Thursday, June 20, 2013

Daily Writing Practice - Remembering Dreams

Remembering Dreams





Do you ever wonder how you can remember dreams? Lately, I've been reading Carl Jung's Memories, Dreams, Reflections and attempting to record my dreams every morning. If I can remember my dreams, I will have a view of the hidden me. I want to look into the parts of my personality that I hide from myself - risky business! I consider myself honest about my motives and practice self-witnessing. Maybe that sounds strange but those of you who are in some kind of meditation practice know that witnessing your thoughts and actions (without judging) can yield a tremendous amount of information about yourself. I am looking to find a creative energy source that will bring my writing alive with vitality. I've discovered other techniques to wake up the muse but I would like a more reliable routine that keeps me in touch with my imagination.


The goal is to wake up everyday, notice what in floating around in my mind and then immediately write down everything in my mind - take a "mental picture" as it were. Words, thoughts, images, sensations, songs and so on. I have discovered that I must notice my thoughts before I move from the bed. I cannot allow myself to talk or engage in any preliminary activity before I write or else I lose the thoughts. Some days I'm successful while others (like today) I get caught up in washing dishes, making coffee, preparing for the day and before I know it - the dreams are gone! What did I dream last night? What influenced my subconscious? Blank! My mind is unable to remember my dreams because I had too many intervening thoughts before I recorded my dreams such as - why hasn't anyone done the dishes in two days! It's a good thing I didn't cook dinner last night or else there would be more dishes. How can I get cooperation about cleaning the house? And then my mind goes analytical - Why are we so stuck in these social gender roles that I'm the one who breaks down and does the dishes first? It's enough to wipe out anyone's morning dreams! My thoughts are a giant eraser rubbing out the lightest dream pencil marks first but today, the entire page was all gone.


Mental palaver! Jung uses that word as in to arrange a palaver to mean conversations  he has with the Africans at night. He wants to know if they have dreams and if they provide some kind of insight into their daily lives. He attributes their resistance to sharing their dreams with him as evidence of a lack of trust or "shyness." Jung even offered rewards - cigarettes, matches, and safety pins for sharing dreams but they wouldn't budge. I'm thinking that maybe they didn't remember their dreams because of too much palaver! I have been recording by dreams every morning for two weeks - let's see if some pattern emerges. I have a safety pin in my pocket for good luck.  Do you have any dream wisdom to offer? How do you remember your dreams?

(Also posted in Writers Rising)

27 comments:

  1. I want to do this...I think my dreams could tell me A LOT!!! But like you said, I forget them as soon as I wake up. I heard that if you set an alarm clock with paper and pen near it and just write, you'll remember. I'm going to try it tonight! Thanks for your post!

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  2. That sounds like an interesting exercise. I'm more focused on my day dreams while writing than on my night dreams, but sometimes I wake in the night with a solution to a problem in my WIP. A creative person needs to draw on both the conscious and the subconscious.

    Sorry to be so slow to visit- I've been offline for weeks.

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  3. Yes, Kathy and Sarah, it's an exercise designed for the hidden you. I agree that a creative person has to draw on both conscious and unconscious inspiration. Uncovering the hidden also leads to other areas - besides creativity- that impact our lives.
    Thanks for the visit and comments!

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  4. I actually started doing this this Thursday and I was a bit skeptical at first about finding any parallels in my dreams and my life. But I after I wrote down my dream and dissected it a little I realized it featured two big worries I have in my life right now. I've been able to remember dreams before but writing them down really forces you to think about them, even if just a little.

    Now I just wonder if I'll find a solution to either one of them In future dreams.

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  5. My high school teacher explains me that when you got a scramble mess of words on mind some people call it the “word torment’. I had felt the word torment. It happens to writers often when their work doesn’t seem to be as satisfactory as they would like. After think and think about what was happening when I can’t write, I asked my psychologist if I had some kind of mental block, then he told me, maybe is emotional. I don’t know, emotional or mental we have to free ourselves from ourselves…
    About dreams:
    Studying Jung and psychoanalysis once I learned that sometimes our mind erase our dreams to protect us from information that can be dangerous to ourselves. On the other hand, the strongest the dream the more we are available to remember it. In general we aren’t supposed to remember it because is a product of unconscious. Running the paradox it depends on the information in the dream and how the mind processes it. Dreams, thoughts and symbols on our mind just toss and turn like the sea.

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  6. My high school teacher explains me that when you got a scramble mess of words on mind some people call it the “word torment’. I had felt the word torment. It happens to writers often when their work doesn’t seem to be as satisfactory as they would like. After think and think about what was happening when I can’t write, I asked my psychologist if I had some kind of mental block, then he told me, maybe is emotional. I don’t know, emotional or mental we have to free ourselves from ourselves…
    About dreams:
    Studying Jung and psychoanalysis once I learned that sometimes our mind erase our dreams to protect us from information that can be dangerous to ourselves. On the other hand, the strongest the dream the more we are available to remember it. In general we aren’t supposed to remember it because is a product of unconscious. Running the paradox it depends on the information in the dream and how the mind processes it. Dreams, thoughts and symbols on our mind just toss and turn like the sea.

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  7. I have tried this and haven't been successful. I always forget my dreams because I wake up so worked up about all the things that has to be done during the day. I will be trying a day I don't have anything to do. Hope I find my hidden self!

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  8. I used the Journey Journal to practice remembering my dreams and it worked!! I had to, like you said, open my eyes after a good night's sleep and quickly take my pen and start writing about my dreams, or what I could remember of them. If I did something else right after I woke up I noticed that I remembered little about my dreams or nothing at all. It is interesting that writing about a dream one day made me remember stuff of a dream form another day. Dreams are CRAZY!

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  9. Most of the time I wake up thinking about my dreams for a couple of minutes and a second after that I'm back to sleep for a short nap. It's going to be hard avoiding that sweet nap so I can write about my dreams, but I'll try my best.

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  10. I used to write on my journal every night, but I have been writing on it for the last two days after I wake up. This is an excellent exercise that helps me to develop that part of my mind and write about my dreams because most of the times I can't remember what I dream at all.

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  11. I think that is true. I have a notebook just for my dreams since I had 15 years old! I don’t write every morning but sometimes I like to remember every detail of my dreams. I realize that some of my dreams take place in the same place (a place that in real life do not exist). It’s very interesting.

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  12. I think that is true. I have a notebook just for my dreams since I had 15 years old! I don’t write every morning but sometimes I like to remember every detail of my dreams. I realize that some of my dreams take place in the same place (a place that in real life do not exist). It’s very interesting.

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  13. Professor,as a person who does yoga I know what you mean when you say that witnessing our thoughts and actions (without judging) is very helpful when it comes to understanding ourselves. At least beginning to peek at the hidden me is an exercise I am very interested in doing. I think I have to be very strict with myself when I begin to do this because I tend to jump out of bed and kickstart my day.

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  14. Professor, as a person who does yoga regularly I know what you mean when you say that witnessing our thoughts and actions (without judging) is very helpful in understanding ourselves. On the other hand, I often cannot remember my dreams so when I begin this exercise I must be very strict with myself because I tend to jump out of bed and kick start my day.

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  15. It certainly is difficult to let your dreams roam free on a piece of paper without forgetting at least a detail, I have tried it and when i record the dreams in my head I always forget something until a few days later when out of nowhere I experience a similar feeling as in my dream and instantly relate the experience to the dream. Don't know if others can relate, remembering my dreams caused me to focus more on what I did on a day to day basis because suddenly at any moment i could find out more of either my dreams or my life by experiencing similar feeling awake and subconsciously.

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  16. Estefany, since you practice yoga it's easier to explain. In yoga, you observe your body in an asana and breathe into places that hold tension without being competitive. When you watch your thoughts or record your dreams, you don't evaluate what you are thinking or writing. Just record like a witness...gently, without judgment or harshness, i.e., "what is just is." I hope that helps you understand what I meant better.

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  17. Thanks for commenting everyone. Ask me in person, if I didn't address your questions.(PR residents!)

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  18. Alessandra and Gerardo, glad that it worked out for you!

    Noheli and Jose, don't worry about remembering every part of a dream. What you remember is what you need to remember - and it's enough.
    Luis, sometimes you dream again during the "snooze button" time. It's another opportunity to engage in the dream memory exercise. Don't put pressure on yourself to remember, just do the exercise and see what happens.

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  19. Making my hand keep up with my thoughts while I'm still a bit sleepy has been the hardest part for me. Sometimes I feel that I will forget my dream if I don't write fast enough. I will start making little notes with key words on the side of my journal to see if this helps my writing process.

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  21. Im a very heavy sleeper and I wake up the next morning feeling like I slept only five minutes, therefore I don't remember my dreams, or I think that I don't dream. I tried what you recommended on writing just after you wake up and I remembered bits and pieces, mostly faces, of the dream, but not the dream entirely. I think that Im going to keep doing it because even though I didn't remember much, I remembered something.

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  22. Now that I wrote my post I am sure that the activity was more than a success! I include the link to my blog in which I not only talk about remembering dreams as I write about them, but also about going further and looking for the symbolism behind my dreams!

    http://roamingisextra.blogspot.com/2014/09/as-i-made-sure-to-do-rightthings-in.html

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  23. I already had written about my dreams in my journal and is a good experience because you can relive the moment and the feelings of this moments. Doing this exercise I dreamed about my future, because Im thinking about my decisions during this last week. I concluded that your dreams depends on the thoughts that you have and the situations that you are pasing in your live.

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  24. I dream alot, but sometimes i just forget what i was dreaming about. When i was realizing the asigment about the dreams every detail of it was coming back at me. I had so many information that i was getting confused. It's weird how can i just dream something and may happen in a week or maybe in days. That actually happens alot to me.

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  26. As honest and true to ourselves (and to the world) as we may try to be, we are all human and thus suffer from the many "defects" of our current condition. I believe this limits our ability to completely detach ourselves emotionally from certain boundaries, which in turn prevents us from reaching complete transparency and openness with the world, and with ourselves. We hide secrets from people all the time, but we mostly hide them from ourselves. Meditation and finding a feeling of peace with our own truth (both the good and the not-so-good parts of it) is what I think is key to triggering the memories of our dreams... and since that is a life's work that has no end, I guess our difficulty with remembering dreams can only decrease with time, as long as we're willing to do the work and confront our own demons... We must remember to never forget that we still have a lot to learn. Good luck to you in your journey and always enjoy the ride!

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  27. *Here's a link to my dreams exercise reflection:

    http://460meterspersecs.blogspot.com/2014/10/my-dreams_5.html

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