Who couldn’t use 5 easy tips to remember your dreams? It’s so easy to forget a dream in the wake of alarms and the early morning rush out the door. When I speak about my work in the ‘field of dreams’ people either respond with enthusiasm or with the response, “I don’t dream”. In between is the response of those who wonder why dreams matter at all. So here are my top five ways to get started dream-catching. When you start catching and writing your dreams down, you begin to see patterns and details that are easily lost in the light of day and you begin to know yourself.
We All Dream
By “we” I mean not only those who are reading this, but all mammals as well. If you think you don’t dream, you are really just not remembering your dreams. Dream catching is a challenging activity but motivation—really wanting to remember your dreams—will take you half the way there. The other part of the equation requires creating an environment that will help you succeed. Dreams are slippery devils; as illusive as Harry Potter’s Golden Snitch and as hard to catch. But there are things we can do that will make dreams easier to remember.
The Big 5
- Here are my 5 easy tips to remember your dreams. It all starts with setting your intention. Putting a pad and paper or a journal next to your bed sends a signal to your psyche that you are serious in your intention to remember your dreams. Don’t underestimate the power of this simple act. When our outer actions mirror our inner desires, change is possible.
- Reset the alarm. Don’t use an alarm to wake yourself up if you don’t have to. Personally, my best dream recall is on the weekends when I have more time to get up slowly. Or, if you must have that wake-up insurance that an alarm provides, set it to go off five or ten minutes early. Giving yourself time to ask, “where was I just now” may be the only boost to dream recall that you will need.
- Don’t move! When we are asleep, our gross motor movements are somewhat inhibited, but the moment we move as we leap out of bed in the morning, we pull ourselves out of that delicate state and the dream memory vanishes into thin air. When you wake up, see if you can stay in that position for a moment. Then asking yourself, “what was I feeling” or “where was I just now” or “what was I experiencing” you will begin to reel in the dream like a fish on a hook. Bit by bit the dream will come back to you or it may even rush back all at once.
- Write down whatever you remember. If all you can remember is “something about school”, “laughing”, or “chocolate” then write that down. Whatever seems to be on your mind as you wake up, write it down. It may trigger dream recall later or it may be a small piece of a larger dream, but even if nothing happens with that tiny fragment, you will be strengthening your dream recall “muscles” and getting in the remembering habit. The first time you may only remember a vague feeling but each successive time, you will remember more. Succeeding at dream recall is sometimes that simple.
- Write it now. If you wait until you have showered and had your first cup of coffee, it will be too late and the dream will be lost. Sometimes something in your day may trigger the dream to come back to you but you can’t count on that. If you are serious in your desire to remember your dreams, you have to first develop good dream recall habits. Write the dream when you get up and don’t wait until you have time later, because let’s face it, we never have enough time. Make remembering your dreams a priority and you will be richly rewarded.
Dreams Matter 2.0
The development and nurturing of dream recall brings us to back to the question of why dreams matter. Aren’t dreams just the random firing of some neurons in our brains or at best, the residue left over from our day? Oddly enough, there is no consensus in the scientific community as to exactly what the function of dreams is or why we dream at all. There are a number of good theories, however, I would like to bypass this line of inquiry all together. Because when someone asks ‘why do dreams matter’ they are not looking for a dry scientific definition of a physiological function, rather they are really asking ‘why should dreams matter to me’. And why dreams should matter to us as individuals is because the “me” that we think we know is just a small part of our whole Self. In dreams as in life, I take this more holistic approach. So let’s look at this.
Peeking Under the Mask
We all put forward the face-or mask-we are most comfortable with according to our life and needs and dreams help us fill out that limited view, introducing us to the rich, multi-dimensional souls that we really are. Dreams tell us about those roles we play in our own personal dramas while also giving us experiences of the roles we avoid. We are not just personalities with a ‘best by’ date, doomed to live and die and that’s it. We are much more interesting then that. Dreams are certainly helpful in pointing out our personalities’ psychological foibles and Freud, the father of modern psychiatry, was correct when he called dreams the “royal road to the unconscious”, but the journey via dreams does not stop there. We are first and foremost souls having an experience and adventure in being physical and human so when we dream, we get to experience more of that multi-dimensional self. Our dreams reconnect us with all of who we are through our personal psychology but also through precognitive information, visits from deceased loved ones, flashes of past lives or out-of-body-travel! Over two thousand years ago, quoting Socrates, Plato wrote, “The unexamined life is not worth living.” Simply stated, dreams provide us with an easy and entertaining way to examine our lives and our souls. Now that is something that matters.
- Sometimes your psyche and system will need a few days to catch up with your new intentions. If you don’t have any luck the first night, persevere and keep at if for at least 3 days. My own pace is sluggish so I try to keep at it for at least a week. I’m just wired that way and you may be too!
- Do NOT start thinking about your To-Do list for the day! It is a sure-fire buzz kill for dream recall! Just hang out with your pillow and review the images that come to mind. Telling your dreams, “I love you!” doesn’t hurt either!
- Write and let me know how it’s going for you. Like my home state of California, as I write this, I am personally going through a Dream Drought. Hang in there, I remind myself. Rewards to follow.
- And speaking of rewards, as a reward for making it to the end of this post, and because you rock, share this on your FB wall and tag me or on Twitter. One lucky dreamer will win some free dream work with me, one-on-one. Just because I love you.