Insomnia, Dreams, and Demons

At times, our dreams can be useful in therapeutic work. They may serve as windows to the unfinished business of our mind, emotions, and soul. To heal well, we need to sufficiently understand and sort them out.

Not too long ago, I had a young woman in a counseling session saying that she suffers from sleepless nights. It is so because of recurring nightmares for years. She constantly sees snakes and insects attacking her in her dreams.  She tosses and turns, lying awake, invaded by these images creeping into her dreams and consciousness.

Novelist Jim Harrison once describes a night he prefers not to repeat. He writes, "Insomnia opens the door to previously untraced memories, makes a mockery of the good sense that possesses one at high noon, and any effort we make to channel our thoughts twists the energy, rebukes us with half-finished faces, sexless bodies; we learn again that our minds are full of snares, knots, goblins, the backward march of the dead, the bridges that end halfway and still hang in the air; those who failed to love us, those who irreparably harmed us, intentionally or not; even those we hurt badly and live on incapsulated in our regret. The past thrives on a sleepless night; reduces it to the awesome, distorted essence of all we have met."

Now the challenge for us, when we next dream or experience sleepless nights, is to keep away our demons.