Vijai P. Sharma, Ph.D
Most of us take the dream world to be an unreal world, partly of fairy tales and fantasy, and partly of wishful thinking which has nothing to do with the reality of the waking life. To take off to the "dream land.," is to enter the land of fairies, angels, and little elves. On the other hand, people who suffer from nightmares will characterize dreaming as a trip to a land of monsters, demons and saber tooth tigers who wait there to terrorize the dreamers and swallow them up.
Either way, dreams are seen as totally devoid of reality. We don't think that dreams prepare us in anyway to deal with reality. In fact, when we see that someone doesn't recognize the problem or the limitations of a situation, we say "stop dreaming and come back to reality."
The truth is that dreams, in the entire history of humankind, have been instrumental in solving the problems that once seemed insoluble, in breaking new grounds, and in coming up with the ideas that the wakeful mind didn't even have the slightest idea of. A plethora of scientific breakthroughs, works of art, and mechanical inventions are products of creative dreaming. Creative dreaming has changed the reality of the waking world. Such is the power of creative dreaming.
Elias Howe invented the lock-stitch sewing machine based on a dream that showed him where to place the eye of the needle. A dream by D.B.Parkinson led to the invention of the M9 Electrical Analog computer, a precursor to the guidance system used in antiaircraft machine. A scientist identified the physical structure of atom through a dream. Otto Lewi won the Nobel Prize in physiology for an experiment that he first devised in his dream.
You see, the book of inventions is filled with epoch-turning ground-breaking inventions that were first dreamed and then converted in to outer reality, often changing the course of humanity and producing a new way of life for all of us.
How is that possible? How could the dreaming-mind solve problems and come up with the creations and inventions in sleep that the waking mind tried and tried and failed?. Perhaps, the dreaming mind knew something that the waking mind didn't. These achievements of the dreaming-mind are not based on pure fantasy, but on a very accurate and comprehensive assessment of the reality combined with creativity unequaled by the waking mind.
In the ancient Greek society, there were shrines where the Oracle (the words or the answer from the divinity), was revealed to the people who came there with a question. One of the most common method of receiving Oracle, was "incubation," in which the inquirer slept on the grounds of the temple and received answer to his or her question in a dream. It appears, that the Greek had learned to make use of creative dreaming to solve the problems of waking life.
As regards the works of art, Robert Louis Stevenson conceived the idea of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde in a dream. The opening notes of Tristan and Isolde were dreamed by Richard Wagner. Samuel Colerige, composed the long poem Kubla Khan in its entirety, in his dream. As he got up from his sleep in a park, he simply wrote all that he could remember. The poem was fragmented and contaminated, perhaps, by his use of laudanum, but the world has countless poems, paintings, and sculpture which were first seen in dreams and then were simply materialized by the dreamers into a concrete form.
To make use of creative dreaming, work with a single minded focus on your goal or the problem, in your waking hours. Creative dreaming is only the pay off for the work you do during the day. Study, observe, analyze, think, reason, and trust your dreaming mind to help you. Ask your subconscious mind to reveal the answer to you in the dreams. If you pray, pray for the answer to be revealed to you in any form or fashion.
As regards me, I wish there was a "dream recorder" which would automatically record my dreams. Why do I need it? Because in my dreams I write articles which win accolades as being the first and foremost on the subject, I give speeches on rare subjects that arouse standing ovations from my dream audience, and I come up with totally new jokes that fill the party rooms with laughers, but, when I wake up, I remember being thrilled about something in my dreams, but I don't remember the content of my creations.
If only I could remember what I said and wrote in my
dreams! It makes me frustrated, but the comforting
thought is that someday, someone will have a creative
dream about how to invent a dream recorder for me!
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