Dreams Online Conference - AOL Chat: Dreams, Analysis, Meaning & more...

Conference Chat
DATE: May 16, 2000
TOPIC: Dreams
GUEST: Craig Webb
Cohosts: Carrie, Karma, Miriam, Tweety, Wheel and Wired
AOL users, see: aol://4400:2176

HOST WLV Miriam: Our Guest tonight is Craig Webb
Topic: Dreams

HOST WLV Wheel: Craig Webb is cofounder and Executive Director of the nonprofit DREAMS Foundation. A McGill University graduate, Craig works with the foundation which operates in collaboration with the Dream & Nightmare Laboratory at Montreal's Sacre-Coeur Hospital. Craig has studied, worked and presented workshops and talks about dreams for more than a dozen years. He has been involved in dream and consciousness research at Stanford University and Montreal's Sacre-Coeur Hospital. Craig's credentials also include having been a founding member of Making Contact, a weekly radio show on 150+ stations and the Public Relations Coordinator for the Lucidity Institute. He has appeared on/in/at The Discovery Channel, The Learning Annex, CTV, CBC, AOL (previously), Self & Glamour Magazines, The San Francisco Examiner, The London Times and numerous other printed, television, radio and online media. He has authored various articles on dreams, consciousness and related subjects and a Contributing Editor for Magical Blend Magazine.


The DREAMS Foundation (www.dreams.ca) is a nonprofit organization working in collaboration with the Dream & Nightmare Laboratory at Sacre-Coeur Hospital. The Foundation's mission is to support further research into dreams and the non-pharmaceutical treatment of sleep, parasomnias, and dream disorders, to inform both the general public and health/science professionals about the nature of dreams and their practical applications in relationship to health and well- being.

The Foundation offers numerous events, courses and presentations, as well as useful articles about dreams and related topics. Also of interest is a Canoe-Camping dream quest adventure retreat in August.

Please visit The DREAMS Foundation's web site at: www.dreams.ca

HOST WLV Miriam: Craig welcome .. we are happy to have you with us tonight ..we would like to give you an opportunity now to tell us a little about you ..the "floor" is yours :)

CraigWebb DREAMS: Hello everyone. I am looking forward to getting a chance to meet and chat with you about dreams and grateful to AOL to have this opportunity for our meeting here in cyberspace, which is indeed kind of dreamy in itself.

I will start with a little background on dreams in general and then we will move to questions afterwards.

Every person on Earth dreams every night so that we all end up passing about a third of our lives in sleep. It follows then that something extremely important must be going on while we sleep and dream, ... yet in our high-tech industrialized world, we generally pay little attention to our dreams, and often even shortchange ourselves on sleep because we misinterpret it as unproductive or lost time. How astonishing that we generally ignore this third (and maybe more) of ourselves.

An appropriate analogy to the grandeur of this mass misunderstanding is the incredible inertia in the middle ages against the idea of Earth being other than flat until repeated point-blank evidence like Columbus' journey proved conclusively otherwise. Fortunately, people eventually came around, and this triggered an ensuing surge of exploration as the realization and acceptance finally dawned that the world really isn't flat after all... a realization paralleled by an incredible symbolic shift of perspective from two to three dimensions.

In the same way, dreams encompass another entire dimension of experience...a world as yet unexplored by most people, where a fascinating sphere of activity awaits investigation and harvesting. Misguided concepts about the value of our dreams are not only crucial misunderstandings, but also represent and even bring about a lack of connection with our subconscious and our own deeper nature..an artificial rift which may indirectly, or even directly be the source for many of our current personal, cultural and planetary challenges.

Since our schools don't train us in dream skills, and since most of our parents knew and passed on little about the value of dreams as we grew up, it's no big surprise that many adults remember few or no dreams, and even more rarely contemplate or set out to mine the golden nuggets of guidance ... and jewels of inspiration that sparkle all through the night.

Basically, nobody told us or showed us how to remember or work with our dreams and how they can be extremely practical. The truth is that not only do they offer a private means to explore inner reality and to gain unique, undeniable, personal experiences, but there is overwhelming evidence that they can be used to improve waking life... supporting Shakespeare's age-old claim by Macbeth that "they are chief nourishers in life's feast." Dreams offer opportunities for fun, adventure, wish fulfillment, creativity, deep personal insight and healing and all this at no cost and with no lineups!

Many of the topics we will cover tonight can be explored in more depth at the DREAMS Foundation's web site...at www.dreams.ca. Subjects there of particular interest are the collection of techniques for recalling dreams..and also the article "Nightmares? Lucky You!" which describes many common recurring anxiety dream themes...and provides a re-scripting technique for resolving these "bad" dreams or nightmares. The article also talks about dreaming about the future in warning dreams ... and provides lots of interesting examples.

Please also check out our Canoe-Camping DreamQuest trip this August at: www.algonquincanada.com/over the.htm (also accessible from the DREAMS Foundation home page). This week-long wilderness workshop will offer a wonderful chance for both a vacation and to learn more about dreams, dream interpretation, lucid dreaming and connect both with the lush Canadian Lakes and forests and with other adventurers of similar interest.

As for dream interpretation, there's a helpful article on the www.dreams.ca site titled "Organic Dream Integration" which will answer many of people's interpretation-related questions. Dreams are very multifaceted and intimately connected with our waking lives, with other dreams we've had, as well as many other factors. As the great healer Edgar Cayce has said.."It is much wiser to interpret the dreamer, rather than any single isolated dream." Even 'interpretation' alone can limit the experience and value of a dream, as the article explains. With this in mind, I would now like to open the floor for all manner of dream - and sleep-related questions and comments. Thank you.

HOST WLV Miriam: Craig thank you very much :)

LASMITH66: I've had a recurring dream for 13 or so years, I know it's a reality-based anxiety dream...is there any way I can alter the ending in the dream so perhaps I can change it in real life?

CraigWebb DREAMS: Most definitely. There's a re-scripting exercise on the website that will do exactly this. You'll find this in the article entitled "Nightmares? Lucky You!". If you want some insight as to what it might be about...just ask yourself "what large life event happened to me 13 years ago?" and it's probably the first thing that comes to mind.

LASMITH66: Well, I think you misunderstood, the dream isn't a nightmare and it's about one person.

CraigWebb DREAMS: Don't be misled by the article title...what you're looking for is probably still in there.

LASMITH66: ok, I will check it out for sure

Angellifts: Does what we eat affect how we dream?

CraigWebb DREAMS: Indeed. The quantity we eat also affects our recall.

HOST WLV Wheel: Anything more Angel?

Angellifts: no thank you--just wondering

MishaLuvsCharlie: I have constant nightmares where I am gonna die, I have seen myself in a coffin in a nightmare once..and it scared me.. can that mean a death in the future? Can dreams predict the future?

CraigWebb DREAMS: Constant recurring dreams of any sort, especially anxiety dreams or nightmares, often point to some lesson we still need to learn or some feelings we haven't faced. Most likely it means a symbolic (inner) death, or possibly that you might need to face the fear of dying itself. You might want to ask yourself "what happened in my life when these dreams started?" This very likely points to what issue the dreams are speaking about.

MishaLuvsCharlie: alright

HOST WLV Wheel: Misha, any other comments?

MishaLuvsCharlie: no, that's all...thanks a lot

CraigWebb DREAMS: I'd like to address the second question she asked about dreams predicting the future.

HOST WLV Miriam: Craig go ahead .. :)

CraigWebb DREAMS: Dreams very often predict the future, or at least show us possible futures. This means that we still can generally use the insight from the dream to shift to a more fulfilling future if we don't like the one the dream showed us. You can read more about these precognitive warning types of dreams in the "Nightmares? Lucky You!" article... at www.dreams.ca.

SMar409233: I have been dreaming all my life and sometimes I feel like I have more control over my dreams than reality, any suggestions. I mean, sometimes I feel like I don't want to wake up because I can't change who I am in reality.

CraigWebb DREAMS: That's a good question. Dreaming does provide a world of wonder to explore and lots of great personal experiences, however, ideally it's important to maintain a balanced outward, daily life to derive the most benefit from our dreams. Some people tend to focus more on inner life as a natural thing, but if this gets too extreme or out of balance with our daily life, with an outward focus then our dreams will probably start telling us this is something we need to bring back into balance.

SMar409233: I'm sorry, I am not sure what you mean.. I know I need balance but in my dreams I fly, save people, live forever. Ok, so basically my dreams will point me in the right direction? Sometimes I feel so confused because I dream so much, can dreaming be to much for people?

CraigWebb DREAMS: Ideally...you can find things in waking life that also bring you the same feelings of fulfillment as these uplifting dreams. But it sounds to me, as long as you're not avoiding contact with daily living, these dreams are pointing to some healthy inner development.

SMar409233: so if I'm not finding them I need to look harder huh lol well I am on the inward side, but it is because I have had many mad experiences...thanks for letting me talk Audience.

CraigWebb DREAMS: Some dreams, and it sounds like yours are this type, simply come to bring us the actual emotional experience.. which the dream brings about. There may also be some connection with daily life, and it is useful to inquire about it, but the dreams are valid in themselves even if we don't always intellectually understand what they are about.

JestdaPest: I have terrible insomnia sometimes, I sleep for 3 hours then am up for a couple, this goes on for weeks at a time... but I don't really feel tired. I also have to sleep with a light on & noise. Could this be effecting my sleep habits too? I usually sleep so sound I don't even remember dreaming... I am usually MORE tired when I get a full nights sleep...I guess my question is .. why the insomnia?

CraigWebb DREAMS: Firstly, the insomnia is only terrible on one level - if you find that you're left tired during the day. So trust yourself about when you feel like sleeping and getting up. A limited amount of sleep, as well as the light and noise that you have on will definitely limit your dreams and dream recall.

Insomnia stems from many different sources, some of which include eating late at night....letting the mind focus on worry or problems about things from our day (often our work or relationships), lack of exercise and a number of other things.

Some of the best things we can do to remedy insomnia are to: go to sleep on a regular schedule every day, eat a lighter dinner, get exercise during the day, and most of all find techniques to quiet our mind before bedtime.

Some ways to quiet the mind that might help are having a warm bath, going for an evening stroll while focusing our attention on the environment of our walk rather than getting lost in our thoughts, or any other way to be more in our body (massage, meditation, etc).

Our culture's outward focus and business work schedule tend to bring about a lot of insomnia, and more than a third of people suffer from level of insomnia.

JestdaPest: Thanks... I guess need to change my bad habits then ;)

HOST WLV Wheel: JestdaPest, anything to add?

JestdaPest: No.. thank you !!!

Natrrwicce: is there a way to actively manipulate your dreams prior to or while sleeping to gain a desired outcome...such as in wish fulfillment or healing? Is this a conscious thing you do? like write it down or meditate on it before falling asleep? Are dreams sometimes past life memories?

CraigWebb DREAMS: The answer is yes, yes and yes. Yes, we can "guide" (better than manipulate) the content of our dreams both before sleep (dream incubation), and if we learn lucid dreaming skills we can also guide our dreams during the dream itself.

Natrrwicce: do you recommend a certain book for these skills?

CraigWebb DREAMS: You may be interested to look at (and try) the dream incubation experiment on our website, and/or the lucidity techniques also accessible from the homepage.

Natrrwicce: I will look up the experiment, one more quick question, do you think dreams can be a doorway to past life memories?

CraigWebb DREAMS: Wish fulfillment and healing are but two of the number of great applications for guided dreams and you can read more about this in the Dream Incubation experiment article. A great book on these topics, which you can read about and order directly from our site book list is "Creative Dreaming" by Patricia Garfield.

Natrrwicce: thank you. I am going to go ahead and get that book.... tomorrow!

HOST WLV Wired: You mentioned a bit previously, that quantity of food, as well as types of food effect if we dream or not, could you expand on that a bit? (such as, lots of food = dreams? or specific types of dreams such as the nightmares or the night terrors mentioned on your web site?)

CraigWebb DREAMS: It varies from person to person, as well as from day to day, but large quantities of food often cause us to sleep more deeply and remember less dreams. You are correct in your assumption that certain foods can bring about nightmares or anxiety dreams. In a way, the nightmares are still bringing a message that we may want to shift our diet since it's upsetting our body and mind's physiology and natural cycles. Hence the nightmares.

HOST WLV Wired: oh, interesting thought ... bout nightmares there.. and the diet I mean..thanks Craig, that was very interesting

HOST WLV Miriam: Craig thank you very much .. folks I wish we had more time for questions .. but we would like to give Craig the last few minutes to summarize for us :) or to add your comments.

HOST WLV Miriam: Folks don't leave yet .. we are not finished :)

CraigWebb DREAMS: Thanks very much to everybody for joining the chat tonight.

HOST WLV Karma: Please stay - you still may learn something

CraigWebb DREAMS: You can find more about most of the topics we discussed tonight on the website or if you have other specific questions you can send feedback at the site, or to feedback@dreams.ca.

But I'd like to close with a little bedtime story.....

A friend comes by Nasrudin's house and sees Nasrudin out wandering around the lawn. "Hey Nasrudin, what are you doing?" asks his friend.
"I've lost a very valuable key," replies Nasrudin. "It opens the treasure chest within my house which holds a jewel of great value inside. And so I'm out here looking for it. Will you help me?"

Nasrudin's friend agrees and they search around for a while, and eventually the friend asks Nasrudin if he knows more precisely where he lost it--in the gutter? By the driveway? by the house...?
Nasrudin ponders this for a moment and replies "Actually, I lost the key inside the house."
"Nasrudin! What are you looking out here for?" exclaims his friend.
"Well, it's dark in there and it's light out here where I can see."

And so, to conclude our story, I encourage all you dreamers to use the light of your awareness and the insight from your dreams to look within your houses where the key lies.

Pleasant nightmares and wonderful vision dreams to all. Thanks you all very much.

HOST WLV Tweety: Great story!!

StinkrblwuvsWTOC: that is a great story

HOST WLV Wired: Thanks Craig!!!!

HOST WLV Miriam: Craig thank you!

StinkrblwuvsWTOC: thanks Craig

HOST WLV Wired: that was terrific :)

HOST WLV Wheel: Craig, Thanks. I hope we can get you back another time :) We have a lot of questions

HOST WLV Tweety: Niters everyone!

HOST WLV Karma: Good nite all and thanks for coming!

CraigWebb DREAMS: More stories another evening if AOL invites me back!!
Good night.

HOST WLV Wheel: Craig.. We'd love to have you.. :)

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