Elias Howe, Dreamer & Engineer
For example, Elias Howe had a dream that helped him develop a functioning sewing machine needle.
In the dream, Howe is being held captive by African cannibals. As he tries to escape from a boiling cauldron, the natives poke spears at him to keep him in place.
When Howe woke from his nightmare he recalled an odd addition to the spears: they all had holes on their tips. As he came fully awake, Howe realized this was the solution to his sewing needle problem.
But the question researchers like to ask is, “Was Howe’s famous dream an actual solution to his problem, or did his waking mind fill in the blanks?”
In other words, was Howe only inspired by the dream scene or did the dream provide a definitive solution?”
What I’d like to suggest is that it doesn’t matter.
Howe invented the perfect sewing machine needle, and whether or not his dream came to him as the perfect solution or just inspirational imagery, he got the solution anyway, clearly inspired by the dream.
To illustrate further, I’ll use myself as an example.
Before we started discussing what whale dreams mean, I hadn’t had a whale dream in years.
Shortly after we started talking about whales, though, I had two whale dreams, both were quite profound.
The first dream came the night I asked the question, “What message is trying to come through our whale dreams?”
I dreamed that my cat had a whale rib cage stuck in his mouth.
But the dreams continued even though I stopped asking the question.
I was unintentionally incubating dreams.
This is what I did:
I wrote one blog post about my whale dream.
I discussed whale dreams with friends, even sharing my “whale dream envy” because I’d never dreamed about swimming with whales or making deep eye contact with dolphins like other people had.
I edited nearly a dozen whale related posts written by the other Dream Team members.
I read and replied to over a hundred whale related dreams and comments shared by DreamTribe members.
I researched other websites, looking for information and insight into whales and whale dreams.
And as a result, I had dream after dream that appeared to be a response to the original question “what is the whales’ message.”
(I even had a dream about playing with a dolphin, making beautiful and meaningful eye-contact and then seeing an ocean full of humpback whales. I no longer have whale/dolphin dream envy!)
But one dream, which feels integrally related, didn’t have a single whale in it.
Instead, it was about pollution, specifically about how automobile gasoline is killing the water.
Considering all of this, and reflecting on other Big dreamers like Elias Howe, it seems clear that total immersion in a topic will elicit helpful dreams.
We only need to pay attention and be open to the possibility that our dreams are guiding us.
Here are some more hints about dream incubation:
- After you create an intention, record your dreams for weeks, even months.
- Pick one question or intention to contemplate and focus on it for awhile. Immerse yourself in the theme.
- Your dreams may not reflect literal imagery related to your question. Instead, they may be metaphoric. Don’t look for the obvious, literal answer. Use your dreams like divination tools.
- When you want to dream solutions to problems the last thing you want is to get cryptic dream messages! I’ve had success incubating straight forward, more literal dreams by saying, “My intention is to dream about ______. Please send a dream I can easily understand!”
- Invite a friend to incubate dreams on your behalf, or do the same for a friend and share the results. Two people dreaming about one topic will double your results!
P.S. Have you had success incubating dreams? Share your tricks and experiences below.
P.P.S. I still have the pottery wheel nearly 20 years later. It’s survived several moves, including one big one half way across the country.