Thursday, March 13, 2014

Lessons from my childhood: Facing down your monsters and conquering your dreams

 (by Michael)

"Recurring dreams are quite common and are often triggered by a certain life situation, transitional phase in life or a problem that keeps coming back again and again.... Such dreams may be highlighting a personal weakness, fear, or your inability to cope with something in your life - past or present."  (

 Have you ever had a recurring dream?  When I was a child, there was a certain nightmare that I dreamed about once a year.  In the dream I would arise from my bedroom in my childhood home in Alabama and step into the hallway of the house that led toward the living room and dining room, but in the hallway was a tall, scary monster with big teeth and fierce eyes.  It roared at me and scared me back into my bedroom, or perhaps into the bathroom just across the hall from my bedroom.  In this dream I felt trapped (not to mention scared for my life), and would always, of course, wake up troubled.

 After having this dream a few times, something monumental happened in my personal development.  One time when I had this dream, I faced the terrible monster and slew him with a sword (don't ask me where I got the sword; it was just a dream).  With the monster destroyed, I was relieved and free.  After that night I never had that dream again.  Furthermore, I began to realize that I ultimately have control over my dreams.  Although it requires some degree of consciousness (or subconsciousness, or unconsciousness?), I can--if desired--change the course events in my dreams so that bad dreams can be turned into good dreams.  Now this is not particularly restful, but it is empowering and exciting.  Maybe it's a "mind over matter" thing.

I've mentioned this phenomenon to others from time to time, but I only recently made a simple yet profound connection between this [formerly] recurring dream of mine and the concept of controlling the outcome of one's dreams to life in general.  We all have monsters that stand in our way:  fears, insecurities, weaknesses, threats, nemeses, sins.  They are big, nasty, imposing, and possibly even deadly (in one way or another).  They will never go away until we defeat them.  They can be defeated.  When you finally decide to face whatever monster is keeping you away from where you want to be, you will discover that you have the power to overcome it once and for all.  As I mentioned concerning my dream, once I slew the monster I never again had that encounter in my dreams.  Perhaps you will defeat a monster, and it will return again later.  No need to fear, because if you defeated it once, you can do it again.

Facing down your monsters goes hand-in-hand with conquering your dreams, realizing you are in control and becoming master of your own destiny.  At the risk of blurring the lines between fantasy and reality, I believe that we have the power to change our circumstances in life, not so our dreams come true, but rather so we can choose our path and enact change so that we are happy with the results.  Conquering your dreams means to shape them into realistic goals and then make a conscious effort to achieve them.  It means believing in yourself enough to do what needs to be done in order to enjoy the peace that you seek.

In my recurring nightmare, the only choice I had besides fighting the monster was to seek refuge in my bedroom where the monster would not go.  In other words, I  hid, hoping the problem would go away.  Of course, it didn't until I made it go away.  However, I now recognize another choice I had in the dream that I did not recognize at the time.  Next to my bedroom in the house was my parents' bedroom.  I could have sought help from them if I had known the utility of it.  I merely add this last point to encourage all to be cognizant of the aid available to us from parents, leaders, friends, and other trusted individuals who can help us face down our monsters.
Now, go conquer your dreams.

"Wherefore, men are free according to the flesh; and all things are given them which are expedient unto man. And they are free to choose liberty and eternal life, through the great Mediator of all men, or to choose captivity and death, according to the captivity and power of the devil; for he seeketh that all men might be miserable like unto himself." (2 Nephi 2:27, The Book of Mormon)

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