Creative Thinking With...


Dream Incubation

Incubating creative ideas through your dreams stimulates extraordinary thinking, creativity, innovation and breakthrough idea generation

Dream incubation is a creative thinking technique that uses your dreams to come up with creative breakthroughs. Basically you set the scene for your inner dreaming mind to do your creative thinking for you. This is really neat if you can summon enough discipline at the end of the day and first thing in the morning to do what you need to do to incubate dreams. It only takes a few minutes but like anything you are not used to, it's going to be awkward at first.

Dream incubation has been used for hundreds if not thousands of years. The dreaming mind is free of all the hang-ups and creativity blockers that are often present in the waking conscious mind. You are free when asleep and dreaming to utilise the full resources of your mind's creative abilities. In historical times, creative dreams have been thought of as visions, messages from the gods or the whispers of guardian angels. It makes sense that people in those days would look upon an extraordinary idea or insight as coming not from themselves but from some outer spiritual agency. Today, we have a far better understanding of the mind's ability to absorb information subconsciously, possibly share information at the unconscious mind level, and certainly to think on many more 'channels' than just the conscious one that we are mostly aware of.

Dream incubation requires that you become more comfortable and aware of the dreaming process. You need to adjust your thinking to give dreams more importance in your life. If you are a movie lover, as most people are, you can simply think of your dreams as your own private movies - mini adventures, romances and dramas that only you will get to see. At the very least, these are stories that are highly relevant to your life and are worthy of your attention.

So before you even begin dream incubation, it is worth while thinking about your dreams. Expect to have dreams when you go to sleep at night. If you are one of those people who say, "Aw, I never have dreams...", you better stop saying that. You DO have dreams -- 4 or 5 a night at least. You just aren't remembering them, and that little statement is just giving your brain the message to forget them. It's like you are telling your brain: 'Your messages to me aren't important to me, so stop making me aware of them'. You need to change that.

Get yourself a notebook and pen to keep beside your bed. You may want a little torch too for those times when you wake up in the night and don't want to turn on a bedside light for fear of waking your partner. And basically write down your dreams first thing after waking up. To start with you will probably only recall a few scratchy facts about your dream. But as you persist, your brain gets the message that this is IMPORTANT TO YOU and that you WANT MORE DETAIL and sure enough, you will begin remembering more. Within a few days, the few details will expand into a rich tapestry of dream story. This is and of itself will increase your creativity and improve your creative thinking abilities in daily life. But dream incubation takes it to a whole different level.

Incubating dreams sets your mind to work, while you sleep, on creative challenges and problems. Dream incubation deliberately focusses your mind before you go to sleep on a specfic creative task. You should know that your 24 hour mind is constantly working throughout your life. And there is nothing it loves more than a specific task, mission or purpose. Like all of us, the mind is happiest when purpose driven. The old saying, an idle mind is the devil's workshop, points to the fact that without purpose and a specfic occupation the creative mind tends to get creative in other areas -- sexual fantasies, emotional dramas, self-defeating beliefs etc! So you are far better off harnessing your creative mind and giving it something to do. It's like a child, it wants to please you and be loved by you. It's like a big happy dog, it just wants you to play with it, throw it a stick or tell it to go fetch.

The process of dream incubation then is a simple one. First of all, you need to decide what it is you want to utilise the creative thinking abilities of your dreaming mind upon. This can be anything from a business problem or challenge, to the need for a resolution to some personal family crisis. You can use it help you understand yourself, your relationships and your level of success in the world. You can use dream incubation to come up with ideas for novels, screenplays, music, artwork or any other creative artistic endeavours. You can use dream incubation to help you with scientific explorations or engineering challenges or to invent some new gadget, machine or process. There really is no limit to what you can use dream incubation for.

Whatever you decide upon, I'll presume that you have already given it a good deal of conscious thought and study. The more information the mind has, the more threads it can draw upon to weave together the new idea(s). In many historical instances of creative breakthroughs made in dreams, the person had already exhausted him or herself exploring the challenge or problem from every angle. So, incubating your dreams will be easier if you have already given this subject much thought and attention -- for all the conscious level attention will have been noted by and aided by deep unconscious thought about it too.

Before you go to sleep, write in your journal or deam notebook a few lines that summon up your feelings about the challenge and summarise it accurately. Once you've done this, try and further summarise it into one statement or question that you can then repeat over and over as you are falling asleep. This dream trigger statement is one of the most fundamental keys to effective dream incubation.

To give you an example. Perhaps you have a small one person business and you want to find a unique way to drum up more business. You might have tried all the standard ways of marketing your business with limited success. You want a stand-out idea that will really get your little business rocking. You simplify this down to something like: How do I get more and better clients?

You write this down before turning out the light. And then you lie down, close your eyes and drift off to sleep while repeating to yourself over and over, "How do I get more and better clients? How do I get more and better clients?" If you find your mind wanders, just return it to your dream trigger phrase and keep repeating it until you fall asleep.

When you wake up in the morning, immediately grab your dream notebook and begin to write down everything you remember -- whatever you remember. It is essential that you DON'T JUDGE YOUR DREAMS at this point. This is coming out to you in the language of metaphors and you probably won't see how it relates straight away. Some times you do just wake up with the answer in your mind. The dreams just freed you to think with great creativity and its just handed to you upon waking. Sometimes you have to interpret your dream according to your own intuition, understanding and creativity. Sometimes the dream may point to something that is either the answer, the road to the answer of that which is blocking the answer.

Dream incubation though rests on the premise that you get those dreams captured in words, written down to examine at leisure. Now that you've done that you can get up, use the toilet, brush your teeth, get a coffee of whetever it is you normally do when you get up.

Perhaps then, over breakfast, you can read over the dreams and look for clues in them to your creative challenge. The metaphorical nature of dreams means that the things in your dream are often alluding to your problem. Your mind is saying such and such an aspect of your creative problem is LIKE this and it shows a particular thing in the dream as representing it. So your difficulty getting more clients for your small business, might be represented in your dream by a brick wall, thick mud, or a person who keeps getting in your way. It could be anything -- only you will know what the things and people in your dreams represent. It's different for everyone and it can change, so just let your intuition speak to you and trust it.

Dream incubation is a marvellous tool in your creative thinking toolkit. Get over your initial resistance and persist with it long enough to reap the immense creative rewards that creative dream incubation can deliver to you. Your phenomenal creative mind is waiting like an immense computer. You just need to switch it on with dream incubation.

Resources: Dream Incubation

LUCID DREAMING: For the ultimate in dream incubation, how about doing your creative thinking WHILE DREAMING. Click the banner below to learn how to do Lucid Dreaming, control your dreams and create the most extraordinary adventures in creative thinking that you could ever imagine. Lucid dreaming is EXHILARATING and you must try it. Think of the thrill of orgasm, multiply it with those moments of intensity, beauty, bliss and inspiration that you've had in your life -- and THAT is how you will feel during and after Lucid Dreaming. 

THE DREAM EXPERT: I recommend the books and tapes of Dr Gayle Delaney who is the real expert in dream incubation as a way of accessing your creative genius. I am currently enjoying her Nightingale Conant audio series, Your Sleeping Genius. You can see her website here:

HARVESTING DREAMLAND: Craig Webb's articles on the uses that you can put dream incubation too, together with a dream incubation experiment instruction page and feedback form.

INCUBATING DREAMS ARTICLES: A selection of articles on incubating your dreams, covering such things as how to evoke specific dreams, how to control your dream, spiritual dreams and other more exotic themes on dream incubation.

HOW DREAMS WORK: An excellent article by HowStuffWorks that explains dream incubation and gives examples of famous people who have incubated dreams, or used dreams as a source of creativity, or actively harvested their dreams for 'non-conscious' creative thinking.

INCUBATING DREAMS SOLVES PROBLEMS: Another excellent article on using deliberate incubation of dreams to solve your problems. Plus there's a rather striking cock you might want to look at! (The fowl kind!)

ART OF DREAMING BLOG: This looks like a great resource for dreamers. You can read the comments to see how others have got on with the instructions for incubating dreams.

A brief description of dream incubation with links to dream software:

HISTORY OF DREAMS: A history of dreaming from ancient egypt to modern day.

INCUBATION TECHNIQUES: How to dream to the Target. Neat, specific, interesting to read.

DREAM CONTROL: Learning to control your dreams. A good resource for lucid dreaming -- which is an incredibly ripe area for exploration in creative thinking.