|“Never go to sleep without a request to your subconscious.” -Thomas Edison|
When we have to make an important decision, we often use the term, “I’ll sleep on it.” That phrase implies that something will come to us in the sleep state. We’ll wake up with “the answer.” Should I accept this job? Should I move to that house? Should I invest in this business?
History is full of inventions and discoveries that happened in the sleep state. Whether they are “requested,” as Edison recommends, or not, we know that the sleep state gives rise to dreams, images, guidance and even groundbreaking discoveries. Kekule’s discovery of the benzene ring in chemistry (think gasoline) is only one example of a scientific breakthrough that came forth in the sleep state. He literally dreamed the pattern that showed him the formula. It’s no wonder. The visual nature of dreams lends itself to the right-brain process of imagery and pattern recognition.
Dreaming taps heavily into right-brain experiencing. All the functions that the right brain excels in are active in the dream state. Dreams are visual and sometimes very physical (as in dreams of falling, flying, drowning). We don’t even need to know how to do some of the things we do in dreams. I dreamt of skiing once, although I had never skied and I still haven’t. But I can describe to you exactly how it feels to ski down a slope covered with new fallen snow. I did it in a dream.
We all know how emotional dreams can be, especially nightmares. We might wake up shaking with fear after a scary dream, weeping after a sad one, or overjoyed by a blissful dream. We wake up feeling that it “really” happened. A bad dream can cause us to “wake up on the wrong side of the bed" in the morning. We all know what that old saying means. If we don’t recall the dream, we may be grumpy all day and not know why.
Some dreams tap into our natural intuitive abilities to the point of being psychic previews of what's to come. We all have had or heard about “precognitive dreams.” Something the dreamer could not possibly have known on the conscious level actually happens in real life. I once dreamed a doctor of mine was at a party given in her honor and was threatened with death by shadowy figures trying to crash the party. I went to the door and told them to go away and they did. Then she appeared with her long silver hair cut very short. Her appearance surprised me. She had always had long hair worn in a bun and said she would never cut it short. Three days later a mutual friend called to tell me the Doctor had a stroke while out of town on vacation with friends on the weekend. The doctors had to cut her hair for doing brain tests. When I saw her a few days later I knew in advance exactly what her new haircut looked like. I’d seen it in my dream.
Sometimes our nocturnal journeys in the sleep state bring spiritual insight. Holy beings, gurus or advisors might appear with a message, guidance or comfort for the soul. In the last chapter of The Power of You Other Hand, I describe dreams I had in which gurus appeared with powerful messages for me. In one, a guru appeared and was slowly replaced with me as a blissful baby (as I actually appeared in Baptismal photos). I understood from that dream that my Inner Child work had to be the center of my healing work as a therapist and teacher. My Inner Child would lead me. I introduced this guidance from a dream in a chapter in The Power of You Other Hand, entitled Recovery of the Inner Child. That chapter later evolved into a whole book, my bestseller Recovery of Your Inner Child.
Drawing and writing with the non-dominant hand can greatly enhance your exploration of guidance from the dream state. Here are some techniques for remembering and exploring dreams using your non-dominant hand for drawing and writing. When doing dream work, always have a journal or notebook and colored pens next to your bed.
• First of all, follow Edison’s advice. Before going to sleep, ask your Creative Subconscious to send you a message, some inspiration, or the answer to a problem. With your dominant hand write down the project, issue or problem you want help with. Note: If you have trouble recalling your dreams, ask your Creative Subconscious to come through when you wake up. It might take a few days, so be patient.
• As soon as you wake up, keep your eyes closed and go over in your mind any images, words or actions you recall from your dreams. You don’t need to remember every detail. Isolated images, words or actions will be enough.
|From The Creative Journal, Swallow/Ohio U, 2015|
• Using your dominant hand, jot down your first impressions of the dream (dream fragments, if that is all you can recall).
• Do a written dialogue with each visual image in your dream. (If there were a lot of them and you don’t have time, do more dialogues later on.) Start with the first or most powerful image. With your dominant hand, ask questions of the image. Who or what is it? How does it feel? Why? Why has it appeared in your dream. What does it want from you? Finally, what does it want for you? A gift? A lesson? Your non-dominant hand writes the answers (speaking for the image in your dream).
Harvest the wisdom of your Creative Unconscious. Sweet dreams!
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