I have a confession to make. I am a chronic daydreamer, have been since my early days back in Minue Elementary School, when my first grade teacher, who despised me I swear, complained to my mother about my chronic lack of participation, I was extremely shy and wouldn’t raise my hand in class, swearing I had a learning disability, which I assure you I did not, becasue of my constant staring off into the distance, I was bored, I was reading books on my own, writing and composing music at four years old, (my dirty little secret that no one knows about) shhh, I knew my alphabet fully and could write my full name at 3, so occasionally, I would disconnect and become the characters in a story, or wonder what my life would be like one day when I was much older, at 18! As I got older, I started to have these compelling dreams, I also had a self-fulfilling one.. when I was 8, that plagued me periodically, until it sadly came true, when I was 21. I use to have nightmares about my mother dying. In these horrible nightmares, I was there as she lay dying and couldn’t save her. Sadly, when my mother had her massive heart attack at 21, even the CPR I had administered, being certified in CPR for my then job, could not save her.
As I begin to become aware of my dreams and how some of them would eventually become my reality, not all bad thankfully, I started to alter my dreams as they were occurring in my sleep. Manipulating who was in them, what I was doing as they were happening and what the outcome would be. This went on for many years. Now I had no idea that this was an actual practice, or that others were capable of doing the same, until I was in college and had learned about Lucid Dreaming in my Advanced Psychology class, but by then I was already using this on many occasions in my sleep. For those of you that are not familiar with it, lucid dreaming is the practice of altering your dreams, once you are in REM sleep. Alter dreams? I know if you are unaware of this or have never done it, it seems impossible, or that I am completely insane, but I promise you this a very real thing and you can become proficient at it! When I found out about how this practice could serve to heal the psyche and allow one to become aware of things that we my be harboring subconsciously, I found more ways to incorporate this into my dream state. Now this is not an easy practice, I admit it, and it must be cultivated, but if you can master this you will see your life change in profound ways, I promise. For me, as I learned more about how to become more conscious in my lucid dream state, I learned that I could begin to manifest ideas, solutions to problems, and even make peace with people whom I was having conflict with. Some of the things I have been able to overcome in my lucid state includes making peace with my past, getting ideas for writing, solutions for problems, and having a better understanding of what I conceal to myself in an awaken state. By rewriting scenarios and acting them out, so to speak, to a more pleasant outcome, has helped me heal some of my emotional trauma. One area I healed was the guilt I carried around for a long time by being the only one with my Mom when she passed away. I felt responsible that I could not save her life the night she passed away, even though I had a trauma nurse talk to me right after my Mom’s death at the hospital and explained to me that even if I had been a skilled nurse or physician, I would not have been able to save my Mom because of the extent of her heart attack. Further, she shared that she had been unable to save her father who died the same way, even with her ER training as a nurse, but even that did little to ease the guilt I felt, and it wasn’t until with the help of a gifted psychic, go ahead scoff, but he was featured on Lifetime Channel as an accredited medium, and my lucid dreams of talking with my mother, that I was able to let go of that guilt and accept that it was her time to go, and could feel blessed that I helped her cross over, she was not alone as she passed away, and more importantly, that she did not blame me at all for her death, which I had imagined for a long time that she had. Lucid dreams have also allowed me to change patterns in dealing with people who have hurt me, and to whom I have had extended conflict with. However, there is one area of my life that I have yet to let go of, and no matter how much I try, I find it very difficult to find closure with. I have accepted that it will take me more time, but I would like to find resolution to this place within me that holds on to this hurt. I know it is there for a reason, but in my journey thus far, I have been unable to relinquish the hurt from this traumatic event and I’m hoping to one day let this go. None the less, I have been successful in achieving peace in many areas, so I will rejoice in that accomplishment for now.
So for those of you wondering about lucid dreaming and how you can implement it into your life, I will share with you some ways that helped and still help me, achieve this practice.
In my early days, I use to keep a dream log, I did this because I was having such frightening nightmares in my late teens, that I wanted to recall what was haunting them. Soon I was recognizing some of the same things occurring. I would urge you if you are new to this idea to get a small notebook and keep it by your bedside. It will help to jot things down as soon as you awake and can recall them. I still jot things down, only now I keep it on my phone, as I usually have my cell phone close by. It will help you to see what is bothering you as they reappear in a dream state.
Step # 2
Meditating before bed and early morning. I like to take several minutes before I feel myself drift off to think about the events of the day, and quiet my mind to see what is bothering me, it usually doesn’t take long to have some inkling to what I need to deal with that’s causing me anxiety. In the morning I like to take a few quite moments during my Japa meditation and reflect on what I thought of the night before, especially after an extremely powerful lucid dream. Recogizing emotions, how your body reacts in the dream, and what answers come to you as a result, is a great way to gain clarity and stay the course, especially when you become unsure of yourself, as I have been feeling recently with the introduction to my blog, furthering my career as a Chef, and moving through menopause.
When you are finally in a dream state, and you can feel yourself dreaming, try to stay in this dream state as long as you can. It will be hard at first, for me since I have done this for many years I instinctively just do this, but for someone new to lucid dreaming you can start to do this. At first for very brief periods even a second. But gradually you will build up the time that is spent in lucid dreaming. This is where you will start to gain some insight into rearranging your dream and playing with the outcome. As this begins to become more of a regular practice you will see new thoughts emerge to how you truly feel about a particular situation. I remember one specific event that was causing me so much angst in my waking moments. I was looking for guidance and I was stuck. For two weeks even in my dreams, I couldn’t change the outcome. The dream was me riding on a horse, and wanting to ride on the beach, but every time I tried to get to the beach I couldn’t, and I would wake up. It was pissing me off. Then I realized one day while I was in traffic on my daily commute, I didn’t want to do something that I felt obligated to do, it was so clear at that moment, and I ultimately didn’t do it, because I knew I was not doing it from a place of sincerity and wanting, but I swear to you, I could not see it until I analyzed this dream for two weeks straight. It may not come as a lightening bolt hitting you all at once, but if you are open to the practice, it will come!
There is a phenomenon that occurs while you are in REM sleep and going into a semi-awake state, called sleep paralysis, if you have ever been awake and experienced this it can be quite frightening, because you try to move, but cannot. Sleep paralysis is defined according to Wikipedia, as a phenomenon during which an individual is unable to move during falling asleep or awakening, but is aware of their surroundings. It is often accompanied by frightening hallucinations to which one is unable to react because of paralysis and perceived physical experiences, such as a strong current running through the upper body. When you begin to practice lucid dreaming this will occur with more regularity. This is a safety mechanism of sorts so you don’t try to move in your dream say to replicate riding a horse, and seriously injure yourself climbing on top of your dresser to straddle it. Why that sounds so sexual is beyond me?!
Some popular lucid dreams that many people report are, flying through the clouds with a loved one past or present, sexual dreams with an old flame or celebrity crush, hello David Beckham, and yes, it is possible to have an orgasm in your dream state, even more reason to give this a try, wouldn’t you say? Being a superhero, a fashion model, or famous athlete to name a few.
In closing I would like to say, some people have difficulty accepting new concepts such as lucid dreaming, meditating, and the like, because it may feel like a scary proposition getting to know what truly lies beneath, what one thinks and feels, and that is fine. But if you are open-minded, and have the deep desire to learn about yourself in a profound way, to foster greater creativity, and just heal some old wounds, this practice can be a wonderful way to cleanse your soul, and begin to understand about your relationship with others, the world around you, and lead you on the path to your own spiritual Nirvana. Pleasant dreams and happy trails!