Aren’t dreams fascinating? I find that every night I have some kind of dream that I can’t seem to figure out, or I write a poem from the images, or I find that I can be excited about it and understand something that I need to understand to make my life more comprehensible. Often, I dream about unfinished business with the images or people in the dream, sometimes people who I wonder about but no longer have contact with in my current life.
Here are some ways you can help yourself remember your dreams: 1) first keep a notebook by your bedside; 2) title your dream; 3) give yourself one image with which to ‘catch’ the dream. You can also keep a tape recorder instead of notebook by your bed, then title your dream, and then go back to sleep to finish it. This way you are not fully coming out of the dream state, and you have some marker to help you get your images down. Dreams are like a slippery fish that falls back down into the depths. If you can remember one feature of your dream, often you can bring the whole dream back. If a title doesn’t come to you, try an image, or a person, “Mom, me and Sundance Leader meet in the attic” is one note I have made. Also note whether your dream takes place indoors or outdoors. Sometimes that speaks volumes. I once dreamt that I was in a seven story house with my art stored in the basement! That was telling, a story for each of the seven chakras! My foundation being in the arts, which it is, was waiting for me in the basement.
Lucid dreaming is when you go back into the dream, or nightmare, and consciously change the outcome. You can do this after you wake up too, but going into the nightmare, or dream and saying, “STOP! I want to change this!” in the middle of the action can help you loose your fear and move into your personal power. You might also simply move differently in your dream and take a different action. To Change the outcome after you wake, just close your eyes, and remember the imagesand then change it. If you are being chased by something like a wild animal, stop and turn around and demand what do you want! Often that animal is one of your power animals. Welcome it into your heart!
When you listen to another’s dream, if you say the phrase, “If it were my dream…” helps not to analyze the dream or psychologize another’s dream, as the receiver can hear you better and take or leave the information. Sometimes it helps to share your dream with a group as the collective begins to dream your dream with you. I learn so much from dreams. May your best dreams come true!
Many of these ideas come from the late Jeremy Taylor from his book called: Dreamwork, published by Paulist Press. I took a class with Jeremy Taylor in graduate school at Mathew Fox’s school ICCS, when it was housed at Holy Names University, 1987-88.