Write in the notebook (that you have left beside your bed) whatever your mind has been able to retain, no matter how absurd or trivial your dreams seem, even if you only remember small fragments. This is not the moment to make evaluations or interpretations. The exercise is to simply record everything that crosses your mind with as much detail as possible. Giving the fragility of memory, it’s okay to start off with just a few key words that summarize the content of the dream.
These words will help you reconstruct the dream later in the day if you don’t have enough time in the morning. Ideally this notebook will gradually become a diary or schedule that allows you to study, analyze, and compare a series of dreams. Through a series of recorded episodes, you can detect recurring characters, situations, or themes. This is something that’s easy to miss at first glance. One important detail: specialists recommend you date and title each dream, since this helps you remember them in later readings.
It’s also interesting to complement your entries with relevant annotations: what feelings were provoked, which aspects most drew your attention, which colors predominated, etc. An outline or drawing of the most significant images can also help you unravel the meaning. Finally, you should write an initial personal interpretation of the dream. For that, the second part of this book offers some useful guidelines.
While we dream, there is a sort of safety mechanism that inhibits our movement. Therefore, sleepwalkers don’t walk during the REM phase. This protects us from acting out the movements of our dreams and possibly hurting ourselves. Still from the Spanish movie Carne de fieras (Flesh of beasts) (1936).
As we’ve seen, there are a series of techniques to remember dreams. This is the first step to extracting their wisdom. Now, given that oneiric thoughts are a source of inspiration for solving problems, wouldn’t it be great to choose what you dream about before you go to sleep? Rather than waiting for dreams to come to us spontaneously, try to make them focus on the aspects of your life that interest you.
Writing a dream notebook
You should always have a notebook and pen near your bed to write down dreams the moment you wake up. Don’t forget to always write the date. What details should you include in this kind of diary? As many as you remember, the more the better.
- Note the events of the dream in order. It may not seem important when they appear unrelated. However, when analyzing them you can establish a chronological relationship between distinct elements.
- What characters appear in your dreams? Was someone important missing? If one of them reminded you of someone you know, note that. Don’t rely on your memory.
- If a familiar sight appears, analyze the differences between the dream and the real world. Were the doors/windows in the same place? Were they the same size and color? And so on. This is especially important if you want to practice lucid dreaming.
- Also note the differences between familiar people in dreams and how they are in real life.
- List the non-human characters that appeared, as well as any objects that behaved as if animated.
- Take special note of recurrent themes, scenes, or characters. Do they always act/happen the same way?
- Write down all the colors you remember.
- Note your emotional reactions: if you feel happy, scared, nervous…
Don’t let any theories about the meaning of dreams interfere. You run the risk of skipping details that might be very significant.
Finally, don’t trust your memory. After a time, you won’t remember a thing about some of the dreams you wrote down. No matter how clear they are in the moment, write them down.
Dreams are “signs,” messages from our subconscious, and the study and interpretation of them helps resolve the problems that worry us.
Nocturnal sleep puts us in touch with the deepest level of being, which allows us to approach our problems with a wider perspective. And induced dreams tend to be easier to remember than other oneiric activity.