How do I stop my bad dreams?

Have you ever had a run of sleepless nights? Your anxiety or bad dreams ruining any chance of getting some rest, some peace? Or perhaps your mind is just running a thousand miles per hour, trying to help you by outlying everything that went wrong today, and everything that’ll go wrong tomorrow? Dude! Do you live in my head? At least, the head I had before I learnt to manage all the craziness that would sometimes appear in between my ears.

Someone else asked me that same question just yesterday: “How do I stop my bad dreams?”

The easy answer is that you can’t.

You can’t stop your dreams, or your thoughts, or your emotions. And honestly, you don’t want to.

You’ll get into such a battle that you’ll get less rest, not more, and the dreams, the thoughts will keep coming.

As bad as they may feel, as fearful as they might be, your dreams are actually a useful way, a natural way,of your mind/body processing and coming to terms with past events and overwhelm.

Suppressing, sedating, getting into a fight just means they’ll - at best - go away temporarily and then bounce back much much stronger next time.

What is easier, indeed what is possible, is to change how much attention you put on them.

However, this requires a touch of courage, a touch of faith on your behalf.

First thing that helped me no end was to assume that what was happening wascompletely natural AND would have an end.The less resistance I could bring to it, the less I could get into the story and the drama around it, the faster it would go.

Courage is required not to hide from these fears but to sit with them. Not entertaining them, but sitting alongside them while they spin themselves out.

Faith is needed that if you do this it WILL have an end, it will come to a conclusion at some time, when you allow it.

In the beginning I found an anchor by focusing on my breath when I woke, sweating and with that awful feeling in my belly. Not fighting what was left of the dream but bringing more attention to the sound and feeling of the air coming in and out, slowly and methodically.

The more I practiced during the day the easier this was to pull off, half asleep and panicked in the middle of the night.Just to breathe, to find security and the present moment, to find one thing I could hold onto while not struggling against the fear.

Learning the Ascension Attitudes was such a bonus. They helped this natural “pressure release” happen so much more gracefully and easily.

You’ll come to place where you might have the same dream but it has no emotional content anymore. It’ll be almost like an old photo that brings up a memory but has no hooks.

But the weirdest thing, perhaps the hardest thing to come to terms with is that the best way to come out the other side is not avoidance but going through.

The bonus you get is to realise that you CAN face your fears and your anxieties, your regrets and your guilts and they won’t kill you. They may make you shake, but you can sit with those things and remain ultimately untouched by them.

And that is such a huge thing, because fear then can never stop you doing anything.

I hope that helps any of you that suffer with fear, anxiety, panic. NOW - This takes practice!Practice now while the going is good and then you will find it easier in the tough times, ok?

Let me know if you have any questions at all too.

Go well! Arjuna

PS. I've got a free guide that talks about, amongst other things, a breathing meditation. Here's where to get a copy: