Learning to Remember: What My Dreams Have Taught Me

When asked, many people will say that they don’t remember their dreams. To them it is a nighttime ritual that is easily forgotten and leaves little impact on their daily routine. In a matter of seconds it is gone completely. Like a long forgotten memory, even the emotions associated with the other dimension disappear entirely.

There’s a lot that someone can learn about themselves from their dreams, if that’s the route that they want to take, and at the same time, it can teach them skills to make not only their nights more enjoyable, but to also bring along instant creative outlets and increase their capacity to remember smaller things in their waking life.

Since 2011, I have created three dream journals. They aren’t written every single day and sometimes I write nothing for months, but what I record are the most vivid and detailed creations my mind can conceive when left to its own devices. Thick with plot lines, emotions, and even dialogue, dreams are stories waiting to happen when stuck in a writer’s block or a momentary lapse of creativity.

Through this process I have to think back critically about what happened and who said what. In order to gain the most, I have to remember the most. Every minute detail from the weather to the way fabric feels on my skin. What I was wearing, what I was hearing, how people reacted around me. When it comes to skills that transcend worlds, the ability to remember truly does. It makes memorizing smaller details and quick tasks easier. Thinking back to the dialogue of a dream allows for easier retention of everyday conversations.

But the most wonderful trick that everyone aspires to is the ability to control what you otherwise cannot. To lucid dream is to realize that you are dreaming and to take control of the world around you. Often when people realize they are dreaming is when they wake up. Being able to float between consciousness and sleep is a tricky talent that can take a long time to master. Twice I have experienced lucid dreaming. Twice it has saved my life in an otherwise perilous situation.


Once when I fell from a high vine, miles and miles above the ground, I slipped on the edge after the warnings of my friends to be careful and careened to the dark depths of whatever lay underneath. Through the free fall I wasn’t scared, rather suddenly awakened by the sense that I could control reality. While watching the blue above me fade away I thought hard and flexed my muscles to fly. I could fly, I told myself, it’s only a dream. I felt my decent slow and I hit the ground with a soft thud as if I had only fallen off a chair. “Flying is hard,” I mumbled to myself, laying in the dry dirt, “I need to practice.”

And again while I was running from an antagonist, I was trapped in a pool of water with my friends with nowhere to go. Either into the arms of danger, or over the edge of a perilous cliff. As I thought desperately on what to do while my friends waited in anticipation, I told them, “Go under the water! It isn’t real! None of this is real!” They looked at me confused, like anyone would be when told reality is fake and that submerging themselves in water was the safest route. “It’s just a dream, you can breath the water.” I watched them both slide under silently like a puzzle had been solved and I was now free. I held my breath and let myself sink. When I could no longer hold my breath, I sucked in the water around me and felt its icy flash through the veins of my body and while I pushed and pulled the water out of my lungs I felt no pain. The water was as expansive as the Universe around me and I was now free.

These experiences could only have been achieved by my awareness of my surroundings. With constant practice into defining what is truly reality and what isn’t, for two moments in my life I had complete control. For two moments I was a God.