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Common Dreams - Bad Dreams
November 9, 2016

What Are Bad Dreams?

Did you have a bad dream? Did the quest to learn more about it lead you here? You are not alone.

Bad dreams can be defined as “a feeling of anxiety or fear during a dream.” This means when you were having that bad dream, your body took it to be real, which triggered actual physiological responses and woke you up.

Should you worry about such a disturbing dream? Not always, although some such dreams could be prophetic. Recognizing prophetic dreams is challenging. For example, if I dream of being in an airplane crash the night before my air travel, should I associate it with my anxiety about flying? Or should I consider it a prophetic dream and change my travel plans to avoid a doomed flight?

I may examine whether I have a fear of flying, or not. If I fear flying, such a dream could be an anxiety dream.

Otherwise, if I am an avid flyer and have no fear of flying, I would examine how often I recall my dreams. If generally I do not recall my dreams, but now I did, would that make it a prophetic dream? Possibly, but it could also be the result of a higher than usual level of anxiety that it evoked.

If I do recall most of my dreams, even the bad ones, and this dream stands in an exceptional way, causing me to have a negative feeling in my gut, I may take it a bit more seriously. I need to trust my intuition.

One such dream happened to a U.S. intelligence worker. This is the story of an American remote viewer who avoided the doomed Northwest flight 225 on August 17 1987.

famous dreams - flight 225

He dreamt of being in a fire- and smoke-filled airliner the night before his flight. He trusted his gut feelings and changed his plans. While the plane crashed shortly after takeoff, killing all onboard except for one little girl, he lived to tell the tale. After all, he was a remote viewer, at the time working espionage research for the government, where trusting his gut feeling was essential.

If nature has given us the dream phenomenon, it must be good for something. There are other good reasons for us to have dreams too.

Unborn babies in the womb exhibit brainwave patterns consistent with the brainwaves of a person in the REM (rapid eye movement) phase of sleep, in which most of the dreams happen. Some researchers wonder whether babies use their dreams to see the world outside, to familiarize themselves with what is coming up. We may never know whether unborn or newly born babies have bad dreams or not.

How about dreams that teach us? If I had a bad dream where my irresponsible action resulted in an undesirable outcome, I may be learning what not to do in my waking life.

In one such dream posted on Dream Social, the dreamer, while handling a firearm in his home, accidentally discharges a round that goes through the wall and into the neighbor’s house. The dreamer is terrified and worried that the bullet may have struck someone on the other side. It causes him to wake up due to anxiety. This was flagged as a bad dream by the dreamer; however, this dream could be a teaching dream. Potentially, it shows the dreamer that handling firearms could be dangerous. It may result in prevention of such a mistake happening in the person’s waking life.

In some cultures, dreams that would generally be considered bad dreams are considered to be good dreams. These cultures believe that dreams tell the opposite of what is to come. For example, in the Eastern cultures, if one dreams of a living loved one being dead, or dying, they will interpret it as news of a long life for that person.

There are also repetitive bad dreams that evoke high levels of fear and anxiety, such as dreams of war, animal, or paranormal attacks. Many of these dreams are related to post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Soldiers who have seen war and trauma have a higher probability of having such dreams, and some of them can be devastating.

One anonymous U.S. soldier, while deployed in Afghanistan, posted one of his dreams on Yahoo Answers, looking for its meaning. In this dream, he was in a hospital room, lying in bed. A doctor and a priest walked in to his room.

The priest was holding a Bible and began to recite from it. Suddenly the Bible turned into a book made up of jaws and large sharp teeth, opening and closing as if it was chewing something. The jaw monster jumped out of the priest’s hands and began to attack the soldier. The priest tried to subdue the jaw monster by grabbing and holding it on the floor, but the book turned on the priest too and began to attack him. This was enough to wake the soldier up in terror. He did not state whether this was repetitive or not, but if this was a repeating dream, it could be related to PTSD.

Bad dreams are common, and we have many of them during our lifetime. Most are not to be taken seriously, but we must always reflect on them. Take away the lessons, check them against your gut feelings, and journal them for future validation.
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