Dream Incubation

Dream incubation is a practice that has been around for thousands of years. In the ancient world, the technique involved repeating incantations and prayers in order to have a dream that would answer questions about a particular subject or problem. The potential dreamer would then sleep in the sleep temple, and the next day the dreams that came to him that night would be interpreted as answers to the questions that were asked.

There were many sleep temples, also called dream temples, in ancient Egypt around 4,000 years ago. In these places, a lot of therapeutic techniques were used that we would now call hypnosis. But a mainstay of the treatment involved patients gaining insight and being given remedies in their dreams.

These techniques also were popular among early Christian sects and are still practiced in some Greek Orthodox monasteries. The following Scripture passage is sometimes quoted by those who believe that God may still speak to us in dreams.

“Hear now my words: If there be a prophet among you, I the Lord will make myself known unto him in a vision, and will speak unto him in a dream” (Num. 12:6).

The first dream incubation technique you will learn here is based on the bedtime self-hypnosis technique that is described elsewhere on this website. Recorded instructions and practice are also available here. This technique works well to encourage your awareness of what your sleeping unconscious mind has to say about a particular issue or problem. The technique also works well if you wake up from a troubling or negative dream and wish to invite your unconscious mind to bring you a more positive dream that will help you to resolve whatever is troubling you.

In my book Your Genius Within there is a story of how an inmate in a maximum security prison used this technique to transform a haunting and negative dream into a hopeful and positive experience.

So, if you’d like to try dream incubation, you can use the bedtime self-hypnotic procedure and create some phrases to say at bedtime that might help you encourage your dream work in a positive direction. Some general phrases to start with are: “I welcome and remember my dreams,” or “I welcome the wisdom of my inner mind.”

You might have specific issues you want to work on, and you can design a positive phrase to help take you there in your dreams. One way of asking is to use the phrase: “I welcome dreaming about my work, or my marriage, or my child, or my finances, etc.” So pick a topic and ask your dreaming mind to dip into its inner reservoir of wisdom and bring up some helpful material for you to look at. Always remember, however, that your unconscious mind has a wisdom of its own and may not comply with your request immediately. It may have other things on its mind that take priority. But sometimes, your unconscious mind will respond with dreams that bring you fresh insight and understanding.

If you really want to get into using dreaming incubation, here is a step-by-step set of instructions.

I invite you to share your experiences of dream incubation here.

6 thoughts on “Dream Incubation

  1. I think I incubate dreams and don’t realize it. I go to sleep thinking about stuff and then I have crazy dreams that I kind of see fitting what I was thinking about. Like the other night, I dreamed my tooth was loose suddenly. My eye tooth, and it was getting wiggly fast. It fell out, and when I went to the mirror to check, it was gone but suddenly my top jaw was split and my jaw started to collapse and my left and right jaw began to slide in on eachother! I pushed them back in place and held them there and told someone in the dream that I needed to go to the hospital right away! We then were driving down the road going to the hospital while I held my jaw in place. Every once in awhile I would let go and it would start to slip out of place again and I would push it back. We seemed to not be able to get to the hospital fast, and I was feeling desperate to hold my jaw together.
    Well, I recently made a big life changing decision and was very conflicted about my choice. I was thinking alot about it when I fell asleep. Can you help me understand what I might be telling myself in this dream?

  2. I’m happy to see that some of you are trying dream incubation techniques.I’m glad Van that you got some answers to your concerns.

    Over the years I have heard stories from members of my dream groups or classes about how dream Incubation has worked for them. One woman asked her dream mind to give her some feedback about whether or not she should apply for a job at a competing organization. In the dream that she had she was driving along a road parallel to some railroad tracks. While she watched in horror there was a major train wreck in which railway cars and their occupants were tossed about. She decided that it might be best to proceed with her application and mounting enthusiasm with caution. It turned out that this other company had major organizational problems and ended up downsizing. If she had followed through with her plans to change jobs, she likely would have gotten caught up in the mess – in other words in the train wreck.

    Later as she thought about the situation she realized that she had heard a lot of information about the company’s troubles but in her excitement about a possible new and higher level job, she had ignored that information. But clearly her dreaming mind had picked it up and showed her dream that depicted the possible disastrous consequences of proceeding with her plans.

    I would certainly be interested in hearing from any more of you who have dream incubation efforts that have borne some fruit and given you some insights.

  3. It works! My wife was struggling with some work related issues. As I was falling asleep, I asked my inner mind for some wisdom to help her. Sure enough, I had multiple dreams featuring my wife. Now I just need to work out what the dreams mean! Very exciting stuff!

  4. I also read your book, and agree it is great information and facinating reading. I have recommended “Your Genius Within” to my friends and family.

  5. I am currently reading your book, Your Genius Within, and it is amazing. I fully intend to work on some dream incubation, and I will report back on my progress. Thank you so much for this information!

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