John Suler's Teaching Clinical Psychology

The States of Consciousness Creativity Gallery

Here is a sample of the creative projects completed by students
in the course States of Consciousness (PSY 372).

Dr. John Suler
Science and Technology Center
Rider University

Faded Shadows

Amber Dawn Lazarus, 2001

She wakes up in the morning and wonders what the day will bring
She thinks about life, love and everything
She opens the curtains so she can see and she wonders will she ever be happy.

Breathing and dreaming are both a part of life
If used wisely, one can eliminate stife.

As a child, her life was filled with much despair
In her room she cried, wondering did anybody care
She fantasized the day when someone would be there to save her from feeling empty and bare.

Breathing and dreaming are both calming and peaceful
If used wisely, one can become hopeful.

Struggles and pain are very known to her
Ugliness and sadness felt for sure
The desire for beauty overwhelmes her heart, the desire for happiness a very big part.

Breathing and dreaming are both necessary and needed
If used wisely, one can never be defeated.

As a teenager, she always did what others did
From her inner thoughts and feelings she mostly hid
She failed to realize her inner strength, determination and will; she failed to see all the courage that had been instilled.

Breathing and dreaming are wonderful escapes
If used wisely, they can heal old wounds and scrapes.

Every minute passing feels like an hour
Each day closer to the top of the tower
Wishing for the time to step outside, longing for all those feelings of pride.

Breathing and dreaming can help achieve oneĆ­s destiny
If used wisely, they can increase happiness and prosperity.

As an adult she clearly sees
That all of her wishes and dreams become realities
She looks to the future as a place where things are gained; by doing this, she eliminates sadness, depression and pain.

Breathing and dreaming are things that she has done
She has used them wisely and realized anything can be won.

Her prayers are being answered and for this she smiles
Inside she knows she has come miles
This world is full of magic and wonder; she looks inside herself and no longer feels that empty hunger.

Breathing and dreaming can make one strong
If used wisely, the open road will go where one belongs.
As the night grows dark and all the lights dim
She lies down, closes her eyes and grins
The quiet stillness of a beautiful night, cannot keep her from seeing the shining light.

Breathing and dreaming are both a part of me
I use them wisely, and I am happy!

"No Line" - A photograph by Mary Nicoletti

"911" - Embroidery by Gina Conroy

"Meditation" - Drawing by Danielle Baker

Fountain Meditation

John Caemmerer, 2003

A great way to meditate is to do it with a focus and some soothing sounds. Here are some tips to help you accomplish that.

1) Go to a quiet comfortable place where you know you won't be disturbed.

2) Next you will need to pick a soothing sound and or object to focus on. I would recommend some sort of small "egg water fountain" which you can probably find at your local arts store.

3) I use this fountain focus so what I say will refer to the use of it. Plug it in, fill it with water, and get into a comfortable position with your back straight but not rigid.

4) Start your meditation. At first close your eyes and just listen to the water spilling out of the egg shaped fountain and into the rocks underneath it.

5) Do this for a little while. Just listen to the splashing, trickling, and calm of the water. Picture in your head what the water looks like going over the glowing amber egg and into the rocks.

6) Once you feel that you cannot listen to the water any longer open your eyes just enough to see the fountain.

7) The glowing amber egg might see to be even brighter than when you noticed before. Just notice the glowing of the egg. Look at the water running over it like a sheet. You might compare it to what it looked like in your head and that is ok, but then get back to your focus.

8) Next move onto the rocks below the egg. Do they also have an amber color to them. Watch how the water just glides effortlessly through them. Notice the sounds the water makes as it hits the rocks.

9) Lastly move to the water spilling out of the egg. Does it just seem to expload out of the egg. Notcie the "chaos" as the water wrecklessly spews out. Now notice the calm as the water slides down the egg, and then over the rocks. It may seem exciting and calm at the same time.

10) End your meditation by noticing what you pictured in your head and what you saw when you opened your eyes to explore each part of the fountain.

Is there anything you pictured that maybe was not there or what you feel needs to be there?

Were there somethings that you maybe left out of the picture that was there when you opened your eyes?

Just think about what you saw, but not in a judgemental way. Just notice the differences.

"Contemplations of a Collegiate's Consciousness" - Photographs by Melissa Johnson

"Explore Your Mind" - Collage by Amy Harayda

"Meditation Lagoon" - Ink drawing by Veronica Valdez

"In my meditations, I have returned to this lagoon many times. It has been the scene of inspiration and of contact with my spirit guide. For me, it evokes true serenity and happiness"

"Piano" - Painting by Rachel Holder

"Everything in my painting is what meditation is to me. As you can see. I use playing guitar, playing the piano, and painting as a form of meditation. When I am engaged in these activities, I am able to clear everything from my mind. Even the things that may have been causing me anxiety. I guess you can say I am able to become one with my guitar, piano, or painting. That's why the things in my painting, and the painting itself, are all forms of meditation for me. "

"The Center of Meditation" - Drawing by Layla Cassavaugh

"Quit Your Bitching... Because Mine's More Important" - Essay by Peter Barresi

"Paper Tapestry/Quilt" - by Arabelis Liriano

"I envisioned this during my favorite kind of meditation - the lake meditation. I dedicated the last block on the bottom right hand corner to the meditation with a heart inside a lake. The different "blocks" are free associations about me and insights into my personality."

"Shield: Thinking Outside the Box" - Sculpture by Arabelis Liriano

"I saw this image during our last in class meditation for our creative project. It began with the vision I had of the tapestry. Then towards the end when Dr. Suler said to turn our creative projects into something else, it turned it into an open shield because I wouldn't let things penetrate before. Now I'm more open to things. Later, I added the box on a stick representing me being in touch with the way of 'thinking outside the box' with pride."

"Dreaming Mind" - Collage by Leigh-Ann Holsten

"Flowers" - Drawing by Carla Schreiber

"Meditation" - Photograph by Ann San Juan

Can you see the point of concentration in this busy mind?

"Table Set for Two" - A Poem

"Tornado" - Painting by Elise Robins

"Music Makes My Mind Move" Drawing by Diana Ortega

"I did this painting and the drawing below in different moods, usually recurring ideas from music, a prominent influence in my life, other than art. I am not very verbal, so I express myself through drawing.

"Think Outside the Box!" Drawing by Diana Ortega

"Jonathan Grey on Upright Bass in NYC on 4/4/05" - Photo by Rebecca Knab

"I escape through music and going to this concert was like an altered state of consciousness. The picture made me feel like I was in a dream-like state."

"Horizon" Song by Kevin Titze

"The piece was a song that I wrote based on a dream. I wrote the music during an altered state of consciousness (sleep deprivation and alcohol)"


by Rachel Dorian Kahn

"This poem was written as a tribute to the fact that I am leaving my undergraduate years at Rider University. I decided that since this is my last presentation that I have to make as a student at Rider University, I think that this would be the most appropriate."

She takes on
An utter confusion
Trying to make the abstract concrete
Walking through the door
Called uncertainty

She reaches out to take a feel
The door peeks out at her
One part tingles with burning
Another part tingles with ice
She lays each finger on the middle.

Then she takes the door
Very reluctantly
And then cranks it open
Yaaaaank it says it answers yaaaaaaaaaaaaaank

Loudness dominates the ear
As she open the door
There s something spinning

"Paradise" Collage by Lourdes Gonzalez

"This collage represents my paradise and my perfect place. It came through during meditation. The beach helps me relax and recharge."

"My Third Eye" Painting by Nikki Price

"This came out of thinking about how we see our dreams. I thought of a third eye."

"Warm Sun" Painting by Melanie Vega

"The painting is a reflection of my time spent in Costa Rica were I had a life changing experience. Now when I meditate I feel warm as if the sun is shining on me."

"My Dreaming Mind" Painting by Dana Bukowski

"This is a collection of my experiences with dreams and meditatioins. It reflects my emotions and thoughts during several states of consciousness."

"Dreaming of a Beach" Mixed Media by Ivana Lazic

"This was created to help people relax and meditate with their eyes open."

"Journey" Painting by Meredith Neubeck

"Imagery from a dream. Movement and the Journey."

"Layers" Watercolor by Rebecca Vazquez

"Abstract watercolor shows how the subconscious (represented by the black) comes into the different layers of our mind (personal conscious, personal unconscious, collective unconscious, and pure mind)"

"Dance" Collage by Lanette Houghton

"Dance has always been my first passion and inspiration. As I put together my project, I found myself daydreaming of myself performing and it was a completely relaxed state"

"Crochet Scarf" by Jessica LeBeau

"I know how to knit and crochet, however, I decided to crochet my creativity project because I enjoy it more and the stitch appears to be more complex and connected to the other stitches. I like to feel connected to other people and I take relationships to heart. Often, my dreams reflect me not being attached and crocheting would definitely capture this feeling of connection that I long for during my waking and dreaming states."

"This is Your Brain on Dream" Painting by Kristina Marie Solimeo

"I wanted to have my own interpretation of what I think a brain looks like in REM state."

"Hear Me Roar" Journal by Janet Lloyd

"This is a journal of my most secret free associations connected to my feelings, dreams, thoughts, memories, and emotions. This has been a powerful experience. It is a collage, compilation, sketchbook, journal, and sounding board. It is so me, it's not funny!"

Mind Phases

Rob MacAuley

There are 3 phases to this level we re on
Meditation 1- dreams 2- states of consciousness 3-
On January 27 is when all this formed to be
What are we in for? What to expect?
Tuesday and Thursday will always be a test
To stay focused and concentrate cause if I sleep through it
What then is the purpose
I might as well not even do it

My Thinking Mind, My Sinking Mind
Try to prevent me from getting though it
My Pain/Discomfort, Some Unusual Feelings
Try to distract me from getting though it
So I breath in and out - count 1 to 10
If still not focused; I do it again
Sometimes a little guidance can help
But its no good if the voice sounds annoying as hell

As we shift lets explore our dreams
I must admit this is difficult for me
My group had some interesting dreams; I must say
I think there was a red car flying into power lines
I m not sure if that s right; but I do recall
A dream about diving to the bottom of the ocean
Over and over again - hmmm. . . Sounds like rebirth to me
Also a dream of hallways that never seem to end;
Perhaps you feel lost or trapped; and feel there s no end

And so we reach the states of consciousness - I must say
There s so much we can t explain; from ODE to NDE
I m sorry; give me a second my thought process is stuck
I look at this paper with 6 steps
To gather my thoughts
Several times writing this I had to take a walk - in my room
And then I figured I d just end it with this

The mind is strong; yes indeed
But that guy turning from man to ape
Must be on some new type of LSD.

"The Mind's Eye " painting and collage by Diana Pittman

"I wanted to include all the aspects of the class. The one eye has all the class subjects: dreams, meditation, and then the other is symbolic of my life."

"Drifting" painting by Cynthia Christensen

"This was a dream that I have had over the past few months. I decided to take my dream and put it on canvas to see what the color would look like outside of my mind"

"Nightmare on Broad Street" collage by Carrie Sosnoskie

"I did a collage of various photos from 'Nightmare on Broad Street' at the Wachovia Spectrum in Philadelphia. I was an actress in the 'House of Usher' attraction and I also learned special effects make-up techniques which can be seen in the picture. I chose this subject because this was one of the best experiences and shows what I am."

"Tree" print by Clay Boeninghaus

"A print of a tree, done over from a previous project. I have always loved trees and felt a strong desire to carve one and put it to print."

"Grandma" Painting and collage by Christine Frawley

"I had a dream about my grandma when I was stuck on what I should do for my project. It inspired me to paint a picture of her."

"Alzheimer's Disease and Dreams" poster by Jen Augello

"Hypothetical experiment on aging and dreams. Can regression in dream content be a precursor to Alzheimer's disease?"

Awakening Enigma

Tyme Roberts

Breathe in, Breathe out
While closing your eyes
Imagine this, Imagine that
I will make you feel hypnotized

As you try to relieve the stress from everyday life
And the many things that come your way
But once you re done with me
In this state of mind, you ll want to stay

Take time out for yourself
Clear your mind and focus
Don t give up, sometimes it s hard
But you are not hopeless

Don t fall for me too hard
Cuz I ll have you falling deep, deep into a dream
Does it sound like I m being sexual?
Maybe it s really not what it seems

I will take you places you ve never been before
If you want, it can be your choice
Do you hear what I hear?
Is that a little girl singing with a sweet angelic voice?

She somewhat resembles you
But why is she here all alone?
Is it because she is left in isolation
And needs to find her way back home?

So many thoughts, so many ideas
Oh the various possibilities!
Wait, the scene is changing
I sense some great hostility

Bear with me
My vision appears to be quite hazy
Do you see an angel descend from the clouds
Appearing to be an elderly lady?

Her bones brittle, tired from old age
Wait, now her whole structure changed
Into a humongous bear seeking to come out the cage
Breaking loose, and chasing after you with rage

No matter how hard you try
You cannot escape this terrifying nightmare
It seems to keep reoccurring
And awakes you wanting to gasp for air

Finally you awake,
As you begin to ponder about life
It remains as an unsolved puzzle
Often leaving you with feelings of pain and strife

Who are you? What were you?
Who will you become?
Are separate and never one

Signs through connection with the dead
Used to guide us on our way
And with all this being said
I have come to the conclusion just to say

The mind is an instrument of our conscience
In which we can t live without
And when it feels too mysterious at times
Breathe in, Breathe out

"Self Portrait" conte and pencil by Jillian Gorostiza

A dream interpretation

"Thoughts of My Mind" acrylic painting by Nicole Staas

"Think Outside the Box" drawing by Amanda Grohosky

"Self Portrait" photo by Danielle Servilio

Inspired by meditation.

"Fears" collage by Aditi Mankar

"For my project I did a collage. The OM symbol in the middle represents peace and calmness for me. The four sections represent fears from my dreams."

"Conscious and Unconscious" collage by Katie Reese

"The pictures at the bottom represent my unconscious and the pictures at the top represent my conscious. I want to show how they interact together through dreams and meditation."

From Inside

Baris Yakin

I wrote these interconnected poems, each on different days, with the intention of keeping the project "alive" in my mind. I wanted the end result to be a product of my unconscious and conscious thought processes. For instance, between the first and second poem, I received mental imagery during an in-class meditation which I then consciously manipulated and incorporated into the poem. I feel that spreading the mental work of the poems across a few weeks allowed the end result to be more representative of who I am:

(April 8, 2007)

Conscious dreams dot my branches,
As blue jays and raindrops stand guard.
Only a thin canopy stands between
The sunrise and the end of the world.
Why the end of the world,
When blue jays and raindrops are the ones I trust?
They will part the leaves, the symbolism,
They will cradle my inner world with their unconscious being.
Conscious dreams are my home,
Flying me through weaves of wicker,
Through majestic mountains, lucid lakes, and fragrant fields.
Conscious dreams save me.

Waking from sleep, I breathe,
In, Out and then I wake again,
In, Out

(April 18, 2007)

Am I conscious?
My notebook, a donkey standing,
In the shadow of a white lighthouse
Standing firm, taking the place of me?
Me, a perch for watchful blue jays and raindrops.
All symbols,
In and out of my consciousness.

(April 24, 2007)

A momentous time!
Never mind the tree,
The blue jays,
The raindrops.
The flowers are born again!
Never mind the white lighthouse and the donkey notebook.
All these symbols,
In and out of my consciousness.
Dark and light.
Yin and Yang.
Me and me.

back to the Syllabi Page
back to the Teaching Clinical Psychology home page