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’m at a dinner party, it’s very posh, but I’m frozen to my seat as I know I didn’t put my trousers on , it’s so vivid, the anger I feel towards myself at not popping them on before I left the house is unbearable , i wake exhausted and seldom relieved as I sleep naked and it always takes me moment to remember if i’d managed to get home from the party of if I’d simply gone to bed as normal.
– James Jones
Daniel: Dear James,
Your dream raises a very interesting aspect of dream psychology, namely expectation. One could consider the dreamscape to be a branching series of associations, much like the familiar spider diagram—with each new element of the dream born from a subtle (or not so subtle) connection to previous elements. For example, one may dream of walking through a darkened street and the thought may occur, “this isn’t safe”, at which the mind will act upon this suggestion by manifesting an assailant ready to jump from the shadows. Nightmares are a result of this process creating a feedback loop that escalates out of control.
Influences outside of the dreamscape can also influence and set chains of expectation into action. We are all familiar with those mornings in which our dreams include a police siren, car alarm or repetitive noise, only to awake to the realization that it was our alarm clock that had influenced the dreaming content.
In your case, I believe that your “trouserless nightmare” is a result of your preference for sleeping naked. This memory is carried with you into the dream world, influencing the content of your dreams. It is likely that dreams with social content are more likely bring the memory of your real-world state of undress to light, due to an increased sensitivity to the potentially judging eyes of the dreamt dinner guests. This social pressure combined with the memory of retiring to bed naked, set in motion a chain of expectation, leading to the“discovery” that you are still naked within the dream.
Interestingly, this indicates that you have an unusually strong memory within your dreams, which is a rare trait; more commonly memory is dramatically suppressed during REM. I would suspect that in waking life you are someone with a keen and observant mind and likely possess an unusually clear dream recall.
There are multiple means in which to deal with such a dream. The most obvious would be to invest in a light pair of pajamas. This simple change in your sleeping habits would break the expectation chain and free you from this lingering memory cue.
Alternatively, you could use this as an opportunity to induce what is known as a “lucid dream”, a dream in which you are aware that you are dreaming. This also allows for control over the content of the dream, should you wish. I would recommend that whenever you find yourself naked in the waking world to ask yourself the question, “Is this a dream?”.
You can test if you are dreaming through a very simple procedure, simply pinch your nose and attempt to breathe through it. Unsurprisingly, in the waking world, your nose will remain blocked. However, during a dream, you will be pinching a dream nose with dream fingers, which will have no impact on your sleeping body’s ability to breathe.
Therefore, once you develop this habit, you will eventually perform this action inside of a dream, at which point you will experience the unusual sensation of being able to breathe through a sealed nose—which acts as clear proof that the entire experience is unreal.
Lucid dreaming is a fascinating ability and the key to unlocking the astonishing landscape of sleep. If you’d like to explore lucid dreaming further, you could join me for regular lessons over on my YouTube channel or pick up a copy of my lucid dreaming guidebook, Are You Dreaming?
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!