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Photo by Kathy Crabbe

Have your dreams, your journaling, your periods of mindful meditation opened doors of truth for you? What morning routine works best for you?

Here is an example of one routine that works for me, so I share it for anyone who might find it helpful. The first thing I do every day after rolling out of bed is to write whatever I can remember of my dreams. A recent example from my journal:

Dream: I was staying in a home of friends in India and decided that I would help out by taking two bags of laundry to the nearby laundry place. it turned out to be a veritable palace, with lovely separate buildings, covered with glass chips, bright paint in blues, yellow, red, turquoise and rose. I was treated like royalty, given a seat and a place to write exactly what I wanted done with the laundry. I noticed that the icons on this desk were Christian in nature, very subtle, small carvings in metal of apostles. I was fascinated by the place and enjoyed being there.

I have had the habit for decades of beginning my day with journaling, first writing whatever I remember of my dreams. Why? Years ago I studied Karl Jung’s theory of the collective unconscious and want to understand the workings of my own mind more deeply, to record what I see there, to discover connections with the wider world. I find the dreams sometimes contain images of places, people and experiences I have never had in this lifetime (I’ve never been to India, haven’t been to a laundromat for years). I don’t usually spend much time trying to analyze the dreams, just record them for possible use in future writing, perhaps notice familiar feelings or people, patterns of behavior. Sometimes they contain clear messages or inspire my creative writing. I have also participated in dream workshops in a theater group that led to amazing insights and works of art that spoke to others of their own experiences.

Are dreams real? Do they connect me with the “Great Mind” of all human thought, the collective unconscious? I have a deep feeling of “interbeing” in dreams, that I am not separate from the other people and happenings, but am part of worlds beyond conscious thought. The “flow” is so illogical, so experiential, so fast, more like the direct sensations I experience in the “real” world when I am mindful of each moment. As in waking life, there is an urge to grasp the dreams, to hold something that changes as quickly as one moment replaces another. I practice letting go.

I also find that writing down the emotions I feel in the dream transforms those feelings. Fears lessen as they appear in black and white on the page, a form outside my mind. Writing the dreams also changes their nature from quick, fleeting images to something appearing more permanent, tangible, even if their written from is different from the memory.

As I re-incorporated daily meditation into my life, I found that the journaling of dream images gave me a disciplined transition from my sleeping self to my waking, conscious mind. Writing the dreams, then a brief inventory of the previous day, any strong emotions or problems I might face in the present and an affirmation that solidifies my intentions for the day readies my mind for formal meditation.

My next step after journalling is to read from something from a wise person, such as Thich Nhat Hanh. This morning, his

    Understanding the Mind

connected to my musings about my dream writing process:

“We store all the images we get from the realm of representation in our store consciousness. The image of a friend, her beauty, her anger, all these things are stored in our consciousness. We go to the archives and take these things out, in order to use them. Poets and artists work a lot with this realm, combining images that already exist into new images. Dreams also occur in the realm of mere images. (p. 128).

Now I am ready to sit quietly, my body calmed by Qi Gong exercises, my mind clear of whatever emotions, dreams or problems I needed to record, open to whatever comes in meditation. As in the dream world, thoughts, feelings and perceptions will come and go. All thoughts and feelings are as impermanent as clouds, as dream images. Yet doors to truths about myself, the world, my relationship to other people may be offered to me in them. Though a cloud or a dream comes and goes quickly, a deep look at its essence might reveal truths of the universe. Mind consciousness is the root of all action and speech. This process of looking at and calming my mind will affect what I do with the rest of my day, the actions that seem more “real.”

What is your experience with dreams, journalling, meditation practice, finding your connections to the world inside you and outside your mind?


  1. I need to start doing this–my dreams are often so intense, but I’m in so much of a hurry in the mornings that I often don’t want to take time to write them down. I’m curious–do you have a routine for helping you to wake up enough to write dreams down in those first seconds after you wake up? I want to stumble out to my kitchen and make coffee — and after that, my dreams have pretty much vanished, I can’t go back to them.

    Anyway, thanks for posting about this! 🙂

    • Writing the dreams is a discipline for me, a habit of over 40 years. It helps me continue journaling, then meditating and doing Qi Gong. Keeping a pad of paper and pencil near your bed for mid-night dreams helps too.

        • intuitiveblogging
        • Posted August 29, 2012 at 4:35 pm
        • Permalink

        That’s a good idea, thanks! 🙂

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