy and love.
Dreams clearly have a deep psychological core. . .I propose that the
unconscious is a cohesive, continually active mental structure that takes
note of life's experiences and reacts according to its own scheme of interpretation.
Dreams are not diguised as a consequence of repression. Their unusual
character is a result of the complex associations that are culled from
CREATIVE CONSCIOUSNESS PROCESS AS A META THEORY
Graywolf's quest to better understand the nature of healing led him to
develop SECURE dream work. Unlike lucid dreaming or interpretations,
the point is not to take the ego into the dreamworld. We need to
bring the dream images into our conscious awareness and life.
Dreamhealing was the natural expression of his experiences with both psychology
and shamanic work--a practical method that represented the Shaman/Therapist
model. The results of this new approach to dream work were mind-boggling,
and seemed to reveal a natural evolutionary aspect inherent in the journey
to the edge of chaos.
The method and maps he was developing from the work seemed to formulate
more than just a practice or healing technique. He began to see it
as a specific case for what seemed to be a deeper and more universal process.
His first task became to formulate a more general theory to explain the
processes and results that he observed.
The cutting edge of mathematics and physics shows us a theory that bridges
and joins all the sciences as well as embraces the mystic and spiritual.
It teaches that perhaps we don't always need to fear and avoid chaos. In
fact that is impossible since it is an integral aspect of natural order
Chaos theory reveals through computer graphics that there is great beauty
hidden in the heart of chaos. And it teaches that all chaos eventually
yields to deeper orders. Indeed, there are chains of order that reach
into the infinite depths of pure chaos. Its implication is that we
exist in a twilight zone between structure and chaos, and constantly flow
back and forth between the two. It is the permanence of either that
is the illusion.
These words also describe what we have learned about the nature of consciousness
and the healing process in dream journeys. Chaos is a very personal
experience. We relate to it viscerally as well as emotionally and
It often begins as a crisis that draws us into a seething cauldron of events,
and tosses us about at random until all that we have known or counted on
disintegrates. Then as chaos theory predicts, we find that in passing
through the chaos we have somehow come to a new sense of order and self.
In mythology, it is the archetypal journey of the hero or heroine.
We are surrounded by chaos, indeed we always have been. But we create
illusions of order, and then come to confuse that with reality. It
is the loss of our illusions that seems so frightening to us when we perch
on the edge of chaos. Yet it is relinquishing our illusions that
can set us free and empower us.
This modeling of chaotic consciousness took several interim steps: developing
a new ego or personality model, new consciousness models, and a theory
of dis-ease process. Eventually it led to a more generalized understanding
of what we now call the "Creative Consciousness Process," (CCP).
It is a theory which also describes a number of other depth therapies as
well as many other phenomena.
CCP theory is consistent with--in fact, it is really just another expression
of--the new sciences of chaos theory and CDS (complex dynamical systems),
as well as quantum and relativity theories. It is their expression
in the human psychophysical organism. Graywolf's intuitive perceptions
about the nature of reality as witnessed in co-consciousness journeys has
been echoed in scientific pursuits including evolution, fluid dynamics,
chemistry, cosmology, sociology, biology, and medicine.
Within CCP, the ego or personality model integrates, and is in general
consistent with most ego models, including Freudian, Jungian, Gestalt,
T.A., Humanistic, Family Systems Theory, etc. Counselors and therapists
from all schools of thought find an affinity for it, because it dovetails
with their own models, theoretically and in practice.
Yet it also goes further than most in integrating the spiritual or transpersonal
aspect of the human condition, and providing a practical method.
Growing from an experientially-based process, CCP theory is highly existential
in its orientation. But this is not the old existentialism with its
fundamental assumption of alienation. This existential view sees
man as deeply rooted in the ecological ground of the universe.
The old psychological notions of man as an isolated, alienated, fragmented
ego floating hopelessly in the vast emptiness of the void of space sounds
very much like the old mythic theme of the king/ego in the wasteland.
This notion was rooted in the cultural and scientific belief of the time
(2nd law of thermodynamics) that entopy rules the universe, which would
end in heat-death. In this mechanistic model, life, mankind, and
mind were meaningless aberations in nature. This view creates existential
But in the last few decades this old mechanistic paradigm has been radically
disproven in many scientific fields. A brief look at even non-controversial
scientific ideas shows that we are deeply rooted in nature and the cosmos
in the most fundamental way. And whatever it is, we are that.
Scientists are beginning to speak in more poetic metaphors about the "life"
of the cosmos, and we see the fundamental form of consciousness in the
behavior of sub-atomic entities.
The ENVIRONMENTAL SELF is rooted more deeply than the surface pathologies.
It is our primal relationship with the natural environment, which extends
to the farthest reaches of the universe and down into the deepest depths
of the sub-quantum reality. The sense of primal connectedness promotes
a new ecological vision -- ecosophy. We are not separate.
When we experience the TRANSPERSONAL SELF, we realize we don't end where
our skin does. We are not discrete from the environment. Our
brainwaves are out there, we radiate heat, we are constantly emitting gases
and other molecules. We intermingle with the environment in unconscious
ways--at the level of being our environment. There are tremendous
implications if dreams can help us do that.
In the consciousness journeys, people become the mother planet, the molten
core of magma at her heart, or they feel themselves making mountains.
This has major implications for philosophy and how we view ourselves.
It heralds a basic philosophical change in how we view ourselves and reality.
When we realize we are this transpersonal self, carried to its natural
conclusion, we are basically interacting with the entire universe at some
Cosmology tells us that only a universe of a certain age and size can support
the growth of life-bearing planets such as Earth. The universe must
be within a certain temperature range, and subject to certain laws.
We live in such a fortuitous situation, and are a natural product of that
evolutionary course -- the "fruit" of the process. There appears
to be purpose and intent behind all systems, revealed by the choice to
Experience of the transpersonal means going back below the ego, into this
infinite place, back into this basic formless consciousness. We become
All, become infinite possibility. It completes the circle.
Chaos, the mirror image of a constantly decaying universe (entropy), shows
us that a simultaneous creative process is going on which has to do with
consciousness. This negentropic principle is the matrix of evolution.
Of course it is an infinite process--constantly creating itself and destroying
itself at all levels.
Dreams reflect that, and so does the natural philosophy emerging from the
New Sciences. This philosophy incorporates the human condition, rather
than vilifying or pushing it away. Chaos helps us feel our way through
an unstable world.
The impact on our planet and in terms of our culture might find us defining
ourselves differently. This is being expressed now in the Gaea Hypothesis
and the Anthropic theory in cosmology. This approach is born out
by shamanic and mystical worldviews. It is poetic, yet likely to
end up being "the Truth." When we are not viewing ourselves as isolated
organisms, we can experience multiple states of consciousness.
A simple change in perspective, with experience to back it up, can allow
a person to move from a feeling of isolation, anxiety, and alienation to
one of connectedness, rootedness, and belonging. It is a relative
viewpoint, one of many ways of viewing the world and our place within it.
We can experience a sense of that multiple system Being which constitues
the universe through experiencing various states of consciousness.
CCP theory maps and describes areas of the subconscious and collective
unconscious that Freud and Jung were only able to understand through inference
and indirect methods. CCP theory may provide a better means of understanding
the formation, structure and processes of the sub- and collective consciousness
This process suggests a means to access and attain more direct multi-sensory
experiences of these formerly untouchable areas and states. It provides
immediate personal experience of various strata of the unconscious.
It is a meta-ego model in that it explains and integrates previous ego
models, but also goes beyond. The old cartographers labeled unknown
regions with the phrase, "Here there be Dragons". Freud's
way of saying that was "Here be the Id".
We have also found that CCP theory explains a large number of other healing
phenomena such as the placebo effect, which have been described and acknowledged
but never understood nor adequately explained. These phenomena include
the archetypal elements of shamanic philosophy and practice (holism, shamanic
flight, magical healing, trance, visions, spirit guides, elemental forces,
The theory seems to integrate and explain most of the mystical and spiritual
elements of healing, not just shamanism, but also alchemy, witchcraft,
magic, reincarnation, Taoism, Buddhism, and any number of other philosophies
and practices. So, the theory reflects in mysticism and philosophy,
as well as bridging the gap to science.
It is based in the notion of a "Consciousness Field," which underlies all
observable reality. The holographic universe (Pribram; Bohm) is essentially
a three-dimensional image containing matter/consciousness in a single field
which is projected into space. This undifferentiated consciousness stuff
or energy field interacts with other undifferentiated energy fields such
as electric, magnetic and time fields to create the material reality within
which we function--the spacetime continuum. It is virtually the intangible
essence which is the matrix of the material universe.
This consciousness field meets the criteria defined in alchemy for the
Universal Solvent, the liquid version of the Philosopher's Stone, the Panacea
or cure-all. This water of life was also called the universal medicine,
elixir vitae, or "philosophical water." In shamanism the consciousness
field underlies the belief that all is alive and connected, in a vast webwork
or interconnected net of life.
Before quantum mechanics, physicists sought a material universal ether
as a medium for the propagation of light waves. The notion of the
ether returns as the virtual field of consciousness as the basis for all
existence. Quantum mechanics confirms the interrelatedness and information
sharing that connects every atom in the universe. The probability
field defines which of the infinite number of possible realities comes
into existence (Schroedinger Wave).
HEALING ECHOES CREATION AND EVOLUTION
A return journey to this primal, chaotic consciousness field is a return
to the state in which realignment of physical and emotional structure occurs--the
More than being merely a method or therapy, CREATIVE CONSCIOUSNESS PROCESS
is a generalized, perhaps a meta-theory of healing. It identifies,
for example, that healing and health is a process rather than a goal or
end state as it has largely been modeled -- static equilibrium or homeostasis.
It further introduces the radical notion that all healing is a creative
process, a process of evolution, rather than the mere correction of something
that is wrong. This leads directly to the philosophical implications
of the theory.
CCP links consciousness to healing, and provides a new definition or concept
of consciousness itself. It provides insight on the nature of some
unexplained phenomena such as placebo and spontaneous remission.
It relates all of that to the natural process as defined by Chaos, Quantum,
and Relativity theories.
As a meta theory, it spawns a philosophy of healing as an internal, self-generated,
self-organizing creative force. It integrates with the new natural
philosophy of order/dis-order that is being defined in physics. Contemplating
chaos and the processes that CCP generalizes and describes soon yields
notions about the nature of life and reality, and the roles and purposes
of life. These notions automatically work in the mind, readjusting
old perspectives, leading to different understandings of the nature of
self, reality, and existence.
The essence of all creation myths is revealed when we contemplate chaos
theory or watch fractal geometries unfold spectacularly beautiful nonlinear,
ordered systems. Chaos is the matrix of creativity. We intuitively
sense that chaos is the ultimate state of creativity, as our myths show.
It is the philosophy that underlies evolutionary process--indeed all processes
of change and creation. It is a philosophy of reality being an ongoing
creative process from infinite possibility.
It is also a philosophy that allows contemplation of the nature of creativity
itself at all levels of reality formation. It is a philosophy that
touches the essence of all religious and scientific myths about our origin
and the nature of Deity. It is a philosophy that allows us to reclaim
the other side of ourselves and reality that we have pushed away and ignored
even though it has always played a part in our lives and history: the opposite
side of order itself, chaos. Agents of chaos are also agents of creativity,
and agents of evolution. It is a philosophy that explores the mirror-side
of entropy -- self-renewal.
In specific terms with respect to healing it defines a new philosophical
paradigm that disease is a crisis that is presented to an organism that
creates the opportunity to dissolve the old structure and evolve into a
new one, better adapted to survival. This process is the nature of
profound healing and indeed, as noted, is the process of natural flow that
creates the changing nature of reality itself. It is also evolution.
The CCP theory ties healing process to all the spiritual and scientific
myths, providing a means of seeing how they fit together. It spans
the healing process from the scientific model to mysticism, the arcane,
religion and the nature of reality itself. We have been viewing the
same phenomena for centuries with the eyes of spirituality, the mystic
arts, and science, attempting to describe fundamental operational principles
for what we see and our experience of our existence. Each discipline
is a translation of the subjective experience and observation of those
deeper states of consciousness.
CCP theory attempts to define or place in context, the consciousness field,
a new concept emerging in consciousness studies. It posits that what
we are defining scientifically as Chaos and this primal consciousness field
are one and the same. Is this a valid connection? Graywolf
intuitively believes so, seeing it reflected in the experiential journeys.
Scientific proof? The concept of proof itself is perhaps an illusion.
Go there, and see for yourself!
Thought experiments allow us to test our theories, in principle.
Einstein "rode" on a beam of light and developed relativity theory.
We can ride the stream of consciousness back down to the most primal layers
where we find chaos reigns supreme. As in thought experiments, we
can observe conceptually evidence which helps formulate and correct theory.
If the theory allows us to confirm, explain, predict, or tie in other facts
that have been previously inexplicable, unreliable, or unrelated, it is
a good workable model. CCP theory meets this criteria.
These processes and states are directly experiencable phenomena that can
be reached and described in dream journeys and by other means. They
have been described by countless others who were attempting to convey the
essence of their own deep spiritual or healing experiences. They
also have been encountered during clinical experiments with L.S.D., in
religious experiences, and as the states entered and described by those
working with alternative healers.
The Creative Consciousness Process is a meta theory of the process of natural
order and change as encountered in deep healing. It reveals our deep
bond with nature. Trust the natural process. It allows a direct-awareness
type experience of the states of consciousness we believe are responsible
for healing. CCP explains a broad variety of healing phenomena from
placebo and visual imagery work to Holotropic Breathing, T.A. Redecision
and Reparenting work.
Within the broader CCP theory that evolved from Dream Journeys, we are
not limited to any specific technique or practice for healing, but use
a deeper understanding of the nature of the healing process itself to create
whatever technique is needed for the client at whatever level we are working.
For example, Graywolf's holistic practice includes using breath work and
other shamanic practices, as well as dream work, standard psychology, and
allopathic and homeopathic medical methods. In conjunction, he also
employs diet and nutritional approaches, as well as prayer, and river adventures.
Each is used only if they evolve in the course of treatment as a natural
part of and reflection of whatever level of CCP and personality is being
THE IMMUNE SYSTEM, ADAPTABILITY, AND SURVIVAL
The immune system helps an organism adapt, survive, and thrive. It
is therefore an agent of the evolutionary force. For many years science
studied systems in isolation. So, orthodox medicine considered the
immune system as functioning on its own, simply because it could not find
its physical links to the brain or mind. Now those connections have
been directly observed.
Signals and chemical messengers are exchanged, and through this means the
state of the mind directly affects the state of the body and vice versa.
This affect is not always beneficial. Stress, grief, separation,
isolation, and depression can suppress the immune system. The simple
expression of feelings and a sense of connectedness and community leads
Relaxation training, or deep relaxation, has been shown to enhance cellular
immune function. This response is part of the prophylactic nature
of dreamhealing. It is deeply refreshing, rejuvinating, yielding
a sense of re-creation. Humor is also a way of coping with the stress
of life which has beneficial effects.
Dreamhealing influences the body directly through the immune system, (ref.
Ernest Rossi's THE PSYCHOBIOLOGY OF MIND-BODY HEALING; MIND-BODY THERAPY
by Rossi and Cheek). It may be applied as a form of preventive medicine,
or psychological self-care. It may not be self-administered but we
choose to participate. We adapt through creative choices, and one
of those choices is to seek healing in therapy.
The least we can say about dreams is that they are diagnostic. This
has been noted since ancient times, and Jung and later researchers have
re-iterated it, (ref. Robert C. Smith's "Traumatic Dreams as an Early Warning
of Health Problems" in DREAMTIME AND DREAMWORK, 1990). What comes
up in the dream is shaped by the underlying dis-ease states, regardless
of whether symptoms are present yet, or not. So, any dream, any time
is going to lead there. It might make more sense to do dreamwork
before dis-ease becomes literalized or concretized in symptoms or chronic
Regular journeying into dreams might be a part of preventive medicine.
In the beginning of therapy, dreamhealing seems to deal with very deep
images. After a while the issues are not so deeply buried, and the
dreams deal with surface images again. Once the initial images have
been dissolved, we still have this tendency to create frozen structures
within ourselves. Periodic dreamwork, outside the crisis situation,
helps maintain general well being by reducing stress.
Usually, after the initial course of therapy, we don't have to go as deep.
For example, in getting into a dream early in therapy, it may take an hour.
Later, it seems to happen quicker, easier. It is right at the first
or second level that the healing occurs. The lower levels seem to
be cleared out.
This honoring of our dreams and recognition of their role in our adaptation
has a deeply spiritual aspect. The acknowledgement of the spiritual
side of ourselves is an on-going process, not just something we do in a
crisis. Regular dreamhealing helps us resolve internal conflicts
and thereby reduces stress.
If we approach the healing process, crisis or state of disease--not as
something that is wrong--but as a process of evolving into a new form,
that process of recreating oneself makes a difference as to what happens
to us. We see the disease process in a new way. A small change
could make a phenomenal difference in outcomes, which are most often attached
to expectations. This gives us a model for a positive expectation.
It is not a big implication, perhaps, yet a profound one.
We are no longer helpless and hopeless, not heroically curative, trying
desperately to "get rid of our symptoms." The healing potential is
there within our system all the time, if we let go and open to it.
There is evidence we can strengthen the mind/body link in adaptive ways.
Does the brain "know" about the immune system? On certain levels,
yes, definitely. The brain is just one of the organs of the body
coordinated through the immune system. The brain regulates the body
to preserve the well being of the whole organism. It directs the
body's responses based on external and internal changes.
Psychoneuroimmunology (PNI) has shown that the mind directly influences
the immune system and therefore well being. The immune system is
one of the most complex in the body, consisting of many different cells
and molecules distributed throughout the entire body. The state of
the immune system is the heart of resistance of the organism, and functionally
more important than exposure to disease agents or toxins.
The immune system interfaces through nerves which come into direct contact
with its mobile agents. The immune system is not autonomous, but
it does have its own decision-making capacities. It adapts and learns.
We can even be conditioned to produce specific antibodies, or not, through
experience and internal states. When suppressed, the immune system
does not fend off invasion, and the process of natural selection runs its
It gets instructions from the brain and talks to the brain. It has
its own memory and can instantly create new cells in countless combinations.
It responds to the mental state of the individual and influences whether
we adapt and survive to our stressful conditions, or not. When we
are not adapting, for example to grief or stress, the mind/body makes a
choice toward greater vulnerability.
The link between severe psychological stress and the immune function has
been established. Under stressful conditions, we learn to suppress
our immune functions. Dreamhealing breaks this cycle, providing positive
support, which has been shown to buffer the effects of stress. Experiments
have shown that our immune systems can be trained to defend more vigilantly
or to relax defenses.
The immune system is essentially another sensory organ, which digests outside
information and regulates the body accordingly, by responding in a variety
of ways. It senses what is foreign to the body and normally defends
against it. It is always scanning, and always on full alert, ever-vigilant
and ready to spring into action with a cascade of reactions. Sometimes
it over-reacts to harmless agents (allergins) or attacks the native cells
of the body (autoimmune disorders). Yet this miraculous system which
patrols constantly can make millions of duplicate cells on demand.
Does a healthier immune system influence us medically? There is evidence
we can voluntarily improve our immune function through visualization, and
dreamhealing goes even deeper. Perhaps it won't cure a full-blown
tumor. But a small one, or any group of pathological cells, might
easily be sent into remission through the chemical and autoimmune systems
of the body following the positive input from the mind.
Changes in the immune system may be small, but when their source is primal
chaos, these effects are pumped up into large-scale changes in the organism.
By "getting into" the disease, rather than "getting rid of" it we follow
nature's call to healing--to notice our disease and open ourselves to new
patterns, new awareness. Healing is a process, not a state that can
be attained. This natural philosophy almost eliminates the idea of
a cure--but there is a curative process. "Curing" is symptom-oriented,
while healing is person-oriented.
DREAMHEALING IN SOCIETY
We can speculate on how dreamhealing and CCP might percolate into the fabric
of our society, our culture. Some of it may take place at a grassroots,
self-help level. But an infra-structure could also be developed.
Some venues for dreamhealing, other than standard therapy include its inclusion
in health spas and hospitals and nursing homes.
The plethora of health spas are well-placed to include a dreamhealer among
their numbers. Doing so would essentially bring back, or re-create,
the old Aesculapian dream temples. Retreats and sanctuaries in beautiful
natural settings provide that sense of protection and safety which facilitates
In terms of hospitalization it could be used as preventive medicine and
for recovery. It might fit in while waiting for surgery, or coming
out of it. Nurses might be trained in the process. After surgery,
dreams could be useful for healing of the body, and the healing of scars.
Since cellular changes take place with imagery work, dreamhealing might
go even deeper. It might cut down hospital stays, bringing down the
high cost of medical treatment.
For example, with heart bypass surgery, dreamhealing could be useful for
implimenting deep lifestyle changes. Our self is our lifestyle, so
we have to give up ourselves in that sense to change. Techniques
like biofeedback for stress management only change the behavior, not the
underlying images, much less clear them. We can use dreams as a process
of changing lifestyle--the dreams lead there.
Yet our medical system is highly invested in the technology of healing.
The mythical split in healing approaches is basically Apollonian vs. Dionysian--technology
vs. nature. It is a question of intervention and technology compared
with deepening our relationship to the greater whole.
Lots of money, hardware and jobs are tied up in the medical system, which
it is loath to give up. Doctors don't have much stake in referring
clients for alternative therapies. Dreamhealing relies on the patient
himself to initiate the healing process, which the medical team merely
This is where medicine began, but it has become something else. The
doctor used to "set the scene" for healing, but didn't claim that the treatment
was the thing. To change current philosophy might mean resistance
from the medical establishment, drug companies, etc.
If chaos theory ties into the healing process, it would dramatically change
medicine's role to a supportive one. The stabilizing is done by medicine,
while real healing happens internally. For example, viruses adapt,
mutate, and resist our drug therapies. The more we fight them, the
stronger they become.
Medicine is a static, causal system (we do this and that happens...), while
a virus is a chaotic system. So it adapts and ultimately overcomes
any medical treatment not based in chaos. Medical science is all
protocol, prescriptive. Dreamhealing is chaos based. It follows
a homeopathic principle of healing like with like. Homeopathy is
a system of using minute doses of medicines that produce the symptoms of
the disease treated.
CHAOS, CONSCIOUSNESS, AND BRAIN WAVES
Recent developments in the theory of nonlinear dynamics that have been
applied to brain theory have substantially expanded our understanding of
the neural mechanisms by which large-scale patterns of brain activity are
self-organized. Walter J. Freeman is the leading researcher in this
In particular, these new concepts give us fresh insight into the neurodynamics
of goal-seeking behavior (purpose, intent), how it emerges within the brain,
and how it regulates the influx of sensory information into the cerebrum.
It has become clear that the stimulus-response paradigm fails to address
the most basic properties of biological intelligence, which are its autonomy
and its creative powers.
According to Freeman, chaotic dynamic systems not only destroy information,
they also create it. Brains are chaotic systems that do not merely
"filter" and "process" sensory input; they use sensory stimuli as "instructions"
to create perceptual patterns that replace the stimuli.
When a neural activity pattern emerges by chaotic dynamics that express
a drive toward a goal, it has two facets. One is in the form of a
motor command that activates the descending motor systems. The other
is a set of messages to the central sensory systems that prepare those
systems for the consequences of motor actions that are about to take place
Philosophical and psychological considerations suggest that the cyclical
process of emergent goal-seeking, reafference, and sensory feedback constitute
the basis for what we perceive as subjective consciousness.
This cycle suggests a further inference: the physiological basis for our
human conception of CAUSE AND EFFECT lies in the mechanism of reafference;
namely, that each intended action is accompanied by motor command ("cause")
and expected consequence ("effect") so that the notion of causality lies
at the most fundamental level of our capacity for acting and knowing.
This trait results in the blocking of sensory stimuli by self-organized
activity patterns that are contingent on past experience, present motivational
state, and expectancy of future action.
The intuition of causality is essential for human understanding and action
but it cannot validly be applied to the process by which the intuition
emerges. So, consciousness cannot be said to have a cause, an origin,
a seat, or beginning in time and place within the brain. It is fallacious
to seek for its cause, location, or time of onset in phylogeny and ontology.
According to Freeman, consciousness is bidirectional: it simultaneously
reaches out into the world as an expression of the brain's goal-directed
dynamics and folds in reflexively upon its own operations.
Consciousness is always in rapid change, for it marks the place where the
formed disposition and the immediate situation touch and interact.
It is the continuous readjustment of self and the world in experience.
"Consciousness" is the most acute and intense in the degree of readjustments
that are demanded, approaching the nil as the contact is frictionless and
interaction fluid. It is turbid when meanings are undergoing reconstruction
in an undetermined direction, and becomes clear as a decisive meaning emerges.
John Dewey, 1896
The concept of EMERGENCE is central to any understanding of consciousness
and the brain. As a technical term, it describes a process by which
order appears "spontaneously" within a system (Prigogine, 1980).
When many elements are allowed to mingle, they form patterns among themselves
as they interact.
This emergence of order from a network of interacting parts may appear
sudden to a casual observer, but it is in fact the result of a sequence
of small steps, each based on a preceding step and leading to the next--a
continuum, in other words. What seems fast to us may to the process
itself be slow and vice versa.
Brains are self-organizing. Behavior is determined not by the motor
and sensory cortices found in the outer brain shell but also by systems
inside the shell. The combination of corollary discharge with the
burst of sensory input, both proprioceptive and exteroceptive, produces
a transformation of neural activity patterns that have been established
by and within the cortex.
It is this transformation then that we call perception. It is also
molded by the innumerable influences during past experiences with the same
and similar stimuli. That is, the basis for remembering a particular
experiences lies embedded in the modified strengths of neural connections.
Order emerges from chaos on limbic command. The world image is built
on ordered patterns that emerge from the chaos in which the brain is immersed
by its own hand. Everywhere throughout the brain is disorder--chaos--from
which order emerges.
There has been considerable interest lately in the role played by chaotic
generators in the origin of neural activity. This kind of activity,
although it looks erratic, random, and unpredictable, does have structure.
We should not think of brain waves as "noise", but consider them as manifesting
forms of nerve cell activity deliberately generated and shaped to meet
the brain's requirements.
CHAOS IS AN INTRINSIC PROPERTY OF LARGE MASSES OF NEURONS INTERACTING WITH
OTHERS OF A SIMILAR KIND AND THUS IS A CHARACTERISTIC OF THE NEURAL SYSTEM
AS AN INTERACTIVE WHOLE. A chaotic generator can create information,
as well as destroy it. We should look to these patterns of activity
for information about the neurological origins of consciousness and the
creative powers of the brain.
A conscious "willed" action begins as a self-organized pattern of neural
activity in the limbic system. It links with kinesthetic and visceral
sensation and becomes conditioned. Consciousness is the flickering
process that combines corollary discharge with the messages on all the
sensory lines. These sensory lines at once carry fresh input and
are shaped by previous experience.
CONSCIOUSNESS BEARS THE IMPRINT OF BOTH THE RECENT PAST AND THE EXPECTATION
OF FUTURE ACTION, REAL OR IMAGINED. Herein lies the influence of
the consciousness journeys in the creative consciousness process.
A multi-sensory imaginal journey is just as real in terms of producing
natural consequences in real-time as an actual physical journey.
It may be slightly different, yet just as real.
The purpose of consciousness is to report in the brain on the consequences
of that organ's actions, thereby preparing the next step in the brain's
evolution. We experience consciousness just as we do time, force,
space, and the extension of our own bodies. These are the unarguable
givens that form the basis of being human.
Consciousness is an intrinsic and essential attribute of a functioning
brain operating in a responsive body. Consciousness occurs in a continuum
accompanying the flow of matter and energy in and through brains.
IN THE BEGINNING IS THE CHAOS OF NEURAL ACTIVITY, WHICH IS ALREADY PRESENT
IN THE WOMB WHEN THE BRAIN IS NO BIGGER THAN A GRAIN OF RICE.
When we address the dynamics of systems, each with many elements and many
reflexive pathways for the exchange of energy, matter, and information
and when these putative actions and reactions reach far over time, distance,
and sequential stages, we can only comprehend relationships within the
whole, and the cause-effect metaphor is overwhelmed.
Any circular relation that we can characterize as a reflexive or feedback
loop will ultimately surpass our metaphor. The search for an "origin"
for consciousness is an anthropomorphic fallacy. The process is much
too complex, contradictory, and chaotic to be so treated.
EEG is a quasi-deterministic sensory-cognitive activity. EEG represents
an integrative signal stemming from deterministic processes and is a strange
attractor. The brain does not always operate with strange attractor
states (or deterministic states). In the waking stage there are also
"noisy states" during long periods of time. All EEG microstates are
not due to deterministic processes.
But some EEG reflects properties of a strange attractor. If a brain
structure under study is in a desynchronized states, then excitation (sensory
stimulation) puts its activity into a temporary attractor, an instantaneous
The theory of nonlinear dynamic systems states that nonlinear systems are
able to generate determinsitic chaos under selected conditions. Chaos
in the sense of nonlinear dynamics means that the behavior of a system
is not predictable over longer periods of time, but nevertheless there
exists a prescription (i.e. in terms of differential equations) for calculating
the future behavior from given initial conditions.
AN ATTRACTOR IS THE QUANTITY OF SELECTED STATES OF A DYNAMIC SYSTEM THAT
ARE DETERMINED UNDER VARIOUS BUT DELIMITED CONDITIONS. IN SOME CASES
THE SEQUENCE OF THESE STATES, CALLED A TRAJECTORY, SEEMS TO BE CHAOTIC
In dreamhealing we follow the dreamstream back and down from the surface
symbol through a labyrinth of imagery to more primal levels leading to
chaos consciousness. In Chaos Theory, transition from one attractor
to another is called a state change or bifurcation. In dreamhealing
it means a state change in terms of consciousness states, a quantum leap
Sensitive dependence on initial conditions means similar causes do not
produce similar effects. This statement refutes the causality principle
of natural philosophy. However, by examining the properties of a
strange attractor more precisely, one finds that it may have a strong conformity,
called SELF-SIMILARITY, which is an invariance with respect to scaling.
It repeats its conformations from the most fundamental to the most complex
We can link the concept of the strange attractor with physiological and
behavioral changes of the CNS. Two different brain structures may
show various degrees of freedom. There are a number of independent
strange attractors simultaneously recorded (Babloyantz, 1989). There
is a strong chaotic Alpha attractor at 10-Hz. Reproducible Alpha
is the most convincing demonstration of this finding. The greatest
power in studied cases is in the Alpha frequency range.
The experimental cognitive task consisted of mental marking of an omitted
signal and not a physical stimulation. The EEG of a subject can reach
such patterns as a constant template during a constant mental task.
This pattern has a defined phase-reordering and alignment during the execution
of the mental task, which start approximately 500 msec before the event.
Expectation and experience influence the response.
Researchers focused on EEG rhythmicity in a frequency range of around 8
to 13 Hz during the described cognitive task. Earlier studies found
activities of slower (1-7 Hz) and higher (40 hz) frequency with phase-reordering
could also be observed during cognitive tasks. We also assumed that
synchronization of the electrical activity in Delta (1-3 Hz), and Alpha
(8-13 Hz) frequency ranges seems to occur during operative stages of the
brain in which the brain processes information coming from sensory and
By using a sensory-cognitive paradigm the EEG can go over to coherent and
ordered states that are of a repeatable nature. Linear and nonlinear
analysis show that the transition from a disordered state to an ordered
state occurred in the range of 40 Hz and 4 Hz. When the probability
of occurrence of a target signal is increased, the 10 Hz, 40 Hz, and 4
Hz EEG goes over to coherent phase-ordered states WITHOUT THE APPLICATION
OF PHYSICAL STIMULATION. (Ref. dreamhealing phenomena).
The Theta rhythm is also interesting. Jonathan Winson's research
showed that when animals were awake, Theta rhythm seemed to show when they
were behaving in ways most crucial to their survival. In other words,
Theta rhythm appeared when they exhibited behavior that was not genetically
encoded--such as feeding or sexual behavior--but rather a response to changing
He further suggests that theta rhythm reflects a neural process whereby
information essential to the survival of a species--gathered during the
day--is reprocessed into memory during REM sleep.
These COHERENT STATES depict almost phase-ordered patterns. The manifestation
of a strange attractor has an activity that appears to be random.
However, this activity is deterministic and reproducible if the input and
initial conditions can be replicated. (E. Roy John, MACHINERY OF
THE MIND, 1990)
When we think about something, intend something, expect something the molecules
in our brain shift slightly. That in turn changes their gravitational
attraction. According to chaos theory, this effect will be pumped
up. The slight ripple is felt in the gravitational web of space.
This incredibly tiny disturbance will grow following the butterfly effect.
Thus the real yet intangible (virtual) experiences of dreamhealing and
consciousness journeys have a physical effect which is pumped up by chaotic
dynamics from a micro- to macro-effect.
File Created: 6/15/00 Last Updated: 7/24/00