How to Handle Nightmares


I have experienced severe depression and anxiety for several years. I recently started meditation, an hour daily every morning and night. I am pretty happy with my meditation practice but have been having really bizarre nightmares since about 3 days, consistently. The last one was bad enough for me to wake up more scared than I have been in a really long time! Not sure why this is happening.

—Surabhi P Maheshwari, United States


Dear Surabhi,

First congratulations on establishing a regular meditation practice. There is much research on the positive effects of meditation for anxiety and depression and how meditation is more effective than medication in many circumstances. Your practice sounds strong so I trust you have found it helpful.

Our subconscious is the source of nightmares as well as most dreams. The subconscious is the repository of past negative reactions including fear, sadness, anger and well as past habits and past karma. The material in our subconscious is trapped energy and the shackles are our belief that these old experiences and attitudes define who we are. When we free our consciousness from identification with limitation, our energy expands and rises like a weightless balloon. When you have a nightmare consider it a reminder that there is energy trapped in a negative vortex.

Try this two-step process to release the effects of the nightmare. First offer the nightmare, the feeling, and energy associated with it up to the Divine Presence at the spiritual eye, the point between the eyebrows. To concentrate at the spiritual eye, uplift your eye gaze behind closed eyelids as if gazing at a distant mountain peak. Offer the experience without clinging to it. Use lots of will-power. Thoughts including nightmares are universally rooted, and like tuning a radio, if you do not like the station you are currently listening to you can just turn the dial. For the second step invite the Divine Presence into your heart as loving reassurance, peace, and protection. Repeat silently ‘God’s peace now floods my being’ or another affirmation that strongly tunes you to God’s presence.

Continue this self-offering and invitation until the negative energy dissipates. In this way, you use experiences such as nightmares to strengthen your Divine connection. Then the dream will actually have a beneficial outcome. You can use this 2-step process whenever you feel caught in a negative vibration which might be any time of the day.

Many Blessings,
Nayaswami Mukti