The Art of Dream Recall – by Helena Daly
The Art of Dream Recall
Did you know that dreaming is universal but dream recall is not? Some people are surprised to learn this, but it is quite true that not everyone recalls their dreams. The good news is that you can learn how to recall these mysterious phenomenal gifts we are all naturally endowed with.
When I give dream workshops and lead dream groups, there is always at least one person who has come along with a strong desire and wish to remember their dreams. “Why don’t I remember?” they ask. There can be many reasons for this:
- – Stress
- – Lack of dedicated quiet time
- – Energy mostly directed outward with little left for inner illumination
- – No real desire or intention (never underestimate the power of intention)
- – Dreams are not valued
- – Little preparation or deliberate cultivation
- – Lack of knowledge about the inner world
- – Resistance (when dreams do come, they show what is, bringing the spirit of truth)
- – Dream recall varies a lot; for example, dream activity increases during:
- – Times of trauma
- – Psychological and emotional upset or distress (depression, anxiety)
- – Major transitions: marriage, divorce, birth, death, job loss, moving home
- grief and bereavement
To start with then, one of the most important elements of dream recall, begins with a deep desire to want to remember your dreams, and then setting forth a strong intention. Following the planting of this spiritual seed, a big step towards developing a dream practice will have been made. Then comes preparation, commitment, the cultivation of transformative tools and methods, and the strengthening and developing of vital personal characteristics. These include patience, preservation, discipline, ability to relax, openness and passive receptivity.
When preparing body, mind and spirit, it is vitally important to set up what I call “psychic space”. From within this space, conscious intention is put forth, helping open the creative potential of the mind. Engaging in this practice nightly, helps develop an understanding of the sheer, potent power of intention. Prayer and meditation are powerful spiritual rituals and practices through which specific intentions can be made and questions incubated. Incubation is an ancient form of dream healing practice through which to receive higher states of individual and collective awareness, wisdom, guidance, embodied knowledge and healing.
But in order to receive dreams and gifts of divinity, inner ground needs to be prepared. This involves an emptying out in order to create inner space. Time must be given to going within. Most people direct their energy outward, necessarily so given the demands and stresses of daily living and activities, yet this all too often comes at a cost to the inner life. The inner world is dangerously neglected and cries out for our attention and nurturance—a calling that comes through dreams.
Dreams are a primal activity of the soul, and potent form of higher guidance coming to us in service of health, healing and wholeness. But how can they serve us if we are not willing to look and listen? How can there ever be any inner illumination when little attention is put there to begin with? Even putting aside ten to fifteen minutes of quiet time each night in preparation to make contact with dream spirit, can make a world of difference. This focused, concentrated time naturally calms the mind too. Then, in the morning, dedicated psychic time also needs to follow, a little time just to begin with, which will naturally extend itself as the dream practice increases. These practices, either side of night and day, not only help build dream muscle, but work towards developing what I call the all-important threshold practice upon awakening.
In all then, the art of dream recall encompasses a three-fold practice—a before, during and after. It is a circular practice, one that is both active and passive. It begins the night before, unfolds through sleep in dream, and upon awakening when dwelling between the worlds. Here it is in short form.
- – Set the Intention
- – Quieten the mind—empty in order to receive
- – Prayer and meditation ritual
- – Formulate question
- – Call on ancestors/desired spiritual being/master or cosmological powers
- – No late night mental activity (T.V, computer or working late)
- – No eating late, keep the body system light before sleeping
- – If you have a sleeping partner, prep them and compromise on quiet waking time!
Threshold practice upon awakening
- – Do not move. This is really important so as not to disrupt the dream body.
- – Maintain stillness and silence
- – Maintain a relaxed, receptive attitude
- – Try to retain inner attention while remaining passively alert
- – Stay with the image, sensation, intuitive energetics
- – Be with the feeling —“felt sense” (the physical sense/inner energy)
- – If the conscious mind begins to kick in, return to the image and sensation
- – A few focused minutes are a great start
- – Have a journal and pen close-by
- – Write down any dream details: visual, image, symbol, auditory, sense, feeling
- – Even one image/sensation can reveal a lot and open dream memory
Integration and daily practice:
- – On-going cultivation of psychic space each night and morning
- – Cultivation of personal characteristics (patience, openness, receptivity, ability to relax)
- – Allow for meaning to unfold through continuous conscious work
- – On-going dream journaling (just write, interpretation comes later)
- – Pay attention to synchronicities (shows inner-outer alignment)
- – Honor dream in waking life (token of gratitude: ritual, object/color from dream)
- – Support: Join a like-minded community, dream group, and/or avail of therapist
Like anything in life, if you want to be good at it, you have to work at it. Practice, practice, practice, and it will be worth it. Trust me. Our dreams know the way!
For anyone interested in learning the art and practice of dream healing, dreaming events are regularly offered in the West of Ireland. The next retreat “The Way of the Dreamer” takes place from Sept 2nd to 5th 2021, and a more specialized event for interdisciplinary healthcare professionals and clinicians on “Dreams, Dying, Death” will run from May 26th to 29th 2022. For further information, inquiries and reservations, please email, email@example.com
Finally, if you would love to hear more about Helena Daly, then make sure to check our her page, with information on events, services and reviews. Also, make sure to watch this space, as we have a very exciting announcement coming…
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