Friday, December 25, 2015

A Dream Yoga Story: Success at Last and then Failure

I had been working at waking at trying to wake up in my dreams for almost two months. I had discovered the stories of lucid dreamers who had come up with songs, invented things, and got answers to key philosophical questions by mastering what is often called dream yoga. I had read everything I could find on the subject and realized this, if perfected, could provide the answer to any question that I could come up with. What more could one ask for in life?

I was having very little success. In fact I was almost convinced I would never be able to do it. I had learned and practised the induction mantras, tried to remember during the day to do many reality checks. I had made audio tapes that I had timed to play while I was sleeping during REM dream states where I would tell myself, “Grant You are dreaming. Do a reality check.” I had the pills that are used with Alzheimer’s patients that increase the chances of becoming lucid. I had the glasses that flash lights during the REM cycles that provide dream signals of dream states. I had tried hypnosis. Nothing was working.

The only thing that was working is that I could remember at least parts of 2-7 dreams each night. This is unusual in that most people cannot remember any of their dreams. I could remember lots of dreams but was unable to realize that they were dreams and no reality. The way I would do it is to drink lots of water before going to bed and then all the way during the night. I would be up every 90 minutes going to the bathroom. I was left with a whole steno pad full of stupid dreams that I hated to record.

This all created a very depressing situation. I could end up doing this stupid dream thing for the rest of my life. I had no control, and basically spent every night watching myself in a series of very dumb grade B movies. It was quickly become a nightmare situation even though the dreams weren’t bad. They were all different but very stupid. I was amazed at how my mind could come up with six or seven Hollywood movie plots every night.

Waking in one’s dream can be the most powerful non-local conscious experience a person can have. If they can become “aware” and then operate with the power of the non-local unrestricted consciousness that is accessible, they can solve problems and answer almost any question. The imagination of the mind seems to be the only restricting factor. It almost harkens back to words or Jesus who said, “Because of your little faith. For truly, I say to you, if you have faith like a grain of mustard seed, you will say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there,’ and it will move, and nothing will be impossible for you.”

My problem was the same as everyone else who has tried to master lucid dreaming. In life our ego mind just goes along assuming that everything is real and we think we understand it. The reality is that we are in a dream and most of what we assume is real is not what we think it is. We are in an arrogant state of ignorance and denial.

When we enter the dream state each night we take this arrogant ignorance along with us and we just go along with the events of the dream not questioning anything. It is only when we awaken that we realize that we have been nothing but a foolish observer of illusion.

That is what was happening to me and I was starting to think that I would never catch on. Time and again there would be people who had died appearing in the dream, or I would be back at the university working six years after retiring. In one really embarrassing example of going along with the dream I was talking to an animal and he was talking back. Each time I would just go along with it as if it was normal.

This takes us to my first short awakening experience in a dream. I had slept for six hours before I woke for the first time. This was not normal. I got up and went to the bathroom. I drank some water. Usually I am up 90 minutes after I first go to bed. I toke two Lucidimine [1] pills. I put on my lucid dreaming mask.[2] I tried to follow the Wake and then Back to Bed (WBTB) technique.[3] Like every night before I had zero expectation that anything would happen. I fell back asleep and entered the dream.

In the dream I am working in a storeroom situation with grain and earth samples (not sure why earth and grain as I never worked with them). I am working as an assistant to a storeroom guy named Doug that I had worked with 40 years ago when I was attending university. He was very good at what he did. I made mistakes and cut corners. He was always very kind and covered for my mistakes by just doing what I had not done.

In the dream I have messed something up and he takes me down Highway 75 south of Winnipeg where I live (towards the US border). I am standing on the side of the road and he is in the west side fields doing something. We go from spot to spot and he is working very fast. At one point he grabs some grain stocks and throws them up in the air. A small tornado effect appears over his head as the grain swirls around.

I wonder to myself “What is he doing?” Then the magic triggering words of lucid dreaming come out of my mind. “This is really weird. I must be dreaming. This must be a dream.”
I became very excited knowing that I had a very tough road trying to the lucid dream state without success. I know from the research that once a person gets into the lucid dream state they are then presented with the very tough situation of stabilizing the dream before they can operate in it. Getting to the lucid state is only the first of many techniques that must be mastered.

I quickly do a reality check to see if this is a dream. I pinch my nose and see if I can still breathe. I am not 100% sure but I think I can. I must be dreaming. Now I am instantly afraid that the dream will break down, I will wake up and never get back here again. I know I must stabilize the dream before I can start asking questions.

There are many techniques for doing this but one of the best apparently is one that was developed by Stephen LaBerge[4] who did decades of lucid dream research at Stanford University. That technique involves putting your arms out and spinning like a figure skater. The scene will completely change, usually going back to a bedroom scene, but the dream will be stabilize and a person can start to operate. I had many questions I had planned to ask and was ready to start.

I put out my arms and spun. The next thing I knew I was awake. I had a great feeling of disappointment. My one chance at lucid dreaming was over. I had messed up my one chance. There I was back at the university in my office. The dream continued on about some guy selling wheat and my boss was back figuring out why this person was selling at this time.
It was not until I woke up in bed that I realized I had experienced what is known as a false awakening. I had gone along with it as being part of reality. The reality is I was assuming was real was not.

I had woken from the dream, not back into a waking reality which I assumed, but back into the dream. I had read about this but assumed it came from watching a bizarre dream character doing something strange that grabs your attention and sucks you back into the dream. I continued to dream thinking that I had woken up. I was wrong.

When I woke in bed into the physical dream world, I used the techniques I had studied to go back to sleep and get back into the same dream. I was able to get back to sleep, but just entered two new stupid dreams that like all my dreams of the past I just went along with. The dream with the awakening moment was gone forever.

My list of questions is still ready and I wait for my next chance to ask them. I am encouraged because I was starting to doubt that lucid dreaming really existed. I was starting to think that maybe everyone was just making it up. That is because experience is the ultimate reality. People believe what they experience, and as hard as I tried I could not experience the stories I had heard about lucid dreaming.

I am a step closer and more determined than ever to be lucid every night instead of spending 1/3 of every day unconscious to the amazing universe that is out there to explore. I am grateful to have gotten a glimpse of the fact that life is illusory in waking and dream states and that objects in both states are therefore empty and have no substantial nature. More importantly, I now believe that the stories people tell about the Lucid dream state are true, and there is a chance I will get the chance to be in that world.

It all happened Christmas morning. What a wonderful gift.