Posted by: beagle4 | April 27, 2011

Getting Exactly What You Want

Wouldn’t it be cool if you could control exactly what you were going to dream about the night before? Well surprisingly, you can! Practicing a technique called dream incubation to allow you to do just that. Dream incubation consists of “planting a seed” in the mind, in order for a specific dream topic to occur. It is kind of like using a Tivo; you are essentially programming your mind in advance telling it exactly what you want to dream about during the night. You can either incubate objects, people, or scenes. Dream incubation is not difficult to learn. The main key is to focus your attention on a specific issue when you are falling asleep. Reality Shifter provides an easy to use method on how to accomplish dream incubation.

I have summarized her method below:

  • Before you go to sleep, write down in a notebook the details of your desired dream. Describe the dream as if it already happened (as if you were recording a dream journal entry).
  • Create a detailed mental image of the dream. Include details about all 5 senses.
  • Use a magazine picture to provide your mind with an already made visual image.
  • Look at the picture before bed, and immerse yourself in the dream scene. Essentially live the dream.
  • As you fall asleep tell yourself, “Tonight I will dream about _________”, filling in the blank with the object or scene you want to dream about.

Don’t be discouraged if the first time you attempt dream incubation you fail. The first attempt is usually the hardest. Like most other techniques in life, each attempt will become easier and easier with practice. It is often said that dream incubation is easier to learn than lucidity.

Dream incubation can be used for recreation purposes, but the true beauty of it is seen when it is used to attempt to solve a problem. Everyone has heard the cliché, “just sleep on it.” If you had a difficult problem that you needed to solve, wouldn’t it be great if the solution came to you in your sleep. You just have to focus and tell your mind to dream about the problem, and the solution may appear during the dream.

In order to show that the technique of dream incubation works, Dr. Deirdre Barrett conducted a study at the Harvard Medical School. Dr. Barrett had seventy-six college students (47 women, 29 men; ages 19-24) incubate dreams addressing problems as a homework assignment in a class on dreams. They were instructed to select a problem of personal relevance with recognizable solution(s). Approximately half of the subjects recalled a dream which they felt was related to the problem and 70% of these students believed their dream contained a solution to the problem. (source)

It is clear that dream incubation has it’s benefits. On the other hand, I personally enjoy the mystery every night of closing my eyes and having no idea what I am going to dream about. It’s the mystery of the unknown that is exciting, and allows me to just going along with the ride. I do, however, recognize the advantages of being able to master the technique of dream incubation and feel that it would be a good skill to learn for the future.

Now just close your eyes and dream…



  1. Have you tried it?

    • Not yet. I’m waiting until I have a little more time on my hands. Also, I wouldn’t know what I would want to dream about. I’m usually pretty indecisive.

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