USE YOUR PSYCHIC POWERS TO EXPLORE THE WORLD OF YOUR DREAMSTony Crisp
What is lucid dreaming?
Sleep is a strange country. In it you lose your sense of self, or yourdreams take you into realms of extraordinary experience in which you arestill largely unaware. But throughout history there have been individualswho have described a different meeting with sleep. They wake up in whatis usually a dark, unconscious world. Or, in the midst of a dream, theybecome aware of the situation and relate to their dream in a new anddynamic way.This condition, usually called ‘lucid dreaming’, holds within it enormouspossibilities that are generally unavailable in waking time, sleep ordreaming. To understand these possibilities and also something of whattakes place during lucidity, it is helpful to appreciate that during sleepyour five senses are largely switched off, and while you are dreamingyour voluntary muscles are paralyzed.Usually you enter this sightless, soundless, immobilized world of sleepwithout awareness. However, traveling consciously beyond sensory inputinto the substrata of your mind and body is an incredible experience: youthen enter sleep with all your critical faculties, with active curiosity andwith the ability to explore whatever you find. When you become lucid insleep you carry the bright torch of personal awareness into the depths of your body and mind.
CROSSING THE FRONTIER
This is a frontier that only a few people have crossed. Like the frontiers of sea and sky that past generations overcame, the frontier of awarenessholds enormous treasures and benefits. However, unlike the frontierspresented by exploration of the oceans and space, this one is open to all.To wake fully in your sleep and dreams is one of the most amazingadventures you can have. Climbing a mountain or traveling to wild placesis exciting and interesting, but discovering your roots and exploring thedepths of your mind and your heart are life-changing. Even thetechniques leading to lucidity bring life-transforming change into youreveryday life.In becoming lucid, you not only enter the world of sleep — with all of itspossibilities of extended memory, creativity and healing — but discover aworld of experience that is beyond the limitations of waking life. Imaginewhat it is like to reach for creative ideas and find them; to create a worldaround you that brings peace; to be able to practice new skills or improveold ones with expert tuition; or to follow your curiosity in almost anydirection, with full access to whatever you have read or learned in thepast. And you are able to
these things, and not just think them. Youcan explore love and relationships with wonderful sensitivity, and evenstep beyond the usual barriers of time and space — experiencing yourself in a variety of roles or in different periods of time.In lucidity, not only do you begin to tap the enormous potential withinyou, but you also release something of that potential into your wakinglife. Lucid dreaming is not a Disneyland of ephemeral entertainments; it isthe doorway to real personal growth and adventure.
Voyages in lucidity
My first experience of lucidity occurred when I was 15 and had beenpracticing a method of relaxation. One night I fell asleep while using thetechnique. Instead of losing awareness, I continued the descent intosleep with full consciousness. This was an incredible experience, becauseI could feel my body senses being turned off. Thinking disappeared andinstead I was aware of a profound ocean of peace. For the first time everI knew that life offered much more than I experienced while awake, and Ihad the sense of existing without need of my body.Usually someone’s earliest experiences of lucidity are less dramatic. Thefollowing example, related by William, is fairly typical of earlyexperiences:
My family and I got out of our car. As we talked, I realized there was a motorbike where my car had been. I said to everyone, ‘There was a car here a moment ago, now it’s a motorbike. Do you know what that means? It means we are dreaming.’
So I asked them if they realized they were dreaming. They got very vague and didn’t reply. I asked them again and felt very clearly awake.
Although such flying experiences are interesting, they do not illustrate thecreative, learning and personal growth potential of lucid dreaming.Wildlife ecologist Bruce, in reporting his own explorations of lucidity,explains one of its creative possibilities, writing:For many people their early experiences of lucidity are linked to flying. Jilldescribes one such dream as follows:
There is a crowd watching me, to whom I explain that I can fly, since this is a dream. I soar high in the sky, touch clouds and return to Earth. I experiment with several variations in styles of flying. For example, I fly backwards while standing, and direct my flight by choosing the distance of my visual focus.
In a few lucid dreams I play the piano, and play it like a concert pianist.My ‘real’ keyboard skills are all by ear, self-taught and at best rudimentary. But in the lucid dream state I’ve had fun with this ability and spontaneously composed some wonderful classical pieces, as in a concerto. At times I awoke with the musical composition still fresh in my mind. The pieces were complex, beautiful, moving and, as far as I can tell, thoroughly original and spontaneous. These dreams have shown me that we probably all have a tremendous capability for innate creativity and composition.
Note that Bruce does not simply daydream about being able to composespontaneously — he actually does so. This is one of the wonders of luciddreaming: you experience things in a full-surround virtual reality thatactivates all your senses and abilities. Usually, however, you do not leapinto such full-blown creative lucidity. Like most other things, luciddreaming is a learning process. To arrive at your creative power you mayneed to deal with the feelings or fears that prevent you being at your bestin waking life. Unfortunately, some dreamers avoid this, as Alandescribes:
In many of my dreams I become aware that I am dreaming. Also, if anything unpleasant threatens me in the dream, I get away from it by waking myself.
TRANSFORMING EXPERIENCES IN THE WORLD OF DREAMS
Bearing in mind that suppressed grief and strained emotions areconnected with a higher incidence of physical and mental illness, this isnot a healthy way of dealing with your fears and emotions. However,there are ways of transforming them. The following examples illustrate anunusual type of lucidity, and potential ways to deal with a life problem.Francis explains:
In my dream I was watching a fern grow. It was small, but opened very rapidly. As I watched, I became aware that the fern was an image representing a process occurring within myself, one that I grew increasingly aware of as I watched. Then I was fully awake in my dream and realized that my dream (perhaps any dream) was an expression in images of actual events occurring unconsciously in myself. I felt enormous excitement, as if I were witnessing something of great importance.
Breaking through the imagery in this way to the processes andpossibilities underlying your dreams is a royal road to discovering your