When he played Joseph the dreamer at the age of six,little did he anticipate that one day he would go on to interpret dreams or for that matter materialise each dream he has ever seen. His achievements,spread over miscellaneous fields,are difficult to aggregate. Turning 75 today,as Francis Menezes sneaks a look into the past,there is perhaps no dream that he hasn’t realised. From initiating several academic programmes,working in films and theatre,participating in the Indian freedom movement to interpreting dreams,Menezes has possibly perceived the length and breadth of the process that he calls seeking.
Founder and first director of the Indian Society for Applied Behavioural Science (ISABS) and the Indian Association for the Study of Dreams,Menezes also headed Tata Management Training Centre and Tata Administrative Service and set up TURIYA Centre for Creative Solutions to find solutions to problems through a creative process. “I have been interested in everything with a longing for it and a vision to look at them differently. I was a kind of rebel leading the Rashtriya Seva Dal with khadi and Gandhi cap while the other family members preferred suits. My father Armando Menezes was an extremely knowledgeable person who would look at things with a global perspective and my mother Matilda Menezes was a simple and wise women. They have tremendously influenced me and the whole discipline started from there. I don’t think I have much to do with all the accomplishments,things just happened,” he quips.
Going down the memory lane,Menezes cites some of his fondest ones. “Interested in theatre since childhood,I worked with Ibrahim Alkazi,Alique Padamsee and so on directing and playing several roles including Lorcas Yerma. I also played a villain in Sazaye Maut,a film by Vinod Chopra.However,my fist encounter with dreams and its research happened in the early 80s when my Jesuit friends Jaime Filella and Oriol Pujol asked me to lead encounter groups where I used the Gestalt dream work,” adds Menezes,who along with many publications and papers to his credit ,also has his case studies integrated in Harvard University’s Bibliography of Cases.
Currently teaching leadership and personal growth at the MIT School of Government,Menezes adds,”Teaching for me is creating an atmosphere of safety,security and warmth,where a person can grow on his own. I don’t believe in feeding. I never realised it,but I have been actually teaching constantly. I have been able to do everything because I never saw the activities I executed with a divided view; all of them have been incorporated eventually. Even during the classes,I teach my students with a mixture of theatre,dance,games and so on. They call it an ashram. However,I continue to long and even today read the New York Times online at 11.30 each day,perhaps even before the New Yorker has read it.”
Menezes on dreams…
Everyone sees a dream every night but not everyone remembers it. It may be a reflection of things that you have left unresolved,in the past or present,and then there are precognitive dreams,telepathic dreams and so on. Many great personalities were extensive dreamers; Thomas Edison,for instance,was a habitual dreamer.
At The Indian Association for the Study of Dreams (IASD) wew hold Creativity and Dream Workshops. Many therapies,including the Gestalt therapy is used,some of which I used during Osho’s lifetime,at Dream Groups at the Commune. Dreams are metaphorical and that is why you need people like us to help you understand them. Its analysis is a healing process that relaxes you. You can understand your dream best and that is why we let the dreamer interpret it. Through the process of incubation I teach how to remember the dream. Sharing it in groups at the workshop binds the group and develops trust.
I have penned the book Dreams and their Interpretation that has experiences by people from the dream group. At present,I am working on another book that analyses several audiotapes of dream narrations that are sexual,which I feel is more of an metaphor for power in recent times.