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|Night Visions - Page 3|
Her practice is to teach visualization exercises as a spiritual discipline. "Stand," she says to Kamenetz, "close your eyes, stretch your arms. Now see yourself touching opposite walls of the room with your palms." It isn't dissimilar to what some yoga teachers do.Never indulgent, Collette is magnificiently imperious, like an old European piano teacher clucking at her students. Kamenetz loves her "passion for perfection." She asks her students to imagine "strategies" from their childhood, stories that have them living again within the key emotions they felt as children. She tells stories from her own life, from a past world, a past century—of a father who went off to fight in World War I. When she recounts her own images and stories, Kamenetz can see the pain in her 87-year-old face: time erases little in the world of dreams and images.
Collete is a hard taskmaster, but she's after what many therapists and spiritual counselors want: an entry into a world of deep emotion that can't be stuffed into a box of logical concepts.
Then we encounter Kamenetz's real dream teacher, the very American, flannel-shirted guru at the center of this book: Marc Bregman, a former Vermont postman with little formal education. Dyslexic and seemingly inarticulate, he mangles his syntax when he speaks and prefers short bursts of communication, which are really brief instructions. "Open up and listen to your dreams," he instructs Kamenetz. "Feel the core emotions pouring out of them. Don't approach dreams like words on a page—they're living, breathing self-creations." His sessions with Kamenetz are filled with long, strange pauses. "In this work, we don't interpret," he keeps telling the author. "We let the unconscious guide us."