Books - influence
In External Motivations, books were discussed as being essential to developing an interest in dreams. Even those who did not need books to become interested in dreams, still benefited from books.
Quotes demonstrating the role of books and similar resources follow. There isn't anything particular striking in these quotes. In order to have at least some grouping, I tried to arrange the quotes along the lines of a primary interest in self-development versus an interest in the more supernatural aspects of dreaming. First some quotes that seem to reflect a primary interest in self-development:
In college, I took a course on "Altered States of Consciousness" which covered dreams. One of the texts was Patricia Garfield's CREATIVE DREAMING, which renewed my interest in lucid dreams. I've kept a dream journal and studied dreams ever since.
I have been keeping written records of my dreams since 1972. When I was in my early twenties, I came across Strephon Kaplan-Williams book, "The Jungian-Senoi Dreamwork Manual", which is a grass-roots dreamwork book based on groups he was leading in Berkeley, California. This book enabled me to see that I could actually work with my dreams in a variety of creative ways, instead of just recording them. The many methods of dreamworking explored in this book opened up a whole new world for me, and deepened my sense of their importance to my day-to-day life.
The nightmares were the only real connection with dreams I had in young childhood. But this was interesting enough for me. And perhaps this grew because of my mother sharing a dream perhaps once a month. She was also given two "key to your dreams" books (the silly A-Z ones) which I enjoyed reading, and evoked much interest.
When I got involved with meditation groups I would hear others talk about the importance of dreams and that I should keep a journal. I noticed that some of the dreams and my meditations were connected. Once I learned how to interpret the dreams I realized that some of the answers I was looking for were there. Eventually I got some instruction in them. Then I started asking questions before going to sleep.
I did read a book in my early adulthood, but I forget the title, that showed research leading to the conclusion that our bodies do indeed experience them as if their events were happening during consciousness, and that they do instruct, guide, and warn us. I had no specific expectations about how they would benefit me until later in adulthood, the beginning of mid-life, when I experienced the inexplicable resolution of a problem overnight, then read something of a validation of that phenomena in WOMEN WHO RUN WITH THE WOLVES, by Clarissa Pinkola-Estes, who explained that our subconscious can resolve things for us if we're open-minded enough. I now expect that resolution to continue. And it does.
A somewhat smaller group seems to be more interested in supernatural aspects of dreaming:
Around the same time, I read Ann Faraday's "Dream Power," and started making it a practice to record my dreams on a regular basis. Soon I discovered surprising coincidences I couldn't explain-- e.g., a dream of my high school history teacher, and a letter from her the next day-- that sent me on a research mission. I discovered Jung and synchronicity; the I Ching; and, on a nearby shelf, "The Nature of Personal Reality" by Jane Roberts. Her Seth books altered and expanded my view of reality, including my appreciation for dreams.
Books on OBE and Lucid Dreaming and the Carlos Castaneda's series set me into a more serious experimentation with dreaming.
I played seriously with my dreams for as long as I can remember. But, I didn't take them as anything more real than imagination until I was an adult. 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.
As I began to desire to know what was beyond physical life, I began to notice my dreams more often (and remember a little more)...I have read Robert Monroe's OOBE book, Stephen LaBerge's Lucid Dreaming, Robert Peterson's OOBE book and other minor readings....My interests were mainly to springboard into OOBE's...
I came across Robert Monroe's Journey's Out of Body. It was fascinating but didn't tell me how. I did find out that keeping a dream journal and programming that I would remember and write down my dreams every morning would increase my dream recall. I have been doing that since about 1974. Then I read the Carlos Castenada books and in one of them he said to look at your hands in your dreams. I told myself I would do that and had my first lucid dream. Eventually I had LD's and searched out more books to learn about lucid dreaming, out of body experience and dream interpretation. I read a book on the Senoi Tribe and their approach to dreaming which helped to broaden my idea's of what was possible in dreams.
I think that dreams are as real as this waking world. On spiritual path they are very important (for example Tibetan dream yoga). I want to understand my dreams so they can guide me and teach me.
Then a few years passed without having any special interest in dreams - then after high school after my fathers death I began to explore altered states of mind with drugs, meditation and through this I found Carlos Castaneda.
Finally, here are three quotes from respondents where I find it hard to say what their primary interest in dreaming is:
I always liked to pay attention to my dreams I thought somehow they were telling me something. What was going on during the day and then I got this dream book and it had things about the time you dream, the colors you dream and dictionary. It started to tell me things about who I was I experimented with it and things seemed to be true. The book also had the different chakra's in the body and that is how I started to learn what was going on with my body. I would write in my journal and think what was going on in my life and see if any of it was true. Some of it was and some of it wasn't.
When I got married, my husband was into Edgar Cayce. He wrote down his Dreamzzz faithfully everyday. He had many Dream Interpretation books. The first thing I did was to start writing my Dreamzzz down, too.
I think that's when my Dreamzzz Life really took off.
I always found my dreams interesting, because of their unusual contents. But it wasn't until I read 'creative dreaming' by Patricia Garfield (Dutch translation: 'creatief dromen'), that I started writing them down. I was about 15 then and continued doing that for two years or so. I didn't really try to get lucid in that period, nor did I try to have paranormal experiences (telepathy, mutual dreaming,...)
[..] I've read several books about Freud and Jung, but never really thought much of all their theories. I relied more on my own experiences, instead of theorizing. I didn't try to find 'more' behind dreams than just entertainment and a source of inspiration. I do often try to analyze dreams, but I've never enjoyed doing so, because most of the time you just find what you want to find.
Here's a list of all authors and other resources referenced in the interviews.