The Dream Journey

The information offered here is not to spell out for you some ancient or new technique which will magically make you a dream expert, but to show you the paths along which you may travel in order to discover your true inner self. During this journey, you may uncover the deep dark recesses of your heart, the forgotten or abandoned parts of yourself. You may also uncover hidden abilities and skills; dream work may bring these out into the light of day. Your very own treasure chest of guidance, wisdom, and experience that you have accumulated in the course of your life. The price for this knowledge is dedication and long-term effort.

Within all of us lies a rich source of wisdom. In our dreams this wisdom speaks to us in it’s own language of symbols. Most of us experience our dreams as elusive, fleeting whispers of images, symbols, and fantasies that vanish when we awaken. The following techniques will allow you to study the images, meanings and experiences of your dreams. Use these to help you get in touch with the wise one within.

Dream Journal: We begin our journey with the preparation of your dream journal. It should be a small notebook that is easy to carry. You may decorate the outside cover if you like. You should also select a special pen for your journal; this pen should not be used for anything else. You may also find it helpful to purchase a small clip on book light, and a battery operated recorder. The recorder is useful for those moments when you wish to remember an important dream without having to write it down. Penlights are also useful. Place your journal, pen, recorder and light source next to your side of the bed. This is important for it allows you to focus on your intent to remember and record your dreams. It is helpful to prepare the mind and body for the transition from the Waking State to the Sleep State with quiet reflection just before going to bed. Candle gazing and meditation will assist you in this transition.

Self-Induced Suggestion:  Practice auto-suggestion before going to sleep. As you drift off to sleep, you may want to say to yourself: I will remember my dreams when I awake. If you do not recall your dreams at first, just continue with the auto-suggestion every night until you begin to remember your dreams. Do not worry about whether you succeed or not. Be patient, relax and drift off to sleep. Giving yourself an auto-suggestion during the twilight time between waking and sleeping will enhance your dream recall tremendously.

Dream Recollection: Upon awakening, try to remember your dream before opening your eyes. This will assist you by fixing the dream in your memory. This is very important for when you open your eyes you will become distracted by the outer world. Before you open your eyes, quickly review your dream, and focus on the essential elements like people, places, events, objects, emotional content, and symbols. Remember you are very likely to lose your dream and many important parts if you do not write down key words before rising. Writing your dreams down in a journal seems to stimulate and enhance dream recall and nourish the dream self.

Dream Titles: Before you write or draw in your dream journal, give each dream a title. Giving each dream a title helps you remember your dreams and allows you to identify important elements. Always record the date and time of your dream if possible. Be sure to note any significant symbols, people, emotions, props and settings. Leave one or two blank pages after each entry, so that you may add any additional thoughts, artwork, drawings and interpretations for later, when you have had time to process the dream in depth. You may find yourself having flashes of insight hours or days later; this is a very common occurrence, once you have initiated the dream recall process. Try to keep your dream journal or note pad with you at all times to enable you to document your progress. Try to record all dreams in the present tense. Let each key element in the dream speak to you, listen to its thoughts and feelings, ask why it was in your dream and what it wants from you. Explore all the possibilities.

Dream Incubation: Dream incubation is one of the most potent techniques available and has been used all over the world in one form or another for centuries. In ancient times, you might have spent days fasting and meditating in a special environment and taking part in elaborate rituals. The ancient Assyrians, Chinese, Egyptians and Greeks built their own dream incubation temples. The Japanese, Hebrews, Indians and Muslims also practiced dream incubation.

In modern times, we can achieve the same results by creating a peaceful, restful place within our home. It must be a place where you will not be interrupted and where you can completely withdraw from your busy daily activities. Evaluate your sleep environment and remove any disturbing colors or images. Make this room as attractive and relaxing as possible. You may want to create a dream altar, make a dream pillow or a dream catcher to reinforce your dream work. Decorate your walls with images that inspire and relax you. You can also enhance your environment with soft lighting, soft instrumental music or by burning incense.

Next, you will want to choose a meaningful topic, for your first exercises pick a non-life changing, non-traumatic subject matter. Also, avoid trivial concerns like what brand of dish cleaner should I use. Choose a situation over which you have some influence, such as your behavior towards a co-worker or family member. When you have made your choice, formulate a clear intention and focus on the subject of your intended dream. Write out a simple phrase such as, “How do I really feel about my employer?” You may also want to meditate on your question. When you feel prepared, turn off your light and continue focusing on your question as you fall asleep. Also, remember to remind yourself that you will remember your dream upon waking. When you wake up, practice your recollection techniques and then record your dream in your journal.

The crucial elements to obtain a desired dream are:

  • clear focus on desired dream content.
  • know that it is possible to induce dreams.
  • Concentrate and make a clear request for a specific dream. Always evaluate all incubated dreams from the perspective of rational, waking consciousness. As you continually work with the incubation technique, you will find that it may help you to solve personal problems, enhance your quality of life and improve your health. This technique allows you to communicate with your inner self and tap into a vast storehouse of self-knowledge.

Incubation Altar: The Incubation Altar should be on a table next to your bed. This is an area set aside for your incubation dream tools only. On this altar, you will place objects, images, and scents, anything that reminds you of your selected dream topic. As an example if you wanted to have a flying dream, you might want to select items that remind you of flight, like a bird feather or a photo of birds in flight. If you wanted to dream about a certain destination, you would select objects or images that bring that location to mind. A photo of the Egyptian pyramids and a statue of Isis, along with some Kyphi incense would be my choice for a dream visit to the ancient temples of Egypt. You may even want to watch a video on your chosen subject or listen to some music from that area. Incubation Altars can be either large or small.

Incubation Tips: Here are a few tips for incubating your dreams.

  • Incubation is something we do everyday, like telling yourself to remember to pick up a gallon of milk on your way home after work. The only difference is you are reminding yourself to remember to dream about a certain dream topic.
  • Be patient with yourself. If you do not receive your incubation dream in a couple of days, do not worry about it. There may be many reasons, why you have not received it. You may discover later, that you did have the dream. You simply did not recall it. Ask yourself if there may be a reason, you do not want to dream about your topic.
  • Try again, if you do not receive or remember your dream.
  • Request the aid of a dream guide or friend.

Lucid Dreams:  Mystery schools down through the ages have used many different techniques to help their students move through the boundaries of ordinary reality. Some of the ancient techniques often involved complex rituals and hallucinogenic substances. Today there are simpler ways to move through these boundaries. It may take a little longer to shift our normal way of seeing and change the rigid patterns of our perceptions, but it can be done. We will begin to open to a much larger, more interesting reality as we explore these boundaries. These reality shifts give us access to many possibilities. Only when we become aware of different ways of being, do we give ourselves the opportunity for deeper self-knowledge.

Awareness is essential in all learning processes. We can begin this process by looking at our waking world in different ways. As you move throughout your day doing your daily activities, ask yourself if you are awake or dreaming? By conducting these reality checks on a regular basis, you should eventually find yourself asking this question while in the middle of a dream. Dream researchers often suggest this technique. This process prepares you for lucid dreaming.

A lucid dream is a dream in which the dreamer is aware he is dreaming. When one becomes lucid while dreaming, you can do anything in your dream. You can fly, make love with anyone you choose, have conversations with people unknown to you, experience anything you choose to, and have access to the resources stored in your mind. You can learn to become conscious during your dreams. This also gives you the opportunity to alter any negative aspects of your dreams. You can control, stop, or change any negative dream event into a positive one. However, you cannot control or know in advance what the autonomous dream process will present to you, but you can deal with them once you have entered the lucid state. The lucid state is the most difficult to achieve than any other type of dream control, but well worth the extra effort. Lucid dreaming is a skill that can be acquired.

Remember, once you gain awareness of this dream state you must remain in a constant state of alertness or you will lose it. Strong emotions such as extreme excitement, joy or fear will wake you. You must will yourself not to become overly excited or distracted or you will slip into ordinary dreaming.

Lucid Dream Anchors: Choose an object to represent your lucid dream anchor and place it in the room where you sleep. This lucidity anchor may be anything you choose it to be. Keep in mind when choosing an anchor symbol that it is to serve only as a reminder of your intention to have a lucid dream. I suggest you choose something unusual, a special statue, an obelisk, or stuffed toys are all good choices. It is very important to choose an object that is symbolic with your dream state; this enables you to use it as a trigger for lucid dreaming. As an example, I used a bird’s nest for years and every time I entered the pre-lucid Dream State I would either hear birds chirping or see birds flying in my dream. This allowed me to prepare myself for the transition from regular dreaming to the lucid Dream State. The important thing is to learn what works for you and use it.

Dream Friends: We can create dream friends that can help assist us in resolving any problems we might be having. We can even turn our dream enemies into dream friends. Begin this process by asking for help in your dreams. These dream friends are your guides and can provide you with solutions to any areas in your life that may be particularly challenging. We begin by finding friendly dream images in our dreams, they can appear as a helpful old grandmother, a friendly shop keeper, a talking tree, or animal. Always seek out these friendly images and respond to them in a friendly way. Develop a relationship with these images, call on them when you need them, make them a part of you. Show appreciation to your friendly dream image, ask it for a gift or ask it to become one of your guides. These spirit guides may appear to you in dreams and may share information with you. They may gift you with songs, stories, chants, artwork, dances, or poetry. Be sure to record these gifts in detail when you awaken.

Dream Interpretation: You may find it very helpful to create your own dream dictionary. If you decide to use a dream dictionary written by someone else, make sure you read the entire book. By reading all the symbols and their meanings we familiarize our subconscious mind with the author’s interpretations and lay down the groundwork for communication. The subconscious mind will then use these symbols when trying to communicate with you in your dreams. Remember you are foremost and always the architect and interpreter of your dreams, although the language your dreams use can be confusing and vague. It is very helpful to familiarize yourself with the latest dream research and techniques available. I also suggest checking out books and articles written by Dr. Ann Faraday, Patricia Garfield, Ph.D., Carl G Jung, Calvin S. Hall, Henry Reed, Gayle Delaney, Jack Maguire, and Robert Van de Castle. This is only a small list of the many researchers exploring the world of dreams.

Dream work helps you to develop your abilities of dream recall and can aid you in understanding your life purpose. Ask yourself where you are in manifesting your destiny and what obstacles may be getting in your way. Explore your fears and any areas where you may be feeling resistance. Look closely at any reoccurring dream images or dream themes that seem to be working on some issue in your life.

Studies have shown that people who work on themselves through journal keeping and structured self improvement projects can make significant progress in their own personal growth. It is believed that we spend a third of our life sleeping, so that by the age of seventy we may have spent twenty or so years sleeping. With this in mind, why not take advantage of this time to create a more balanced and happier self.