Electric Dreams

The $1,000 Dream

David Jenkins, PhD

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Jenkins, David, PhD (2006 July). DreamRePlay: The $1,000 Dream. Electric Dreams 13(7).

The dream that found $1,000

I constantly struggle to find ways to explain the remarkable value of dreams to my friends. Many of them, if the truth be known, cannot understand why anyone would want to look at their dreams. For me, and others, dream work is fascinating in its own right as well as -- believe it or not -- having many practical uses.

Here is a clear example in which dream work solved an urgent, practical problem. Even my doubting friends, could benefit from this kind of help from their night life.

The Missing $1,000

Philip and his wife, Helen, come to my groups regularly. For the first year Philip almost never dreamed. After about a year, he started to dream more frequently-about two or three times a month.

In his waking life, Philip's mail-order business receives many checks in varying amounts, mostly less than $50 One day he received so many checks that they totaled around $1,000. That evening, he went to deposit them but the ATM was broken and the bank was closed. He took his checks home. The next day, when he went to look for them, they couldn't be found. Philip had already endorsed them, so if stolen, the checks could be cashed.

Philip searched the house several times, but nothing. He even cleaned, creating a pile of general trash as he searched. He was at his wits' end. He decided he had to ask all these people to stop their checks and he would pay their bank charges. He would probably not get new checks from some of them. It was a waking-life nightmare.

Philip's Dream

Philip had a sense that his dreams might know where the envelope could be.

"On the day before the dream, I unintentionally recalled several times while I was searching how David had told us that dreams can help people solve practical waking life problems."

That night he had a dream:

I dreamed that I was looking in the mailbox. Only it wasn't really a mailbox. Funnily enough all the letters along with the trash I had collected and a crumpled old ATM envelope were stacked neatly and vertically side by side like books in a bookcase.

When he woke up, Philip started wandering around the house.

"I didn't actually realize there was a place I hadn't searched; at first I didn't realize anything at all. Instead, I just felt the urge in my early morning stupor to walk to my office. I looked at the shelf in my bookcase where I keep spare ATM envelopes."

Philip keeps a quantity of empty ATM envelopes in his office bookcase because he hates standing at the ATM machine stuffing his checks into the envelope there. They are neatly stacked and vertical -- as in the dream. One was far from empty-it was stuffed with the checks.

Philip's dream didn't exactly say "Look in the bookcase where you keep your empty ATM envelopes," but it conveyed that idea so powerfully that he just walked over there on autopilot and found his checks.

Philip credits my dream work with saving him $1,000 and a whole lot of hassle. He wrote to me: "Please share this experience with your readers as a token of our gratitude to you for the enjoyment and insights your classes have given us and for your dream-based help with waking life issues."


Philip's experience is not unusual. Because dreams follow a different logic from waking life, they seem divorced from waking life but often they are commenting on it from an unusual perspective. Sometimes that unusual perspective cuts through and tells you what you need to know.

When you have a problem that has exhausted your daytime skills, pass it over to your dream self to do the thinking. You can read more about techniques for using your dreams in this way in my column on Dream Incubation.

Dream Analysis By Telephone

A phone consultation is a great way to begin your exploration of dream work. It is also perfect when you don't have the time to attend a regular class but want to discuss a particular dream.

David is available for dream consultations by phone. The current cost is $50 per hour. A typical dream analysis might consist of a 30-45 minute discussion of the dream and a follow up after the next dream.

David's hours for telephone consultations are Monday through Friday, 10 am to 7 pm, Pacific Time. To make an appointment, please email him with two or three times when you are available and your phone number. He will e-mail you back with an appointment time, payment information and request a confirmation. David's e-mail address is davidj@dreamreplay.com

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