It is on the whole probable that we continually dream, but that consciousness makes such a noise that we do not hear it.” Carl Jung
Last time we discussed a few techniques to help you remember your dreams. Developing a practice of dream recall is like any other practice–it gets better with practice! So don’t be discouraged if it takes a while before you remember them on any regular basis. Also, it is perfectly normal to have periods of time where you remember many dreams, and dry periods where you can’t capture a thing. It could be that your daily life is so full at the moment that there is no room in your psyche for more information to come through. Or you may already be working deeply in your waking life (in therapy, in journaling, in deep conversations, for example), so that your dream muse feels that your inner life is being covered for now! In any case, here is a handy list that may help you to “prime the pump” of your dream life.
TIPS FOR REMEMBERING DREAMS
1. Be prepared, or, you can’t fool your unconscious. Have dream recording materials right by your bed so your dreaming self knows you are serious.
2. Accept and value every dream or dream fragment; don’t dismiss anything as too trivial or too small. Write down even a word or phrase if that’s all that comes through- you will be amazed at how much information you can get out of just one word once we get into understanding the dream material.
3 Pick an unpressured period of time to try to remember (like a vacation or weekend) if there has been a long period of non-remembering.
4. Allow yourself to waken spontaneously without an alarm clock. One friend of mine calls her alarm clock her “dream eraser”!
5. On waking, lie still and review the dream in your mind before moving. Allow the lingering images of the last scenes to act as a hook to help you recall earlier portions.
6. Record your dream before doing anything else – even before sitting up if possible. Of course, if you remember it later in the day, it’s never too late to write it down. I seem to have a penchant for remembering in the shower – so I just keep repeating it to myself until I am dry enough to write it down.
7. If you know that you had a dream but can’t remember even a bit of it, write the date and the word “dream” in your dream journal, thus honoring the process and prompting future remembering.
8. Share the dream out loud with another to set it orally as well as in writing.
9. Lie down and bring your body back to the same position that you slept in to stimulate positional recall. I love this one- if I lay down on my side and curl up, even later in the day, I can often recapture the felt sense of the dream, and then the rest of it rolls in.
10. Use the image of wrapping yourself in the dream as you would a shawl –- taking the edges of the dream and wrapping them around you to envelope you back inside the dream. Feel with your body the sensations of being wrapped up in a cozy shawl of dreams.
11. Write down your immediate thoughts and/or feelings as you awaken, even if you don’t think they came from the dream. They may have emerged from the “hypnopompic or hypnogogic zones”, the in-between states between waking and sleeping.
12. Sketch out, or draw your dream. A picture can be worth a thousand words- sometimes we get insight when we can see the dimensions and colors and shapes of our dream images that words alone cant do justice to.
13. Practice dream incubation before going to sleep at night. In brief, this means spending a few minutes before going to sleep writing down the question you want answered; and then writing the dream down on the same page, so that you can see the connections between your question and the answer; which may be in dream code and then figured out in relation to the question. Next time- more on this…
May your dreams be abundant! Let me know how it goes…