The Daily Stoic for February the 15th, “Only bad dreams”.
“Clear your mind and get a hold on yourself and, as when awakened from sleep and realizing it was only a bad dream upsetting you, wake up and see that what’s there is just like those dreams.”
—MARCUS AURELIUS, MEDITATIONS, 6.31
Some years ago, I started to have recurrent nightmares every night. It was an uneasy time in my life, full of doubts and fears. I used to wake up every night sweating, my heart pounding inside my chest.
Then, one day, I decided that I’d had enough. I realized that during my bad dreams, everything was in black and white, so I thought before going to bed: “I should be able to realize I’m only dreaming and do something”.
And so I did. In the middle of my nightmare, I was able to notice where I was, and change the dream by using a comic situation. I don’t know how to explain it but, at that very moment, I was only half-asleep. A part of my mind was well awake and under control.
I woke up some minutes later. I though to myself “this is over”.
And so it was. The bad dreams stopped that very night.
They Are Only Bad Dreams
Similarly, most of the things that upset us, make us angry or stress us are only happening inside our minds before even having the chance of becoming true in real life.
Thus, we need to learn to detect when they are happening only within the limits of our imagination. Like my bad dreams, we need to identify a pattern, like the black and white hue, to let us know they are not real.
Then, they will loose their power over us. We’ll be able to use humor, kindness or laugh to dissipate them forever.
Today’s Daily Stoic: “Only bad dreams”, discusses how many of the things that upset or stress us are not real, they happen only in our minds.
We need to identify them as we would identify we are having a bad dream, in order to wake up and stop them before they get real.