Dream Exploration: Lucid Dreams and Creative Problem Solving
An awarenow guide Kathy Hadizadeh got inspired by the recent awarenow event on Dream Exploration: Lucid Dreams and Creative Problem Solving in San Francisco and decided to share insights with you.
As told by Kathy Hadizadeh:
The presenters who both had affiliations with National Society of Dream Research: Dr. Stanley Kripper and Dr. Fariba Bogzaran explored this topic together.
The subject of dreaming has a personal value to me. While I was recovering from a Post Concussion Syndrome, one of the areas impacting me was my sleep. I would not have dreams, or I would wake in the middle of the night, unable to fall back asleep for hours. We did a sleep study with my neurologist at the time, but no actionable results came out. In this post, I will focus on what I learned in this presentation and will also share my findings.
Dr. Kripper shared a process of incubating a creative idea. Incubation process is more of a straightforward process.
It is even amazing how one can increase their productivity by focusing on harnessing the power of dreams.
According to Dr. Kripper, the process would encompass four aspects of creativity: Person, Place, Process, and Product.
Consequently, to get started, you need a power object, for example, a painting or a cristal as a symbol of creativity by the bed to remind you of your intention. You need to tell yourself what is it that you need help with or you need to solve.
Discipline in building a routine goes a long way in this process
Next, you need to be very clear about what product you want to create. Is it a new idea for a book? A new song? Or your goal is to release a writer’s block?
You are the dreamer to be involved in initiating and following through the incubation process.
After clearly knowing all your Ps, you would set your intention very clearly every night. You may even create a mantra for yourself.
As an example, you need to state your intention: Tonight, I am going to have a dream about an idea to write about, and I will remember it when I wake up. It sounds simple, right? However, many of us do not remember our dreams when we wake up! And maybe we remember but we are inclined to check our phones when we open our eyes, and then we forget all about our dream and exploring the message from it.
Here’s Dr. Stanley’s favorite practice:
So, discipline, determination, and purpose all play a significant role.
Interestingly, Dr. Bogzaran in her section focused on how we can get the most out of this process by understanding our dream cycle and have more control over it. The entrance into sleep is Hypnagogia. (hypnagogia: from the Greek Hypnos ‘sleep’ + agōgos ‘leading,’ or, leading to sleep).This is the state we want to focus on for lucid dreaming. This state can happen in different ways: Some people can quickly initiate their sleep process by reading a boring book.
However, the key is to remain in a seated position and not to lie down. The other essential element is not to be super tired. Be a bit tired of being able to control your sleepiness. This way, you can enter the REM and sleep cycle, but you can catch yourself before you fall asleep totally.
During sleep, the brain moves through five different stages; one of these stages is rapid eye movement (REM) sleep. During this phase, eyes move rapidly in various directions. The other four phases are referred to as non-REM (NREM) sleep.
People enter REM sleep within the first 90 minutes of falling asleep and, as the sleep cycle repeats throughout the night, REM sleep occurs several times nightly. It accounts for approximately 20–25 percent of an adult’s sleep cycle, and over 50 percent of an infant’s.
Most dreams occur during REM sleep, and it is thought to play a role in learning, memory, and mood.
People enter this sleep cycle differently. Some people use Yoga Nidra for their entrance. Tibetan Buddhism uses Dream Yoga. Whatever your method is, the critical part is to allow yourself to experience Hypnagogic lucidity and be able to capture what you experience in that state. A great example in this regard is the process used by Salvador Dali.
Salvador Dali, a master of the surrealist art, whose paintings, lifted from the swirling of his subconscious, were a clear homage to the intra-stellar universe of dreams. Far beyond merely using dreams as a source of inspiration, Dali, in fact, proactively harnessed the power of dreams, incorporating the power of hypnagogic lucidity into his artistic methods.
Out of his many techniques, perhaps his most famous is the “slumber with a key”; this is a very brief nap ‘less than a quarter of a second long’ used to channel the fluid space between wake and sleep, where sensations and perceptions of the day resurface as hypnagogic images.
Dr. Bogzaran shared her experiences with possible experiences in this state:
- Visuals: images but no narrative
- Hypnagogic jerk
- Geometric patterns
- Psychedelic experiences
- Vortex Phenomena
Another exciting subject we explored was: sleep paralysis.
Sleep paralysis is a feeling of being conscious but unable to move. It occurs when a person passes between stages of wakefulness and sleep. During these transitions, you may be unable to move or speak for a few seconds up to a few minutes. Some people may also feel pressure or a sense of choking.
During rapid eye movement (REM) sleep the brain has vivid dreams, while the muscles of the body are turned off. While sleeping, the muscles are unable to move so that the person won’t be able to act out dreams with their body. Sleep paralysis happens when a person wakes up before REM is finished.
Dr. Bogzaran shared her process of practicing lucid dreams which was very much in line with Dr. Kripper process. However, she emphasized on dream journaling to build a high dream recall rate.
Also, she reiterated the importance of motivation and intention to have a lucid dream. As the formulation of incubation directly impacts dream experience, for example, being active: I want to experience Divine power yields different results than being passive: I want to be the divine power.
There is no question in the power of accessing our subconscious and the theta state in our brain. In my experience, mindfulness practice enhances the quality of sleep, the dream recall rate, and the lucid dream possibility. The reason is that by practicing mindfulness and self-awareness, we create focused attention in our brain. By enhancing the attention muscle, we can reap such benefits. Learn how to build your practice efficiently here.
Psychology today writes:
Lucid dreams are distinct in that the dreamer does have insight into the present state of consciousness, and can maintain some awareness of the fact that they are dreaming, along with a varying degree of control over their thoughts, actions, and dream qualities. While this distinction is tied to the dream state, the truth is that even in waking we often wander around in a state of semi-consciousness, simply perceiving and experiencing emotions as they arise without affording much reflective awareness or attention to the present moment.
If you are interested in exploring lucid dreaming and creative problem solving, go to awarenow to get personalized guidance.
I hope that reading this post ignites a new path in your life: After all, dreaming is the art of the mind.
About the speakers:
Stanley Kripper, PhD., is an American psychologist, parapsychologist, and an executive faculty member and Professor of Psychology at Saybrook University in Oakland, California.
Fariba Bogzaran, PhD., is a Scientist/Artist, founded the Dream Studies Program at JFK University where she taught for twenty-five years. She is one of the pioneers in the field of dream studies and has received recognition of outstanding contribution to the International Association for the Study of Dreams.
About the Author: Kathy Hadizadeh is a former technology executive and the founder of a consulting agency: Heart Mind Tuning in Los Angeles. Her focus is on building a connection between thinking in our cortex and feelings in our limbic brain so people can connect with what they experience in their physical body. Heart Mind Tuning offers integral executive development coaching, emotional intelligence assessment and coaching, and neuroscience based mindfulness training.