Saturday, May 9, 2015

Sleep Paralysis and Atonia

The community thought I was crazy, said it was impossible, but I achieved it: I have intentionally triggered sleep paralysis.

I won't say it took a lot of practice, though I will say it took some doing. I don't really know how to explain it (which makes this whole writing about it deal difficult), but if you have any experience with metacognition, you may be more able to achieve the desired effect.

It wasn't so much thinking about how I think, but thinking about how I feel (in a tactile sense). Sleep paralysis isn't true paralysis, only the sensation of it, so I created a scenario in my mind where I couldn't move, and tried to replicated it externally. It's not dissimilar to my astral projection proposition.

Lo and behold, it worked. Not right away, but it did work. And after some experience, I can replicate it without needing to go through the whole mental rigamarole, even selectively, which is a real handy trick if I expect to be sitting somewhere for long periods. I just numb the area that's not going to be doing any moving (takes about ten to fifteen minutes for the sensation to kick in) and then I don't have to worry about muscle or joint discomfort, pins-and-needles, or any of that jazz.

Not that I felt much concern about the effect, I feel none at all, which was the whole point: one of the best ways to eradicate fears of something is to learn how to control it.

If you want to try it out, I wish you the best of luck. If you have any questions, I'll answer them to the best of my ability, but I can't make any promises.

Saturday, May 2, 2015

Death and Dying In Dreams

No. Just no.

If you die in a dream, you do not die in real life. It doesn't happen. I've done it myself, everything from plummeting to my death to drowning, even having the dream starting with me dead. I'm clearly still here.

Dying in a dream isn't even always a trigger to wake up. More often than not, it seems, the dream continues after you've "died" in it, whether you're a ghost, a reincarnated being, or find yourself in some sort of afterlife. Also, however you continue the dream may not necessarily reflect your personal views on the matter or indicate any degree of doubt in your personal views.

Worth noting as well: experiencing death in a dream does not automatically classify it as a nightmare. Rather, death is a mere consequence of actions that may be inherently positive.

Besides, if someone died in a dream, and then died in real life, how would you know? Though the techniques and technology do exist to determine what someone is dreaming, they are not used on a broad enough scale to determine that people actually do die in their dreams.

I think the more appropriate question is: if you die in real life, while dreaming, what happens then? Does your soul continue dreaming? Do you then die in the dream? I know that the dream does not physically affect the waking life, my question is if the reverse is true.

Saturday, April 25, 2015

Dreaming You're Dreaming

Please no Inception comments on this! Just because you're dreaming that you're dreaming doesn't imply anything Inception-based is going on. The movie got a lot of oneirology wrong, largely due to the fact that it is fiction.

It happens. Dreaming that you're dreaming while in a dream isn't impossible. While it might be relatively rare, it's not even improbable.

Now, when most people (from what I have read, studied, and discussed with others) lucid dream, they break the story of the dream and go off and do their own thing. When this is done, there's no need to "go to sleep" within the dream, because you're already present in a giant sandbox of a reality.

I, on the other hand, choose not to break the story of the dream. I maintain lucidity, but let the story continue, because I use the random connections found and made in dreams to inspire art--my conscious imagination sometimes simply isn't enough. So, if the dreamstory decides I'm sleeping within the dream, it's possible I may dream too, though at that level, it works a little differently.

The inner dream is never lucid for me, but my recall of it when I return to the outer dream is almost always nearly perfect. Recall of the inner dream when I wake and leave the outer dream is very often more vivid than the outer dream was.

And to answer your unasked question, even though I told you not to think about it, I've never had a third dream inside the second one. In order for that to occur, I suspect the second dream must also be lucid.

Saturday, April 18, 2015

Defeating Your Nightmares

When I was a kid, and even into my teens, I suffered from terrible nightmares. Several times a month I would wake up in the early hours of the morning in a cold sweat, unable to clear my mind or return to sleep. I'd prowl my bookshelves, seeking out my favorite passages in my favorite books, trying to drown out the troubling images.

But they do that no longer. Sure, once in a blue moon, I'll wake up in that familiar cold sweat, but now I'll mop myself off with a warm cloth, roll over, and dive back in.

That act of rolling over is a key trigger for me. It's a manifestation of a mental trigger from auto-pilot to manual steering. It doesn't matter which side I started on, as long as I switch which side is up and which side is down.

I've discussed the WBTB method of initiating lucidity to the exclusion of all the others, because it's the one I exclusively use. I'd be inclined to say it's the one the works best, but in truth, it's the only one that--for me at least--works at all. This act of diving back into the dream is simply just WBTB all over again, and for that reason, I won't go into it in depth, you can find details on my other posts.

So why has the frequency of my nightmares declined so sharply? A doctor would tell you that my brain isn't growing as much as it was in those bygone years, but I can attest that that's not the whole story.

My nightmares started going away right at the time I started learning about controlling one's dreams. Prior to that landmark, I'd had minimal control in a very few limited dreams, but didn't know it was a controllable phenomenon. As I learned about lucidity, as I gained mastery, I took back control.

Break your fear of something, and it can no longer frighten you. Find its weakness, and take control.

That's all I did. I found the greatest weakness of each of my nightmares, and that weakness was the helplessness of not being in control. I took that control and turned it against them. The cold sweat that woke me? I used that as my trigger for WBTB, and soon enough, I was holding the reins. I no longer had any need to drive the details of the nightmare from my mind, because every detail that I could hold onto only served to bring me back into control more easily.

Saturday, April 11, 2015

Astral Projection from A Dreamer's Perspective

See, they use video feeds from intersections and specifically designed algorithms to predict traffic conditions and thereby control traffic lights. So all I did was come up with my own kick ass algorithm to sneak in and now we own the place.
-Lyle, aka Napster from Italian Job

I don't really believe in astral projection, though I do believe the concept is intriguing. To be able to move one's point of view from just behind the eyes and ahead of the ears to somewhere outside of the body altogether.

Spiritually, I believe any such thing is impossible. However, I have managed a degree of control of my imagination that allows me to internalize and control many things, including and up to building a world for myself inside of my head. Why can't I build a better world, and then superimpose it on reality?

If I can imagine the world perfectly, I can imagine things happening that are outside of my normal, physical range to observe, and then, if my world is indeed perfect, what I imagine myself observing is actually happening outside my head.

Why not?

It's using computer terminology to take on something so far beyond technology itself, to take on the fabric of reality itself. All I have to do is mold my brain into the right algorithm.

I am well familiar with the data storage limitation, where, in order to perfectly store all the data of the universe, one needs a storage container the size of the universe. In order for myself to perfectly contain the world in my imagination, my imagination has to grow to the size of the world.

Psychology allows for that. Dreams have long been considered a way to tap into the collective unconscious of the entire human race. With the right level of patience and personal training, I don't have to store all the data in my own head; instead, I can tap into the data storage of every human being living.

I know the idea sounds ludicrous. So does the idea of astral projection. You have to ask yourself: which one seems more believable?

Saturday, April 4, 2015

Sympathetic Dreaming Part 2: Dreams Affecting Reality

Last week I introduced the inverse: that something happening in the waking world affecting the dream, but this week, I'd like to look at things flowing the other way.

I'm going to try and stay out of superstitious fictions or unproven possibilities, like astral projection or OOBs (out-of-body experiences). But even avoiding those, there are still circumstances where dreams affect reality.

Emotions
Dreams can generate emotional states that can carry through to post-waking. While this isn't a strictly physical reaction, nonetheless, it counts.

Happiness, sorrow, apathy, joy... even the feeling of belonging or spiritual awakening can be felt while in the dream and carry over while you are still sleeping and after you wake.

Bodily Responses
Every teenage boy knows about this one, but it's not restricted to wet-dreams. Heat, cold, nausea, itches, hunger or lack thereof, even the desire to sneeze can be felt in the dreamworld and your body can respond as if it were truly feeling the stimuli.

While exuberant behavior in the dream rarely translates to in-dream or out-of-dream hunger,hunger itself can be sated, at least, for a short while, if you eat a feast in your dream before you wake.

Pain
If you dream about being hurt in the dream, it's likely you'll wake up feeling pain where you were hurt. This can manifest both as psychological and physical, and probably isn't too dissimilar to the "phantom limb" phenomenon.

If you have a history of joint pain (as I do), suffering through an injury in the dream can exacerbate the out-of-dream pain. You can even suffer from a feedback loop, where the in-dream injury causes out-of-dream pain, and the increased out-of-dream pain can affect the dream and make the injury feel more real.

Summary
For many people, inexperienced dreamers and those who don't become lucid in many of your dreams, you may never consciously feel any of these symptoms. Also, your dreams may not be vivid enough to convince the body to respond appropriately or to a detectable degree.

However, if you're like me, whose dreams feel more vivid than reality itself, and are lucid very frequently, you are far more prone to experience these responses. If you do, I would surely like to hear from you! Feel free to comment below, or if you want to comment privately, you can email me at dreamer@dreamclassier.com.

Saturday, March 28, 2015

Sympathetic Dreaming Part 1: Reality Affecting Dreams

Though you can often find me dismissing claims made in the movie Inception, occasionally, the scriptwriter sprinkles in a bit of truth. The chemist had too much to drink, so it's raining in his dream. While this particular causation is unlikely, it's not unheard of for real-world events to manifest in some form within the dream, including but not limited to bodily conditions.

As a child, before the mind finishes maturing, one may find oneself dreaming of going to the bathroom, only to wake and find you've wet yourself. I myself experienced this particular dream well into my teens, and only in my late teens did this stop; instead, I found myself waking with an aching bladder, but no actual accident. The latter still happens to this day.

Beeping or radio alarms can manifest inside the dream as well, as nearly anything, from car horns to actual alarm. Music playing outside the dream can change the tone or the behavior or the storyline of the dream.

Flashing lights, too, can be reflected within the dream, and some devices that help induce lucidity (help wake your awareness within the dream) use this property, including Stephen LaBerge's Kvasar. Even without such a device, you too can train yourself to use outside stimuli to help you gain lucidity, either through then leaking into the dream, or through the WBTB technique.

Saturday, March 21, 2015

Micro-Dreams

Crim replied to my earlier text that she wasn't doing much during the week with her family for thanksgiving, except on the day of. I read it, promising myself to reply in the morning; I was just too tired now.
 - Dream, night of November 24 to morning of November 25

Dreams don't have to be long, drawn out adventures. Sure, that's what most people seem to write about, but that's because it's easier to write about those. What I like to consider micro-dreams are sometimes mistaken for hallucinations.

There's no actual length limit in either direction for a dream. Because they exist entirely in the space between our ears, they can run at an accelerated pace, where weeks or more can seem pass inside the duration of the dream, or it can go the other way. You can have a short dream, one that felt only a few minutes have passed, and yet several hours or your entire sleep period have dissipated.

For me, micro-dreams tend to occur most often when I'm very tired but having trouble getting comfortable in bed. My eyes will be very heavy, and I'll be snatching short bursts of sleep in between tossing and turning: a few minutes to an hour here or there.

My micro-dreams are usually about someone sending me a text, or an email, or me interacting with my cell phone in some way. I sleep with it literally underneath my pillow at night and often pull it out if I'm having difficulty sleeping, so it is very easy to mistake these short fictions for truths, and they usually do feel considerably more realistic than my more drawn out dreams.

Recall is usually very near perfect, but I attribute this to the fact that there aren't many details to remember, no excessive storyline. Mico-dreams are usually very simple and to the point, like the one above.

Since vividity is so incredibly high, it's very difficult to discover that I am indeed dreaming while the dream is still going on. It is only when I wake that I start to notice small details that would have given it away if the dream had been longer. For example, for Crim's text messages, even though she's in my address book, it still shows her phone number (which is unusual for many smartphones); during the dream, where her number should have been, was "@@". The unlikelihood of that symbol appearing in that setting, especially doubled up, is significant, but because the dream only lasted a few minutes at best, I didn't have the opportunity to remark on it.

As a child, and into my early teens, I often had somewhat longer "mini"-dreams that were comprised of me turning off my alarm clock in the morning, getting up, and starting my morning routine. I'd usually make it to the stairs before I found myself jolted awake by none other than the sound of my alarm clock going off. These dreams were particularly and disturbingly precise such that the clothing options in my drawers were identical, and my choices were identical. It wasn't until I started studying dreaming in high school that these started to become less frequent and eventually go away altogether.

Note that while micro-dreams can be confusing, disturbing, and disorienting, they are very different from hallucinations, which occur exclusively while awake. I recognize that it can be very difficult to confuse the two, especially if you haven't experienced both, independently and firsthand.

Saturday, March 14, 2015

Guests, Visitors, and Co-Participants

There are a lot of characters that join me in my dreams; I almost never find the landscape void of everyone, not that that would necessarily be a bad thing. My characters are varied, their identities coming from all sorts of places.

Also note: while I refer to these characters as if they are people, human beings, that is not always the case for any of the following categories (yes, including the first one).

Twins & Clones
It may seem like a easy way out, a shortcut into populating dreams with duplicates of myself, but it most certainly is not. Being rather attracted to my own self (at least, more than I'm attracted to anyone else these days) and enjoying my own company at least as much as that of others' (if not more), it's a pleasure (in more ways than one) for me. I like being surrounded by self-copies.

Those copies, be they twins, clones, or otherwise, tend to exist in two different types. The first is self-existing bodies, and the second is as an extension of myself. In the first case, they are separate people who simply look and act like me; same body, same personality, but I don't get to experience their perspective. In the second, they act more like an extension of myself, as if my consciousness inhabited or was spread across more than one physical manifestation, not unlike my right hand and my left hand, except they are not joined to each other by flesh.

Experiencing extensions of oneself, and thereby experiencing yourself interacting with yourself is a very unique experience. If you ever find yourself in a similar dream, I highly recommend taking full advantage of it. You might learn some things about yourself and about how other people perceive you.

Splinters of Myself
This is one of the most common types of personality that populates my dreamscapes, seconded only by the next category. Splinters of myself are not twins or clones as I described in the previous section; I do not have any control over them, they rarely act as I would or look as I do. I use the term "splinter" literally: they are aspects of my personality, usually ones that are conflicting, and they manifest without or separate from the alternate part of myself that interferes with them.

The best example of splinter can be found in my (unfortunately mostly abandoned) story "Bands." This story was one of the many that was found in a dream, but unlike most stories that started that way, this was regularly fueled by additional installments in dreams; it was a serial dream, one of my longest running and longest spanning, occurring over the span of several years.

In Bands, there are three main characters: Paul, Katie, and Chris, and each of them was a splinter of myself, with something "more" thrown in. That more was something ethereal and borderline magical, something beond the normal that the real me, either with all the parts pulled back together or if I'd majored in one and let the other parts of me go, would never be capable of.

They were splinters that were literally living their own lives, and as they told me of their adventures, or I watched in dreams (sometimes through Paul's eyes but usually as an omnipotent observer), I would write them down, compile the pieces, and there was the story.


Somebody I Used To Know

This is definitely the largest demographic of people who populate my dreams. Whether I knew them for only a few hours, or I saw them regularly for several years, they have about an equal chance of showing up and participating in some way. They usually behave as I would expect them to from the impressions I picked up while I knew them, and I rarely have any control over their actions, even in lucid dreams or WBTB events.

When I make note of these people in my dream journal, I generally try to only refer to them by their initials or a nickname that few besides myself know. It's mostly because they are usually people I don't interact with anymore and I don't wish to draw them into being associated with me without their consent. I'll leave them to make that decision, and if they find the dream less than flattering, well, all the better that I referred to them in an obscure enough fashion that they can't accuse me of libel.

They are sometimes main characters and sometimes background characters, but I rarely get duplicates of one person in a single dream. That feature seems to be limited exclusively to myself.

Celebs
Popular media too often portrays dreams as a place where you can do anything you want in the presence of celebrities and famous people, whether it be socialize, flirt, or something malicious or erotic. For myself, it is only very rarely that famous faces take the stage in my dreams, and when they do, it's usually only in a supporting role to those in the above categories.

Again, when sharing these dreams publicly, I try to leave only initials or limited references of their identity; though it is far less obscuring (and usually easier to guess) than private citizens' names, it still allows for a sense of humility: I'm not publishing the dream to celebrate the presence of someone famous, I'm publishing it to share and complete my dream journal. The purpose is the dream and the storyline contained therein, not the people.



Somebody That I Haven't Met Yet
It's strange, but sometimes my mind seems to invent people. They're not a part of me, not a part of someone else, not someone I once met, or saw off in the distance. They seem to be completely of themselves and no-one else. These people are hard to spot in my dream journals, because I largely describe them by referring other people I know who share or remind me of particular characteristics.

That's not to say that these new people are just people I've met before wearing a new skin; everybody shares some aspects of their personality with someone else; given a wide enough friend-base and a comprehensive index of their characteristics (both physical and behavoristic) I could describe just about any mixture.

Summary
If nothing else, I'm hardly ever lonely in my dreams, and when I am lonely, I'm not truly alone. My interactions with people in the dreamworlds are more akin to my online interactions with consensual-reality personages: more cultured, more comfortable, than my face-to-face interactions, where I generally come off as shy and borderline anti-social.

What sort of characters and creatures populate your dreams?

Saturday, March 7, 2015

Serial Dreams and Repeating Themes

Serial Dreams
Ever wake up in the morning feeling like you started the story but it's not quite finished yet? Maybe it's not. It is not uncommon for dreams to run like a television series, short episodes spanning the course of several nights, which may or may not be consecutive.

Dreams can be very long and yet still be contained in a single night, and yet, if they are very detailed, even that time dilation may not be enough to play out everything. There is no precise time ratio as you saw in Inception, where they could mathematically figure out how much time they would spend in the dream until the drug runs out. This time dilation depends entirely on the detail level of the dream--the greater level of detail, the closer to true waking time it runs. This may not even be consistent within a single dream: it can fluctuate considerably.

If you have difficulty completing a dream sequence, when it feels like more should be added on to give you a finished feeling, be sure to include in your dream journal (or just plain remember, which is much more difficult) not only the close of the dream, but how you felt as it ended. When you go to sleep next, bring those thoughts and feelings back into your mind, and the dream will hopefully continue.

You can find my experience with Serial Dreams on DreamCollectier.

Repeating Dreams
Those who insist on interpreting dreams (of which I do not participate in) usually claim that repeating dreams indicate a message that your mind (or a higher power maybe) is trying to tell you, or a lesson you need to learn.

Repeating dreams can be a cause of something considerably more simple. As shown in How To Initiate Lucid Dreams, your thoughts as you fall asleep can have a considerable influence on your dreams, especially for those practiced in using those related styles to make themselves dream lucidly. If you live a repetitive lifestyle, where you work regular hours, participate in regularly scheduled activities, and such, going to bed feeling very similarly can cause your brain to behave similarly when you're asleep.

It's also possible that your brain is trying to tell you something.

Repeating Geography
Outside of serial dreaming (where the geographic is mostly expected to repeat) and repeating dreams (where by sheer nature of the concept, it must), geography and landscapes may repeat, even as the topic of the dreams change.

When each of us thinks about a immaterial concept such as "home," even though there is no actual place called Home, a consistent image is drawn into the mind. As in the waking world, so in the dream world.

For regular and experienced dreamers, calling oneself to wake in one's personal domain is not unusual. It allows the dreamer to start somewhere familiar, and either continue on their current or most recent journey, or to go seek out a new one.

Mabon is such a place in the dream world of Charles deLint. It makes for a magnificent starting place of journeys both simple and grand, and allows the dreamer to find or build a home for themselves in the dream world. Similar places also appear in Stephen Harper's Silent Empire series and Bruce Balfour's Prometheus Road.

Our minds may be wondrous things, but even so, they can only create a limited (but seemingly infinite) supply of geographical features. For regular dreamers, these landscapes and landmarks are bound to repeat, even if they are not always recognizable as repetitions.

Saturday, February 28, 2015

Missing The Ground

Whether you're in control of your dream or not, lucid or dreaming passively, flight is still an amazing phenomenon. Everybody flies differently, and no method is any better or worse than the others.

Like A Bird...
Flap your wings or your ears to leave the ground. Some may sprout wings, some may transform into a bird, some may just wave their arms about.

Like A Plane...
Just spread your arms and go. Lift off, using your feet and arms to steer, and hands as spoilers. Depending on the level of technology in your dream, you might also be wearing a jet pack. Some people may need to get a running start, for others, just jumping may be sufficient.

Like A Fish...
In the dream world, air may behave like a fluid, and even when it doesn't, you can still swim through it. Go ahead and start paddling, there’s no one here to laugh, and if you are being watched, you might find your sort of flying is a common technique in this world.

Like A-laddin...
Sorry, bad joke; the things I do to try and keep a common theme. Just shake your head and move on. Magic may not be something you believe in, but remember, in the dream-world, anything is possible. From flying carpets to seven-league boots, and even animal familiars who will pick you up with their claws (frightening if everything stays a life-like size), you can fly through using a magical tool.

With a Harness and Saddle (or Bareback) on the Back of A...
Pegasi? Dragon? Roc? Your best friend who happens to have wings? Just be careful doing that last one “bareback,” those with dirty minds might interpret it as something else.

With Your Mind
This is my favorite. Just float. Lift yourself higher into the air mentally and up you go. Sometimes it helps to simultaneous imagine yourself looking down on the world as if your were ten feet tall and imagine yourself your actual height, though maybe that’s just too much work and unnecessary at that.

You can find my experiences with flight in dreams on DreamCollectier.


Have your own way of leaving the ground (without conventional methods of riding an airplane or hang gliding)? I’d love to hear about them. Comment away!

Saturday, February 21, 2015

After You've Woken Up

I've seen no conclusive evidence for reasoning why some people can easily remember their dreams and why others find it very difficult. I know that, very early in my dream studies, I found places stating that you can only remember a dream if you wake in the middle of it, but I've discovered through practice that's simply not true. While it's more difficult for me to remember dreams that I have not woken in the middle of, I can still occasionally get distinct and indistinct shapes, flavors, scents, and feelings from previous dreams. I have found that those dreams that I wake in the middle of are far more vivid than those that go uninterrupted, but that's not to say I have no recollection of them.

It is with all such discoveries of the dreaming experience that we must take carefully into consideration before accepting it as fact. The dream world is still too far beyond the reach of our sciences (though drawing closer every day) to actually be completely science.

Everybody has their own perceptions, experiences, and practices that very often will contradict what others have found that they themselves are capable of. I have done, and will continue to do, my very best in leaving aspects of the dreaming experience open to other options. I can only describe what I have learned through my own journeys in the hopes that you will make a journey of your own, and share it so that we all may benefit.

Saturday, February 14, 2015

On Forgetting The Elephant

Hypothetically it's possible, but unlikely: forgetting reality or losing sight of it, becoming so addicted to dreaming that reality is cast by the wayside, or that the dreaming world starts to become confused with the waking one.

Hypothetically possible, but unlikely.

It's very easy to find yourself preferring the dream world over the waking one, and the dream world is by nature more vivid than the waking world, once you train yourself to remember and see all of the details. That takes a lot of experience and training and practice, and with all that practice, you do learn control and better ways to differentiate between the waking and dreaming worlds.

Anyone who argues that Jared (yes, I'm bringing him back up again after all this time) lost track of the difference of reality and dream when he fired those shots is hiding from his possible insanity and delusions. If he was as practiced at dreaming as he claimed, he would be able to tell the difference.

Reality is a really big elephant, and it's not easy to forget.

Saturday, February 7, 2015

LD In The Media: Honda HR-V

There's a flood of misconceptions about dreaming and lucid dreaming that are often perpetuated by mass media, but not always. Sometimes they just get lucky, and sometimes they do their homework. I don't know which holds true for Honda Australia, but my highly critical eye finds no faults with their advertisement.


Reading about lucid dreaming before bedtime is none other than Waking-Induced Lucid Dreaming, and a common enough strategy for beginners.

While many new to the dream-scene might find their car displays nonsensical or non-functional, it doesn't hold true for everyone. The same goes for clockfaces, the printed word in books, even license plates.

Also, layered dreams are not fictional. While rare and often degrees more difficult to control, it is perfectly reasonable and possible. We haven't gotten to that topic yet on here, but I can promise you that it's coming.

Honda Australia gets the DreamC Seal of Approval, which is more than I can say for Inception.

Saturday, January 31, 2015

Making Sure You're Down the Rabbit Hole

All too often, the dream feels so real that you can’t tell that you’re really dreaming. That can be rather problematic, and instead of jumping out a window to see if you can fly, or shooting a senator to see whether the crowd attacks you or applauds you, use dream signs to verify that you’re dreaming... or not dreaming.

For the practiced dreamer, simple dream signs won’t work, but as you grow more practiced, you will find your own ways to tell whether you are dreaming or not. These in here are recommended for beginners.

Clock and Wristwatches
If you’re wearing a wristwatch right now as you read this, take a quick look at it, turn away, then glance back. I hope you’re awake right now (or I’m really impressed) and the watch should show standard movement. The time will have progressed a few seconds, but other than that, the two sights should be very similar.

In the dream, however, this will not always be the case. Very often, your watch will change between digital and analog, the time may change drastically or be running in reverse, the face may be blank altogether, or you may find that you’re not wearing a watch at all. There are many more variations to this, and they also work for wall clocks and other timepieces. If you're in the habit of checking your phone for the time, it will do as well.

Mirrors
For those who have seen The Matrix, you have nothing to fear: the worst thing that could happen is you might wake up. In dreams, mirrors are unlikely to reflect the world back at you reversed. More likely they will show the world facing forward, or something else entirely. Sometimes, mirrors are actually windows or doors into other worlds.

Go ahead and touch the mirror. Do you see yourself in the mirror doing the same thing? Does the surface of the mirror feel solid?

You can find my experiences with mirrors on DreamCollectier.

Lights and Light Switches
Such a simple concept: in the waking world, flip the switch and something turns on. Flip it again and it turns off. For beginning dreams, more often than not nothing happens when you throw a light switch. Sometimes, a light will come on but it won’t go back out.

Try blowing on the light-bulb. If it goes out, you’re definitely dreaming (or in the middle of a magic trick). Move your hand close to the bulb. If it’s an incandescent, your hand should feel its warmth without touching it. If not, you’re likely dreaming (but don’t actually touch the bulb just in case you’re not).

Flight and Gravity
I’m not going to recommend that you try jumping off a cliff or out your bedroom window. Rather, I’m going to recommend you abstain from any such activities until you’re certain you’re dreaming. Instead, stand still and try willing yourself upward off the ground. Wave your arms or jump if that helps. Be mindful of how far off the ground you rise, and how long it takes you to return to the ground, if you drift down at all.

In the (paraphrased) words of Douglas Adams, flying is simply throwing yourself at the ground and missing. Stand up on your bed. Lean backwards. As long as there is nothing on your bed, even awake you should be able to fall backwards without injuring yourself. Miss. Miss the bed, miss the mattress, miss hitting the ground. Tell yourself you’re going to miss hitting the ground. If you do miss the ground, you’re definitely dreaming (or on drugs, which usually amounts to the same thing).

Summary
There are many more dream signs out there, some unique to yourself and some of these above may not even work for you. As you become accustomed to being aware that you’re dreaming, you will find those that work best for you.

Saturday, January 24, 2015

Opening Your Eyes: Methods To Indue Lucidity

There are several different ways to induce lucid dreaming, each of which comes with it’s on acronym, and each is easier for some and more difficult for others.

MILD - Mnemonic-Induced Lucid Dreaming
Even in waking life, mnemonic phrases can be used to concentrate the mind. I myself have used them when playing tennis and badminton, curing my difficulty in serving. This same trick can be used to force your mind to concentrate on achieving lucidity. However, if you have difficulty falling asleep, especially if it is through trouble stopping thinking, this may not be the best method.

WILD - Wake Initiated Lucid Dreaming
Using meditation techniques as you fall asleep, such as tightening and relaxing your muscles one at a time, or focusing on the flame of a lit candle, is another method. However, as you slip into sleep, you may find yourself trapped between states, unable to move but completely aware. There is nothing harmful about this, but it may seem very frightening. This is what is called Sleep Paralysis.

You can find my own successes using WILD on DreamCollectier

VILD - Visual-Induced Lucid Dreaming
As you drift to sleep, think about what you want to dream about. Picture it in your mind. Visualize yourself succeeding, and when you fall asleep, you find yourself dreaming lucidly successfully. At least, that’s the idea. This is another method that may not be the most successful for people who have difficulty falling asleep because their minds won’t stop whirling.

LILD - Lucid-Induced Lucid Dreaming
Lucid-Induced means what it sounds like: you have to tell yourself whle you’re dreaming lucidly that you’ll dream lucidly again. I’ve heard account of people who have used this very effectively, but it does require that you’ve succeeded in dreaming lucidly already.

WBTB - Wake, Back-To-Bed
This is the most effective for me, and I use it regularly, especially when I am having a nightmare, a dream that is taking an unfortunate turn. The few books that mention this method typically recommend that you get out of bed, get something to drink, read something that refers to dreaming, and then go back to bed between 30 and 60 minutes later.

For myself, though, I just roll over. Since I sleep on my side, rolling over gives my mind the idea that I’m switching to the other side of the dreaming coin: I’m going from a victim of the dream to the controller, turning my subconscious on the defensive. Also, it allows me to sleep in the same spot on my mattress, but to feel the sheets freshly, allowing me another metaphor on my assault.

You can find my own successes using WBTB on DreamCollectier.

There are two ways to wake yourself up while dreaming:
First, going to sleep at the same time every night will allow you to learn precisely when you dream. As your cycle through the layers of sleeping (Stage 1, Stage 2, Stage 3, and REM) is typically very regular, you will be able to set an alarm to wake yourself up while in the middle of a dream.

Second, when you start to feel frightened in a dream, you can teach yourself to wake up. My dreams more often than not start as non-lucid, and then when I return to them, they are lucid. Depending on how much my subconscious fights for control changes how much control I have over the dream, as well as how my control manifests itself.

In my own bad dreams, I have protected myself using everything from god-like powers to bubbling myself. Killing myself has also saved me on more than one occasion, giving me an astral-projection-like experience (entirely within the dream, not actual projection through the real, waking world).

Many books never mention this method, and many of the dreamers I have spoken with have never heard of it.

Summary
The most important thing is to find a method that works best for you, whether it is just one of the above methods or a combination, or something else entirely. I know I’ve covered WBTB more thoroughly than any of the others (only because it is the method that I am most familiar and effective with), and I do recommend doing further research on any that sound like they may be best for you.

Saturday, January 17, 2015

Before You Can Get Started Lucid Dreaming

What a lot of dream guides seem to skip is the starting steps. They assume you can already remember at least some of your dreams, except not everybody can.

Some people start with poor dream recall, make the decision, conscious or unconscious, for any of a number of reasons, that they don't want to remember their dreams, and after perpetuating that decision, they stop remembering them all together.

This doesn't mean you've stopped dreaming. Everybody dreams.

There's a simple enough countermand. You just have to decide you want to start remembering your dreams again.

I'm not going to tell you it will happen right away, because it won't. It will take time. I'm also not going to tell you when the details finally start to come in that they're going to vivid, or that they're going to linear, or that they will make sense. The first details that start to come in might not even be images or words: you might get scents, or colors, or emotions, or textures. Regardless what it is that you get, record it.

Now, most people say "Keep a dream journal." Essentially, that is true: you should keep a record of what impressions you have when you wake up, which is a quiet message to your brain telling it to remember those sorts of things, and not let them slip away like it's used to doing. Regardless what level of a dreamer you are, regardless whether recall comes to you naturally or not (some people are just that lucky), you should keep a record of your dreams.

But calling it a "journal" sometimes seems to imply like you're writing a story or keeping a diary or a shopping list of all the things that happened in the dream, and it's not like that at all. You can draw in your "journal;" you can have building plans in your "journal;" you can record scents, textures, sounds, you can have three-dimensional designs that you've built in a CAD program. The nature of the material in the "journal" isn't important, the matter of whether or not you have one is.

If you'd like an example of a dream journal, you can find mine at DreamCollectier.blogspot.com.