Tips to help you recall what your sweet dreams are made of.

Somewhere I mentioned my intention to learn lucid dreaming as a way to find peace in my aggravating, troubling dreams, to go into my mental office, as it were, to straighten up. A lucid dream, if you don’t know, is a dream in which you are actually conscious that you’re in a dream and are able to control your actions and do whatever you like.

I promise I will not bore you with drawn-out descriptions of my dreams, only details as needed to illustrate.

First, I know I can change outcomes with my mind. I went to use the bathroom in the middle of the night and a breeze must have closed the door because I walked right into it. When I fell back asleep, I dreamed I was laying exactly in my bed the way I was, except there was a towering wall in front of me made of quivering panes of glass. I thought, if that falls on me, it will kill me. This has to be a dream, and I was able to will it away and the dream moved on.

I also know I can influence my dreams through my thoughts during the day. There was a person I did not want to dream about and hoped I didn’t, and of course they showed up. They used the bathroom, and I asked them coldly to comb their hair and leave. So although they were an unpleasant guest, I know it’s possible to exert influence, if practiced correctly. I wonder if it is the case that you have to positively manifest something, as opposed to willing its absence.

Next, I have made progress in remembering more details of my dreams. I usually recall some details or storylines every night. I never have a night where I remember nothing. My technique is quite simple and is the most widely recommended one–writing them down as soon as I wake up and still have a hold on them. Don’t tell yourself you’ll write it down later and then turn over and go back to sleep. If you wait, it will slip right out of your memory like you were trying to grab a fistful of water. The snooze button is fatal.

I place my journal right next to my bed right before I go to sleep. Its cover says “Follow Your Dreams” and has a picture of a happy sloth. While not fond of cutesy journal covers, I bought it to use because I liked its juxtaposition with my total lack of a future. But it serves my current project just as well, and it’s perhaps safer for my mental health.

By writing down everything I remember, I am able to remember even more. After only a few nights, I’ve already discovered a couple of places I have dreamed of before. I try to snap a mental photo of these images and write down every detail that sticks out in the hopes of identifying recurrent places, objects, people, and motifs. Perhaps I could even sketch the ones that seem salient. But that might be too much work.

I don’t view dreams as some sort of magical revelations. I look at them quite practically–they are filled with all that we hear and see and think and experience. They look like someone turned a filing cabinet inside-out in a fit of rage, its contents of photographs, films, and diaries scattered everywhere in the foreboding dreamscape otherwise known as my brain asleep.

Everything I’m doing is only the preliminary work to the actual attempt at lucid dreaming, which will involve many other tricks.

Between the dreams and back pain, sleeping is torture for me and I hope I can find at least a modicum of peace or relaxation, along with some interesting psychological material.

The only downside is knowing that I am going to encounter people and things I would much prefer not to, but I rationalize this by reminding myself that no one is going to see it and I can always lie to myself about what it means.

Do you remember your dreams or do you only close your eyes and open them again? Have you ever tried dream journaling and learned something about yourself? Is there something reoccurring that bothers you?

29 thoughts on “Tips to help you recall what your sweet dreams are made of.

  1. I do both. Sometimes I remember them clearly, sometimes I only remember them right after waking then proceed to forget them, and other times I just close my eyes and wake up again.

    I can’t influence dreams or even know that I’m in them, however. How I wish I could. I’ve heard about this ‘write your dreams down and you’ll remember more’ thing. Maybe I should give it a go.

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  2. I recently had dreams about WordPress bloggers whom I have never met and have no idea what they look like or where they live or their voice or anything! These dreams were surprisingly vivid and made utterly no logical sense. I have not tried dream journaling about these, but I think the most likely interpretation is that I am spending too much time on the internet.

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  3. My partner and I argue about this. She is a molecular biologist, so you know right there she has no imagination. She thinks dreams are random neural firings. I think they are random, but will “help” you if you ask them, or rather, expect them too. Like a dog that runs around in the yard doing nothing but will gladly learn chores like fetching the paper, if you take the time to train it. So, my dreams are mostly annoying, but I try to remember them, just in case my subconscious knows something that I don’t.

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    1. “No imagination”– ouch! I think you’ve made some great points about how this all works. I don’t think they’re entirely random, because when you recall them, you can usually see a storyline, albeit very strange ones. I love your idea of spying on your subconscious.

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      1. OK it’s possible I overstated my partner’s linear thinking processes.
        I just wanted to add that even if dreams are sparked by random spurious neural misfires, or whatever, our sleeping brains work hard to connect the dots. Two nights ago I dreamt I was walking around holding a baby in a carrier and carrying on a complex, nuanced conversation with it. I’m thinking I don’t even want to know . . . .

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  4. I have heard the term lucid dream, but had no clue. What it was. I guess I have had a few. I don’t write dreams down. I take them as a sign of what is bothering me. The days events certainly play on our subconscious mind. Sometimes I have no clue what is bothering me. I am grateful that I meditate and read spiritual discourses as they help alleviate subconscious worries. If that makes sense.

    A beautiful written piece, I do like your writing style.

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  5. How are you getting on with your dream project? It’s impressive you remember your dreams every day even though I feel it might be more torture for you. I only seem to remember my dreams around the the full and new moons. 🤗

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  6. As I was rereading this I had another thought. For people who say “I don’t dream,” I usually point out that conversion to long term memory does not occur for awhile upon waking, even though it’s creepy to imagine that without that conversion, it just did not happen–not in your mind anyway. But my point was my single instance, in my adult life, of being “put under” for a medical procedure. It was quite literally as if a slice of my life had been surgically removed–I shut my eyes, a slow blink, and opened them but it was 45 minutes later. (or whatever.) I never feel like that when waking, even if I think I had no dreams. It was creepy.

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  7. I’ve occasionally done some dream journaling, mostly nightmares or strange stuff that I think would make a good story one day. Never been very successful at lucid dreaming. I do remember once as a very young child dreaming that I was at a picnic and some wild boars came and trampled everything, and sent people running, so I climbed up a tree and started praying and asked Jesus to come down and help me. And he did. lol. So…there was that. I can’t recall that type of thing happening any other times though. Could definitely be handy in a nightmare.

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    1. I think I only dream about the strange and bad stuff, or at least I don’t recall anything nice. Lucid dreaming will definitely prove helpful if I can achieve it. It sounds like you can remember stuff. Maybe you should try and pick up the journaling habit again, even if it’s only to jot down an image or a line of dialogue.

      Liked by 1 person

          1. I think it might be the same for me, so I didn’t try, but am still intrigued. I know there is a lot of weird stuff in there, and no matter how much I try to put a happy spin on it, it might be a scary place to pull into the waking hours.

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