Dreaming You are Dreaming

To dream that you are dreaming can mean a lack of attention to everyday affairs. It can also suggest you are only dreaming, only imagining, or that you haven’t woken up to something. But more likely it is a way to hide feelings we do not wish to acknowledge.

What you experience when you “wake up” in a dream suggests the meaning is very significant. Your dream creator is telling you to really be aware of what the dream is trying to communicate. It could also be a first step to the lucid state.

Bruce Marcot says, “ I’m sure I’m not the only one to have dreams within dreams … such as experiencing a nightmare and waking up in bed, only to discover that it’s still a dream because something unearthly happens and then I finally, really wake up from that”.

Example: And even if I was the subject of the dream I developed two techniques to avoid having to deal with the emotions arising in the dream.  One way was to change myself into another person and become the observer of that person;  the other way was, when things got really scary, to ask myself whether or not I was dreaming and turn the dream into a dream within the dream; only realizing that they were both in fact dreams, when I awakened.  I was always quite relieved that I could do this and avoid having to handle situations that I would rather not have dealt with.

This dreamer has developed a massive technique of repression, a way of avoiding instead of dealing with his fears. See Masters of Nightmares

But there is another definition of dreaming within a dream – lucid dreaming. See dream within a dream

Example: I noticed thousands of small stone’s embedded in the earth like a mosaic. I had never noticed these before, despite having walked that hill in dreams many times. I believe the boy threw a piece into the sky, making it fall like a meteorite.

In this case the person does not dream that they are dreaming, but in their dream remembers other dreams. The resulting insight into this was seen as; it means through an inner weakness or instability; I have not made it a conscious or whole life reality; I have not built it into my waking life. Therfore it remains a dream.

But here is an example of waking in a dream:

Example: In my dream I was watching a fern grow. It was small, but opened very rapidly. As I watched, I became aware that the fern was an image representing a process occurring within myself, one that I grew increasingly aware of as I watched. Then I was fully awake in my dream and realised that my dream (perhaps any dream) was an expression in images of actual events occurring unconsciously in myself. I felt enormous excitement, as if I were witnessing something of great importance.

Useful questions and hints:

What feelings are in the dream, and can you acknowledge them?

What is the surface you and what is the deeper you feelings?

What are the differences between the do dreams?

See Secrets of Power DreamingTechniques for Exploring your DreamsProgrammed


-Preeti 2018-03-13 9:59:54

I’m 17, and just had a dream within a dream. I can’t exactly remember what happened prior when I realized I was dreaming. I remember I woke up and told my parents I was getting ready for school and they were like why so early and I said “because I’m still dreaming” and I was so scared bceuase I tried waking myself up after that but it took me a few mins to do that. This has happened before. Once I had a dream within a dream where I went to my bathroom probably that of 10 times before realizing I wasn’t actually awake.

-Eliud 2018-02-09 22:03:45

I dream every single day, sometimes ill have a dream within a dream, once I even dreamt that I was within four dreams and when i finally awoke it took me quite a while to know that I was no longer dreaming because I had woken up three times within the dream, but my problem is that I constantly have nightmares and dont know how to get rid of them. I have struggled with nightmares all of my life, my dreams are always very lucid, very real, the sound, the smells, the taste, everything inside my dreams are as if it was real life. I talk to people I know about my dreams and how I dream and they say that they have never dreamt like that. Could you tell me your thoughts about why I constantly have nightmares and why all my dreams are so vivid and why I always remember the dream when I wake up ?

    -Tony Crisp 2018-02-13 11:29:05

    Hi – It would help you to understand your dreams, if you would read – http://dreamhawk.com/news/summing-up/ and also http://dreamhawk.com/dream-encyclopedia/features-found-on-site/ which has so much information in.

    Nothing can replace your own ability to understand your dream. With a little effort you can do this by practising what is described in – http://dreamhawk.com/dream-encyclopedia/acting-on-your-dream/#BeingPerson or http://dreamhawk.com/dream-dictionary/getting-at-your-dreams-meaning/


    Eliud – It sounds as if you don’t know how to do your housework inside yourself. We avoid things in dreams because we are afraid of them. Yet 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 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. See http://dreamhawk.com/dream-dictionary/masters-of-nightmares/

    Because you escape into another dream you are constantly avoiding doing the work of melting your fears.

    Example: I am in a very dark, bleak house, with a young boy. It is night outside and the house is isolated. A dark, shadowy, Thing, is trying to get into the house. I am terrified of it, and I am holding the young boy behind me protectively while I try to keep the door closed with my foot, as the Thing batters at it. – James H.

    James explored his dream by imagining opening the door and meeting the Thing. When he did this, feelings from childhood arose – the young boy. He felt the fear of the German bombs he had experienced in his youth. He realised that this hidden – shadowy – fear had kept him from taking risks in life. In meeting the Thing he was now free of that fear. Most of the shadowy creatures of our dreams are expressions of similar fears or hurts, and if me, can be just as transformative.

-Steven 2018-01-22 2:53:03

I’m writing this right after a dream, before night, i was really tired and i fell asleep which messed up my sleeping schedule. I was finally able at 3 AM to fall asleep, but i felt a presence near me, i said a prayer, and then fell asleep. In my dream i had in mind that i need to sleep and so i did. But i started lucid dreaming in that second dream, i was aware of what was happening in that dream but i wasn’t aware that it was my second dream,. I was lucod dreaming because i was able to move around and interact with things and change different aspects of the objects. I then woke up from my seccond dream, and i didn’t know i was dreaming, everything looked real, i was in my room. Then i jumped out the window and started flying, even the outside looked very much like it does in real life, but when i did jump out of the window i felt pressure on my head. I then met a person that i asked if they were dreaming and they responded with yes but they left saying that they had to go. I then woke up again in my room, standing in my bed. I start seeing random things appear and i thought i was hallucinating. At this moment i felt scared and i felt like someone was watching me. Then i’m again sitting in my bed with my back against the wall, trying to feel more protected and then my sister opens the door with a very sleepy face and tells me to go to sleep and then i said that i’m trying. Then i woke up for good and i stopped feeling that presence. And now i’m writing this. I am in a pretty stressul time, i don’t know if that had an impact on my dream. My head now hurts and i feel constant pressure. Any opinions?

-CHristy 2018-01-20 17:31:51

Hello. I had a dream that I was dreaming that my mother was just a terrible person and was saying awful things to me. She passed in October of last year. She was not a good person but in the dream it was extremely exaggerated. The dream gave me the feeling that this had been her true soul she had repressed during her lifetime. I, too, have been exploring dream meanings for many years, but I need a second opinion on this one. I feel confidently her soul was still trying to make my life hell. What do you think?

    -Tony Crisp 2018-01-22 13:17:56

    Hi – It would help you to understand your dreams, if you would read – http://dreamhawk.com/news/summing-up/ and also http://dreamhawk.com/dream-encyclopedia/features-found-on-site/ which has so much information in.

    Nothing can replace your own ability to understand your dream. With a little effort you can do this by practising what is described in – http://dreamhawk.com/dream-encyclopedia/acting-on-your-dream/#BeingPerson or http://dreamhawk.com/dream-dictionary/getting-at-your-dreams-meaning/


    Christy – Dreams tend to use images of things and people in a symbolic way. Many people do not realise that they have an inner mother equally as powerful as an external mother. You have taken in millions of bits of memory, lessons learnt, life experiences along with all the feelings or problems met by loving and living with your mother, and they are a major influence in your early life, and in a few cases the child never becomes independent from its mother at any age. This is true even if your mother was never there for you – you still have all the memories of her not being there for you filed under ‘Mother’. The memories and experience we gather unconsciously change us and are not lost. It is part of you and is symbolised in dreams as a person or event. Such an inner mother can appear in dreams because you are still deeply influenced by what you hold within you.

    So your mother in the dream is most likely a dramatisation of what you received from your mother.

    “What is so strange is how little parents understand about the inner world their baby or child lives in. Perhaps it’s because most of us manage to brick up memories of childhood so it is all but lost except for a few snapshots and what they portray. Without remembering how it felt, the adult has no idea of what they faced and how they dealt with it themselves as a baby. I have to conclude this bricking up, this building of an impenetrable wall against feeling one’s early years, has been going on for generations. It must be so otherwise adults could never treat children the way they do. As a group, we could never expose them to the tortures involved in some aspects of school, hospital, and in fact everyday life as it occurs in many families.”

    It sounds as if you have faced a lot of this hurt. In that amazing journey of your life you have collected a lot of personal memories and a lot of experience stimulated by our unconscious, but have you integrated it? Integration means meeting it, becoming aware of it and becoming more mature and creative because of it. We become more creative because we have integrated and understood more of ourselves, and therefore more about others and the world. But even the memories we have may not be integrated, because we naturally avoid pain and fear. I am not talking about physical pain which or course is wise to take care of, but emotional pain and fear. See http://dreamhawk.com/approaches-to-being/opening-to-life/

-Trinity 2018-01-14 12:47:45

Hi..I had a dream lastnight and in the dream I argued with someone that was talking about how quirky and odd my mom was. After that portion of the dream I remember dreaming that my mom who passed April 2016 came and sat next to me on my bed..She was rubbing my back and telling me to stop arguing with fools. I woke myself up talking to her….not sure what I was saying. What does this mean PLEASE? Thank you.

-Teresa castill 2017-11-17 14:44:14

Ps. None of the dreaming within a dream were nightmares .

-Teresa castillo 2017-11-17 14:42:48

Hello I have been wondering about this since I first did it… I am a person able to control my dreams I dream in black and what and in color.. during the same dream.. I have dreamt I was tired so I lay down to sleep, began dreaming and again felt tired told myself I was going to sleep and dreamt this when one until I was in four times like that movie with Leonardo DiCaprio only I did it when I was young maybe 20 plus years ago.. when I awoke I did it in chronological order until I awoke in my actual bed.. so yes most my dreams are lucid well maybe all my dreaming is lucid bc I usually control all of them.. thank you I just thought I’d share and wondered if anyone else can do this ???

    -Tony Crisp 2017-11-19 12:15:14

    Hi – The answers I give arise not out of me thinking up things to say, but from fifty years of exploring dreams in depth. So some of what I write may seem wild. This may be because dreams arise and are experienced by a level of your mind or awareness that very few people have any concept or experience of – usually called the unconscious. Life dreamt in its creatures millions of years before even humankind awoke and developed self awareness or language. So to understand dreams we need to leave our thinking minds behind and go into our feelings and reactions – a much older level of awareness.

    But it would help you to understand your dreams, if you would read – http://dreamhawk.com/news/summing-up/ and also http://dreamhawk.com/dream-encyclopedia/features-found-on-site/ which has so much information in.
    Nothing can replace your own ability to understand your dream. With a little effort you can do this by practising what is described in – http://dreamhawk.com/dream-encyclopedia/acting-on-your-dream/#BeingPersonor http://dreamhawk.com/dream-dictionary/getting-at-your-dreams-meaning/


    Teresa – If you literally control what happens in your dreams, you may be repressing a wonderful part of your deeper self – your creativity. It might also point to you need to be in control generally, perhaps because you are anxious about being out of control. If it started when you were young it would be helpful to ask what started this need to be in control.

    It is helpful to understand that in life and sleep we have two powerful actions working in us. The first is our waking experience based on having a body, its limitations, vulnerabilities and a particular gender. Our second is the power that gave us life and continues to express as spontaneous movement in dreams, in our breathing and heartbeat – our life. This I have given the description as the Life Will.

    While we sleep our conscious self is largely or totally unconscious, and while we sleep and dream our voluntary muscles are paralysed – therefore another will or motivating force moves our body. So we have a Conscious Will, and what I will call a Life Will. The first one we have experience of as we can move our arm or speak in everyday activities; but the second will takes over when we sleep.

    The Life Will is what lies behind all the important actions that keep us alive. It functions in a self regulating way, especially in the link between what created us and keeps us alive – the Life Will – and our conscious personality. The human personality – the You that you call yourself, with a name, is only a tiny thing. We are small because we know nothing about who we are and how we came to be – except of course in the words we have been taught are really the truth. We do not know anything about the mass of things that keep us alive – except what we have read, so it is important to let our Life Will have freedom to express what is necessary for our self to be regulated and kept healthy.

    I learnt, through exploring my dreams to see and understand that what we call our personality is a tiny point of awareness dipped into the sensory experience of the body. Behind that point lays an immensity that in one sense is not at all mysterious. The immensity is there for all of us to see as the existence and workings of our body and consciousness that we are mostly unaware of.

    Also, over the years, I experienced a growing sureness, that we, our sense of having separate existence, our personality, is a tiny part of a huge and powerful under-being; a being that is incredibly creative – after all it is the creative action that brought us into our life and continues to keep our body and mind working – and with wisdom beyond our understanding, but is not an intellectual or word based consciousness.

    To learn what the wonderful messages your dreams are giving you, try using http://dreamhawk.com/dream-encyclopedia/acting-on-your-dream/#BeingPerson and http://dreamhawk.com/dream-dictionary/getting-at-your-dreams-meaning/

    -Joe 2017-12-25 0:23:52

    Hello there just thought I would let you know that this exact same thing happened to me except in the first dream I was knocked out and the second I alsot spent what felt like a day and went to bed in the dream And woke up in a different scenario and then was put to sleep with machines actually like on the movie inception and woke up from all of them chronologically. Thank you for reading

-Dani 2017-10-20 9:00:36

Hi there, I just had a dream within a dream. More of a nightmare. I was on a plane with my mom and sister. In my dream I was terrified of flying on the plane and then I watched as the front of the plane (cockpit) blew open and the plane began to go down. The most disturbing part is as this was happening I grabbed my mom and told her sometimes I wish I could murder her. Then, in my dream, I woke up realizing I was dreaming but had a hard time even really waking up in my dream. Everything was fuzzy and I struggled to stay awake. At one point I started to scream out for my mom who, in my dream was in the next room. Shortly after I woke up. It is one of the most disturbing dreams I’ve had in awhile and I can’t even begin to understand it.

    -Teresal 2017-11-17 17:53:15

    Hello Dani,
    I just read your dream within a dream, and wanted to share…. I have also wondered what it all meant as I too have dreamt within a dream all the way until I was in four times a dream??? Make sense ?? I feel asleep dreamt I was tired so I laid down to sleep on my couch began to dream and in that dream fell asleep again. All remembering each of the four dreams as I finally said ok I’m gonna wake up now, I woke up in order until I was finally in my actual bed ??? I have other weird ways of dreaming but for this one I have always found it interesting and was only able to go with in four dreams for that one evening after which I have only been able to dream within another dream never again up to the fourth dream… I’m not sure what it all means or even if we will ever really understand it all only that it happen and I was able to control it all and I am able to control my dreams. I just wanted to share this to let you know you are not alone and probably many of us want answers????

Copyright © 1999-2010 Tony Crisp | All rights reserved