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7675FW: Dan Washburn - facilitation of mystical experience via the Dream Analogy

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  • Daniel Washburn
    Mar 22, 2014

      Here is a letter I just sent to Ralph Hood, one of the top researchers in the psychology of religion in the US. He has done a lot of work on facilitating mystical experience and my email suggests a new way to go about doing this.




      From: Daniel Washburn [mailto:danw@...]
      Sent: Saturday, March 22, 2014 2:34 PM
      To: Ralph-Hood@...
      Subject: Dan Washburn - facilitation of mystical experience via the Dream Analogy



      Hi, Dr. Hood


      This morning I was half-awake but still dreaming and I decided to try to wake up one of the dream characters to the fact that he and the whole dream world were creations of mine, so that he would realize me as the one unitary being, the over-mind that creates everything.  A dialog ensued but I woke up before there was any resolution. 


      The great thing about dreaming is that it is a direct analogy to the mystical perception that there is one unitary consciousness behind all things.  God is dreaming the universe and everyone in it as a great work of art.  It is my task to wake up to the fact that I am a dream creation and become a conscious co-creator.


      In thinking about all this I came up with the following method for using the Dream Analogy to facilitate mystical experience.


      First test a group of subjects on the Mystical Experiences Scale


      Have them write down their dreams every night for two weeks.


      Each day during the two weeks have them do a 15 minute imagination session where they dialogue with a dream character, trying to awaken that character to the reality of the one mind that is creating the dream character and the dream world.  A series of beautiful, awesome, and mysterious nature photos would be available--mountains, rivers, groves of trees, lightning flashes, the rising sun, the earth from space, etc.  Subjects would be instructed to look at the photos at the beginning of the session and to use them in the dialogue with the dream character—if you wake up to my reality you can drop your small concerns and worries and participate in our creation of awesome and mysterious beauty.  Subjects would also be instructed to use any other argument that they can think of, too.   At the end of the session Ss would make brief notes on what seemed to work.


      For the next two weeks Subjects would do an imagination dialogue every day from the point of view of the Over-mind, trying to awaken S’s real self, a family member, or friend to the reality of the one mind that is creating the person and the real world.  The session would start with viewing the photos.  S would be instructed to use the photos in the dialogue and to use any other arguments that they can think of, too.  At the end of the session Ss would make brief notes on what seemed to work.


      At the end of the month Subjects would be retested on the mystical experiences scale and asked to write about any experiences they had during the month that seemed numinous or mystical.


      The notes on what worked would be used to refine the procedure, so that what worked could be duplicated across individuals.


      What I like about this is that it could be packaged into an Internet website/app that would give instructions for the month-long exercise, show a slide show of the awesome and mysterious photos, give tips on arguments to use, and collect people’s comments on what they have experienced.   The procedure is non-denominational but the website/app could be tailored for multiple religions, Christian, Jewish, Islamic, Buddhist, Taoist, etc.  

      At base here I am trying to use Nature mysticism in combination with the Dream Analogy to produce a heightened sensitivity to mystical/numinous states.  We could also add my previous idea to the web/app:   Have a downloadable mp-3 file available that can be played before going to sleep.  It would instruct a person to have mystical experiences during their dreams with unitive feelings, a deep sense of truth,  indescribable ineffable beauty, awe, serenity, compassion, bliss, transcendence of space and time, fusion of the opposites, and a profound feeling of sacredness.  Playing this before sleeping during the month of the Dream Analogy exercise might produce spectacular results.

      Dan Washburn