How to Keep a Dream Journal

Examining your dreams is a way of honoring your unconscious, learning about yourself, growing into a stronger, truer version of yourself, harnessing the power of your unconscious, deepening your spirituality, and working through issues. Creating a dream journal is an excellent way to start, document, and further the journey.

Not a dreamer? Don’t worry. Everyone dreams several times each night. With a little persistence and discipline, you will be remembering your dreams in no time.

Here is what you need to get started:

  • pen
  • small flashlight
  • notebook

Before going to sleep, set your intention about what it is you’d like to dream about. Right it down along with the date before you go to sleep.

If you talk to your subconscious regularly, it is more likely to be available to you and listen. Your intention may have to do with problem solving like: “Where should I look for a job” or “How can I find the money to get through this crisis?” Your intention may have to do with gathering information such as: “How might I improve my health” or “Is this the right person for me?” Or you could use it for personal growth and ask something like, “What is it that I most need to know?”

Don’t be discouraged if you don’t dream the first night or don’t seem to dream about what you wanted. This is where discipline comes in. You didn’t learn how to ride a bike the first time you tried, and dreaming consciously takes some practice too.

Try to transition between waking and sleeping gently. As you lie there in the state between waking and sleeping, leave your mind in an open (unfocused) state and scan for memories of your dreams. Perhaps they will continue or you may get fragments or details you didn’t remember before.

When you awaken, write down what you remember. This may be fragments or whole dreams. Include as much detail as possible. Include your feelings and reactions. Don’t skip over dreams that seem to be about “nothing.” Hindsight may prove they were more useful than they initially appeared. If it’s the middle of the night, go ahead and write your dream down just then. If you wait until morning, you may forget it. Include a title and tags at the bottom of the page that highlight important elements or themes. This can help you to find it or cross reference it later.

Leave the following page blank so that you can make notes such as recurring themes, recurring locales, thoughts, emotions, connections between the dream and reality, or anything else that may seem fun or relevant. If you are an artist or doodler, you might want to draw things you saw in the dream in this space. If something meaningful happens, such as you dreamt of something that actually ended up happening or you got a bit of advice in your dream that ended up saving you a lot of time, money, or headache, acknowledge it! This opens the door to receiving more information like that.

Periodically review old dreams. Your dreams are a reflection of you. You can always learn more about yourself.

Don’t get too involved in memorizing meanings of symbols. You are the expert on your dreams. Your symbols are your symbols. Flying might mean X, Y, Z according to a manual. Meanwhile it has a completely different meaning for you. Trust your own instinct. That’s one of the skills that develops from keeping a dream journal. The more you use it, the stronger your intuition becomes. Trust it. If you get a stern reality check, trust that. Your inner self is far wiser than your ego self.

Don’t get too hung up on making it an exercise. Don’t worry about perfection, spelling, punctuation, or judging the dream or yourself. Keep it light. Have fun. I’d love to hear about the cool things you discover.

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