Inner Work

Robert Johnson: Inner Work

"All the forms of interaction with the unconscious that nourished our ancestors--dream, vision, ritual, and religious experience--are largely lost to us, dismissed by the modern mind as primitive or superstitious. Thus, in our pride and hubris, our faith in our unassailable reason, we cut ourselves off from our origins in the unconscious and from the deepest parts of ourselves." Robert Johnson Inner Work


 My spiritual director posted this on Facebook today.  It is an affirmation for a new path that a group of us are beginning again. Our book group is rereading the revised version of Joyce Rockwood Hudson’s Natural Spirituality.  We recently were in a clergy group telling them we were studying Natural Spirituality. Two members who had recently finished seminary had no idea what we were talking about. When we mentioned dream work, they were even more in the dark and maybe a little suspicious. Older clergy in the group had been studying dreams for some time and affirmed the study.

I have been  involved in dream groups on and off for over thirty years. Dream work is  one of the many ways to try to discern what God is calling us to do in our lives. My experience is that it is important to be in a group of people studying each other’s dreams together. Most of us find it difficult to discern dreams alone by ourselves. 

There are many factors. Dreams tell us something we don’t already know. Parts of ourselves may block new information. Think of our experience in other discussion groups  when new ideas come up.  There is invariably at least one person being an automatic “no” to a new way of doing things. “That is not the way we have done it in the past.” It always takes time for the whole group to process the information and decide to go in a new direction. Likewise, a dream group of friends looking at a dream outside of our own ego may gently guide us in a new direction in our inner life until the light bulb turns on inside and outside of us.

I like Joyce Rockwood Hudson’s subtitle of her book, A Handbook for Jungian Inner Work in Spiritual Community.