The Hermetic Traveller

For: Explorers, Adventurers, Navigators

How To Remember Your Dreams, and then wake up in them

If you want to learn to remember your dreams, and to dream lucidly, you should aim to start by remembering at least one dream every night. Get into the spirit of it by imagining yourself as a dream researcher, and read up on other people's dreams. There are some good web sites that will help give you more exposure to the field. After a while, be sure to re-read your own dreams.

Start by getting plenty of sleep, so that you will be fresh enough to allow yourself to wake in the night and fill in a dream journal. When you are fresher,

you have longer dream periods and they recur more often. Dream research shows that the first dream of the night is the shortest, around 10 minutes long, however, after 8 hours sleep, dreaming can last up to an hour.

Everyone dreams every night, about once every 90 minutes, but most are forgotten. Generally, your dreams are remembered only if you wake up directly from the dream. If you go on to other stages of sleep, your dreams are forgotten.

You should therefore keep a dream journal handy by your bed and record every dream you can, even if it's just a fragment, and even if it is ordinary or boring. If you note down the key points in a dream, that will often be sufficient to trigger the memory of the whole dream in the morning.

Also, go to bed with the intent that you will remember your dreams. You can repeat the intention to yourself as you fall asleep, to increase the probability that you will remember. You can also set an alarm to wake you at a time you have noticed you usually dream.

You can also use a trigger image, such as a moon, or water, or an experience like running, spinning, or falling. You remind yourself that when you see your trigger image, or feel your trigger experience, you will know you are dreaming, and will awaken in the dream.

When you do wake up after a dream, focus only on the dream, and the task of remembering, and writing it down.

If you find that you sleep too deeply to awaken from your dreams, try setting an alarm clock to wake you at a time when you are likely to be dreaming.

Eventually, when you have become quite skilled at dream recall, you can journal only those dreams that seem important.


Lucid Dreams

The same techniques can be used to induce Lucid dreams. ie: Go to bed with the intent that you will remember your dreams, use trigger images and experiences, and keep a journal.

A mid morning or afternoon nap can make Lucidity more likely, and so can watching cartoons, or animations like Gumby, Noddy, Bob the Builder, or Wallace & Grommit immediately before a nap.

Extending Lucid Dreams

We usually awaken from lucid dreams sooner than we would prefer. However, there are several techniques that will help you extend lucid dreams.
The earliest "scientific" method for stabilizing lucid dreams was described by Harold von Moers-Messmer a German physician in 1938. He proposed the technique of looking at the ground in order to stabilize the dream. The idea is to focus on something in the dream in order to prevent awakening. Carlos Castaneda's famous technique was to looking at his hands while dreaming. Older magical texts recommend looking at your feet.

Imagining falling backward or spinning in a dream has been found to be especially effective in extending the awake portion of a lucid dream. Often the dream will change, but the awake-ness continues. It is important to experience a vivid sense of movement. While spinning, it is helpful to repeat to yourself, "The next scene will be a dream." Falling and spinning are also regularly experienced while in deep meditation.


Dream Healing

Simply noticing and recording your dreams has healing effect, but if you take the time to consider and feel what the dream is revealing about yourself, without in any way judging yourself, the healing effect will be stronger.

Insightful dream interpretations, and changing the elements and your responses in dreams can heal at a very deep level of your consciousness by resolving inner blockages and attitudes.

Once you are an experienced Lucid dreamer, you can invoke the image of an inner healer, and ask them to help or heal you.