Insight: maybe obvious, maybe not - or - why writing down one‘s dreams is important

Maybe obvious to some, maybe not so obvious to others including me:
although I do dream lucidly on a more or less regular basis, I was kind of lazy writing down my dreams into my journal for quite a while. In a recent hypnopompic phase, the question came up regarding why there is such a strong connection between the act of writing dreams down and being able to remember more dreams and finally becoming lucid more often.

What came up clearly as a response to this question was an immediate intuitive understanding that the answer is my non-conceptual relationship to dreams, which is cultivated by those activities.

The more one enjoys dealing with one‘s dreams, writing them down, reading the notes, the more one changes one‘s appreciation of the activities of the substrate mind.

I noticed that my attitude towards the substrate mind displays changed slightly towards a more quiet, curious, passive and more appreciative quality as compared to a previous more active quality of observer.
I realized that a stable, longer lucid dreaming experience has clearly to do with the deepening practice of adopting a vipashyana state having qualities of stillness/stability (which includes passivity to involuntarily reacting to sensory inputs), curiosity/appreciation for the experience and brightness of attention.


I would add, gaining a greater awareness/appreciation of one’s body, sensations, responses and rhythms are also important components of dream recall, and lucid dreaming, particularly as one ages, where normal growth processes and sickness tend to obscure perceptions.


I love your insight because I think this idea of relationship relates to openess and surrender. When we have both, we can be more in relation with something/someone.

Lately I’ve been reminiscing on how open as a child I was and how it was through my youth that I felt more connected because my heart was open. I’ve come to the point that human beings get lost in thinking relationship is exclusive to sentient beings. Relationship pertains to all things - like what you’ve been intuiting about having lucid dreams through the act of writing them down and being in relationship through that process itself.

And your point about stabilization in keeping the lucid dream going has to do with passiveness is absolutely true. I find I pop out of a lucid dream when I “grasp” onto it and try harder in controlling it versus going with the flow on an even keel, hence this is more passive.


I think that the Vipashyana comparison is an excellent one. In Vipshyana practice we watch each phenomenon as it arises and then passes. We learn to do his from a perspective of pure, non-dual awareness. When we get it right our emptiness is always full…and always empty. In this way, its capacity is limitless.

This, btw, is how I journal my dreams. I still get up in the night to write each one down…but then I let them go, creating space for the next in the emptiness.

I always go back to James Low’s image of the cornucopia that is constantly flowing out into the void as it is constantly being filled.

Yes…it is hard to remain in that passive state sometimes, though…right?

I have found that there is so much more to learn from a dream when I remain consciously passive than when I begin to direct the flow.


I am coming to realize that too, that I should let my mind direct the flow and not my ego, which wants (fill in the blank). I admire your discipline to write down your dreams when your wake up and then go back to sleep, though when I awake during the night I record them with my Apple Watch, semi successfully. I have to trust that my intent is pure and that it will get through the amazing muck I’ve created over the years! Yesterday, I started a recommended practice from a Dream Sharing Group friend that seems to help with that, and led to some interesting hypnopompia this morning. Peace.


I like that even better…

There’s something about the use of pen and paper that seems to create longer lasting imagery.


I believe writing is a form of thinking and memory and being a good writer is learning how to edit and revise what is first on the page. That being said, I don’t find it that useful for my dream recall except for key words and phrases to trigger memory. Otherwise, my handwriting is so poor that to write everything down is laborious and that keeps me awake more than I’d like, given the trouble I have getting into the sleeping and dreaming states anyway. How often do you go back and read about your dreams?


Very seldom. The ones that were transformative are burned into my long term memory. There are a dozen or so of them over the last three years.

For me, the writing every night is a good thing as I like to wake up a bit between sleep stages. Sometimes it’s just a few key phrases and other times I fill an entire page.