Dreams are a powerful natural resource containing incredible wisdom, support and guidance. In order to tap into this rich reservoir of our dreams, it helps to be able to recall them.
What keeps us from remembering our dreams?
Is it that some people are just naturally graced with excellent dream recall and others are destined to live a life cut off from the dream realm? We are all given the gift of dreams and we can all find ways to remember them.
Underneath this question of how to increase dream recall is really a deeper question. How much do we value our dreams? What if the ability to remember your dreams is directly related to how much you care about them?
In today’s modern society, science and technology are glorified. The physical world of what we can see, hear and touch is often what is considered to be the “true” world. If the majority of us have bought into this, then the dream realm quickly gets deemed as unimportant or second rate. Upon sharing a difficult dream or even a fantastical dream, many of us have been met with these words. “That was just a dream.” As a child, did you ever wake up with a scary dream and have your parents quickly dismiss it as not “real?” Of course they meant well. They didn’t want us to feel terrified by this mysterious force that comes to us in our sleep. As children, before we became conditioned into thinking the dream world was not the “true” world or the “real” world, it may have felt just as real – if not more so – than the physical waking world. What if by dismissing our dreams as unreal and unimportant again and again, we were actually becoming conditioned to stay separate from our dream world?
Consider this….. Maybe both our outer waking physical world and our inner dream world are “true” and “real”? If we had been brought up with this belief, would we be more likely to remember our dreams? I believe the answer is absolutely YES!
In many indigenous cultures, sharing dreams as a group upon waking is normal. Dreams and the dream world are honored and valued. For these groups, having, remembering and sharing dreams is a natural way of being. We can begin to live this way too.
The single most important way to increase your dream recall is to value your dreams.
What if it is that simple? What if by re-conditioning ourselves to value our dreams we will be more likely to remember them? Begin revering your dreams instead of discounting them. Before going to sleep, ask for a dream and welcome dreams when they come. If you’ve awakened knowing that you’ve had a dream, even if you can’t remember it, thank the dream for coming. This lets the dream realm know that you care and that you are open to receiving.
Be prepared to record your dreams as soon as you have them.
By placing a pad of paper and a pen by your bedside, you are letting your dreams know that you value them and that you are expecting them. This small gesture can open a door to the dream world! Even if you scribble a word or two, this can help you to hold on to the memory of the whole dream. If you don’t want to turn on your light, you can try purchasing a pen with a little light inside of it. Another option is to record the dream by speaking it into a voice recorder on your smartphone. No matter which way you choose, record your dreams as soon as you have them. As you’ve probably experienced, dream memories are different than waking life memories. They slip away very quickly.
Understand that a moment, an image or a feeling “counts” as a dream.
Often people think that they need to remember a detailed storyline in order for it to count as a dream. Anything that makes its way from the dream realm through to your waking consciousness “counts” as a dream. If it is remembered, it is important! Don’t discount dream snippets. These small gems have the potential to bring us to amazing depth.
Get plenty of sleep.
If you are short on sleep, it may be more difficult for you to enter into the deeper sleep states where dreams live. Treat your sleep time with great care. Avoid caffeine and alcohol at least 2 hours before going to bed. Keep your room dark and turn smartphone notifications off.
Give yourself some time to allow a dream to be remembered before quickly hopping out of bed.
We live in a fast paced world. Many of us hit the ground running upon awakening. The dream world is based in a different kind of time-space-feeling reality. In order to touch into this space, dreams need us to slow things down. Instead of snapping quickly into our daily routine, see if you can stay in bed a little longer, allowing your dreams to be felt and remembered.
Linger for a little longer in the feelings in your body.
Often we live in the world of our busy mind. Upon waking, we click right into busy mind and this is a sure way to kill your dream recall. Instead of going straight to thinking mind upon awaking, see if you can start a new habit of noticing what you are feeling in your body. Really tap into what you feel and where you feel it. Stay with these feelings and allow them. A big part of the dream experience is the feelings in our bodies. This is where we can touch into places that jog our memory of dreams.
Relax. Don’t get stressed out about remembering your dreams.
Recalling your dreams is not something that can be forced. It is not something you can put on your to-do list to check off. It is a natural process that needs nurturing and love to allow it to grow and unfold in its own time. Be patient because it may take some time to undo years of conditioning that have caused us to undervalue our dreams.
Start to write what you remember and the rest of the dream details may come flooding in.
Sometimes, just by writing what you do remember of a dream, much more will pop into your memory. You may also find that another dream that came right before the one you are writing also materializes!
The more you remember your dreams, the more you will remember your dreams.
There is something mysterious that can happen with dreams. When we begin remembering them and paying attention to them, we are developing a kind of relationship with them. They often respond by bringing us more remembered dreams!
Be in the space of knowing you dreamt.
Often we have the experience of knowing that we’ve dreamt but we can’t recall any specific details. It can be frustrating to know that you were just dreaming but you can’t quite grasp the memory of it. Try taking a breath into this place and repeat to yourself, “I am remembering my dream.” Saying it in the present tense helps to allow the memory to come in this moment. If a memory doesn’t come, know that the dreams are still working underneath the surface. Writing something simple like, “I dreamt” in your dream journal helps to train you to stay connected to the dream space.
Dream are a wonderful natural gift that we all can tap into. Try practicing some of these ideas and you will likely find yourself remembering your dreams more and more.