Dream Incubation Instructions
Guest Contributor

11 June 2016

From The Committee of Sleep by Deirdre Barrett

Psychologists have developed incubation rituals to encourage problem-solving dreams. These usually target interpersonal and emotional problems, but they are also relevant to objective creative tasks. Incubation instructions usually include:

1) Write down the problem as a brief phrase of sentence and place this by the bed.

2) Review the problem for a few minutes just before going to bed.

3) Once in bed, visualize the problem as concrete image if it lends itself to this.

4) Tell yourself you want to dream about the problem just as you are drifting off to sleep.

5) Keeping a pen and paper--perhaps also a flashlight or pen with a lit tip--on the night table.

6) Upon awakening, lie quietly before getting out of bed.  Note whether there is any trace of a recalled dream and invite more of the dream to return if possible.  Write it down.

Sometimes the incubation also involves:

7) At bedtime, visualize yourself dreaming about the problem, awakening, and writing on the bedside note pad.

8) Arrange objects connected to the problem on the night table or on the wall across from bed if they lend themselves to a poster.

Comments (4)

Gary M Washburn's picture

Gary M Washburn

Monday, June 13, 2016 -- 5:00 PM

Poppycock! Thirty years ago I

Poppycock! Thirty years ago I was deeply into Tolkien and would lull myself to sleep imagining oceans of Orcs falling before my sword. Or hitting ball after ball over the Green Monster at Fenway Park. But never once did II subsequently dream of Orcs of of batting homers. Nor did I get any better at either. The most pertinent repetitive theme in my dreams is the inability to retrieve previous images or places. Dreams are not tethered to antecedence, they are pure fabrication of the moment unrelated to what went previous. That is the whole point of them. The dream, or apparition, is the middle term between reason and perception, or what Husserl called "apperception".

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