Before you can become conscious in your dreams, you must master some basic tenets of dream control. A major requirement for successful dream control is the ability to remember, appreciate, and record your dreams. Intitially, therefore, you will learn special focusing exercises to help you recall your dreams. You will also learn to record your dreams in your private dream journal.
Your first task is preparation of the dream journal itself. Your personal dream journal should be a notebook — yes, we suggest actual paper — that you can store under your pillow or carry around during the day. You should also select a special pen for your dream journal. We suggest a free-flowing felt-tip pen that will enable you to write while lying down.
Now, before you have recorded a single dream in your journal, we’d like you to find a public place to sit in during some quiet part of your day. While you sit, observe yourself and your surroundings. Observe the other people around you and repeat these words: Everybody here has dreams. Consider the meaning of this phrase and try to imagine what the various people around you might have dreamed last night.
Then, quietly say to yourself, From now on, I’ll remember my dreams. As soon as you acknowledge your willingness to remember your dreams, let go of the whole idea and forget about it for the rest of the day, until you’re lying in bed, drifting off to sleep.
Later, after you’ve gone to bed, gently reaffirm your willingness to remember your dreams. Once again, let go of this thought the moment that you acknowledge it, and avoid putting any psychological pressure on yourself. Then fall asleep.
To retain your dreams as completely as possible, you must first understand that dream memories can be as fleeting as your next breath of air. Therefore, whenever you start to wake up, be it in the middle of the night or first thing in the morning, do not open your eyes or even move. Instead, stop and focus entirely on recalling your dreams.
Toward this end, you must arrange your sleeping environment to avoid even the tiniest distractions. If you usually sleep with or near another person, ask them not to disturb you before you get out of bed in the morning. If you usually wake up with the aid of an alarm clock, we suggest that you use a clock radio and set it to wake you with classical music instead of a buzzer. Better yet, arrange for a friend or family member to gently rouse you from sleep.
Don’t pressure yourself to remember detailed and convoluted dream descriptions in exact chronological order. As you have probably found when trying to recapture other memories, such as the title of some forgotten song, dream memories are best approached with subtlety and grace. They must be allowed to steep, to emerge gradually and spontaneously into your conscious waking awareness.
Now you are ready to record a dream. Give each dream a title as you record it. Make sure that you always record the date and approximate time of your dream. For each particular night, keep track of which dreams you had earlier in the sleep cycle, and which you had later on. As you write, be sure to note the setting or settings in which each dream occurred, the characters who appeared in the dream, any significant props or symbols that stand out in your mind, and any emotions that the dream may have triggered in you. We also strongly recommend that you use your dream journal to explore the relationship between your dreams and your daily concerns and activities. Leave one or two blank pages after each dream entry, so that you can add any additional thoughts, recollections, or interpretations that may occur to you as time goes on.
Although it is not mandatory, feel free to draw any pictures that relate to your dreams. Visual images can express the underlying meaning of a dream in graphic form and may even trigger the release of deeper memories.
Treat your dream journal as a sacred book in which you record and interpret the innermost creations of your unconscious mind. For at least the next three and a half weeks of the Creative Sleep Program, try to keep your journal with you at all times. You may recall a dream any time during the day; there is no time limit on the flashes of insight you are likely to have once you’ve initiated the dream recall process upon first waking up in the morning.