Monthly Archives: April 2012

Dreaming of people you know: A Checklist

Dreaming of people you know: A Checklist

People are such perfect dream symbols for your various beliefs, issues, thoughts, feelings, attitudes, memories, and experiences, but sometimes you need a little extra help in narrowing the field when interpreting the meaning of a certain person in a particular dream.

Here’s that little extra help. Use this checklist (an extract from my book, Dream Alchemy, 2nd edition, published by Hachette). Answer the questions until something clicks.

CHECKLIST

1.    What is the personality of this person (three words or phrases)?

2.    How does this person approach life (three words or phrases)?

3.    When was the last time you saw, heard of or interacted with this person?

4.    What were the circumstances of your answer to question 3?

5.    How would you feel if you met this person today?

6.    Who else does this person remind you of?

7.    Is there a pun or different meaning in this person’s name?

8.    What role does this person play in the world?

9.    What role does this person play in your life?

10.    Which three things do you admire about this person?

11.    Which three things do you dislike about this person (be honest!)

12.    Do you have any unresolved feelings or business with this person? If so, what?

13.    What belief might you have borrowed from this person?

14.    Do you need to make peace with this person?

15.    If you were to meet this person today, what message would you like to deliver?

Everyone and everything in a dream represents something about you.

Everyone and everything in a dream represents something about you.

Remember that everyone and everything in a dream represents something about you, and dreams reflect your mind’s processing of the last couple of days.

Use the checklist to trigger a connection between what that person means to you and what has been happening in your life during the last 24-48 hours. Then add that insight into the mix when interpreting the other details of your dream.

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iProgram, iDream, iRecall

iProgram, iDream, iRecall - Flying Man by Mark Penberthy

Need a little help recalling your dreams? An app can help you with that. Want to dream the perfect dream? There’s an app designed for that too.

One key to good dream recall is to wake gently, keep your eyes closed, and allow dream fragments time to come together before your alarm clock – the one that means get out of bed now or you’ll be late – jolts you fully awake. You can help the process by asking yourself simple questions such as What happened before this? What happened after this? How did I get here? You can also help the process by setting two alarms, one gentle one to signal dream recall time, and your usual one, set about twenty minutes later, to get you out of bed.

DreamGlobally app. For you if you’re audio inclined and don’t mind sleeping with your iDevice.

DreamGlobally app. For you if you’re audio inclined and don’t mind sleeping with your iDevice.

Joe Halajian’s DreamGlobally app allows you to set a wake prompt that is just audible enough to glide you into dream recall. You can choose from a number of prompts, including questions designed to help you remember your dreams, and you can choose how long you’d like to drift in this stage before the app sounds your get out of bed now call. You can also choose sleep prompts – verbal suggestions about remembering your dreams – that play as you fall asleep.

The DreamGlobally app enables you to record your dreams by speaking them into your device before moving or opening your eyes. All good stuff, and this may be for you if you’re audio inclined and don’t mind sleeping with your iDevice. It may also be for you if you’re interested in global dreaming patterns and connecting with others via your dreams, as you can send tags about your dream content to the DreamGlobally dream database.

iLoved my zen alarm clock, an analogue clock with a maple wood finish and a little gong that gently struck a tubular bell once, twenty minutes before get out of bed now or you’ll be late time. That first single strike was followed by another 3.48 seconds later, then one 2.21 seconds after that, and so on in a Golden Ratio Progression (a mathematical formula related to the Fibonacci sequence, and believed to be inherently aesthetic), until it chimed every five seconds to get you up and out of bed. It was perfect for entering dream drift recall, and I found it a peaceful way to wake up each morning. Unfortunately, it wasn’t so perfect for Michael, who found it irritating, Golden Ratio or no Golden Ratio. Michael found the chimes either woke him wide awake too early or morphed their way into his dreams.

DreamON app. An experiment in influencing dreams.

DreamON app. An experiment in influencing dreams.

Which brings me to Richard Wiseman’s Dream:ON app, launched a few days ago as a mass participation project to create your perfect dream by having your iDevice play soundscapes designed to influence your dreams at key points during your sleep cycle. 100,000 people downloaded the free app on the first night following the media campaign, and if the blog comments are anything to go by, there was a lot of general disappointment. The Dream:ON team say it will take time for dreamers to get used to the app, and to expect results after three or four nights.

Like DreamGlobally, Dream:ON offers both a gradual waking system and a social dreaming component. You can tag friends who appear in your dreams and send short descriptions of your dreams to their Dream Bank. Unlike DreamGlobally, Dream:ON may be trying to be too smart (e.g. its REM monitoring system) and missing out on interesting results a simpler system might produce.

External and physiological stimuli do enter our dreams (barking dogs, zen chimes, heat, indigestion), so theoretically the Dream:ON soundscapes will, in some cases, influence dreams, but how?

My research shows that our dreams process the last 24-48 hours of our conscious and unconscious experiences, and that can include stimuli we are experiencing at the time of dreaming. That processing, though, can change the zen chimes into Tinkerbell, a barking dog into a strange tooting train, or indigestion into a stomach-strangling cobra. The point is, the dreaming mind interprets the stimulus – or soundscape – according to a mix of past experiences and the dream drama leading up to the intrusion. It rarely interprets the stimulus logically. A soundscape of tweeting birds may be designed to induce an uplifting perfect dream, but the dreamer may end up dreaming about their Twitter account anxieties. Such is the nature of dreaming and its tendency to word play and lateral ‘thinking’!

I once did an experiment where I asked participants to dream about a blue star.

I once did an experiment where I asked participants to dream about a blue star.

I once did an experiment where I asked participants to dream about a blue star. I gave instructions (a mix of dream incubation techniques and suggestion) designed to maximise the possibility of a blue star appearing in a dream. Of those who were successful, the blue star in their dreams tended to represent (when the dreams were analysed) each dreamer’s beliefs and feelings about performing, succeeding, being tested, or whatever each dreamer was processing about taking part in the experiment. Those who didn’t remember seeing a blue star in their dream tended to report dreams of searching, trying, or feeling tested.

My interest is in individual dreams, how they reflect the dreamer’s waking life, the insights the dreamer can gain about their unconscious mindset, and the dream alchemy exercises the dreamer can do to change and align their mindset with their personal choices for their future.

The perfect dream, to me, is the one that bestows helpful insight when it is analysed, the one that gifts the opportunity to understand your waking life experiences by understanding your mindset, and that offers the raw material you can use to create the kind of deep change that results in more personally rewarding life experience. Whether that dream is happy or nightmarish is not the issue. If you want to influence and control your dreams for fun, go ahead, but make it a rare adventure. Leave room for your natural dreams and their potential to help you fulfil and enjoy the rewarding waking life outcomes of your choice.

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Episode 124 The Dream Show: Spacecraft

A virtual coffee

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Jason from Seattle, my guest this episode, dreamed of viewing the magnificence of outer space from a spacecraft, before landing back on Earth. He had been abducted by aliens, and knew they would find him again. Back home there’s maths homework to do, a blood transfusion to endure against his will, and a sense of deep sadness connected with a journey he wants to make into the unknown. How will the dream end, and how does it relate to Jason’s life?

The Dream Show, a free monthly podcast with Jane Teresa AndersonAs always when I have a guest on the show, I know nothing about the dream until we start recording, and we don’t edit, so you hear the whole process of exploring and interpreting the dream, Jason’s responses and discussions, and applying dream alchemy, as it happens.  Enjoy, and do please share with your friends and colleagues.

Oh, and we’re celebrating 3 years of The Dream Show! We launched in April 2009.

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TV: Dreams on The Morning Show

Here’s the video of my dream interpretation segment on Channel 7, The Morning Show, (national television Australia), this morning:

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A Dangerous Method

A Dangerous Method

Have you seen A Dangerous Method*, the movie about Sigmund Freud and Carl Jung’s intense relationship from first meeting, through the birth of psychoanalysis, to their professional and personal falling out? Along the way, Jung (Michael Fassbender), shares some of his dreams with Freud (Viggo Mortensen), and you might enjoy, as I did at the cinema on Friday evening, listening to their thoughts and insights from their increasingly different points of view. If you’ve studied the popular literature on Jung, the dreams will probably be familiar to you, but they’re short and sweet on film which makes them all the more accessible.

Freud saw dreams as revealing his patients’ neuroses while Jung saw dreams as revealing a person’s potential for living a bigger life.

Freud saw dreams as revealing his patients’ neuroses while Jung saw dreams as revealing a person’s potential for living a bigger life.

One of the biggest differences between Freud and Jung’s clinical approaches to dreams was that Freud saw dreams as revealing his patients’ neuroses while Jung saw dreams as revealing a person’s potential for living a bigger life. Freud focused on rigid scientific diagnosis (according to his theories) and cure, while Jung allowed a more spiritual, mystical, flexibility to influence his analysis of dreams.

And of course there’s lots of sex, in Freud’s analyses and in Jung’s relationship with Sabina Spielrein (Keira Knightly), the young woman suffering hysteria who became the first patient Jung treated with Freud’s new talking cure (psychoanalysis).

Toward the end of the film, Jung describes his apocalyptic recurring dream, which he believed was precognitive of the coming apocalypse, World War I. Yet as you listen you’ll notice the metaphor of personal apocalypse as he slides into his nervous breakdown from which he later emerged, the wounded healer.

Listen to the dreams, and have a think about the kind of dream alchemy you might prescribe for each one.

Listen to the dreams, and have a think about the kind of dream alchemy you might prescribe for each one.

If you’ve followed my work, you’ll know that one of my key approaches is to look for limiting beliefs, reflected in dreams, and to assist the dreamer with dream alchemy to transform such beliefs into ones that allow the person to grow into his or her potential, to live that bigger life. Go see the movie. Listen to the dreams, and have a think about the kind of dream alchemy you might prescribe for each one.

* Directed by David Cronenberg, A Dangerous Method, is based on John Kerr’s 1993 book, A Dangerous Method. The screenplay was adapted by Christopher Hampton from his 2002 stage play The Talking Cure.

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