Why There are Problems with Dream Recall in America and How to Deal with It
Sometimes you hear, “I don’t dream”. This is not true. Everybody dreams. Extensive studies over many years show that all people dream many major dreams a night, especially in a period called the “Rapid Eye Movement” (REM) time of sleep. So if we all dream, why don’t many of us remember?
There are three primary reasons for poor dream recall. Research seems to indicate that more “analytical people” have slightly less recall than “expressive, creative” people. We must take these definitions with a grain of salt but a more generalized approach seems to bear this out. Second, many people don’t recall their dreams because of fear of its content or being overwhelmed by the information potentially contained.
But by far, the greatest reason there are so many large numbers of those who don’t recall their dreams is that dreams are not seen to have any worth. And the mind and the self will not give attention to that which it views as “not worthwhile” The great psychic Edgar Cayce said “Americans don’t remember their dreams because of “lack of interest”.
We live in a society that is dominated by rationalism and materialism, all connected to the intellect and senses, not the intuition. “Just the facts, ma’am”, as a 50’s TV detective made famous. Studies have shown that those who believe dreams have value or meaning have greater recall than those who don’t. Certain studies tricked people into greater dream recall by not making it the focus of the research. In cultures where dreams are considered highly significant, dream recall is far greater than here.
If you want to remember your dreams, you first must understand their value and have a desire to recall them. (Read my perspective under “About Dreams” and “What If” on this site.) The universal recommendation is to keep a notebook or tape recorder by your bed side and write down or record your dream(s) a soon as you wake up. This must be done immediately as the dream will go quickly if not caught right away. (Some people will remember the core parts of a dream after this period.)
I will add to this some additional pointers.
If dream recall has not come easily to you, a person can have fears that one must recall many dreams at once or complete, “feature length” dreams. This can feel overwhelming and cause a shut down. Therefore I usually suggest that to start, one ask (yes ask), one’s dreaming mind to send you a fragment or small dream, preferably before one wakes up. To the conventional mind this sounds absurd, but the dreaming mind has its own intelligence and will usually cooperate.
If a dream comes in the night and you are committed, you must record it or write it down as soon as possible.
I have had many instances where people did not have good dream recall but because they were coming to a workshop on dreams, suddenly had one come to them.
Again, dream recall is primarily related to your sense of the importance and worth of your dreams and how they might assist you in your life. If you come to understand that, much of the “blockage” to dream recall will start to vanish. Then you will need to introduce yourself to and perhaps learn their language. It is natural if one has not worked with dreams (and this is the vast majority of the population), it may feel daunting to try and enter their world, which by itself can block good recall. However, as I emphasize over and over on this site, once you understand and experience the amazing power and insights, often astonishing, that dreams can give you, the fear of taking a little time to get to know about them, how they function, or to occasionally work with them, is greatly lessened.
That is why I started this web site- blog. You have an ally and someone you can work with, or at least gain information from. There are others and eventually you might have a sense of how to do it for your self, although usually important dreams need some support from a gifted helper. Just to understand how they work and what they are about is an incredibly important step.
I will post on some of the basic principles about dreams so everyone can stand “at the door” and get a glimpse. Ignorance concerning dreams is nearly total in this culture. I hope to change that.