[vc_row full_width=”” parallax=”” parallax_image=””][vc_column width=”1/1″][vc_column_text]Metaphysical Approaches to Dream Incubation
Some years ago I wrote a book on visualization, including practical knowledge of how to understand and harmonize with Universal Law. When the book was complete, there was a final and crucial missing element: a title. I did not have a title I was satisfied with. I had lots of ideas jotted down in notebooks, on the backs of envelopes and scraps of paper, but nothing really struck me as being the right title.
One evening, after giving a lecture on visualization, I asked the audience if anyone had ideas for a good book idea. People brainstormed lots of suggestions, but I had yet to find the right one. So, that night, before going to sleep, I asked my subconscious mind to give me a dream with the book title that would work, drawing attention to the book so that it would reach the people it was intended to serve.
I wrote my intention for a book title in my dream notebook, dating the notebook for the next morning with the question, “Please give me the title for my book on visualization.”
The next morning before I had even fully awakened I “heard” in my mind, “The Law of Attraction and Other Secrets of Visualization.” I immediately wrote it down in my dream notebook. When I was fully awake, I read that and thought (consciously), “that’s a boring title!” I almost discounted it. But … I knew it had come from my subconscious mind, because I heard it before I was completely back to waking consciousness. I also knew that if I was serious about wanting my subconscious mind to give me a message, I had better heed it!
I chose to use that title, and the book was the most popular one I’ve written. It sold out in the first year of publication. Asking my subconscious mind to give me a dream for a particular purpose and heeding the response gave me what I needed: guidance beyond the scope of my brain and conscious mind. This is called dream incubation.
Dream incubation is the process of consciously invoking a specific dream or asking a dream to provide an answer to a specific problem or question. Dream incubation is an ancient practice that became prominent in the classical period when dreams were incubated for healing.
In physical science incubation refers to providing the proper conditions for growth and development; for example, incubating a virus in the body or incubating a chick in a special device that keeps the egg warm. As applied to the creative process, incubation may be considered as a time of subconscious reflection. An idea can incubate in the subconscious mind after putting aside the conscious mind research, letting go of preconceived ideas, and letting the brain and conscious mind rest so that the subconscious mind can crystallize or bring together in new ways the insight needed.
Incubating a dream involves a conscious decision to ask for a specific kind of dream (such as a flying dream, or a lucid dream) or asking for a solution to problem (solving a brain teaser or more serious questions like career choices or scientific formulas).
Scholars note that written records of incubating dreams can be traced back to the 3rd millennium B.C. Dream incubation became well known in the temples of the Greek god Asclepius. In ancient Greece, dreams were considered to be divine transmissions; thus, dreams were incubated to receive healing from the god Asclepius. In some cases, the dreamer received healing in the dream and awakened cured. In other cases, Asclepius diagnosed and prescribed treatments in the dream that were administered to the dreamer upon awakening.
Dream incubation is reported as a custom in many societies and cultures, including ancient Egypt, Assyria and Mesopotamia, China, American Indian tribes including the Ojibwa, and the Islamic tradition. In modern times, incubation is used for guidance and problem solving. Modern dream researchers and psychologists report the effectiveness of dream incubation.
Both ancient and modern-day incubators report specific steps that are necessary for the incubation process. Metaphysical research on visualization describes how the conscious mind communicates with the subconscious mind to incubate a dream. The conscious mind produces a “seed idea” or intention, then shines mind light upon it by writing, drawing, and preparing with sacred ritual. Relaxing the mind and body enables the dreamer to release the seed idea from the conscious mind so that it can develop, or incubate, in the subconscious mind.
The School of Metaphysics, a not-for-profit educational organization headquartered in Missouri, USA, teaches a practical science of mind/body/spirit integration. Students of metaphysics practice daily exercises to develop skills in concentration, meditation, and visualization. These practices are effective for dreamers who want to consciously “incept” an idea in their own subconscious mind.
Metaphysics defines “mind” as a whole system that includes the spirit and what some people describe as soul, or inner self. This is understood as separate from the brain and physical neuro-pathways. Incubation begins with the dreamer’s conscious imaging. The dreamer formulates a clear idea or question that he or she wants answered from a dream, or an experience that he or wants to have in the dream state. This idea or question must be pictured, or imaged. The School of Metaphysics describes the “language of the mind” as one of images or pictures.
Asking the right question is part of learning the art of incubating dreams. The subconscious mind does not reason or make decisions; it responds to the conscious mind’s direction. So, for example, asking a question like, “Should I marry this person?” will probably elicit an uncertain response, because it is not the subconscious mind’s duty to make choices for you. A better question is something like, “Please give me a dream to aid me to understand the learning opportunities available to me in this relationship.” Or, “What do I need to learn to be prepared for marriage?”
Questions that are open-ended, that relate to learning or understanding, are conducive to dream incubation. The subconscious mind stores permanent understanding of Self and creation. Its realm is universal knowledge.
To effectively plant this idea in the subconscious mind, the dreamer concentrates on the image through practices like drawing and writing. Keeping a dream journal by the bed, and writing the next morning’s date, demonstrates an expectation that the dreamer will receive the desired answer or dream experience. The proper mental conditions and the ideal physical conditions, along with a clear expectation of receiving the desired dream answer, are all requirements for successful dream incubation.
The final step in dream incubation is to learn how to interpret the dream to discern its message. When the dreamer acts on the message, it communicates to the subconscious mind that he or she is serious about wanting that inner communication.
I encourage all dreamers to experiment with incubating dreams and learning to interpret them. There is vast knowledge available to us in the inner realms of the mind!
Laurel Clark is a regional director with the School of Metaphysics, a 501(c)(3) educational organization headquartered in Missouri with 16 branches in nine states. She is a certified psi counselor, interfaith minister, and has been teaching metaphysics since 1979.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row]