|65 - Perfect Recall (Photo credit: tourist_on_earth)|
A recent study at the University of Notre Dame suggests that walking through doorways can cause you forget. The researchers came up with the premise that moving from one environment to another can create enough mental distraction to cause a thought change when one enters into the new place. Perhaps this is similar to what happens when we awaken from a dream.
During a dream our mental faculties are focused on an often abstract thinking environment that often makes little sense. Upon awakening we enter into a mind shift that consists of the logical world that is tangible and easier to comprehend. Our attention is now focused on our senses and our surroundings. Like passing though a doorway into another room, we leave behind the old thinking of the dream which is typically forgotten as we now respond to stimuli in the waking life.
When we manage to carry the dream thoughts into the waking life and continue to dwell on them, those thoughts become clearer, more real, and remembered if we tuck them into memory. The more we think about the dreams and tap into the dream memories, the more we solidify that dream memory in our mind. It takes a conscious effort to isolate those memories and retain them for the long term.
Writing the dream account can cinch the memory for us, but usually the timing is prohibitive for engaging in such a practice. We usually are getting ready for the day, eating breakfast, or attending to family members. There is often little or no time for dwelling on dreams.
Sometimes prompting from others can help tremendously. In a recent example I encountered, as I was going to bed one night, my wife, who had already been sleeping for some time, began sobbing in her sleep. When I asked her if she was okay, I woke her up from a dream. She told me the dream and why it had made her cry. The next morning I asked her if she remembered crying in her sleep. She remembered and recalled the dream in detail. Later that same day, after she came home from work, I asked again and she still remembered the details of the dream.
For most of us, a dream awoken from in the middle of the night is forgotten the next morning. However, if we were to get up from that dream and write it down, the memory would be more clear. Likewise this would be true in the morning if we wake while dreaming. If we have a dream journal or a note pad beside the bed or nearby, even if we write down a brief description and some key words, we are very apt to remember the dream, especially if we thoughtfully contemplate the dream for a time.
Remembering a dream might be compared to memorizing a poem. The first read through is the experience. Most of us will forget the poem if we read it only once. But as we study the poem, pick out key words that strike us, and continue to review the poem, we begin to commit it to memory.
Such is dream memory. To make the memory last after the initial experience, we must rehearse the dream in our mind and recite it until that dream is seared upon our memory. Dreams are fleeting. Work is required to hang on to them.
Have you ever tried writing down dreams or keeping a dream journal? Have you ever remembered a dream due to telling someone about it immediately upon awakening? How good is your dream memory?