Dream Journaling

By Alice Toler


Authors: Alice Bain

Jungians say that every character you meet in your dreams is an aspect of yourself. This makes the dream bully encountered in this episode even more interesting!

I’ve been keeping a dream journal on and off for 20 years now. It started as a writing exercise because my dreams were so strange, and I thought it was a good idea to try to capture the creativity for use during waking life. After a little practice I learned the knack of remembering them when I awoke in the morning, so I wasn’t always having to scrawl down keywords in the pitch dark at 3:00 a.m. In about the fifth year of keeping my diaries, I started to see some really strange parallels between dream life and waking life. Often I’d get a case of deja vu, and it would turn out that I’d had a dream two weeks before that was the root of the feeling during subsequent waking life. Not only that, but sometimes via the diaries I would uncover chains of dreaming/waking correlations that snaked back through my life over months or years. For a while I became a little obsessed, but eventually I decided that it probably wasn’t anything special, and that my attention was better spent on other pursuits.

We work out our knottiest problems at night, while our bodies are resting and our minds are let off the leash to run about and stretch their legs. I’m not a personal fan of pursuing lucid dreaming, although many people have found that practice to be helpful and empowering. My feeling is that I’d rather let my subconscious find its own way at least part of the time without being entrained to my waking ego, but that’s not to say that my way is better than anyone else’s. Keeping a dream diary has helped me understand all sorts of waking-life stressors. Whatever your preference, it’s a practice I would recommend.


This article was originally published on February 21, 2012.