A Separate Journal?

Dreams have a quality that often seems to compel us to examine and interpret them. Some dreams are wild, crazy expressions, seemingly well beyond any even heroic attempts to decode their irrational logic. Some appear so trivial – or perhaps ordinary – that their meaning seems obvious, such as reliving an event of the day or practicing for 'that meeting' tomorrow.

Some are expressions of desire, sexual attraction, fear, or 'wish fulfillment.' And some are truly strange, like waking up in the context of an alternate reality, or seeing oneself sleeping.

Yet, there are other dreams that seem truly important, that upon waking you might say, 'I really need to remember that one!' Certainly, these you must put in your Dreamwork Journal.

You do not need a separate Dreamwork Journal; however, it might be useful to be able to separate out dreams from the rest of your Journal work. Dreams have their own time references, often disconnected from our own.

Sometimes dreams are not actually related to current events, or they may form a series with intervals of such length that they can become lost in the volume of other Journal work. One such series I share as the Tornado Dreams, which is used later as an example of the combination of dream and Journal work.

If you choose to develop a separate Dreamwork Journal, take care to be able to easily reference your dreams to other points in your Journal. Be sure to note the date and perhaps the circumstances of the dream. This will help. Also be sure to note in your regular Journal that a dream occurred that is in the Dream Journal.

Incorporating your dreams into your regular Journal presents some challenges as well. In these cases, you will need to have some referencing capability, such as index or margin notes.

Recording Your Dreams

The following are some ideas to help you develop your ability to remember and record your dreams for later use. This may take some practice, particularly if you are among those who insist, 'I never have dreams.'

Intend to dream
As you ready your body for sleep, perhaps relaxing deeply, mentally state the intention to dream and remember your dream. You might pose a question or topic that you would like to work on. Intend to have your dreams communicate clearly to you.

Keep your Dreamwork Journal by your bedside
Often there have been times when I have awakened in the night, full of a dream that is very important. Sometimes, it is so important that I know I will not forget it. So, to salve my sleepy mind, I go back to sleep. And, of course, many times only the barest threads remain.

Make waking up less traumatic
Everyone has had the experience of waking from a very important dream to the sound of a clattering alarm clock or rock band on the radio alarm. Find better ways to awaken yourself gently! Set two alarms, perhaps: one very soft a little earlier than you need, then a second later on. Try to avoid setting them so far apart that you go back to sleep, however! Just give yourself enough time to draw together the threads of the dream.

Spend time in quiet reflection
It is good to develop a relaxed and centered mind. Journal work will help, as will other forms of meditative activities. Whatever you do, in order to remember and work with dreams, you must be able to access a calm and relaxed mental posture.

Record your dreams
as completely and accurately as you can

I sometimes have extremely long and cinematic dreams that I am sure would make a good movie. One dream I recorded went on page after page. And yet, each part of the dream, each character, each item, was in itself a symbol. Interpreting that one dream took several hours and was very productive (not to mention fascinating!)

Furthermore, on this point, you will find yourself refering back through your Dreamwork Journal months or years later. It is very disheartening to see an important dream given short shrift because it didn’t seem important at the time.

Content © copyright 1996-2009
By Gerry Starnes • All rights reserved.