Harness the Power of Lucid Dreaming for Happiness, Health, and Positive Change
by Clare R. Johnson, Ph. D.
I love dreaming! It is one of my favorite things to do! I have been tracking and working with my dreams for years. But sadly, I have not had much luck with lucid dreaming, even though I’ve read many books on the topic and practiced lots of different techniques.
Author Dr. Clare Johnson is the first person to write a doctoral thesis on the topic of lucid dreaming as a creative tool. She’s been a lucid dreamer since the age of 3 and is currently the president of the International Association for the Study of Dreams. So, she brings a real gravitas to the topic of working with your dreams. Her book offers a different take on the practice of lucid dreaming in Mindful Dreaming. She approaches “wakefulness” from the vantage point of “mindfulness,” bringing your attention to what is happening in the present moment. We bring our attention to the present moment, not only while awake, but during the one-third of our lives that we spend dreaming. The goal of mindful dreaming, as she explains, is to become awake to our unconscious patterns, modify them and heal our lives. “When we learn to be more present in our waking life, we are more likely to discover how our thoughts can shape our reality,” says Dr. Johnson. All this from dreaming, and not years of therapy?? Yes.
The key? Working with your dreams while you’re awake! For a lucid-dreamer wannabe like me, to know that I can go beyond recording my dreams and actually work with them and “change the movie” is exciting. Dreams are not just random firing of brain synapses. Rather, they are the doorway into our vast personal and collective unconscious. Learning to understand their dense symbolic language and decode their metaphors helps us to release powerful emotions, fears and memories stored at the cellular level. When we unravel unexpected associations that dreams make, we enhance our creativity. If we pay attention to their messages, we are shown where illness might develop. And we experience life-changing contact with the numinous when we become aware of our “soul dreams.”
Dr. Johnson takes us through the basics of working with our dreams: sleep hygiene, dream incubation, dream recollection and journaling. These are the first few of 50 dream practices and Lucid Dreamplay suggestions present in each chapter. The beauty of the Lucid Dreamplay practices is that many of them are done while you are awake! You can change your “inner movie,” write, sketch or dialogue your way into an understanding of a key dream image and tell a dream to a friend in order to excavate its many layers. The unconscious mind begins to build a blueprint for the possibility of change in waking life and the direction that change can take. Your unconscious will also begin to build new blueprints when you consciously make changes in your dreams. The book contains many examples of how these practices work for different dreams and dreamers. The techniques are valuable because working with dreams while awake can mirror the experience of lucid dreaming and have the same powerful results, as Dr. Johnson points out. She also outlines a nine step program for becoming lucid in dreams.
In addition to the useful and well-described techniques, Dr. Johnson devotes individual chapters to understanding and working with different types of dreams including nightmares; dreams of grief, loss and death; sexual dreams; dreams of illness and pain; and soul dreams or what I call “Big Dreams.” The book concludes with a chapter on creating your own best life by working mindfully with dreams while awake and asleep: “Dreamwork is a little like magic because it allows us to dissolve the veil the covers our own hidden, unconscious world. Once the veil is gone, we can clearly see the state of our life; what it lacks and what it needs to be healthier and happier.” Working with the Dreamplay practices will take you deep and keep you busy, but just in case you want to go beyond Mindful Dreaming, there is a Resource section. I am going to continue to use this book to get to dream lucidity!
About the Author:
Susan Rossi is a Practitioner and Teacher of Shamanism. She is a long-time explorer of The Mysteries – the connections between mind, body, spirit and how to live in right relationship to all of the energies streaming through the cosmos. She works with clients as an astrologer, coach, ceremonialist and guide to the wisdom that each of us has the capacity to access. Her focus is on guiding clients to unblock and rediscover their inner wisdom. , exploration of the birth chart, ceremony, legacy writing, hypnotherapy, energetic healing practice and creation of sacred tools are integral pieces of her practice.
Susan trained in Soul Level Astrology with master astrologer Mark Borax. She delights in exploring with individuals the planetary pattern under which their soul choose to incarnate.
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