Some people say they never dream. Others know they are dreaming, but those dreams are elusive and ephemeral. They disappear before we can grasp an image. Like the state of our country this summer, this lack of dreams can feel like a drought. Our souls are thirsty and there is seemingly nothing to drink. Sometimes it feels as if we are right on the verge of passing through that door into the rich world of our dreams, but we are prevented from doing so, even if, as in this photo the door is open.
I find myself in such a state. A lack of dreams just when I am soon to complete my “Dream Teacher Training”. So I will share some advice that I am taking myself, to restore my dreams.
Breaking a dream drought is a process of intention. It is not always a quick process but with patience the rewards are great. The last time I intentionally broke a dream drought was five years ago when I decided to walk down the path of Active Dreaming as taught by Robert Moss. I had been desiring a spiritual practice and because of my childhood experiences and my family’s inclination I decided I would walk the path of a dreamer.
At that time, my childhood experience of having and remembering multiple dreams a night was long past. I was an adult with schedules and worries and my dreams had slipped into a state of neglect. They were sporadic at best and only remembered if big and jarring. So I began my own path of dream recovery or breaking a dream drought. I did so by setting my intention.
Every night before I went to sleep I would make a clear statement to myself “I will remember my dreams….I will remember my dreams.” Seems simple enough, and one would think that a prolific childhood dreamer would be able to restore their dreams quickly. But in fact it took almost 6 weeks to begin to dream like I did as a child. The dream drought was broken with a jarring dream (that’s another story) and after that the dream gates were open and the dreams began to flow with more and more frequency so that after six weeks I was back to that state of multiple dreams remembered each night.
Several years have gone by since that time of reigniting my dreams, yet despite having almost completed my Dream Teacher Training, teaching and leading dream groups, I find myself in this state of a dream drought again. The problem is that this time my pre-sleep suggestions seem to have no effect, so I am diving deeper into this conundrum and seeking a solution.
I’m hoping as I explore this topic, and share it with others, I will have the breakthrough that I am seeking.
1) Clearly State Your Intention to Yourself: State to yourself “I will remember my dreams tonight” or “I ask for guidance of my dream source.” Affirm your intention when you lie down before sleep. You might even want to write this intention down and keep it beside our bed or under your pillow.
2) Have your tools ready. A dream journal is one of the most important tools that you can have to work with your dreams. Having a journal close at hand, when you go to sleep can facilitate the process of restoring dream recall.
3) Give yourself time to bring your dreams back. That time just as you wake up is the most important to dream recall. Make sure you give yourself adequate time to allow a dream to seep to your consciousness before you jump out of bed. Simply remain still and allow your dreams to come back to you. If you can awaken spontaneously, without an alarm, all the better. If you do need an alarm to awaken you then try to have it set to quiet music or even the sound of crickets on an iPhone.
4) Give yourself space. Try to write your dreams down right away, before getting out of bed. If you are not wanting to disturb a partner, then use a pen light, or go into the bathroom if you must.
5) Write your dreams down at once. You might not be as inspired to do this when you awaken in the middle of the night with a dream, but dreams are ephemeral and often gone within minutes if your attention is drawn away. Don’t allow your mind to drift to your to do list for the day until you have written your dream down. Often the most powerful and urgent dreams come in inconvenient times. If you think you will recall that dream later, at your normal waking time, you will most likely be disappointed.
6) Start with a few trigger words. Start with the dream scene you recall most clearly, and work backwards. Start with a few words that you can refer to later to create a fuller report. Create a summary, in a few words, making sure you include any names and phrases you recall. As you write these down earlier scenes might come back to mind. Write these down as well.
7) Don’t censor your dreams! The source of our dreams can be brutally frank about aspects our ourselves, our behaviors and personality that we would rather ignore or deny. Give your dream source full voice. It knows you better than your everyday mind knows you…and this is the guidance that you are seeking. Don’t ignore it.
8) Don’t interpret! The first order of business is to capture your dream. You can take time later to figure out what it means. Don’t reject materials as ‘weird’ or ‘trivial’. Our most important dreams sometimes come to us in a way that is jarring to get our attention. A dream that seems mundane may be bringing us precognitive information.
9) Pay attention to your feelings. The feelings you have about a dream can be your best guide to its meaning and urgency. If the story line of your dream does not seem very dramatic, but your feelings about the dream are strong, then know that there is something to work on here. Your physical sensations can give you some good indicators as well. They are also worth paying attention to.
10) If you wake with no dream memories, relax. It can help to move gently in bed after you awaken. Sometimes getting into the position you were in when the dream originally came to you can help.
11) Put out a welcome mat. If you still have no dream recall it can take to take a moment to write down what you are thinking and feeling. Your thoughts and sensations might be part of the residual dream after-effect. By writing down something you are letting your dream source know that you are paying attention. This readiness to receive can help with future dream recall, by putting out a welcome mat. You may notice as you get back into dreaming, that there are cycles to your dream recall. Some women report heightened dream activity during their periods and around the full moon.
12) Always do something with your dreams. When you honor your dreams by writing them down or sharing them with a partner, then you will be strengthening your commitment to capturing and working with your dreams.
Put these twelve simple steps to work and see how your dream recall evolves.
Leave your comments below and let me know how you are progressing.