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Current Update as of October 31, 2002

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Edited by HENRY REED, Ph.D.

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The Committee of Sleep

Book Summary by Walt Stover,
Atlantic University

For thousands of years, people have used dreams as an intuitive avenue to success in their lives. The practitioners of this technique include many famous and gifted writers, artists, poets, and scientific inventors as well as ordinary people. The writer of this book digest has been highly rewarded by following his dream messages about the stock market. The famous French poet, St. Paul Box, would hang a sign on his bedroom door before retiring which read: "Poet at work." John Steinbeck noted: "It is common practice that a problem difficult at night is resolved in the morning after the committee of sleep has worked on it." In contemporary society we frequently use the cliché: "Let me sleep on it."

This book, The committee of sleep, by Deidrea Barrett, of Harvard University, contains a fascinating and detailed account of the dreams that have inspired successful people in all walks of life. In the field of art, William Blake painted his own dream as "Young Night's Thought" describing himself lying on the ground dreaming. Jasper Johns painted for several years without finding  recognition and success. In 1954, he was inspired by a dream to paint a large American flag. His series of flag paintings then established him as a major artist. Dreams played a major role in the Surrealist's art movement, and Salvador Dali claimed that : "the greatest potential  inspiration lay in the dream."
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  In the field of cinematography, many noted film makers have incorporated dreams directly into their work. Swedish director Igmar Bergman used his dream about a coffin exactly as it occurred in "Wild Strawberries." Fedrico Fellini's most memorable childhood dream of a magic magician is reproduced as the finale of his acclaimed film "8 1/2." Other film makers rework dream material  before filming. Director John Sayles had three dreams over a one week period that he combined to produce his comedy, "The Brother From Another Planet."

  Many writers have also been inspired by their dream images. The most famous horror story of all time, "Frankenstein," was inspired by a dream of Mary Wollstonecraft Shelly in 1816. Edgar Allen Poe's favorite story was his "Lady Ligea" which was based on  a dream about the title charter with large luminous eyes. Charlotte Bronte reports intentionally incubating exotic dream experiences for use in her writings, and Sir Walter Scott also intentionally found help in his dreams. Some literature is also dictated directly to the dreamer. One of the most famous and lengthy of these is Samuel Taylor Coleridge's poem "Kubla Kahn."

  Musicians have also found inspiration and success with their dreams. Paul McCartney composed his hit song "Yesterday" following a dream in 1965. Beethoven reported hearing passages of music as he rode in a carriage, and later used that material with only slight revisions. Singer and song writer Billy Joel  makes highly frequent use of dream material. He typically hears the musical arrangements but not the lyrics. Other musicians such as Igor Stravinski report seeing visual images in dreams and then composing music in the waking state to fit those images. His idea for "Rite of Spring" came from a dream scene in which a sacrificial virgin danced herself to death, and he composed music to fit that scene and mood.

  Dreams of famous scientific  discoveries and inventions abound. The German chemist Kekule worked tirelessly to discover the elusive structure of the benzene molecule. Exhausted, he dosed in front of a fire place one night. In his dream, he saw several snakes appear, form themselves into circles and bite  their  own tails. He awoke, and realized that the benzene molecule must exist as a ring structure in contrast to all  other known organic compounds that had linear chain structures. Elias Howe also worked himself to exhaustion in 1884 in many futile attempts to invent a practical sewing machine. Then in a dream he was surrounded by native tribesmen with spears that were about to execute him. The spears all had a highly unusual feature which was a hole in the point. He awoke and realized that a needle with a hole in the point would solve his problems, and soon completed his invention of the sewing machine. In 1936, the Nobel Prize in Medicine was awarded to Otto Lewis who made his breakthrough discovery regarding the chemical transmission of nerve impulses from information given in a dream.

  Dreams of physical health are another important function for the "Committee of Sleep." In early Greece, people went to the temple of Asclepius to incubate a dream for healing their physical ailments. In more modern times, Yale physician  Bernie Siegel documents a case of a man who dreamed that he was tortured by having hot coals placed beneath his chin. This led to a subsequent discovery of cancer of the throat. Psychologist Medard Boss reported a number of dreams that sensed illness before it appeared. In one of these cases, a woman had four repeating dreams in which members of her family turned to stone. She soon developed severe catatonic schizophrenia and her entire body was frozen rigid.

 Dreaming solutions to life's problems is not the exclusive domain of the rich and famous. The author of this book clearly documents her own research and success with incubating dreams in a classroom setting . Two thirds of the participants had dreams that addressed their problem, and one third dreamed about actual solutions. The author also provides an easy seven step method  for incubating your own dream solutions to your specific issues in life.

1. Write down the target problem in a brief sentence and place it by your bed

2. Review this problem just before going to bed

3. When in bed, visualize yourself dreaming about this problem and writing down your dream on a note pad.

4. Remind yourself that you want to dream about this problem while falling asleep.

5. Keep a  pen and a note pad on the night table adjacent to your bed.

6. arrange any objects associated with this problem on your night table where you can easily see them.

7. Upon  awakening, write down any dreams that have occurred. If no dream is present, lie quietly in bed and invite the dream to return if possible.

 So now you can put the "Committee of Sleep" to work, and see what wonderful solutions show up in your own dreams.

Walt recently published the story of his dreams and stock market investments as "Dreams: A doorway to Abundance" in Venture Inward, Nov/Dec, 2002. You can read his account of his work with dreams and investments at:

The book, Committee of Sleep, may be purchased from Amazon.com.

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