For the longest time I didn’t think I dreamt. My sleep cycle was a little funky and I always struggled with getting my mind to settle. Awakenings were abrupt and I had to get going. I had not remembered dreaming for years. Of course, I was dreaming, and I may have even had one occasionally peek through when I woke, but I mentally threw it away to get on with my day.
Studies suggest that dreaming is part of having a healthy mind and an important part of our rest cycle. Some people don’t recall their dreams, which is not the same as not having them.
One day, the spigot turned on. Oddly, it was after a conversation with medium, Ericka Boussarhane, where I mentioned not being conscious of my dreams. The next morning I woke up with a vivid memory of a dream. I have continued to have regular awareness of my dreams ever since. Having gone without dreams for a while, I find them to be valuable. I really try to pay attention to my dreams and a journal helps me to do that.
A dream journal is simply a record of what you remember from your dreams. It can be in a lovely book, but it does not need to be. A spiral notebook works fine, as do index cards or other pieces of paper, as long as you can organize them. Some people use video or audio recordings to capture their dreams. This is fine, but it adds some challenges to part of what a journal can do for you. (More on that shortly.)
It is important that what you use to record your dreams is readily at hand the moment you awake. Dreams fade surprisingly quickly. Any delay between waking and recording the memory of your dream will cause details to fade, or the dream to be forgotten altogether. When you record your dream just put down what you remember. Put as much detail as you can. It doesn’t have to be eloquent. No one else is going to see this. Sometimes there will be images that seem important. Drawing in your dream journal is a good way to help capture things that are hard to put into words. Again, this is for your eyes only. Time and date the entries.
You will find that simply documenting your dreams in this fashion causes you to remember much more about what you dream. It pulls the information from your subconscious into your conscious mind. Now, what do we do with this stuff?
Exploring your dreams
The most important aspect of keeping a journal is to review it from time to time. See what the ideas and symbols in your dreams say about what you experience. There are dream symbol books that claim to explain the things you see in your dreams, but you don’t need that. Your dreams talk to you in your own language. Look for patterns in your dreams and changes over time. For me, it is easier to review something written, since I can more easily scan through it. I find this harder to do with recordings. If I did recordings, I would probably transcribe them in some way so I could more easily review them.
Ask your dreams
Once you get the hang of recording your dreams, you can ask yourself questions before you go to bed. Concentrate on something important, or something you are trying to understand. Decide that you want to dream about it. See if something meaningful is revealed. Inventions have come through dreams. The answers may be in a strange, exaggerated play, but you may recognize something beneficial. This takes practice and will improve in time.
Look for connections
Some people find that their dreams reflect things that are about to happen. There are stories about people who have foreseen disasters. Others have dreamed things that give them a sort of déjà vu. If you find that you experience this, then it might be something that you can turn to your advantage. It may help you see things coming.
Talk with a partner
If you have someone close to you with whom you can share your dreams, you may want to talk some of them over. Sharing can be a nice way to express your closeness, as dreams are about as intimate as it gets. You may also find that your partner gives you some unexpected insight.
Try some dream journaling and see what you discover. Who knows? Your next great inspiration may come from your dreams.