Thursday, February 19, 2009

A Dream Recording Ritual Creates a Resonance with the Unconscious Mind

In Clement and Rosen’s book Dreams: Working Interactive (2001), they list eight steps to take in recording dreams. The authors call it the Ritual Process of Dream Work. Although this is something many of us dreamers may do naturally, the author’s point is that a ritual strengthens the recall of dreams, creating a resonance with the dreaming mind. Here are the eight steps plus one of my own:
  • Have the proper writing materials available next to the bed: a writing utensil and a journal used only for dreams. They recommend a journal with an inspiring cover or something with symbolic imagery. One year I took a spiral notebook and clipped pictures from several magazines and made a collage that echoed the imagery in my dreams. This task was an action in response to a powerful dream. The authors also recommend having space in this journal to sketch dream images.
  • Upon waking, move slowly back into your usual sleep position or the way you were lying when you woke up. The position of you body can help you recollect the dream. Collect the dream mages. Sometimes this can be done by moving from the most recent image upon waking and then moving backwards in the dream. I think of it as looking at the cells of a reel-to-reel tape, pulling down scene by scene until you remember as much as possible, and then running it forward.
  • Stay in the dream feeling as you begin to record it. They write, “You can cultivate a kind of split consciousness by remaining relaxed, teaching yourself to wake up the aspect of yourself that writes, while allowing part of your mind to remain in a kind of reverie….” (p. 10).
  • Record the opening scene as you remember it. Use present tense.
  • Record the scenes as they occur without worrying too much about whether the changing scenes make sense or are in sequence. Sequence is helpful sometimes, but not always important. “Dreams cut and splice time and place like a mad movie director….” (p. 10).
  • Write down first impressions about the dream, what it might mean, associations and feelings.
  • Set the journal aside.
  • Share the dream with someone you trust, someone patient and interested. Often in the verbalization new insights come up. Also, keep the dream in your mind throughout the day, meditating on it in your spare moments (I do this everytime I use the bathroom or drive the car). Or you can let the dream go and simmer just below consciousness.
  • Note any new insights that have come up as a result of this dream. Think about how you might respond to the dream and its message to you. How might you incorporate the dream into your daily life? I usually do this as I am going to bed that night. I feel that it sets the tone for more dreaming.


San said...

Thank you for these ritual tips, Laura.

Lately, my recalled dreams have been in bits and pieces.

Laura said...

Start writing them down and see what comes of it....