Nightmares: Part 1

The first step in making nightmares go away is to face up to our fears
The first step in making nightmares go away is to face up to our fears

Firstly, let me apologise to my regular readers for my absence!  I have been travelling and have not had regular access to the Internet, but I am back now so stay tuned for many more interesting installments on dreams and how we can work with them!  If there is a particular kind of dream, dream symbol, or process for working with dreams you would like to know more about, please leave a comment and I will do my best to address them.

So now I think it is about time we started looking at some of the more disturbing aspects of dreaming.  Until we are able to understand and work with nightmares, there will always be a major obstacle for us to access the real value and opportunities that dreaming can provide.  Fear of dreaming can paralyse us in our internal explorations, but it is these very nightmares we must learn to deal with to move onto the next stage in our dreaming life, and indeed our personal development.

The main thing to remember about nightmares is the same as most other dreams.  All the things you are afraid of in your dreams are really only parts of your self.  If you are being chased by a monster or wild animal, it is only are part of yourself you are running from.  If something or someone is attacking you, it is only a part of you attacking yourself.

Knowing this does not necesarilly make the nightmares go away, but it does give us clues as to how we can make that happen.  The simple answer is, we must learn to face our what we are afraid of.  We must confront our demons.  As you get ready to go to sleep, prepare yourself mentally to face your attacker.  Remember it can’t really hurt you, the fear comes from not wanting to recognise what is really going on.  In the first nights it may be hard to do, but persist.  With time you should be able to stand up to what it is that scares you.  In the early days you may also find that even though you face up to whatever it is that scares you, when you do it still catches you, or eats you, or whatever.  That is okay.  This is still progress.  The important thing is not to stop now – you have just proved that you can change something in your dream by facing up to the scary thing instead of running.  This is a major achievement.

We are often afraid of our own shadows - the parts of ourselves we don't want to see
We are often afraid of our own shadows - the parts of ourselves we don't want to see

As you keep exerting your conscious control to make your dreams change for the better, eventually you will find yourself winning in these situations.  You may kill the creature, you may transform it into something harmless or laughable, you may put it to sleep or feed it so much food it can’t move.  All these things are sure signs the nightmare is turning.  Ultimately, you should be able transform your enemy into your friend.  The creature may change shape or age, it will go from something threatening to a kind and helpful guide.  This is a sure sign you are integrating the different aspects of yourself into a more unified, less conflicted person.

The outcome of this will not be simply less nightmares and a better night’s sleep, but a new sense of confidence and creativity and wholeness in your waking life.  Address the deeper conflict that causes your nightmares, and chances are your whole life will feel brighter.  I will write more about how to prepare for nightmare conforntations tomorrow.

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