Dreamers lament that their biggest frustration is not being able to recall their dreams upon awakening. Like trying to cling to the twilight as the sun rises in the sky, we inevitably must transition to the fully wakeful world, leaving behind those ephemeral experiences. There are ways to improve you dream recall. It takes practice, and surprisingly less concentrated effort than one might think. In fact, the more you stress over recalling your dream, the less likely you’ll succeed. Why? Because feeling stress and over-thinking are actions of your conscious mind. Dreams and dreaming dwell within your subconscious mind.
The most commonly suggested method of retaining your dreams is to record them immediately upon awakening. While this standard certainly is useful, it still requires your mind to spring immediately from a sleepy haze (just awakening) to functioning brain mode (writing). Once the conscious brain takes over, it becomes harder to tap into the subconscious realm again.
My method of holding onto dreams works extremely well for me, and it might aid your dream recall, too. I call this procedure “lingering in the twilight” because I linger in that realm between dream state and wakefulness for a long period of time. The images are captured by my conscious mind that is beginning to awaken but not allowed to activate any mental or physical functions. By the time I am fully awake, nearly all of the dreams are on the surface of my consciousness.
I’m aware that dreams play out in my mind throughout the night. Some of those dreams form and dissolve without my recalling them while others come to me in snippets of scenes. Understandably, the dreams that occur closest to my awakening are the clearest. I don’t concern myself with “lost dreams” because I believe that if my subconscious mind needs to communicate anything important, it will come through another time.
How to Linger in the Twilight
1. Don't awaken to a jarring alarm clock. Set it to soft music, if you must use an alarm.
2. As you find yourself awakening, remain still in bed.
3. Keep your mind upon the dream you’re having at this moment.
4. Do not think about anything in your wakeful world (as in “What time is it?” “I need to remember this!”)
5. Breathe slowly to keep body relaxed.
6. Don’t force anything. That employs your conscious mind.
7. Linger in this state.
8. Let the dream replay, going back to the start, if necessary.
As your conscious mind steps forward, keep the dream playing. Record your dream in a journal, capturing as many images or scenes as possible. Write as many details as you can, including colors, time of day or night, facial expressions and most important, the feelings expressed during the dream. Lingering in the twilight is a good way to imprint subconscious dreams onto your conscious mind, and practice strengthens your recall ability.