Paul Levy: Where Dreams and Waking Life Intersect


Richard Moore

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Where Dreams and Waking Life Intersect
by Paul Levy

Life can be so dreamlike. In the late 1980s, I was working as the Book Service 
Manager for the C. G. Jung Foundation of New York. One day, one of my customers 
asked me how come I didn't carry his books. Wondering who he was, I asked him 
and he replied, "I'm Dr. Montague Ullman." Astonished, I realized I was talking 
to one of the world¹s leading experts on dreams.

Being passionately interested in dreaming, this apparently chance meeting was 
deeply meaningful and synchronistic for me. As we got to know each other over 
time, Dr. Ullman and I realized that we actually lived quite close to each other
in the suburbs. One time when I visited Dr. Ullman at his home, I shared with 
him the intense shamanic initiatory illness that I had been going through since 
the late 70s. I described to him the overwhelming experiences I had been having 
where the boundary between dreaming and waking was dissolving. As if I was 
living inside of a waking dream, my inner process was externalizing itself and 
synchronistically manifesting itself literally, as well as symbolically, through
what was occurring in the outer world. It was as if some deeper part of myself 
was configuring events in the seemingly external world so as to express itself.

I knew from Dr. Ullman¹s work that he was not only a psychiatrist but was very 
open and interested in the paranormal. So I told him about many of the out of 
the ordinary experiences that were happening to me. Events were happening in my 
life that were supposedly not possible in this universe of ours; stuff that 
could only happen in dreams. Just like a dream, it was as if a deeper, inner 
process was revealing itself to me through the medium of the outside world. The 
seemingly "outer" world was manifesting like a living oracle, an instantaneous 
feedback loop, a continually unfolding revelation that was speaking 
"symbolically," which is the language of dreams. People¹s fearful and judgmental
reactions to what I was experiencing had caused me to become a bit gun-shy, 
making me hesitant to share with others what I was realizing for fear of being 
patholgized and told I was going crazy. I explained to Dr. Ullman how I was 
struggling with trying to integrate what I was realizing about the dreamlike 
nature of this universe with somehow being in the world and making a living in a
way that supported my spiritual unfoldment.

I knew that being the Book Service Manager at the Jung Foundation wasn't my true
calling. Even though I enjoyed the job because it allowed me to study Jung, the 
job itself felt like a suit that fit too tight. If I amplified this experience 
like a dream, having a job in consensus reality felt like a part of my soul was 
being killed. I knew Jung had said that the cause of suffering and neurosis, 
both of which I had plenty of, was not finding our true vocation. He points out 
that, etymologically speaking, "vocation" comes from the word "calling," which 
comes from the words "genie" (as in "I dream ofŠ") and "genius." And the word 
"genius" comes from the word "daemon," which means the inner voice and guiding 
spirit. Jung makes the point that if we don¹t honor our daemon, however, it 
constellates destructively and becomes a "demon." The point is that if we follow
our inner voice we will find our true vocation, snap out of our neurosis and 
heal our suffering, or so says Jung.

Dr. Ullman was in strong agreement with Jung. I will never forget one thing he 
told me, something that no one else had ever said to me in response to my 
problems with integrating my mystical experiences into this seemingly mundane, 
physical world, which demanded that I "make a living." As if giving me a 
prophecy, he said that my healing would undoubtedly have to do with if I could 
creatively find a way to build a bridge between the two worlds, to assimilate 
the deeper spiritual process I had fallen into in such a way that I would then 
be able to make a living out of this very process of integration. He told me a 
story of a student of his who had managed to do this, teaching workshops which 
were the vehicle not only of getting across whatever she was realizing, but the 
workshops themselves were the very container that deepened her own process of 
realization. She was living her dream and dreaming it in a creative way that 
came from deep inside of herself.

Over the course of years, Dr. Ullman¹s prediction has become true. The unique 
work that I've developed in dreaming is the very thing that both supports me in 
the world while simultaneously deepening my healing. I have developed what I 
call "Awakening in the Dream Groups" (please see my article on these groups 
available here), in which people who are awakening to the dreamlike nature of 
reality come together and creatively discover ways to help each other to deepen 
and stabilize our shared lucidity. As if in a dream, we view each other as 
"dream characters" ­ embodied reflections of different parts of ourselves - who 
are not separate from each other but rather are interconnected parts of one 
another. By what I call "following the dreaming," which simply requires being in
the present moment, recognizing the perfection of what is presenting itself, and
seeing that whatever is happening we are all collaboratively "dreaming up," 
conjures up a (dream)field which is lubricated for our shared healing. Just as 
in a night dream, if any of us in the group have an unhealed, incomplete, 
unconscious part of ourselves (and who doesn¹t?), over and in time this 
unconscious content gets dreamed up in the alchemical container of the group and
in a very natural (as compared to fabricated) way gets acted out as the group 
process. Instead of playing this out unconsciously in a way that would reinforce
the wound, however, the group adds the light of consciousness to this 
unconscious energy that is playing out in the field and is then able to dream 
into and unfold this energy in a way which metabolizes and integrates the 
unconscious content. By fluidly following the dreaming with no agenda or 
technique, we find ourselves incarnating full-bodied dreamwork in real-time, the
present moment, in a way which liberates the unconscious energy which was bound 
up in the compulsion to recreate the unhealed wound.

Seen as a dreaming process, my encounter with Dr. Ullman was a reflection of a 
deeper, atemporal, inner process taking place deep within my psyche that was 
getting dreamed up and played out in linear time through the canvas of the 
apparently outside world. Synchronistic phenomenon like this seemingly 
co-incidental encounter with Dr. Ullman can oftentimes illumine the underlying 
dreamlike nature of things. We can view this chance meeting with Dr. Ullman as a
dream in which "central casting" sent Dr. Ullman to pick up and enact a crucial 
role in my inner, dreaming process. In Dr. Ullman, it was as if I had "dreamed 
up," in actual embodied, materialized form an inner wisdom figure and guide. 
Being unconscious of the inner wisdom that he re-presented at the time, I had to
project it seemingly outside of myself, dreaming it up into actual form, to 
begin to develop a conscious relationship with this part of myself. Like Jung 
says, the unconscious always approaches us from seemingly outside of ourselves, 
which is to say that we dream up this world of ours to (potentially) wake us up.
If you were to tell me that I am just imagining or dreaming that this is so, I 
would say, "Exactly!"

Paul Levy is an artist and a spiritually-informed political activist. A pioneer 
in the field of spiritual awakening, he is a healer in private practice, 
assisting others who are also awakening to the dream-like nature of reality. He 
is the author of, 'The Madness of George Bush: A Reflection of Our Collective 
Psychosis,' which is available on his website ( to read
the first chapter, click here: 
Please feel free to pass this article along to a friend if you feel so inspired.
You can contact Paul at •••@••.•••; he looks forward to your 

© 2007 Paul Levy

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