Consensus Reality, Dreamland, Essence, Amy and Arnold

The Deep Democracy Of Experience

Processwork highlights three different levels of our experience and perception, which together make up our experience of reality.  Arny has called them

Consensus Reality, Dreamland and Essence levels.  

We have found that these three levels of focus incorporate just about every possible experience of reality:

Consensus Reality:

the level of our experience that is measurable and shared – aspects of reality that we can reach a consensus about.

Process Work deals with all the things we normally think of as “real” events, problems, and issues connected with the development of individuals, couples, businesses and cities. Groups and individuals use feelings and facts, to describe conflicts, issues or problems.

Consensus Reality:  notice what is considered real by a given person or group.


experiences and events people often don’t pay much attention to such as:

  • Individual body feelings that are often reflected in dreams. (i.e. dreambody)
  • relationship double signals (signals that don’t seem to “fit” at first)
  • group ghost roles or things and events mentioned but considered not present, such as figures from history and visions.  

Dreamland: explore dreams, deep feelings, unspoken truths, “double” or unintentional body signals, “ghosts” (unrepresented figures) and ghost roles in the stories and myths of individuals and organizations. History, visions and transgenerational events are important.


Deeper non-dualistic tendencies that can be sentiently felt to move us. Intangible, “dreamlike” tendencies that are not yet easily expressed in words. This area of life can sometimes be felt as a subtle atmosphere around people, events and areas of our planet earth. The essence level has nonlocal, quantum-like blurry overlapping states, and cosmological, space-time or gravity like experiences.

  • Taoism speaks of the essence level in terms of the “the Tao which cannot be said.”

  • In quantum physics, Heisenberg spoke of “tendencies” of the quantum wave function. David Bohm spoke of this area in terms of a system’s quantum waves or “pilot waves”.  

This level seems to manifest a non-dualistic intelligence, we call, the “system mind” or “processmind”. Its analogy in physics might be Bohm’s pilot wave or Hawking’s “Mind of God.”

  • Spiritual and religious traditions speak of the omnipresence of the gods.

Essence level work: Notice pre-feeling experiences that emerge later as images and ideas.  Notice the atmosphere of a group or relationship. Explore field or system ideas in your own and other cultures including the gods, goddesses and spirits people have always believed in.

Your Brain’s Left And Right Hemispheres (Or) Your Consensus Reality And Dreamland Minds

Thanks to Tamara Scarlett-Lyon, we saw the video below, a moving presentation by neuro-anatomist, Dr. Jill Bolte Taylor. In her 18 minute video you will hear the scientist talk about a massive stroke she had in her left brain hemisphere. She tells about the amazing experiences she had as a result of this stroke, and how she understood her left hemisphere in terms of what we have been calling consensus reality. Listen to what she says about her right hemisphere, it sounds like what we have been calling, dreamland’s nonlocality and essence levels. April 2008

Deep Democracy

Processwork is deeply democratic toward all levels of experience: it values the freedom to explore and express consensus reality, dreamland and the essence levels.  It understands all levels as equally important.  

Every time you ignore sentient, that is, generally unrecognized dreamlike perceptions, something inside you goes into a mild form of shock because you have overlooked the spirit of life, your greatest potential power. (Arnold Mindell, “Dreaming While Awake

Amy explains why Processwork has a deeply democractic attitude toward all levels of our experience:

“Process work is based on the idea that processes contain their own inherent wisdom. Even the most intractable relationship problems or body experiences contain a great deal of meaning and wisdom, hidden within what otherwise might seem like intolerable events.  In order to unfold the details of any particular experience, it is important to notice our everyday approach to experiences as well as the dreamlike or unknown background aspects of those events of which we are not quite aware. … Only when all aspects of an experience are unfolded with awareness does the wisdom embedded in the experience reveal itself most fully.” (Amy Mindell, 2008 p. 214)

Mindell, A. (2008). Bringing deep democracy to life: an awareness paradigm for deepening political dialogue, personal relationships, and community interactions. Psychotherapy and Politics International, 6(3), 212–225. doi:10.1002/ppi


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