“We recounted our dreams because one of the best ways to induce dreams is to give attention to dreams.” –Aldous Huxley
After assuming dreams are meaningful, the first step towards remembering your dreams more is to try to remember your dreams more. I have a little desk next to my bed, with a lamp, a notebook, and a pencil ready to go whenever I roll over. I suggest you do the same. Something about using my phone never worked for me. But I encourage you to experiment with using your phone, a recording app, or an old school notebook and see which one works for you.
At the beginning, it may be hard to remember your dreams, but write down anything you can remember. Even if it is only a single word, record something. You will start to remember more. A good trick is when you wake up, go over the dream in your head right away. Don’t move. Start from the last thing you remember and work backwards. Once you get to a point where you can’t remember anymore, roll over to your journal and start writing.
A few more tricks you can use to help dream recall is to look at your dream journal as you are falling asleep. This will prime your mind to think symbolically, which is the language of dreams. Also, you can practice simply telling yourself, out loud, “I remember my dreams. I have interesting and meaningful dreams.” If you’d like I can send links to the science behind this. Try it out if you need the extra little boost.
Here is a beautiful perspective on the meaningfulness of dreams and how to be more receptive to them by the Naskapi Indians. This quote is from Man and His Symbols, a book written by Carl Jung.
“In his lifelong solitude, the Naskapi hunter has to relay on his own inner voices and unconscious revelations; he has no religious teachers who tell him what he should believe, no rituals, festivals, or customs to help him along. In his basic view of life, the soul of man is an “inner companion,” whom he calls, “my friend” or Mista’peo, meaning “Great Man.” Mista’peo dwells in the heart and is immortal; in the moment of death, or shortly before, he leaves the individual and later reincarnates into another being.
Those Naskapi who pay attention to their dreams and who try to find their meaning and test their truth can enter into a deeper connection with the Great Man. He favors such people and sends them more and better dreams. Thus the major obligation to the individual Naskapi is to follow the instructions given by his dreams, then to give permanent form to their contents in art. Lies and dishonesty drive the Great Man away from one’s inner realms, whereas love and generosity of one’s neighbors and of animals attract him and gives him life. Dreams give the Naskapi complete ability to find his way in life, not only in the inner world but the outer world of nature. They help him foretell the weather and give him invaluable instructions in his hunting, upon which is life depends.”
We don’t realize it, but we are like these Indians. Scientific thinking and mass media has left us disconnected from tradition, religion, and tribal communities. This passage is important because it highlights how useful dreams can be to the disconnected. This tribe has none of Modern Society’s technology or knowledge, yet they have survived. Not with religion or science but by listening to their dreams. Their instincts have guided them. Imagine how skilled you could navigate the waters of life if you learned to use our modern technology, the scientific method, and dream interpretation.
You, and every individual, has the possibility of connecting to a much deeper energy. And the way to connect to this force is to attempt to record and understand your dreams. The Naskapi also believed that being a good person and turning your dreams into art helped build this connection even more. I’ll let you experiment with this.
Our body is pulsating with instincts that successfully guided us through time for millions of years. From the moment we are born into culture, we are slowly taught to suppress and channel these instincts into behavior our culture finds acceptable. Listening to your dreams will help you reconnect with your instincts, your inner Wise Woman.
To receive more dreams, want to receive more dreams. Record your dreams using whatever method works for you. Every morning write something, even if it is only a single word. If you are in need of more help, read about dreams as you are falling asleep. Tell yourself while you are laying down in bed that you have interesting dreams and you remember them.
For extra credit, create any kind of art that was inspired by your dreams. I love you and don’t get discouraged. Focus on taking a single step through the dark forest every day. One step. Good luck.