Read an Excerpt
Lucid Dreams in 30 Days
The Creative Sleep Program
By Keith Harary, Pamela Weintraub
St. Martin's Press Copyright © 1991 Keith Harary and Pamela Weintraub
All rights reserved.
DAYS 1 AND 2
Before you can become conscious in your dreams, you must master some basic tenets of dream control. A major requirement for successful dream control is the ability to remember, appreciate, and record your dreams. On Days 1 and 2 of the Creative Sleep Program, therefore, you will learn special focusing exercises to help you recall your dreams. You will also learn to record your dreams in your private dream journal.
Dream Alert — Because some preparation is required, read all the instructions for Days 1 and 2 before you begin.
Part I: Setting Up Your Dream Journal. Your first task, to be carried out on Day 1, is preparation of the dream journal you will use for the rest of the Creative Sleep Program. Your personal dream journal should be a notebook that you can store under your pillow or carry around during the day. We suggest Dreams and Waking Visions by Mary Michael and Barbara Andrews, or an easy-to-carry spiral memo book. You should also select a special pen for your dream journal. We suggest a free-flowing felt-tip pen that will enable you to write while lying down. The pen used for writing in your dream journal should not be used for anything else. You may also find it helpful to clip a penlight to your dream journal, in case you find yourself remembering a dream in the middle of the night.
Take your new journal home and place it, along with the pen and penlight, under the pillow on your bed. Say to yourself, This is where I'll be recording my remembered dreams. Then leave the notebook under your pillow until you're ready to go to bed.
Part II: Remembering Your Dreams. The second part of the dream recall exercise can begin anytime after you've set up your dream journal. It will begin on Day 1 and continue through the morning of Day 2.
Begin by sitting alone in a public place during some quiet part of your day and observing yourself and your surroundings. Observe the other people around you and repeat these words: Everybody here has dreams. Consider the meaning of this phrase and try to imagine what the various people around you might have dreamed last night. Consider your current surroundings and ask yourself what they might dream tonight. What might you dream tonight?
Then, quietly say to yourself, From now on, I'll remember my dreams. As soon as you acknowledge your willingness to remember your dreams, let go of the whole idea and forget about it for the rest of the day, until you're lying in bed, drifting off to sleep.
Dream Alert —If you feel particularly ambitious, you may suggest to yourself that you wake up throughout the night as you complete your dreams. With continued practice, you may find yourself waking after quite a number of successive dreams on a particular night and remembering each of them. While you might not wish to practice such an intense exercise on a regular basis, it can occasionally lead to some surprising insights, while also significantly increasing your ability to recall your dreams.
Later, after you've gone to bed, gently reaffirm your willingness to remember your dreams. Once again, let go of this thought the moment that you acknowledge it, and avoid putting any psychological pressure on yourself. Then fall asleep.
To retain your dreams as completely as possible, you must first understand that dream memories can be as fleeting as your next breath of air. Therefore, whenever you start to wake up, be it in the middle of the night or first thing in the morning, do not open your eyes or even move. Instead, stop and focus entirely on recalling your dreams.
Toward this end, you must arrange your sleeping environment to avoid even the tiniest distractions. If you usually sleep with or near another person, ask them not to disturb you before you get out of bed in the morning. If you usually wake up with the aid of an alarm clock, we suggest that you use a clock radio and set it to wake you with classical music instead of a buzzer. Better yet, arrange for a friend or family member to gently rouse you from sleep.
Don't pressure yourself to remember detailed and convoluted dream descriptions in exact chronological order. As you have probably found when trying to recapture other memories, such as the title of some forgotten song, dream memories are best approached with subtlety and grace. They must be allowed to steep, to emerge gradually and spontaneously into your conscious waking awareness.
You are most likely to remember details or fragments of your most recent dream upon first awakening. The thoughts, feelings, and images pertaining to this dream can often be gently followed in reverse order, gradually guiding you back toward subtle recollections of earlier dreams.
Recollections of earlier dreams, however, are typically as fragile and fleeting as soap bubbles. These dreams, after all, are composed of feelings and images gently blowing through the hidden passages of your unconscious mind. Any sudden movement in your thoughts, any momentary distraction, any attempt to force the memory can shatter the bubbles and cause the images to evaporate before they emerge in your conscious awareness.
Remember, you must relax, and most important, you must give yourself time to remember your dreams. If dream images don't instantly float to the surface of your conscious awareness, just lie quietly for a while and see what happens before turning your attention toward anything else that may be on your mind.
Part III: Recording Your Dreams. Dream journals have been kept in one form or another throughout recorded history. Though we cannot absolutely prove the theory, we would be willing to bet that even cave paintings created by the earliest human beings have at least occasionally represented images that first emerged in dreams.
As civilization evolved, dream journals took the form of written records detailing and analyzing the dreamer's nightly experiences. Most modern dream researchers view this personal written record as an effective means of facilitating dream recall and keeping track of dream themes and images.
To keep your dream journal, give each dream a title as you record it. Make sure that you always record the date and approximate time of your dream. For each particular night, keep track of which dreams you had earlier in the sleep cycle, and which you had later on. As you write, be sure to note the setting or settings in which each dream occurred, the characters who appeared in the dream, any significant props or symbols that stand out in your mind, and any emotions that the dream may have triggered in you. We also strongly recommend that you use your dream journal to explore the relationship between your dreams and your daily concerns and activities. Please leave one or two blank pages after each dream entry, so that you can add any additional thoughts, recollections, or interpretations that may occur to you as time goes on.
Although it is not mandatory, feel free to draw any pictures that relate to your dreams. Visual images can express the underlying meaning of a dream in graphic form and may even trigger the release of deeper memories.
Beginning the morning of Day 2, you must get into the habit of writing down your dream descriptions after just waking up, before you even get out of bed. The longer you wait, the more likely these memories are to become distorted or to simply fade.
Treat your dream journal as a sacred book in which you record and interpret the innermost creations of your unconscious mind. For at least the next three and a half weeks of the Creative Sleep Program, try to keep your journal with you at all times. You may recall a dream any time during the day; there is no time limit on the flashes of insight you are likely to have once you've initiated the dream recall process upon first waking up in the morning.
Dream Alert —Since dream recall can dramatically improve with practice, we urge you to carry out the most crucial aspects of Days 1 and 2 through the remainder of the Creative Sleep Program. First of all, just as you're falling asleep each evening, quiety affirm to yourself in your thoughts that you intend to remember your dreams when you first wake up. Second, allow yourself time as often as possible to remember and reflect on your dream experiences upon awakening, before you open your eyes, move, or concern yourself with any other thoughts. Third, conscientiously use your dream journal to record your dreams.
TEMPLE OF DREAMS
On Day 3 you will learn to influence your dreams through the thoughts and images you have just before falling asleep. This potent technique, known as dream incubation, has been practiced all over the world in one form or another since ancient times.
Dream incubation may be as complex as spending days in a special environment meditating and practicing elaborate cultural rituals, or it may be as simple as quietly telling yourself to dream about a certain topic just before falling asleep. The dream incubation technique we have created for the Creative Sleep Program is simple and effective and should provide you with increasingly greater control over your dreams. As you apply this technique throughout the program, you should find it a potent tool for solving problems, changing bad habits, boosting your immune system, and getting to know your deepest self.
The first part of our dream incubation process involves sanctifying your dream environment — imbuing your regular sleeping habitat with an emotional ambience conducive to the induction of desired dreams.
Begin Day 3, therefore, by reflecting on the psychological atmosphere of your usual sleep environment. Consider the possible influence that any objects or images within this setting may have on your dreams. Are your immediate sleep surroundings rich in stimulating and nurturing images, such as works of art and pictures of your loved ones? Or is your bedroom sterile, marked by stark visual images and piles of paperwork you've brought home from the office? Do you sleep and dream in generally quiet surroundings, or is the atmosphere frequently jarred by traffic noise or the sound of a television in another room? Is the usual temperature of your sleep environment comfortable? Is the ventilation adequate? Is the color of your room soothing to your spirit, or do you find it overstimulating or just plain boring? Most important, what emotional messages do you receive from your sleep environment? What does that environment say about your personal relationships and values, and what does it reflect about your attitudes toward sleep and dreaming?
Once you have considered the issues above, make your dream room as calm and comfortable as possible. Decorate it with favorite objects that express the most positive aspects of your personality. Do your best to make the room attractive, and remove any disturbing or intrusive images that might interfere with dream exploration.
After you have created a dream sanctuary in the privacy of your home, sit in that consecrated spot and focus on a matter of personal concern about which you would like to dream. Choose a situation over which you have direct influence, such as your behavior toward your mother-in-law, or your response to some pressing situation in your private or professional life. Be specific. The more precisely you express the matter of concern before you fall asleep, the more specific the subsequent dream is likely to be.
Dream Alert —For this initial exercise, we urge you not to focus on potentially life-changing or traumatic personal concerns, such as, Should I get married? Until you gain experience, intense feelings might unconsciously prevent you from having a particular dream or from recalling a dream you have successfully induced. At the same time, your chosen subject should be significant enough to motivate your unconscious mind to produce the corresponding dream. We therefore recommend avoiding such psychologically trivial concerns as, Should I change the brand of cat litter I've been using?
Once you've decided on an appropriate and meaningful topic, it's time to induce a relevant dream. First, place your dream journal, special pen, and penlight in a prominent spot beside the bed. Then carefully select one or more symbolic objects that reflect the underlying mood and focus of your intended dream. If you want to induce a dream about the advisability of accepting a recent job offer at the circus, for example, you might select a clown doll for your symbolic object, along with a box of Cracker Jacks and a picture of some baby elephants. If you're exploring your unconscious feelings about your relationship with some individual, you might select some pictures and objects that remind you of that particular person and any memorable experiences you've had together.
As you select these objects, focus on the subject of your intended dream, gently excluding all other thoughts from your mind. Calmly tell yourself that you expect to dream about the matter of concern, and that you'll remember the dream when you awaken.
Once you've selected the appropriate dream incubation objects, carefully arrange them in an aesthetically interesting fashion within your special dream room. You may even place one or more of these objects in bed with you, if you wish. You may also enhance the atmosphere by burning incense or playing music particularly conducive to the intended subject matter of your incubated dream.
Just before you turn off the light for the night and go to sleep, take a few moments to follow the "phrase focusing" technique developed by San Francisco dream psychologist Gayle Delaney and based upon a suggestion originally made by psychologist Carl Jung: articulate the topic of your prospective dream in a single sentence, such as, Should I accept the job offer at Ringling Brothers? or How do I really feel about Melvin? Then, using your special pen, write the phrase in your dream journal. If you wish, you might also draw a picture to illustrate the issue at hand. As soon as you're finished, turn off the light and go to sleep.
Continue focusing on your phrase and/or picture. As you fall asleep, picture the special objects you've placed around you in the room. Quietly remind yourself to dream about the subject at hand and to gain insights into your unconscious feelings toward it while you sleep. Remind yourself also that you will remember all related dreams when you wake up.
Dream Alert — When you wake up, remember to practice the dream recollection techniques you learned on Day 2. Before moving or opening your eyes, concentrate on recalling your most recent dream. Follow these thoughts back to earlier images and dreams. Record any dreams in your journal immediately after opening your eyes.
Finally, to see if this exercise has been truly helpful, study any pictures, phrases, or questions you recorded in your dream journal before going to sleep. Explore the possible relationship between these and your actual dreams.
On Day 4 you will use dream incubation to gain further influence over your dreams. This time you will focus on inducing a dream that taps your creative abilities, helping you to come up with a new idea or an innovative approach to life.
Begin by reflecting on your general creative needs. If you are a grade school teacher, note that you'd like to present letters and numbers in a more interesting and innovative way. If you program computers, acknowledge that the software you work with could be simpler to use.
Now pick a particular creative need that is of some pressing concern. Perhaps you're a writer, trying to come up with a lead for your latest magazine article. Perhaps you are a detective trying to figure out how an anonymous note can help trap a murderer. You may be an artist seeking inspiration for a painting or work of sculpture, a business executive searching for a way to close a deal, or even a doctor trying to figure out what's really wrong with a patient.
If the matter is of serious concern to you, then on some level you've most likely already been thinking about it. In fact, given your personal background, you probably already possess some subtle, perhaps unconscious clues to the answer you are seeking. All you must really do, then, is go on a vision quest — that is, allow your experience, knowledge, and creative energy to merge in a moment of intuitive vision that expresses itself in a dream.
Spend some time during the day allowing your thoughts to roam freely over your creative dilemma. Calmly tell yourself you will express a solution in your dreams. Then, just as you did yesterday, gather some objects that remind you of the issue at hand and place them around your sleeping environment.
Excerpted from Lucid Dreams in 30 Days by Keith Harary, Pamela Weintraub. Copyright © 1991 Keith Harary and Pamela Weintraub. Excerpted by permission of St. Martin's Press.
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