Many people believe they cannot meet the first requirement of dream work-remembering their dreams. The events in our dreams leave a very feeble impression on our minds, but we can correct this problem by taking steps to capture the memory as soon as we wake up. Dreams are not as difficult to remember as many people think. Most of the methods for dream recall are simple and easy, and they start to work in just a few days.
For those of you who are not accustomed to remembering your dreams, let's discuss the process step by step. The first and easiest suggestion is simply to tell yourself to remember a dream. As you drift off to sleep, say to yourself, "I am going to remember a dream."
It is also useful to spend a few minutes visualizing this process. Picture what it will be like to wake up the next morning with the dream images in your head. Imagine what it will look and feel like to reach for a pen and paper and start writing. Leave the pen and paper beside your bed because believe it or not, you will probably remember a dream within a few days.
If you wake with a dream or even a fragment of a dream, it is important to write it down right away. Don't get out of bed. You might forget it. If you can't remember the whole dream, write down as much as you can. Don't worry about writing in complete sentences. Just try to get as many images, characters, actions, and feelings from the dream as possible. Many people find that as they start writing, more and more of the dream comes back. It won't be long before you are remembering all the details. And if you do, go ahead, write your dream down in detail.
When you're done jotting down the notes on your dream, write down how you felt when you woke up. Were you happy, sad, scared, angry? Did you feel tired or rested? Did you have some thought in your mind, or some fragment of a song?
There is another great value to trapping the dream this way. The experience becomes exactly like listening to someone else's dream. I have the advantage of hearing what I am saying, catching the movement and plot of the dream... It's also a great way to hear any play on words or puns I may have used...
Keep A Dream Journal
Keeping a dream journal is a terrific way to track your emotional progress. If you are passing through a crisis or life transition, if you are trying to change a relationship, or if you just want to keep track of who you were and who you've become, your dream journal will give you new perspectives on your life's path.
Many people find it more pleasant to keep a journal when they have a special, beautiful book to write in. I love stationery stores, so picking a dream journal is always an enjoyable experience for me.
You can buy a lined book if you prefer to simply write out your dreams, or you can draw your dreams in an art book. You can do both. Some people write out the dream with drawings to illustrate different scenes or objects. Feel free to record your dream, with its feelings and symbols, using any kinds of illustrations or graphics you like.
Include the date on the morning of a dream. Patricia Garfield suggests that before you turn out the lights at night, "...jot down what you have done and felt during the day. This paragraph of 'facts' needn't be long but should include the salient events and emotions you experienced. This may hardly seem necessary but two months or two years from now you will find it invaluable.
I know someone who keeps a dream journal in his computer. He takes advantage of different fonts and spacing and includes plenty of colorful graphics. The result is a beautiful document several hundred pages long. Keeping a journal in your computer also gives you the advantage of very easily looking up what certain images mean to you. You can create your own personal dictionary. By hitting "find" on the keyboard, you can see where and how a certain metaphor or symbol was used.