Ten Ways to Learn From Your Nightmares

Whether you have nightmares or not you can get over many of your fears by working with your dreams. Strephon Kaplan-Williams wrote this short article in 2007. It shows some dreamwork techniques. And how to deal with real life situations that you face in your dreams. One of Strephon's favorite sayings was: Dream to Wake Life!.

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1. Face your nightmares as part of you

Nightmares have a reason for disturbing you. They show us what we are afraid of. What we are afraid of we are probably not dealing with.
Just remembering a nightmare can be the beginning of handling the fears in your life.

2. A nightmare is any dream we wake up from in fear

Why are you frightened in our dreams? Look at yourself in your nightmare. See how you are probably trying to hide or run from the dream situation, rather than facing it.
In life, face your adversaries as best you can, rather than run from them.

3. Each nightmare represents a fear you have in life

If you are afraid you will get some terrible disease, then you may dream of that happening. Nightmares are also dreams that show us that we don’t always have the power to control what happens to us.
In life we may not be heros that can overcome any adversity. But we do have some power to relate to the dark side of life through choice and available resources.

4. Nightmares can train us to handle the nagative in life

In life we get sick. We get betrayed and deceived. People die on us. We can lose our job, our money, our friends.
Nightmares come to us, not just to warn us of a situation we may be creating ourselves, but also to train us in dealing with the negative in life.

5. A nightmare is when your unconscious image feels attacked

Just as in life, the 'you' in the dream has unconscious attitudes. When in your next nightmare you feel afraid and overwhelmed - so much you have to wake yourself up - then after doing so look at the attitude you had in the dream.
There can be many possible attitudes motivating our fears. Find out the fear-attitude that fits you. Then create the opposite attitude, how you might act differently. This works very well also in training your children to handle their nightmares.

6. Learn to be more heroic in your dreams

As in point 5, with a series of nightmares you have you can rewrite each one in which you are acting more positively. Don’t change the fear-inducing imagery, only your own attitude and behavior in the dream. If the dream imagery changes naturally, go with it.
The fundamental attitude here is to not assume a person or situation will do you harm. First accept the situation as it is and then find out its meaning and deal with it.

7. Fear is an attitude and not a reality

Fear is perception of possible loss. We all get afraid of things that could happen but are not actually happening. The solution is to deal with danger realistically. It’s what we do with our fear that counts.
Know the difference between what is a real danger and what is you projecting danger.

8. Write down your nightmares and complete them

A nightmare is an uncompleted dream that we wake up in fear from before the dream can complete itself. Who knows, maybe when falling in a dream you should let yourself complete the fall and see what happens?
So then, when you wake up from a nightmare, write it down and give it an ending that feels right for you and the dream.

9. My fears make me real

This came to the author when he was very afraid in some of his dreams and in life situations: Fear means realness. Through fear we cannot fool ourselves, paint lovely pictures and avoid our inadequacies.

10. Dreams mirror life, life mirrors our dreams

We know that by now, don’t we? The basic dreamwork method is to look at how you are acting and not acting in your dream. Then ask yourself, how could I have acted more positively and effectively?
As we change how we act in our dreams for the better we will also be more effective in how we act in life.

As in dreams, so in life! Strephon Kaplan-Williams