As promised, I will try to answer some questions and fill in some blanks regarding Dream Work. Before I start, however, I would like to share some information about my training and experience. My dream teacher, Joseph Dispenza, is the co-founder of Life Path Retreat in San Miguel de Allende, Mexico. Twelve years ago I spent three separate 3-day intensives with him learning the processes of dream interpretation. Since that training, I have taught classes in dream interpretation through the public school continuing education program in my area. For five years, I led a Dream Work group that met once a week to share and discuss their dreams. The group was made up of senior citizens.
Since it is impossible to work with our dreams if we can’t recall any information from them, here are some tried and true techniques for dream recall:
1. Decide that you want to recall your dreams. Intent is very important. You must believe that your dreams are important messages. This stated and recognized desire will act as a magnet that will draw your dreams into your conscious memory.
2. Exercise your recall every day. The more you use your recall, the stronger it will become, just like exercising your muscles.
3. Before you go to sleep each night, reread your dreams from the previous night. This will help to connect your memory to your dreams. Then clearly tell yourself that you want to remember your dreams. Tell yourself that you will write down all that you remember in your dream journal.
4. As you awaken in the morning, or during the night, lie still in the same position with your eyes closed for a few minutes. Gather as many images, feelings, and impressions as possible. If possible, awaken without an alarm, as loud noises can startle you and cause you to lose your recall.
5. Once you have gathered your dreams into your consciousness, rise and immediately write down as much as you can in your dream journal. Even if it seems sketchy, write what ever you remember. You will be surprised how much you will recall as you write. Since you told yourself the night before that you would write, it is important to write something.
6. Be persistent, yet patient. Total recall will not happen immediately, but if you are consistent, your recall will increase over time. Do not get discouraged. Remember that dream recall is natural, and will happen if you want it to.
Share your dreams with others, find a dream group that you feel comfortable about, but beware of anyone that says they can interpret your dream for you. They cannot. Only you can interpret your own dream. There are qualified people who can assist you in understanding the meaning of certain symbols or characters, and this understanding will help you discover the truth of the message. As you begin to unravel the symbolic language, keep in mind that this message is for you and about you. It most likely has something to do with a current event in your life.
As you work with your dreams, consider all aspects. Think about what you were feeling, what emotion you were experiencing during your dream. Pay careful attention to colors, numbers, dialogue and characters. Think about whether you were an active participant or a passive observer. Look for archetypes – wise old man (higher self), goddess (giver of life, nurturer), shadow (our dark side), anima/animus (female and male influence), divine child (giving birth to new ideas).
Objects and places can be quite interesting. It is sometimes helpful to describe these as if you were explaining them to a Martian. For instance, if you dream of a house, you might describe it as a place where we live (spiritually, not physically). In the house the kitchen is the place where we are receive nourishment, the bathroom is the place where we get rid of stuff. A car can be described as a means of getting from one place to another (moving on in our lives). The important thing to remember is to relate the object, place or character to yourself. What does it mean to you?
Once you have gotten the message, and understand its meaning, you are still not through with your Dream Work. First you should thank yourself for the dream. Then you should decide what action you should take to honor the dream. Carl Jung said, “Dreams are the facts from which we must proceed.” What’s the good of doing all the work necessary to understand the message, if we don’t do something about the situation?
I still feel that this is sketchy, but I try to keep my posts short. If you have other questions or concerns about Dream Work, feel free to contact me using the form below.