Originally appeared in Planet Jackson Hole

Q: Can I use my dreams to improve my life?

A: Yes! The dream state lets us break through all the limitations and distractions of daily life and connect with other parts of our intelligence and higher consciousness, a.k.a. the cosmic Internet! Research studies reveal that healthy people dream between 90 minutes and two hours a night in four or five cycles of sleep and dreaming. This is true whether you recall your dreams or not.

Dreams can inspire new creative ideas, provide guidance to life’s challenges, offer practical solutions to complex problems, convey messages from loved ones no longer alive, give early warning to health issues, offer a glimpse into the future, and answer all kinds of questions.

Here are some notable examples. Einstein said that his theory of relativity came from a dream. Famous science fiction author Jules Verne wrote novels based on his dreams, which included describing submarines 100 years before they were invented. Beethoven composed symphonies, which he said he heard in his dreams; remember, Beethoven was deaf in daily life. Some people who were booked on the Titanic had premonition dreams that the boat would sink, and they cancelled their trips.

There is an indigenous tribe in Malaysia, the Senoi Indians, who consider dreamtime experiences hugely important in improving the quality of their daily lives. Every morning they gather together and ask everyone to share what they believe is the most important question of the day: “What did you dream last night?”

Here are a couple of teachings about dreams, which the Senoi use to improve their lives and that you can try, too. 1.) Always finish a dream. If you awaken from a dream that is interrupted, or if you are recalling a dream and can’t remember how it ended, they say to review the dream and think about the conclusion you would want it to have. This relaxes the mind and sets the intention for positive outcomes in daily life. 2.) The Senoi also say to move toward pleasurable experiences in your dreams; according to them, this imparts an uplifting sense of inner satisfaction all day long.

Obviously, the main event is to remember your dreams. Here’s how:

  • As you are drifting off to sleep, state your intention to recall your dreams on awakening.
  • If you have a specific question in mind, as you drift off to sleep ask yourself to have a dream, which will give you the answer.
  • Wake up naturally without an alarm and before moving around or thinking about your day ahead, lie there with your eyes closed and ask to recall your dreams. Be curious what pops into your mind.
  • If you have set an intention to dream about something specific and you are awakened in the night to go to the bathroom or because an arm fell asleep, pause before moving, keep your eyes closed, and see if you can recall what you were dreaming right before waking up. The dream you asked for is likely the one you had right before awakening.

This all takes practice. Have fun exploring the possibilities of this awesome dimension of our consciousness.