We all dream; we don’t always remember them. Dreams occur approximately every ninety minutes when we enter Rapid Eye Movement (REM) sleep. There is evidence we dream during other sleep phases as well. A number of hypotheses as to why we dream:
- Random neuron firings that serve no purpose
- Reflect suppressed, unconscious material
- Foretell one’s future as with the ancient Greek Oracles
- Creative Problem Solving
Two stories: Elias Howe is said to have discovered where to put the eye of the needle in his newly invented sewing machine after dreaming of a man holding a spear with a hole in the blade.
Kekule, the scientist, was said to have discovered the molecular composition of Benzene from a dream. He fell asleep and dreamed of a snake chasing its tail. When he awoke, he knew the molecular structure was a ring.
Creative problem solving was the premise upon which I developed DREAMwork.
25 years later, the work of Harvard dream researcher, Robert Stickgold, Ph.D. developed a study that appears to validate the idea that dreaming is a means of problem solving. For more information on that research, check out the Tetris study. As part of my doctoral dissertation, I developed a 6 week protocol to overcome creative blocks by teaching dream incubation.
How does this work? You learn how to pose the question, which is crucial, frame the dream material and look for the answer within the context of the question. Do not edit or judge the dream material. I know this process works, I used it myself and finished my dissertation six months ahead of schedule. It is fun, many people have benefited from learning this process and I still use it with all writing projects. It is a great way to overcome Writer’s Block. For full directions, you may order my book, Subliminal Focusing; the Key to Performance.
You may say you don’t remember your dreams, not a problem. You may use this very same process to remember dreams! How does this work? Our unconscious mind works all the time, whether we are aware of it or not. Whether the dream is remembered or not, the unconscious mind continues to communicate with us during our waking hours. You will likely find yourself having an unexpected ‘aha’ moment that relates to the project you are completing.
Face to Face sessions are preferable, but Skype and phone work just as well.
Success with DREAMwork
An art school graduate called wanting to explore the DREAMwork process; he worked as a curator for an art gallery, and although he was successful, he longed to get back into painting. He reported feeling stuck and frustrated with all the ‘shoulds’ and expectations that art school grads often experience. During the six week process, he began drawing again. At the end of the training, he reported feeling confident about what he wanted to say in his artwork and started painting at home. We remained in contact periodically: he and his wife bought a home closer to where he worked, he established a studio at home and for several years sent me invitations to his art exhibits.
A professional in the media business came to me after going through a significant, potentially life threatening, medical issue. Given a clean bill of health but thinking of his future and providing for his family, Andrew expressed concern as to which path to pursue to meet his need for job satisfaction, creativity, and finances. During the six week, DREAMwork training, he released doubts, made healthier lifestyle changes- diet, exercise, worried less, and increased commitment and passion to his chosen path. Over the years we have maintained contact; his work demonstrates an increased level of spontaneity and creativity with no major health issues. His family is doing well.