As regular readers know, I occasionally have lucid dreams. Sometimes I share the memory of those dreams so that others can discuss their own experiences — or perhaps just see the weirdness floating around in my subconscious. For all those political posts that have made you ask: “What the heck is going on inside that man’s head?” you now have an answer:

Oct. 23, 2013: 5:00 a.m.

I’m in an office building. I’m following a young girl who is guiding me on a tour that involves a high-ranking military official. As I follow her I think: “I am lucid dreaming right … now.”

I break off from the girl, put my fist in the air, look up, and fly right through the ceiling and up, up, up. I don’t seem to be leaving the dream behind so I think: “Clarity now. Clarity now. Clarity now.” The dream dissipates around me and I find myself in a black void.

I feel as though wherever I am it’s at an incredible height. There’s a part of me that can’t believe I haven’t woken up. I think: “What is the meaning in life?” and I start falling.

During my decent I pass through all sorts of rainbows, fireworks, glittering ice particles (that don’t sting when you fly through them) … and then what I can only describe as childhood cereal boxes with cartoonish characters on the covers. There are words on the boxes, but everything is going so fast that it is hard to read them. Perhaps I pick up the word ‘linked.’

The entire time it sounds like I am in a casino and people are talking all around me. The voices are slightly high pitched in tone. I think: “Interesting. I must be doing something right. There is nothing negative here. Then I get slightly nervous, wondering if the act of pondering the existence of negativity would manifest something negative. That doesn’t happen, but I stop falling and realize that I’m still high above earth.

Still surprised that I’m conscious within my dream I think: “I want to see Yizhou,” [followed by my wife’s maiden name]. I am propelled through space, too fast to really even see what’s going on around me. I’m being hurled to some location. I look behind me and see an infinite blue cord stretching out and realize that it’s attached to me. I’m kind of taken aback by how long it is.

Finally I land, but I’m on some sort of puzzle board of the United States, and I’m in California. I’m on a map and it says my wife’s name. Underneath is a little red dot that is glowing and it says: “disconnected.” I get scared that something has happened to my wife and then realize that I said her maiden name. I shake my head and say: “No, I want to see Yizhou — my wife — in Arlington, Virginia.”

Immediately I am flying through space again like a ballistic missile. As I’m traveling I again think of the blue cord and can’t get over how long it is. When I land I’m on another map, this time with little cardboard houses. I get frustrated and start trying to read the lettering on the ground. I’m floating and can’t just walk like I normally do. When I try and stay still I levitate and sort of wobble around. All I can make out is “Lane.”

I start to float upward, but this time it’s out of my control. I grab a tiny cardboard house that was on the map and pick it up. I try to read lettering on the house and it says, “flick the white tab.” There is, indeed, a white tab on the piece of cardboard. I flick it, and then I wake up.

After waking I realize a.) I should not have said my wife’s maiden name because I ended up where we used to live in college, and b.) in my confusion I screwed up my wife’s location — again — because we used to live in Arlington, but she is now bouncing around due to medical school.

On some level I’m annoyed that I would screw up such a direct request, but on another I’m actually impressed that I was able to keep it as mentally together as I did, given how surreal the experience was. It would have been interesting to see what would have happened if I had I kept enough composure to get my wife’s actual address right.

Any armchair psychologists out there? If so, have at it.

Related: Thoughts on lucid dreaming and the floating purple orb

Related: The effects of meditation: What if you could ask your nightmares why they haunt you?

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About the Author Douglas Ernst

I'm a former Army guy who believes success comes through hard work, honesty, optimism, and perseverance. I believe seeing yourself as a victim creates a self-fulfilling prophecy. I believe in God. I'm a USC Trojan with an MA in Political Science from American University.

8 comments

  1. Really incredible dream wonder what your subconscious was trying to tell you. Lucid dreaming is an awesome phenomenon and I wish most people had such mental control. I only have dreams about three times a year but there all lucid but a bit repetitive.

    1. My knee-jerk analysis:

      1. Rainbow: The rainbow consists of all the colors on the visible spectrum. I suppose we’re to really take in all that life has to offer.
      2. Glittering ice: Beauty. Appreciate the beauty in all things.
      3. Childhood cereal boxes: Innocence. Try and keep that youthful innocence that children have.
      4. The word “linked.” All of it is tied together.

      Buddy, if you’re lucid you have the power to break up that repetition. 😉 Take a U-turn and take that dream someplace new!

  2. Not even going to attempt that especially from my iPhone but I do want to say thanks for the journey. Sure sounded like a blast!! My flying dreams start out great but ALWAYS lead me to high tension wires and me suddenly loosing control. With my fears taking me exactly where I don’t want to go!

    Yours Truly, Joyce Stanley 954-594-7627

    >

    1. The great thing about lucid dreaming is that it allows you keep control. In your case you could say to your subconscious: “Why do you always take me to high tension wires? What does this mean?” and you’ll get an answer. It might be weird … but you’ll get an answer.

  3. Cool dream. Always amazed how the mind keeps itself occupied with interesting things when the body’s regenerating. I’ve never really steered things so much as let them play out. How did you learn to do it?

    On a side note, enjoy REM sleep while you can. When kids become part of the equation, you will long for just a few hours of consecutive shut-eye. Seriously.

    1. My lucid dreaming started happening on a regular basis after I began mediating, although I’d say my first “HD quality” dream happened a week after my grandmother died. I know it sounds weird, but shortly after I began meditating my head began to feel as though it was charged during the day. I had tingling on the crown of my head, but not in a bad way.

      There are tutorials on lucid dreaming online, but I haven’t really looked into them too much. Like I said, it seemed to be a byproduct of meditation. Once I knew I could do it, the ability seemed to grow on its own. It’s hard to explain, but it’s like my subconscious is often on the verge of realizing I’m dreaming. I increasingly kind of know that something isn’t quite right, but I’ll wake up shortly before becoming fully lucid.

      It seems as though the moments I become lucid is when there’s a lull in the “action” of a dream. If I’m following someone or if I have time kind of think about my surroundings I’ll put two and two together. I’m hoping that I’ll continue to get better at this because I think the implications are huge. As I’ve said in one of the other posts: How amazing would it be to have conversations with my subconscious? If my goal is to always strive to become a better person, this seems like an incredibly useful tool to have at my disposal.

  4. Iv never meditated much. Id enjoy the ride and steer it if I have to but our subconscious does have incredible potential and next time I dream I’m going to make better use of it. I think the reason iv always been lucid is my body resist Full unconsciousness sleep never comes easily to me and I’m almost immune to most anesthetics. The last time I was successfully under I had some oral surgery my mind literally recorded the whole experience of the surgery while I was under and played back the entire sensory experience in real time as soon as I awoke. I hope you make some important discoveries probing the grey matter.

  5. In the third trimester of a baby’s development in the mother’s womb, all the instincts necessary for its survival when it sees the light
    of day; fear, confidence, intellect, imagination, etc.

    What are you up to next book wise or projects wise and any links
    you’d like to share with us. If some bad event made him depressed, say something like, “What happened must have been really tough.

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