Last week, in the comments, Abi said she wished she could visit her dream house more often, and I suggested she might try incubating a dream.
Creative dreaming is all about ‘flying on the wings of intent,’ to borrow a phrase from Carlos Casteneda. Setting an intention is how we start to establish regular dream-recall, as I explain here https://jenalexanderbooks.wordpress.com/tips/
Once we have begun to experience regular recall, we can use intention in the same way, to incubate a dream on a particular topic. I sometimes do this with a group.
The first time I did it, I asked my workshop participants to intend to dream about a tree. Of the six people in that group, five reported tree dreams the following week.
Two people dreamt about saplings, and another about ‘baby trees.’ I dreamt about a tree-lined avenue. The fifth person, frustrated by a marked no-show of trees for the first few nights, wrote a poem about a tree to help set her intention, and then dreamt she was on a ranch in America, where she saw a single tree in the distance which looked like a child’s drawing of a tree.
This person thought, either in her dream or upon waking – she couldn’t tell which – ‘There was a tree!’ The same thing happened in my dream, where I thought, ‘Ooh… lots of trees!’
This is the waking ‘I’ being aware during the dream, and an interesting bonus of dream-incubation is that you’re likely to become lucid at the point where the dream meets the conscious expectation.
I incubate dreams to resolve plot problems and develop my writing ideas, as well as to gain insights into anything which might be bothering me in my everyday life.
If you want to try it, think about your dream intention at points throughout the day, affirming, ‘Tonight, I will dream about…’ Repeat your intention as you go to sleep.
You can reinforce your intention by writing it down, or drawing an image to represent it. Promise yourself that you will record any and every dream you recall when you wake up.
This last point is important. If you don’t automatically record everything, your conscious rational mind can click in too early and push your dreams away.
Besides, if you’ve asked for a dream, it would feel rude not to note down the answer. The dream will not co-operate if it thinks you’re just messing around.