From Nightmares to Precognitive Dreams
Results of Our Dream Survey
From Nightmares to Precognitive Dreams
by Dr. Laurel Clark and Paul Blosser
More About Nightmares
Adults have nightmares, too. Nearly everyone (83.7%) reported having nightmares and twenty-one percent reported having nightmares before the age of fourteen. In fact, sometimes people are prompted to investigate their dreams because of a nightmare that is so vivid and scary it really gets their attention! Common nightmares include being trapped or chased, teeth falling out, or being in school and suddenly finding out that there is a test for which you are unprepared. Nightmares occur when the subconscious mind tries repeatedly to relate a dream message but the message is ignored. This might occur when you don’t recall dreams often or when you give little attention to your dreams at all. A nightmare is when the subconscious mind “yells” at you to get your attention to shock you into remembering the dream. By learning to interpret your dream messages, you can understand what your subconscious mind wants to convey. When you apply the message to your life and make the necessary changes, you change, and as a result, your dreams change. You experience fewer nightmares. As you increase in Self awareness you find that you rarely, if ever, will have nightmares because your conscious awareness is aligned with the Truth contained within your subconscious mind.
The common nightmares just related mean the following: when you are being chased by an unknown person, this means that there is some part of yourself you avoid or do not want to face. When you face yourself, admit your insecurities and then take steps to learn what has been previously unknown, this kind of dream will change. You will literally begin to face yourself. Being trapped or unable to move indicates that the dreamer in his waking state thinks that he is limited in his choices or has no choice. In truth, the dreamer’s use of imagination is limited. He probably causes himself to be paralyzed mentally, by negative thinking, doubt, or hesitation. The dreamer could talk to other people to stimulate his imagination, identify what he wants, and set goals. The solution is to make choices that are purposeful and act on them. “Food” in a dream symbolizes knowledge. Teeth are what we use to chew and digest our food; therefore the dream of teeth falling out indicates that the old way of receiving knowledge is no longer applicable to the dreamer. Oftentimes people who have this dream have learned something new in their life but have yet to apply it in all areas. “School” in a dream symbolizes the way that a dreamer learns about him or herself. Frequently adults do not view their life experiences as a classroom; they think of learning in terms of school subjects like geometry or English or chemistry. In our everyday life experiences, we have opportunities to learn about ourselves. When one dreams of being unprepared for a test, it means that the dreamer has lessons in life that keep being presented, but he or she is not learning them. Asking oneself, “Why?” and then answering it with action is one way to apply this dream. For example, suppose a woman who is rather self-effacing and who keeps saying to herself, “I need to believe in myself” has the dream of being unprepared for school. If she examines her life, she will find that she has opportunities every day to be more confident. Perhaps she has a really good idea that she hesitates to tell her boss because she is afraid it is not good enough. Learning confidence and belief in herself requires practice. Therefore, when she musters the courage to voice her idea she is taking some beginning steps to learn to believe in herself. If she does this, that night she might dream that she has a test in school and receives a good grade on it! She is learning in her daily experiences.
When you learn to interpret dreams and use the messages to cause change in yourself, you can mark the progress of your expanding consciousness by seeing how quickly your dreams change in response. They are a very accurate gauge.
Almost half of those surveyed recall dreaming more than four nights a week, while a small proportion (6.5%) only recall dreaming one night a week. Almost everyone (80.4%) has had nights when they have recalled more than one dream that night. And results were almost equal regarding when people were most apt to recall a dream, on a week day or weekend. Nearly one-fourth (24.9%) reported they were more likely to remember a dream during the week and 22.8% said they were more likely to remember dreams on the weekend. One way to remember your dreams, whether it is a week day or weekend, is to wake up in a leisurely manner, as you might do on a weekend. You can train yourself to wake up automatically (as 26% of those surveyed do), or use a clock radio set to classical music to wake you up gently rather than a harsh buzzing alarm. In this way you can wake up gradually and have time to “move into” your body rather than being “slammed” or “jolted” into your body by loud noises or loud thoughts like “it’s time to get up, I have to hurry.”
Almost everyone (80.1%) recorded a dream by writing it down or recording it on audio tape. Some began recording dreams as a child or adolescent (18.7%) while most began recording dreams as an adult (58.5%). Although a majority or our respondents believe dreams are relevant to their waking lives and have a positive dream philosophy, 3.2% have never recorded a dream. You are more likely to remember your dreams if you adopt the idea that dreams are important and confirm this with action like putting a notebook beside your bed and writing in it, “I will remember my dreams and write them down.” It is important to record dreams so that later you have a complete and accurate memory of the dream. Those who do not write down their dreams oftentimes will remember a dream when they first awaken, but they have forgotten it by that evening. Or they may remember an outline but forget significant details. Since everything we dream is important, leaving out details will change the meaning of the dream so its effectiveness as a tool for Self awareness is diminished.
One of the common debates about dreams is whether dreams occur in black and white or color. Our research and the survey results show that dreams are both in color and black and white. When one is dreaming in a light state of sleep, such as when you first begin to drift off to sleep or just before you awaken, the dreams are in black and white. Over 20% of the respondents report that more than half of the dreams they remember are in black and white. Dreams in color occur during the deeper sleep and dream states, and 43% reported that more than half of the dreams they remember are in color.
Repetitive dreams occur for the same reasons nightmares occur — the subconscious mind of the dreamer, in its infinite patience, tries over and over again to relate a significant message to the dreamer. The dream may be presented verbatim, or the theme or message will remain the same while the scene and characters change to grab the dreamer’s attention. Nearly 62% of those surveyed reported having repetitive dreams. Oftentimes, like nightmares, the repetitive dreams are those that stimulate the dreamer to keep seeking the meaning of the dream until they finally find some answers. The most common themes were going to school for a class or test and not being prepared or unable to find the class, being chased or someone attempting to kill you. Nearly one-fourth of the people who responded to the survey reported having the same repetitive dream five times or more. When you learn how to pay attention to what these dreams mean and act on the message, the dreams will not continue to repeat. You will have “gotten the message.”
When you have a repetitive dream over a period of months or years, there are similar attitudes that you keep repeating in your waking life. It may be that there is a similar situation or experience coming up in your life. Or it may be that the physical conditions are different but the ways that you think are the same as those you have previously thought. If you can remember when you had this same dream and can remember what was going on in your thinking at the time, it will help you to understand why that particular dream is repeating in your life now. If the recurring dream occurs over a period of days, or one or two weeks, examine your thoughts, attitudes and perceptions and determine what you are focused on or consumed with. This can help you understand and apply the message to your life.
People in Dreams
Dream research conducted by the School of Metaphysics verifies that everyone in a dream is an aspect or quality of the dreamer. For example, a spouse represents the inner subconscious Self, a child represents a new idea or way of life, an employer or teacher represents the dreamer’s High Self and a stranger symbolizes a part of the self of which the dreamer is unaware. The highest percentage of respondents (17.9%) reported dreaming mostly of strangers, closely followed (17.1%) by those who dream mostly of friends. Dreams of strangers indicate a need for the dreamer to know the Self. Only 7.3% reported dreaming of their spouse most often and 6.5% dreaming of children. On the opposite end, 8.9% reported dreaming of their spouse the least. If the dreamer is married and never or rarely dreams of their spouse, it shows that they need to learn to create using their whole mind, to know their inner Self.
A majority (58.5%) said they dream of people who are currently in their life and 25.2% reported dreaming primarily of people from their past. You will dream of people in your current life when you give attention to the people in your day-to-day life and when the qualities you perceive in them are within your own character. Since all dreams relate to you the state of your conscious awareness, the presence or absence of particular people in your dream indicates what you have or have not made a part of your awareness. For example, more than one-tenth of respondents (12.2%) reported dreaming of their minister the least often. This would occur because the minister symbolizes one’s High Self, or spiritual Self, and a dreamer who has not made spirituality a part of their conscious awareness is not likely to dream often of such a person. When your dreams are populated primarily by people from your past, much of your thinking and attention is in the past. When you learn to bring your attention into the present, these dreams will change.
When a family member or friend dies, it is fairly common for the deceased to visit the living in the dream state. Research shows that when a deceased person communicates in a dream through telepathy or other nonverbal means, that entity is communicating to the dreamer in the dream state. If the deceased person speaks and their mouth moves, then that person represents an aspect of the dreamer.
A majority (52.8%) of those surveyed have dreamed of departed relatives or friends. Nearly one-third (30%) believe the dream was a visitation from the deceased and 36.6% said the person spoke to them in the dream, often offering reassurance and comfort. Some of the impressions described from such dreams are, “Comforting, [a] loving experience,” “He spoke to me to comfort me and tell me he was happy — I believed him,” “It felt comforting to have dreamed of my grandfather who had passed away,” “ I felt like they were trying to make me at peace with something going on or a past issue” and “I felt it was their spirit actually speaking to me. It was very positive and loving.” These dreams, as the statistics indicate, are normal and are usually comforting rather than frightening. They can help us resolve some of our questions about death, showing that life exists beyond the physical existence and that we are never truly separated from those we love nor from the love within ourselves.
Dreams can relate the potential future. Unlike our physical body which is bound by the laws of physics and the dimensions of time and space, the subconscious mind is governed by the freedom of the laws of metaphysics, which goes beyond physical limitations. The subconscious mind can perceive the probable future by following a stream of consciousness forward. The future is probable rather than predestined because we have free will, and can change the future with our choices. A precognitive dream occurs when the subconscious mind perceives the probable future. Some people experience this as deja vu which is literally translated as “already seen.” When you have had a precognitive dream and then experience the event you dreamed about previously, it seems familiar because indeed you have already seen it in your dreams.
More than half (50.4%) of those surveyed reported having precognitive dreams. Nearly one-fourth (44.7%) reported having multiple precognitive dream experiences. Many (30.9%) are aware they are having a precognitive dream as they dream it and know that dreams are precognitive because they are more vivid or real, “they feel different” or “short, precise and vivid.”
Some people have been urged to learn about their dreams because of these precognitive experiences. One woman who dreamed that her brother would die in a motorcycle wreck two months before he did was so troubled by this dream that she could think of nothing else until she learned that her dream had not caused his wreck. Sometimes people have precognitive dreams as a warning to change their own destructive behavior (for example, if the brother had had this dream, he might have made some significant changes in his waking habits that would have changed the conditions that caused his accident.) When the characters in a precognitive dream are other people, we can still interpret the meaning symbolically for a message for ourselves, but the dream itself can aid us to prepare for an event that would otherwise be a shock for the conscious mind. For example, several years ago a bridge collapsed in a large hotel in Kansas City and a number of people reported dreaming of this disaster before it occurred. As a result, they changed their plans and did not attend the event that was occurring in the hotel. They protected themselves from danger and were able to be of assistance to those who were involved and needed help.
Talking About Dreams
Sharing your dreams with others can help you understand them. Sometimes, just talking about your dreams stimulates your own thinking process and can help you figure out a problem you’ve been pondering. It may also help you to remember the dream. Our survey shows that when people have a dream that troubles them, most (52.8%) prefer to talk to their spouse or a close friend about it. People who have dreams that amuse them also prefer to share this with their spouse or friend (54.1%). And many people (34.1%) talk to their children about their dreams. We have found that sometimes people who do not remember many of their own dreams begin to investigate the meaning of dreams because someone close to them talks about their dreams. If you talk about your dreams, you might just stimulate someone else to begin a journey of Self discovery!
Dream time is a significant portion of your life. By age 75, you’ll log twenty-five years sleeping and nearly one-half that time, twelve and a half years, dreaming. This is time that many of those surveyed use as productive time for their soul growth, whether the dreams seem real or surrealistic. They take the dreams of day-to-day activities and turn them into sources of learning. They transform nightmares into opportunities to face fear and replace it with understanding, and they use fanciful dreams to stimulate their imagination and creativity.
Imagine how different our world will be when everyone knows the importance of dreams and uses their messages to live a more purposeful, inner-directed, spiritual life!•
©1996 Vol. 14 No. 2
©2002 School of Metaphysics