The bottom line: Paying attention to my dreams has me step into a greater understanding of myself, including, but not limited to, the understanding I have/get from my rational-intellectual-me.
D asked if I’d paid much attention to my dreams. The answer was No. But ever since, I have. I am. Paying attention. To my dreams. To dreams. And the oddity of them.
Like, how they are crystal clear to me, while dreaming. And upon waking. I can think Yeah, right, this was a wild one, I’ll be able to remember it for sure. It’s so vivid in my mind, I won’t ever forget. When I heed that decision, to not write it down immediately, within an hour, it’s gone. I might have one or two snippets remaining, but the rest, all those crystal clear details, poof! Gone. Like magic. Sometimes I sense the details or the general gist of the dream just outside the range of my peripheral vision, but no matter how hard I try to look, it remains there, out of sight, albeit not out of mind completely. Yet.
For me, this is an aberration.
I have a good memory. Far from ”pitch perfect”, I still have a sense it’s better than many.
So how a dream can go poof and completely disappear on me, is baffling. Might be why I talk myself into thinking I will remember, because were it a normal conversation or experience, I most likely would. (Begs the question, what is normal, doesn’t it?)
So when I do wake up, with dream-clarity, I reach out a hand to my nightstand, grabbing pen and a pad of PostIt’s I keep there, jotting down the overall structure and some details of the dream, what I find extra special and worthy of being jotted down. Most often, this is done in a state of semi-consciousness, or, perhaps more correctly, in a reluctant state, not wanting to awaken properly, so I keep the light turned off, writing down the dream-details lying down, with eyes closed.
As you can imagine , this doesn’t always turn out well. Trying to decipher my handwriting afterwards is not always easy. One time I wrote on the back of the PostIt-pad, and I have no clue what I wrote there. It’s just not readable…
I’ve been playing with this though, opting out of jotting it down when in that state of semi-wakefulness, instead iterating the outline of the dream over and over again, and yes, that does help. If I do it enough, just the one time doesn’t prevent dream-amnesia. Twice, three times, perhaps even four and yes, there might be enough memory of it for me to sit down an hour or two later, able to write it down.
The writing down of dreams is a conundrum in and of itself.
I find myself wanting to make it coherent by making transitions in the text, transitions not part of the dream. So as I am recording my dreams in words, sentences, paragraphs, I try to stay aware (awake?) to this, trying to refrain from embellishing, sense-making and generally, explaining what’s there. Trying to keep to what was crystal clear in and as I dreamt it, and not add more on top.
When I am done writing my dream down, I reenter it, from other aspects of the dream than my dream-me. I might step into the shoes of the other human characters of the dream. Become the substrate of the dream, say the body of water I am swimming in, or the train I am riding. Or look out at the world from a specific detail, like a wound on my leg, the snake on the floor of the shed, a special-shaped piece of rock.
I ask What do I see from here? What do I know from here? What’s there for me to understand, from this perspective? and am most often very surprised by the answers. In asking, I step away from the truth my rational-intellectual-me has assigned to each of these aspects of my dream, as I am not asking that part of me for the answer, an answer.
I am asking. Plain asking.
Not asking of anyone, simply putting the question out there, curious as to what, if any, response I will get. Stepping into these other facets of the dream, opens me up to what more there is to be had, to be found, to be understood, that lie beyond the understanding of my rational-intellectual-me. And I have to say, the answers have been quite revelatory, so far.
So when next D will ask if I pay attention to my dreams, the answer is Yes.