Last time I mentioned using your dreams to solve your waking problems by focusing on the problem just before you go to sleep. I just realized I didn’t tell you what it’s called. When you use a dream to target a specific problem that is dream incubation.
Another great problem solving method is called lucid dreaming. This happens when you are sleeping and while still asleep become aware that you are dreaming. When this happens, you can sometimes actively participate and direct the course of the remainder of the dream.
Imagine you are being hounded by your editor to meet a deadline for rewrites you think detract from your story. Later you dream you are being chases by an ornery bull. If you realize you are dreaming, you can quit running and face the bull that represents your editor. Instead of fleeing, you can talk to the bull, work out your problems, say goodbye, and watch the bull walk away. Thus, while sleeping, you may learn what you need to tell your editor to get the edits or deadline changed, or you may just get the motivation you need to finish by your deadline to keep from getting poked by those horns.
No matter what method you use to solve problems, the most important thing you can learn is that the solutions to most problems are already in your head. You just need to fall asleep to find them.
Dreams are an avenue to your unconscious. Therein resides truth, wisdom, intuition and creativity. Keep in mind that the language is different. Dream symbolism is extremely subjective and there can be different meanings for the same symbol depending upon the context it is presented in. For an example, a sexy knock you off your feet kiss may mean a run of bad luck is coming to an end, while an unwanted kiss may mean you are coming down with a physical illness and your body is trying to signal you of health needs.
Colors represent feelings. Sharp crisp colors indicate you are on the brink of intense feelings about something or someone. Black normally indicates depression or sadness.
By paying attention to color of things in your dreams, you may get clues to your inner feeling. Next time you become aware of colors in dreams, see if any of these help you understand the dream better:
· Black – may represent danger or something unknown; misery, death, mourning, loss, or depression.
· Blue – could mean feeling sad or “blue”; if it’s the color of the sky or sea, it could mean openness; also eternity, Heaven, or tranquility.
· Brown – earthy, often connected to physical things; a practical state of mind.
· Gray – indicates fright, fear, depression, and poor health; may mean things are not clear to you (not black or white)
· Green – you may feel it’s time to make positive change in your life and you are getting a green light to move ahead; also can indicate growth, healing or hope.
· Orange – can mean social energy, friendliness, personal pride.
· Purple – conveys healing abilities, compassion and spirituality. (I grew up a Traditional Roman Catholic. Every time I diet, I dream in purple. I think this is probably because it’s the Lenten liturgical color and I associate it with fasting).
· Red – indicates something to be avoided; danger: proceed with caution; can also indicate raw energy, force, aggression, power or passion.
· White – usually indicates purity, holiness, cleanliness, or peace.
· Yellow – generally indicates well-being or happiness; golden yellow is associated with intellect and wisdom; greenish yellow conveys cowardice, deceit or dishonesty.
· Black and White – good and evil; right and wrong; balance of forces.
· Checks – can indicate a question or a combination of feelings.
· Plaid – may mean mixed or opposing ideas or a mixed attitude. (Or maybe you’re like me and like men in kilts –slow my thudding heart).
Women are more likely to dream in color than men. About half the people say they don’t dream in color. If you keep a dream journal, be sure to note any colors that stand out in your dreams.
Nightmares are twice as common as once thought. Research indicates most adults have nightmares at least twice a month. They can be defined as dreams that frighten, sadden, or upset the dreamer.
The architect of many a nightmare, Stephen King has them, including one where he’s hacking away at the typewriter in a hot, cramped room, and a madwoman is hiding behind the attic door with a scalpel. She’s ready to burst through the door if he doesn’t finish his work. King always wakes just before she strikes. This dream corresponds to his deadlines.
Nightmares can depress us, inspire fear, and prevent adequate rest, leaving people feeling hostile or anxious. If you have frequent nightmares, try this:
· Record your nightmare. Get it on paper as soon as you can with as much detail as possible.
· Decide to change the nightmare. Think carefully about how you would like the dream to go.
· Imagine the new sequence. Close your eyes, relax, and “view” the dream in your mind with the new plot you created for it.
· Practice for two weeks. For several minutes every day or so, mentally play back the new version of the dream. This will imprint the altered version in your mind and meld it into your subconscious.
· Enjoy your nightmare free sleep. You should see a marked decrease in nightmares within two to four weeks. As they go away, you can decrease your dream rehearsals.
As I looked through my notes, I decided that daydreams are so important for writers that they deserve their own post and more attention than I might give them when addressing others professionals. I’ll hit on daydreams next time. Then we'll sum up with a look at capturing dreams and their elusive information.
Until next time, happy writing!