I am honored to support you on your path of evolving consciousness and invite you to use your dreams as a significant tool for awakening. You may be thinking, “I’d love to understand my dreams but have a hard time recalling them.” If this is true, then please read the article I have penned for most people who follow my seven steps to total recall have great success. Even remembering a tiny “snippet” is a great beginning and your recall will only expand from there.
Dreams come to us and we remember them when we are ready to get it…the fact they’re coming to us means we’re ready. Robert Johnson
Are you able to remember your dreams? If so, how many dreams do you recall? Many factors affect dream recall including medication, stress, alcohol, food, illness, how many hours you sleep, how deeply you sleep and, of course, fear of recall. You might wonder: Why on earth would I be afraid to remember my dreams? There are many reasons including feeling uncomfortable or afraid about things we don’t understand or wish to face within ourselves. Also, we tend to invalidate the unknown. I have witnessed this many times while being interviewed about dreams on radio or TV. Inevitably, one person will challenge: “What research shows that dreams mean anything at all!?” Responding to such a question is impossible; it’s akin to the old saying: “The atheist can’t find God for the same reason that a thief can’t find a policeman.”
Dreams are meant to help you, not harm you, and that includes the disturbing poisonous diamondback rattlesnake trying to bite you as much as the radiant golden chalice given to you by a loving, wise woman. And again, we dream every night whether we remember our dreams or not. Rather than asking someone, “Did you have any dreams?” Try this: “Do you remember any of your dreams from last night?”
The art of dream recall is like anything else you want to experience: you must have the desire to remember them. Dreams images often live in the shadows and if they haven’t been acknowledged or tended to in a long while (or, ever), they need some gentle coaxing. The more you seek to understand them, the more likely you will recall them.
Dream Recall in Seven Steps
- Set your intention to remember your dreams before falling asleep. Before falling asleep, repeat 3 times: “Tonight I’m going to remember my dreams.” Tell your dream self that you are willing to remember your dreams, even if it’s only a small “snippet.” Like anything else in life, what we place our attention on expands and dream recall is no different. Dreams may seem silly but only to your waking mind. Often people who cannot remember their dreams are resistant for various reasons. This is understandable considering how confusing and frightening they might seem. Again intention and action are key; it is impossible to trick psyche, you are either committed to remembering your dreams or you are not.
- Keep a dream journal near your bed (or a tape recorder). The more you record your dreams, the more dream recall you will experience. Writing the dream down anchors it and demonstrates your commitment enabling you to progress from the mental level of intention to the physical level of action. The other important reason for recording your dreams is that you will have clearer recall upon awakening. If you wait to write them down, you risk losing the clarity of the dream including the feelings you experienced while having the dream, and your feelings are essential. Dreams are elusive and will disappear within seconds.
- Pose a question before falling asleep. It may pertain to any area of your life in which you would like some guidance. Allow any issues you are working on, or answers you are seeking, to come into your awareness as you fall asleep. Ask one question about a situation you are dealing with and have trust that your dreams will give you the answer(s). The issue isn’t to try and control the outcome of your dreams, so only ask open-ended questions.
- Record your dreams as soon as possible, even if it’s during the night. Try not to turn on any bright lights or anything that makes noise. Turning on an overhead light may take you out of a state of dream awareness and cause you to lose the dream completely. Using a light-pen works wonders. Always record the dream using the first person narrative “I” and in the present tense. The key is to keep yourself in the dream so you can recall as much as possible. You want to feel the dream as though it is alive, a living embodied experience that lives inside of you. Record even the smallest bits and pieces of your dream, they could very well be the catalysts for remembering the rest of the dream later in the day. Even writing down a snippet of your dream is helpful and often triggers the ability to recall the rest of the dream.
- Carpe noctem! If you awake during the night, seize the opportunity by focusing on what you want, e.g., guidance about a specific issue, desire or interest. Instead of worrying about your finances, health or “to do” list at 3 a.m., choose what you center your energy on. Think about something in your life you would like to enhance, it could entail your work, health, or family. What you shine your light of attention on will often manifest as a dream when you fall back to sleep. I practice this regularly and have received dreams flowing with guidance about sensitive relationship issues, ideas for juicing up my creative projects, and even specific foods to add to my diet for increasing energy.
- Focus on dream symbols and feelings while recording your dream. Recall the feelings you had during the dream and upon awakening, but be careful not to judge your dream. Remember that the majority of dreams are metaphoric, not literal. People tend to think the worst about their dreams, which blocks their ability to understand them. Again, dreams are given to us to help us become more aware.
- Make a commitment to remember your dreams and develop your own “dream language.” As you do so, your dreams will become easier to remember and understand. Dreams are recalled within seconds upon waking so you may have only 15-20 seconds to “upload” a dream into your long-term memory banks. Your dream journal will become a valuable tool as you proceed on your soul’s adventure.
Laura V Grace, PhD, is a spiritual activist, Jungian counselor and author. A member of Spiritual Director’s International, her background is in world religions, East-West spirituality, Jungian dream analysis, and integrative studies. She has attended The New Seminary and One Spirit Learning Alliance in New York and received her PhD at Pacifica Graduate Institute. Laura’s counseling practice is grounded in depth psychology and somatic studies. She specializes in relationship issues (couples and individuals), women’s issues, spirituality, anxiety, stress and depression.
Active in the International Association for the Study of Dreams, Laura has taught more than two hundred courses on the transforming power of night-time dreams. Her unique process “Dream Inquiry” helps dreamers interpret and use their dreams as a powerful tool. Her newest book entitled Dreams: Soul-Centered Living in the 21st Century, A depth psychological and somatic approach to transformation, published by Aeon Books is available November, 2020 through Amazon.