Sometimes we wander from healer to therapist searching for direction and self-understanding, never noticing the profound guidance given to us by our very own subconscious. You can plumb the depths of your inner knowledge, learn your own personal symbolic system and understand your life with greater clarity – if you keep a dream diary.
1. Get a special book
Use a dream diary or blank notebook to log your dreams. You’ll be more likely to use it if simply having its weight rest in your palm fills you with pleasure. Don’t use an old diary. This book is to be used exclusively for your dreams.
2. Start writing your dreams down
Write your dreams down as soon as you wake up. And be consistent. It’s easy to forget that you intend to keep a dream diary when slumber sets in. Place a post-it on the bathroom mirror or your clock to keep it in the forefront of your mind as you turn in. Also, if you don’t remember your dreams most nights, give yourself a silent verbal reminder as you close your eyes, “Tonight, I’ll have vivid dreams and recall them after I awake.'” This will notify your subconscious that you’re taking your dreams seriously.
3. Keep notes
If you wake up from a dream, have your diary and a flashlight handy so you can jot it down before falling asleep again. Later dreams will often “erase” the dream that woke you up. Use a bullet point style:
Floating through my parent’s house
A car is in the pool, but no one’s in it
My Mom wants me to make pancakes but the stove doesn’t work
I try lighting it with a match but even the gas doesn’t work
Simple notes like these will keep the dream accessible and begin to show a pattern of symbols in your dreams. Also, add to your notes a brief outline of the significant events of that day. Soon, you may see a pattern where events in your waking life trigger certain types of dreams.
4. Get a dream reference book
Or you can look symbols up online to see what they may mean from your dream. Write them down. Colors, places, placement of people and objects (east, west, north, south). Add this information to your dream notes to fill in the blanks of your dream’s meaning.
5. Make your own dream dictionary
Note the important symbols in your dream, like the car in the pool. Recall how that image felt in the dream. Was it scary or funny? Dream symbols are highly personal. If a cat clawed you as a toddler, cats could represent danger, while for someone else cats could represent comfort. If you note both the feeling and the life events going on at the time, you’ll understand how your subconscious reacts and processes things.
With a dream diary, you’ll get a more insightful view into the events of your life, even the ones you try to ignore. This will give you a deeper level of integrity within yourself, as you begin to integrate your dream and waking lives.
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