Dreams are Creative: Why not put them to work for you?
The study of dreams is how the unconscious was ‘rediscovered’ by Freud and Jung in the late 19th century. Both had a different take on what dreams mean, but advances in neuroscience is helping us to understand that as Jung said, ‘dreams are the royal road to the unconscious.”
The latest research shows that dreams are the continuation of thinking but in a different biochemical state. Dreams occur in what is called the REM (rapid eye movement) state of sleep. During this state the part of the brain dorsolateral prefrontal cortex (DLPFC) that is involved in rational/logical thinking is quiet. This part of the brain is associated with planning and inhibition which is why it is also the part of the brain you want to quiet if you want to be in a creative space. That is why dreams have long been associated with creative breakthroughs. If the question becomes how can you use your dreams to solve problems and get breakthrough.
If this can be a source of creativity as research has shown, it is a doorway to what we call the imagination that communicates in images. It is the visual areas of the brain that are activated in the sleeping brain that leads to ‘visualizing’ potential solutions. I think it is best described as the image making part of the brain that communicates as a ‘talking thought’ or a picture. Solutions to problems or creative breakthroughs will likely come as an image.
In that sense you can view the dream state as the incubation stage in the creative process.
So why not put that to good use and embark on a routine before you go to bed to direct your unconscious to help you solve problems and get creative solutions. That is what many creative people from Einstein to Paul McCartney and Mary Shelly were able to do. Deirdre Barrett, a psychologist and dream researcher at Harvard Medical School has studied dream incubation and documents how many revolutionary ideas has been the result of a numinous or fortuitous dream.
Here is a way to direct your dreams to be more creative:
1. Decide on the problem or issue you want guidance.
2. Write it down on a piece of paper and put it next to your bed with a pen so you can write down any answers or ideas you get upon awakening.
3. Focus on the issue before going to sleep.
4. Ask for an answer or guidance or a dream.
5. Upon awakening be prepared to catch or remember the answer and write it down.
The problem is that we do not remember our dreams so you may be getting answers to things that concern you during your conscious waking state. However, by purposely directing your dreams before you go to sleep, you have a greater chance of getting an answer and remember it.
Dreams are storehouses of creative inspiration to help you create new artistic works, solve problems at work and in your relationships, heal emotional wounds and even physical illnesses, learn new skills, and find greater spiritual fulfillment, all the while allowing you to explore and have fun during the third of life that we all spend asleep.
Wouldn’t you like to remember your dreams more and start really experiencing the powerful benefits your subconscious has to offer you every night?
Making a relatively consistent effort to remember and especially to record your dreams will help your waking mind align and integrate your dream experience. It’s also an excellent way to increase imagination and intuitive capabilities, which are both intimately connected with dreams. This alone should provide strong incentive.
The following also is key:
We cannot discount the power of intention and focus: Your dreams will reflect what you think is important in your conscious waking state. What I have found is that desire acts as a subjective magnet which draws your dreams into memory.
So why not try take advantage of what many geniuses and inherently creative people have known or do naturally… dreams are creative. If you want to solve a problem or find a creative solution… sleep on it.
Keep a pad handy in the morning to write down what you may have received. Dreams are ephemeral but also the royal road to the imagination.
This is what I am doing as part of the creative process I am using to write fiction.