The only thing that nightmares and sleep paralysis have in common is that they are frightening. All comparisons end there.
Nightmares are thought to be brought on by anxiety in the dreamers waking life. In my research, I have spoken with adolescents and adults who shared with me their nightmares and more often than not they told me about their anxious feelings prior to that night’s sleep. The actual events in the dream did not depict what the anxious feeling was about every time; however they were mostly about school, work, and other life events that may cause stress, but not always.
Sometimes a message is contained within the nightmare but the events in the dream may seem freaky, grotesque, horrific and incredible. The dream may resemble a horror movie in that way.
Here is one nightmare I had that illustrates this.
A young man I work with was the junior manager on duty the night there was a huge explosion. Blood and body parts were everywhere. A rock band was playing on stage – the explosion happened after the first set. He was overwhelmed with the aftermath of the massacre. His boss – the senior manager – would not help him; instead she walked away, leaving him to clean up the mess. No sooner that he did that, that the explosion happened again, after the bands second set. At this point, I knew the perpetrator wasn’t the senior manager (in this dream she is the one who is overwhelmed). It was someone I did not recognize. My search to find the senior manager was futile. I knew she wanted no part of this. She was not supportive of the junior manager. I helped him to clean up the body parts. I noticed that blood saturated the carpet.
Occasionally I have had a dream where suddenly I’ll be unable to move or scream for help. It feels as though someone or something is sitting on top of me, keeping me from moving and not only that but I cannot breathe. I’m aware that I must be dreaming as I struggle to get out from under the thing that is holding me down and force myself to roll off the bed or kick the person next to me so that they’ll hit me and I’ll wake up. If feels as though I know I’m dying. Sometimes I’ve stopped fighting. Other times I keep fighting so that I can wake up from this nightmare. Only it’s not a nightmare. And, as I will explain, this “dream” is not brought on by anxiety. This is a phenomenon called sleep paralysis. The psychic Sylvia Browne called it astral catalepsy because this happens during the soul’s astral travels.
Every night while our human bodies are at rest our souls leave the body and travel or visit. Our soul astral travels to different planets, universes, or the other side. The soul’s home is the other side. Our human bodies are the home to our souls while it is learning here on earth. The same is true on other planets or universes. Our soul keeps learning on the other side, too, but on earth the learning is more accelerated. Likewise our soul can travel or visit anywhere on planet earth as well. If this is hard to wrap your mind around, stay with me.
What is happening during sleep paralysis is that our souls are leaving the body while it is sleeping. The soul can also leave the body during meditation, too, but the body isn’t sleeping. The mind and body are only semi-conscious. And so what happens when the body is either just leaving or just returning from its nightly travels, the semi-conscious mind – not fully asleep – panics. It knows that the soul is half in and half out of the body. Whatever we see or hear in that dream is what the soul is experiencing at the time it gets “caught” entering or leaving the human body while it’s in the unconscious or semi-conscious state.
Nightmares, recurring, pre-cognitive and visitation dreams, as well as other dreams that we experience every night that may not fall into a type have information to relate to us. Sleep paralysis does not have information or a message for us. What it does show us is that our soul does move around while the human body is sleeping. It shows us that we are more than just our physical body.