Have you ever had a lucid dream? That is, have you ever become aware of the fact that you were dreaming while still in the midst of the dream and then taken control of the dream and done what you wished with it?
I’ve had lucid dreams periodically for years, but recently they’ve taken a marked turn in terms of my awareness of them. Rather than being occasional events, lucid dreams are becoming the norm for me. Actually, that’s not quite accurate. It is more accurate to say that my awareness during the sleep state has been changing.
In the past my experience of sleep was one of slipping into unconsciousness and awakening hours later. Upon awakening I may have retained memories of the occasional dream but I was largely oblivious to what had occurred during the time I was asleep. Lately I’ve grown increasingly aware of what I am doing during the time my eyes are closed and my head is resting on the pillow.
Increasingly during that time, I’m lucid dreaming or am otherwise aware of my dreams while I’m dreaming. I’m also aware of the thoughts going through my mind when I’m not dreaming. I’m aware of my mind reviewing yesterday’s events, planning for the future, wrestling with particular issues in my life, and exploring different possibilities. In other words, my awareness during sleep is becoming an extension of my waking consciousness.
My experiences last night provide a good example. Let me explain. Yesterday my family hosted some friends for an evening get together. Over coffee and dessert our two families decided to plan a joint trip to some hot springs in Wyoming that my family has never been to.
Then during the night I decided to visit the hot springs in my sleep. I flew off to Wyoming, checked out multiple hot pools, and eased myself into the steaming waters to sample the various temperatures. Then I inspected the cabins where we’ll be staying. I visited several of them, looking at the kitchen facilities and beds before choosing the one that I want to reserve. Finally, I flew over the town to get a sense of the lay of the land. All without ever seeing a brochure or website on the Internet.
Throughout the entire process I knew I was dreaming. I felt as aware and as in control as am in waking life, except that knowing I was in a dream state I operated as if the rules of dream-reality applied. That meant I could fly, walk through walls, change locations at will, etc.
But that was only the first event of the night. I also spent a good portion of the night leading a workshop on accessing spiritual states during everyday situations, which is something I’ve considered gearing up to do but have not yet started doing in my waking life.
For more than an hour I sat in a stiff-backed chair facing a circle of 16 people who’d joined me for a workshop on accessing altered states and using them in daily life. Unlike in my waking professional life, I had no podium, no PowerPoint slides, no prepared notes, or even a lesson plan. Yet I spoke comfortably and naturally on how we set our intentions, shift our awareness, and manifest our experiences on a continual basis.
I spoke for more than 10 minutes, setting the stage for the workshop. Then I began a group discussion during which the participants shared their own experiences and asked questions. I followed the conversation as clearly as I do in waking consciousness, paying attention to key points, drawing connections, and crafting examples and explanations on the fly. The entire engagement ran like a workshop I might currently teach on marketing strategy, but the subject matter involved spirituality and the participants had obviously come prepared for the workshop.
Throughout the workshop I watched as people shifted in their chairs, responded to each other, and even made occasional notes. When it was over I participated in several minutes of small talk, in which one woman told me that she really wanted her son to join our next discussion.
Then people began to leave. We said goodbye and I woke up. Except when I “woke up” I merely opened my eyes without any noticeable shift in awareness just as I do at the end of my meditation. All of my thoughts and adventures since falling asleep were as fresh in my consciousness, just as were the waking activities of the day before.
Here’s what I think may be going on. As I’ve begun exploring consciousness I’ve repeatedly sent my waking awareness (which tends to range from 14 to 27 Hertz) to brainwave frequencies normally associated with sleep (which range from approximately 0.5 to 8 Hertz). I think this has been the metaphorical equivalent to lowering the water level on an iceberg, exposing more of it to view. With sufficient practice I can now retain waking awareness at lower brainwave frequencies, which makes it possible to observe more of my thoughts, dreams and experiences during sleep.
For instance, when I travel to other realms I first shift into what I call Focus 10, a Monroe Institute term for the state of awareness in which your body is asleep but your mind is awake. From this state, your fully awake mind can literally listen to your own body snoring. When in this state some people say they feel paralyzed and unable to move. For me the experience feels more like being submerged in a deep mud bath. I can still move my body but it takes great effort to do so. Presumably the purpose of sleep paralysis is to prevent us from physically acting out our dreams. In any event, Focus 10 serves as an excellent spring board for progressing on to deeper meditative states or for journeying out of body.
After spending countless hours in Focus 10 and beyond I’ve grown quite accustomed to remaining awake while my body sleeps. I think this is freeing me up to use my sleep for other activities. Such as lucid dreaming, problem solving, visiting with my spirit guides, attending lectures, and now apparently leading workshops.
With all that running around it’s a good thing I still wake up feeling refreshed and ready to go in the morning.
Your thoughts on this subject would be much appreciated. If you feel comfortable, please leave me a comment using the fields below.
Shine Your Light That Others May See