Leaning Sideways

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Quite often, when I or other people share nightmares, we laugh at and ridicule the horror we felt during our bad dreams. Obviously, when fully conscious and in broad daylight, it’s easy to see our bad dreams as temporary sojourns into a realm of deepest fears.

On that note, I wish to say that the main reason we feel terrified when we have nightmares is not solely because of the content of our nightmares, but because when we dream, by definition, we are completely and utterly alone (same as with dying).

To me, the worst dreams I have are dreams in which I am helpless or out of control, or dreams in which something is completely beyond my comprehension (which is a bit of a subset of the former condition). Dreams about monsters per se are not nightmares for me, because as long as I understand and/or control their modus operandi, I have no fear, and to me, it’s just a fascinating journey into my own imagination.

For example, yesterday, I had a simply terrifying nightmare that would probably seem ludicrous to many: I dreamt that whether I’m typing something on my computer, or even when I’m walking or raising my hand, I seem to have an uncontrollable inclination to move sideways. When I type, the cursor moves to the left without my control, and when I try to stop pressing the arrow keys, I can’t. When I left the computer, I had to press my body hard to the other side so that I will stop bumping next to the wall, and I noticed that when I raise my hand, it uncontrollably shifts to one side.
I remember that the ending of the dream was when I ran infront of my bathroom mirror and looked at my own face (it’s very weird looking at my own face when I know that it’s all in my head, especially since in this dream, like many others, I’m fully aware that I’m dreaming) – I remember looking at my head, and uncontrollably turning it to the left, pushing it hard to the right to keep it steady.

This dream is just another instance of my mind-freezing dread of losing control, which is the flip-side of my enormous need, or perhaps even compulsion, to be in control – I’m being driven by an excessive primal fear of not being in control and am compensating it with excessive control.

6 Comments »

  1. Nicola Said:

    well, one thing I certainly do not do in dreams is look into mirrors… that’s basically prepping yourself up for what could be the scariest part of your dream/nightmare.
    the mirror might not “function” as it does in the real world, and you might not like what you see there… so I’ve learned to stay away from them in my lucid dreams๐Ÿ™‚
    just a tip for your next lucid dream๐Ÿ™‚

  2. freidenker85 Said:

    I know, but I can’t help it. For some reason, I’m perversely attracted to being horrified in my nightmares. It’s kind of like picking a wound.

  3. galia Said:

    we all need control that’s why we created religions. i think Budhism maybe is the only culture/religion which aims at freeing us of that control. its a strong dream, your body and mind completely seperated. in my dreams i dont think i feel alone because its a kind of reality with all those other people around. what is scary and great is that it is so real..

  4. freidenker85 Said:

    I have good dreams too, Galia. But no doctrine is going to change the fact that I have control issues. I wonder if anything will change that at all.

  5. crazyasuka Said:

    I would be kind of scared to look in the mirror when dreaming. It has happened, but it hasn’t been my desicion.

    After all, I’ve only had 3 lucid dreams in my life!

  6. freidenker85 Said:

    Like I said, I find it intensely delightful to be terrified in my dreams, especially the lucid ones. The thing about those dreams is that they’re more intense than anything I’m likely to experience IRL, so I take advantage of that :->

    Looking in the mirror in that dream was so frightening, it gives me the heebiejiebies thinking about it.


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