Mindell, Arnold – Dreambody

  • dreambody/ real body. Arnold Mindel, in his book: “Dreambody. The body’s role in revealing the self”, advances the hypothesis that there is a connection between the dreams of the soul (appearing in the night-time) with the symptoms of the body (present in day-time). According to him, this hypothesis was first sketched by Carl Gustav Jung, even if Stanley Krippner is saying that before Mindell, Vasily Kasatkin, a Russian physician, studied this hypothesis extensively. This hypothesis stated, I’ll give a try to review the book mention above. Chapter one is presenting the “dreambody” as opposed to the “real body”: on the one hand, the meanings related to dreambody are: psychology, mind, psyche, timelessness, being and fields; on the other hand, the real body has the following meanings: physiology, matter, soma, time, doing and particles. Mindell is saying that what are the symptoms for the matter (i.e. for the real body), in a similar way are the symbols for the mind (i.e. for the dreambody). In fact, not only the dreambody mirrors the real body, but also the real body is visualized in the dreambody: therefore, there is a “reciprocal relationships” between dreambody and real body – even if nothing it is said about the nature of this reciprocal relationship, namely if it stands for causality, for synchronicity or something else. Next, in the following two chapters, are analyzed five dreams: their main symbols are referring to “healing” (the symbols of rag and water) and “transformation” (the symbol of snake). These fairy tales belong to the dreambody and are pictorial theories behind body phenomena. In chapter five, the author presents the relationship between “dreambody”/ “real body” and the “consciousness” (characterized by primary signals having much to do with the ego) and the “unconsciousness” (characterized by secondary signals as manifestations of: complexes – on the personal level, and archetypes – on the collective level). Finally, in the following chapter an introduction to various techniques for dealing with symptoms and symbols is outline. Besides the well known techniques discovered by Jung – like amplification, active imagination and dream interpretation – techniques that apply to both body and soul; Mindell is presenting other tools like: working with hands and feet (see Perls), vision quest (see Castaneda), acupressure and meditation (these last two having ancient roots in Eastern traditions) – tools that are tailored especially for body, soma and real body work. In the end, I want to criticize this book pointing to the fact that the relationships between soma and psyche were much talked about starting at least from the ancient times of Greece. There are central traditions pointing to “the body as the prison of the soul” and the liberation and migration of the last one, even if the day to day experience is teaching the fact that this duality is only one phenomenon – apart some outstanding exceptions, the following rule is the law: no body without soul, as no soul without body!

The map:


  • Arnold Mindell (1982): “Dreambody. The body’s role in revealing the self”, Sigo Press
  • Stanley Krippner & Joseph Dillard (1988): “Dreamworking. How to use your dreams for creative problem-solving”, Bearly Limited

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