In my freshman year of high school, I had to write a series of papers for English. The assignment was to find an obscure topic that no one had heard of and write several papers in various forms; research, short story, poetry, etc. I stumbled upon an obscure reference to something called Lucid Dreaming. I wrote a story about a boy who began practicing lucid dreaming every night, going deeper and deeper into his dreams, having dreams within dreams (sound familiar?). Eventually, he became trapped in his dreams, unable to determine whether he was asleep or awake. The concept of Lucid Dreaming truly fascinated me!
Fast forward to 2010. I returned from serving a mission for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. During those two years or eighteen months (if a sister missionary), you do not listen to music, watch TV, or go to movies. It is supposed to be time solely dedicated to serving others, preaching, and focusing on God. Return missionaries will often binge on TV, music, and movies once they return, and I was no exception to that rule. I wanted to go see every movie that had recently been released. One of those movies was Inception. I remember watching the movie and wondering, “Did someone find my Freshman paper in the trash and turn it into a movie?” Quickly followed by the thought, “Why didn’t I think of pitching it as a movie?!” (Who hasn’t thought that when coming across a movie, book, invention, or whatnot?)
I have been attempting to practice lucid dreaming and dream yoga for the past few months. The consistent result is the rate at which I’m able to recall the dream and how vivid the dreams are. There have been nights where the dreams are so vivid, that I am unable to distinguish between waking life and the dream!
The first time in recent memory that I had a lucid dream, I was being arrested. For what? I don’t recall. I was innocent! I think? As I was escorted out of the Latter-day Saint meeting house (church), the thought came to me, “Am I dreaming?” There was only one way to know: snap the cuffs! I pulled my hands apart as hard as I could, and the handcuffs snapped in the middle. I ran as hard as I could and then stopped to catch my breath. Wait!
I remembered that I was dreaming, and became excited at the prospects of what I could do. What did I want to try first? Where did I want to go? The sky, no the Universe, is the limit! I got too excited and it caused me to wake up before I could attempt anything.
I am currently struggling with having a fully lucid dream, meaning I’m not only aware that I am dreaming, but I have full control of every aspect of my dreams. The closest I have to come to having a fully lucid dream was a few weeks ago. I realized I was dreaming, and I turned to the person next to me – who would thereafter become my dream guide – and exclaimed, “I am dreaming! This is a dream!” He nodded. The first question he asked me was, “What do you notice?” I told him that I noticed that the dream realm was always nighttime, dusk, cloudy, or in a poorly lit room/building. He laughed. “Yes, we don’t have much use for the sun or moon here, do we?” Until that moment, I had never realized that not once in my dreams had I observed a visible sun or moon. I now use the sun and moon as tests to determine whether or not I’m dreaming. If I don’t see either, or if it is very overcast, it is a cue for me to ask the question, “Am I dreaming?”
The dream continued with my attempt to fly. I ran, jumped, and … nothing. Huh. That’s weird. I ran, jumped, and this time I flew a few feet before falling to the ground. It seemed as though I was struggling to overcome my conscious conceptions of reality, i.e., that gravity exists and flying is impossible. I found a cliff overlooking a lake, took a deep breath and ran as fast as I could! What better way to fly than to take a massive leap of faith?
Success! I began flying around the area and admiring the gorgeous landscape. It reminded me of being in The Scottish Highlands (I had to google that to make sure I wasn’t wrong in my assumption. Nope! Spot on.). I felt called to a house outside an abandoned factory. I flew over, landed, and walked around the house. As I was walking toward the factor doors, my mind was pulled back to the house. I knew there was someone inside that needed my help. The door was sealed shut, and I needed to get in. Now! Why not use Magick?
Apparently, I am a second stage wizard, a hand wizard, because I did some hand movements and split the house in half to find a man tied to a chair. As I began to untie him, I sensed a dark presence, and I knew that I needed to exorcise. How? I didn’t know. I began to call upon Eru Ilúvatar. There was an immense struggle. I not only had to focus on the banishing but also maintain my lucid dreaming state. Eventually, there was a bright light, and the entity left. I freed the man, he brought me to a treasure chest. I woke up before we opened it.
Alas, not quite right
Last night, in my dream, I was trying to walk from my apartment to Starbucks. In real life, this is absurd. In my dream? Apparently even more absurd! My legs weren’t functioning properly. It literally was hurting to move them (perhaps, my body was trying to move my legs outside the dream realm, but clearly couldn’t because muscles are “turned off” during REM cycles?), and I began feeling extremely frustrated with the fact that I seemed to be going nowhere. Lightbulb! “I’m dreaming!” and I attempted to ditch walking immediately. It was time to fly! Run, jump, and – you guessed it! – fall on my face.
I decided that rather than focus my energy on flying, something I had done before, I would change the state of my dream. “What if I change the mountains over there to Mount Rushmore?!” Poof! The mountain to the west became Mount Rushmore … if Mount Rushmore had the face of various celebrities like Bill Murray. Well, that wasn’t quite right. It was time to fly! Except, this time, I couldn’t control where I was going. Despite the fact I was lucid, I couldn’t control my dream. I was being taken far away (to Middle Earth, to be precise), and there was nothing I could do about it.
If anyone has tips or tricks on how to become fully lucid, please let me know!