Recording Dreams

A few weeks ago I mentioned that I record and follow my dreams. Several people have asked since about my methods. I don't write my dreams down--too slow. Instead I speak them into the note-recording function on my phone as soon as I wake up.

Speaking dreams helps you remember more because it eliminates the middle man of writing. Writing by hand switches on a more executive part of the brain that plows right over those flitting dream memories that can vanish oh-so-fast.

And speaking your dreams allows you to ramble. Rambling also helps recall. In the middle of recording one dream, I may get a flash from another. So I interrupt the current dream with words like: "new dream coming in about a cat with wings." Then I either go on recording the first dream or plunge into the new dream. Either way, I have a quick notation I can return to for a memory trigger. Sometimes the voice to word translation is incorrect. But I don't even watch the screen as I record--again--reading is an executive function that whisks away memories. And I can always make corrections when I review the dreams later. I keep a log for a week, then e-mail myself the file and put it in a dream log.

I also find it helpful--perhaps this is the author in me--to give dreams titles to trigger memory. Sometimes I do this at night if I wake up and have had a dream I want to remember to record in the morning. First thing in the morning, before recording any details, I will list all the dream titles I can remember. Because sometimes in the depths of recording one dream, I will forget another.

Because speaking your dreams is faster, you are more likely to keep doing it. So why should you record your dreams? After six months of this, I can say with certainty that my dreams are trying to guide me. Clarissa Pinkola Estes, author of Women Who Run With the Wolves, says dreams are like "letters from home."

I think this is true. In my dreams I've seen characters, themes, stories develop over time. I've learned about my own personal slant on more universal symbols, which you don't see well until you watch your dreams for a while. This then provides you with more accurate information about what is going on in the landscape of your mind.

And here is the really fantastic thing. The more I pay attention to my dreams, the more helpful they've become (sometimes the scary figures in our dreams are trying to help us.) By being more aware of what is happening in my subconscious, I am better able to understand my motivations and actions in the outer world. So my entire pschye is more on the same path which makes life straighter.

 I highly recommend Clarissa Pinkola Estes' wonderful one hour audio CD on beginning dream interpretation. And Carl Jung's book Man and His Symbols.So follow your dreams and be prepared to be astounded by the world inside you.