Once you have made the decision to use the dream state to enhance your life, the best way to recall as many dreams as possible is to first understand what we know about the dream state.
When we sleep, it is scientifically known that the brain is 50 to 80 percent electrically active. Approximately every 90 minutes throughout sleep periods, the brain experiences rapid eye movement (REM) when dramatic dream activity registers in the brain as the internal electrical activity reaches 100 percent. This means that during REM dreams the body itself is usually immobile but the brain is functioning as if it were entirely conscious and awake.
According to Harvard research studies, less than 20% of dream content is related to any specific memory you may have. This means that more than 80% of dream material is new to you. Once recalled, this emerging material has the potential to enlighten, inspire, educate and transform your life forever.
Many people neglect their dreams because they have at some time in their life experienced nightmares when they dream. This is reflected in studies that show that two of the most common emotions experienced in dreams are anxiety and anger. For many of us, the anxiety and anger experienced in our dreams reflects our unacknowledged fears and our sense of powerlessness in our physical lives. Both of these factors should be reduced once you work with the content of your dreams.
But the error of these widespread beliefs is also refuted by the other most common emotion experienced in dreams — elation. The elation we experience in dreams tells us that our conscious perceptions are mistaken. Dreams are rife with pleasant emotions, as are our lives. We may just not be focusing on them. Once you begin remembering your dreams you will discover you also feel deep intense love, satisfaction, frivolity and awe in your dreams. Once we recall more of these dreams, these energizing emotions can be predominately reflected in our waking lives.
Dream recall is challenging, however, because the brain does not secrete the hormones necessary to store memories during sleep. This is why it is so important to record dreams as soon as you awaken.
Keep a notebook and pen within arm’s reach of your bed. You may try using a tape recorder if you prefer but this may disturb bed partners, and I’ve found my night-time mumblings sometimes incomprehensible to decipher upon arising.
If possible, awaken quickly but do so to soft music, not to a jarring alarm. As soon as you wake up, don’t get out of bed. Lay there for a moment and ask yourself what you had just been doing, then reach for your pen and notebook and start writing down what you remember. Too much physical activity causes the memory of the dream to evaporate if you don’t record it immediately.
Sometime during the day, interpret your dream. Note any feelings, associations, or beliefs that may come to you regarding the dream. Interpret what the symbols or people in the dream represent to you.
Try to determine what message the dream is telling you.
Then I recommend analyzing the dream from a non-symbolic, multi-dimensional perspective as well. If you were traveling through space and time periods, or other dimensions, and were actually interacting with the people or objects present in the dream, what is the dream showing you?
Write down your conclusions and review your dreams as often as you prefer, but at a minimum of once monthly. Many dreams are precognitive and may be showing you potential future events, past life associations, or themes that are recurring in your life that you might want to change.
If you are serious about the dream state as a tool, you’ll want to organize your records. Type your dreams into a database or word processing document that can be easily searched. You’ll want to be able to find specific dreams or related dreams to further understand your personal dream symbols and the relationships you have with others.
These are the categories I recommend, but use whatever fields that are important to you.
Dream Number − for easy identification when you are working with multiple dreams in one night.
Date of Dream – Use the date you wake up from the dream. You may find that you record dreams several times in the same day.
Time of Dream – to differentiate dreams recorded at various times during the day.
Title of Dream – You may want to give your dream a title to help you scan through dream themes when you need them. This is also a great way to determine the core message of the dream.
Type of Dream – Specify the type of dream you think it is. You can change this later if evidence manifests that shows it is a precognitive dream, for instance. I use the designations of normal, vivid, message, clairvoyant, precognitive, historical, lucid, false-awakening, out of body experience (OBE), and journal.
Location/Setting – Specify the dream setting for comparison purposes. Also, if you move a lot, you may want to specify the address where you were located when you had the dream.
Dream Participants – Specify who was in the dream with you.
Symbols – List furniture, animals, colors, etc., for later easier searching.
Feelings/Mood – Note how you felt in the dream, whether the dream was joyful, fun, somber, etc.
Dream Content – Record the entire dream content or experience.
Dream Interpretation – Interpret what your dream means to you both symbolically and factually.
Related Dreams – As you keep your records, you may want to list the dream numbers of related dreams, to easily refer back to them.
Prior/Related Events – Record life events that relate to the dream. You may want to keep a daily journal in this same record, listing it as a journal entry, to more easily find associations to your daily life in your dreams.
Dreams may be what you have been missing in your life. The benefits of dream recall may astound you.