“The living image functions as an intermediary between the dreamer and the dreaming psyche. In its life as an implicit energy, the living image connects the dreamer to the energetic underpinning of the psyche. Connection to this generative resource gives the dreamer access to the rhythm of life itself.” ~Dr. Stephen Aizenstat

Over the next four weeks, Tending Tuesday will be devoted to aspects of Dream Tending that mark its foundation: The Living Image, The Intolerable Image, The World’s Dream, and Medicines of the Soul. Enjoy the journey as we move through these four cornerstones of the Dream Tending method. Feel free to journal around the exercises offered. As always, we love to hear your insights and questions that arise from the Tending Tuesday sharing.

The Living Image is, at a basic level, an image that comes alive for us when we close our eyes and move into a sleep and dream state. For example, last night I dreamt about my mother. My flesh-and-blood mother is located in Minnesota, yet my dream visited me in Oregon. The image in my dream was a Living Image of her. Her–but not her.

When we begin to explore the autonomy, energy, even personality of the Living Images that visit in dreamtime, we can begin to tend the images rather than interpreting or explaining them. I might ask the mother that visited last night’s dream, “Tell me about yourself.” Just as I might tend a friendship or host someone at my home, I invite the image to open to me at its own pace, rather than look at it and say, “Ah, you are this! I know everything about you already.” When we invite, rather than categorize or analyze, images truly come to life and share their wisdom.

I want to offer this introductory exercise to explore a recent Living Image in your life.

1.  Think of a recent dream, or look back to a dream journal to find a dream that is asking to be tended.

2.  Choose an image that feels particularly potent. It can be helpful to choose a non-person image. Consider animals, landscape, or objects.

3.  Welcome the image and invite it to spend time with you.

4.  Notice the image. Be curious about it. Ask the image, “How are you today?” Allow time and space for the image to respond. Be open to the image responding in non-verbal ways.

5.  Hold a conversation with the image–including allowing the image to ask you questions as well. What might the image be curious about? What might it have to share?

6.  When the conversation comes to a natural conclusion, say a farewell to the image; “See you soon,” I often say, or, “I hope to visit with you again soon.”

7.  Journal your reflections, noticings, and questions. 

Volume XLXII – The Living Image

Inside The Curious Mind

This is a quote that resonated with me this week…

“Imagination is a natural resource. It is not a thing, a process, or a system. It is not a plan, or a strategy, or a process that you can follow or implement. Imagination is a raw material that we can use for whatever we want.”

~Brian Reich, The Imagination Gap

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Stephen Aizenstat

Stephen Aizenstat, Ph.D., is the founder of Dream Tending, Pacifica Graduate Institute, and the Academy of Imaginal Arts and Sciences. He is a world-renowned professor of depth psychology, an imagination specialist, and an innovator. He has served as an organizational consultant to major companies and institutions, and as a depth psychological content advisor to Hollywood film makers. He has lectured extensively in the U.S., Asia, and Europe. He is affiliated with the Earth Charter International project through the United Nations, where he has spoken. Professor Aizenstat is the Chancellor Emeritus and Founding President of Pacifica Graduate Institute. He has collaborated with many notable masters in the field including Joseph Campbell, James Hillman, Marion Woodman, and Robert Johnson.