I awoke yesterday morning feeling unsettled. There was no reason for my agitated state, I just felt ‘off’, for lack of a better word; worried, scared, anxious, something. Over the course of the day I started recalling images and I realized I’d had dreams in the night that disturbed me, on a subconscious level. The images made no sense, some dredging up past memories, situations that I struggled with; situations I thought I had healed from. Apparently not.
Why are some dreams so vivid and what do they mean? And it seems it’s usually the unpleasant ones that are most vivid. You wake with a sense of dread, sometimes you can’t recall why; the dreams comes back to your conscious mind in snippets throughout the day forcing you to face….what? (I mean seriously, I already dealt with some of this stuff,,,,enough already! I’m ready to move on but my subconscious is telling me I can’t)
My mother used to have premonitions; dreams that foretold of a tragedy yet to occur, and to her credit I do recall at least a couple of occasions where her dreams were accurate. Her family have always resided on another continent. One night she dreamt her father was sitting at the end of her bed telling her not to cry, that all would be alright. The next day she got a call from her family advising her brother had passed suddenly at the age of 36. He had not been ill; there was no reason to expect him to die. In fact all her premonitions came in her dream state, and all were bad news. Can a dream deliver good news, ever? I can’t recall ever hearing about a lottery winner saying “I had a dream I won!”
I’ve had dreams where wild animals are involved, bears mostly, and no idea why. I live in an urban area, no bears for hundreds of miles. I’m not even in close proximity to a zoo. I’ve dreamt (most recently) of people and situations I’d like to leave in my past so it’s makes some sense that residual thoughts linger, but bears have played no role in my life, so what does it mean? On two occasions I dreamt of fire and when I woke I could’ve sworn I smelled fire, even rousing my husband once to check the house. (the 2nd time he told me I was nuts and went back to sleep but I wasn’t convinced and checked the house anyway. All was well but I’d rather be sure than end up a human shish kabob)
For years my husband had a recurring dream that he was walking down a long corridor and knew he was being followed. In his dream he turned and punched at the offender. Unfortunately, the dream was real enough that he actually punched me on 2 occasions. (There I was sound asleep, minding my own business, and bam, right in the chest! Needless to say I eventually convinced him that I could be scarier than his dream, and I was real. Not long after the dreams stopped, go figure)
The most disturbing dreams I’ve had involved demons of some sort; ghoulish creatures intent on terrorizing me. (I don’t watch horror movies, ever, of any kind. The last ‘scary’ movie I endured was 44 years ago and it haunted me for weeks) These dreams taught me something about my ‘fight or flight’ abilities,,,,I have none. I discovered when I am terrified, I become paralyzed and my first experience with this was when I was 12 years old. I attended a summer camp, one I’d been a part of since I was 4. There was a boys and girls side, each consisting of 6 small barracks that slept 8 apiece, and 1 large barrack that housed some 30-40 of the younger campers. The camp had been dwindling in numbers and this particular year there was only 3 of us placed in the smaller barracks in the woods. The rest were vacant. There had been a rash of trespassers from a nearby beach town causing some concern for the safety of the campers so we had counsellors on a 24 hour rotation walking the grounds at night.
On one such evening my roommate needed to use the washroom and since we had been told to go everywhere in pairs I went along, both of us in our pajamas. The washroom was about 100 feet from our barrack, all of which was surrounded by dense forest. Wandering back we heard the breaking of branches nearby and just as we approached the door of our cabin a leg stepped into view at the side. My roommate, Rita, immediately ran screaming towards the centre of camp leaving me just standing there, frozen on the spot. I couldn’t scream, I couldn’t move. Eventually some sense spurred me into action and I followed but I was still mute and moved like a zombie.
Since then I’ve had a few seriously disturbing dreams, dreams of evil, images of demons, not recognizable people, and in all cases I was roused from my sleep by my husband advising I was moaning and calling incoherently. These dreams, much to my dismay, were vivid. I recalled my inability to speak so clearly after wakening and it would haunt me for several days.
One of my children suffered from childhood migraines, nasty bouts of dizziness and vomiting that would last for days. After years of this she confided in me that she knew when a bout was coming because the same people came to her in her dreams advising so. Not sure what to make of this, I mentioned it to my pediatrician and was startled to hear him say he was not surprised. He said children are very open to ‘other realms’ and as a result can interpret spiritual contacts more readily. And YES, this was a highly educate man of science. He was the head of Pediatrics and Child Abuse for a major hospital, and his wife was a child psychologist. He consulted with her and she confirmed what my daughter was ‘seeing’ in her dreams was in fact real. She confirmed my daughters premonitions were legitimate and likened it to seeing auras.
So how do we make sense of our dreams? Are they messages from our subconscious advising of unfinished business, i.e. is there a situation we are not dealing with on a conscious level. Are they simply irrational fears manifesting themselves in a way to test our reaction, or maybe, force us to face them? Or are they some form of premonition, a foretelling that our intuition has tapped into, and for some (the lucky ones) they are able to interpret them for meaningful messages.
I read an article recently that said we dream on average 5 – 6 times per night and our deepest sleep, the “REM” state is the period during which we dream most vividly. It also went on to say the REM state is when we dream most illogically, often wakening in a frazzled state. (Whatever it is, I don’t like it.) Sigmund Freud theorized that undesirable memories could become suppressed in the mind. By allowing these memories to be reinstated via our dreams, we are forced to ‘face our demons’, aka, deal with it. (If that’s true I had some pretty shady characters in my past….and I’d like to leave them there, thanks!)
Apparently we all dream regularly and most dreams are what we would classify as ‘disturbing’, but most of us don’t recall any of them. It has been said that 5 minutes after the end of a dream, we have forgotten 50 percent of its content, 10 minutes later, we have forgotten 90 percent, and 95 percent of all dreams are forgotten entirely upon awakening, and I think that’s ok, cause if dreams are only going to deliver bad news why would we want to recall them?
Wishing you only sweet dreams…..or none at all.