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Health & Balance

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For Healing and Health, Dream On

In Your Dreams

Lucid Dreaming continued...

"I was in Canyonlands, Utah, when I had a lucid dream about falling. Inside the dream, I decided since I was falling, I might as well fly. First I flew through London. Then I realized I'd like to be at the canyon, and I was. After waking in the morning, when I hiked out to the canyon rim, it exactly matched what I'd already seen in my dream," says Lowenthal, director of the Dedicated Life Institute in Newton, Mass.

While lucid dreaming can be a valuable tool for self-exploration, Tart estimates less than 5% of psychologists use it in their practice. One who does is Cheryl Pappas, PhD. She's always been interested in dreams, and can remember dreams she had as a 3-year-old.

"I've always listened very carefully to dreams because they are a pathway to deeper regions of myself. Dreaming will unlock any mysteries about who you are and answer any questions you have. They are the language of your intuition. You don't need to run to dream books to interpret what a dream is about. There is no expert outside yourself. Once you turn on the equipment to listen, you usually find the dream is talking loudly."

She advises her clients to mentally invite the dream they'd like to have. While falling asleep, say to yourself, "I will have a lucid dream tonight and I will remember it," she advises. Put a notepad next to the bed and when you wake, don't speak to anyone until you jot down what you remember.

"To some extent we create our own experience through our imagination," says Pappas, a therapist and social psychologist who practices in Beverly Hills, Calif. "Our habitual thoughts are the gas in the tank of life. Unfortunately, most people affirm their worst nightmares over and over again, until they come true. They constantly think, 'I can never have this, I can never have that, everything will go wrong,' and those thoughts affect their actual experiences."

Pappas advises her clients to pay attention to their dreams and try to have lucid dreams because the world of dreams is so flexible, responsive, and changeable. It offers a laboratory to work with and change those habitual thought patterns.

"We all have imagination factories inside us producing dreams all the time," she says. "Learning to direct our dreams means we can fulfill our deepest longings, within the dream and also within our lives. Any answer you need is there inside the dream, if you listen for it, and honor and respect the dream."

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