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Fear is gone from my waking state, but...

Greetings from Santa Fe!

I've been doing the act of looking for 4.5 years now; I occasionally look at these forums and I listen to the podcasts when I can. I can confidently say that 95% of the fear and anxiety I once experienced has gone but there is one uncomfortable pattern that I'm experiencing that I haven't seen brought up in these forums or on the podcasts. I've been experiencing fearful dreams nightly for the past 3 months. I wonder if anyone else has seen fear and anxiety disappear from the waking state and later re-appear in the dream state.



Hi Richard, A thought on your posting:

There is the dream and then there's the response on waking. The dream is just a dream that you have no control over, unless you master some sleep yoga and learn to turn your attention to your breath in your dream state"”not that impossible.

The attention you give to the dream on awaking is another story. Like any other thoughts that come into your mind while awake, they are what I think John calls "robotic," and need be entertained no more than any other thought.

Because the dreams come from our unconscious, there may be a tendency to give them more credence than we would thoughts coming from our everyday life, but is this necessary or valid? I think not. My sense is that these are the last dregs of the anxieties that the looking has quelled in your day-to-day life and that, likely quickly, if you don't extend them over-importance through attention when you wake, they will fade from your dream state as well.

I hope this is helpful. And it's wonderful to hear that fear is gone from your waking state. Feedback always appreciated, best regards, Marlowe

Hi Richard and Marlowe i have noticed that my dreams are richer and wilder, also more fearful, but less uniform compared to earlier, when patterns of anxiety repeated themselves in dreams. My interpretation was that during sleep, my fear-based mechanisms to keep life at arms length no longer operate. They still do while awake. So in my case I think the fear in dreams is the real life that breaks through. I am not sure I am talking about the same phenomen, as my interpretation appears opposite to yours: It is not the remnants of the fear of life that still show in dreams, but the real life that causes fear because the old psychological mechanisms of avoidance are less active in dreams. In any case, much of my actual fears resulted from suppression or avoidance of true issues that needed attention. I did not dare facing them because of the fear of life John speaks about. Bruno

Thanks for the reply.

Thank you Marlowe and Bruno for your comments.

After I read what you two had written I froze up for a bit. I really considered carefully what it was that I was trying to say and I realized I had not been clear about these "dreams" at all. I'll try to get to the heart of it this time.

I, like many other people here on these forums, often have the experience of looking while asleep or dreaming. The experience is that I'm watching dreams, and I feel the sense of me. What has been happening for the past few months is that I come to an intense fear almost nightly; the fear is always preceded by a blackness, not a darkness, a true void, and the terror, if I could even postulate what it might be, is the terror of non-physical existence. I've clenched my jaw so tightly I've cracked fillings and chipped teeth. The mornings after I have sore legs and ribs, maybe from extended periods of muscular contraction and holding my breath.

Like I said, day to day things are good; most of the garbage has gone and what's left can still be uncomfortable but it's now almost impossible to feel like I'm "in it". Even these night episodes aren't a big deal, well, the dental issue is a drag (I'm going to look into a mouth guard).

BTW - I agree with what John and others say about reaching a point in this process when it becomes valuable to connect and exchange with others. I've gotten a good sized group of my friends to look and we all talk quite a bit about this. I've tried steering them towards the forums but at this point I think everyone, including me, is more comfortable with face to face conversations and phone calls. I hope that changes.


I think the nightmares will just disappear in time, Carla and I both had similar experiences, but not as dramatic as yours. If you would like to meet with me in a private online meeting, please email Carla (carlasherman@justonelook.org) and she will set it up.

Thank you for replying John - No need for a private chat. I had a feeling the situation would change on it's own, I just wanted to put it out there as another possible side effect.

I also experienced a long and sometimes uncomfortable period of insomnia, which others have talked about.


I am having almost the exact same experience as R32673. The fear in every day life is 95% gone, but at night I have been having bad dreams. I wouldn't call them nightmares per se, but they are fear based and uncomfortable. The difference is that I feel there is generally a message or insight. I wake up seeing a problem I have at work in a new way or feeling extra motivated to work on it as it takes on a new importance.

Someone recently wrote in the forums about losing motivation and the role of fear in motivation......well this is happening to me at night with these fearful dreams. I wake up motivated and integrate what I need to do about a problem as the morning progresses.

I will share my experience since dreams have been a major interest of mine since my teens. I have continued to notice and appreciate them since beginning the looking about 5 or 6 years ago. A few years into the looking, I found my daytime fear responses were rare but I would still, occasionally, have fear based dreams. These had themes so were not void-like in nature; but the intense dream energy was still puzzling and would sometimes linger through the morning. Because of the looking I was able to kindly give attention, immediately on awakening, to just feeling the feelings and watching the energy move through my body without a story. In this way, the dream themes seemed to absorb more of my daytime clarity. Over time several major themes finally resolved themselves in dreams and haven't shown up for a long time. Memories are stored in our tissues as well as our mind and dreams seem to be one way the recovery does its work. Lera

That is an interesting report! I have never been able to extract much from my dreams, even though they influence me for quite long after being awake. And I totally agree with your statement that memories are stored in our cells (and hence tissues) as well.

I do feel the looking changes things at a very deep level......cellular? I feel I have things stored in muscle/nerve memory, especially pain from past experience that I keep alive with fearful thoughts. These pockets ooze out over time, perhaps. Maybe this happens during sleep and the dream states are semi-conscious awareness of the process.

I know, "cellular memory" may sound odd at first sight. However, there are more and more reports documenting how the packaging of the DNA, which is important for gene expression, is influenced by the environment and can be inherited to daughter cells. This field goes under the name of epigenetics.

With all that I want to argue against the notion that our body and brain are separate entities, and information processing is limited to nerve cells. Rather, our body, brain, personality etc. represents an integrated system.

I also notice changes in the body but it's real subtle and hard to tell what's what.

There is an anthropological term for it which is embodiment. It is the process in which the body changes and adapts to cultural circumstances. After looking the cultural circumstances change and it is expected to see embodiment of these changes.

Edit: Thanks for your comment John, it is really clear.

Our view of the 'mind/body problem' is quite clear. Simply stated, we see no useful distinction between body and mind; they are one organism. In support of that view, I have often spoken of the simple fact that the experience of the body happens only in the mind.

You are a valued member of this community, and I don't want to discourage you from suggesting ideas that come to you. My own understanding of this method has been developed in the conversations that I have been privileged to be a part of here in the forums and elsewhere over the last 15 years. It is open discussion and effort, not divine intuition that gives rise to understanding.

But I would urge you, and anyone who wants to clarify their own understanding, to read what is already available on our website and in the forums so as to avoid repetition and offer pertinent criticism when appropriate.

I am quite new with the looking and so this observation may lack relevance to your experience.But since I'm here I will comment and say that when I have a really scary dream since the looking I do not run away in the dream. In fact I find the process more interesting than scary and find myself to be more detached from the dreams events by a kind of stepping back .When I wake up if my body is in a state of anxiety/threat(sweaty/rapid heart beat/quickened breath)I go the breath and ask the question what does this dream mean?-what is the message?If it is a type of release through the sub-conscious mechanism then there is no answer and I usually go back to sleep.If there is a message to receive from the process of dreams you have to ask what is scary-or what part of you fears the event that you are observing?If there is a deeper meaning or message being conveyed through dream that your mind is using to grab your attention ask for the meaning.

Thanks for this post Richard.



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