Thanks for your interest in our free e-course, "Discover Your Dreams: A Beginner's Guide." Let's jump right in! Here is the first lesson...
Wish You Could Remember Your Dreams?
Ron Masa, Ph.D.
"We need dreams the shape of lakes
with mornings in them thick as fish" (Nye)
Dreams contain great wisdom that can help us in many ways, but before you can work with your dreams, you must remember them. One of the most frequent questions I hear in dream workshops is, "How can I remember my dreams?"
Remembering a dream involves the transfer of information from our unconscious to our conscious self. We all dream every night, but manythings can diminish our recall of these interior dramas. Being too tired affects us, as can stress and anxiety, or fear of the unknown could be blocking our access to our own dreams; some people have simply never learned how to welcome dream information.
The first thing to consider is your attitude toward your own dreams. One brilliant client of mine never remembered his dreams. In exploring how he felt about dreams, he said they were too irrational and they scared him, "Heck, anything can happen in a dream." It's true, even gravity need not apply. Deceased friends and relatives may reappear--in the best of health--in our dreams.
I suggested he offer a "deal" to the maker of dreams: "No crazy content, and I will write the dream down and work with it." The very next night, he remembered his first dream with great clarity. He was making eggs for breakfast and washing dishes, yet many important insights were encoded in this very down-to-earth imagery.
Our receptivity to hearing our own dream guidance improves dream recall. And you can sometimes make deals. You can even ask questions, in writing if you wish, before bedtime and then dream the response to your "dream request."
Reading about dreams is for many people a good stimulus to dream recall. We will suggest some good dream books to start with in a later lesson. Jung once said that the unconscious takes toward us roughly the attitude we take toward it. When we show an interest in dreams, they often make themselves more accessible and can begin to enrich our lives in many ways.
Set your intention at night to remember, honor and record any dream fragment that you recall. Just setting the intention itself can help. Many people think they must wait for a "complete" or "important" dream, but any detail will do.
Lie very still in bed when you first awaken and allow any images to return. Often we catch a dream by the tail, recalling first the events nearest the end, after which we can begin to trace the story backwards.
Create or purchase a dream journal (more in lesson # 2) to record your dreams. This demonstrates to your unconscious a serious intention to remember dreams. You may prefer to use a tape recorder to capture your dreams, though you may need to transcribe them (or listen back in segments) in order to work with the dream.
Be creative and curious about your own interior; it is guiding, rehearsing and retuning your attitudes each night. Even the dreams we do not remember help us adjust the next day. And as Jung's star student, Dr. Von Franz wrote: "Every understood dream is like a slight electrical shock into higher consciousness."
Studies show that adding B-complex vitamins to one's diet may improve both daytime recall and the recall of nighttime dreams. Using a snooze alarm or taking naps can invite dreaming when you are less deeply asleep, making it easier to recall them. Conversely, alcohol and some drugs decrease dream recall.
On the one hand, many dreams could be recalled if only we had a vacation--many people recall their dreams more prolifically at such times. On the other hand, dreams are potent! Some people are not prepared to face certain issues, and may avoid the messages in their dreams by simply failing to remember them.
Even hard-core "non-dreamers" do, usually, remember some selective dreams or nightmares--sometimes as clearly as if they happened last night. Nightmares also guide us toward health and wholeness, but they do it in a story-form designed to force our psyche to pay attention; ironically, avoiding dream recall because of nightmares could make nightmares even more necessary.
If you are eager to explore some dream work before your dreams begin to flow, here is a profound secret it took me years to discover: You can analyze any waking-life experience as if it were a dream, using all the same techniques we will cover in this course. Symbolic wisdom is hidden all around us. Why this works so well is definitely part of the Mystery.
Dreams are a royal road to our interior, and they are well worth befriending. Over two decades, I have seen so very many dreamers find a profound, inner-guided direction in their lives, discover new parts of themselves, and live more fully as a result of exploring their dreams.
You will dream tonight. Will you remember it this time? If not, you can always catch a later show, maybe tomorrow night.
To apply this lesson to your life, select the dream-recall techniques above that most appeal to you, and set your intention to remember and record your dreams in the next few days.
Next Lesson: Keeping a Dream Journal.
Dr. Ron and Debbie