My journal is my personal encyclopedia of symbols. It is my user's manual for living a fruitful life and choosing wisely between alternate possible futures that my traveling self visits every night. It is my scientific data log for incidents of precognition, telepathy and clairsentience, and for transpersonal experiences in which, for example, two or more people are engaged in the same dream activities. It is my atlas of the multiverse, my magical diary and the core of my personal mythology. It commemorates the nightly screening of gods, archetypes and daimones.
It is starter dough for creative expression. It is the first and sometimes the best draft of pages that will appear in my books or be shared as stories in my lectures and classes. It is a book of clues, full of curious words and intriguing details that will send me off on research assignments.
I may write my first reports of the day with a pencil or a fountain pen, in a beautiful bound journal with archival quality paper that invites me to sketch and to color as well. As soon as possible, however, I'll transcribe my reports into a digital data base. I date and title each report, so I have an instant chronological index. Saving my documents in Word gives me a search engine so if I want to track a theme or a name over all the years - "black dog", "Mircea Eliade", "HG" [hypnagogic] - all I have to do is type it in the box and all the relevant entries are there before me.
No doubt everything is recorded somewhere - more likely in nonlocal mind than the basement of the personal subconscious - but it is essential (and can be wonderful creative fun) to develop searchable logs of this kind over time. They become the most important scientific data (in the sense of state-specific science, adequate to the field under investigation) in this area that we will ever attain.
How much to record? My feelings will guide me on the urgency and importance of a dream - and indeed of whatever enter my field of perception - and how much detail I should include in my journal reports. On most days, I don't try record everything I remember from my dreams, just as I don't write down what I ate for breakfast or how many times my dog relieved himself in the park. A map as big as a country is no longer a map, as in the Borges story.
There are limits to how much even the most dedicated dream journal-keeper can bring back from a night in the multiverse. On some days, my inner guidance is to write down whatever I remember as soon as possible, and let further writing and pattern recognition emerge as I do that. This works really well when I start by drawing something from the dream. On other days, my guidance is to forego journaling altogether in favor of simply writing with the energy and elements my dreams and hypnagogic experiences have given me.