~ I have been keeping a dream journal consistently for three years now. Within digital Evernote notebooks for each month, I write short narratives of the dreams I can recall upon waking. Generally, I can remember my dreams about half of the days of a given month.
I started the dream journal in an effort to help me attain the ability to lucid dream. Of course, dream journaling is step one on the path to better dream retention and eventually, the capability to give yourself control over your subconscious imaginings. I can remember my dreams more often, and in more vivid detail, than I ever did before starting the journal. However, I do not feel as though I am any closer to lucidity. (Sigh).
I am not someone who necessarily believes there is significant meaning within dreams, in a spiritual or subconscious sense. I do believe there can be meaning, of some kind, but it’s mostly due to interpretation. It’s certainly entertaining, and maybe even illuminating, to chronicle your dreams. My dreams are quite variable — ranging from the run of the mill embarrassing social misadventures, to crossover superheroics with real and fictional friends, to absurdly singular interactions which would otherwise be mundane if not for some distinct out of place element. Over time, one will begin to see similarities in the personalized motifs and structures of one’s dreams.
I would recommend dream journaling to anyone, if only to force yourself to write in the morning, with ever-presently fresh and original material. You’ll definitely learn some things about yourself via the esoteric avenues of your inner mind’s nightly escapades. Or you might spark your next captivating writing prompt.
Mostly, I find it valuable for providing a way of preserving your subconscious’ grand memory. We forget that one’s body can remember far more than we can ever consciously comprehend. Thus, keeping an exhaustive account of your dreams populates your experience with novel material and realms that might never exist beyond those corridors of your subconscious.
I find it incredible how I can go back and read dreams from many months, even years ago, and vividly remember the scenes from a specific dream. By perusing past entries, I can almost immediately have the exact image I most remember from that specific dream in mind, and it’s not any more or less defined than it was when I woke up on that morning when I wrote the note. I know that if I hadn’t written down, it would be completely gone from my memories forever, like so many dreams before it. Of course, before my journal, like many people — my sleeps were merely a black box of unexplored experience.
This is fascinating to me. Because there are so many moments and scenes in the reality of my waking life which I cannot remember so well. Many of these old dreams remain in my mind, clear and meaningful in my remembrance alone. They are evoked simply from short, sometimes long — sometimes multiple dream instances recalled at once — contemporaneously recorded descriptions within notes. I can read them and draw these images forth at will. In these ways, journaling provides a natural and exacting feat of memory.
With my dream journal, I have effectively outsourced memories which would have otherwise been cast away into the indifference of an ignorant past. Whatever value there is having these ‘dream memories‘ is certainly uncertain. But nonetheless, I am grateful to have them readily in hand. It obliges continuous dreaming, and meditations on such collected reveries. ~
~ Tales from the dream journal