Lucid Dreaming Robert WaggonerRegular readers of this blog know that I started to occasionally write on lucid dreaming in 2013. For some odd reason it took me until 2015 to run across an old TedX video by Charlie Morley, whose experiences with the practice mirrored my own. I was impressed by his ability to articulate just how useful lucid dreaming could be for, say, soldiers who suffer from PTSD or just the guy down the street who wants to confront his nightmares. I recently took Mr. Morley’s online course through Awake Academy to see what tricks he might know that I didn’t. I must say that I walked away (or should I say “slept away”?) impressed.

Here is one snippet from Week 2 of the seven-week course that I can vouch for through my own personal experiences:

To believe that your itsy-bitsy me, my, I sense of self that you bring in to the lucid dream state can in any way dominate, subjugate or control the power of the unconscious mind is to ascribe that sense of self and inflated degree of importance. The unconscious mind is awesome in power. As awesomely powerful as the ocean, perhaps. And to quote my friend Robert Waggoner: “Just as no sailor can control the sea, so to does no lucid dreamer control the dream.”

It would be an arrogant sailor to believe that they could control the awesome power of the ocean. And so too, I believe it is an arrogant lucid dreamer who believes that they can in any way control the powerful oceanic unconscious. So drop control. Don’t try it. Instead, turn your attention to making friends. Make an ally out of the unconscious. Be friendly towards it. Go into the dream with open arms saying, “I’m ready to meet the mystery.” If you do that, you’ll still be able to ‘control’ the dream and do whatever you want, but you won’t be doing it from a point of domination or subjugation — You’ll be doing it from a point of friendship.

Two years ago I was having lucid dreams that lasted 10-15 seconds. Over time that got up to perhaps a minute. These days when I have a lucid dream it feels like I’m lucid from 5-7 minutes. Like Mr. Morley says, the unconscious mind is incredibly powerful; the ocean analogy is spot-on. Likewise, it is possible to essentially become “friends” with your own subconscious. It may sound weird, but it is true.

Charlie MorleyDuring a recent lucid dream I asked my unconscious mind to impart wisdom. I was given an answer about certain unchanging elements of man’s nature, and when the tutorial was over and I found myself still lucid I casually asked, “So, I was just wondering, what the heck was that earlier dream I had tonight supposed to symbolize?” Again, my unconscious mind answered. I may not always get the answer I want, and some replies are downright mysterious, but I always wake up having learned something about myself.

There is no way I could fit the knowledge from all seven weeks of Mr. Morley’s course into a single blog post. Besides, that would be incredibly unfair to him and all the hard work he put into the project.

I will say this, however: If you want to start lucid dreaming, then a dream journal is a must. If you have the intention to lucid dream and you write down what you can remember at least five days a week, then you will probably be half-way to obtaining your goal. I would be happy to give you some pointers in the comments section below, but if you really want an assortment of tools for your “dream toolbox,” then I suggest checking out Mr. Morley’s course.

Note: If you regularly read and comment on this blog and you want to take the course — but you find it is too expensive — let me know and I will deposit $60 into a PayPal account for you. That is roughly half the course fee. I will do this for the first TWO “regulars” who make such a request. For those of you who are waiting for me to make contact about T-shirts, just know that I have not forgotten about you. I got a little sidetracked and haven’t been able to finish the design to my liking.

Advertisements

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.

9 comments

    1. I have good news and bad news for you, superduperawesomeguy: The good news is that anyone can lucid dream. The bad news (at this juncture in your life) is that you need patience.

      Just as most people can’t walk up to the starting line of a 5K race and turn out an impressive time, I would be lying if I said there was some sort of shortcut to lucid dreaming.

      Like I said, a dream diary is important. But, again, you need to make it a priority. That is completely free, but it something that must be done each morning when you wake up. As your diary gains shape, you will see certain patterns emerge. Perhaps you always dream of Superman. You can then tell yourself, “Okay, when I see Superman, then I need to remember that I am dreaming.” You can train yourself to recognize these dream indicators, which will trigger lucidity.

      I would also suggest mindfullness meditation before you fall asleep at night. Again, this is something that is completely free, but it’s up to you to do it regularly.

      A lot of people start exercise programs, but then they give up after a few weeks when they don’t see the results they were expecting. Depending on the goal, a person may need to exercise for six months before they see “X” result. The same goes for lucid dreaming. If you kept a dream diary and meditated for three weeks and did not experience any form of lucidity, would you stop? What if you were only days after from that moment?! You gave up right before the light at the end of the tunnel appeared. D’oh!

      There are also plenty of YouTube videos online about lucid dreaming, although wading through the bad ones can be a bit tedious. That’s why I like Charlie’s course. It’s incredibly well organized and there’s little to no “filler” material. I looked at it as an investment. If you sleep for 1/3 of your life — literally decades if you make it to 100 years old — think about how much time you’ll get back in terms of becoming the best version of superduperawesomeguy possible. What price do you put upon having a lucid dream that will fundamentally change who you are for the better? Is $120 too much? I can’t answer that question. Only you can. For me, I think it’s a bargain.

    2. Hi. Last night I had my first lucid dream. Although it didn’t last as long as I would’ve liked. Basically I was in this ghost town last night and for some reason it hit me that I was dreaming. So I jumped like a thousands feet in the air but once I landed my surroundings began to blur before i woke up.

      The weird thing is I didn’t keep a dream diary nor did I do anything that i could see that would change the likelihood of a lucid dream. It just kinda happened.

      So I’m just curious since you’re obviously have had more experience, does lucid dreaming become easier after it happens once? And is there any way to make the dream last longer?

    3. Great news, man! I’m glad to hear it. I’ll try and do my best to answer your questions.

      So I’m just curious since you’re obviously have had more experience, does lucid dreaming become easier after it happens once? And is there any way to make the dream last longer?

      I would say that the answer is “Yes,” simply because now you know it’s possible and you know that it has the potential to be awesome. I have to imagine that a guy with a Superman avatar would have fun flying around his dream landscape like Superman. 🙂

      I have had four lucid dreams this month. Two of those lasted mere seconds, and two of them lasted 5-7 minutes. That is with only writing down my lucid dreams and giving myself the intention to lucid dream as my last thought before falling asleep. I admit, I’ve been lazy…

      First off, lucid dreaming is just like anything else, in that you’ll get better at it with more practice. Once you get used to it, you can stay calm when it happens. A lot of people get overly excited (e.g., “Holy crap! I can lucid dream!”) and then they wake up.

      With that said, one way to have longer lucid dreams is to actually keep a dream diary or have a very specific plan for what you are going to do when that lucidity strikes. If you don’t have a plan of attack, then you’ll be like, “Cool! I’m lucid. Ummm, what do I do? Okay, I guess I’ll test it out. I’ll jump really high. Okay, now what? Crap…I’m waking up.”

      What is something you’d like to ask your subconscious? If you have that question ready, then your subconscious will provide you with an answer. Sometimes that answer might last 30 seconds to several minutes.

      With that said, here are some things to do extend a lucid dream: 1. Say “Lucidity boost!” if it starts to fade out. I got that from the course I took, and it usually works. 2. Don’t focus too long on one object. I’ve found that slowly looking around and not fixing my gaze on one specific point extends my lucid dreams. I think this is because the mind can’t really create highly detailed objects in a dream, so if you focus your eyes on something you’re sort of asking it to do something it doesn’t particularly want to do. 3. Spin around in a circle a few times. I’ve tried this (although I don’t particularly like it), and it seems to work.

      My longer lucid dreams also tend to happen when I’m able to meditate before bed. I don’t know how to explain it, but there’s some sort of mental fuel that seems to build up through meditation. If I just plop down into bed and zonk out, those are the times when I’ll have the 5 second lucid dreams. “Oh, I’m dreaming. Sweet. Annnnd now I’m waking up. D’oh!”

      I can go on and on, so I’ll cut if off here so I don’t just start rambling. Let me know if you have any more questions and I’d be happy to answer.

    4. I’ve asked my subconscious what my biggest fear is, what my biggest flaw is, and to show me my best quality. I’ve asked my subconscious (multiple times) to impart wisdom that during my waking life I might be too blind to realize.

      I would say confronting fears or regrets in a lucid dream offers the most potential for personal growth, although you really need to be ready for it. Haha. The subconscious isn’t going to lie to you. My biggest fear was two-fold: 1. That I would grow to be an angry old man because I failed to rid myself of a certain weird rage that is inside me, and 2. The death of my wife. I was not expecting to run across my wife’s corpse in a dream, but I won’t be forgetting it anytime soon. I can laugh about it now, but that will cause you to think about a few things…

      I recently became lucid in a dream where a younger version of me started asking me questions about the future. That’s another scenario that can really pull at your heartstrings. Imagine a young superduperawesomeguy asking the older you questions, and you want to tell him so many things — but you can’t — because he’s just a kid and wouldn’t understand. So all you can do is say something nice to this innocent little kid — again, who is you — while reflecting on all the things that took away his innocence.

      I used to have an issue with spiders (odd for a guy who loves Spider-Man), but through some experiences with lucid dreaming that is definitely no longer an issue. Let’s just say that I had a surreal experience or two with some giant spiders that somehow managed to rewire how I think about them. My wife now jokes that I’m the some sort of spider master because I don’t kill them when they’re in our apartment. I just take them outside. 🙂

      Long story short, the possibilities are endless. Don’t get my wrong — I definitely have taken advantage of flying — but ultimately I think lucid dreaming is best used for overcoming inner demons and learning things about yourself in a way that just isn’t possible when you’re awake.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s