Conversation? What conversation?
In a previous post I discussed the importance of writing down your dreams … But what if you’re sitting down with your journal, ready to receive the wisdom of your dreams, and they don’t show up? In short, you’ve decided to listen to your dreams, but they’re not talking.
When people tell me they don’t remember their dreams, I ask what they think about dreams in general. Usually they say they think dreams are meaningless, or just plain bizarre and not worthy of their attention. Maybe they had a soul-shaking nightmare, and they don’t want any more of those. As a result, they close their eyes and ignore everything that happens from when their head hits the pillow to when the alarm wakes them in the morning.
In short, they’re not listening to their dreams. And now, the dreams aren’t talking.
Face it: Most of us don’t treat our dreams with the respect and consideration we show to a stranger on the bus—let alone a close friend. Too often we wake up, bolt out of bed, and let our dreams wash down the drain with the shower water. And then we wonder why we no longer remember any of them.
A good way to remedy this situation is to think of dreams like a dinner companion; they don’t enjoy a one-sided conversation. Who does? And if you stop listening to this person, after a period of time, they will simply stop talking.(Or in this case, the dreams dry up).
Or maybe the person in question responds to your lack of attention by telling you the same story over and over, hoping that eventually you’ll listen. (Enter the recurring dream, the one you have again and again each time you close your eyes.)
Either way, one day this person will really need to get your attention because maybe they see you are about to hurt yourself, or hurt someone else. So, they start talking really loudly, yelling even, until you can’t help but pay attention. (That’s when you wake drenched with sweat and shaking to the core because you’ve just had a heart-thumping scream-choked nightmare.)
But you’re still not listening and now you’ve got a really good excuse. “Why should I pay attention to my dreams?” you ask, “They’re either full of nonsense or they scare the daylights out of me.”
That’s when you decide to put the pillow over your ear and ignore those dreams.
Now, if this conversational pattern were happening between a husband and wife over time, we’d suggest couples counseling, wouldn’t we? And the first thing the counselor would likely do is to help these two learn to listen to each other.
Happily, developing a more productive relationship with your dreams isn’t as complicated as fixing a damaged relationship, and you’ll never have to buy your dreams a dozen roses to get them talking again. You nurture a healthy relationship with your dreams by adopting these simple habits:
Before you go to bed quiet your mind with meditation or relaxing music, or by reading something soothing;
Keep a notebook and pencil by your bed (or a voice recorder) to record your dreams with;
When you wake up, spend a moment in stillness and silence before you get out of bed in order to allow any dream memories to come to you.
If you remember a dream or dream snippet, write it down, sketch it, or tell it to a friend.
If you pay even this much attention to your dreams, before you know it you’ll begin to recall more of them, and the dreams you have will gain clarity and resonance with the issues you are dealing with in your daily life. It might just be the start of a beautiful relationship—with yourself!