They’re a reality of trauma— my dreams have uninhibited access to all of my suffering and a mind doesn’t naturally utilize coping skills in the realm of sleep. Any memory I’ve avoided recalling in my waking life, and even those I’ve worked hard to accept and release in therapy, is replayed either verbatim or as a backdrop to surreal horror in nightmares.
Throughout my life I’ve been tormented by nightmares and despite all my effort I still am woken often in a cold sweat with either blazen detail of my dream or just the telltale trembling and panic. I’m not compatible with most sleep medication and even my sedative antipsychotics don’t soothe my slumber, only initiate. For many years regular cannabis use cured my plague of dreams but dependency and high tolerance combined with the stress of the coronavirus pandemic led to my dreams recently resurging with brutal vengeance.
Meditation and acknowledgment of my dreamself, my soul and spirit, and the wounds that transcend psychology into the spiritual has always been the only aid. I can’t fully heal my mind without also addressing the other aspects of my existence.
Recently I’ve been listening to talks by Dennis Klocek while working on art or chores, I find his voice and words familiar and comforting. This morning I played a recording of a presentation he’d done on soul work and found myself contemplating my nightmares. He spoke on something I’ve touched on in the past— the separation between the self and the other. I’ve written often about how we as individuals exist both interconnected and yet apart, such as in The Cosmic Horror of Social Interaction. Klocek compared sensory organs to scars, that which lets us differentiate between where we end and the rest of the world begins such as sight, touch, hearing, etc. What was once patterns of energy formed into mass and in its interaction with other mass, needed to build protection.
A scar is matter that’s become tougher in response to damage, and in turn usually less receptive to stimulus. Without our ear canal and nervous system to process sound, we could not cope with input of all and therefore nothing. Our ears limit our perception of the soundscape around us just as our skin creates a barrier between our tender insides and touch.
Thinking of my dreams, there is no boundary between myself and what’s causing me pain. Something Klocek spoke of often was identifying where energies meet and find conflict— whether that’s between your consciousness and your soul and your spirit, or between your consciousness and your body, or even deeper, the conflicts in the systems within each one.
I’m no novice to such ideas as they align precisely with my spiritual and psychological philosophies, but a realm that I’ve avoided is the supposedly mundane dream.
Avoidance causes dysfunction in the flow of our being. I pass off my pervasive PTSD nightmares as an inevitable result of lifelong trauma because I’m intimidated of the dedication needed to attending to this aspect of my unconsciousness. I’ve learnt to cope with and drastically reduce my waking flashbacks and other symptoms by facing the way my mind works, accepting the memories and feelings I wanted to respress. The same due diligence must be granted to my spirit and soul.
Much healing has already been done vicariously and by consequence of my mind’s slow recovery but I’m now strong enough to address my spiritual pain and my avoidance of dreaming.
The boundary is not between myself and my dreams that I must give my attention to, but that between my consciousness and my essence, my unique soul, the thing deeper than my mind— here is where I can find what I’ve let slip through the cracks.