In writing The User’s Guide to Being Human: The Art and Science of Self, I did a fair bit of work for the book in my dreams. For example, I knew I had about 3 pages for a section on “The Nature of Reality,” which was the setup for The Art of Authenticity chapter. Exploring the nature of reality in three pages? Hmmm. This felt like a daunting task.
The night before I was to begin writing the section, I spent ten minutes setting a dream intention. First, I entered a quiet, meditative state, then I began to plant a subconscious suggestion by repeating the words: “tonight I will write The Nature of Reality section in a dream.” I repeated these words over and over again for about five minutes, feeling an absolute conviction in making this happen. Then I took a minute to remind myself to be still upon waking the next morning, and remember what I had written that night in sleep.
Sure enough, at about 6:00 a.m. the next morning I woke with a start. I had just experienced an epic dream that translated almost directly into the “Nature of Reality” section for my book. All I had to do was transcribe it. Thirty minutes later, I had my three and a half pages fully written.
Dream intentions can be used to work on a variety of things during sleep. You can work to improve a skill such as a golf swing. You can ask for insights regarding an issue you are facing. You can seek the answer to a question. You can overcome writers block by brainstorming in a dream. And so on…
It can take some time to develop the discipline of setting dream intentions. Four key steps are involved:
- Lie in bed just before going to sleep. Center yourself in a quiet, meditative state.
- Be clear and specific about the intention you wish to set, and repeat it over and over in your mind. For example, “I seek to understand where my golf swing is off, and improve upon it.”
- Lying there in bed before sleep, imagine yourself actually fulfilling the intention in a dream. Try to see, hear and feel yourself doing it as you will once you fall asleep. Trust with absolute conviction that you can do this.
- Have a note pad and pen by your bed. When you wake up, do not move a muscle. Lie still and try to remember your dreams, or to recognize a thought of feeling that is present for you. Some “dream intenders” never actually remember their dreams, but wake with a thought or feeling that is present for them which serves as a doorway to access the insights from a night’s dream work.
It took me a few weeks to develop these steps and experience success in setting dream intentions. Much like learning to ride a bike, however, once the skills are in place you never lose them. I use this technique regularly now, and it has had a major impact on my effectiveness in the waking hours each day.
Why not give it a try?