By FARIBA BOGZARAN, PhD, East-West Psychology alum, and DANIEL DESLAURIERS, professor in the Transformative Studies PhD program
We are often asked how we came to the idea of writing Integral Dreaming. The book is our collaborative attempt to reveal the complexity and multidimensionality of dreams. Having been part of the dream studies movement since the early 1980s, we realized early on that dreams are a phenomenon too complex to be narrowed down to one discipline or a single author’s theoretical stance. We set ourselves the task of integrating the rigor of science with the wholeness of the multidimensional being.
The concept of Integral Dreaming evolved out of twenty-five years of dialogue, co-teaching and research. We met at the inaugural conference of the International Association for the Study of Dreams (IASD) in 1984 in San Francisco. At the time, we both were graduate students living in Canada, Fariba studying psychology, researching consciousness and dreams at the University of Regina, and Daniel a doctoral student at Université de Montreal, working on a project marrying cognitive psychology, artificial intelligence and dreams. We were both also practicing artists: Fariba trained in the visual and multimedia arts and Daniel in music and dance. Every year we met at the IASD conference and attended each other’s presentations. It became apparent early on that each of us, in our unique ways, understood the value of dreaming not only from the perspective of the “hard sciences”, but also from depth psychology and creativity. Before naming it, our approach was already integral.
The intellectual and artistic common ground we shared brought us together as colleagues. At IASD conferences, we participated in dream theater presentations that merged science, archetypal exploration and cross-cultural music and dance (Santa Cruz, 1988 and London, 1989).
At the 1985 IASD conference, Fariba met psycho-physiologist and lucid dream researcher Stephen LaBerge who introduced her to CIIS. Fariba joined his lucid dream team at Stanford Sleep Laboratory. Transferring her courses from the University of Regina to CIIS, she received her MA and PhD in East-West Psychology. Her research explored transpersonal experiences in lucid dreaming. Trained in somatic psychology, art and shamanic studies, she developed Dream Creations as a set of integrative and creative methods to explore dreams. She was appointed as faculty member at JFK University where she founded the Dream Studies program in 1996. Simultaneously, she continued her career as an artist, exploring the connection between arts and consciousness.
Daniel’s early research took him to Carleton’s Sleep laboratory. His research on dreams was expanding the nature of our metaphorical mind to dreams, incorporating the narrative mode of knowing with a transpersonal view informed by Assagioli’s psychosynthesis. With his colleague George Baylor, he started the Montreal Center for the Study of Dreams. Daniel moved to California in the fall of 1989. Soon he was appointed faculty member at CIIS in the East-West Psychology program, building a track on consciousness studies. He chaired the department for a decade before joining the Transformative Studies Doctorate program.
In the 1990’s, we co-taught many international courses and training retreats, including a CIIS study abroad tour Dreaming in Bali. In Taiwan, we created a certificate program for professional psychologists and psychiatrists in an integral approach to dreams. In 2003, we created a curriculum for Integral Approaches to Dreams, a course that we taught at CIIS and JFKU. For the IASD conference in 2004, we presented this approach to our professional colleagues in Copenhagen, Denmark and found enthusiastic support from our peers. The time was ripe to bring this work to a larger audience. The dream pioneer Robert van de Castle offered us the opportunity to write the last book in SUNY’s Dream Studies series.
This collaborative writing project took us on a longer journey than we imagined. It is the product of intense discussion, an integrative process of its own. Co-authoring can be challenging! To find a common voice has given us ample occasions to practice open-mindedness. In the book we advocate receptivity to multiple ways of knowing. We have summarized the core of the integral approach with these three simple tenets: dreams are multidimensional; we are multidimensional and thus, the way to approach dreams has to be multidimensional.
Integral Dreaming could not have been written had we not been involved in the “movement” of Dream Studies from the beginning. It is the culmination of years of teaching in integral settings and countless dialogues with peers and students. Our hope is for the field of dream studies to find new coherence when viewed through the lens of integral theory. We consider the transformative potentials of dream awareness not only for the individual, but also for the benefit of community and ecological awareness. We invite the reader to expand their own dreaming repertoire with openness, lucidity and creative action. This new approach to the practice of dreaming engages Eastern, Western and Indigenous ways of being with dreams. In this book, we plant many seeds that hopefully will bear fruit for years to come.