Monday, August 16, 2010

Leveraging Your Dreams For Creative Inspiration

This year I've read a couple books that talk about dreams and the unconscious mind.  The first I read was "The Undiscovered Self" by Carl Jung.  In the book it mentions that Jung was a follower, believer of Sigmund Freud's studies around the unconscious and that early on they were friends.  Apparently Sigmund didn't take too kindly to those to studied his work closely and then started to have their own opinions that may vary or move in a different direction than his original ideas.  Jung and Freud parted ways around 1912. The Jung book peaked an interest in me to find out more about Freud and his ideas.  What I found was a man that wasn't afraid to dive inwards and analyze himself to the fullest extent possible so that human kind might understand and benefit from the information shared. I'm finding that much of the information that he shared has either been built upon and understood more fully or cast as having flaws and pushed aside.

One of the areas that I found very interesting is that Freud would analyze his own dreams.

From Wikipedia: "Freud called dreams the "royal road to the unconscious". This meant that dreams illustrate the "logic" of the unconscious mind. Freud developed his first topology of the psyche in The Interpretation of Dreams (1899) in which he proposed that the unconscious exists and described a method for gaining access to it. The preconscious was described as a layer between conscious and unconscious thought; its contents could be accessed with a little effort."

I've been using a method to capture my dream content over the past several months.  If I have a vivid dream and I awake, I instantly reach for the computer / my handheld phone and type as much about the dream and the surrounding as I possibly can remember.  The more detail the better as when I read it the next time, I'll be able to get myself back to that dream and the memories in it, while I'm in my conscious state.  I can replay the dream and either analyze it, or just use the content for inspirational purposes.

One dream that I had back in April is the inspiration for a new fiction novel I am writing called "Hurt".

I've also written several songs with lyrics based on the content of my captured dreams.

In years past, I would have a dream, awake and then fall right back to sleep and when I tried to remember the content in the morning it was near impossible.  I've had much better results with the method I am now using and I am finding much more inspiration from the content than I ever thought that I would.

If you want to give this a try, put a pad of paper and a pencil or pen by your bed this evening.  When you awake through the night, jot down ideas that are in your head.  Just let your mind go free, don't censor the ideas, just write... most times I have trouble keeping up with my thoughts and getting all of them down on paper, but do the best you can... and then fall back asleep not even thinking about what you wrote.  The next morning, read over what you wrote, but don't judge or look for deeper meaning, there is plenty of time for that later.

I try to come back to my night writings three to seven days after and look at them in a more critical and constructive way.  What was going on at the time of the dream?  Was I under stress?  Was I in a positive or negative mood?  This is usually the time I'll look for a story in the night writings and I'll look for how to use my conscious imagination to fill in the blanks and come up with something to create or put into action.

I've learned much more about myself since I've been capturing these dreams.  Maybe you'll learn something about yourself that you didn't know.

Until next time, sweet dreams.  :)

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