What happens when some 50 dreamers convene on a rainy Saturday in New England?
Among other things they are treated to a dream-inspired Cantata, they share dreams, synchronicities and dream analysis, learn how Jewish mysticism and dreams can work together, and how to use dream incubation to gain creative inspiration.
Those were just a few of the highlights from the “The Creative Power of Dreams: The New England Regional Conference offered by the International Association for the Study of Dreams (IASD)” on May 25th at Regis College in Weston, Massachusetts.
I was among 11 presenters at the day-long conference, along with Harvard’s Deirdre Barrett, PhD, the author of The Committee of Sleep, Dr. Curtiss Hoffman, a professor of Anthropology at Bridgewater State University (who dreamed up the above-mentioned Cantata), and Dr. Ernest Hartmann, a professor of Psychiatry at Tufts University School of Medicine.
Since “Creativity and Dreams” was the theme of the day we learned of many instances where famous discoveries or works of art and architecture were aided by a dream. Works of literature from Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde to Steven King’s “Salem’s Lot” were dream-inspired, as have been numerous scientific discoveries and mathematical formulas.
So what should you do if you want to incubate the solution to a vexing problem, or to help you with a creative dilemma of any sort?
Here are some tips (as summarized from a lecture by Deirdre Barrett, PhD):
- Write down your question or problem.
- Review your question or problem a few minutes before going to bed.
- Once you get into bed, visualize the problem.
- Tell yourself you want to dream about the problem as you are drifting into sleep.
- Keep a pen and paper by your bed, so you are ready to record any dreams that you have.
- On waking, lie in bed quietly for several minutes before getting up to allow your dreams to come to mind.
- Write down your dreams.
You can also try visualizing yourself dreaming about the problem, waking, and writing your dreams down. Another way to help bring about results is to arrange objects representing the problem or question beside your bed.
If you are feeling badly about missing this conference, don’t despair. The International Association for the Study of Dreams‘ annual conference is coming up in June in Virginia Beach. I’ll be there (and I’ll be presenting a workshop about dream poetry!) … I hope you’ll join us. Click here for details.
Wishing you happy and creative dreaming!
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