One of the most common questions I’m asked as an expert on dreams and the dreaming mind is why people don’t remember their dreams upon waking. Another common comment is “I don’t dream”, emphatically stated by those who don’t remember their nighttime images. So, what is the reason people believe they don’t dream, or, simply don’t remember them?
The first fact to know is everyone dreams (outside of brain injury) and do so every time they sleep. Adults and children alike dream in every sleep period. People dream in both REM sleep (rapid eye movement) or deep sleep, and in NonREM sleep. Research has shown dream imagery to be generated in people every time they sleep. So, when people say, “I don’t dream” what they’re really saying is, “I don’t remember my dreams upon waking”.
If this is the case, why are some people not remembering their dreams? The dreaming mind is similar to the muscles in the body in that if you ignore your muscles they tend to atrophy. Your muscles will only develop if you choose to develop them and if you do, they do so very well over time. Similarly, the dreaming mind will progress if you choose to focus on it and make it a priority for you. If you think about your dreams in waking day, keep a journal by your bed, record them upon waking, and generally focus on them, several changes will begin to occur.
One change is that dreams will be remembered more often. As soon as a focus is put on them with the waking mind (e.g. telling yourself you want to remember them) you will begin remembering more and more images. The next change that will advance is the imagery will become far less bizarre and more understandable. When people are very disconnected from their dreams the imagery seems bizarre and full of nonsense. The imagery is actually very personal for each dreamer and is reflecting aspects of emotions, thoughts, and events from waking day. Every dream is intricately connected to a dreamer’s life in a multitude of ways and therefore, no imagery is out of context to one’s life. When we start writing down our dreams we also begin to see patterns emerging in the imagery. The dreaming mind is communicating with the conscious mind in numerous ways. The language of one’s own dreaming mind will become understood and just like learning any new language, understanding evolves over time.
So, what will you learn from your dreams? You’ll learn about your own physical, mental and emotional health as the dreaming mind keeps track of all these things and reports them to the conscious mind through dreams. In fact, if the body is becoming ill, unknowingly to the dreamer, this information will show up in dreams before the conscious mind knows about it. You’ll learn about relationships from the past, present and future. You’ll learn about your finances and how to improve them. The dreaming mind is the great teacher of one’s own life and will freely give information to anyone willing to pay attention. Simply paying attention upon waking and in waking day will allow the language to be spoken in clear and certain terms.
Dr. Teresa L. DeCicco is the author of the books “Living Beyond the Five Senses: The Emergence of a Spiritual Being” and “The Giant Compass: Navigating The Life of Your Dreams”. See more of her work at www.teresadecicco.com