It happens to us all. We wake up determined to remember our dreams, we turn over to turn off the alarm and then the mind starts to remember what we have to do that day, what time we have to get out of bed, tasks to do at work, who we are meeting later etc etc. This is the death knoll for the memory of the dream. Even though the dream seemed so vivid when you first woke up, the memory quickly slips away as waking reality comes back into full awareness and the mind tightens around plans for the day ahead. Despite this, there is a technique that can be used to recall your dreams and bring them back to mind clearly.
Adapted from the meditation techniques in the book Awakening The Luminous Mind by dream yoga teacher, Tenzin Wangyal Rinpoche*, this technique must be employed before we move around too much in bed and certainly before we get up.
The objective is to quiet the mind and give it enough space for the dreams to drift back into awareness. Start by setting the intention to remember the dreams you were just having. Then gently settle the mind on the breath for a minute, the sound as you inhale and exhale is particularly calming. From there take the awareness down into the body, feel the sensations of the body, the life force vibrating through it. Within the mind or body you should be able to connect to a certain stillness. Find the stillness within. After a minute look for the silence within that stillness. Concentrating on silence will calm or even stop any chatter that has already started in the monkey mind. Stay with that silence in the stillness for a minute. Silence has the quality of spaciousness. Connect to that spaciousness, as clear and open as the sky. This still, silent spaciousness is the natural nature of the mind.
Your dreams may have already started to return, if they have don't grasp onto them but allow them to unfold in their own time. By maintaining the state of calm spaciousness you can even rest your awareness back on your breath. By bringing the mind back to it's natural state and giving it peace and space, we allow it to deliver what we had intended at the beginning...our precious dreams.
*Awakening The Luminous Mind, Tenzin Wangyal Rinpoche (Hay House Publishing, 2012)