Understanding yourself better using your dream journal (Part 2/7)
It’s a fact: without a written record, dreams are quickly forgotten, often as soon as by the end of the day.
There is no good way to remember them without a written dream journal, preferably on paper.
Understanding the dream consists of more than remembering the actual dream components. You’ve got to understand the triggers as well. Without a written dream journal, even if you remember the dream, you don’t remember the triggers for it.
This is why you need to keep an actual, physical dream journal.
Without a written dream journal, I doubt I’d remember the precise date I saw a documentary on gypsies prompting a dream I had about Stevie Nicks. By itself, the events of the dream are odd. Considered together, the dream and the trigger provides a solution to a problem in the world. Appearance matters. A little regard in this area could alleviate a lot of suffering for the poor people who were discriminated against in Europe.
On one hand, this seems obvious to many people. Of course, they say.
On the other hand, it isn’t. Many would charge the people impacted by discrimination and poverty in the documentary can’t be bothered to attend to the way they look. It’s judgmental.
Cute puppies and kitties have an easier time getting adopted at the shelter than older, more homely dogs. Fact is, would-be helpers do make judgments based on appearance. It’s both true and controversial at the same time.
If you forget the situations and thoughts inspiring the dream, it’s harder to understand, especially a few weeks after you had the dream. Essential facts are missing. If you’re going to use dream journaling as a springboard to understand yourself better, the triggers from your day-to-day life are as much of a part of the dream as the dream itself.
Trying to remember and understand the dreams without a written record is like trying to remember every single word in a 100,000-word book you’ve read.
You’re just not going to do it.
Rather, if it’s a book you care about, a book you want to be able to refer to, you’re going to need to mark it up. You’re going to keep notes in the margin. You’re going to highlight passages.
Some people are against this. Depending on the situation, it might not be appropriate.
If you own the book, however, do it. It will help you find useful information in the future if it’s contained in the pages of the book.
It turns a book into a tool.
The same line of thinking applies to dream journals.
It ends up being a guidebook to your subconscious.
People who write their dreams down are rare
Unfortunately, writing isn’t something coming naturally to many people. Even fewer keep dream journals.
One reason is they’re worried about someone reading their journal and misunderstanding them intentionally or on purpose. Having a written journal makes some people feel vulnerable.
You can’t just remember some random dreams and say you’re using this method to understand yourself better.
You’ll forget a bunch. Without a journal, you’re not going to notice trends. Trends are important to any sleep analysis.
Without keeping a dream journal, you tend to remember odd dreams the best. You forget the subtle symbols your subconscious uses to communicate.
Any diagrams a written dream journaler keeps from his or her dreams are lost.
There’s just no shortcut to keeping a written journal.
And there’s no rule that says you can’t hide your journal between your mattresses or under your bed, writing in it in secret.
It takes a bit of courage, maybe a little callousness. Both of those qualities can be in short supply sometimes.
Further reading in the series:
Part 1: What you know and don’t know.
Part 3: Encode your dreams if you must.
Part 4: Stick with dream journaling.
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