When I teach, I often do a dream incubation at bedtime before and during my classes, and ask to receive teaching dreams that may be pertinent to the group of students I am teaching.
In my January weekend Embodied Awareness Facilitator Certification course, I facilitated a ‘flooding exercise’ on Saturday, designed to awaken our subtle senses in order to explore that which is hidden in our own nature—i.e. the ’shadow’.
On Saturday night, 1/ 26, 2013, I had a dream that I entitled “My Shadow: Interrupting Exposed.”
In my dream, I was in a conversation with a mentee of mine. I could perceive my mentee’s blind spots and how he was making decisions out of emotional reactivity, which I could sense were the result of unacknowledged emotional vulnerability from his childhood. Emotional reactivity is often an indicator that the ‘shadow’ is surfacing. My mentee’s shadow was up, and he didn’t know it.
My mentee and I had a long conversation about the responsibilities that come with teaching and being a teacher. Next, I noticed that I kept interrupting him. I ‘woke-up’ in the dream, and became aware of how my unconscious urge to ‘interrupt’ is a symptom of my own ‘shadow’ material — a ‘signal’ that my vulnerability (and shadow) are calling to be recognized. I saw my mentee as a reflection of me. . .in the dream I thought “both my mentee and I have hidden vulnerabilities” (All of us do).
My mentee decided that we should go to see his psychiatrist, an Austrian clinician named “Dr. Breuer”.
In the next dream sequence, I was introduced to an older gentleman sporting a beard. His name was Dr. Breuer, though in my dream I thought to myself “He reminds me of Freud. “
In contrast to my mentee’s emotional reactivity, Dr. Breuer (in my dream) is objective, insightful and quoting Jewish mystics.
Dr. Breuer brought up the importance of expressing our emotions and the significance of the ‘emotional world,’ which is one of four “worlds” in Jewish mysticism. This led to a dialectical discourse in which I said, “universal humanitarian ethics also liberates us from the pain and sorrow.” I referenced Rabbi Lawrence Kushner’s book “When Bad Things Happen to Good People”, to make my case that, in essence we are ‘good’ even if we experience ‘bad’ things or behave in ‘bad’ ways. The key is to shift from primary personal process to universal awareness, to awaken and heal.
I woke up from this dream with the spelling B-R-E-U-E-R in my mind, and made a note of it. I also began to wonder if Breuer was more than just a dream symbol. . . . Here is where it gets interesting . . . .
When I got to class on Sunday, I asked my co-facilitator Martina Jaeckel (who is an Austrian trained clinical psychologist with 20 years experience in psychiatry in Austria) if she had ever heard of a ‘Dr. Breuer’. Martina said “No. But I know an Eric Breuer—he is an Austrian artist.” Then she offered, “I’ll look the name up on Google.” Her face brightened with delight at the discovery of Dr. Joseph Breuer, a renowned Austrian physician and a contemporary of Freud’s.
Who Is Dr. Joseph Breuer (1842-1925)
“Josef Breuer was the son of Leopold Breuer (1791-1872), a liberal Jewish teacher of religion in Vienna.“ (more info here) Interestingly, Breuer was Sigmund Freud’s mentor and creator of the ‘cathartic method” also known as “the talking cure”. Freud was fascinated by Breuer’s success in treating “Anna O”, who suffered from hysteria, and began working with Breuer after reading this case study. As the forerunner of psychoanalysis, Breuer proved (through case studies) that trauma can be healed through remembering the trauma, discussing the experience and releasing unexpressed emotional feelings in a therapeutic conversation with the physician.
Breuer was distinguished for several contributions to modern science.
- coining the term ‘catharsis’ and developing the ‘talking cure” (ie the power of emotional release to effect healing)
- discovered that the lung has receptors that send signals directly to the brain via the vagus nerve whenever we occlude the trachea between inspirations and exhalations
- Researched on the labyrinth (building one in his own yard).
- Pioneered research on the anatomy and function of the inner ear.
- Established the “Mach-Breuer theory of endolymph shift” which is responsible for perception of the body’s movement (including our sense of balance).
What Does Dr. Breuer’s research mean to us today?
The dream conversation with Dr. Breuer reminds us that:
- Emotions are an important subtle signals (especially when exploring the unconscious –or hidden shadow elements of one’s personality)
- Expressing feelings (by translating emotional signals into memories, thoughts and discharging emotions in conversation with someone who is actually listening), helps to heal even traumatic injuries.
- The subtle world of creative philosophical thought and the exploration of universal perspectives (as exemplified in the dream discussion of Jewish philosophies and mysticism), also influence healing.
Other Reminders from Dr. Breuer
- BREATH: The ancients tell us that breath is a powerful regulator of subtle spiritual energies (prana) and oxygen.
At the end of the 19th century, Breuer discovered the breath not only sends oxygen to the lungs, it also transmits signals directly to the brain through the vegus nerve.
At the end of the 20th century we discovered that breathing not only influences the brain (through the vagus nerve); it also impacts our heart-brain. Slowing our breath down to 4-6 respirations per minute changes the neurocardiology of the heart, (by decreasing cortisol and increasing oxytocin, dopamine and other more pleasant hormones, we change our stress level and blood pressure.
What can we discover about breath and breathing in the 21st Century?
- INNER EAR
Ancient philosophical systems tell us that everything in the physical world is a representation of spiritual principle. On a gross physical level, the inner ear is responsible for our sense of movement and balance.
Symbolically, the inner ear is about clairaudience–listening to one’s inner voice, those silent whispers that echo the sounds of an eternal source of wisdom from deep within the psyche.
Deep listening returns us to listening with our whole body and being. . . .to allt he subtle signals proprioceptive signals from the body, emotional signals from one’s heart and those even more subtle psychic senses that take a myriad of forms. We receive inner guidance. This returns us to a state of balance within. Then we know how to proceed. To embody inner wisdom and act accordingly.
I wonder if we will discover more of the neurological and physiological structures related to subtle senses, which foster expansions in consciousness, in the years to come.
Clairvoyant impressions can take many forms: symbolic process in the form of images, picture, and dreams (both day dreams and night time dreams) offer us a wealth of opportunity to ‘see’ into the hidden treasures of our full potential.
Within the shadow—within those unconscious or hidden elements of one’s personality—one discovers deeper truths and greater wisdom. The shadow shines a light on our blind spots—those personality quirks, double standards and inconsistencies that are revealed in rigid thinking or emotional reactivity. The contradictory parts of one’s personality are not the truth, but lead to a greater non-dual truth.
“. . .Dreams speak to us in the language of the soul. . . “
Hedva, Radical Self-Care
What does this have to do with Embodied Awareness?
We live in a field of infinite intelligence. Human consciousness (and our brains and bodies) receive and send signals. This is how we transmit and receive information between physical world experiences, and the worlds of inner experience (emotions, thoughts, perceptions and pure consciousness). All knowledge is available to us, as we can learn to translate the signals we receive via our physical and subtle senses: sight, sound, touch, taste, smell, gut response (transmission of energy), telepathy (transmission of emotion), clairaudience (transmission of thought, clairvoyance, intuition (pattern recognition), spiritual discernment (knowing), and realization.
Human intelligence (and personality) is organized within the context of time and space, and our experience of ‘past-present-future’. Yet, in the field of pure consciousness and ultimate reality, even time and space disappear. All that ever was or will be is here now. Hence, Joseph Breuer is here now. And I am here now (as are you, reading this blog post—if you read this far). Each of us is connected to this field of infinite universal intelligence—not separate from it. We each are embodiments, sending and receiving signals for the purpose of awakening to our full potential as human beings.
A Few Interesting References relating to Dr. Joseph Breuer:
3) The Pioneering Work of Josef Breuer on the Vestibular System Gerald Wiest, MD; Robert W. Baloh, MD Arch Neurol. 2002;59(10):1647-1653. doi:10.1001/archneur.59.10.1647.