Discover Your Dreams
A Beginner's Guide

by Ron Masa, Ph.D. & Debbie Hart

Dear Dreamer,

Hello again. Have you remembered any interesting dreams lately? Let's talk about the benefits of recording them in a dream journal:

Lesson 2

Keeping A Dream Journal

Debbie Hart

Once you remember even the smallest piece of a dream upon awakening, it is exciting and extremely useful to capture whatever dream content you have received as soon as possible so that you can easily access it later on.

Once you have recorded this dream material, you can explore it to receive spiritual and personal-growth insights, guidance, and artistic inspiration. You can also relive a healing dream experience in your mind as a positive visualization, or use dream images in many other ways.

Choosing a dream journal is a very individual decision. We encourage you to pick any size or kind of notebook that best suits you. A bound notebook or sketchbook, for example, works well because it is portable and keeps everything together and well organized in one place for easy reference. If you are the type who often finds yourself capturing dreams on separate sheets of paper at different times, collecting and storing them in a three-ring binder accomplishes the same goal.

A dream journal serves multiple purposes. The act of writing down your dreams as soon as you receive them will often increase your dream recall. In addition, this practice will provide a valuable record of your dreams over time. You can review this collection regularly and discover recurring messages, patterns and symbols that reveal the deepest issues of your life and the evolution of your psyche.

The "predictive layer" of dreams also begins to emerge when you review dreams that are one to six months old. In some cases, you can clearly see in retrospect that an old dream actually foretold events that have since come to pass.

When writing down your dreams, it helps to keep your dream journal and a writing implement right next to your bed for easy access if you wake up during the night and remember any part of a dream.

Once you realize that you are awake and are remembering part of a dream, it helps to lie still in the same position for a few moments and review the dream in your mind a few times to retain it in memory before changing positions to grab your dream journal.

Often, by that point, if you can remember even a snippet of the dream and start writing it down, those details will trigger more and more recall of the dream as you go along.

Here is a handy technique for writing down your dreams in the dark without turning on the light and awakening your partner: After you have written the first line across the top of the page and your hand is positioned at the right margin, move your hand straight down about an inch, then straight across back to the left margin of the page like a typewriter carriage return, and begin the next line. This process usually leaves enough space between lines to ensure that they don't overlap. Although the first few times you try this, you may be amused (or dismayed!) the next morning by the results, with repeated practice, you can master this technique.

As an alternative, you can purchase a special pen, like the
NiteWriter, with a built-in light to illuminate the writing area. You can even buy a battery-lit notepad designed specifically for recording dreams in the dark! The Nite Note writing pad lights up when you pick up the attached pen (specially designed to write at any angle for recording dreams while lying down), and the light turns off again when you replace the pen in its holder.

When writing down your dream, don't worry about grammar or censor your word choices; just let the words flow as quickly as possible. There is no wrong way to record a dream, and the particular words and phrasings your psyche spontaneously chooses provide valuable information. Do not worry about the length of what you recall either, since you can glean much information from even the smallest snippets of dreams.

Once you have captured your dream to your satisfaction, simply flip your notebook to the next blank page and bookmark your place with your pen so that you are all set to record your next dream. You can then set your notebook down and fall right back to sleep.

The next day, if you have not done so already, write down the date of the dream and give it a title. Simply pick the first title that comes to your mind, without thinking too much about it, since the words you spontaneously choose will contain clues to the dream's meaning.

If you prefer, you can keep an audio dream journal. In this case, keep a tape recorder next to your bed instead of a journal, and speak (or whisper!) your dream into the tape recorder upon awakening.

If you are using the audio dream recording method, the same principles still apply: Remain as much as possible in the same position after awakening, and don't worry about grammar, word choices, or the amount of dream content you can recall. Just capture what you remember on tape. The next day, record the date and a title as an addendum, just as you would in a written journal. You can later transcribe or type up the material for further exploration or work directly from listening to the tape, perhaps more than once.

Once you have captured your dreams, you can also draw or paint images from them in your dream journal, or use the dream content in any way you desire. You may know about Carl Jung's amazing oversized leather- bound dream journal, in which he wrote out his dreams in beautiful script accompanied by many impressive drawings and paintings. Well- known dreamworker Jeremy Taylor also keeps an oversized dream journal filled with dreams, drawings, stickers, and the like. Your dream journal is an entirely personal creation, limited only by your own imagination.


To apply this lesson, purchase or create your own dream
journal (or enhance yours if you already have one), and start
recording your dreams. Use your creativity to personalize your dream journal to suit you.

Next Lesson: Starting to Work on Your Dreams.


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Sweet Dreams,

Dr. Ron and Debbie


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