Explaining Dreams to an Alien

Explaining Dreams to an Alien: A Closer Look at Dreams

And that, says Delaney, is the problem-solving genius of dreams at work: Undistracted by the trivial pressures of waking life, they view our lives more wisely and simply than our daylight minds ever could. If we learn to understand our dreams, she says, they'll give us sound, honest answers based on the wisdom within and lead to a trusting, helpful partnership between the dreaming and the waking minds.

The good news, says Delaney, is that anyone can learn to tap the problem-solving powers of their dreams. In her best-selling books Living Your Dreams and Breakthrough Dreaming, Delaney outlines her interview method of dream interpretation and also explains her system of "dream incubation," by which you can literally shape your dreams to work on any issues that concern you.

"The insights you get from your dreams can improve your work life, your friendships, your marriage, your self-image," she says. "Or maybe you just need some creative ideas about redecorating the bedroom. Nobody says every dream has to be mystical and profound. Just remember," she says, "your mind is working hard when you sleep, why not learn to use it?"

Another Lucid Dream

I've left balmy Northern California and returned to my home base here in the frosty East, where I'm praying for a Lucid Dream set on any tropical island that will have me.

Speaking of which, I had my second lucid dream the day after flying back from the West Coast. This time, I was in a miniature race car, flashing at warp speed through the streets of San Francisco. It was "Bullitt" at the speed of thought, and I swear, it was a full- blown, belly-fluttering, roller-coaster rush. It was so much fun, in fact, I remember giggling like a kid.

So, I have no doubt about the "real" sensations of lucid dreaming. But in this second lucid dream, as in the first, I felt no total sense of control. More precisely, I seemed to have control over only what the dream would allow.

For example, I was able to race my mini-hot rod at will across the Golden Gate Bridge, up and down the sheer slopes of Telegraph Hill, and through the narrow alleys of Chinatown. But when I pulled over in front of a North Beach coffeehouse, where I spotted lovely Kim Basinger waiting for a bus, things began to crumble:

Me: "Hey, Toots, need a lift? I'm traveling at the speed of thought."

Ms. Basinger, gazing dubiously at my go-cart: "Dream on, Bub, you aren't that lucid."

Okay, it didn't really happen that way, but the point is, even in lucid dreams, you can't always get what you want. Or maybe I just need more practice.