Making the decision to begin studying dreams is a fun and enlightening process towards understanding the meaning of dreams. If you are new to dreamwork and have found yourself asking, “What does my dream mean?” you have already taken the first step. There are unlimited ways that dreamwork can enrich your life. You can find your life purpose, increase creativity and even enhance relationships, all by adhering to a regular dream practice.
In preparation to start working with your dreams, consider these tools to assist you as you embark on this fascinating journey.
Get Interested in Dreamwork
The extent to which you are interested in dreams will directly affect the extent to which they respond. Even a conversation with a friend about dreams can manifest a dream visitation.
Begin to peak your interest by reading books about dreams, attending workshops, watching videos and reading articles. Allow your own curiosity to propel you forward as you explore the potential available to you by paying attention to your dreams. If you really want to have fun, do an internet search on famous ideas that came directly out of dreams. You’ll be surprised and inspired by the creativity and possibilities that dreams can open up for you.
Make the Commitment
Dreamwork takes dedication. It might be easier to fall back asleep after having a dream, but your commitment to the process is what will make it all worthwhile. Get yourself into a routine of waking up a little earlier than usual so that you have enough time to write down and contemplate your dreams. If you wake in the middle of the night after a dream, be prepared to take a few minutes to journal it, because it will most likely be gone by morning.
Ways to Develop Dream Recall
Dream recall can be a challenge for people. However, you can quickly increase your memory of dreams through a few strategies.
Begin by setting a conscious intention to remember your dreams. This can be as simple as repeating, “I will remember my dreams” as you fall asleep each night.
Place an open notebook, pen and flashlight next to your bed. This too sets your intention and shows your dreaming psyche that you are dedicated to your dreamlife. Dreams get excited and start presenting themselves when you begin a dream practice. It’s like inviting a dear friend to dinner: all they need is an invitation.
Use a gentle alarm clock so that you wake up to soft and soothing sounds or music. When you are startled out of sleep, dreams are much more difficult to remember. Write down whatever you recall even if it doesn’t seem significant, as the act of journaling any dream fragments will also help you remember more dreams.
How to Journal Your Dreams
When journaling your dreams, the way you record them is an important part of the process, as well.
Write day notes. At the top of your dream journal, write the date and make a few notes about your day. Perhaps there were a couple highlights, decisions or emotionally charged experiences. These comments are helpful when reviewing dreams in the context of what was happening in your waking life during that time.
Write the dream in present tense. One of the Dream Tending principles is “Dreams Happen Now,” so place yourself in the immediacy of the moment when journaling your dreams. For example, “I am in the middle of the ocean, it is dark and I am drowning.” Contrary to writing the dream in the past tense, this shift moves the dream from a memory to the here-and-now which is a more effective way of working with dreams.
Give the dream a title. Condense the dream into a few words that describe what is happening. Often, the title alone can inform you about the meaning of your dream.
When it comes to dreamwork, keep an open mind. This will assist you in receiving information from the dreams themselves. Allow yourself to move through your dreamwork in a state of “not knowing.”
In his book Dream Tending, Dr. Stephen Aizenstat discusses the positive effect of holding this mindset. “Not knowing means that we allow ourselves the comfort of not having all the answers about a dream. We give ourselves the luxury of taking the dream at face value, without struggling to unravel its knots.” You don’t need to have all the answers to the meaning of your dreams. Stay open and allow them to start informing you.
Dreams hold your entire potentiality within them, so developing a personal dream practice can literally change your life. Do you want to know what your dreams mean? Ask them, and you will find out.
Written by Bambi Corso
Bambi Corso is certified in Dream Tending and a practicing Law of Attraction Certified Coach. She shares her passion for dreamwork by doing local presentations and online trainings.
- Aizenstat, S. (2011). Dream Tending: Awakening to the Healing Power of Dreams (Pbk. ed.). New Orleans, La.: Spring Journal.
Dr. Stephen Aizenstat
Stephen Aizenstat, Ph.D., is the Founder of Dream Tending, Pacifica Graduate Institute, and The Academy of Imaginal Arts and Sciences. He is a world renowned Professor of Depth Psychology, an imagination specialist and innovator. He has served as an organizational consultant to major companies, institutions, Hollywood films, and has lectured extensively in the U.S., Asia and Europe.
He is affiliated with the Earth Charter International project through the United Nations where he has spoken. Professor Aizenstat is the Chancellor Emeritus and Founding President of Pacifica Graduate Institute. He has collaborated with many notable masters in the field including Joseph Campbell, James Hillman, Marion Woodman and Robert Johnson.