wordspeak2 wrote:That's fascinating. Can you explain, like, how you did it? Have you been working at this for a long time. I've always wished I could lucid dream. Would have helped a lot two nights ago, when I had these terrible nightmares involving a murder.
It took me a long time, but it took my girlfriend much less time to learn. I think this is because I have a more rigid and elaborately constructed personal identity, which is like an egg shell that must be cracked. At least, that is how it seems.
Even though I kept failing, one line in the Castaneda books that stood out was "one thing the rational mind cannot cope with is persistence", meaning for me that if I'm attempting something that the rational mind tells me is stupid or impossible, the best weapon against this is persistence - keep going despite what the mind is telling me.
How a person brings an intent into the dream state is a mystery to me. The identity is lost to a great degree, one cannot draw upon personal memories, and yet somehow one is able to bring intentions into that place.
But I've been in a position in my dreams before where I suspected it was a dream. For example, I once saw a giant ship come out of the clouds over a downtown city, and flying towards the city was a red bi-plane with a nazi symbol on the side. I thought, "Is this a dream?" And yet when I tried to test out the environment, everything seemed real, so I concluded that it was real.
The thing that brought me over the top was the hand trick. Castaneda talks about looking at one's hand when in the dream state. It is not common to maintain one's attention on something mundane like your own hand, but if you are able to stare at it for several seconds, you will see that your hand does not hold its shape. It will flow around and morph.
For some reason, one day I was in the dream and I saw a bizarre stick-like figure. It suddenly occurred to me that I may be dreaming and I actually remembered to look at my hand. When I looked at it, it did in fact changed shape and I knew I was dreaming! I was in some sort of strange state I could not comprehend. The closest thing I could compare it to was when I was peaking on LSD.
Here is where stuff gets weird, and I think one can only get the hang of this by doing it: there is a tightrope a person must walk to maintain lucidity in the dream, it is like a balance between control and surrender.
One part of you (which I guess I'd call the "dream self") strongly wants to disappear into the dream, to release the lucidity. The other part of you (the "waking self") strongly wants to bring your normal identity into the dream, to become awake like you are awake in regular life.
To remain lucid in a dream, you must maintain a balance between these two "selves". If you try too hard to remember your waking identity (which is actually a strong impulse, at least for myself), then you will definitely wake up. On the other hand, if you give in to the other self then you will lose your grip on the lucidity and fall back into the dream.
If you feel yourself falling back into the dream, then you just look at your hand again. This helps to strengthen the connection to the waking self. In my first lucid dream, I had to look at my hand at least 10 times, it was just an instinctual thing and I only realized after I woke up that I was "grounding" myself each time I felt like I was slipping back into the dream.
However, if you feel yourself waking up, this seems to be a harder one (for myself) to counteract. But my hunch is that you find an element of the dream that is interesting an focus upon it in order to strengthen the connection to the dream self. The problem is, if you fall too far on one side or the other then you can't turn back... you will either lose the lucidity or wake up, so it is definitely like a balancing act.
If one can maintain the balance and "solidify" this fusion of selves, it is a state that is absolutely indistinguishable from physical reality. In one dream I stood on a highway median. There were cars on either side of me, people, noises, smells, it was incredible that this was not real. Then I flew up into the air and looked down upon the scene, it was still perfectly real!