- How do you know this is US American English?
- Take this as a game of exploration, not as an oracle!
“Personal and Professional Problem Solving in Dreams” by Gayle Delaney (Source: Dreamtime & Dreamwork. Decoding the Language of the Night. Edited by Stanley Krippner. Tarcher 1990)
Dream Incubation (pages 97-99)
While the spontaneous dreams you have every night will help you to better understand and solve your intellectual, creative, and artistic problems, you can also learn how to elicit dreams on a given night that will help you out with specific problems. Suppose you need a new idea for a creative project, such as a paper you are writing or a picture you are painting. By using a form of “dream incubation” you can target your dreams to help you. If, instead, you want your dreaming mind to work on a problem you are having, such as getting along with a business partner, your spouse, or your child, or if you want to explore a particular problem you have with anger or fear, you can incubate a dream on that. Dream incubation is easily learned. If you can carefully follow these instructions, you should be able to dream about the issue you target the first time you incubate a dream.
Six Steps for Incubating Dreams
Choose the Right Night. Choose a night when you are neither intoxicated nor overtired, and one that will allow you to get a full night’s sleep followed by enough time in the morning to record a dream or two. As you gain experience in incubating dreams, you will be able to abbreviate the method; but in the beginning, and whenever incubating dreams on very sensitive issues, you will have the bet chance of success if you follow every step. The process will take about ten minutes before sleep and enough time to record your dream upon awakening.
Record Your Day Notes. Before going to sleep [falling asleep], write down the highlights of your day in the dream journal, which should be kept beside your bed. Ask yourself what you did during the day and what you felt. Then record in just four or five lines the emotional highlights of the day. If you feel exhausted after a frustrating day at work, write that down. Note anything that stirred your feelings, eve if the day’s most moving event was a phone call from your brother. By learning to note the emotional news of the day, you will become more aware of thoughts and emotional reactions that trigger your spontaneous dreams and that may inspire you to incubate a dream. These notes are much more useful in helping you to understand a dream than are those written upon awakening. If you keep your day notes brief, you will be much more likely to keep them faithfully.
Incubation Discussion. Next, write a few lines about the issue you would like to dream about. Describe the problem, your readiness to take a fresh look at it and to alter your position, and what benefits you might have to give up if you resolved it. Stir up your feelings. Don’t write much more than a page, or you may turn the process into a chore. Keep your notes brief.
Incubation Phrase. Now write a one-line phrase that clearly states what you would like to understand about your problem, or on what matter you need a new idea. This is the most important step in the process. Be sure to write out your incubation question or request on a separate line in your journal. Choosing your question may be easy, or it might be very difficult. This step will help you to focus your thinking and to clarify your problem and your relation to it, and it will force you to decide upon the next step you are willing to take in its exploration.
A good deal of insight can be gained by struggling to formulate a clear, succinct question, a troublesome issue, and actually writing the question in your journal will insure that you focus thoughtfully and carefully enough. It will also give you the necessary discipline to choose only one issue and to settle on one among many ways of phrasing the questions.
Repeat the Phrase as You Fall Asleep. Place your journal beside your bed, turn out the light, and close your eyes. Repeat over and over your incubation phrase as if it were a lullaby or a mantra. Each time your mind wanders, bring it back to your phrase. You will fall asleep quickly, because you are not allowing yourself to ruminate or worry about your problem. As you repeat the phrase, feel the desire to learn something new tonight, to make a shift in your perspective. This is a very comfortable way to fall asleep and is far more productive than counting sheep.
Record Whatever Is on Your Mind When You Awaken. When you awaken, whether in the middle of the night or in the morning, write down whatever is in your mind. Learn to ask yourself, “What was I just thinking?” Frequently, a dream memory will feel like an ordinary thought that you might dismiss if you asked yourself, “What was I just dreaming?” And to the surprise of many, answers to incubation questions sometimes come in the form of ready-made ideas and formulations, or in the form of songs playing through one’s mind in the morning.
Most often, however, the answers are embedded in the metaphors of the dream and are easily overlooked by the dreamer until he or she takes the time to explore those metaphors and interpret the dream. If your dream seems to have nothing to do with your questions, write it down anyway. Wait a few hours, and then work on understanding the dream without trying to make it answer your question Remember that whatever your dream is about constitutes an important issue in your life, whether your incubation effort was successful or not. Only after you have understood what your dream is about should you ask yourself whether it sheds new light on the incubation issue. This will discourage you from reading into your dream something that is not there, and it will help you to appreciate whatever dream you did have.