Jan 272012

With few examples in our midst of powerful & skilled dreamers, some people spend a lifetime thinking that they just don’t dream, or that ‘remembering’ is an ability that doesn’t come naturally to them. But Dreaming is an artform which can be cultivated and practiced. In my experience, it takes very little to get your dreams flowing again.The starting point must be an attitude that your dreams are of value. From there, just a few simple steps and, in a week or two of practice, you will see the beginnings of the lifelong relationship you can have with your vast inner knowing and creativity.”

1. Before going to bed, set the intention to remember your dreams. You may want to re-read some of your previous dreams to strengthen the waking/dreaming bridge, or meditate on a question you’d like answered.

2. How you wake up is fundamental. Avoid using an alarm clock. Train your body to wake you up instead – you’ll be amazed by how accurate the body clock can be.

3. Keep your eyes closed and remain in your waking position. The dream can easily be dislodged, (especially by your to-do list), so stay present with the dream, as if carrying a fragile creature across a rickety bridge.

4. If you remember just a fragment, try not to judge or interpret it. Just hold that fragment, (be it a scene, image, character or feeling), and “rehearse” it in your mind several times until it feels solid.

5. Keep a blank journal by your bed and write down everything you remember. Dreams are like lovers; they’ll blossom if you pay attention to them and abscond if you ignore or invalidate them.

6. Be playful & persistent. Find enjoyable ways to explore your dreams in greater depth. Share them with a friend, start a dream group, paint your symbols or Google them on a quiet morning. Stay tuned for further clues in waking life.

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A writer, artist and tender of dreams, Toko-pa has been interviewed by CNN News & BBC Radio and her writing has appeared in publications around the world. Thanks to Skype, she works with dreamers internationally in her Private Dreamwork practice, based on Salt Spring Island in Canada. You can find Toko-pa on Facebook or sign up for her mailing list to receive news about upcoming events.

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  18 Responses to “Tips for Dream Recall”

  1. Yes, this is so right, this is my experience too.
    I wanted to remember my dreams. I started writing and / or drawing them, seeing the patterns.. I began to remember all the dreams appearing during the night. After some time I counted five or more every night for weeks and months, and I had to tell my dream self not to remember them all, as I got so tired by this ongoing movie! Only the most important, thank you. That worked just perfect. I kept journaling my dreams for more than 10 years, no problem, after a short time I remembered the dreams during the day, to write in the evening, when the busyness of the day faded away. Now I get only the dreams that I need, the dreams that tells me something special, that carries a deeper feeling or longing.
    With love, Mette

    • Beautiful sharing Mette! I’ve seen that pendulum swing too, from no dreams at all to an overwhelm of plots and subplots. I love your solution in simply asking for them to be more succinct. So often these short dreams pack a real punch and, given their simplicity, allow us to focus our attention. Isn’t is delightful how dreams respond so generously to our requests?

  2. Lovely post, Toko-pa. I love Mette’s comment too, which demonstrates how you develop a relationship with your dreams in which you can negotiate and use intention. I think the most valuable thing is that experience of flow you get when you recall something every night – whether it’s half a dozen long narratives or a single arresting image. It puts waking life in a wider context, like the experience of walking in a wild place, where you know how small you are, and it feels exhilarating

    • Wonderfully said, Jenny. Yes – it’s what I call the Dynamic Reciprocity between waking & dreaming. It’s just a fuller, richer, more magical way to live!

  3. I love your common sense approach to dreaming. Since life and your dreams are a process and not a destination, it’s essential to sit with your experience before judging it or moving on. Often the feeling and learn process within your dream takes time and can’t be hurried. Allow you experience to open and unfold in it’s own cycle. The many profound gifts in life arrive over time and aren’t integrated over night. ♥

  4. Thank you for sharing 🙂 exactly what I needed – lovely 🙂

  5. I´m very happy to go dreamtripping with you and travel the world. I´m fulfilled at the moment with no questions and happy at this new year encounter. Bless you , Patty

  6. Thank you Toko Pa. I cherish your posts and information on dreaming. The artwork is astonishingly beautiful and the reverence with which you write and share these insights of the ephemeral just connect, make sense and direct those of us who are seekers. Dreams may just vaporize into the realms and your very specific direction is so clear and so beautiful! Thank you!

  7. Hi Toko-pa, thank you for this! I’m learning to honour my dreams, and your tips were exactly what I needed to hear at this time. I find for myself, there is a “dream space” I can enter, which feels different in my body. If I recall even the smallest scene or fragment from the dream, I can sometimes get a body sensation from it, and I then allow myself to remember more, just by being in that space. I also try to not obsess over remembering, as this creates pressure which always causes my dream to evaporate! Another thing I do, which often helps me, is that I offer myself encouragement. I remind myself that the dream is in my mind, and all that is required is that I get to a calm space of conscious remembering. This can help. Oh, and strangely, sometimes when I recall an old dream it can jog my memory of the most recent one, if it’s stuck inside!
    I love this work, and I don’t know anyone else who does it like I do, so thank you for being a beautiful presence online for me and others like me! (I also find it comforting that you’re Canadian, as so am I…not that it’s all that relevant, but still)

  8. Thanks for the insight to my night visions….recently, I started leaving my cell phone near the bed so I could record first thoughts….then later transcribe into computer. Going back to paper and pen, something about the tools of touch that help me retrieve better, but then I am kinaesthetic. For left brained folk it may be a great Segway to their subconscious.

  9. Thank you for sharing, i am a dreamer.

  10. I was wondering if you can guide me to where I might find out the meaning of my night visions. For quite a long time now I wake up at night (not every night though ) with a sick feeling in my stomach and then see my third eye staring at me or to the side ) then I have what I describe as visions. Usually people who I don’t know nor can I make any sense out of the scenes playing out . I am awake so these aren’t dreams really and the people aren’t interacting with me . I have not been able to find anyone whose explanation of what is happening seems right. I hope it’s ok I ask this here and thank you for any information you may give me

    • I am only just viewing this webpage, so this response may be unneeded by now. HOwever, having experienced dissociative identity disorder related to severe Post Traumatic stress Disorder, I have a take on your dreams that may make sense.

      Because your third eye is looking at you, perhaps each of the “strangers” is a part of yourself which has not been able to mature. Each has been frozen from the various negative messages to not develop, to not be able to offer you the full range of your strengths and abilities to view the world without the fears or “shoulds” or “shouldn’ts” that the world tends to offer so many of us.

      Good luck with your growing. Our dreams do open us to a dimension of “reality”, as Toko-Pa states, that can help us in this amazing journey called Being Human.

      I hope by now you have found a way to connect with all the parts of yourself to become the full and wonderful person

  11. I dream most nights, very rich and vivid dreams – I really want to understand the symbol’s & language of my dreams to be able to interpret the message & medicine . Looking forward to diving deeper into this wonderful inner world

  12. Due to health issues, I have to take medication to sleep. I feel like I dream less and don’t remember them, but haven’t tried to nurture dream time. I’m wondering if they would still be considered helpful or even relevant if a medication is on board?

  13. Thank you for the tips, Toko-pa.
    I’ve had a very lively dream life in the past and I’ve been missing it. It has been just barely out of my grasp. So last night I put my journal by my bed and took time this morning to hold the first fragments, and now I’m on my way.
    I look forward to your guidance in the November class.
    Much love to you, you dear hearted woman!

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