According to Robert Moss author of Conscious Dreaming and The Dreamer's Book of the Dead when a nightmare appears, the dreamer should stand and face whatever is frightening in the dream. Trying hard to wake up and putting the dream aside as quickly as possible does not solve the message in the dream. Mr. Moss suggests going back into the dream with the intent of solving and putting the dream to rest.
Most people, in a nightmare, at some point become aware that they are dreaming. Instead of choosing to wake up once awareness of being asleep occurs in the dream, if the dreamer becomes lucid in the dream, there is a measure of control. In other words, the nightmare can be changed to a more positive one. This takes a lot of practice, of course. Even with people who are practiced dreamers, once in awhile a nightmare will slip through, with a jarring, heart-pumping ending as we awake. And then, unless we choose to consciously re-visit the dream and try and solve it in a sleep or visual state, we are left with the detritus of emotions the dream awakens within us.
And if we choose to bury those unhealthy emotions, the nightmare will return...sometimes in the very same format. Before I studied dreams and their effects, many years ago, I had a series of recurring nightmares, just because I was adept at stuffing them away, never letting the message that had been given see the light of day. I didn't treat dreams then as the gifts they really are.
Nightmares are gifts. The Dreams Foundation states that "such situations can be transformed into positive and even pleasant experiences. The key to such evolution is a change of perspective, often accompanied by a new emotional response to the situation such as taking on an attitude of acceptance, curiosity and exploration to replace the existing reaction of fear or judgment". As I understand this, if I change my belief or reality in a dream to one that gives me joy...I am well on the way to understanding myself better in waking reality.
That being said, I had a nightmare last night. I don't particularly want to re-visit it just yet, although I will in the next few days. ( I am the slowest dreamworker...it can take weeks sometimes for an aha! moment.) I tend to work out the message in a dream during my daily tasks...gardening is a good job for working on dream messages.
In my dream, once again, there were many cats... kittens and cats were every- where. I was in a strange house (by strange, I mean there was no familiarity to it for me, as there are with other houses in my dreams) in which there were many large rooms. To me, they were disorganized, cluttered rooms...they didn't feel right. And there were many people who seemed familiar to me, yet not. Bewildered, I wandered through the rooms, knowing nothing here belonged to me, only my car parked outside. And then, suddenly even this was taken from me, by a woman I recognized. I felt completely hopeless and very, very sad.
All the avenues suggested to me by the people in my dream turned into dead ends. Throughout, the cats intertwined themselves all about my person and my surroundings. I was told over and over how 'stupid' I was. I was left bereft, with deep, nose-tingling tears that gushed forth, even upon awakening. But there was a glimmer of an intuitive understanding within myself of a way out...somewhere.
The dream had many more symbols and messages; it was a very long dream story. On the surface, the dream is more or less easy to interpret. It is the dreamer who knows it's not easy at all. Many objects and people in dreams mean something to the dreamer...and no-one else. That is the rub...dreams are unique to the dreamer and his/her reality.
But I know whether or not I actively work at this dream, the meaning will come clear sooner or later. That is the way with dreams that are meant as messages. I work on my dreams because I enjoy the exercise. If I didn't, though, the message is inevitably hidden deep within me and will pop up sometime, somewhere. But by using the message given in my dreams I have a tool for a deeper understanding of myself and the events around me sooner rather than later. And I feel more at ease, more prepared...because I often have dreams of this magnitude when there is a life change ahead.
But the cats are offering their protection (Dreams and Self-Healing) once again in this nightmare. And I was left with a surety that I knew the way out. I will use divinitory tools such as the Tarot and the pendulum for guidance. I will watch for messages from the animals and plants that surround me...clues from Mother Earth. The nightmare then becomes a lesson...teaching further awareness and utilization of skills I have been given.
Sometimes my guides are required to jolt me awake, because I am missing messages sent in a more gentle way. It is the way of it. It is the only way to get this fish moving...out of the soft, silken waters of a still, serene pool. I like it there far too much, and can get lost there.
But perhaps there are rapids ahead I must be prepared for. The next few days should tell the tale.