The trick to lucid dreaming
Sometimes I get the feeling my dreams are playing games with me. Recently when I attempted to have a lucid dream, I instead had a non-lucid dream of a window with a little brass plaque hanging from it. I leaned in to read the words etched into the plaque and read: “Still and Clear.” The dream took me literally, I suppose. What is lucidity, after all, if not clarity and transparency (like a window).
Of course what I wanted when I requested a lucid dream was one of those dreams when you know you are dreaming. Most people experience this during a nightmare, when just before getting eaten by the monster or being backed into the wall of flames they realize: “This is only a dream …” and then they wake, safe in their beds.
But I don’t like to wait until a lucid dream happens, I like to encourage them to happen. Sometimes, however, it seems my dreams don’t like to be bossed around. Here’s another example of how my dreams played me:
This time I had been trying for several nights in a row to have a lucid dream, but with no success. Finally, after a week of this, and ready to give up, a friend at work mentioned that I was in her dream the night before. “Really?” I asked, “Tell me what happened.”
“Well,” she said, “you know those dreams when you know you are dreaming?” “Sure do,” I said, trying not let my envy show … It turns out that my friend had had a lucid dream that night in which I appeared, sitting on her bed, in fact, sorting photographs and putting them into picture frames.
Does it count as having a lucid dream if instead of having one myself I appear in another’s? At that point I was willing to “count” anything. In any case, the next night I finally did it, I achieved lucidity.
Why all the fuss about having lucid dreams? If you’ve ever had one, you probably know. There are a lot of fun things to do in the lucid state, such as fly, visit beautiful places, jump from tall buildings and not get hurt …
But there’s more, too. The lucid dream state is a powerful and creative level of consciousness where you can tap into healing powers, seek out information, solve problems, etc. A lucid dream is like a laboratory where you can explore the dream state itself. You can look beyond the dreamscape, interview dream characters and ask questions of the dream maker.
As you can tell from reading this post, I’m no expert on lucid dreaming at will, but with a few nights effort I can usually wake within my dreams. To do so I think about my intention during the day, asking myself at intervals: Am I awake or dreaming? The hope is that during the night the same question will occur to the dreaming mind and as soon as you can answer, “I’m dreaming!” then you’ve done it … you’re lucid within the dream.
I have found that this simple technique works …
… except when it doesn’t. One night, not long ago, my attempt at lucidity was just another opening for my dream to play tricks on me: In a dream I looked out the back door and thought, something’s wrong here. Then I asked the question within the dream: “Am I awake or dreaming?” My dreaming self considered the matter: “Well, if I’m dreaming I’ll be able to levitate that pumpkin in the driveway,” my dreaming self concluded. So, I focused my attention on the pumpkin but it didn’t budge. “That settles it,” my dreaming self said. “I’m awake.”
Well, hopefully you’ll do better. Give it a try and let me know how it goes!
(And if you want a fabulous resource on Lucid Dreaming check out Robert Waggoner’s book by the same name.)
To Continue reading about lucid dreaming, enjoy these posts:
A Lucid Lesson in Self Love
Many Ways to Achieve Lucidity—And Not
Awake and Alive in the Dream
Joyful Dreaming (Lucidly)
Female Forebear in Lucid Dreams