In 1987, I met Dr. Alvaro Lopez Watermann, a brilliant man who was totally immersed in the study of the sleeping dream state, which he termed DreamWork. For 12 years Alvaro had been doing “Dream Assignments”, asking his Inner Wisdom profound questions, and receiving perfect guidance in his dreams. During those 12 years, he had done thousands of Dream Assignments and recorded thousands of pages of research, most of it somewhat technical in nature.
What he learned can only be described as a complete game changer in understanding how humans create their realities and, more importantly for those on a path to higher consciousness, a way to dramatically accelerate any transformational journey. Having been deeply immersed in several spiritual practices and life-changing bodies of transformational knowledge myself over 40 years, I have found DreamWork to be the most powerful transformational practice of which I am aware.
I very much wanted to understand and even master DreamWork and asked if Alvaro would take me on as a student. He was quite reluctant at first, telling me how much commitment, time, money, and travel would be required. Still, I persisted, and he agreed to take me into the depths of DreamWork.
The only caveat for me was, when I’d mastered DreamWork, I would write two small books designed for regular people to understand the basics of DreamWork or even dip their toes into the transformational waters. He agreed and so started my six years with the world’s first DreamWork master teacher and amazing loving task master, Alvaro Lopez Watermann, Ph.D.
Learning is Doing
I started my work with Alvaro by becoming familiar with his thousands of pages of research and hundreds of audio tapes. However, the real learning was in doing many personal and professional Dream Assignments and having Alvaro take me through the dream interpretation process that had been gifted to us from Inner Wisdom.
Doing Dream Assignments is rigorous transformational work because DreamWork bypasses the filters of the mind and leaves us face to face with the fear-based parts of ourselves the mind has been avoiding. Worse for those hoping to avoid too rapid a pace in their transformational journey, we are told exactly what to do to transcend those fears. Taking right action is likely that last thing the mind wants to do, or we would already have done it, yes?
Imagine Inner Wisdom telling the abused wife to grab the kids and leave. Imagine Inner Wisdom telling the workaholic that his/her cancer or the heart attack is a message to make a career change or change lifestyle. Imagine Inner Wisdom telling a woman distraught over the breakup of relationship that the breakup was caused by dissonance between her Masculine Mind and Feminine Mind and what to do to heal that relationship. Imagine Inner Wisdom telling my wife, Linda, and me we had to uproot the kids and move in order to keep the family together (true story).
Not Too Much – Especially in the Beginning
As with everything that’s important to me, I tend to be passionate, almost driven, and learning DreamWork was no different. I dove into doing Dream Assignments a couple of times per week. This is rigorous to the point of being right on the edge of the maximum I could handle. There were times I had to scale back a little to give myself a breather and recharge my batteries.
I finally understood that more is not necessarily better when toward the end of my time with Alvaro, we did ten Dream Assignments in ten days and Alvaro’s wife, Gabriella, called me on day ten to see if I was okay, which I wasn’t. I was exhausted to the point of being sick.
I highly recommend that, especially for those new to Dream Assignments, one Dream Assignment per week be the maximum and, if that’s too much, back off to a Dream Assignment every ten days or so or to whatever frequency works for the dreamer.
The “Gag” Moment
When doing live DreamWork/Dream Assignment/Dream Interpretation training for groups, almost everyone wants to do a Dream Assignment and have his/her dream interpreted in front of the room, with me facilitating. We always put names of those who want to do a Dream Assignment in a hat and let the universe choose who will have their dream interpreted in front of the group.
When explaining to the group the ground rules for doing DreamWork Dream Interpretation, one thing I always emphasize is that in any dream interpretation, there is a possibility of the dreamer seeing what Inner Wisdom is sharing and being stunned or shocked in that moment. I call it the “gag” moment in order to inject a little humor into the situation. Literally, people tend to stop breathing for a moment, unable to speak. The same thing happens to a lesser degree with the audience. We can almost feel the air being sucked out of the room.
A critical ground rule for anyone doing DreamWork Dream Interpretation facilitation is that, if a dreamer reaches a gag moment, the dreamer be given options. Options include stopping the process, taking the process offline and completing one on one at another time, continuing the process, or do whatever the dreamer feels is most appropriate in the moment, including abandoning the process altogether.
How Powerful is DreamWork as a Transformational Accelerator?
One of the things that drew me to Alvaro and he to me was we both, unknown to the other, were studying eastern teachings/transformation in the same body of knowledge. In this body of knowledge, there is a guru who headed the practices and a number of swamis in training. The guru asked Alvaro to explain DreamWork and then asked him to do Dream Assignments with the swamis as a way to accelerate their growth.
Later, when I working with don Miguel Ruiz, author of The Four Agreements, I did Dream Assignments with some of his students, again to accelerate transformational growth. Don Miguel used to joke that he was working with the waking dream and I with the sleeping dream.
In my next couple of articles, I’ll go deeper into DreamWork for those of you who are somehow pulled or feel a resonance with this work.