Nightmares are dreams that are threatening and scary. Nearly everyone has had a nightmare from time to time. For trauma survivors, though, nightmares are a common problem. Along with flashbacks and unwanted memories, nightmares are one of the ways in which a trauma survivor may relive the trauma for months or years after the event.
Nightmares, night terrors, and recurring bad dreams have many causes. Accepted psychology holds that most dreams, especially the unpleasant ones, are the result of the subconscious mind trying to cope with and make sense of the everyday disturbances and stress factors we all must contend with. Bad dreams can also be traced to a variety of physical triggers, such as late-night snacking, sleep deprivation, illness, a reaction to a new medicine, or even withdrawal from a long-term medication you’ve stopped taking.
However, some troubling dreams contain imagery and actions that foreshadow future events. From the sinking of the Titanic to more recent tragedies, such as 9/11, there are many documented examples in history that cite dream-related precognition of events that led to death and disaster. In fact, some studies suggest that as high as 60 to seventy percent of all dreams are at least in some part, precognitive, meaning they contain information that the dreamer could have only acquired by means of extra-sensory perception.
Mind, Body, or Spirit?
So, if you’ve been having a recurring bad dream that augurs ill for someone you love, or perhaps are experiencing a series of nightmares of large-scale destruction that are so vivid and terrifying you’re certain they must be an omen of things to come, how can you separate such visions from the kind of bad dreams which can be explained by more corporeal causes?
The short answer is, you can’t. That’s because, by their very nature, dreams cannot be fully comprehended, no matter by which scientific or esoteric criteria we apply in our attempts to qualify them. That said, there are some methods to help you determine the origin of your dreams and distinguish whether the causative force behind them is physical, psychological, or psychic.
Now, when you’re doing detective work of any nature, one of the most effective tools you can use is the process of elimination. By ruling out certain suspects, you’re more likely to be able to zero in on the actual culprit. So, the first thing to do is examine the psychological facts of the case: Is someone you love ill, or living in a precarious situation that’s causing you major worry? Are you experiencing a period of real stress at work or at home…or both? Have you suffered a major loss or personal setback? Or, are you so frustrated in your attempts to move forward in some very important avenue of your life—be it your career or your love life—that it consumes your every waking (and perhaps sleeping) moment? It only makes sense that any of these large-scale, real-life factors can have a major impact on your dreams.
If you’ve given the situation real consideration and were able to rule out psychological explanations for your bad dreams, the next area to explore is the physical realm. Illness, especially when accompanied by fever or pain, can cause the mind to come up with some pretty damning dream scenarios. However, things as simple as eating a late-night snack that disagrees with your system, or falling asleep while reading a scary novel or watching a horror flick on TV can also result in nightmares.
What Dreams May Come
If you’re healthy and not experiencing undue stress, then it’s possible the underlying cause of your dreams has to do with precognition. The first thing to consider if this is the case would be if you’ve experienced any waking incidences of psychic phenomena. Those who regularly experience déjà vu or telepathic communication while awake are more likely to have similar experiences while dreaming.
However, even if you have no conscious recollection of such events in your past, they may be part of the fabric of your subconscious mind. People suppress or simply deny memories of psychic encounters for a variety of reasons—they want to be accepted by peers or family; or such phenomena no longer fit into a current belief system—but that does not mean such events didn’t occur. Denial in the conscious realm often opens doors of perception in the subconscious realm. Important messages, whether the conduit is “traditional,” or gleaned via extrasensory input, have a way of showing up in our dreams.
So, if you’re fairly certain the negative dreams you’re having are of a psychic nature, what can you do? The answer to that can be frustrating as well. Some bad dreams offer information that can be addressed by modifying habits or unhealthy behavior. Others, such as precognition of large-scale disasters, foreshadow events over which the dreamer has no control. The first thing you must accept is that while you can implement changes on a personal level that may ward off unwanted consequences, or even warn loved ones you think may be in peril, you cannot be responsible for the future. Should the events in your nightmare come to pass, you must know that you are not to blame.
Psychic dreams can have a number of interpretations. If you’re troubled by the visions you’re experiencing in your sleep, a consultation with a mentor who is trained in this area may be able to offer insights that will help you better understand what steps you should take to relieve your distress and achieve a more desirable outcome.