Dream guide and author Tree Carr explains how you can harness your dreams to power your creativity.
Every single one of us experiences dreaming whether or not ?we remember them. You begin dreaming at infancy and will continue until the day you die. You will spend about one-third of your life asleep and dreaming. This equates to approximately 25 years of engaging in your dreamworlds. Imagine exploring 25 years of an unknown aspect of yourself. A lot can get done!
Your dreams play out differently from your waking realities.? In your dreamworlds, you may seem to be your usual self in surreal environments, or you may appear as aspects of yourself or even someone completely different. Dreams can certainly be entertaining, absurd, inspiring or frightening. You can experience a wide range of emotions, and upon awakening it can feel as though you really were there.
Dreams can often stay with you throughout the day and affect your mood and thinking. However, for the most part, you will probably shrug off your dreams and pay little attention to them.
Consciousness through dreaming
I believe that dreams are experiences? of consciousness. If you are alive, you experience consciousness. It is your personal awareness and perception ?of your reality, environment and experiences. It encompasses your senses, emotions, sensations and thoughts. Most would think that consciousness is what you are experiencing when you are awake, but there is much more to it. Consciousness can also be experienced through dreams, memories, comas, trance states, daydreams and psychedelic experiences. These types of experiences are coined as “altered states of consciousness” because they do not align with the definition of an awake, pragmatic and sober state of perception. They are, however, valid forms of consciousness because they fall within the experience of perception.
Even when you are asleep, your consciousness is still present; you are just unaware of it. The experience of the scenes unfolding in your dreams is just as wonderful, valid or important as anything you experience in waking life. In other words, just because dreams are “not real” does not mean you cannot feel like you experienced something? real. For an advanced or lucid dreamer, their consciousness is present and aware within their dream. Even when asleep and dreaming, you have the ability? to be aware and present with what ?is unfolding. You can be effectively “awake” in your dreams.
Practising conscious dreaming
By engaging in a committed conscious dreaming practice, you can train your mind to become more aware in a dream state, to be more fully engaged in your dreams, to begin to control your dreams and to decode their cryptic messages. This can, in return, awaken the dormant aspect of your consciousness and ignite potential vivid and rich dreaming states. You can then begin to completely engage in your dreams and use them for inspiration, emotional healing, problem-solving, entertainment and soul growth – and the list goes on. Every human being out there can dream, and through simple intent, mindfulness, reflection, record-keeping, plant care and lifestyle changes, you can enable a deeper connectivity and understanding of the profound mysteries that your consciousness experiences as you sleep.
One fundamental key to a conscious dreaming practice is? the journalling or recording of your dreams. You can journal your dreams by writing them down, or you can film or record yourself retelling your dream experience. Journalling your dreams will enable you to improve your dream memory recall, help trigger more dreams, act as markers along your spiritual/creative path, provide insight into your inner world and also serve as proof of any precognitive dreams you may experience.
Creativity and problem-solving
One of the inspiring repercussions? of recording your dreams is that they can act as a muse for creativity.? They can even help with scientific? and mathematical problem-solving or troubleshooting. There are countless examples of artists, musicians, scientists and mathematicians who have made creative and innovative breakthroughs with the help of their dreams. In 1816, writer Mary Shelley had a nightmare of a reconstructed corpse coming to life with the aid of a man with a powerful engine. This nightmare would become the inspiration of her gothic horror classic, Frankenstein. In the 1990s, computer? scientist Larry Page had a dream? about downloading the entire web.? In the dream, he examined the links between pages and as a result saw the world’s information in a completely different way. Upon waking, in the middle of the night, he wrote all the details of the dream down and eventually worked out the basis for an algorithm. This would become the search engine Google.
Whether you are a musician, an artist, a biologist, a product designer or a software engineer, you can look to your dreams as a sounding board or sketchbook for your unfolding ideas. Dream journalling can help you to access some of the inspired ideas that come through in dreams and then develop them further.
Extracted from Dreams: How to connect with your dreams to enrich your life by Tree Carr (Aster, approx €13).
Photograph by Amy Treasure, Unsplash