DREAM AUDIO: Spiritual Dreams & Dream Research with Kelly Bulkeley

Big Dreams cover art: The Sleeping Gypsy, Henri Rousseau

“Studying dreams is a way to study the natural foundations of human spiritual experiences and how to find the ways spiritual experiences and possibilities are woven into the fabric of our being…it’s part of being human and something we all have as our birthright. That seems to lead away from what’s scientific and the empirical but I think it’s actually where the scientific and empirical lead. I really think it’s leading to a validation of some very deep spiritual wisdom about dreaming that humans have known about for a long, long time.”                                             

Pioneering dream researcher Dr. Kelly Bulkeley visits My Dream Life for a fascinating conversation about dream research and dreams, spirituality and consciousness. Kelly is the author of over twenty books focused on dream research. His latest is “Big Dreams,” an in-depth inquiry into the phenomena of epic dreams – those dreams you just can’t forget. He’s also a contributor to the Huffington Post.

Kelly is a Visiting Scholar at the Graduate Theological Union, affiliated with the University of California at Berkeley. He earned his doctorate in Religion and Psychological Studies from the University of Chicago Divinity School and a Masters in Theological Studies from Harvard Divinity School.

kbphoto 2“I’ve come to see dreaming as imaginative play in sleep. When the mind shuts off to external perceptions with no more stimulation coming in – we are free to play, to imagine, to speculate, to wander. Whatever value we may get from interpreting dreams and understanding their meaning, there is a deep value to the process of dreaming as an opportunity to play, to stretch our minds and try out different possibilities, to imagine…to rehearse…to play.

“Dreams have this uncanny, numinous power to them that make people feel in a deeply convincing fashion that they have connected with powers greater than themselves…If you’ve had that experience, you know it’s really transformative. It shakes up your ordinary view of how the world works, how the mind works, the potential of your imaginative capacities and your place in the universe. That seems to be a hardwired feature of how the human brain-mind-system works – that we have the capacity for those kinds of experience.”

KELLY BULKELEY, Ph.D. Interview Part 1


Intro  0:00-2:00

Kelly’s story  2:00-6:30

“Big dreams” versus everyday dreams  6:40-10:00 and 13:45-17:50

Dreaming as imaginative play 11:50-13:40

Highlights in dream research  10:05-17:50

Dreams and spirituality — historically, culturally and in individuals’ lives 17:55-23:27

KELLY BULKELEY, Ph.D. Interview Part 2


Dreaming and our psychological and cognitive development and evolution  00:00-24:20

Dreaming as a zone of imaginative play, exploration and discovery 6:45-9:00

How dreams create root metaphors for our lives 9:00-13:45

Pluralistic dream tending — honoring a dream’s multiple levels of evolving meaning: 14:00-19:36

The archaeological and teleological function of dreams 16:40-19:36

The future of dreaming and the evolution of consciousness 19:42-23:45

Technological support for dreaming 21:32-23:35

sddb_270-170Kelly hosts a sleep and dream database on his website where any dreamer can contribute to dream research. Check it out at the Sleep and Dream Database or SDDb.

Check out more from Kelly Bulkeley:


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Reveal the wisdom of your dreams with the Dream Discovery Workbook. It’s a guided dream journal! Find out more here: Dream Discovery Workbook: A Guided Dream Journal.

Big Dreams cover art: The Sleeping Gypsy, Henri Rousseau

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