There are a number of ways to remember your dreams so you can uncover their secret meaning. Most experts will tell you to talk to yourself during the stage between waking and sleeping. This is when you're just awakening and images start passing through your field of vision.
Tell yourself at this time to remember your dreams. Often the mere suggestion is enough to do the trick. Sometimes though it doesn't work immediately and you have to keep making the suggestion to yourself night after night before it finally works.
Once you have started to remember a few dreams, it is vitally important to record them instantly after waking. The longer you wait to record them, the fewer details you will retain.
Edgar Cayce, the gifted psychic who always encouraged dream study, believed the best time to think about your dream was before moving out of your sleep position. This is because your body helps you to hold the dream in your mind. Once you have moved, it is far more difficult to remember the details. He felt that even recording fragments of your dream would bring you great insights.
In The Dream Workbook, Jill Morris suggests going through the names of everyone in your family and of all the people you work with. If you were dreaming of them, it will help jog your memory.
Once you have a recorded dream, what do you do with it?
There are many different ways to pull meaning out of dreams. Some of the most valuable methods have come from the pioneers in the field. Freud created the method of free association and Jung the method of amplification. Most other methods derive their concepts from these two ideas.
The free association method is used by first identifying a major symbol or character in your dream. Once you have found it, write down what it signifies for you and what it makes you think of.
The amplification method also encourages you to write down the feelings and memories associated with the symbol or character. The amplification process includes any historical or cultural meaning you have in connection with it. During this process you can also have a conversation with the symbol and ask it what it means. You can further ask it any questions you have. You would then find other symbols or characters in the dream and then go through the same process with them.
I recently had a dream about a young girl who had climbed an extremely high tree in a wooded park. She was swinging along the tops of the branches having the time of her life. I was walking by thinking how dangerous it was and was terrified that she was going to fall.
In the process of analyzing this dream, I identified the young girl as the main character in the dream. Thinking of her I Immediately relived the feelings she had as if they were my own. From this I realized she was me and represented to me youth, joy, freedom, fun, and excitement. In the dream she was living dangerously but didn't seem to care because her life was filled with so much joy and excitement.
In looking at the other character in the dream who was also me, I realized she represented the grownup, responsible side of my character. Although she was walking safely on the ground she was burdened with responsibility. The young girl in the trees captivated her but she felt control, burden, worry and fear. She had no time for fun and excitement; instead she was anticipating trouble and worried about the young girl.
A main symbol in this dream is the tall trees. When I visualize trees I think of high places, strength, wisdom, knowledge, reaching high up into the sky. They make me feel secure and supported. They provide me with a healthy, beautiful, natural environment in which to play and live.
Now that I have dissected the main characters and symbol in the dream it becomes much easier to grasp the meaning. As with most dreams I can pull meaning out of it on several different levels.
I can see immediately that the high trees represent high ideals or goals. The girl in me has no fear and climbs up high and plays up there without worrying about a thing. Because of this, she is youthful, healthy and happy. The grownup me is the one putting the breaks on climbing for my high goals because she is afraid I will fall and hurt myself. This is the most obvious interpretation, but as you can see, it is determined by my own response or reaction to the symbols. This is why it is so important to do your own dream work. Someone else might determine other meaning from your symbols and read the dream incorrectly.
I was also able to interpret the tree symbol not only as high goals, but also as a source of wisdom and knowledge and support. This tree also represented my higher consciousness, the part of me that is connected to the universe and that has access to the wisdom and knowledge of All That Is. This source in my life was providing me with health, beauty and a natural environment. It was showing me that when I climb up and strive to achieve my goals, I will also find a place which will provide everything I need for my physical and spiritual health.
This is just one example of one dream and yet we have many dreams every night! If I can get this much guidance from just one dream, imagine what insight you can get by recording your dreams regularly.
Dream researchers will tell you that if you develop the habit of recording your dreams, over time you will get a much better perspective on your life in terms of where you are, where you were and where you are headed with your emotional and spiritual development.
I also recommend getting a hold of any book on dream work or dream analysis. It is a good idea to spend some time researching methods of dream analysis so that your mind becomes focused on the subject for a period of time.
I have always found that when my mind is focused on this topic, whether I tell myself to start remembering dreams or not, I do begin to remember more dreams. Perhaps my subconscious stays aware of my desire to learn more about my dreams and therefore enables me to remember more of them.