To celebrate the launch of the Trouserless Nightmare, (our latest campaign), we’ve enlisted the help of internationally recognised lucid dreaming author and consciousness researcher, Daniel Love. Once a week for the next month, Daniel will be analysing your trouserless nightmares here on the blog.
“In each of us lives a poet, philosopher, and scientist – each offering unique and equally valuable perspectives towards existence.”
Daniel has been exploring the wonders of the psyche and alternative states of consciousness for over two decades, dedicating his life to the promotion and education of lucid dreaming and personal psychological exploration.
Dreamer: Dear Daniel,
I have a lot of dreams whereby I am in a lift, and the floor partially collapses on a really high floor (my dream lifts seem to be made of wood?!) so I’m left trying not to fall through. The lifts are always different and in different buildings but the premise is the same! It’s terrifying!!
– Annabel Davidson
Daniel: I’m sorry to hear that you’re suffering with these disturbing dreams. You may take some comfort in learning that your experiences are far from unusual, in fact, researchers at Quebec’s Université de Montréal recruited 572 volunteers, of both sexes, to keep daily dream reports.
In their study, they collected nearly 10,000 dream reports from a variety of dream categories. From this collection, researchers identified 431 bad dreams and 253 nightmares.
They categorized nightmares as dreams with primarily negative content which led to an awakening, and bad dreams as dreams as those in which the experience was unpleasant but not so much as to startle the dreamer awake.
In this particular study they found that nightmares occurred less often than bad dreams. Of a total of 9,796 dreams, nightmares made up 2.9%, while bad dreams accounted for 10.8% of all dreams.
Surprisingly, these results may be somewhat conservative, in other studies as many as 70% of dreams were classified as negative.
So, despite the common idea that dreams are a pleasant form of nocturnal wish-fulfillment, the reality is that our dreams are a mixed bag spanning the entire spectrum of emotions. Our dreams regularly explore dangerous or anxiety-inducing experiences, and due to the expectation based nature of dreaming, once we’ve experienced a certain dream-theme our minds may be triggered back into these scenarios through association.
It is unlikely that your dream is offering some encoded message, instead, it probably represents a nocturnal expression of a daytime phobia or memory of a traumatic real-world experience involving either a lift, claustrophobia or vertigo. It may be worth casing your memory back to see if you can discover the event which triggered these dreams.
To help resolve recurring dreams I would suggest using visualisation and meditative practice. During your waking hours, use your imagination to relive and rewrite the outcome of these dreams. Take five to ten minutes a day to imagine yourself back in the dream but, instead, allow yourself to rewrite the script, adding an imaginative and pleasant escape or outcome.
This process, known as dream-rehearsal, is an effective method for dealing with recurring nightmares and bad dreams.
You could also use the recurring nature of your dream as a means to initiate a lucid dream, a dream in which you know you are dreaming and can take control the content. To do so, during your waking hours, take a moment whenever you find yourself in a lift, confined space, or in a high place, to ask yourself “Is this a dream?”. By developing this connection in your daily life it will only be a matter of time before this new habit transfers into your dreams; when it does, you’ll find that any fear and anxiety will evaporate, replaced by the liberating knowledge that in the dream world nothing can hurt you and you can dream whatever you wish.
By doing so you’ll find that, in time, these previously unpleasant dreams will become a doorway to adventure, excitement and unrivaled freedom.
For a chance to have your trouserless nightmares analysed by Daniel, submit your dream to firstname.lastname@example.org either anonymously or publicly – whichever you feel most comfortable with!