Tag Archives: sharing dreams

Reclining Buddha

“Predictions for 2014?” Look to your Dreams!

“Predictions for 2014? Look to your Dreams!

Tabloid headlines offer this time of year “startling” predictions of what the stock market will do, which world leaders will change, sports outcomes, or even disaster prediction. Some of these are fabricated cookbook style using actuarial data (like the way insurance companies figure rates.) Yet on a less startling scale, many people use dreams as rehearsal for real or imagined life situation, use dreams to solve problems, or dream of events in pre-cognitive fashion.Sometimes this occurs on a large scale. Charlotte Beradt wrote a compelling narrative through interviews of pre-holocaust Germany called The Third Reich of Dreams: Nightmares of a Nation. In it, she describes the way in which the Nazi clampdown on open communication and the threat of secret police affected the dreamscape. Similarly, Carl Jung recounted a dream of a blood drenched Europe before World War I. However, many apparently prescient dreams are not so ominous.

In a recent dreamgroup, a client shared a dream that came true, at least in part, the day afterward. When I checked in with her yesterday, a couple of weeks after the initial report, she said she recalled having that dream but could not remember anything about it now. “It happens pretty frequently, at least two or three times a year.” It is no longer remarkable to her. In most larger dream lectures or groups I have done, say, fifteen or more people, someone invariably has a story about a family member that has seemingly clairvoyant dreams of deaths in the family. But instead of recounting the documented instances of possible ESP related to dreams, the post will examine more subtle sleep phenomena: Finding answers in the dreamtime.

Sleep on It ~ Solving Problems sans Conscious Awareness

Have you ever tried rally hard to remember a name during a conversation with someone else? Then later, while driving home, or maybe in the shower the next day, it comes to you unannounced? You weren’t even thinking of conjuring up the name of the person, or that restaurant you like, or the book you read last. month. Dreams work that way. Recovery works that way too. Sometimes they come together. A few examples:

In his book, Teach Yourself to Dream, Michael Fontana suggests that asking the unconscious mind for help is as simple as “holding in your mind the problem before going to sleep, feeling relaxed and confident in the knowledge you have no need to worry about the solution during the night.”

An acquaintance of mine related to me on the patio of his Wyoming homelast fall a dream from his undergraduate days. He added that it was still fresh and memorable although nearly forty years have passed and that he has since relied on sleep in this way:

I solve a lot of problems while I sleep and have done so for all my adult life. My dreams are vivid and often allegorical and I enjoy interpreting the ones I remember – they provide a rudder for the way I make big league decision. Occasionally, my dreams still solve empirical problems and that’s rewarding. Most times, the solutions are correct or lead me to a similar solution that’s right.

Night School: An Example of Problem Solving in Sleep

I asked him to write down and send me his dream from long ago, and he sent me this synopsis:

I had signed up for an advanced class that was an elective for geology majors. It was a challenging course titled ‘Optical Mineralogy’ and was offered by my mentor once in a while. I felt privileged to be one of the five students admitted. All the things I’d learned from earlier courses in geology and chemistry were called into play to meet the requirements of the course.

Stereopic Micrscope
Stereopic Micrscope

[For the Final Exam, the] professor provided us with eight vials containing unknown minerals that had been ground to dust-sized particles. Our task was to write the names of any five of the eight samples on a piece of paper. We had a week to do so. I probably spent 40 hours in the microscope lab that week. The evening before our results were due, I’d nailed down the names of four of the samples. I stayed in the lab until the early hours of the next morning trying to figure out why one of the unknown minerals exhibited conflicting characteristics when viewed in different ways.

I went back to our apartment and crashed for a couple of hours. When I woke up, I realized that I’d dreamed the answer of why  the characteristics conflicted. My dream told me that the crystal lattice of the mineral had been subjected to enough heat and pressure to change its physical structure  in subtle ways – that It had been distorted by metamorphic processes. I also knew the name of the mineral. It was a garnet.

Garnet (Virginia)
Garnet (Virginia)

I immediately went to the lab and confirmed what I had learned in my dream. I turned in my answers to the exam in the morning and was delighted when our grades were posted and I found that I’d named all five of the minerals I’d selected correctly. The professor later told me I was the only student to submit a name for the garnet sample.   – Bob J.

Bob’s story may be somewhat more complex than remembering the name all seven dwarfs or the fifth Spice Girl, or the spice your Aunt Dot used in that summer salad last year, but the process is equally simple. Bob relaxed, and while not thinking directly about the challenge, his answer came. All the work Bob had done gave him the information he needed, yet during sleep there was a refiling and reordering of the information that made his knowledge relevant and useful.

Reclining Buddha
Reclining Buddha

Application to recovery from Alcohol /Drugs, Trauma, or Process Addictions:

Recovering persons sometimes hear informal suggestions like “Don’t try to tackle your whole life problem at once,” or “Pause when agitated” so that the right answers can come. Intuition can become automatic and reliable. Psychologically speaking, the beauty of answers presented in the dreamtime is that they do not come from the Ego, the controlling part of self. It is that part that rationalizes, justifies, and defends what turns out to be poor decisions or unhelpful approaches to solving problems – more concerned with being perceived as right than actually getting things right. In years of hearing other people’s dreams, and working with my own, I have come to believe that dreams offer us the chance to get unstuck from what our waking minds think that they know. So you don’t have to be clairvoyant, just attentive. The best part is, you can relax and sleep while working on major life decisions!


MSoyer Reclining Woman

“I had a Dream about You Last Night!” When to Share, or not to Share . . .

“I had a Dream about You Last Night!” To Share, or not to Share?

Some people would avoid this statement, which sounds like the worst of pick-up lines! Truth is, many times it is inappropriate, ill-advised, or just plain wrong to share this information with someone. Yet at other times, bringing forward this information clarifies the dream and benefits both the dreamer and the be-dreamed. Let’s take up the “Don’ts” before we take up the “Do Shares.”

MSoyer Reclining Woman

Don’t # 1: Don’t pollute the workplace with an inappropriate share! watercooler1

Perhaps your dream was about a subordinate or about a superior. It may even have been a peer, often less dangerous. But when there is a power imbalance, even the best-intentioned sharing of a dream can suggest something on the waking plane that comes to the attention of employment law violations. Sexual content with a superior might suggest, rightly or wrongly, a desire for preferential treatment. A boss who hears a dream with romantic or even non-romantic overtones may question the subordinate’s motives in sharing the dream at best and might suspect gold-digging at worst. Or an unscrupulous boss might think of a way to exploit the dream Sharing with a subordinate might make that person wonder why he or she was the object in a dream, and may result in suspicion or guardedness. Even sharing with a peer, if overtly suggestive or even ambiguous, can create a “hostile work environment” if it is unwelcome.

Don’t # 2: Don’t share dream content that might embarrass the character of the dream.

Actually, I hear this sometimes in the dream group where residents share community. Since they are in a therapeutic process together, this can sometimes come off OK, and sometimes not. The rule, as with most other forms of humor or insight, is that people appreciate when a speaker engages in self-deprecating humor or shares their own corrective epiphany more than humor at the expense of others or hanging out someone else to dry for their behavior. So it is more okay to say “you were in my dream and I did a silly thing,” than it is to say, “you did something silly in my dream last night.” This is just a common sense form of social grace, perhaps, but it is a norm violated with enough frequency that it bears mentioning.

Don’t # 3: Don’t share a dream about a person in front of a group of people.

Even a harmless dream can put someone on the spot if it occurs in front of the water cooler. The object of the dreamer may feel a need to perform, laugh off the dream, and may be more concerned about what others are thinking in the moment. If they were told the dream one on one, then they may have a different, and perhaps less guarded reaction.

Enough restrictions. Now for what to DO. Sharing a dream with a person you dreamed about can deepen the dream experience in a meaningful way. Also, if acknowledges that maybe the dream represents some common meaning or task that you and the person in your dream share. So if your motives are sound, and if the situation falls in one of the following categories, reach out to the person involved, and share the dream as long as if feels safe for all and appropriate in timing.

Do share the Dream # 1: Your Spouse or Partner Appears with you in the Dream

Less so in our contemporary culture, but in many settings the sharing of dreams around the breakfast table has been an accepted and honored occurrence. And if you do not absolutly have to know the traffic report, the weather, or who was on the red carpet last night, dream sharing with your spouse or partner is a person-centered and loving way to start the day whether they joined you in the dream or not. Listening to your partner’s dream is also an act of love regardless of your presence or absence as dramatis personae.

Do share the Dream # 2: The Neglected (or Negligent) Friend

How often do I have a dream of someone that was once a more important part of my life than Kleeat this time! My college roommate recently sent me a Holiday card featuring his marriage of six months ago – of which I was unaware. He inhabits my dreams a lot, and what an opportunity that presents to reach out. After all, he and I spoke of sharing a Personal Mythology years before David Feinstein and Stanley Krippner wrote of one. So when one of us appears in the dream of the other, he and I are more likely to be able to help each other in working out the imagery of the dream than one of us might be independent of aid from the other. In fact, a dream about Mark called “Sanctuary” about 20 years ago has been the basis of many recurring dreams I have had dealing with growth and the quest for learning. So the friend can help with the dream, and the dream can help with the friend – by giving you both an entree for reaching out and talking about life, what is happening now, and the fact you miss one another.

Do share the Dream # 3: When Someone’s Health may be an Issue

OK, we have many more dreams that something bad is happening to someone we like and love than actually occurs in real life. I have a dream a relative is dying, has cancer, or is in someway weakened or debilitating. That does not give me clearance to call them up and vomit my morbid fears on them. But maybe it does suggest I call and start a conversation. I do not even have to bring up the dream, unless spontaneity suggests candor is appropriate. In reaching out, the friend may have something to tell me. Maybe my call or visit is an opportunity for that friend to share something on their mind – about me or not, about their health or not. More than 9 times out of ten I do not bring up the dream. But in nearly every case, I appreciate the dream has encouraged me to reach out. It is the connection that counts, and dreams perpetually remind me the subtle, amazing, and sometimes dramatic ways in which we are all connected. For that, I am today truly grateful!

Ao this is a partial list – feel free to post your own “Do’s and Don’ts” in the “Dream Loves a Dream” comment section!