Like many people, I will sometimes wake up in the night having had a bad dream. I learned early on in my spiritual studies not to go back to sleep straight away. Otherwise, we are simply going straight back into the nightmare with no more protection or understanding than when it caught us unawares the first time. I make myself get up, try to understand the dream, and then put myself in a better mental space. Having done that, the bad dream does not return, at least, not for that night. Bad dreams have a message for us. They are instructive about our fears, anger, and desires. Sometimes, they are a warning.
Once we understand the message of a dream, we still have to reassure ourselves that everything is alright so that we can go back to sleep. For many years, I would listen to an old recording by a relatively unknown person, Joe Handley, who in his later years did a cassette recording in his attic of a book he loved. One particular chapter had affirmations about God’s love. It was simple but reassuring. Something about the way Handley read it was so true, humble, and uplifting that I never failed to find it settling and healing. The recording I had was not a good quality and it got worse with much use over time until it didn’t even work anymore. It did its job.