The Pursuit of Excellence Practical steps toward happiness


A Window to the Unconscious

Couple sleepingLate last night I was awakened by my ex coming into my bedroom. We’ve been apart for over a year, so in the dark I thought it was an intruder.

But as she got closer I could see it was someone I had loved. At the edge of my bed she asked,

“Can I just lay beside you tonight?”

“Of course you can, sweetie,” I told her. And we were together again, at least for a while.

It was just a dream but it felt much more real. Although she wasn’t physically present, she was truly ‘there’, if only in spirit.

It’s not often that I have vivid dreamlike experiences, but I welcome each one. Dreaming is a window into another realm, whether it’s the unconscious mind, or a plane of existence that science has yet to understand. Our reality is so much larger than the waking, conscious moments that we invest so much of our time and energy fussing over. Pyschologists say around 90 percent of all mental activity is unconscious: our desires, our fears, our creativity lives here.

It would be a tragedy to go through life leaving this vast and beautiful terrain unexplored. Although last night’s experience was just a dream, it was also a healing experience. It reminded me that, even though lovers be lost, love shall not.

We all dream, every night, about once every 90 minutes. We don’t always remember our dreams, but there are ways to improve our dream recall:

1.Have clear intentions

Before falling asleep, tell yourself with conviction that you will remember your dreams on waking.

2.Schedule your sleep

We are more likely to remember our dreams if we get enough sleep. Try for at least 8 hours. And, since we dream every 90 minutes, you can set your alarm to wake you up in hour and a half multiples, either 4.5, 6, 7.5 or 9 hours after going to bed.

3. Keep a dream journal

I keep a notepad by my bed and as soon as I wake up, I write down anything I can remember. If nothing comes, I simply write, “Don’t remember.” The key to success is to get into the habit of doing it every morning. Even if you wake in the dead of night, writing a few words down will improve your recall when the sun’s up.

4. The dream diet

Eating certain foods before bed may improve dream recall: cheese, bananas, apple/orange juice. Vitamin B-6 and Tryptophan may have the same effect.

What is your experience with dreaming and the unconscious? I’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments, below.

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