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CREATIVE DREAMING
   

"Dreaming is an act of imagination,
attesting in all men a creative power,
which, if it were available in waking,
would make every man a
Dante or Shakespeare."

H.F. Hedge

Have you ever considered that you spend approximately one third of your life sleeping? Assuming you live to be 70 years old, you've spent some 23 years asleep.

Creative Dreaming

 

Dreaming is the language of the mind during our nightly sojourns. It stands to simple reason that this time could be used wisely. Personal creativity is greatly increased by utilizing the information gleaned from the subconscious mind in dreams. It is also possible to learn to control your dreams, adding a whole new dimension to the sleeping experience. We’ll give some techniques on how to do this.

Though some people don't remember their dreams, science has determined that everyone dreams during portions of their nightly sleep. These sleeping cycles can be observed by the rapid eye movement (REM) phase of sleeping. In fact, there has been extensive research done on the dreaming cycles at Stanford University Sleep Research Center and the Lucidity Institute. One of the foremost researchers is Stephen LaBerge, Ph.D. He has written the best book available in this area titled Lucid Dreaming.

The dream experience is perhaps the most creative form of consciousness that some people will ever experience. If you recall your dreams upon waking, you can take the symbols, images and adventures you experienced and discover what is going on at deeper levels of your psyche. This is incredibly valuable information that will improve creative potential immensely.

Interpreting dreams can be a tricky business. Carl Jung is quoted as saying, "Learn everything you can about symbolism, and then forget it all when interpreting your dreams." I would agree. Dream interpretation is a personal art. No one else can determine for you what a particular symbol means to your individual psyche. To get dream interpretation books and have someone else decide that certain symbols mean the same thing to everyone is implausible. Though certain symbols may have similar meanings to the collective consciousness, trust that your own mind is dancing with itself in the dream state. Trust yourself to listen quietly in the waking state to what your psyche is whispering to you in nocturnal sojourns.

 

Here is a good example. Most people I've talked to experience a dream where their teeth were falling out. Now Freud, or other dream interpreters, might tell you that you have specific fears that are being expressed by your subconscious as a result a particular dream. Yet, as Aristotle believed, dreams can also be messages from the body to the psyche of physical problems. Teeth falling out can be the body telling you that you have the beginning of gum disease or jaw nerve problems. For myself the feeling I've had when I awoke from a dream that my teeth were falling out was one of great vulnerability. Without teeth food is impossible to chew, and personal appearance is distorted. You should trust in your own intuition enough, and simply ask yourself without prejudice, what does a particular dream mean to you. Is it a message from the body or a hidden motive from the psyche? If you get quiet and listen you will get a specific feeling regarding the symbolism of dream images.

Lucid dreaming is an excellent way to harness creative mind and use its power to the ultimate. When you become aware in a dream that you are dreaming, and that you have the power to control the outcome of the dream, you have unlimited power. This is the basic definition of having a lucid dream. You are lucid that you are dreaming, but you have not awakened, thus you can then interact with the dream state with conscious intent. I had my first lucid dream at the age of six. I realized that I was dreaming because the content of the dream (I had a lot of money in my small hands) was not realistic for my waking life, as we were quite poor. To test this out I woke myself up, checked to see if my hands were full of money, they were not, and realized that I was dreaming. What was most interesting is that, as a child with no prejudice, it immediately occurred to me that I could go back to that same dream and control it, which I did. I went back to sleep and reveled in having all that money, thoroughly enjoying what that would feel like. Now, whenever I wake up in my dreams, I always assess the situation, ask myself why this dream is important to my waking life, and alter the events of the dream to change my perspectives in my waking life.

Example, if you are having a dream in which you are being chased or victimized in some way, you become lucid and realize that this is a dream, you then turn upon your attacker, face the problem squarely and resolve it fearlessly. Perhaps this is something you are reluctant to do in waking life. If you can remember to do this in a dream, then the next time a similar challenge presents itself in waking life you will be able to turn and face it without running. This is how lucid dreaming can improve our waking emotional balance and creative imagination.

Anyone can be taught to dream lucidly. Some people have a knack for it, as I do. But, if you persist, you can learn to become lucid in the dreaming state. There are a number of techniques for this, and reading the book Lucid Dreaming by Stephen LaBerge is an excellent beginning. He also has a web site, www.lucidity.com, with a lot of tools and information on how to approach this.

Carlos Castenada promoted the lucid dream technique taught to him by Don Juan. He said that if you could remember to see your hands clearly in your sleep that would be your cue to wake up within the dream. This is a favorite technique of some people, though hands may not always be chosen. Choosing something that is more familiar or meaningful to you can do the same thing. Whatever symbol you chose, tell yourself just upon falling asleep that you will see this symbol in your dream, the symbol will cue you to become lucid that you are really dreaming, and from there you will control the dream any way you want. The hypnogogic state we all pass through from waking to sleeping is identical to hypnosis. Whatever you deliberately drop into this transitional state of consciousness will be the content of your dream state.

Another valuable tool is to write down your dreams as you recall them. I remember mine each morning and spend about ten minutes pondering them for any clues that could be helpful to my day or anything important in my life. If you tend to forget your dreams quickly, keep a small journal by your bed and train yourself to write down your dreams, or parts of them, immediately upon waking. If you keep this journal right next to your bed, and you wake in the middle of the night with a particularly engrossing dream, you can learn to write the highlights of it in the dark. This is helpful if you are too drowsy to wake up for details, as you can recall them in the morning. A dream journal is the next best thing to learning to dream lucidly.

Contemplate the amount of time you spend dreaming. The creative nature of the dream experience has invaluable potential for improving your waking life. As a result of controlling your dreaming experience you can resolve many problems. I have been fortunate enough to have my dream life be rich and potent every night. I look forward to going to sleep knowing that what I experience can be just as important, enchanting, and creative as anything that happens in my waking state. Dreaming was not given to us by accident but is a natural extension of consciousness creatively utilizing the sleeping state.  Use this gift and enrich your creative potential.

© J.L. Read, 1998. All Rights Reserved.
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This site is dedicated in loving memory
to its creator, Janet L. Read
1949 — 2000

 

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