Resolving Nightmares, Dealing with Darkness

What are nightmares? Just like pain tells us to place our awareness on some part of our physical body, nightmares tell us to place our awareness on some aspect of our psyche. We might think about nightmares as urgent messages from our Higher Self, as manifestations of our waking fears, or as dark energy from outside of ourselves that visits in the night because it resonates with some aspect of negativity hidden away in our being. Regardless of how you conceptualize nightmares, one thing is clear: they hold opportunity for growth. At the most fundamental level, working with nightmares is about overcoming fear. If you are able to confront, combat, or transform fear in your dreams, you will be that much more likely to do so in your waking life.

In my experience I’ve found that there are four acceptable approaches and one unacceptable approach one can take when faced with dark dream energy. The four acceptable approaches represent a range from least desirable to most desirable. I will outline these approaches below:


1. Surrender

By surrendering to dark energy, you are essentially surrendering to your fears. You are giving them validity. And while certain fears may be quite valid, by surrendering to nightmares, you are allowing them a legitimized stronghold within your psyche and your being. What’s more, if you believe that there are dark astral entities outside of yourself that are drawn to you for whatever reason, surrendering to these energies can result in irritability, depression, illness, and even possession. I do not suggest ever surrendering to nightmare images or negative energetic entities.


1. Least Desirable: Flee, Ignore, Wake up

This is perhaps our most common ingrained response to nightmares. Most of us can recall dreams in which we are being chased. The dream usually consists of us running, fleeing, until we eventually wake up. Often times we don’t even know what is chasing us, we just feel a suffocating sense of fear. Other nightmares include anxiety dreams. Common anxiety dreams include being naked in public, having to take a test that you didn’t study for, being in front of a large crowd of people but not remembering your speech, etc. While in the grips of an anxiety dream we often suffer through the dream only to wake up with a sense of relief that it was “just a dream”. If we follow this culturally constructed apathy toward dreams, the message is often lost or ignored.

Usually this method is used by dreamers who are not lucid in their nightmares. If we can develop an awareness of dream as dream while in the dream, the understanding that there is nothing to fear should follow. Just because we are lucid, however, doesn’t always mean that nightmare images are easily confronted. If the nightmare represents a fear that exists at a deeper level of our psyche than our lucidity has penetrated, then we will often still flee from it. The difference is that we are fleeing from it with an awareness that running is the right thing to do. Likewise, astral travelers are sometimes confronted with dark energies that are much more powerful than they. To confront or combat it would mean defeat and could carry similar consequences to surrender. In these situations fleeing or waking yourself up might be the most desirable approach.

2. Desirable: Confrontation

Once we decide to work with our dark dream images, the objective of most nightmares should be confrontation. Usually this will require gaining lucidity. When we realize that we are dreaming while in the midst of a nightmare, the next thought that should follow is that there is no way you can be harmed. With this understanding, you are free to turn and face whatever it is you are running from. Often times when we face whatever it is we are running from, we discover that it isn’t something to be scared of at all. Maybe the bear has a message for us, or the werewolf merely wants to dance. Perhaps the awful vampire is just a kid in a Halloween costume. Maybe the supposed murder who is chasing you turns out to be your father, or some other version of yourself. Confronting our nightmare images can provide us with rich symbolic messages about the things we fear.

In the context of anxiety dreams, confrontation can take the form of embracing the silliness of the situation or doing what you normally wouldn’t do. Wouldn’t it feel liberating to walk through the halls of your high school naked and not care? If you are scared of heights and often find yourself balancing on a high mountain ledge, how would it feel to just jump off and free fall without fear?

3. Desirable: Combat

Combating nightmare images can take two forms: non-lucid combat and lucid combat. We may awaken from a dream and realize that we were fighting off some evil intruder or malicious being, yet were so wrapped up in the struggle that we never figured out that we were dreaming. This often represents an internal struggle that is ongoing, yet unresolved.

If we first become lucid in a dream and confront our nightmare images, and find that they do not yield willingly, we may consciously engage in battle with them. In doing so there is the potential for overcoming them. This business is tricky, however. One should not engage in battle with a nightmare energy if their motivation to do so comes from a place of negativity, anger, hatred, or similar low-level vibratory frequency. Putting this type of energy into a dark entity only feeds it more of what it wants. Successful nightmare combat will come from a place of centered awareness, confidence, integrity, compassion, and Love. Represent the way of the white, radiate love and peace, even while striking devastating blows and shadows will shrink in your majesty.

4. Most Desirable: Transformation

The best case scenario of any nightmare is transformation. Specifically, negative fear-based energy can be transmuted into white, positive, enriching energy. Dreamers have different techniques for transforming darkness. In the past I’ve shot white light from out of my hands, I’ve blown white heart shaped love bubbles into my hands and poured them on the heads of negative entities, I’ve hugged monsters with love until they’ve either become incorporated into my dream body or danced along with me. The act of transforming a nightmare into something positive often has a profound impact on dreamers’ waking lives. Patterns that were once ruled by fear are gently overcome by patterns that produce love. Aspects of ourselves that are dark and fueled by guilt or resentment or jealousy or insecurity heal themselves spontaneously as long as they are energized by loving energy.


~ by jonahhaas on August 9, 2010.

2 Responses to “Resolving Nightmares, Dealing with Darkness”

  1. I dont know why but nightmares help me, its like when i dont hear the alarm of my clock, because im too tired, or when i put it off without noticing it, suddenly just when its time to wake up (for going to work) i always start having these horrible nigthmares that makes me want to stop dreaming, and i wake up. Its like my body is telling me “ah you dont want to wake up, then take this horrible nightmare! haha” It always amazes me

    • Ildefonso,

      Interesting! Our bodies definitely have embedded alarm clocks and can wake us up when we need to be woken up. I wonder why it happens for you in the form of nightmares?! I absolutely agree with your general comment that nightmares are helpful, they are our psyches telling us, “Hey! There is something here that is not right. It needs your attention. Look here!!” It of course, is then our job to be interested enough with our own growth to work with the images and messages of our nightmares. They often tell us things that our waking consciousness, and particularly our ego, don’t want to hear.

      Dream Big homie.

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