Based on the new book The Three "Only" Things: Tapping the Power of Dreams, Coincidence, and Imagination
Have you lost touch with your dreams? Are your dreams missing you (in the words of one of a new slew of dream-themed TV commercials)? Is your dream recall limited to fragments that are lost completely as you hurry off into the business and traffic of the day?
Relax. There are easy ways to renew and refresh your relationship with your dreams.
1. SET AN INTENTION FOR THE NIGHT
Before you go to bed, write down an intention for the night. This can be a travel plan ("I would like to go to Hawaii" or "I would like to visit my girlfriend/boyfriend"). It might be a specific request for guidance ("I want to know what will happen if I change my job"). It could be a more general setting of direction ("I ask for healing" or "I open myself to my creative source"). You might simply say, "I want to have fun in my dreams and remember."
Make sure your intention has some juice. Don’t make dream recall one more chore to fit in with all the others.
Having set your intention, make sure you have the means to honor it. Keep pen and paper (or a tape recorder) next to your bed so you are ready to record something when you wake up.
Record something whenever you wake up, even if it’s at 3 a.m. If you have to go to the bathroom, take your notebook with you and practice doing two things at once. Sometimes the dreams we most need to hear come visiting at rather anti-social hours, from the viewpoint of the little everyday mind.
If you don’t remember a dream when you first wake up, laze in bed for a few minutes and see if something comes back. Wiggle around in the bed. Sometimes returning to the body posture we were in earlier in the night helps to bring back what we were dreaming when our bodies were arranged that way.
If you still don’t have a dream, write something down anyway: whatever is in your awareness, including feelings and physical sensations. You are catching the residue of a dream even if the dream itself is gone. And as you do this, you are saying to the source of your dreams, "I’m listening. Talk to me."
2. PRACTICE CONSCIOUS ENTRY INTO THE DREAMSPACE
You don’t need to go to sleep in order to dream. You can enter dreaming from a quiet place of meditation, from the twilight zone between sleep and waking, or through shamanic drumming. You may want to check out my drumming CD, Wings for the Journey. You can take a favorite picture and use it as a personal dreamgate. Imagine yourself stepping behind that line of trees in the landscape painting, for example, and having an adventure on the other side. Or take a favorite piece of music and let yourself flow with it into a series of dreamlike scenes.
3. PLAY WITH THE DREAMLIKE SYMBOLS OF EVERYDAY LIFE
It’s fun to devote a little time every day to tracking the dreamlike play of symbols in everyday life. It’s also very interesting how, when we give more room to studying coincidence and random messages (in the vanity plate of the car ahead, or what comes on the car radio, for instance), we seem to unlock the nocturnal dreamgates and more comes through.
4. BE KIND TO FRAGMENTS
Don’t give up on fragments from your night dreams. The wispiest trace of a dream can be exciting to play with, and as you play with it you may find you are pulling back more of the previously forgotten dream.