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What About Nightmares?

Posted on September 18, 2016 at 3:04 PM Comments comments (53)

What about Nightmares?

Whenever I meet someone for the first time the conversation often leads to the question, “What do you do?” I then explain that since I have retired from the corporate world), I facilitate Dream Awareness Workshops. There is usually some curiosity.

I often get one of the following responses:

  • “I don’t dream.” …or
  • “I don’t remember my dreams.” …or
  • “I keep having a reoccurring nightmare. What does that mean?” …or
  • “The other night I had this dream – so and so… - What does it mean?” …or
  • “Do you interpret the dreams of others?”

Occasionally, a person will share that they are “into their dreams” and have been keeping a dream journal for a long time.  Or, they might ask, “How did you get into that”? But this type of response seems to be the exception.

   I always feel rewarded when I can help spark someone’s motivation to start paying attention to their dream life.

For example, I recently met Bill (fictitious name) through Betty (fictitious name) who I met when she showed up to take part in a workshop I was doing a couple of years ago. Betty now keeps a daily/nightly dream journal. Along with my wife, the four of us shared time and conversation while having a casual dinner one evening a few weeks ago.

When Bill found out what I do, the reply was “I don’t dream; I don’t remember any dream I have had.”  

I went through the usual reply to this with the comment that Bill really does dream, and not only does he dream, he dreams every night. Bill remained inquisitive and when I asked him if he wanted to remember his dreams, he responded in the affirmative. I explained to Bill how he could start remembering his dreams by intention and how to record them in a dream journal. If the work is done it could lead to understanding, through remembering and working with his dreams.

It starts with keeping a dream journal. It starts with intention! The reward came when I spoke with Betty a few days ago and she shared that Bill is now remembering his dreams – Voila! Another dreamer has joined the Dream Awareness Network; a baby step toward reaping the rich rewards of an active creative dream life. It is a life-long learning process.

Since nightmares come up a lot in the workshops, for instructional purposes I will share an example from the past that gives insights into nightmares and the reasons behind them. Because this one is such a rich example, full of discussion topics, I will share it as it was reported by Jane Roberts, in her book The Seth Material, Chapter 14 (1970). I will only paraphrase a little for clarity.

The Seth material and all books by Jane Roberts are rich in communicating the significance and importance of our vivid dream world experiences. It also includes other metaphysical topics worthy of discussion.

This dream report deals with the topic of vivid nightmares that seem real and during which the dreamer feels helpless. Haven’t we all been there before?

  Jane speaking, sharing her dream, as it would be shared in a dream workshop:

  …“I find myself in our bedroom, out of my body, and suddenly I realize that someone or something is directly above me.

The next minute I am pushed down to the foot of the bed, off into the air, and then down to the dark corner of the bedroom floor. 

Above me is what I can only describe as a big black thing like a bloated, blurred human form, but large and very solid. I know that this thing “is out to get me”.

  “I know that I am out of my body, I am overwhelmed with astonishment, as well as very frightened.  As I am trying to figure out what this thing is, it bites me several times on the hand. It is amazingly oppressive, and keeps up its effort to drag me farther away from my body into the bedroom closet.

 “In dismay, I hear Rob snoring. I realize Rob wouldn’t know anything is wrong since I am not in my physical body. I wonder, - Where is Seth, are where are all those “guides” who are suppose to come running to your aid when you get in predicaments like this? I am having all these thoughts as I try to fight this thing off. I am very conscious of the creature’s weight, which is really amazing, and its intent – which is to maul me up as much as possible, if not to kill me outright.

“Don’t panic” I tell myself, trying desperately to retain some semblance of calm. But the thing presses down and is about to bite me again. This time I think, “To hell with not panicking,” and I start to “yell my head off.” I hope that my shouting will either frighten the creature away or attract some kind of help. The thing pulls back for an instant, like a huge startled animal, and I slip from beneath it and shoot fast as a rocket for my body, with the creature after me.”

“The next instant I am back in my body feeling that my physical head is spinning. For a minute I was afraid to open my eyes. “Boy, if it’s still there, I’ve had it,” I thought.

But the thing was gone. Or, it was still trapped in another level of existence. I thought of waking Rob to tell him, but decided not to interrupt his sleep.  Now that I was safe I was more than a little ashamed of myself for being such a coward, but I wasn’t so complacent that I felt like going right back to sleep, either! So I got up, drank a glass of milk, and thought of all the things I should have done.”

The next night, after the dream, Jane was holding a regular Wednesday night Seth session with a group of friends. During the meeting Seth commented on Jane’s dream. In the books, Seth refers to Jane as Ruburt, a male entity and the pronoun “he” is used when referring to Jane.

Seth’s response was this:

  “Our friend attempted to choose a different battlefield last night. He decided to think of all negative feelings as enemies, and to give them form in another plane of reality where he could do battle with them. This was not an astral plane, but a lower one.

“The energy behind his “black thing” was the energy of hidden fears, but such a thing could be formed by anyone, since there are fears in any person. Ruburt tried to isolate them, give them form, and fight them all at once. The thing was actually a rather clumsy lower-dimensional animal, a provoked dumb dog of other dimensions that then attacked him, symbolically enough, by biting.

“Any “thing” so created entirely of fears would be frightened and particularly angry at its creator. It could do nothing but attack to protect whatever reality it had, for it knew Ruburt created it only to slay it, if possible. It did have reality therefore.

“Ruburt leapt back to safety and normal consciousness. The thing then dissipated, as far as Ruburt was concerned. For when Ruburt ‘ran home’ he automatically withdrew the energy of his attention from it….

"Ruburt tried to separate from himself all those elements he considers negative, and fight them at once, almost as if in so doing he could remove evil from the universe.

“He tried to destroy the ‘animal of evil’ and it bit him back. Now evil does not exist in those terms, and even illness or fear are not necessarily enemies, as much as aids to understanding and means to a greater end…”

Seth went on to say:

“The evil that Ruburt imagined he was projecting outward does not exist, but because he believed it did, he formed the materialization from his fears. It was the shape of his recent depression.

"In larger terms, there is no evil, only your own lack of perception, but I know this is difficult for you to accept. But this fact is Ruburt’s safeguard in his out-of-body travels – as long as he remembers it. Dream actions can then be turned toward fulfilling constructive expectations, which can themselves effect a change for the better.”

“The personality is composed of energy gestalts. As the personality is changed by any experience, it is changed by its dreams; and as an individual is molded by their physical environment to some extent, so are they molded by the dreams which they themselves create. . . .

"The self is limitless.

"When your perceptions fail, it seems to you that boundaries appear. For example, it seems to you that dreams cease when you are no longer aware of them. This is not so.”


The dream of Jane Roberts serves to point out how fears we hold can become a “stage play” that we create metaphorically, representing to us ‘the fears in action’. 

Therefore, maybe the first thing we need to do is to search inside ourselves for fears we are not facing up to. Fear is often expressed as anger, so the things that anger us should be examined.

The emotion of fear is grounded in beliefs like all emotions are. When the limiting beliefs are replaced with constructive ones, we will likely find that the respective fears no longer show up as nightmares.

This dream example is a complex one and I have chosen to use it only to illustrate how fears impact our dreams and nightmares. At a later time I will discuss the other topics involved in this dream report; out-of-body (OBE) experiences, lucid dreaming, the awareness of physical senses in an altered state of consciousness, the astral plane, multi dimensions, the concept of “evil”, illness as an aid to understanding, the limitless self and the projection of consciousness.

A final comment from Jane Roberts after reflecting on the dream shared: …

“I’d been depressed for several days before the incident, brooding on the negative attitudes that sometimes seem to surround us. Worse, I recognized many of them in myself: resentments, fears, and anger.”

As President FDR said in his first inaugural address: …
 “There is nothing to fear but fear itself.”

 If you already keep a dream journal and occasionally have recorded nightmares, look back over these dreams and determine if there is a common thread related to monster types, locations, people, or what was said to you. 

Did you record how you were feeling in the dream and after you woke up?

Did you give the dream a title?

Were there past events in your life or the world at the time that disturbed you?

Were you feeling anxiety or fear about a possible future event that had not happened yet?

© John W, Robinson, Dream Awareness Network, September 18, 2016