If we are using dreams as a way of paying attention to the unconscious one of the difficulties we may face is remembering our dreams. The memory centers in the brain are, in brain distances, fairly remote from the brain areas that are most active when we dream. It only takes a few seconds for most of us to begin forgetting elements of our dreams. Some people are lucky and have easy frequent recall of their dreams but for most of us it takes a little effort.
There are some habits you can develop to help with dream recall. Get a dream journal, any kind of journal. It might be fancy or simply a good sized note pad. I had a friend who was into saving paper and his dream journal was used envelops. Personally I love artists sketch pads. I like the large expanse of unlined white paper and the fact that some of the paper is recycled. Once you get a dream journal keep it next to your bed and keep a pen in the first blank page. This way you can write out the dream in the middle of the night without even turning the lights on. Some times it is enough to make an outline or write down key elements of your dream. Just enough to jog your memery in the morning. Many times I have heard people say “I had this amazing dream last night and I was sure I would remember it. Now I can not remember a thing.” So write down what you can.
One simple thing you can do is to set yourself up to remember your dreams. Just tell yourself before you go to sleep that you are going to remember your dreams. This works an amazing number of times. Both the journal and reminding yourself before you go to sleep are ways to say to the unconscious that you are ready to listen.
If you are going through a phase where you are having difficulty remembering your dreams you might try going back to the last dream that you worked with and seeing if there is not more that needs to be done with that dream. The unconscious works thematically and if you unlock something from an earlier dream it may open the gates for more. It can also work to just take a period of time and write down the first thing on your mind in the morning. I remember one time I had really wanted to remember a dream and in the haze of waking thought that I hadn’t. Then I realized what was going though my head was about President Kennedy and a tree with a brown paper bag. Clearly dream material.
One important aspect is to not judge your dreams as good, bad too long or too short. Some of the most powerful dreams I have heard have been just one line or a single particular image. As we create the habit of remembering our dreams we are saying yes to a dialog with the unconscious. The unconscious is always trying to communicate with us now we are listening.
To make a Jungian counseling and psychotherapy appointment for an in person session in Kihei on Maui or to set up an online Jungian counseling and psychotherapy session call 808-280-3450 or go to the appointments page of this website.