During the Intermission, we explained that dream recall can be improved by immediately writing a dream down as soon as you wake.
It seems that some systems in the sleeping brain prevent long-term memories from forming. Likely the long term potentiation of the neurons involved is suspended, or reduced. We don’t have a lot of evidence go to on to determine exactly how this process works, but we have plenty of evidence that dreams can indeed be hard to recall.
Writing a dream down as soon as you awaken refreshes all these memory traces in the waking brain, allowing those traces to be strengthened a second time, without the dampening effect of sleep. The fact of writing it down is usually enough to force those memory traces to remain open. Simply recalling them is less effective, perhaps because putting things into words is a more powerful process, perhaps simply because you have the written record to refer to.
Either way, the act of struggling to remember a dream is doubtless practice at recalling difficult to remember things. As you have learned from the beginning of the Transcendence Institute’s writings, the things which you practice you will get better at. Thus, simply the act of remembering your dreams in the morning will in itself improve your memory recall.
With the addition of the ability to dream lucidly, whole new avenues are opened up to help you to improve your memory recall.
As you have learned, all memory is essentially constructive. You don’t recall every bit of data which flowed into your nervous system while an event happened, you brain doesn’t recall a trace of every patch of colour your saw or waveform your ears processed. Instead, you recall the gist, a personal story about that event, and your brain reconstructs the data from the traces of that high-level memory.
Sometimes interference from other memories or associations may impede this process, making it difficult to bring some desired detail to mind.
During a dream, however, your mind is less constrained by your current sensory experience. It’s more prone to freely associate, to lower the barriers to recall and present detail which you may have assumed you had forgotten.
Once you have learned to lucid dream you can take advantage of this. When you realize you are dreaming you can place yourself, within the dream, in a replay of some event. You can look around, interacting with the dream environment, the virtual reality, and take note of things which you thought you had forgotten, maybe even details which escaped your notice at the time.
While dreams are not bound by current sensory inputs, they are influenced by memory interference, assumption and false association as well as random noise. While actively using lucid dreams to recall some event can give clues, cast light upon a fading memory, they can not be guaranteed reliable. Though, as usual, with practice you may be able to learn to tell the difference.
Since the lucid dreaming state leaves a person so suggestible, you can also use Lucid Dreaming to actually improve your expectation that your memory recall will work well. This expectation can influence the likelihood that a given memory trace will surface. Try eating memory-improving pills in your sleep, or visiting some swami who can improve your memory and performing the tasks he suggests. Magic and voodoo can work in dreams. Their effects can sometimes influence our subconscious to make that ‘magic’ work outside too. Our meditation, the guided dream this month, will simply give you suggestions that the act of practising is improving your memory and dream recall.
Once again this month we’ll present you with a guided lucid dream. In the dream you’ll be gradually brought to dream-consciousness, into lucid dreaming. You’ll be prompted to recall some event, to relive it in detail, to refresh and improve your recall of that event. To notice details you hadn’t seen before. To look around and understand the event more fully.
For example, you can try and use your dream to recall the face of someone who was close to you but you haven’t seen in years. To refresh their memory in your mind by dreaming about them during the night.
If you aren’t particularly interested in reliving some old event, or refreshing your memory of some person, you should imagine instead an imaginary event, one in which you gain guidance and then follow through with action on how to improve your memory through magic, spells and dream-chemistry. This should improve your belief in your recall, which could in turn improve your ability.