Thursday, January 27, 2011

Featurette: Nightmares & Terrors, And A Dream From The Author

Nightmares are something that everybody, regardless of their age, can experience. After waking, however, it can be hard to figure out just what was so frightening about the dream, the shadows on the walls resolved back into merely shadows.

If you find yourself waking in a cold sweat in the middle of your sleep cycle, and have trouble falling back to sleep because your mind and body can’t relax, try implementing the WBTB method that I introduced earlier.

WBTB translates to Wake, Back To Bed, and is my primary method of inducing lucidity in dreams.

When I wake in a cold sweat, I’m usually laying on my side. I roll onto my back, breathe carefully, slowly, calming my racing heart, and sort through my mind of what just happened in the dream, trying to pull up an image of the moment right before I felt threatened enough to force myself awake. Then I finish rolling over to my other side, though still lying in the same place in my bed, and close my eyes once more.

When I fall into the dream again, I’m usually at that moment I was picturing, the instance before I felt threatened, and I’m almost always lucid. Sometimes, however, I’m not always in control of the dream, but since I have the foresight that I’m going to be under threat, I am still able to protect myself.

The last time I used this, just about a week or so ago:

I was out in the country, in an underpopulated area, borrowing the backyard of a total stranger with some people who were not friends, just convenience-friends, “safety in groups” and all that. There were four of us, each with our own camping gear, but it was a clear night and warm enough that we slept without tents, in just our sleeping bags.

The man whose property we slept on had an old circus fairground in his backyard, a chain link fence thrown around the rides and mechanics that we broken down and dangerous, but he did leave the tiger pit outside. It looked like a giant dog-bowl painted red, once, and was sunk into the ground a bit so that the sand that filled it was level with the ground outside. There were two openings in the short walls opposite each other, and I slept closest to one that was pointed away from the house, but toward his neighbor’s property. 

For some reason, the person who owned the property we were using wanted my cell phone, which was the only one anyone had ever seen get reception in the area (though in truth, I wasn’t getting reception, but running it using local wi-fi networks). Yes, my Droid was in the dream with me.

He tried taking it several times, and while I was awake, was unable to. After I went to sleep however, he jumped in his car, a beat up, classic Cadillac, drove it on top of me so I was pinned down by the front bumper, and took my cell phone.

I woke in a cold sweat, my eyes rocketing open, but I don’t bolt upright like I did when I was little. I performed my little calming exercise, rolled over, and closed my eyes, but also grabbed my cell phone, though it was lying next to my bed, and tucked it between my thighs.

When I returned to the dream, I was lying in the tiger-pit again, and I hear a car door close, and then an engine turn over. I was experiencing mild in-dream paralysis, so I was unable to run, fly, jump, fight back, anything. Fortunately, I had fresh in my memory a pagan protection ritual performed by some close friends they called bubbling.

I calmed my mind despite the roaring of the engine growing nearer, and pushed a mental bubble of protection outward from myself, using my sternum as the center point. As I pictured it growing, I grabbed my cell phone and tucked it between my thighs.

The car hit my bubble, which in the dream-realm, solidified into a clear, semi-permeable shield. I could see, I could hear, I could breathe, but he couldn’t get in, and I couldn’t get out. I didn’t feel claustrophobic: I felt safe (especially with the car hovering above me, the wheels spinning in the air, held up by my protective bubble).

In the morning, the tire tracks were still there, scuffled foot prints around a circle in the sand, and the smell of burning rubber in the air. Inside that circle, the sand was smooth and undisturbed, and I woke refreshed. My convenience-friends and I parted ways, and I kept journeying west.

I woke in the morning peacefully and well rested.