This post provides an easily accessible template to help directors and directees to apply the principles of dream work and active imagination as presented by Robert Johnson in Inner Work: Using Dreams and Active Imagination for Personal Growth. Johnson provides a four step process, based on Jungian psychology, with the goal of providing a method for “joining our conscious and unconscious selves, resulting in a central transformative experience that immeasurably enriches our lives” (back cover).
Here we are in December and preparing for the holidays. It’s a magical time of the year, despite the crass commercialism that has hijacked the season. One of the important issues which gets lost in the mix is the role of dreams in shaping the contours of the Christmas story. As a spiritual director, I am constantly working with people to better understand their dreams and often that involves doing a considerable amount of teaching on the subject, as well as undoing some bad theology and psychology that most of us have picked up along the way.
Let’s take a look at some old ideas that may be new thinking for many of us.
Steve Stutz earned his doctorate in spiritual direction and formation at the Houston Graduate School of Theology, where he is currently Adjunct Professor of Spiritual Direction. He received his initial training in spiritual direction through the Formation in Direction program of the Episcopal Diocese of Texas in 2006. He is a retreat leader and workshop presenter, having worked with groups in the US, Canada, and Africa. He is trained to facilitate the Ignatian 19th Annotation, is an expert in dream work, discernment process, and the charismatic gifts of the Holy Spirit.