Thursday, August 27, 2009

Dreamwork for Healing Childhood Wounds

I just finished reading an interesting and moving story written by Edward Bonapartian, an avid dreamer.
In The Stories of Our Lives, Ed writes with a strong and clear voice about his journey in dealing with the effect of his mother's alcoholism, beginning after her death. He shows us how his dreams were an integral, brutal, and beautiful way for him to move forward in life. As he explored his dreams in groups and workshops, he began to trust the intuitive emotions that accompany dreams to help him understand his dreams as well as the dreams of others. This story shows us how dreamwork--and responding to our dreams--creates balance in waking life.
This book is not only about the writer's dreams, it is a life story. In many ways, it is the story of our lives as well. Without awareness, we all spend the present reacting to the past. He shows us that our dreams can help us understand that and move forward. His is a journey of grief and anger, and a powerful message of hope for us all.
Order Edward Bonapartian's book HERE.

Friday, August 7, 2009

Understanding Dream Function Useful in Psychiatry

Researchers are writing about an exciting new link found between lucid dreaming (awareness while dreaming) and psychosis.

Lucid dreaming creates distinct patterns of electrical activity in the brain that are similar to the patterns in the brain made by psychotic conditions such as schizophrenia. In lucid dreaming, the brain is in a dissociated state. Some psychiatric conditions involve an dissociated state while awake (i.e. psychosis). This discovery offers the potential for new therapeutic tools for psychiatrists.

Implications for the future:
  • Dream researchers can apply their knowledge of dreams to psychiatric patients, building a useful tool for psychiatry.
  • Neuroscience investigators can utilize knowledge from sleep research to interpret data from acute psychotic and dissociated states of the brain-mind.

Friday, July 17, 2009

How to Incubate a Dream

Before you attempt to incubate a dream, it might be helpful to
To incubate a dream, begin by choosing a topic.
  • How to improve your health.
  • Insight into your state of mind.
  • Resolve a recurring nightmare.
  • Ask for creative inspiration.
  • Insight into relationship problems.
  • Insight on how to better pursue one of your personal goals.

What's important is that you truly want whatever you select and that you will honestly appreciate and make use of it once it comes. Incubation is a powerful process and should be given appropriate respect. For the purpose of this experiment, try to find something that applies directly to your life right now.

Formulate an incubation question, making it open-ended. The dreaming mind responds symbolically and does not do well with yes/no questions.

As you get into bed, hold your question clearly in your mind for a few minutes, repeating it as a mantra. Affirm to yourself that you will have and clearly remember a dream that reveals an insight, an experience, or both.

Stir up some emotions about the topic as you repeat your question. Dreams speak the language of emotions.

As you drift off to sleep, keep your question in mind, all the while feeling the emotions involved, trusting that the exercise will be successful. If other thoughts distract you, return to your incubation focus.

Upon waking, whether in the morning or during the night, record any dreams or thoughts that you've had. Don't judge the content, simply record what you remember.

The dream answer may or may not be obvious to you at first, but trust that the process is working regardless, and try to put any insights you get into practice. Ask someone you trust to reflect upon the dream answer with you.

Even if you don't remember a dream or cannot understand it, your dream may still have an effect. An insight may arise during the day, and you may not even consciously connect it with your dream incubation. The dream's meaning may also become clear at some later date.

Monday, June 29, 2009

Dreaming is about Waking Up

Fabulous workshops today by Robert Moss.

In modern Western societies, we think of dreams as sleep experiences. But for many cultures, dreaming is fundamentally about waking up.

Saturday, June 27, 2009

Language in dreams

How does language play a role in our nighttime dreams? A presentation this morning citing several studies delineated some interesting facts:

  • Dream language is most often grammatically well-formed and contextually appropriate.
  • Dream language has an easy sense of rhyme, rhythm, and puns.
  • People who use words for a living, specifically writers, tend to have more language in dreams.
  • Language in dreams is mostly tied to social interaction.
  • Oftentimes, words in dreams may seem literal, when in fact they are metaphorical. For example, if you dream that you are "riddled with cancer," it may have other meanings, such as being puzzled by someone in your life who is a Cancer (astrological sign).
  • Thinking is common in dreams as evidenced by words such as "ask, think, decide, wonder, tell."
  • Thinking occurs in the majority of dreams in contextually appropriate ways, but often nonsensical to waking reality.

In the words of David Kahn, "There is so much we need to learn.... a lot of work yet to be done."