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Creative Uses of Your Dreams and Incubation

From all the dreams and information that have already been dealt with, an enormous number of conclusions can be drawn. It is hoped that many of these do not need to be enlarged upon; but because it may not be clear from what has been said, the subject of purposeful use of dreams will be explained in greater detail. For instance, it was mentioned at the very beginning that dreams have helped such varied fields of research and expression as science, literature, philosophy, psychology, and so on. It has to be admitted that most dreams that have given such service have been spontaneous, and often unsought, but in a few cases people have purposely set out to gain information from dreams that they could not easily get in waking consciousness. Businessmen, scientists, laymen, and doctors, have each looked to the dream for help in their various enquiries. In some cases they did not understand the process of dreaming, and so were handicapped.

Others had gained an understanding by analysing previous experience, and were better able to use dreams as tools in their research. How this is possible must be reasonably clear from the other features. The dream emerges as an expression of what is happening in all the departments of our being. The unconscious biological processes that have made us a living being – the physical and energetic processes of our body, with its digestion, circulation, metabolism, etc. – the relationships between different parts of our being, such as body and mind, sexual and ambitious drives, self and others, all are dealt with in dreams. Likewise, all that we have ever experienced, read, thought, studied, heard or seen, is all stored in the complete memory of our unconscious. Nothing is lost. This vast storehouse of learning and experience, coup led with the wisdom latent in our very cells, built in from millions of years of life experience, are all available to the dream. A later chapter will show that we are not limited even to our own vast memory, but can pick up thoughts from others through telepathy or expanded consciousness. Therefore, to have a question answered by a dream, is to receive a reply from the most advanced and best educated computer in the world. Even a new-born babe can rely upon the biological knowledge of its cells, which open to it, as instinct and intuitive response, the wisdom of the ages.

The examples of Robert Louis Stevenson gaining ideas for his writings, Kekule discovering the Benzene ring, the dreaming of Kubla Khan, and the dream foretelling the nationalisation of Iranian oil, illustrate a little of this. Another example is quoted in Dreams, The Language of the Unconscious by Hugh Lynn Cayce. The dream occurred to a member of the New York Stock Exchange, on March 5th. 1929. He says, ‘Dreamed we should sell all our stocks including box stock (one considered very good). I saw a bull following my wife, who was dressed in red.’ This dream was interpreted to mean that a crisis was approaching on the stock market, and all should be sold. Unfortunately the man did not heed this advice, and suffered the collapse of the stock market six months later.

The famous acrobat, Tito Gaona, stated in the April 8,1974, issue of Sports Illustrated:

I have sometimes dreamed my tricks at night … and then tried to master them from the dream. … I also do what I call a double-double…. It is a double forward somersault with a double full twist at the same time. It has never been done before. No one else does it. It is a trick I dreamed one night. (Quoted from Our Dreaming Mind by Robert Van de Castle.)

Boccaccio, in his Life of Dante, gives details of a dream had by Jacopo, a son of Dante. After Dante’s death, it was discovered that the last thirteen cantos of the ‘Commedia’ were missing. This caused much debate as to whether they had been written, and all involved searched everywhere. Jacopo and his brother Piero were induced by others to try their hand at writing the missing cantos themselves, but before doing so Jacopo dreamt that ‘his father Dante had appeared to him, clothed in the purest white, and his face resplendent with an extraordinary light; Jacopo asked him if he lived, and Dante replied, “Yes, but in the true life, not your life.” Then Jacopo asked him if he had completed his work before passing into the true life; and if he had done so, what had become of that part which was missing, as none could find it. To this Dante seemed to answer: “Yes, I finished it”, and then took Jacopo by the hand and led him into that chamber Dante had been accustomed to sleep in when he was alive. Touching one of the walls, he said, “What you have sought so much is here.” Then Jacopo awoke and although still night, called upon a friend, who went with him to Dante’s old house. Waking the present owner, they were allowed in, and on coming to the bedroom and looking at the wall indicated in the dream ‘found a mat fixed to the wall. They lifted it gently up, when they found a little window in the wall, never before seen by any of them. In it they discovered several writings, all mouldy from the dampness of the walls,’ and found them to be the missing cantos.

It can be argued, of course, that Jacopo must have noticed the mat before, even if he had never seen beneath it. Therefore it could possibly have concealed a hiding place; but what is important is not the question of whether or not he had seen this, but the fact that he had not consciously thought of it as the hiding place. Even if he had considered it as a hiding place and forgotten it with the passage of time, the dream still presented him with a new combination of ideas – the mat and the cantos. If this is the limit of dream perception, and I am not agreeing that it is, then it still puts the dream in the position of a competent computer. It still shows it as having entrance to our complete memory, and seeking deductive answers from it.

Here is another example of creative dreaming. “Dimitri Mendeleyev was born 8 February 1834 in Russia. In 1869 he was puzzling over the problem of chemical elements. They were the alphabet out of which the language of the universe was composed. Mendeleyev would frequently while away the time playing patience while waiting for a train. He had the cards in rows facing him and he had written chemical symbols of an element, its atomic weight and then a shortlist of its characteristic properties. Mendeleyev realized he was on to something, there was a pattern appearing but he couldn’t quite grasp it. Momentarily overcome by exhaustion he rested his head on his arms, almost immediately falling asleep and had a dream – the periodic table.

Having admitted this much, we are still faced by a problem, namely, how can we get the dream life to respond to a particular question? Suppose we are a scientist researching on cancer cure, or an archaeologist searching for an elusive clue in his studies, or a philosopher seeking to understand life; or just you or me trying to understand how best to use our abilities; how can we go about finding an answer to our problem? The two dreams quoted already help us towards an answer, even though they are not induced dreams in the sense that we are seeking. They help us because they are induced dreams in a different sense. They are induced by the dreamer’s interests. For the one dream is by a stock broker who recorded and attempted to analyse his dreams. The dream is induced because his interests in life are deeply bound up with the stock exchange. While Jacopo’s dream was induced by the search and by others urging him to finish the cantos.

From just these two dreams we can see that a dream response can be induced by being emotionally and intellectually involved in the question or problem answered. Therefore, if we are going to ask a specific question, it will have a greater likelihood of producing a helpful dream if we become as involved as possible in it. A person I once met had a mother much given to the study and practice of positive thinking. The man wished to take his wife for a holiday abroad, but did not have and could see no possibility of getting sufficient funds to finance this. His mother persuaded him to live positively, however, and told him to plan his holiday anyway. This he did, arranging all details. As time drew near he still did not have sufficient money, and began to get somewhat apprehensive as to how he was going to pay fares and hotel costs. This situation lasted right up to a week before the holiday began. Then he had a dream of a particular horse winning a race. Searching through the papers the following morning he found such a horse by the same name, and bet on it, which was something he never usually did. The horse won, and he had his holiday.

I mention this because here we see the man not only intellectually and emotionally involved to a large degree, but also financially as well. These really are the ideal conditions to provoke a dream to answer our question or problem. I have used this method myself with some success, one dream being a direct answer to a direct question. At the time of the dream I had been researching on the psychological effects of Yoga exercises or postures. I practised the postures and tried as far as was possible to discover consciously what they did to the emotions, instincts and mind. I then asked myself, just before going to sleep, if there were inner effects I was unconscious of. If so, what were they? In this way I hoped to induce a helpful dream. In fact, I had several, but one in particular helped a great deal. In it I was on an underground train. Two black men were standing in the aisle. The train was nearing my station and I passed them to get to the door. One would not stand aside, even after I said ‘Excuse me’, so I had to push past him. This annoyed him so much that he rushed at me with hands extended to strangle me, but I caught his hands in mine, and gradually forced them down from my throat. As I did so, I thought: ‘This is what Yoga has done’ (i.e. given me the strength to stand against the black man).

The meaning of this dream is not readily understood until it is realised that these black men had appeared in other dreams. In one. he got my throat and began to strangle me, and I could do nothing, but awoke in terror. Here we see the unconscious or black parts of my nature which I associated with my instinctive drives and fears, throttling my conscious life. The second dream is therefore saying that Yoga was developing the strength to face and deal with one’s unconscious fears and repressed urges. There is still a conflict, but at least my conscious self can meet its fears on equal terms, which is a very great part of the battle.

Becoming involved in a question is not all there is to inducing informative dreams. Earlier on I suggested that a baby, even though new born, can draw upon its biological past, the result of which is instinct, but the baby cannot ask the same sort of question as we do. Its questions are all associated with survival, feeding, sleeping, relating to its mother, and so on. Even if it could ask a more intellectual question, such as, ‘How can one make a better mousetrap?’ any dream that did give an answer would be quite incomprehensible to the baby. In short, while our dream producing mechanism may have entrance to infinite wisdom and resources, it nevertheless has the problem of explaining it to a very limited intelligence – namely us! In other words, we cannot ask a question that is beyond our present comprehension. If we did get an answer it would be meaningless. The question and answer are all bound up in each other. Dr Washington Carver, in seeking inner intuitive answers to scientific questions, had the same problem. He had before him the task of synthesising various products such as milk, glue, printer’s ink and oils, from peanuts and sweet potatoes. He had to modify his questions, however, to get understandable replies.

This faces us with fresh information as to how we must approach the effort to induce dreams. First of all we have to exhaust the limits of our conscious research into the question. We should read about it, study it, experiment with it, becoming involved as deeply as possible. If an answer to our problem is not forthcoming from these conscious efforts, then we have to realise that what we seek does not lie in the known areas of our knowledge. With the present information at our disposal, we are not able to arrive at a solution. Most breakthroughs in knowledge or understanding, however, are not explainable with the old facts. So we have to let go of our present conclusions, opinions, concepts and feelings, and admit that these present aspects of ourselves do not appear to hold the solution. Or if they do, we cannot see it. Then we have to sleep on it and watch our dreams.

The result of this might be that:

(a) We have no noticeable response at all.

(b) We have only a partial reply to our question.

(c) We have an amazing dream that reveals the answer.

If there seems to be no response, we have to keep trying, and record any dreams that occur. It might be that the dreams are not properly understood, or else we are more deeply involved in some other issue. If the reply is partial, then further dreams may enlarge upon it. It may be that a total reply would be beyond our present comprehension. This is very noticeable when watching a dream series. As it proceeds, and one has gained understanding of the broad outlines of something being revealed, the dreams begin to portray greater detail, which is understandable in the light of what has been learnt; or else our attitudes and concepts are so fixed in one direction of approach, that we have to be gradually led and introduced to new areas. Then the subject proper can be introduced. In this way, a researcher into the problem of migraine headaches might be directing his experiments along the line of a particular type of chemical, but the dream might hold information dealing with it under a physiological approach. Therefore a change of attitude would have to exist at the very start of gaining what the dream holds in store. We have to be willing to let ourselves be educated by the dream. This can take a long time; but then so does any research, for we need to grow in understanding and ability to the point where we can comprehend and make use of what we are seeking. Leonardo de Vinci designed the helicopter, the submarine and the bicycle chain, but it took technology three hundred years to be able to apply this man’s ‘dreams’.

Some of those whose insight into the hidden process of human life amount to genius, have claimed that intuition is based upon vast experience or education. This education or experience can have been forgotten, or be the result of years long past, or even, as some claim, from past lives. The point is, however, that this knowledge is tapped, not by remembering it, but in receiving a sort of summary of its entire comments in regard to a particular question. As an example, let us say that a doctor examines a young girl, and has an irrational feeling that she has a rare blood condition. He cannot for the life of him think why, but nevertheless sends her for a blood test to check his feelings. Much to his surprise the condition is confirmed. This makes him really sit down to ponder how he knew; and after a great deal of searching he discovers the reason. In college he had read a novel mentioning a strange mark on a man’s body, which turned out to be a symptom of a blood disease. Later, in medical school, he noticed in passing the colour of a person’s eyes with a blood condition. Both incidents were lost to consciousness, but his intuition signals the essence of his knowledge by making him ‘feel’ uneasy about the girl’s condition, and irrationally (i.e. without knowing for what reason) suspect a blood disease.

That is an imaginary example, but there are plenty of real life ones. Seventy years ago, Morgan Robertson wrote a book called Futility. Robertson had been a seaman, and also had an inventive ability, having invented an improved type of periscope. The book he wrote was about a ship named ‘The Titan’. This had a displacement of 70,000 tons, 800 ft long, had triple screw propulsion, speed of 24 to 25 knots, was designed to carry 3,000 people, and had only a few lifeboats. In the book the Titan hit an iceberg in the North Atlantic and went down.

To understand what I mean about intuition, I have only to explain that the ‘Titanic’ had a displacement of 66,000 tons, and was 852.5 ft long. Like the ‘Titan’, it also had triple screw, speed of 24 to 25 knots, carried 3,000 people and had few lifeboats. It too sunk in the North Atlantic after hitting an iceberg.

Heinrich Schliemann not only believed his irrational feelings, he did something about them. The son of a poor German clergyman, he educated himself, worked his way into a monied business; then, at a time when all the world scoffed, he set out to discover the mythical city of Troy. Later, he unearthed one of the richest treasures in the world at the Mycenaean Palace in Greece. All this from believing his inner feelings about the ‘fairy stories’ of Troy and King Midas. Schliemann himself says it was due to a past life in ancient times, and his irrational feelings were memories from that time he could not explain with present facts. Whether we believe this or not, his intuition, from whatever source, proved correct.

The prophesies of H. G. Wells also stand in a similar light. Working from his knowledge of his day, he spoke of such things as an atomic war, aerial fighting craft, armoured tanks, air conditioning, intercontinental air travel and television. In a similar vein, as a great devourer of scientific information, Jules Verne prophesied many of the important scientific discoveries and applications that were to follow. One of the most interesting of these amazing intuitive insights into facts is displayed by Jonathan Swift in Gulliver’s Travels. Written in 1726, the fictional Laputian scientists discover that the Planet Mars has two moons, and one of these travels around the planet twice as fast as the other. It was only in 1877, that Asaph Hall, an American scientist, was able to confirm the truth of this remarkable statement. How Swift came by this information is unknown.

Another interesting case is that of Rafael Scherman. As an infant In the nursery he started collecting envelopes because of the various hand writings displayed on them. From then on his consuming passion was a study and analysis of handwriting. As his knowledge of this subject grew, his ability to determine who wrote a particular sentence became more than just a reasoned conclusion; it became intuitive. Cornelius Tabor, a newspaper man who wrote of Scherman’s work with the police in crime investigation, said, ‘I was introduced to him (Scherman) by Dr E.K. I showed him an envelope addressed by a lady he certainly did not know. He glanced at it briefly and then set to work. He described in minute detail the lady’s appearance, her figure, the colour of her hair, her features and suddenly it seemed that she came to life in front of me – he imitated her manner of speech. He seemed to know everything of her character. He told me her life story as if he had suddenly become a part of her very existence.’ (From – My Occult Diary)

What has all this got to do with dreams? They are simply used as instances of the unusual knowledge, foresight, inventiveness, and powers of insight the human mind can exhibit, especially in its intuitive side. They are but a dewdrop in the sea of examples that could be given, but as long as they bring home one point, they are enough. The point being, that any thoroughgoing dream researcher will never discard ideas presented, just because they do not fit his or her present opinions. We are always enlarging our facts to fit increased human knowledge and experience. Let us not then cast away an idea because it will not fit the smallness of our conceptions, or because it seems ridiculous or irrational. Neither let us believe it without testing it. Once more, the balanced way.

If we approach the dream with an open mind, an involvement in our question, and the willingness to be educated, we are certainly on the right tracks. If we add to this the constant interest and enthusiasm in our subject that men like Rafael Scherman have shown, then we bring to the dream an ever widening sphere of experience and knowledge through which it can express itself.

It has to be pointed out, however, that the past ‘knowledge and experience’ explanation of intuition in dreams and waking does not fully account for it. Scherman’s abilities, for one, do not entirely fit into this. If we read the lives of Andrew Jackson Davis, or Edgar Cayce – Man of MiraclesNeville Spearman, we shall soon see this. A study of their lives does show one interesting fact that furthers our knowledge of dream research. To state it briefly, the question asked, and how it is asked, has enormous influence on the answer received.

This has already been hinted at when mention was made of Dr George Washington Carver and his discoveries. When studying Edgar Cayce’s life, we find that several of the important aspects of his intuitive knowledge were not displayed until someone asked him the right questions. For instance, Cayce eventually began to give personal information on people’s latent capabilities, talents and problems, but this did not begin until a man named Lammers asked him questions on subjects he had not considered before, and so had never bothered to ask himself about.

I once made the experiment of asking a young man of very unphilosophical nature, a series of questions, rather like the Socratic method. Within fifteen minutes, as the questions awoke a realisation of his own experiences, he was talking pure philosophy, but he could not repeat this alone, without the questions.

The issues that arise from this are probably not of importance to the average person interested in dreams, but for the serious investigator they pose a very real problem; for one may have certain information that cannot be elicited because we do not know what questions to ask, or how to ask it. While this may seem of little importance at present, with very little stretch of imagination, a time can be foreseen when the present scientific method will attempt to incorporate the intuitive type of research into its sphere. Then, those found capable of dreaming or intuiting answers, will be as much a part of a research establishment as laboratory workers are today. Therefore, the framing of the question will be a serious undertaking. Basically, it has to elicit a response that remains understandable, but is not bound by preconceptions and already known facts. It must be more in the line of ‘What do I need to know? ‘What is best to consider?’ rather than a too pointed question arising from already held opinions. In this way we may discover that another intelligence other than our conscious self is working within us, and we can make contact. Of this, Shane Miller tells the amusing story of the little boy who took a pole to measure the depth of the pool at the bottom of the garden. Each day he measured it, and each day it seemed to show a different depth. He pondered on this, and one day found the thrilling answer. There is Someone, or Something, at the bottom of the pool, moving the stick up and down. The boy realises he is not alone!

Working along similar lines, Professor James Bonner of the California Institute of Technology tried to analyse scientific creativeness. He questioned a number of researchers and scientists about intuitive knowledge gained in their work. He then set down his findings as follows:

(1) Define the question. This may itself be a creative act, since to recognise a question that has not been asked before may take great creativity.

(2) Stuff with facts. Once the question has been defined the potential scientific creator must have all the information he can get. He may have to do some experiments; he reads the literature, he gets together all the information that he can imagine bears upon the subject.

(3) Wait. The scientist may mull the facts over; he may worry; but in principle what he has to do now is wait.

(4) A solution pops out. Perhaps many solutions pop out. Often solutions emerge when one is half asleep, or perhaps during a day dream.

(5) Assess the solution. The scientist must now ask himself whether his new creative idea is a useful one or not. Is it good or bad? Does it unify everything that is present to be unified?

Getting down to methods, these should now be reasonably clear to understand. Having worked and worried over the problem, having looked to see what other people have said about it, or what other people have done along similar lines, we now approach the bed, but before actually climbing in, it is best to sit awhile, and consciously go over what you have thought, what you plan, what you hope, concerning the question. Cover the doubts, ideas, difficulties. Try to pierce the veil that hides the answer. If it is a personal problem ask ‘What shall I do? What is the best course of action? Or, how should it be approached ?’ If the question relates to work we plan to do, such as starting a business, investing in a venture, or beginning some undertaking; run through the plans, and ask, ‘Have I missed anything? Are there factors I have not considered? Is this for my best interests? Any suggestions?’ Then drop thought of the subject, get into bed, and go to sleep. When you wake, whatever the time if you remember a dream whether it seems like an answer or not, set it down lest it be forgotten. If you wake and cannot remember any dreams, lie quietly for a while, trying to remember as explained earlier, and ‘Good Luck!’

Copyright © 1999-2010 Tony Crisp | All rights reserved