I understand how it can be a little (or very) scary when one is unable to awaken from a lucid dream that is uncomfortable for whatever reason. This usually happens to me if I am sleeping in an unfamiliar setting (like while traveling), or if I’ve eaten something heavy before going to sleep. It can also be anything that causes inner discomfort, such as unresolved personal problems.
Dreams seem to be a way for our unconscious minds to communicate to our waking, conscious minds. For example, respiratory problems might show up in our dreams as bugs that crawl around our throat or chest areas. While struggling with bronchitis in the past, I once had a lucid dream in which I was belching and spitting fire that took on the form of bugs and all types of creepy crawling things. It certainly got my attention!
There seems to usually be a message in our dreams, something that is symbolically getting through from the unconscious mind. I believe it is important to pay attention. We may also be short-changing ourselves by trying to “wake up” from dreams that are scary or uncomfortable. Of course, we would also not want to continue helplessly down a dream path that is morbid and painful. Rather, by changing our focus and resonant frequency during an unpleasant lucid dream, we enable ourselves to change the quality and direction that it takes. There have been times, however, that have been so uncomfortable (as in nightmares), that the remembrance and wherewithal to chant or pray had somehow eluded me during the dream. The theme that comes to mind is the “old hag,” and “demon” archetypes that threaten to take over or “possess” us. In these types of dreams, the experience of primal fear is terrifying and paralyzing. We wake up shaking and afraid of the dark.
I have received many inquiries from individuals wanting to know how to wake up from these scary dreams and even how to prevent them from happening. My answer can only be from personal experience: I have always awakened from them, not so much from anything that I remembered to do during the dream, but rather because they seem to run a certain course, and then they are over. It is interesting that in the preponderance of lucid dreams that I’ve had, the memory and habit of relaxing and doing all of the necessary things before and during scary lucid dreams have served me well. There have been, however, the occasional dream in which my memory and “practice” of calling in the spirit guides and asking for help during a difficult dream is totally forgotten/obliterated, as though I’ve been plopped down in a nightmare with no known comfort or possibility of extrication. Even the sense of Spirit and Love seem to have been wiped clean from my memory banks! Thankfully these types of dream experiences have been few and far between. It is like being thrown into a black hole or pit wherein the sense of God/Higher Self and its memories of Love and Beauty do not exist. It is a very strange and fearful dimension! Afterwards, I ask myself, “What was that all about?” “Why was I shown such a place?” What came up for me are the words “Humility” and “Gratitude.” Humility in the sense of understanding how little I truly know of myself… and Gratitude for the blessings of having had the experience of Love and Beauty, something not to be taken lightly or for granted.
As far as waking up from the usual lucid dream, what has been helpful for me is the directing of the attention to the spiritual eye center and repeating a prayer over and over. I do this not so much as a way to awaken physically, but to rather shift the tone and direction of the dream to one that flows more easily. In most of the lucid dreams that I find myself in, if I’m feeling uncomfortable in any way, it is usually because of an energetic blockage that has formed somewhere in the “Field.” It then becomes a simple matter of moving the energy along by prayer and breath.