You can shape your dreams. Like a sculptor with clay, you can mold them into a form that will actively serve you. You can produce a thing of beauty and usefulness that will sustain and enrich your life.
– Patricia L. Garfield
Remember your dreams
The Art of Dreaming begins with remembering your dreams. It is important to have good sleeping habits for regular dream recall. Otherwise sleep-debt occurs when you regularly don’t get enough sleep. When sleep-debt builds up, the sleep you do get is so deep that it makes it harder to remember dreams.
You can develop almost total recall for your dreams. Accept and value each dream no matter how foolish or fragmentary it may seem at the time. Keep a dream journal and record even those fragments. A dream journal can be auditory (using a recorder) or written. You can include drawings, mind-maps, even create collages from the dream.
When you record your dreams over a span of time – as in years or decades – you get a view that can illuminate your inner world and the journey you have taken.
Your dreams can give you remarkable insights.
Sometimes you can find significance in a dream that is years old. Linear time does not exist in the dreaming mind. It can give you a dream in childhood that speaks to you for the rest of your life.
When going to bed, plan to remember whatever dreams come to you. Place a pad and pen or recorder within easy reach of your bed. The best technique I have found for remembering dreams is to repeat three times before going to sleep, “Tonight I will remember one dream.” When you are regularly remembering one dream, change the message to, “Tonight I will remember all my dreams.”
Once you remember your dreams and record them: you can begin to decode them. What kind of dream is it? There are different types and categories of dreams.
Some examples of dream categories are:
- Television dreams, containing characters from TV, movies and books.
- Precognitive dreams about the future.
- Symbolic dreams; they contain symbols and metaphors that hold messages about your life or a current life situation.
- Therapeutic dreams where every aspect of the dream is a part of yourself.
- Guidance dreams from your Higher Self and Soul
- Healing dreams
As you become skilled in dream recall, you can program for specific dreams using the same technique of self-suggestion. For example: Tonight I will have a healing dream. (three times) Tonight I will dream my next (creative project or goal.) Tonight I will have a guidance dream about… (problem.)
The best time to begin developing skill in dream recall is during an unpressured time in the morning when you awaken naturally.
Only you can interpret your dreams. Your dreams emerge from your psyche. The part of you that creates them knows what each dream means. Only you, the dream’s creator, know what you wanted to communicate to yourself via the various elements and events in your dreams. As you begin to work with a dream, its meaning and significance will start to unfold.
All human beings are also dream beings. Dreaming ties all mankind together.
— Jack Kerouac
Dreams play a significant role in processing what is going on in your life. They help you grieve a loss or heal disconnected parts of yourself. They help you through life-changing events and help you learn. Your dreams can do a lot of the work.
Ask yourself what step or steps can you take to follow the advice of the dream. Is there anything you can do to paint, draw, dance, sing or sculpt the dream or some aspect of it?
Your dream journal holds the record of the dream and its meaning. It should be titled, dated and recorded in the present tense, which brings clarity of understanding to the dream.
Dream-sharing is another way to enhance your dreams. As you share a dream with another person or in a dream group, new insights often emerge. It is especially valuable to share the significant dreams you have. Always make sure that you share your dreams with people who are respectful and positive.
The Magic of the Night
Slowly, gently night unfurls its splendor
Grasp it, sense it, tremulous and tender
Turn your face away from the garish light of day
Turn your thoughts away from cold, unfeeling light
And listen to the music of the night.
— Andrew Lloyd Webber, Music of the Night
I love the night. I love the mystery of the night and dreams. I love to wake up with a dream in my mind. In fact, I count on my dreams to help me, guide me and heal me.
I love going to bed and wondering what my dreams will bring. Or calling for a specific dream, knowing that when I wake up in the morning, I will have new insight. Or the creative block will be cleared. My reality will be different because of a dream.
I have been recording and working with my dreams for most of my life. Even as a child, I recognized that my dreams had value, that somehow they were important. Through them I receive communication from my soul and Higher Self. My dreams are a bridge into other dimensions, into the wisdom and freedom that I don’t have time to access during the day, yet need in order to feel whole.
In my counseling and hypnotherapy practice, I have been privileged to have others share their dreams with me and to help them find meaning in their dreams. Something happens when you share a dream with someone who values it. It is a kind of validation. It is an acknowledging of a deeper self we each carry within us.
Dreams are powerful and beautiful, healing and entertaining. Many people find a group with whom to regularly share their dreams. It is a different and deeper way to know others. Dreaming and sharing our dreams is part of our humanity.
So tonight when you crawl into bed and close your eyes with the intention of going to sleep, remember to take a moment to give a thought to the dreams you are going to dream, the messages you are going to receive, and the healing and insight that will come through the night.
You can become an artisan of dreaming