Earlier in this report motivations for dreaming were investigated. This chapter will have a look at the experienced benefits of dreaming. For some dreamers there will be little or no difference between the motivation and benefits. However, many dreamers were drawn to dreaming without any preconceived notions about benefits. So, now they have years of experience with dreaming, what seem to be the benefits?
Enjoyment, fun, pleasure
It was hard to decide which benefit should be listed first. It may seem logical that folks work with dreams because they enjoy it. But in general plenty of people do all kinds of things they don't like, just because of some expected benefit. Think of dieting, working out, or visiting birthday parties.
Dreaming seems to be truly fun however, regardless of expected benefits. All respondents seem to agree on that. I'm under the impression that even without any other benefits, quite a few dreamers would continue dreaming just for the fun of it. Practical benefits are not that important.
Almost all respondents could be quoted as enjoying dreams. There's a group that was paying a lot of attention to dreams ever since early childhood. There are those who have special magic places in dreams. There are those who turn dreams into art. In short, the fun part should not be underestimated. Without further comments, here are some quotes:
In summary, my dreams and my interaction with them have changed, they are very exciting even the non-lucid ones, in that each one is different and I have begun doing things in them like, experiencing vibrations of sorts, and moving through matter (like walls and definite solid objects)... It's beautiful.
Sometimes I have wonderful dreams where I can run and play with unicorns, I populate my imaginary world and run barefoot through the grass. I fly around the trees and just have a generally bloody good time!
The dream world is fun for me, I look forward to sleep, I haven't had a nightmare in years. all my dreams are mostly pleasant.
Ik heb altijd van mijn dromen gehouden en was vanaf het begin gefascineerd door die wereld van beelden en gevoelens en sferen.
In terms of benefits, I find that I now use dreams and particularly lucid dreams mainly to satisfy my desire for hedonistic pleasure. Beyond the obvious sexual possibilities (not to be derided or underestimated) I find wonderful opportunities for a kind of social life I could never hope to experience otherwise.
Sometimes I dreamt of beautiful places (mostly in nature) where I felt perfect harmony. I used to return to those places in my fantasy at day. [...] The funny ones I tell to my friends in order to amuse them. (You might call it a dream's benefit that it makes others laugh). Sometimes my dreams are also a substitute for lacking sexual interaction.
I look forward to the escape when life is going well for me and I respect them and what they have to say when life isn't so good.
Whereas there is no clear single reason to start dreaming, there is one important benefit that the large majority agrees upon. This benefit is formulated in different ways, but always comes down to self-development. To some this means self-understanding, to others it means being better able to copy with everyday situations, or becoming more true to one's personal needs. Many respondents have a feeling there is something more intelligent or higher than themselves that is guiding them.
Respondents sometimes referred to spiritual development. None of them explicitly explained what they meant by spiritual. My assumption is that it has to do with coming closer to some higher intelligence. Some respondents actually mentioned coming closer to God. I'm not sure if everyone meant to use the words spiritual development in this sense. Reading New Age magazines I sometimes get the impression that the word spiritual is used for anything that is supposed to be good.
When comparing more practical ways of self-development to the more spiritual self-development, my impression is that respondents are roughly 50/50 on practical versus spiritual, with some leaning strongly to one end or the other, but with many being relatively indifferent.
Here are a few quotes that show how respondents were helped by dreams to improve their lifes.
Dreaming keeps me in touch with myself. I learn about myself from my dreams. They've helped me heal.
I was on a very destructive path (drugs, etc.) and then depression. I feel that my discovery of dream evaluation has helped me overcome some of those old fears.
My dreams help me be more balanced in my life, emotionally and psychologically, because they show me what things (emotions for instance) I have ignored or neglected in myself or in my work, relationships etc, because they make me more conscious of my motives, desires, needs, suppressed stuff, etc. They balance me out by helping me see the things about myself which I choose not to look at in the daytime. They also help me contact my spiritual side, and stimulate me to do what I really want to do.
The benefit are that dreams show me other ways to solve things. My dreams let me know if the thing i wanted to learn is finding its place. It helps me change.
Have worked through problematic relationships with father / opposite sex, shadow / animus elements, gone through transitions more consciously, become more aware of deeper "soul-level" self.
A kind of self-development that is strongly associated with dreaming is reaching a higher level of consciousness. All the above will help to reach that higher level, but there is a strong hint that there is more than just that. Nobody goes as far as to mention enlightenment, but I think that this is what a higher consciousness eventually comes down to.
Eckankar and a number of other mystical systems all seem to be describing dreaming as a gateway to transcendence. Which I have come to feel is true.
Yes, this Life is the Biggest Dreamzzz of all & it is my *Intention* to become Lucid in This Dreamzzz as well as in the Other Realms that I Play in...
The aspects that Castaneda showed about consciousness intrigued me. So I began working seriously with every day for a year or so - then I began traveling in 'reality' and it became harder to maintain focus. And here a few years later I am continuously returning to the subject of dreaming.
Even non-dreamers know that sleeping over a problem helps. This has something to do with dreaming, but you don't have to do anything special for it or remember what you dreamt. This is probably the easiest type of dreamwork novices can start with. Interpretation is usually straightforward, and there's no need to systematically write down dreams day after day.
I definitely think that if you fall to sleep focusing on a problem, some how that path is a lot clearer 8 hours later when you awake.
I would occasionally wake up with the answer to a current complex problem.
Usually problem solving is used for personal or social issues.
I took note, but didn't really get hooked until I had one dream about a person in my life who I was feeling a lot of pain around. He was represented in the dream as a tree. I was sure of it, because the tree felt just like him. Using that as a starting point, I started analyzing everything around the tree... what each image in the dream must represent, and when I was finished, I realized that some mind which was wiser than my own ordinary waking consciousness had understood my situation perfectly and had compassionately shown me a way out that I had not seen on my own... in this peculiar language of symbols.
The previous examples of problem solving look rather passive. Apparently the dreamer was already either consciously or unconsciously focused on the problem. It is possible to deliberately incubate a dream. The following quotes demonstrate the use of incubated dreams, again for solving personal or social problems.
One important way I use dreams is to ask for guidance when I am totally lost and don't know which way to turn next. I also ask for help in handling issues I can't seem to get a grip on during my waking life.
I learned some methods of interpretation, and often incubated dreams to help me solve parenting problems and gain insight.
The main benefit of dreaming for me now is that it points me to the issues/ areas of life I need to explore further. As such, dreams play a very large part in my life. I no longer think about a problem; I simply put it to my subconscious before I go to bed and when I wake up, I immediately record what I dreamt. Invariably, the dream either sheds light on the problem and presents angles I had missed or offers a possible solution.
Dream can be used to solve any kind of problem. Here are two examples of abstract problem solving.
As I realized in college, though, dreaming is a different way of using your mind, and that's what interests me. I first realized this when I solved a math problem I was working on in a dream. It was really exciting, and kept me on a high all day.
I did problem solving in College with math assignments.
TrainingOne step further than problem solving is training skills in a dream. One respondent told to have used dreams for this purpose.
I taught myself to drive while dreaming. I had gone through driver's ed when I was a teen and had spent some time behind the wheel of a car, but did not have the opportunity to really learn to drive.
Dreaming the future
Dreaming the future is a benefit to some of those who have such dreams. Some examples were already given in the Precognitive Dreams. Here are some more.
Sometimes they are predictive and make my way through certain difficult experiences easier.
i was afraid of my dreams when i first started getting serious about them because so many of them came true, surprisingly accurately. now i am just fascinated, hooked and can't get enough.
I have quite a lot of dreams where I will see great detail of where I will be and what Ill be doing in the near future. Details are exact but the events are terribly mundane. I think its this ability exercising itself so that when something really comes through I'll know exactly what it is and perhaps see these things in greater detail as time goes on and I become better at it!
OBE, astral traveling and parallel worlds
For those who don't know what is meant by OBE, astral traveling and parallel worlds, as short explanation follows. To start with OBE: OBE stands for Out of Body Experience. An OBE often starts with the feeling of leaving your physical body. Whatever part left the body then continues to travel around the physical world as we know it. The traveler can also visit worlds that are very different from the world we know. Personally I think OBE's are just a special kind of dream, but many think that one actually leaves the body. One way or another, the experience is unique and strong enough to justify having its own acronym.
Astral traveling and parallel worlds both indicate being in another world, either a planet very similar to our own (a parallel world) or something so different that it has to be a different kind of reality (an astral world). Whether and in what sense these other worlds are "real" is a question I can't answer. The experience feels very real and that's all that matters for this survey.
First some general quotes.
i've always written my dreams down since i was quite young, and only now have i realized that i was a lucid dreamer, an astral projector, an empath, but i've never had any forced expectations...
I practiced (with some little success) lucid dreaming and out of body experiments.
I'm not really sure if I believe in astral projection or not but around this time some pretty funky things started happening in my dreams. I began to feel intense vibrations and felt like I was floating around the house about four feet off the ground this was not a pleasant feeling at all. There was a lot of times I would try to force myself awake but couldn't.
Several respondents mentioned meeting others in another plane.
He and I met in another alternate plane and he told me he didn't know how to get back, and after a couple of days, that's when I woke him up.
My sister had a party once and that night, I dreamed I awoke in her hallway. I wondered why I still felt cosy and then realised it was because I was actually in my bed but had "travelled" there for a reason. I floated outside to the garden and found some young people smoking hash in an outhouse. I begged them not to do that because my sister hated drugs (and drink in fact). Then I floated back to the same point I had "entered" and woke up as normal in the morning.
Sometimes dreams take us to astral meetings with important people in our lives.
Sooner or later, involvement with dreams must have consequences for the way one defines the world. A few respondents explain this.
In the last 2 years a Place to explore Alternate Dimensions & Realms of the Astral Plane; Alternate Realities, because I've come to Realize that the Earth Plane is no more "solid" than the Astral Planes & Dream Realms, that Temporal Distortion take place here & that our Mind is Conditioned in our Dreamzzz to just *Accept* the New Reality & Forget the old one, dismissing it as a flaw of our Memory.
I also have many dreams in which I interact with spiritual beings. These are therefore not dreams in the narrow sense, because I believe that these beings are not creations of my mind but actual entities that exist in other dimensions. I am however a part of them, in the spiritual sense. I say this because I do not mean to imply contact with extra-terrestrial beings of any kind.
The one thing that I have learned is that dreams are not always true to physical reality. I have attempted and still attempt to do all of the above. I have been able to spiritually shape shift and travel into others minds. Since I have always known about the astral existence I tend to abide by the laws of both realities. Some time I become confused with what can be done in this world and what can be done in the astral.
Several respondents mentioned past lives.
sometime in my thirties i began having what i call past life dreams. they were intense and vivid and some lucid - lasted for maybe a year or so and i still occasionally have them.
i also believe my dreams as a young child were reminiscent of my past lives, as i was new in this world, my past lives hadn't been over as long, and were fresh in my soul.
I also had some dreams which I felt were about past lives.
Sometimes it shows me things out of my earlier lives.
In the Groups And Types chapter the "life's a dream" scale was introduced. Here are quotes from two respondents that scored at the high end of the scale.
I intentionally devote energy and attention to the earth, sun, solar system, and man; not unlike what the Australian aboriginies do in dream time.
My Dreamzzz Life *IS* my Life & my Life is but another Dream...... I strive to be Lucid in ALL Realms!!! Dreaming is EVERYTHING... my Creation & CoCreation.
To summarize, fun and empowerment seem to be the main benefits of dreaming. Dreams are considered to be empowering in many ways. What the true potential is of self-development, problem-solving and training, could be researched in more detail. The same goes for dreaming the future, which is sought out as an skill, but how this skill is trained and how it is best used is not clear from this survey.