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Saturday, September 22, 2007

Dream Symbols 17: Types of Dreams Part 1: Paralysis Dreams

Balanced Rock. Photo Credit
You are being choked to death. Your adrenaline is surging and you can barely breathe from the fear that courses through your body. You struggle to wake up, and then --- thanks be for small favors, you do wake up. You sigh in relief. As you are about to get up to get a glass of water, you become aware of a presence in the room. Very close to you. Menacing. Frightening. You remain absolutely still. You hold your breath trying to hear something. You just don't know what it could be, but you know something or somebody is there.

Finally you try to move. You can't. You are paralyzed. The presence continues there. You have never been so afraid in your entire life. You are certain something ominous is about to happen. Who could possibly be there in your bedroom with you?
Suddenly your body jerks. And now you really wake up. And you realize that when you were awake before, you were actually still dreaming, even though you had awoken from another dream to that new dream with the presence in your room.
You are still very shaky. You get up to get that glass of water. Finally, back in bed, you fall asleep again. And you are with the presence again, and you can't move again.
Horror story? Not at all. This is one of a variety of versions of a paralysis dream, that a relatively large percentage of the population goes through. Everyone appears to agree about one thing: they are very frightening, so much so, that some people prefer not to go back to sleep the night they have had one, to avoid the possibility of having another one.
No one seems to understand what causes them, although some research is being done. It has been suggested that much globe-trotting may be a cause, due to the frequent change of hemispheres and time-zones, and the consequences this has on our circadian rhythm, and due to the number of people who travel like this and have paralysis dreams, but unfortunately that theory does not always hold, as many people who never travel across time-zones, also have these dreams.
Another theory held that people who had been born by c-section were more prone to these paralysis dreams than others, but again, there are numerous people born this way who have never had a dream of this type. (The reasoning was that the foetus is "paralyzed" by the anaesthesia given to the mother prior to surgery, and that this was somehow revisited in dreams).
One thing some dreamers recount that appears to help: once you have a certain amount of familiarity with this type of dream, assuming you get paralysis dreams, try this: concentrate on your extremities (hands and feet), and try to jiggle or ever-so-slightly move a toe or finger, or just the very outer edge of it. This often seems to snap the dreamer out of the paralysis dream and allows you to move. Also be aware of this: you are not the only one dreaming such dreams. While not common, they are relatively frequent.
Previous posts in this series are:

You may also be interested in viewing some of the recommended dream books and books on symbolism on my website, as well as some of the dream links on my links page.

There are also some videos posted about Carl Jung and his take on dreams. Click here to view them.


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