Is consciousness real? Could it be just an illusion manufactured in the theatre of our…
Though surrounded by warlike tribes in Malaysia’s mountainous jungles, the Senoi Tribe people are left alone by hostile neighbors. And for good reason: they are so peaceful that they are believed to possess protective magic.. due to their innate power to control dreams. In a sense they do have this protective magic, in a form of a philosophy that is based on dreams and their own interpretation.
Dreams dictate the timing and conduct of every important event in the Senoi tribe life. The interpretation of dreams is the major business of the tribe. The result is a society in which personal aggression and violence or almost unknown. Every Senoi tribe toddler is encouraged to report their dreams and are instructed with the techniques of dream control by which it is believed that the Senoi ultimately achieve their psychological and social stability.
These techniques focus on the three principles: to confront and conquer danger, to advance toward pleasure, and to achieve positive outcomes in life.
The first principle helps the conscious dreamer overcome fears. For example, a child who reports a dream in which he fleas in terror from a tiger is instructed to try to re-create the dream. He is told that in the re-creation, he must stand his ground and attack the tiger directly.
If necessary he may enlist the help of his conscious dream of friends, but he must never run away. Because of this, a child learns to transform a nightmare into a constructive lesson in self confidence.
By accepting the second principal, the pursuit of pleasure, the dreamer can turn fearful experiences into exulted ones. The terrifying sensation of falling, for example, is converted by the Senoi tribe, into a liberating and expansive sensation of flying.
Because the Senoi accept the mysteries of the unconscious as a natural state,conscious dream images are imagined as aspects of the self that need to be integrated into real life. No dream is suspect, and no dream is improper.
The third principal achieving a positive outcome encourages the dreamer to turn adversity into advantage.
If he is wounded by an enemy in his dream, he can take heart from knowing that the enemy has used up some of the it’s strength, and the dreamer can gain power from it.
Might we use these techniques to change our lifestyle and psyche by manipulating and controlling our dreams? It is said that if dreamers can adopt a gentle and questioning attitude in the face of frightening dreams, one can grow from it.
If the Senoi techniques can help people with fears and turn adversity into positive action by building self-confidence and self understanding dreams can prove to be helpful in understanding one’s self.