Masters of Nightmares
Here are examples of meeting what most people run from in fear- yet knowing that no harm can ever come to you.
Whenever we dream its images are not like real life, because a dream is nothing like outer life where things could hurt you, but is an image like on a cinema screen, so that even if a gun is pointed at you and fired it can do no damage – except if you run in fear; so, all the things that scare you are simply your own fears projected onto the screen of your sleeping mind. So why remain victims of you own fears? See Example 15 – Life Changes
This next example is from Oliver, a boy of six, illustrates how such fears can be met with a little courage. It is a dream which recurred several times, so his description is of a series of dreams.
Example: ‘I am in my bed in my own room and I hear what I know to be a wolf wearing the sort of clogs worn in Lancashire. When the wolf gets to a certain point, there is a bang, and I wake terrified. My Mother’s reassurances do not help. Each night he gets a bit nearer before my panicky awakening. The night came when I know he will reach me. Sure enough he arrives, and the bedroom door – in my dream – is flung wide open with a tremendous bang. There is no one there. I never dreamt it again.’
Example: I was walking up the several flights of stairs to get to the attic room. I was holding a small dog in my arms – one of those rather flat nosed toy dogs.
When I arrived at the attic I put the dog down. But now the attic was empty and dark. I could feel my hair stand on end and my skin ‘crawling’. Actually I feel it all again as I write this. The feeling arose because there was an unformed dark shape creeping around at the far end of the room. The dog was really afraid and came into my arms.
Then the dark creature leapt at me, transforming into a massive mouth with huge fangs and awful demonic face. Immediately I leapt at it in the same way and smashed against its face with my own huge fangs. This utterly disarmed it because it had felt, in its primitive way, to terrify me. It surprised me too that I could so immediately transform into a monster when necessary.
Example: Had a very unusual dream last night. I was in an outdoor environment. It seemed a bit dark, or maybe morbid is the right word. I was with other people but none of them stood out to remain in memory. There was a definite awareness though of being near to a place that was haunted, and that a man was in trouble in the haunted place.
I decided to go and see if I could sort out the problem. I walked down a slope to where the centre of the haunting existed. It was an open space with an old double-decker bus in it. The only person on the bus was a middle-aged man who was sitting on the top deck leaning out of a window on the right hand side of the bus. I stood beneath him and looked up. He was staring in a glazed way and didn’t see me. I could see and feel that he was being hit by fantasies or hallucinations by whatever was the source of the haunting. This invasion of his mind was grabbing his attention so fully that he wasn’t aware of his surrounding or of me. I was sure that if he went any deeper into this mind stuff he wouldn’t be able to pull out. I waved my hand in his line of vision and banged my hand on the bus to make a noise and get his attention. At first it didn’t seem as if I would bring him out of it, but after a while he looked at me.
I shouted at him to pull out. I said that he had a wife and some more years of his life to live, so why lose himself into this entrancement. This didn’t seem to grab him so I shouted again and said that he would eventually slip into this empty mind world anyway – at death – so why not live with his wife the remaining years of his life. I was sure that if he lost awareness he would let himself starve.
I was aware that what he desired was to slip away into the Buddhist void, into the awareness of the one life in which he lost any awareness of self. But I banged and shouted and he became more ‘present’. I then felt I had to confront whatever was the source of the powerful ‘haunting’ that was pulling him into the inner mind. I turned away from the man and saw just to my right a short distance from the bus an animal that was the ‘haunter’. It was a mammal of no particular type – a bit like a mixture of dog, rat and guinea pig. It seemed very ordinary and tame, and stood looking at me. I walked toward it and stretched out my hand. It was a tan colour with short fur and gave a feeling of being okay to approach, so I touched it to stroke. This was okay and I was thinking there was no problem when the creature leapt at my throat in a flash of movement and ripped my throat out.
This sounds disturbing but I simply observed this and thought to myself that stroking and trying to be friendly was no way of dealing with this thing. It was as if I was in command of the imagery in that I simply formed another body. But then it dived into me to devour me from within. The only way that felt as if I might deal with the creature was to have the meditative state of holding on to the nothingness that was my centre, and not feeling panic at it’s attacks. In fact apart from the gory imagery, there was nothing to be frightened of, as the creature was only attacking my dream image of myself. As I wasn’t identified with this, it couldn’t hurt me. That was the end of the dream.
But later I explored the dream and arouse a great anger and hatred for what my mother did did to me, which led to this wild devouring anger inside me. It took a while to release it using what tony describes as Lifestream, but when it was finished I felt I understood why she did what she did and I felt forgiveness.
Example: As I walked toward a house a number of demons or devils came at me menacingly, trying to stop me getting near the house. Although they made all the ghostly noises I wasn’t at all afraid of them. I felt they were a damned nuisance, and to show them I meant business I grabbed one and with my right hand I gripped its flesh and squeezed. It started to squeak in pain and I squeezed harder. The squeaking came from Hyone. I had grabbed the flesh of her abdomen and was squeezing it. It woke me.
Example: Facing my adversary and becoming lucid in the dream, I allowed the adversary to kill me with a sword, knowing all the while that absolutely no harm could come from this experience. Fully lucid and looking at my dream attacker I said: “You can plunge the sword through me if you wish,” whereupon my adversary did just that. Then I drew the sword out of my dream body and very lovingly and wisely gave it back to the adversary and said: “Thank you.”
Example: I was in a hallway behind a door, pulling it against me to shield myself against a tiger. The tiger was large with bloodstained paws. Some people stopped outside the door to look at the tiger. I told them to move along, as it had a very uncertain temper, and it could easily attack. In fact it began to grow restless and growl. They went. I saw the deep colours of the tiger, and the blood. I was terrified that at any moment it would pull the door away from me. I the stepped out from behind the door and the tiger attacked me. It then swallowed me. Now instead of feeling separate I was the tiger, and delighted in his movements and anger.I had thus became the tiger. Then I, as the tiger I felt enormous temper – anger – hate I leapt up as the tiger to claw and devour. I really felt strong temper. It kept really appearing to get smaller and smaller. Eventually I saw it as just a toy cuddly tiger. Then its head came off as a pantomime horse does, and I was amazed to see that it was my cousin Sidney inside it, who I felt had teased me as a child. He was several years older than me, and used to delight in holding me off with his long arms so I couldn’t hit him. Being the tiger had released the anger I had not been able to express for yearsExample: So, as I look at this nightmare scenario – these nightmare images – I recognise them for what they are and pass through them, seeing, as it were, the projectors that produce the images. I can see that the images project from some of one’s most profound childhood terrors. They can erupt all those old feelings about such things as their, torture, abandonment, sex. And I look into these images to see what lies behind the outer form.Now I think I switch channels and have a sense of myself from which I say, “I am much older than my years”, for I have drawn upon the wisdom of my ancestors and their experience. And I have not seen their wisdom as if these were laws and taboos to be laid in place for ever. I see them as things to be understood and venerated as great wisdom relating to their time and their circumstances. I see their wisdom as something to be taken and re-evaluated in terms of what is needful in today’s world. In this way I sit amongst you as an elder who is older than my years.I have knelt at the alter of my ancestors and learned their wisdom. But I have also knelt at the alter of the ancestors of other tribes and peoples and learned of their wisdom too. In this way I have been enlarged.
A friend had recently visited my wife and I and had asked if the house was haunted. A couple of nights later I dreamt that my wife was asleep beside me and I was sitting up in bed with my friend’s words in mind. So I challenged any such ghost to show themselves, feeling I could handle them. Nothing happened so I lay down thinking I had solved the problem – there were no ghosts.
Quite soon afterwards, still dreaming, the sound of a door creaking open made me sit up. Then from behind me two black men who looked as if they had risen out of a grave with flesh peeling off them approached me. I quickly made the sign of the cross and said some sort of holy words and the figures disappeared. I lay back again thinking it was a good thing I knew how to get rid of them. But as soon as I settled to sleep again the door creaked open and the two figures appeared once more. This time all my hand waving and words had no effect on their advance, and their hands closed around my throat and I woke screaming in terror. My wife, feeling my fear, got up and we switched on all the lights.
Of course it took time and learning to use the techniques I now write about, but I found out that because I had totally repressed my sexual expression for 8 years, that part of me had been buried and was rotten in the earth. Working on and facing the dream content completely transformed the situation.
Example: I was alone in a house and asleep in bed. Something materialised or landed on the foot of the bed. It woke me a little and I felt afraid. I had the feeling it was some sort of entity materialising and coming for me in some way. It moved up the bed a little. I felt paralysed, partly by fear but also as if the ‘thing’ was influencing me. This made me more afraid of it. Then it moved up higher, not on my body but on the bed. I was very afraid and struggling against the paralysing influence. I managed to shout at it – “I will destroy you. I will destroy you”. As I shouted I pushed at it with my hand. This felt to me as if I were going to will its destruction and use my hand to smash it. I still felt a little uncertain of the outcome but I was very determined to fight it. At this point I woke up or was awakened by my wife. She asked me what I had been dreaming. Apparently I had been pushing her and shouting that I would destroy her. David P.
I started by considering the recent nightmare of the ‘thing’ at the foot of my bed. Gradually I began to feel tense throughout my body, with difficulty in breathing.
The feeling was that death was claiming me. So I wanted to face the truth about death, whatever it was. I wanted to walk right up to it and look it in the face and know whether death meant a final end. If it did I would rather know. As I approached death like this by imaging walking toward the THING, my feelings went through an amazing transformation. All the tension left me. I felt good, positive, easy to breathe and with a sense of hope about life and death. This was so surprising and sudden I wondered what had produced it. I needed to be aware of how this change had occurred. So I retraced my steps to look at death and try to understand why it had lost its power of fear.
At first I saw that my tension and sense of death being or giving a disease was due to a view I had of it. When we look at the world only through our senses, death is obviously a terminal sickness that claims everyone. Someone said on TV the other day – Life is a sexually transmitted disease that produces a 100% mortality. Seen in this way death is the rotting corpse, the skeleton. The path to it is disease or breakdown. But in looking it in the face I saw another view of it. I saw the dead body, the corpse, the skeleton, as a form left behind by the process of life. When I looked at myself to see what ‘David’ is – I cannot separate myself from the process of life. That process leaves behind shells, bodies, tree trunks, but it goes on creating other forms. I am Life.