Dave and Tony

Thanks for getting in touch – and I hope your visits to friends were good.

Well, I didn’t expect you to be able to remember me, certainly not from my name.  We met rather briefly in Oxford Friends Meeting House about 8 or so years ago; I was running a Yoga class and you came along to a couple of sessions.  I recall mentioning that I’d read one of your books (Relax with Yoga).  Lots of water has gone under the bridge since then, but I was pleasantly surprised to see your name on another book (Lucid Dreaming) which I stumbled across the other day.  Now that you’ve drawn my attention to it, I’ve checked out your website and discovered how illustrious and productive you are.  At the moment, I’m about ½ way through Lucid Dreaming – other pressures prevent more rapid progress.

Over the years, I’ve been fortunate enough to have had a number of lucid dreams (one being very beautiful and significant) and did once embark on using a Tibetan Buddhist technique to access this state, with some success.

My inner life then took another turn and I didn’t follow this through, though it’s been very interesting to read of your progressive series of exercises to induce and use lucidity.

Now, I have two Ideas I’d like to bounce off you; they both seem to me to involve dream-like states breaking into ‘everyday’ consciousness.

Each year, I take time off for foreign travel, alone by motorcycle – sometimes calling in on various friends but having no fixed route or destination, keeping to the back roads and avoiding major tourist sites.  A few years ago, after leaving England, it struck me that I was searching for something – but what?  I was looking for the answer without knowing the question.  It was an intense and poignant search and it was, of course, an interior journey.  Exotic landscapes, alien cultures and foreign languages conspired to undermine my version of reality.  I tried hard to maintain maximum awareness and receptivity, since I knew that recognition of my quarry would come through a sense of internal resonance of some kind.  I tried to milk every encounter, every experience for personal significance and it turned out to be a very rewarding journey (including falling in love…).  The penny finally dropped to the sound of chanted Latin in a Spanish monastery – but that’s another story.

At the time (and looking back, even more so) it seemed as if the whole episode was a waking dream, lasting several weeks.

The other idea is maybe rather more cerebral.  Although I consider myself a Quaker, I am open to, and have spent time exploring, other paths.  I’ve recently been drawn to Orthodox Christianity and, in particular, to the use of icons to both induce and depict prayer states.  Delving into this (I’ve been fortunate enough to have met Orthodox academics here in Oxford who have helped me), it seems to me as if a dream-like state of consciousness is being depicted: psychological symbolism, shadowless unnatural lighting, reverse perspective, distorted sense of time and so on.  Icons are supposed to be created according to stylistic formulae and under conditions of altered states of consciousness (induced by prayer, fasting, etc.).  I wonder if a link exists between lucid dreaming and icons (or perhaps prayer states generally)?  My Orthodox friends will have none of this, as they say it’s too analytical to be compatible with the theology.

Any thoughts?


Warm regards


Dave (Dight)



Hi David — I am back from my travels again and now trying to catch up with my e-mails.

Yes I do remember coming to your classes.  I was with a friend of mine Kevin and we came as you say, about twice.

Thanks for sharing the things you did with me.  I have never previously thought along the lines that you have written about — icons for instance.  What has fascinated me and I have given quite an enormous amount of time to is what you are calling a dreamlike state of consciousness.  I personally believe that the process behind dreams is also behind visions, altered states of consciousness and other psychic and spiritual experiences.

Fundamentally I know from experience that the image or symbol of the Virgin Mary represents the link between dreaming and waking spiritual experience.  She represents the state of mind or consciousness that has no preconceptions, is empty and receptive, is ready to be fertilised and give birth to something new, something that does not relate to the objective and physical world.

Of course, most of us take on this state of mind when we go to sleep. We surrender our will and our hold on what we are thinking and feeling, but in doing so we slip into unconsciousness and dreams.  What mystics and meditators, people in prayer, have done is to develop that state of mind and yet maintain waking awareness.  When that happens something extraordinary occurs.  That huge world of what is usually unconscious begins to emerge into waking experience.  In doing so the dream process frequently expresses and we experience what appears to be a full surround virtual reality — what you have called a dreamlike state of consciousness.  That is very accurate because I believe the dream process is very powerfully functioning during that state.  But consciousness tends to alter this and can actually penetrate it, thereby going beyond the symbols and imagery into a direct awareness or insight of the forces and processes lying behind human existence.

I would love to throw this backwards and forwards with you and hear what you have arrived at in regard to it. See Waking Lucid Dreaming

As ever — Tony


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