Lucid Dreaming Technique:
Explorations in Inner Space
You can learn to use a lucid dreaming technique to bring your dreams to life, gain insight, accelerate your personal growth, and have a lot of fun during the 30% of your life spent sleeping....
Here are two approaches that I often use in working with my own therapy clients:
Lucid Dreaming: The experience of being aware that you are dreaming while in the dream.
Guided Dreamwork: Re-entering the dream through a meditative state, in order to recover lost information or resolve inner conflict.
"I'm going through my daily routine, feeling bored, disconnected and depressed -- only partially mindful of my surroundings..... when suddenly, I notice something unusual - something out of place, something that shouldn't be there. Knowing that this cannot be.... a sudden rush of energy and excitement floods my body, my pulse quickens as I have the thought: "I'm dreaming!"
Instantly I am fully alive. I am lucid. Aware of my sensations,my breath and the vivid colors of my surroundings. I've been here many times before....
My excitement is almost too much to handle. I feel compelled to explore this fantasy world with reckless abandon, feeling the innocent impulsive energy of a three year old child. I stop, remembering that my exhuberance could everwhelm me, disorient me, and jeopardize my lucid state. I must remain conscious, self-aware, calm.
B-r-e-a-t-h-e. Slowly inhaling, I hear my breath entering my body-- my whole being is filled with bliss. Exhaling, I focus on the opportunity at hand. How can I best use this wonderous experience? I could indulge my wildest desires. I could become anyone I'd like to be, do anything I'd like to do.
Walking towards the edge of the cliff that has suddenly appeared to my right, I break into a run, headlong towards the drop, with the full confidence that I will take flight, as I have for years, in this familiar playground of my mind.
Arms outstretched before me, the world beneath, a brilliantly colored blur. As I peer below me, I now see my old forests of sharply etched leaves, impossibly intricate, inviting me closer. I skim the tops of the trees. Total exhilaration as the miles fly by and my energy continues to surge. The sense of freedom is overwhelming. At that limited thought, my world blurs into a mix of colors, blending into one and I lose my focus. The scene goes dim and I am once again in the unconsciousness of sleep."
This is a typical experience of lucid dreaming. It is not only a great fun, but it also can open up tremendous avenues for personal growth and exploration of unconscious issues that may be affecting your daily life.
If you are depressed, there are likely to be certain thoughts, feelings, and assumptions about yourself and the world that are subconscious (just below your awareness), or unconscious (deeply burried and inaccessible to your normal waking mind). And yet these thoughts and feelings are there, rooted in your mind and body, influencing your behaviors, your habits, your fears and aversions, your relationships, your vision.
Lucid Dreams, in which the dreamer knows she is dreaming, allow the free exploration of these hidden parts of the psyche. Dream figures can be invited in. You can summon anyone you want. Talk to your ancestors, your parents, or yourself (symbolized as someone else). Actually, the general understanding among most dream experts, is that everything in your dreams is actually a representation of some aspect of YOU: All people, animals, objects -- everything. This topic becomes more complex however, when you explore the phenomenon of "out of body experiences." Many people who have lucid dreams, report the experience of actually lifting up and out of their physical bodies and consciously exploring their environment. More on this later.....
So lucid dreams give the opportunity to choose your experience. There is no right or wrong. No good or bad. You can choose between total indulgence - consciously controlling the environment and the activity of the dream for pure amusement. Versus, staying conscious -- mindfully self aware -- while allowing the dream to unfold without any interference. In this way, the symbolic conflicts that affect your waking life are more likely to present themselves to you. Dreams of any kind, whether lucid or not, operate in this fashion. Dreams, at the most basic level, are how we process personal information, experiences, traumas, feelings and conflicts.
We all dream. Even if you don't remember your dreams, rest assured, you do dream. Practicing dream recall is an important part of learning to have lucid dreams. A dream journal is one of the best methods of practicing recall, and this leads to greater self-awareness. We are wired to forget. This can be minimized by lying very still upon first awakening. Don't even open your eyes. Just be still and grab hold of any fragment - any image left in your mind from your dream. Try to reconstruct as much as you can. Then grab your journal and scribble down whatever notes you can. As you do this, and later read it, you may recover other lost pieces of the dream. Each time you do this, your dream memories increase, and consequently, you are more likely to have lucid dreams as well. Journaling is probably the simplest lucid dreaming technique to try.
Question: "There is no ‘I am’ in sleep [is there?]."
Nisargatta Maharaj: "Before you make such sweeping statements, examine carefully your waking state. You will soon discover that it is full of gaps, when the mind blanks out. Notice how little you remember even when fully awake. You just don’t remember. A gap in memory is not necessarily a gap in consciousness."
Question: "Can I make myself remember my state of deep sleep?"
Maharaj: "Of course! By eliminating the intervals of inadvertence during your waking hours you will gradually eliminate the long interval of absent-mindedness, which you call sleep. You will be aware that you are asleep."
Lucid Dreaming Technique using self-suggestion to induce conscious dreams....
Look at your hands in the dream. Practice this by frequently looking at your hands throughout the day. Hold them out in front of you, and say to yourself, "I'm dreaming." Or ask the question, "Am I dreaming?" while looking at your hands. Do this especially before bed -- for 5-10 minutes would be most effective. By training yourself this way, you are more likely to find yourself within a dream, suddenly remembering to look at your "dream hands" and then having the thought "Am I dreaming?" And immediately the realization will come, "YES!" At that moment you gain conscious control over your self and the direction of your dream (to a certain extent). The extent to which you are able to orchestrate the dream or control your own movements, is equal the level of conscious Self-awareness that you are operating in during your waking hours. And this state of mind will change, depending on the day, and whatever is going on for you psychologically -- emotionally, how much stress you are under, and so forth. So even in a lucid dream, you bring your state of consciousness with you.
Waking Dream Exercise
is a Lucid Dreaming Technique take this method a step further and increases both waking and dreaming self-awareness, insight, and mindfulness as a daily practice.
Meditation and Yoga
Because your waking state of mind directly influences your dreaming experience -- regular practice of meditation and pranayama is perhaps the most effective lucid dreaming technique you can practice in your daily life.
Paramahansa Yogananda: The Art of Dreaming at Will
(An excellent lucid dreaming technique from one of the greatest masters of the 20th Century).
"Sit in your dimly lighted bedroom just before you feel fairly sleepy. With half-open eyes steadily and simultaneously look at a portion of the room and try to visualize and memorize every detail. All the time will yourself to see all the objects of your vision in a dream and fall asleep while you are visualizing. In this way you will be able to visualize or produce a mechanical vision of anything, any person, or any place in a dream consciously produced in the subconsciousness. Dreams are not given to you. They are created unconsciously by your own conscious, subconscious, or superconscious mind. Hence, by your conscious or subconscious mind during sleep, or by superconscious will, you can create any dream.”
“Whenever you dream calmly about huge fires, the ocean, or vast waters, rivers, boats, angels, Scriptures, Saints, temples, churches, altars, flowers, cloudless skies, sunny lights, auroras or the moon, or of a feeling of expansion in space, then know that the time for your Spiritual development is near to the working out of the effects of pre-natal or post-natal bad actions, by the power of good living in this life.”
These Quotes are directly from this source:
New Super Cosmic Science Course (1934): Lesson 3
By Swami Yogananda
can be used as another powerful lucid dreaming technique. To learn more, and try a meridian tapping routine for this click the link:
Meridian Tapping/EFT as a Lucid Dreaming Technique
Meditation and Yoga as a Lucid Dreaming Technique
For personal instruction in lucid dreaming technique, schedule a session with Ben (in-person or by phone/Skype).
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