How to Dream Up a Solution

Things Could Be Looking Up With The Help of a Dream.

Handing a problem over to your dreams is referred to as ‘dream incubation,’ and it’s one of the oldest and easiest ways to put your dreams to work in your life.

It’s incredible how many ideas and breakthroughs have been inspired by dreams.  Some of history’s biggies include the theory of relativity, the molecular structure of benzene, the periodic table, and the sewing machine. And when it comes to art, the list is immense.  Countless paintings, movies and songs came to be via a dream.

The great novelist John Steinbeck was quoted as saying,”It is a common experience that a problem difficult at night is resolved in the morning after the committee of sleep has worked on it.”   That’s a pretty great way to sum up the whole idea behind dream incubation.  

Dreams are a rich source of inspiration available to all — not only the inventors, scientists and artists among us.  Each of us can gain insights through our dreams.  Dream incubation even helped me get promoted! 

It was one of my first (and favorite) experiences with dream incubation, way back in ‘96 while I was an Advertising Sales Rep at the local newspaper.  My manager had just given her notice and I knew immediately that I wanted that job.  As soon as the position posted, I announced my interest and applied.

Thing was, I had no management experience and was the youngest sales rep in the department.  And it sure didn’t help that I’d struggled with some of the questions during my interview with the Advertising VP.  When several weeks passed, and outside candidates started coming in to interview, my hopes were dashed. 

I believed in my heart the job should be mine, and I hated the idea of giving up on the dream.  So, I decided to incubate another kind of dream.  I decided to “sleep on it.”

I wrote in my journal about my desire and disappointment regarding the job, then asked my dreams to provide some advice.  As I drifted off to sleep, I believed I’d have an answer in the morning…

I dreamed a cartoon scene of some cute little cars at a standstill on a roadway.  There was a car stopped in front, holding things up.  The driver stuck behind wanted to get ahead.  My focus zoomed in on that driver, who decided to slam on the gas and push through — bumper-car-style.

When I woke in the morning and wrote my dream down, I knew in my heart that it held the answer.  My dream inspired me —  I was gonna push my way through and not be held back!

I felt fueled with hope and courage that morning and headed to the office bright and early (before I could lose my nerve).  Once there, I walked straight to the VP’s office and inquired about the job.  He invited me to sit and we proceeded to have a pleasant exchange, but I could sense he wasn’t seriously considering promoting me.

In the back of my mind was my bumper-car dream, egging me on.  I knew I needed to push, so I began expressing myself more adamantly.

I was urging him to see my point of view about why I’d be great in the role, when suddenly I became aware that my fists were actually hitting down on his desk in emphasis.

What am I nuts?”  said my inner voice, as my outer self made a determined plea.

I noticed the VP’s eyes widen (probably in astonishment over my emboldened demeanor), and then something shifted.  He began asking some thoughtful questions about why I wanted the job and how I would handle it.  He then ended the conversation by agreeing to keep me in the consideration.  I left his office feeling very unsure about how it’d gone.

Later that day, I got summoned to the senior manager’s office, where I found the VP had joined him.  “We’d like you to meet with the President tomorrow,” he said.  “He’ll be interviewing you for the manager job.”

I stood there stunned for a moment, a bit shocked at what was happening.  Then a sense of excitement filled my being.  I was moving to the next interview in the process, thanks to my little bumper car dream.

Everything had changed — literally overnight — because I’d let myself become inspired.  Having faith in the power of dreams, I took the advice I believed mine offered.  And it just so happened to be the route to success.  By week’s end, the job was mine!

If you’re thinking this wouldn’t work for you, don’t be so sure.

Studies illustrate that it’s a rather common ability to dream up solutions.

In one such study at Harvard Medical School, Dr. Deirdre Barrett had students focus on a problem of personal relevance before sleep each night for a week.  Of 76 participants, nearly half had a dream related to their problem and 70% of these believed the dream contained a solution.  The researcher concluded that people are capable of dreaming up novel solutions that are both personally satisfying and reasonable to an outside observer.

It’s exciting the wealth of ideas dreams supply.  If your stuck on a problem, give dreaming a try.

HOW TO INCUBATE DREAMS  — Easy as 1-2-3

STEP #1 – SIMPLY ASK.

Your dreams are natural problem solvers, already working on finding solutions to your daily concerns.  With a bit of persuasion, you can get them to zero in on your topic of choice.  Success will be greatest on those matters that you’re feeling rather passionate or emotional about, since dreams naturally tend to go where your emotions flow.

Before sleep, spend a few minutes writing about your concern or desire and what’s on your mind about it.  Then formulate a request for your dreams, such as bringing to light an insight, inspiration or idea.

STEP #2 – BELIEVE IN YOUR DREAMS.

Dream incubation isn’t just a silly wish.  Research shows that our dreams are related to our waking lives and are, in-fact, sorting and solving while we sleep.  When you pay attention to your dreams, you’re connecting to your higher self and to a breadth of understanding that your waking conscious could never know.  

Have faith in the power of your dreams and trust that you’ll be delivered an answer by morning.  There’s just no denying what a powerful secret sauce a dose of belief can be.  Once you’ve asked your dreams for assistance, consider it their issue for the night.  Your only job now is to relax and sleep.

STEP #3 – CAPTURE & CONSIDER YOUR DREAMS.

Intend to remember your dreams in the morning and to write them down upon waking.  Even if you don’t immediately see the correlation, write it down.

Sometimes you’ll get one of those immediate aha’s and just know you have your answer, whereas other times you’ll need to take a closer look.  Brainstorm rules apply here… don’t go judging any dream until you’ve really explored it’s idea.  And you do that by considering the dream in relation to the concern and your request.

Bear in mind, your dreams will often use metaphors, analogies and puns when playing around with an issue or idea.  Take my bumper car dream, for example.  I was asking my dreams to help me toward getting a promotion.  At glance, my dream was unrelated in any way.  But through the lens of my request, I could see that I was the driver who couldn’t move ahead and that the solution was to push my way through.

Always use your own gut and final judgement regarding the solution you believe you’ve received.  If you feel good about it, then go for it!  If you don’t, then give incubating a dream another try.

REPEAT, as needed, for several days.

That’s all there is to it.  Follow these easy steps and you’ll be incubating dreams like the greats.

Whether you’re looking for a creative idea or an all-out solution, I encourage you to give dream incubation a try.  You’re gonna be amazed at what you can do in your sleep!

Let’s get dreaming,

Leah

What about you?  Have you given dream incubation a try?  Ever get the solution you needed through a dream?  I’d love to hear from you!  Please use the comments section below to share your dream incubation experience.

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