Progressive Politics Research and Commentary by Janette Rainwater
 
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  Minus Button which collapses the expandable menu You're in Charge: A Guide to Becoming Your Own Therapist
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You're in Charge: A Guide to Becoming Your Own Therapist
Chapter 6 (an excerpt)                    1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9         p.2

On Dreaming

If you are a nonrecaller and want to join the ranks of the dream recallers, it's not too difficult . . . if you really want to remember them and agree to be in charge.

Setting the Intention to Remember Your Dreams

Make a contract with yourself to write in your dream journal (or your regular journal) when you wake up.

Say to yourself just before you fall asleep: "The first thing I do when I wake up, I'm going to write down my dreams."

And do it. Have your journal by your bed, with pen inserted at the page where you wish to start writing. If you wear glasses, have them within easy reach also. When you awaken, write down whatever you recall. Even if it's only a fleeting impression or feeling. Even if it's only four words, "I'm in a meadow," for example. Resist the voice that says, "You didn't remember enough to be worth recording." That's a saboteur subpersonality speaking. Possibly the act of writing down "I'm in a meadow" will elicit more details about the meadow and some action in the meadow. And even if those four words are all you get, don't berate your unconscious--- thank it, and ask for a fuller recall next time.

Even if you have absolutely no recollection of a dream, sit up gently and start writing: "Alarm went off. I have no recollection of dreaming. I feel . . ." or whatever. Something will emerge if you maintain this discipline.

Until you are an experienced dream-collector, I would advise you to set only the intention to remember your dreams. For if you also set the intention to remember to make a long distance call before 8, or to check to see if your teenage son is home, or to put out the garbage, you will likely wake up with the set to go into action on the second intention, and your dreams will quickly slip away.

~~~~~~~~~~~.

Probably most of you do remember a fair number of your dreams--- possibly one a night, possibly one a week, maybe one a month--- and are wondering what use can be made of them.

Along with Fritz Perls, I see the dream as an existential message from the dreamer to himself, a statement about who he is and what his life situation is like.

I would first suggest a very literal, common-sense approach to the dream. Frequently our dreams serve to remind us of the contents of the day, which we had noticed only subliminally, possibly due to the press of a large input of competing stimuli. A dream of someone wearing platform shoes (at a time when they were not in style) helped me to realize that I hadn't been wanting to notice how self-important and grandiose a certain friend was behaving. Dreams concerning foods or your body should first be examined quite literally as possible messages from your body to eat (or avoid eating) these foods, or to examine or take particular care of certain parts of your body. The psyche seems to know when a disease process is beginning, before it becomes manifest in actual somatic symptoms. So your dreams, properly interpreted, can be an early-warning system of possible future illness that can then be averted.

Your dreams can give you other kinds of warnings, too. I once had a dream concerning a young woman whom I was seeing, who was afraid that her father would murder her. My dream went like this:

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This site was last changed November 28, 2001. It was created on March 20, 1997.

© Janette Rainwater 1997-2001

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