Notes on Lucid Dreaming

Since the last posting on Lucid Dreaming, I have had lot’s of email asking so many questions about what exactly lucid dreaming is, and a little more on how to do it. Actually, it’s a hard subject to discuss as so many perspectives are illusive and more about personal perception and manipulation, besides the fact that I am really no expert and can only point in the general direction.

That means that it is all up to the practitioner to practice and experiment, as is usual. A wonderful gentleman from the US, Erin J. Wamsley tried very hard to lay out a blue print in a great little book in explaining lucid dreaming and did a very good job of it, but he still had to revert to “personal experiences” to sort of “guide the way” if you will.

Therefore, I’ll attempt to the best of my ability to summarize some of his super ideas and programme of all the relevant concepts – all the way from A to Z and see if that helps answer some of these questions.

This will be a long posting I’m going to guess, as I don’t know where to start, so I guess it will have to be at the beginning and wade all the way through, or until my fingers drop off. I’ll throw in a little rhetoric prose first though to set the mood.

Once we are Conscious, suddenly we can see where we are – we are able to see our seeing, hear our hearing, touch our touching, and feel our feeling.

With consciousness we can be where we are. Consciousness is the doorway through which we enter the dreamscape.

Charles McPhee

I believe that all of us spend at least one third of our lives sleeping, which equates to, the average person who spends 8 hours a day sleeping, and lives an average life of about 75 years, then he or she has slept for 25 years of his or her life away! What a thought isn’t it? Then we better make some quality time during those 25
years eh?

And of course we all dream. We all dream every single night. Our bodies shut down, and free of physical distractions, our minds take a journey into dreamworld. You may think of a sleeping person as being docile, but actually it is far from it; a sleeper’s brain waves during dream sleep (REM) are most times as active as those during waking life.

Our eyes dart about beneath the lids, looking around at the landscapes of our mind’s own creation through which we wander. Every night we enter a vast environment of the mind, filled with limitless possibilities. Unfortunately, not all of us can even remember a little of this experience, and few of us are even aware of what we are experiencing while we are actually “there”, wherever that is.

What if, during this supposed “unconscious” state, we were aware of the fact that we were dreaming? What if we could explore our own minds at will during this state, taking advantage of our own, personal, ‘virtual reality’? Quite an interesting concept, is it not? Well then, lucid dreaming is a way for us to be aware of the extraordinary experience we are having during a dream.

Dr. Stephen LaBerge, Ph.D. defines lucidity: “While the dream is happening you are fully aware of the fact that you are dreaming, that the world around you is a creation of your mind, and that you are independent from it.”

To remain dreaming upon becoming lucid, you’ll need to remain calm, and focus on the dream itself. As soon as you believe that you are becoming lucid, it is very important to remind yourself to stay calm. If you want to begin controlling your dream, don’t become too aggressive in it, or too excited for that matter, because you’ll wake yourself up. If you do start to wake, I described the “spinning” method to try in the last posting on lucid dreams.

Look around within your dream and attempt to see what is around you, and take your time exploring the dream world around you. Many times it may be as similar and as real as the “so-caleed real workd of daily living”, with some strange changes that seem very normal in your dream state and just allow these images to change as they want; it might be significant.

Then try to very gently and calmly change aspects of your dream yourself. That usually takes one to try and think about what you want to change and then try to picture it actually changing. If you cannot accomplish this at first, just try changing something else then, or revert to simply going along with the dream once again and noting what happens and try to control your own actions within these magickal changes instead.

Therefore, instead of changing the dream, per se; you attempt to control your own behaviour. I have read that this kind of dream control is most beneficial during nightmares. So, rather than attempting to change the dream, you merely change your own attitude. Then by realizing it is just a dream and that you cannot be “really” hurt, you can calm your fear, which is the worst part and manifestation of any nightmare and is what invariably wakes us up. Therefore, changing your attitude in such a manner (within a lucid dream) usually transforms the nightmare into something more peaceful as well.

Even experienced people with high-level lucidity, it may not be possible to exert so much control over their dreams. Although experience does play a part in how well you can control your dreams, your own belief and confidence is key, as in anything magickal!

If you lack confidence in your dreams, you may fail at controlling them; if you believe in a dream that you cannot do something, it is very likely that you won’t be able to. The whole crux of magickal working, never mind lucid dreaming is to always “believe” that it is “going to work”, knowing that any doubt whatsoever invariably guides the subconsciousness into following that `doubt’. People have been having lucid dreams throughout history, but they have only lately been proven and thus come to more scientific scrutiny.

But why do this at all? What possible importance and relevance does lucid dreaming have in this modern day and age? This alas is where “experience” comes in and for those that have experienced it, they all know that it is an exciting and monumental event. If any of you have not tried as yet, perhaps you should try and see for yourself, experience it for yourself. And the tools you need to do so are right in your hands and in your own mind at this very moment. All you need to do is want to use them.

A moment ago I thought I knew what was going on. I thought I knew what my world was and now I realize that everything I thought about it was wrong.

Dr. Stephen LaBerge, Ph.D.

I guess then that you might want a little help in how exactly do we do this. I have outlined a schedule and training package of sorts, which will take you step by step into this rather uncanny practice and I believe for the most part will work on anyone, who has the belief and fortitude to actually do it (as laid out) and not simply read about it.

Let’s start with the Prerequisites

Before you begin any of the actual exercises there are a few conditions that you should meet: you need to begin a dream journal, to learn about your sleep cycles, and to have the right attitude about the task you are undertaking.

Dream Journal

The first and most important thing you can do to improve your dream recall is to keep a dream journal. You should write down everything you remember from your dreams each night. This can sometimes be a time-consuming process, but don’t scrimp on this at all and certainly don’t put the actual writing of the dream off until later in the day.

So then, we must presume that we must keep our journal right next to our bed so we can access it as soon as we awaken from a dream. This might be hard on one’s sleeping partner by the way if you write it in the middle of the night and hope that they will understand the experiment. Perhaps you can save it for morning? You won’t remember all your dreams, but perhaps the last one, or a significant one during the night.

If you are in a hurry in the mornings, you could take notes concerning your dreams, paying special attention to details such as feelings and colours, and then go back and write out the entire dream at a later time (do this at night when you come home, or take your journal to school or work). It is crucial, however, to get something concerning your dream down on paper as soon as you wake up. You may think that you will remember your dream, but by midday it could become just a foggy recollection.

It is a time commitment to write down your dreams, but if you don’t do it, you will have nothing to work with for the later exercises. Make dream recording a part of your daily routine, and dreaming will come into your hands a thousand times more easily. You never need to show your journal to anyone else if you don’t want to. It is a private thing, like a diary.

Your journal can take any form you wish; it need not be fancy. You could buy a special journal at a bookstore, but a cheap composition notebook will serve the purpose just as well. You should write down the date and, if possible, the time of each dream you record for later reference. Some people (fanatics as far as I’m concerned) even like to title their dreams and include them in a table of contents.

You may want to leave a sizable margin on the side of your description to add notes that occur to you later. If you are artistically inclined, or learn visually, it may be beneficial to you to include sketches of dream places, characters, or objects. (I have certainly done this as it was easier to draw it than describe it and
later, I found that a simple sketch brought back memories quicker and easier than without).

Tape recorders are an effective alternative method of dream recording. You can record your voice describing your dream when you wake up in the morning, and transcribe it to paper, or you may choose to keep a library of all your dreams on tape. (Hey, just for those who are thinking of the tape recorder – I’ve tried and when I woke up I duly switched on the recorder and started to talk into it.

I know as I become more awake, the dream was getting harder to describe, as it was starting to not make sense in a way, but I persevered and in the morning, switched on the recording. Well, I have no idea what the hell I was talking about – at all. It sounded as if it could’ve been interesting, but sense? Not a smidgen of sense whatsoever. Not even a hint of what it was that I languished and lovingly dreamed, worthy of reciting into the recorder. I just remember it being impossible to verbalize, at it was all so surrealistic.

You might think therefore, that a journal would be worse; well perhaps, especially if it was a surrealistic as that dream I had (still have & they’re wonderful) – as it just didn’t make any sense to my waking consciousness, but I know it made perfect sense to my dreamworld and I knew that I was dreaming and when I awoke I wanted to record it. In these situations, do the best that you can and if you write it, just write down what you can and even if it doesn’t make sense, the writing will force you to put something more comprehensible than half asleep dribble into a recorder perhaps.

Whatever it is, your journal should be something you like and feel comfortable using. The setup of your journal is a completely personal choice. There is no right or wrong way to do it; the important thing is to record as many dreams as possible.

Recording our dreams helps us to pay attention to the dreams we are able to recall, and establishes a daily routine that molds the idea of dreaming into our lives. When we perform actions that cause us to think of dreams during the day, it helps us to “remember to remember” our dreams at night. You should keep a dream journal for at least a week or two before trying the induction exercises described later.

The next important step is to Know Your Sleep

In working with your dreams, you are working with your sleeping self, and so it is important to know just a little bit about what your mind and body are doing during sleep. This will help you to focus your efforts during some of the later exercises and give you a general knowledge of what you are dealing with, physically, as you work on manipulating your sleep and dreams.

During the night, we go through repeated 90 minute sleep cycles consisting of four different stages and, of course, dream sleep. During stage one, the first and lightest stage, we are in the process of falling asleep. This is going through Alpha state and the wonderful world of magick and meditation and even OBE. This is but a brief transition state to other stages though, unless carrying out controlled meditation or Otherword travels. We actually then experience hypnagogic imagery as we move into deeper sleep.

Stage two is the onset of what we would consider actual sleep. It lasts about 10-20 minutes.

Stages three and four are a “deep sleep” lasting about 40-50 minutes. This activity is not found in those suffering from insomnia or depression though and sometimes explains the lethargy and weight fluctuations, as muscles and tissue grow and repair during this time.

Following stage four, we progress back to stage two and then enter dream sleep. Dream sleep is the time in which most of our vivid dreams occur. This is also called “REM”, (or Rapid Eye Movement sleep). During this time, our eyes are darting around beneath the lids and looking about at the world we are seeing in the dream.

The length of dream sleep increases with each cycle throughout the night, which partially accounts for the fact that we often have our most memorable and vivid dreams when we have had a longer time to sleep, especially in the mornings.

OK, let’s now get onto the most important topic of Attitude

Without the right attitude towards any learning experience, you will get nothing out of it. If you pay thousands of dollars to sit in a university class, but don’t pay attention, don’t respect the teacher, don’t like the class, and don’t do the homework, you will never learn anything. This is also especially true for dreaming. The attitude that you have means everything to the success of your lucid dreaming, because it is all in your mind.

First and foremost; it is important that you have at least a mild curiosity in learning to have lucid dreams. You must `want to do this’, or else you will never have the motivation to commit any effort to the task. Remember, we are the “do’ers, not the talkers”.

Lucid dreaming requires some commitment of time and concentration. You must want to learn enough that you are willing to put effort into the learning process. Whatever you believe will happen, probably will. If you believe that nothing you are reading in this posting will work, it won’t.

If you believe that you won’t be able to have a lucid dream, then it will, in fact, be very difficult for you. You must believe that you can succeed. This may sound silly, and perhaps it would be if we were talking about running a marathon, but since what you are trying to achieve concerns only your own mind, your willpower and belief in yourself, will have a massive effect upon your success. Don’t be too skeptical. Believe that lucid dreaming is easy, and that anyone can
do it.

You must be willing to devote time to your dream life. This does not mean giving up all your free time, but simply making a small effort. You must be willing to take a few minutes out of the day to concentrate on certain tasks, to record your dreams, and to practice exercises. I suggest that you take a moment right now and decide that you want to do this; you believe you can, and you are willing to commit to it.

Right then! Let’s get on to the Preparation Exercises

This next little section will help you to strengthen and develop five basic skills that are a foundation for learning how to have lucid dreams, and for being successful in later techniques: discipline, awareness, willpower, concentration, intention, and memory. It is key for you to spend some time and effort on these exercises, or else the later techniques may not help you much at all. You should use them for at least a week or so before moving on, and continue to practice them as you learn more techniques. There is, of course, no set time period for how long an exercise may take to help a person, so don’t be discouraged if your efforts don’t pay off right away, or if certain exercises don’t help you at all.

The next most important subject is Discipline

In order to be successful in training yourself towards lucidity, you must become comfortable with discipline and routine. (This should sound very familiar to all real occultists and magicians). The most important element of discipline for a dreamer lies in recording your dreams, like I said earlier, (don’t put it off – we’re do’ers right!?!).

You need to develop a routine of recording your dreams every day. You must discipline yourself into thinking about your dreams when you awaken, and write them down, no matter what. The moment you begin to allow yourself to skip days and to be lazy, you begin to lose valuable material and experience. Recording your dreams on a regular basis will also teach you the discipline that you will need to be successful in many other techniques. Begin this daily routine the very next morning you have decided to follow this course, if possible.

Once you get into the swing of it, recording dreams becomes no problem at all. The hard part is getting started, so just do it, (and buy a Nike hat).

Discipline also figures into almost every other technique you will learn, not just in lucid dreaming, witchcraft, occult, magick, but life itself. You must have the self-discipline to carry out `sometimes tedious’ activities, and to commit time from your day to these activities. Discipline is one of the building blocks that your success will be built on, and although you may not like it at times, it is very necessary.

OK, let’s move onto Awareness

Since the goal of lucid dreaming is to become `aware while dreaming’, developing your skill of awareness about yourself and your dreams while waking is key to your development of awareness in your dreams. Remember my last posting, well I’ll summarize once again here to reinforce it all.

Developing awareness of your dreamsigns is a simple activity that centers around the main ways that you will become lucid in your dreams. A dreamsign by the way is “a peculiar event or object in a dream that can be used as an indicator that you are actually dreaming” (taken from Lynne Levitan, in her book A Thousand and One Nights of Lucid Dreaming). Or, in essence, a kind of signal to you in a dream. For example, once again to take Erin J. Wamsley’s ideas, “if a pink elephant walked in the door right now, you might conclude that you are dreaming,” (I’m certainly hoping). This pink elephant would therefore be considered a dreamsign.

Whilst we are dreaming, however, we don’t often recognize our dreamsigns as being unusual, as they can get very surrealistic, as I said before and I know from personal experience and you all probably have had the same experience no doubt. For example, if you were in a dream right now reading this posting and you saw that pink elephant come strutting past your computer, you might not think anything of it and keep on reading this. If we really look into our dreams though and find the dreamsigns that we have had previously, however, we will become aware of our typical signs and therefore more easily recognize them in our next dreams. There are by the way, four main categories of dreamsigns as developed by Dr. Stephen LaBerge:

Action

You, (another dream character), or thing does something
unusual or impossible in waking life.

Context

The place or situation in the dream is `strange’ (relative
to normal waking).

Form

You, (another character), or thing changes shape, or is oddly
formed and/or transforms. This may include the presence of unusual
clothing or hair.

Awareness

A peculiar thought, a strong emotion, an unusual
sensation, or altered perceptions.

After you have recorded a dream in your journal, go back and re-read it. Locate unusual things or occurrences within it that could have given you a clue that you were dreaming. Then try to place these signs in one of the four dreamsign categories. A helpful way to distinguish these is to highlight, underline, or circle each type of dreamsign in a different color. For example, you might decide to highlight all action dreamsigns in pink, all context signs in yellow, form signs in green, and awareness signs in blue. This will help you to easily see these signs, and their categories, when you look at the dream later.

OK, to continue; once you have marked all the signs in several dreams, you should begin to record your dreamsigns in a table. (I told you this will take dedication). You can easily just draw one in your dream journal, or in another notebook. Recording these in a table not only helps develop your awareness of dreamsigns in and of itself, but will also allow you to determine what type of dreamsign most often causes you to gain lucidity. Learning about your dreamsigns will help you with visualization of your dreams in later techniques.

Right, let me try and summarize on how to determine your most effective dreamsigns:

Add up the total number of dreamsigns in each category in your table. Add up the number of times this category was recognized.

Recognized / Total = % effectiveness

The next important point to outline is Willpower (Once again Witches will have no problem with this, as it’s inherent in many workings).

Willpower is the fuel that will make your efforts pay off. Without `will’ to succeed, no technique, no advice, and no knowledge will ever improve your dreaming, or anything else for that matter. You must focus your intent and learn to use the power of your mind.

The subject with which we are concerned – dreaming – is within your mind. It is `of your mind’ and it is’ controlled by your mind’. Therefore, your own thoughts and `will’ have complete control over your dreams.

The power of suggestion is a dreamer’s (and occultist’s) ultimate tool, and is a part of most all lucid dreaming induction techniques. Other cultures have varied techniques for inducing certain types of dreams that appear to have no scientific basis for working. Yet among these people who believe in them, these techniques do actually work and work well! It is willpower, the power of self-suggestion, that causes these sometimes bizarre techniques to work for those who `believe’ in them.

As you go to bed, try to relax completely. Then simply tell yourself that you will have a lucid dream and you will remember it. Repeat continuously in your head (any similar phrase with the essentially same meaning will also work). For instance; “I will have a lucid dream and I will remember it.” (Yep, it’s that simple).

Keep thinking this and do not let your mind wander to any other subject. You must have the willpower not to let your mind falter. Repeat this statement in your mind until you fall asleep, concentrating not just on the words, but also on their meaning. Above all, `believe your words’. Believe that you will have a lucid dream and you will remember it. Belief and believe are always a powerful words in the vocabulary of a dreamer.

We must now touch on the next very important factor of Concentration

Concentration is also a key element in being able to effectively use concepts such as autosuggestion. Keeping your mind set on one idea. Not letting your intentions falter. These are skills that will help you greatly.

An easy way to practice concentration is to focus on an object. A candle flame works well, but anything else that you are comfortable with may also do. As well as improving concentration, this exercise will also help you with visualization of objects, which is useful in dream control.

Light a candle, and sit comfortably in front of it. Stare at it and concentrate on the flame. Allow no other thought than the candle to enter your mind. When you feel your eyes straining, close them and sit quietly for a few moments, imagining the flame before you.

You may want to begin doing this for a period of five minutes or so, adding length each time you practice. Try to work your way up to 15-20 minutes. Although it is a great effort of concentration, this should be a relaxing exercise. Make sure you are comfortable, and do not allow yourself to become too strained.

Now we’re getting to the met of it all in Carrying Out Intention

It is not enough to simply intend to do something. In order to accomplish a task, you have to develop your intention to do something, and then remember to carry out your intention at an indefinite point in the future. If you want to have a lucid dream, you must remember this intent and carry it out while you are dreaming.

Erin J. Wamsley recommends in his book;

Practice carrying out these random acts:
– Write 100 times “I am dreaming”
– Walk around the perimeter of a room 10 times
– Untie and retie your shoes 5 times.

Do this over a span of three days. Start doing just one action on the first day. On the next day, do this same action plus one other. On the third day, carry out all three actions. If you forget to do one or more on any of the three days, start the process over again.

This exercise may seem to be pointless, but Erin J. Wamsley swears that it will help you to ‘remember to remember’ that you are dreaming.

Bringing us to the subject of Memory
Remembering your dreams.
Remembering to carry out your intentions.
Remembering that you are dreaming.

These are important things to be able to do in lucid dreaming, and while not easy, a well-practiced memory adds significantly to a person’s ability to do them.

Prospective Memory Training is a valuable exercise developed by Dr. Stephen LaBerge. It is designed to be carried out over the span of one week. Each day, you will have a list of specific “targets”, which are everyday occurrences.

At the beginning of the day, memorize your day’s targets. Try not to look at your other targets until you reach the day that they are assigned. Your goal is to recognize the target when it occurs and perform a state test. You perform this test simply by asking yourself, “Am I dreaming?”

Look around for dreamsigns, think about it, and answer the question logically. If you remember to ask yourself this question when the target event occurs, you have made a “hit”. If you forget to ask yourself this question when the target event occurs, it is a “miss”.

Keep track of how many targets you hit during the day, and how many you missed. Continue this exercise until you have improved your ability to hit these targets.

I always remember Carlos Castaneda writing about Don Juan saying that one should `remember’ to look at one’s hand in a dream and that will be the day you will be able to control your dreams and (perhaps live in otherworlds). Good books, whether genuine or not, as it is not relevant here.

Anyway, here are some Daily Targets

SUNDAY:
The next time I see a pet or animal.
The next time I look at my face in the mirror.
The next time I turn on a light.

MONDAY:
The next time I write anything down.
The next time I feel pain.
The next time I hear my name spoken.

TUESDAY:
The next time I see a traffic light.
The next time I laugh.
The next time I hear music.

WEDNESDAY:
The next time I eat a vegetable.
The next time I see a red car.
The next time I turn on a television.

THURSDAY:
The next time I hear a phone ring.
The next time I check the time.
The next time I read something other than this list.

FRIDAY:
The next time I see the stars.
The next time I use a toilet after noon.
The next time I open a closed door.

SATURDAY:
The next time I watch a commercial.
The next time I run.
The next time I unlock something.

I’ll now try and touch on and summarize your Nightly Induction, but let me quote quickly a little snippet from Rollo May, who wrote;

“Most of us today think of our dreams as odd episodes, as foreign as some ceremonial dance in Tibet. This results in the cutting off of an extremely great and significant portion of the self. We are then no longer able to use much of the wisdom and power of the unconscious.”

These techniques are actually not long-term commitments, as some of the previously described activities were. The following techniques are; instead designed to be used just before you go to sleep, and the results of these techniques will immediately follow their use.

You can use these at night before you go to bed, or before a nap. In fact, naps often are one of our most lucidity lucrative sleeping times. At night, however, the longer you have to sleep, the better. As you learned before, our dream periods repeat and increase in length throughout the night, and so the longer you sleep, the more ‘chances’ you have at lucidity.

Before trying these techniques, you must prepare your mind and body. The exercises you have already worked on should have prepared you in the long term, but now you should relax yourself to prepare for the task immediately ahead of you – the dreaming bit.

To do that, we must start of course with sleep and that can only come by Relaxation

Relaxing before using these techniques clears your mind of distractions and allows you to focus on the task at hand. Simple meditation is a good way to relax yourself before using an induction technique. You know the usual yogic ways of relaxation, or any hypnotic induction relaxation technique will do, such as this simple one;

Find a position in which you can comfortably remain. Observe your thought process. Simply let your thoughts arise and do not become involved in the content of your thoughts.

Notice that you can know you have thoughts, but you are not your thoughts. They are simply a part of the whole. They represent your feelings, memories, anticipations, or speculations, and they call for your attention. As each thought passes, either you attend to it or you do not. While you cannot stop the thoughts themselves, you can prevent yourself from being snared by each one.

As each thought arises, picture it on a white cloud in the sky and watch the cloud pass overhead and out of sight as another thought comes into view on its cloud. Do not try to hold on to the clouds or retain the thought in your mind. Be aware that the thoughts are just objects of our observation, to be noticed and let go. Keep noticing the thoughts and then let them go again and again.

And, of course, once you are really comfortable and at home in pure awareness, then you can let go of the thought of watching your thoughts as well. Meditate for 5 to 10 minutes, (or for a period that is comfortable for you).

There is such a thing as a Mnemonic Induction of Lucid Dreaming

It was actually developed by Dr. Stephen LaBerge, Ph.D., this is the technique, which many have found most beneficial to lucidity. It makes use of autosuggestion and visualization in a combination that can have amazing results even after the very first time that you use it.

1. Relax completely and get yourself into a comfortable position in bed.

2. As practiced in the autosuggestion technique, repeat to yourself as you fall asleep:

I will wake up after every dream period and I will remember my dream

Believe that you will wake up after every dream you have. Many people, even after the very first time they used this technique, they did actually wake up immediately after each dream period.

3. When you wake up during the night, immediately rouse yourself and write down everything you can remember about your dream. Even if you can barely remember anything, write down how the dream made you feel, or how you felt when you woke up.

4. Lie down again, and as you drift back to sleep, imagine that you are back in the dream that you just had. (Or try the spinning technique I discussed in the lst posting, or even a combination). Anyway, this time, however, imagine that you saw a dreamsign in your dream and recognized it. Try to think of a dreamsign that fits with the dream and falls under your most successful dreamsign category. As you fall asleep, keep visualizing yourself in your dream, recognizing your dreamsign, and realizing that you are in a dream.

5. Repeat steps 3 and 4 every time that you awaken during the night, even if your dream was already lucid.

I guess I must talk a little about the difference between Lucidity from Sleep Paralysis

You may or may not experience the phenomenon of sleep paralysis. During dream sleep, our body actually shuts off our ability for movement, (I don’t want to get into sleep walking here though guys) and we are temporarily paralyzed (in order that our bodies will not act out our dreams).

Sometimes, we wake up, arising into the sleepy haze of stage one sleep, but our bodies are still paralyzed. A person experiencing sleep paralysis may feel that they are having “difficultly” in waking up. They are unable to move, and have trouble even in keeping their eyes open, and focusing on the surroundings of their sleeping quarters. (this reminds me on how I feel on a bad day – groan).

Well needless to say, this paralysis is an extremely frustrating state for most people who experience it, but apparently it can be taken advantage of in two ways:

Since sleep paralysis is a state very close to dream sleep, a person can slip into a dream in moments when paralyzed, simply by closing their eyes and relaxing. We are conscious in paralysis, and so can set our intention to know that we are dreaming and easily keep this intention through the short transition into our dream.

There is possibly an even better way though to exploit sleep paralysis in the “two bodies” technique. During paralysis, our senses are somewhat distorted in a halfway state between dreaming and waking. We are seeing our actual surroundings, but may feel and hear things from the dreamworld. It is therefore easy to make a transition into a lucid dream without even seeming to close our eyes.

This is perhaps the most dramatic technique, because it is apparently similar to the concept of ‘astral projection’. (Someone in the back waking up there I see – interesting is it not?) In this technique, however, we only dream that we are leaving our bodies – (oohhh pooh they cry).

Once in a state of sleep paralysis, avoid feeling trapped or frightened. Relax, but do not close your eyes. Imagine that you have two bodies: a physical body and a dream (astral) body. Your dream body is light, free, and ghostlike, while your physical body is cumbersome, heavy, and awkward

Your dream body is currently trapped inside your physical body, but only because you have not realized that you can free it. Don’t try to move your physical body; instead, concentrate on `floating’ your dream self out of the cumbersome physical body.

Believe that you can do it and that it is very easy. If you succeed in this effort, you will slip into a dream that you have left your paralyzed body on your bed, and be fully aware that you are dreaming. Be careful not to be fooled: it may seem very realistic in your dream, but you have not actually left your body. Remember to remember that it is `just a dream’. (sigh…)

I guess I’ll now try to move off and summarize what it is Within Your Dreams

What did Albert Einstein say? Oh, yes, “Imagination is more important than knowledge.” (I guess that was fine for him to say, but perhaps for a Witch; it is).

Back to the dreaming though. OK, you’re in a lucid dream. Now what?

Well, do anything you want. Explore. Learn. You can question and converse with your dream characters, knowing that they are a creation of your own subconscious. You can do things you’ve always wanted to do. Jump off Mount Everest. Have sex with Marilyn Monroe, or anyone else you fancy, (no rushing now people, keep to a brisk walk). Find out about yourself, from yourself. No book can tell you what do.

Before you get to this point of complete freedom, however, (sigh) you may need help with maintaining a state of lucidity once you have been able to achieve it. I read that many people are able to achieve moments where they say in a dream, “Hey, I’m dreaming!”, but are unable to keep this realization for more than a short time, eventually falling back into the assumption that their surroundings are `real’.

Others habitually wake up right after the moment that they achieve lucidity. Several techniques have been developed and used by thousands, specifically for the purpose of maintaining moments of lucidity. I’ll try and list a few here, so read these ideas, and keep `em in mind as you go to sleep. For these to be of any help, you must remember to try them at that crucial moment when you say, “This is a dream!”

Bringing us to the mystical bit of Crossing the Bridge You might have moments in your recorded dreams where you can see that you almost became lucid. Perhaps you recognized a dreamsign but were unable to make the leap from this recognition to lucidity.

The statement, “I am dreaming.” is a monumental and unusual thing to say when you believe that you are existing in reality. It is therefore often difficult to convince ourselves that we are, in fact, in a dream.

However, I see that hard evidence from Erin J. Wamsley, who says it is easy to find on this subject. When you are in doubt as to whether or not you are dreaming, look at your watch – (hey, we’ve just remembered that Don Juan said that too – something in it?).

Notice and remember the time. Look away and then look back at your watch again. If you are dreaming, the time will have changed significantly, (if you can), or might have been unrealistic in the first place. There are no constants in the dreamworld as there are in waking life, so if your watch has advanced 10 hours in a moment’s glance, you will have undeniable evidence that you are dreaming. I personally can’t do that and I find it hard enough )to remember) and do, in looking at even one hand, but I did do it and I didn’t have a watch on – I guess I could’ve willed it on).

Any way, apparently there is another reliable test, which is to read a passage from a book. Choose one paragraph from any book you can pick up, look away from it, and then read it again. If you are dreaming, the content of this passage will have changed completely. Again, this test takes advantage of the inconstant nature of a dream and is undeniable proof of a dreamer’s state.

Let me move onto Focusing on Detail and Sensation Sometimes you may feel that your dream is beginning to fade away, (because I know if I appear to be concentrating too much this happens with me). Your surroundings may seem fuzzy, or your sensations unclear. You may even get the feeling that you are about to wake up, as I do, still knowing that I am dreaming.

Apparently, in this case, focusing on detail around you can help you to bring your dream back into focus. Look at something that would have intricacies in real life, such as a piece of wood. Get a close view of the grains and interlocking detailed parts of this object. Once you then look back at your surroundings, they too will appear more clearly.

Besides vision, you can also focus on the details of other senses. Notice the sounds around you (birds, motors, wind, the hum of a television set in the next room) or the feelings you are experiencing (the pressure on your feet or perhaps your ears from walking, or even the feel of water on your skin, the taste or smell of something). Seeing these details of small parts of your dream will help bring the entire picture back into focus. Of course, you can try spinning yourself back in and do those things then.

I must even talk about Closing Your Eyes also, besides spinning as it is also a working solution

If you feel that your dream is going nowhere, that you are losing it, or if you want to transfer dreams for any other reason, try closing your eyes. Often, if we close our eyes or go to sleep within a dream, it brings about a change of scene and plot. (Like changing channels).

The important factor of Releasing Anxiety is next on our hit list for “staying in there”

Sometimes, tension and anxiety are brought about when we realize that we are dreaming. We struggle to keep the state of lucidity. If your dream starts to fade, relax instead of panicking. Do not struggle to hold on to a fading dream, but instead try to release your anxiety and “go with the flow”. In this situation, tension is counterproductive, because it may simply jolt you awake.

OK – just for the hell of it, I’ll touch on Spinning again, so you have it all in one place

‘Spinning’, as I said before in the last posting is a technique that has been shown to be effective by the Lucidity Institute. When you are in a dream, and that dream, or your lucidity, begins to fade, try spinning around. Feeling this unusual and realistic sensation of ‘spinning’ our dream bodies helps us to bring clarity back to the dream. Don’t forget folks to remember which way you spun eventually, even if you started one way – did you finish off the same way?

Well, now what? What happens After Your Dreams Dr. Ann Faraday says quite sagely, “If we listen patiently to our dreams and the messages they contain . . . they will eventually lead us to health . . . how much better to take advice from the other half of yourself than from another person.”

So then, that will bring us to Remembering

Letting yourself `remember’ your dreams can be a function of the moment as well as of practice and training. I know that sometimes when I wake up and try to verbalize the dream, it just refuse to cooperate, as in anything deep and mystical. However, the experts all say that when you wake up, lie in bed without moving for a few moments, trying to remember your dream.

Sometimes, being in the position we were in during our dream can help to trigger a memory that we might not otherwise reach and I know that’s true because I’ve realized that myself. (Even if I turn over, I have switched channels most often than not).

Even if you have moved a little after awakening, try to lie back down and find the position that you awoke in. Close your eyes. Try to remember what you were feeling and thinking at the moment that you woke up. What were you thinking about? What mood did you immediately awaken into? This information may also trigger a memory of your dream. Remember: the sooner you concentrate on remembering the details of your dreams, the more you will be able to find.

To help yourself remember details of a dream, you might want to visualize the remembered dream in your head. Closing your eyes and replaying the scenario in your mind may help you to see details and remember feelings that would otherwise be lost and I feel that is the best way to start to remember and certainly not rushing for my pad and “forcing it all out”.

No matter how much you recall, however, your dream will be of little use if you do not record it, once remembered. As you learned earlier, you should record your dreams as soon as possible, including every fragmented memory.

Right now – I’ll be getting into murky terrortory in the next phase of our operations and that is Interpretation

There’s probably a lot of our members who might excel in this, but I alas am not one of them. It doesn’t mean that I can’t do it, but I tend to look through books after perusing it myself, instead of trusting in my own judgment and when I read the books and it doesn’t gel with my own interpretation, I scoff, (really loudly). I should really learn to trust in myself more and see if it comes true, or is
actually in motion.

In so many of these books, you will find huge lists of dream symbols which `supposedly’ tell you the exact meaning of your dreams and many of thse have been copied and perpetuated by plagiarism and so it goes on. The truth is, however, that no one can interpret “your dreams” but you. No one else can tell you what your dream means. Each part of your dream means what it means to you, and nothing else.

There are actually no set rules for interpretation. There are no books or dictionaries that will show you the real meaning of a dream, especially yours! We must unlock the meaning to our own dreams.

There are many ways to help ourselves do this. “Word association” can help us to find out what recurring dream symbols mean to us. We may want to devote a few pages in the back of our journals to interpretation, or at the end of each dream itself.

Then I guess it is only to read through your old dreams and find things or situations that repeat themselves. For example, you might often dream about climbing stairs. Write down this word (or phrase) in your journal and look at it. Think about what it makes you think of and feel. Then write down everything that comes to your mind when thinking of this thing or situation. Some words that you write down just might surprise you. Reading over these lists can lead to a discovery of what these symbols mean to you. I always start by sitting and meditating on it, or in the morning standing in the Crux for an hour and concentrating on it and letting it come of its own.

If you are artistically inclined, you might want to draw a picture about this symbol. Don’t just draw a recurring object, though. Be sure to include your feelings and things that, in your opinion, relate to this symbol. You could also cut out a picture of your symbol from a magazine or book. Pasting this into your journal might also help you in thinking about what it means to you.

Discussion is another activity that can help you in deciphering your dreams. Whilst no one can dictate the meaning of your dreams to you, talking about them with Coven brothers and sisters, friends or family can often be helpful. (this brings in Lateral Thinking, that Edward DeBono would be prous).

Someone may suggest something to you that you hadn’t thought of before. Like I said, having others share their dream experiences with you may also open your eyes to new possibilities. Maybe someone you know also has dreams about climbing stairs. What does it mean to them? We all learn from each other. Go and climb together perhaps……

There are no rules or laws to your dreams. Explore. Have fun.
Sleep tight. Sweet dreams.

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