By Mimi Pettibone
While many people think they don’t dream, we all dream about 4-5 times every night. The difference is whether or not we remember them. Some people are naturally more prone to recall their dreams than others, just as some people are more naturally inclined to be good at math, sports, or music. Regardless of implicit ability, improving dream recall is something that can be learned. Once we do this, we have the amazing material of our subconscious mind to draw from for greater self awareness, self understanding and a stronger connection to our spiritual and intuitive selves.
We enter the Rapid Eye Movement (R.E.M.) state of dreaming approximately every 90 minutes, usually about 4-5 times in a night. If we wake up during a dream, or right at the end of a dream, we are highly likely to remember it. If we wake up between R.E.M. cycles, we are not very likely to remember anything. The dreams we have during R.E.M. sleep are the ones with interpretive value. They may also contain psychic or precognitive elements. When we are between R.E.M. cycles there is a different sort of dream state happening, something I like to call ‘sleep thinking’. This is where we are consolidating memories and skills we learned during the day. Our neural networks are reinforcing the new patterns learned. If someone started a new job where they learned to cashier, for example, they might dream about counting money and working the register, repeating the tasks to consolidate the learning that took place during the day.
The first step to remembering your dreams is to set the intention before you go to sleep. Saying something to yourself such as “I would like to remember my dreams tonight”. Then keep a pen, paper or recording device (i.e. a digital recorder or cell phone) near your bed and be ready to catch the dream when you wake up, otherwise they do slip away very easily.
When we first wake up, many of us tend to jump out of bed and spring into action. This is a sure way to forget any lingering traces of a dream. Instead, try to just lie still and pay attention to anything you might be feeling or thinking, or even part of a song that might be going through your head. If you don’t notice anything, try shifting positions (sometimes just getting back into the position you were dreaming in will help trigger a memory). You may get something right away, or it may take some practice. Whatever you are feeling or even if you recall just a little piece of a dream, record it! Even the most seemingly insignificant fragment of a dream can hold interesting and amazing insight, once you understand the meaning of it. Keep paying attention every morning, and write down or record what you do remember. Strengthening your dream recall is like exercising a muscle, eventually it will get stronger. Soon, you will recall whole dreams and have plenty to work with!
Mimi Pettibone is a professional dream worker and creator of the Enchanted Art Oracle Cards. She offers private consultations at East West Bookshop and by phone including dream interpretation, relationship and life path coaching, tarot and oracle readings. Her background includes humanistic and social psychology, relationships and communication skills, linguistics, spirituality, and consciousness. Mimi is also a monthly dream columnist for the New Spirit Journal Online.For more info on Mimi, or to book a consultation: www.thedreamdetective.com
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