Dream Journal Diary

If you are interested in dreams, your inner life, or finding healing of mind and body, keeping a dream diary/journal is very, very important. It only takes a fraction of your time but over time will pay you back with treasures.

Example: a few years ago and kept a journal religiously, but lost interest and stopped noting my dreams. During a major cleanup this weekend found my dream diary and was stunned to see many dreams were signs of what followed in my life years after. Most of them at that time didn’t make any sense but now I’m quite curious.

I believe that dreams are mostly like snapshots of an ongoing process that emerges as our life progresses – process that is the growth of our inner self, our underlying being. As such they are all samples of the same thing. I remember working with someone on a dream of hers that was 18 years old. It had remained intriguing so she wanted to explore it. When we got to the heart of it I likened it to taking a core sample from a tree. Maybe the bit in the core was old and had been developed many years previously, but looking closely it was seen to be linked or supportive of what was happening to the new growth today. There was no separation.

That is why the person in the above example “Was stunned to see how many dreams were signs of what followed in my life years after”. Therfore although you may understand a dream as relating to today, it is often like a seed that is planted within us and will slowly grow to maturity.

A dream is something that comes from a deep part of you; it is something that is working upwards toward being conscious. As such it often, like a seed, takes time to break through to the surface, and then it has to grow. So often dreams are not recognised for their full meaning until later – sometimes months or even years. The dream images are attempts to communicate something that has probably never been thought about or even been consciously known about, so has never been put into common everyday thinking before. It is a communication from the depths, from beyond words and thought, and so any interpretations that are given by thinking may completely miss the point.

But the source of the dream, which is a process of Life, is intelligent in its own way, and will take part in any attempt to communicate. So exploring your dreams by entering into their imagery and attempting to understand them will be a two way process.

Start a Journal

A dream journal is a wonderful thing to create. When you gather many of your dreams and look back over them, especially if you have discovered insight into them, you will see the extraordinary story of yourself. You have amazing depths and heights only dreams permit you to see. You have talents and a history so full of drama and interest that TV and films cannot compare.

If you have a computer, start a new file just for your dreams. If you do not have a computer buy a special and thick book to write your dreams in. When you remember a dream put in the date and write the dream as fully as possible. Do not write short notes. Doing so deprives yourself of the special information only you have. Some people give each dream a special name to make it memorable. For instance I had a dream where I had to give my name at a hotel reception. The receptionist asked me why I had a different name to last time. So This dream could be called ‘Problem Names’.

Along with the dream write in any associations you may have with the people or places. This should include events the previous day that are similar or may have triggered the dream, as well as associations. An example is that you may dream of a particular coat, and you associate it with happy memories of being with someone you loved. Also, write in with as much detail as possible any insights you gain on the dream from later dreamwork. If you are putting your dreams onto a computer, electronically file the dreams with a program such as dtSearch (which allows fast searching and finding of huge amounts of text) and look to see if you dreamt of the same people, places or things before. You can use word-search for this in your word processor but that is slower. Use your journal to gain further insight by occasionally reading back over past dreams and comments. Especially at times you are making important decisions, or are confused, this looking back can be enormously helpful and strengthening.

The Importance of You

It is also important to write about any important thoughts or emotions – you inner  life – as these too are wonderful guides to your growth and ways of dealing with difficulties or problems. Also any realisations that arise from you inner work.

Example: Your present identity has arisen out of a strange mixture between animal behaviours, between the budding physiological and psychological changes occurring in this new self aware creature – a human. The sexual imagery suggested as I looked at this gave rise to a huge range of possible behaviours that were in some way basic to what was developing into human identity. Reflections of some of this we see in the myths, where we have half humans half animals. We have strange mating between creatures to bring forth particular types of awareness or ability. But gradually the whole sequence of experiences led to something that we as humans then lived through.

Example: It is a very wonderful thing to build in that way. It is like a beautiful building that you gradually bring into existence. It is something that takes shape out of ideas that give it form; insights are like windows and love is like doorways through which you can let people in and out of your life. They can move in and out of that place of wisdom. I am building something with my life. I am building something with my love. Life flows in and helps what I begin to give form.

Example: Suddenly, toward the end of exploring my dream, I leaped beyond anything I had ever experienced before. I knew just as clearly as in ordinary life I know my name, that instead of being someone separated from everybody else living a certain day in time, my real self was a river that flowed through all time. I had always existed and was involved in all history. With an amazing heightened awareness I could see the influence from this timeless self flowing through all my present life, subtly shaping it. The things I had chosen to do or work at were all connected as a working out of ancient influences, or an attempt to change them.

So write any fantasies, ideas or realisations. They become like gold dust.

Explore your Dreams

Here are techniques for exploring your dreams. Do not attempt to think about dreams, it is  usually a waste of time, because dreams come from a level of your living process that developed before we had language. As words are the main tool we use to think with, it misses the point to use them on dreams. Words are simply like photocopies of things – they are never the living thing. But there are way to get into the world of dreams. See Techniques for Exploring your Dreams

Dreams are perhaps the most profoundly useful of any method of self-help. Each dream you have in some way informs you of what is important in your life and growth. Although occasionally a single dream will release an influence that will change your whole direction, usually it takes insight and involvement in many dreams to gain life changing solutions. Therefore it is important to start a dream journal and extract as much as you can from at least one dream a week. Use the techniques described above. If possible get a few friends to join you in your dream explorations. Such joint work is one of the most bonding and satisfying activities you can experience. To see how to do this read Peer Dream Work.

Use of Dreams

We all have enormous problem solving abilities. When you learned to walk and talk there was no college professor or dictionary to help you. You learned the meaning of hundreds of words without ever having looked in a dictionary. Similarly you have absorbed an unbelievable amount of information simply by living and, as it were out of the corner of your eye, taking in millions of bits of information about life. You absorbed most of it without really being aware what you took in. But at times we realise it as ‘gut feeling’ or intuition. These come from things we learned in the rough and tumble of life, not in the schoolroom. Dreams can tap this immense reservoir of information and insight.

It is therefore useful to carefully look through your dream journal and take note of recurring themes. Possible themes are – love – satisfying or otherwise; looking for something; running to or from something; trying to find your way; hiding; being trapped; starting something; building or renovating; relationship; being with others; being alone; leaving things or people behind; death; birth; growth; fear; digging, and so on.

Take one theme at a time and work with each of the dreams expressing that theme. Because it recurs it suggests there is a habitual response involved. So imagine yourself in the dream you are working with and create a different end. Rework the dream so it is more satisfying. For instance if you are always passive in your dreams, imagine yourself being more dynamic and forceful. If you are always relating to unsatisfying men/women, change the dream to one in which you gain satisfaction. See

As you work in this way, carry on until you see a shift in the dreams you experience while asleep. Also, aim to become lucid in each of the dream themes and search for the roots of the habit and how to change it. But of course do not keep it just to dreams. By observing yourself you can uncover a lot of old habits that are not useful. Also practice changing a habit to get the feel of doing it and achieving change.

You Have a Great Resource

No computer, however amazing, can yet do what your mind does in creating a dream. It produces a living being such as a dream character that can have a conversation with you, and in doing so draw spontaneously from huge areas of your experience or memories. Behind the image lies enormous data, emotional response and created patterns of behaviour. So the main thing to remember at this level is that you are in a full surround databank of fantastic information. You can tap this information just as you would with any person, by asking questions and prodding for a response. But, even the trees and animals in your dreams are also enormous reservoirs of information, linking back perhaps infinitely with your potential and experience. So go for it!!!

Copyright © 1999-2010 Tony Crisp | All rights reserved