Owing to my dry spell, I’ve begun work again on dream recall and meditation to help elavate me back to at least weekly lucid dreams, and i have had mixed but positive results. Firstly, I went out and got that cheap voice recorder, and it’s placed right by my bed. It took me a few nights to remember, but eventually I began recording dreams immediately on waking through the night. I was shocked to discover what colourful nights I had experienced on waking each morning! After only 3 or 4 days, my dreams are now longer and far more detailed, as well as much easier to remember.
I have also been performing short twice daily meditation for the past two weeks or so. This has lead to a noticed transition from short and confused dreams to longer and more calm dreams – perhaps a direct reflection of my waking state of mind.
In the evening, I listen back to the recordings, try to ‘relive’ the dreams, and then record them into the written journal before wiping the voice recorder. The last aspect here is the actual lucid dreaming itself. The dreams are longer, more organized and more vivid, yet I am still entirely unaware that I am dreaming. The logical next step then to the practice is in performing the all day awareness techniques as well as MILD techniques before sleep as well as when briefly waking in the night and before returning back to sleep. I’m going to make a concerted push to meditate for longer throughout the day as well as to try and remain more in awareness whilst working and studying outside of the meditation practice itself. I shall report back with any results
Even after all this time, I still have tremendous difficulty keeping a dream journal. It’s incredibly frustrating and I don’t know why I don’t do it. Each night, I find myself awake after every dream, able to recall my dreams in such vivid detail. I just roll over, doze off and think to myself, “I’m too tired, I’ll remember them in the morning” and sure enough, I never actually do. No matter how many times I repeat to myself the night before that I’ll write them down, I just don’t. I guess I’ll just have to make more effort. Last night I woke at least 5 times, vividly recalling details of my dreams. Now? I can hardly remember a thing!
So, I’ve gone out and got a new small voice recorder. Hopefully that will help me, now that I don’t have to write them down at the time.
If I want to get more lucid dreams in, I need to record and remember my dreams. I’ve done it hundreds of times before, I’ve just got really lazy lately. Whilst the experience is important, it’s useless if it’s forgotten. In the past, when I’ve made a concerted effort to write down and recall dreams, it’s had such an impact on my lucidity, that it’s a no-brainer. Just a few days worth of recording and listening back to dreams, and they’re significantly longer and more vivid. I’m going to make a real effort to break the dry spell so look out for some updates!
I spent some time reading through my dream journal yesterday, and found a few recurring points of interest. One of which is the absurd number of false awakenings that I used to have. Almost every lucid dream ended with at least one false awakening before a real awakening.
A false awakening is where the dreamer ‘wakes up’ into another dream, and unaware that he is still dreaming, continues unconsciously in this new dream until he either wakes up into waking reality, wakes up into another false awakening, or performs a reality checks and realises that he is dreaming, at which point he becomes lucid again. In one of my false awakenings I woke up into my old bed in my parents house, and without even questioning that I hadn’t lived there in years, I went running into my parents room to tell them all about this fantastic lucid dream!
False awakenings are very common amongst both amateur and veteran lucid dreamers, the key is simple. On waking, get into the habit of always performing detailed reality checks. Even when you ‘know’ you’re awake. This in combination with increased daily awareness should turn most if not all of your false awakenings into lucid dreams.
Back to my dream journal, I noticed that since I started performing regular reality checks, specifically on waking, as well as almost daily meditations, my false awakenings are now very rare!
Another induction technique that can be useful for generating DILDs, is by using your prospective memory. Have you even been lying in bed at night, and thought to yourself, “don’t forget to remember so-and-so tomorrow”? Chances are, you remembered it in the morning. Here’s an experiment. Think of something that you’ll be doing later that day – pick something at least an hour away, say eating dinner. Affirm to yourself, when I eat dinner, I will remember this article on prospective memory. Affirm it and intend it a few times, and then let it go. Did the reminder pop into your head at dinner time?
Here’s another experiment.. “when I sleep tonight, I’ve got to remember to become aware in my dreams” – affirm that a few times over, and see what comes to you!
A Wake Back To Bed (WBTB) involves purposely waking up during your sleep period at a time optimal to perform lucid dream induction techniques. First, it would be good to discuss a little about sleep patterns.
An average person’s sleep cycle is 90 minutes long. This is not a set rule for everyone, and sleep cycles do vary from person to person, but you can use it as a rough guide. The image below courtesy of Wikipedia’s “Sleep Cycles” entry shows a generally accepted set of sleep cycles throughout the night. As we fall asleep at night, we fall from awakening into deep sleep rapidly. We then experience longer and longer periods of REM, highlighted in red, as the night unfolds. We can see that later into the night, we experience more REM sleep and this is where the majority of our dreaming and lucidity is likely to occur. The general rule of thumb is to go for either 4.5h or 6h of uninterrupted sleep, before attempting any kind of conscious dreaming techniques. I have spoken to a number of people before, unfamiliar with lucid dreaming in general, who show various irregularities to the accepted sleep pattern. One person seems to consistently dream throughout the night. After a period of only an hour’s sleep after a full day, upon waking, the person can often vividly recall dreams. I have no reason to doubt this person’s accounts, and it goes to show that these patterns can indeed vary dramatically from person to person. This is by no means ‘abnormal’ or necessarily a ‘sleep disorder’, and could simply be put down to individual differences, unless of course it causes the person any particular discomfort or issues.
Lucid dreaming and sleep patterns are mentioned throughout history in religion and various esoteric texts. The Christian theologian, Thomas Aquinas provides valuable clues as to when a lucid dream would be most likely to take place, and in doing so he predates the findings of our present sleep researches by over five hundred years. He states that lucidity is most likely to occur, “Towards the end of sleep, in sober men and those gifted with strong imaginations”. We can find several references in history such as the one above in the book “The Lucid Dreamer; Malcolm Godwin” – a highly recommended book. It goes on to state, “To many, Mohammed’s Layat al-Miraj, or night journey, is just such a vision quest – a lucid dream if ever there was one, in which the Angel Gabriel led the prophet through Jerusalem, past the seven celestial spheres finally to ascend to God.” Reading various spiritual and religious accounts from various religious texts with conscious dreaming in mind starts to show some of the texts in a slightly different light. Accounts of religious experience which one has to either believe and accept at face value or entirely disregard as illogical could indeed have taken place during conscious dreaming and other trance states. Using such states to realize one’s true self, “enlightenment”, has long been accepted in various religions such as Buddhism, and a view which I personally, entirely accept. An excellent book on the subject is “The Tibetan Yogas Of Dream And Sleep by Tenzin Wangyal Rinpoche” which I have read several times. Further reading, and another excellent book from the Mexican sorcerer’s perspective is “The Art of Dreaming” – Carlos Castaneda. Continue reading →
You do dream every night! You just don’t remember it. Lucid dreaming goes hand in hand with dream recall. There’s absolutely no point in aiming for lucid awareness within dreams only to either not remember it, or wake up with a vague and distant memory of it. Fortunately, there are a number of simple techniques you can perform. If you can perform them all in combination, even better! I have put them in my suggested order of importance, the first being the most important: Continue reading →