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Friday, September 12, 2008

Dream Symbols 24: Remembering Your Dreams

There are some fundamental steps to be followed in order to remember your dreams. When I taught this subject to undergrads many often told me that they had great difficulty in remembering their dreams. Here is what I recommended:

Making An Effort To Give Your Dreams Importance Prior To Sleep

Decide you are interested in dreams, but ‘show” yourself that you are serious about it by actually getting a notebook destined precisely for that purpose, and putting it on a permanent spot on your bedside table, along with a pen or pencil (or, if you prefer to record, get that equipment out and ready)

Imagine yourself remembering and writing down your dreams
  • Imagine yourself experiencing the “aha” of insight (the "aha" that would come to you once you have understood the meaning of the dream)
  • Do the above steps just before falling asleep, but also during the day
  • Read books about dreams and dreaming and symbolism
  • Share dreams with others (have a socially and emotionally supportive context i.e. take a dream class, join a dream group, do therapy, etc.)
  • Focus on the desire to remember dreams as your last intentional act before falling asleep
  • Focus also on the issues/situations you would like to dream about (dream incubation)
  • Date your notebook/journal/paper in advance

Preparation of Tools for Dream Collection & Recollection

  • Keep your tools (paper, pen, tape recorder, flashlight, etc.) for recording initial dream memories at your bedside
  • When you wake up try to keep your eyes closed in order to recreate as much as possible of the dream before actually writing it down
  • Also, move as little as possible in the morning before getting up in order to keep as many dream memories intact, or if you have already moved, try getting back into the position you were in just upon waking to see if that will help you recall your dreams
  • Start by remembering what it was you were dreaming about just before you woke up and then work your way back through the dream, rather than trying to think of the entire dream all at once. After you have worked your way back, you can rework it forward, in order to have it in sequence. Don’t forget that this process just takes a few minutes or often just seconds

Recording Your Dreams

  • Draw sketches of the visual memories of the dream if you are so inclined and/or moved
  • Remember it is crucial to record the dream experience in some fashion as soon as you remember it, since even with vivid memories, these will soon fade unless notes are made immediately
  • Even if you only remember a small dream fragment, record it as well – even if this is only a feeling – since this may help you remember more on subsequent nights. Further, the fragment may help you recall greater portions of the dream, or even other dreams
  • Record your feelings after you wake up since even if a dream was apparently good, if you have dubious or negative feelings about it, perhaps something about the dream has eluded you
  • Make sure you mention colors in your dream recording, especially if these appeared to be of importance in the dream
  • Transcribe your dreams the next day, otherwise you may forget what a lot of your nighttime scribbling meant, and also you may find that too many dreams start accumulating, and then of course, it will become too much of a chore to do

Previous posts in this series are:

You may also be interested in viewing some of the recommended dream books and books on symbolism on my website, my radio shows on the topic, as well as some of the dream links on my links page.

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