Dreams are a realm that many people feel cut off from. For millennia, dreams have been acknowledged as a source of spiritual guidance and inspiration, yet many of us have difficulty grasping this for the simple reason that they don’t remember their dreams. I’m lucky because I am a dreamer. I grew up in a family and culture that reveres the wisdom of the dream world, and uses it to guide us. Most of the time my dreams are simply my subconscious processing the events of my day, possibly with a ‘hint’ of what’s to come. Sometimes though, my dreams are the landscape of powerful wisdom lessons from my guides.
There is a distinctly different tone to these dreams – an air of spiritual importance. Most frequently they are reminders of the spiritual lessons that I’m processing through, and offer a sense of hope, as well as guidance to better navigate my challenges. Sometimes these dreams enact coming events, but this is rare. Most of the glimpses into future provided by my dreams are conveyed symbolically, which is the case with most people, and even the most prophetic dreams are still influenced by your own psyche.
I can tell when I’ve had such a dream by the emotional tone that it strikes. Simply put, it ‘feels important, significant’. When I wake with this feeling, I immediately grab my notebook and pen (kept on my nightstand) and begin to write the dream down. First, I outline the components that stand out the most. This is usually a simple list, such as: castle, ocean, harlequin and mermaid. I also list all of the ‘characters’ that I recognize, which may be friends, family or even celebrities. Then I write the dream out in a narrative form. The reason I make a list of components before I just write the dream out as a story? For me, these help to trigger stronger memories of the dream. Sometimes by the time I’m writing the last part of my dream down in narrative form, I discover that I’m already forgetting details, or even entire sequences in the dream. The list helps me to piece more information together.
Once I’ve recorded my dream, I leave it alone for a bit. I have breakfast, relax and wake up. Then I revisit the dream and begin to try to interpret it. At first glance, I’m frequently overwhelmed by this. I just do the best that I can to interpret the symbolism and write it down. Then I often get a second interpretation. I will work with another intuitive to see how they would interpret my dream, which usually opens a whole new arena of insight for me. I feel that it’s always good to get an outside perspective, and this is frequently what helps me to feel confident in the messages that I’m receiving from my dreams.
Understanding your dreams is frequently a hurdle that many people don’t even get to enjoy because they don’t ever remember what happens in the dremascape. Some people don’t believe they dream at all! (Or if they do, they don’t think they can ever remember their dreams.) It’s my belief that you can train yourself to have a fantastic dream recall. Here are a few techniques and things to consider to help you remember your dreams.
First, you should consider your sleep schedule. Are you getting enough sleep? If not, I’ve found that dream recall suffers. A good way to tell if you are getting enough sleep is by looking at how long you sleep on days that you can turn your alarm off and sleep in. How much sleep do you get when you’re not being woken up by an alarm? Are you waking refreshed? Typically most people require between 7-10 hours of sleep a night. If no amount of sleep seems to ever be enough, then it’s probably time to check in with your doctor. Conditions such as sleep apnea can severely inhibit quality sleep time, making your sleep debt overwhelming. Believe or not, regular exercise can also help you feel stronger and more alert, as well as positively impact your sleep.
If you know that you’re getting enough sleep, but you still aren’t able to remember your dreams, then a few simple techniques and tricks can be employed. The dream world is not generally valued in our modern day culture, so sometimes it’s a part of our own brain that blocks our memory of dreaming. This can be countered and redirected through the use of affirmations. When crafting an affirmation, make sure that the statement is put in the present tense, and is positive in it’s tone, such as “I have full recollection and understanding of my dreams.” Keeping it short and sweet has proven helpful to me as well. Repeat the affirmation at least 50 times to yourself as you lay in bed preparing for sleep. You don’t have to say it out loud, but it does help to at least move your lips as if you were speaking the affirmation.
You should also keep a dream journal and pen on your nightstand, and you should record an entry each morning even if you don’t recall your dreams. You should write in the journal upon waking before your feet touch the ground. Your entry should begin “What I recall most vividly from my dream is……….”. Even if your entry reads “what I recall most vividly from my dream is nothing”, writing this down begins to show the importance you are ascribing to your dreams to your subconscious mind. This will train your brain to begin to store the dream memories in places where they can be more easily accessed by your conscious mind.
Many people like to pray for direction to come in their dreams. This was commonly seen in old pagan temples, where people could pray to a particular god or spirit and sleep in their temple to dream for messages of healing or guidance. The biblical verse Deuteronomy 29:29 is frequently prayed repeatedly at night to ‘dream true’ in many Southern households. Any heartfelt appeal to spirit can be effective in inviting divine guidance into our dreams, but is not a substitute for the other techniques already discussed. It is lazy to assume that the realm of spirit should do all the work to get a message across to you if you aren’t willing to put in some work to have better dream recall.
The process of strengthening your dream recall frequently doesn’t bear immediate fruits. Sometimes it can take weeks of dedicated affirmations and dream journal entries before you begin to remember bits and pieces of your dreams. The more focus you put on working towards dream recall, the more that you will begin to be able to remember.
In short, make sure that you are getting enough quality sleep; keep a dream journal that you write in each morning before your feet hit the floor; use affirmations and prayers to strengthen your spiritual connection through dreams; and most importantly have patience – it may take a while to hone these skills. These tips and tricks will serve you well in learning to recall your dreams.
Remembering and understanding dreams can be daunting tasks, but the rewards are well worth the effort. The insight and healing that you can derive from your dreamtime can aid in your healing, spiritual development, and general understanding of the world around you. So grab your dream journal, tuck yourself in and, until next time, sweet dreams and brightest blessings,