By guest author Alexandra Enns.
Being a spontaneous lucid dreamer from the start, only exploring the dream scenes or flying in joy without reflecting on the process of floating in the air, I started to fight when I once decided to give up this relaxed way of “dream life.”
To be precise, I discovered that the more I was focusing on dream control, the more elusive it became! As a result of this, flying got increasingly harder so that I started to crash like a bird without the sense of direction. Moreover, I could not pass through walls by will and even tried to force myself through them which turned out very awkward and arduous, as if pushing myself through the soft glass. I seemed to have “blocked” dream control skills which brought about frustration in the waking state.
While searching for the most helpful attitude to influence the dream, I experienced my first ‘dream control wonders’ which the following dream report illustrates:
From the aerial perspective, I watch myself falling asleep in a reading room of a university. Then I wake up in the same dream again, but in my dream body this time, and start looking for the evidence that I am just dreaming. I go outside first. Walking in a beautiful park, I stop when spotting several trees that seem to be great for both checking my state of awareness and trying to take control of the dream. While looking at one of the trees, I bend it in all directions with an ‘empty mind.’
So, I am dreaming indeed!
I decide to leave this place whereby a young girl clings to me, asking: “Will you please take me with you?”. I agree and fantasise about Vienna, to me one of the most appealing places in the waking world.
But ... what’s that?
I am stunned by my environment: The streets are pink and grey coloured which makes them look like a comic cartoon.
Suddenly, my companion and I are being followed by someone – so we’re running wildly through the city centre until we reach the “Kaertnerstrasse,” the pedestrian zone famous for its shopping possibilities. Still, we continue sprinting until I see the St. Stephen’s Cathedral. That’s when I wish myself to Paris, another lovely, cultural metropolis by thinking only one word - “Paris.” It seems like you can travel as if talking to a taxi driver, I quietly notice.
The Parisian weather turns out disappointing – the rain is coming down in sheets. I automatically stretch out my right hand, and an umbrella appears in my hand.
Incredible!, I muse. I don’t even have to think about the umbrella. It goes without saying!
The girl from the beginning of the dream and I finally hide in a mall. While looking at the Eiffel Tower from there, I wake up.
Calling dream control into question
At this point, I was faced with these challenging questions:
How does the dreamer interact with the dream by trying to influence it? Who exactly is answering the »commands« of dream control? Does the result simply represent a (random) creation in the brain or is this answer too superficial?
In my opinion, the dreamer is usually working with his subconscious in the course of a lucid dream. And if some surprising or even mind-enriching results occur that is mostly due to the subconscious itself that was sleeping in the waking state and now has gained the possibility to speak out. All other events are too matchless to be classified; science itself has difficulties to explain this phenomenon plainly, so I refrain from any bold digressions here!
The importance of body awareness
In my opinion, ‘overwork’ in lucidity training often leads to the absence of success.
Try to transform your everyday life into the practice of mindfulness to have DILDs (and try out other lucid dreaming techniques from time to time only).
For instance, do not underestimate the power of a strong core in the waking state. In other words, ask yourself these questions:
Do I have control over my body in physical reality?
How conscious am I of the movements my body performs almost tirelessly?
Do you think you really have an idea of how your dream body operates if you don’t even know how body control actually feels like in waking reality?
From my experience, it is helpful to integrate physical exercise into your daily routine to carry it out mindfully. You might want to try martial arts etc., but there are also other convenient mind-body-workouts like Pilates which goes very well with any endurance sports.
Having practised Pilates for nearly two decades, I can only emphasise the considerable benefits of this training – I suggest you try out the teaser variations and the exercise like ‘control balance’ to find out how strong your ‘powerhouse’ is! You can’t practice Pilates without concentration which makes it a great component of the practice of mindfulness. For obvious reasons, one can’t observe bodily functions the whole day – but integrating Pilates, either short walking or running meditation in your daily routine will support you in increasing your body awareness. In general, this ability will support you in any dream control attempt connected with the transformation of your dream body, i.e. each time visualisation is important to achieve a specific goal, but also to perform the spinning technique properly (more on spinning in a separate article in the future).
Incorporate reality tests while you are doing sports and analyze your physical condition at the same time; apart from leading a healthier life the ‘side effects’ might include you suddenly notice your body ‘feels different’, you are ‘moving too slowly or quickly’, you have no weight or suchlike to finally discover you are indeed dreaming right now!
Creating mental images
If you are struggling with passing through ‘solid objects’ in your lucid dreams, try to develop a mental image to assist you in overcoming your ‘internal obstacles’.
In dream excerpt given below, I describe my first significant ‘mental break-through’ which I achieved through accepting my mind (i.e. dream environment) as a ‘permeable membrane’ in the waking state first so that it became a matter of naturalness in my dreams:
… I start going straight forward. I merely pass through everything that crosses my way by slightly curling my fingers and pulling the illusive walls etc. apart. That’s when I realise that the best way to control the dream is to ‘not care about controlling it.’
The realisation that made me feel amazed and that I noted down upon awakening was:
I can control the dream only by living in the (dream) moment. I have to be present and focused without straining my mind.
Learn to expect ‘more.’
To finish my reflections, I suggest you never ‘fully’ believe what the books and other sources are claiming about dream control!
If you start reading/hearing something like:
“I tried… and I couldn’t …”
take it as a challenge to prove the contrary!
Consider the following struggle about calling out your name in a lucid dream:
“…Although both LaBerge and Garfield say that they think others experienced this inability to articulate their name in lucid dreams due to their expectations, my experience with trying this has been fraught with unexpected challenges—and I had no knowledge of Ouspensky’s idea about this when I first experienced an inability to voice my name out loud in a lucid dream. I’ve tried in many different lucid dreams to form some type of postdream connection with what seems to be fellow dreamers that I’ve met there, by trying to exchange our earthly names and contact information. So far, I’ve found this to be completely impossible, almost as though a law of physics in this other reality prevents me from doing so—although I’ve wondered if this could be related to my tendency to stutter as a child. For some reason, I find it impossible to tell other characters I meet in a lucid dream that my name is David Jay Brown, or that I live in California, even though I can clearly think this while in the dream. Every time I’ve tried to, the words simply do not come out, and everyone else in the dream appears to have the same difficulty…”
How about you? Have you ever spoken your name out loud in a lucid dream? I suggest you try this out after reading this article to tell about the results in the comments section ;)
Have you been mentally manipulated by studying the excerpt above?
By the way, I share LaBerge’s view ;) so I have pronounced, written etc. my name many times in my lucid dreams! The claim above did not make any sense to me and was reflected accordingly in the short, lucid dream scene depicted below:
“No effect is a result as well”
I call out my name several times while dreaming lucidly and wonder, why the dream does not collapse. Then I lead a cosy small talk with a dream figure and finally wake up…
This experience was of great importance to me because it showed me that my expectation was not influenced in any way by the experience of others.
An appropriate attitude to assist you in carrying out any lucid dreaming experiment might be to ask yourself while awake:
Why would the dream scene dissolve etc.?
Why would my experiment ‘not work’?
Nothing is impossible!
All in all, I feel it is vital to always think and act like a pioneer while taking the advice of other experienced lucid dreamers into account. Get inspired, solve your problems, but do not adopt any restrictive thinking! Do not completely embark on well-trodden paths – you have all you need within you to overcome any dream challenge.
Brown, David Jay. Dreaming Wide Awake: Lucid Dreaming, Shamanic Healing, and Psychedelics. Inner Traditions/Bear & Company. Kindle-Version.