According to sleep research, almost all of us dream almost every night, but most of us have no idea what our dreams might mean, or how we might use our nightly experiences to our practical advantage. In ancient times, dreams were considered a direct link to higher insight and spiritual guidance. In our contemporary world, dreams continue to puzzle, confound, excite, illuminate, and otherwise stir up our waking thoughts and emotions. But, can they also be tapped into for specific insights?
I'd like to share with you a special approach to 'insight dreaming' inspired by a wonderful woman, Ruth Refakes, who is now 93 and still teaching this method. Based solidly on the psychological functioning of the brain, this method can empower all of us to tap predictably into higher wisdom and solutions.
When she was around 40, Ruth was a successful businesswoman in Chicago's financial district. One night she had a dream that illuminated her life situation with a flash of insight that had eluded her rational mind entirely. From then on, she began to actively study all the various approaches to dream interpretation, discovering a very simple process for tapping the whole-brain function of the intuitive mind on a regular basis.
Ruth's approach to dreaming does not require you to believe any religious or esoteric doctrine; you don't have to buy into a psychoanalytic interpretation school, nor do you have to go to anyone else to get answers and guidance from your dreams.
Ruth insists that only the dreamer knows the true meaning of his or her dreams.
In a nutshell, here's her 'insight dreaming' method - experiment for the next few nights and see if it works for you:
CHOOSE YOUR ISSUE: Before sleeping, pause and tune into your breathing and the feelings in your heart. Then spend a few moments reflecting on the challenges, confusions, difficulties or conflicts that you're carrying to sleep with you. Choose one issue that you'd like to wake up the next morning with answers to.
STATE YOUR INTENT: Now just before falling asleep, say to yourself and perhaps write down the following sentence several times, filling in the last part with your own issue:
"I want to have a dream that helps me ................................... "
Perhaps you say, "I want to have a dream that helps me know what to do next in my business."
Perhaps you say, "I want to have a dream that helps me be more successful in my relationship."
Or maybe you say, "I want to have a dream that helps me become more healthy (or stronger; or more successful, etc).
Sometimes you might say something like, "I want to have a dream that guides me in making the right decision."
Each night, by clarifying what's most important to receive insight and wisdom and guidance into resolving, you'll:
a) Understand your life situation more clearly;
b) Aim your intent toward resolving that situation;
c) Let go of worries and fall asleep with positive intent.
WAKE UP AND REMEMBER: The next step is to remember when you wake up, to pause and remember the dream that stands out most in your mind. Just relive the dream without trying to 'do' anything with it.
1. Tune into the overall feeling you woke up with in the morning; experience the emotions associated with the dream experience.
2. Relive the flow of images and events in the dream.
3. See clearly in your mind 'what' and 'who' is in the dream.
4. Be open to flashes of insight that might come, while you are immersed in remembering the images and drama of dream.
REFLECT AND RECEIVE: Now take a moment to tune into your breathing experience (this shifts you into insight mode) and then ask yourself the following questions:
A. Bring to mind the sentence you came up with the night before - what were you asking your deeper self for help with?
B. While staying aware of your breathing and your inner feelings, see what thoughts, ideas, images, associations, symbols and insights come to mind during the next few minutes.
C. As you go about your day, pause now and then to reflect again upon your dream. Stay open to that flash of insight generated by the dream experience. Sometimes the flash doesn't come for several days, so keep tuned in!
Ruth's 'insight dreaming' process is powerful because it's based on how our minds work psychologically, and because it's simple enough that you can practice it nightly:
a) Identify your core issue that you seek insight into.
b) Program your mind to dream about answers to that issue.
c) Wake up and relive the dream that came to you.
d) Reflect upon the dream using association and insight.
e) Stay open to receive flashes of insight when they come.
If you'd like further guidance in this process, Ruth has a very effective DVD PROGRAM called "Insight Dreaming" available at Amazon.com. It will guide you effortlessly through the process each night and morning, explain her approach to dream symbolism, and help you fall asleep at night. Enjoy!