Do you have nightmares?
Lately, I rarely remember whether or not I have dreamed at all. If anything, I may wake up laughing or else seething in anger, but I won’t remember what the dream was about.
Not long ago, a fellow blogger talked about dreams, fears, and the fear of dreaming. Her post made me think back to years ago when I learned how to have lucid dreams, meaning I knew when I was dreaming and was able to control what happened in my dreams. I haven’t done this in a while but I remember how I did it. So, I’m going to share those techniques here. They may sound crazy but they do work if you put in the time. Mastering them may help you get a grip on your fears.
First of all, you must
1. Remember Your Dreams
This may sound simple and even silly: Every time you lay down ready for sleep and you are sure you will not be talked to or interrupted, close your eyelids and roll you eyes upwards and back are far as they will go–as if you were trying to look at your brain–and say to yourself, “I am going to remember my dreams.” Say it over and over again until you think your brain hears you. Then go to sleep.
This is a case of mind over matter. It’s a reminder to yourself to be aware. If you are not used to remembering your dreams, it may not work on night one. It may take several days or even a week or two. But if you do this consistently (and you have to remember to do this before every sleep session) you will eventually remember your dreams more often. Soon, as long as you continue to “remind” your brain, you will remember your dreams all the time and they will become more vivid.
2. Solidify the Memory
As you are going through this process, keep a notebook near your bed. When your dream is over, if you happen to wake up, write down everything you remember from your dream. If this is not comfortable for you, then at the very least keep your eyes closed after the dream and replay it in your head.
Going a step further, analyze your dreams, make the connection between what happened there and what it may mean in the real world. Pay attention to how you feel. Did the dream remind you of a real-life situation on a gut level, even though the events may seem unrelated on the surface? Our dreams may seem to be mysteries but they are easier to interpret than we think.
Get good at remembering most of your dreams consistently. Then you’ll be ready for the next step
3. Realize You Are Dreaming While Inside the Dream
The time will come when you are so in tune with your inner world that you will recognize when you are dreaming. The realization will surprise your at first but you will not necessarily wake up. If you do, just try it again next time. Soon you will anticipate what people are going to say in your dream. Eventually, you will be able to make them say what you want them to say. When you become good at this, you are ready for the final step.
4. Change the Course of the Dream
Here’s the thing about dreams. As real as they may seem, they are simply thoughts in your head created by you. Once you can tell if you’re dreaming, you can chose to do or not do things while in your dream. If you want to pick up an object you can; if you want to say something, it’s your choice.
So what about nightmares? Nightmares represent our real-life fears. I used to have a variety of nightmares but the ones that terrified me the most were the ones where something was chasing me. As fast as I might try to run, I always felt as if I were running through quicksand. I was barely able to pick up my feet and the thing behind me kept gaining ground.
So here’s what I did. I would realize that I was dreaming. then I would decide to stop running. That’s as far as I dared at first. I fully expected the thing I was running from to pounce on me but it never did. I would just wake up.
Soon I worked up the nerve to not only stop running, but to turn around and confront whatever was chasing me. Once, it was a couple of robbers. When I turned around, they just stood there looking at me, saying nothing. Another time it was a monster that looked strangely like an alligator. It did nothing. I decided to beat it up. I have not had a nightmare about being chased since.
If you have enough patience you can get to this point. I hope this helps.
© Sweepy Jean and Sweepy Jean Explores the (Webby) World, 2011