The Waking Dream Exercise is a simple method of shifting your consciousness at any time or place, quickly and easily.
Imagine, if you will, that your life and all the people and things around you are a dream. And it’s a good dream. And in this dream you were stumbling through, you suddenly snapped out of your unconscious state and yet you’re still dreaming. Awake in this dream world, you are amazed to realize that you actually are dreaming in this moment. You quickly realize that everything you experience, everything you sense – see, smell, hear, feel – it’s all a magnificent projection of your own mind!
So once your heart stops beating with excitement, you remember your breath and you take a long slow deep breath…… and it feels so wonderful! It’s like you’d never taken a deep breath until now. You look around you and you feel the tension leave your body. Because now you realize that you are safe. You know now that nothing in your environment can hurt you or threaten your well being in any way – because your environment is You! It’s your dream! So you begin to relax into a state of contentment and wonder. There’s no need to hurry now.
You recognize that whatever emotion or energy your project outward gets reflected back to you from your environment - so the more peace, the more love, the more acceptance, the more compassion, the more appreciation you focus on, the more of that energy comes back to you. (Destructive energy, anger or fear will immediately lower your energy and take you out of this peaceful and harmonious state of flow. So practice this with positive, loving intent towards yourself and others.)
Simply Breathing, witnessing, observing the beauty and marveling at the fine detail your awesome mind has created for its own enjoyment. If you want to, you can move about and interact physically in this environment and “do things” like you normally would. And you know now that whatever you do will not require great effort and strain and conflict, but simply your full intention.
In this dream, you soon realize that you can influence your environment just by visualizing or shifting your attention and focus – without even physically moving. Either way, you find that you are equally content, alive and awake to this moment. You are not dependent on your surroundings for your happiness, but you can take great joy in experiencing all that you choose to experience around you – and within you too.
This is the best way that I can describe what it means to live mindfully. It doesn’t mean over-thinking or over-doing. It’s about living one breath at a time. When you do this, life becomes much easier and much more pleasant. It’s like realizing that you’ve been swimming upstream and suddenly letting go and flowing effortlessly with the current. The hardest thing about this is the fear of letting go and trusting that the river will not overwhelm you. But remember, those that struggle against the current are most likely to drown.
By practicing the Waking Dream Exercise, you will increase your tendency to have lucid dreams during sleep, since the state of lucid dreaming is essentially the experience of mindful awareness while dreaming.
[note of caution]
The Waking Dream Exercise should be practiced regularly, however, it is not advisable for anyone who is experiencing psychotic states, hallucinations, delusions, paranoia, or dissociative states (for obvious reasons). If you are experiencing any of the above, it is more important to connect directly with people you trust, and to be grounded, by staying focused on the body, exercising and doing focused tasks, to avoid over-thinking and over-analyzing your reality.
Waking Dream Exercise - copywrite 2008 - Benjamin Schwarcz