Going Deeper

Lucidity Part 7

Intro: Lucidity is more than Dreaming – knowing the difference

In 1968, Dr. Charles Tart, author and faculty member of the Institute of Transpersonal Psychology, attached an EEG machine to a young woman who had experienced lucid dreams since childhood. While lucid in sleep she claimed to be able to move about a room and witness what was happening despite her body being immobile in sleep. Tart hid a five digit number where the subject could not see it. It took her several attempts, but she successfully reported the number, a 100,000 to one chance of success. The EEG showed an unusual brain situation while the woman’s awareness was not focussed on her body. It seemed she was both in deep sleep and awake at the same time.

It is wonderful to have that glimpse into the brain during lucidity. But lucidity is not something that only happens in sleep. Perhaps the most inclusive description of lucidity is that it is expanded awareness. To understand it you have to move beyond a view of the world based on the limitations of your physical senses. For instance the cells in your body are unbroken subdivisions of cells going back to the beginning of life on this planet. In that sense your body is millions of years old and carries that experience. What would it be like for your awareness to expand to include that time span? What would it be like to remember not just your dreams, but your infancy, your life in the womb, or your life in eternity? Lucidity is not simply playing within dream images. It can also be remembering who you are in your entirety, and what part you play in the scheme of things. Your present personality, even with great schooling, is just a young thing developed during the life of this body. But it is riding an ancient wonderful life form, and can find unity with that.

Tracy, a woman who had long explored lucidity, describes her experience of this as follows:

Suddenly, toward the end of exploring my dream, I leaped beyond anything I had ever experienced before. I knew just as clearly as in ordinary life I know my name, that instead of being someone separated from everybody else living a certain day in time, My real self was a river that flowed through all time. I had always existed and was involved in all history. With an amazing heightened awareness I could see the influence from this timeless self flowing through all my present life, subtly shaping it. The things I had chosen to do or work at were all connected as a working out of ancient influences, or an attempt to change them. [My own experience renamed]

For the next few days take time to imaginatively trace your body backwards. Remember that the cells of your being can never generate from something dead. So move backwards through all the conceptions, all that collected history in the genes, all that change and time. See if you can get a feeling of that vastness. Ask yourself what is it in your being that has survived through it all, and are you in touch with it? (522 words)

Incubating lucid dreams

During the period of writing this book, while walking home along a main country road, one I had walked many times, I suddenly felt fear of the cars passing me. It was strong enough to make me walk as far away from the road as the sidewalk allowed. As I walked on, still away from the road, wondering why I felt such fear, a van pulled up beside me on the road to make a turning away from me. As it stood there waiting for traffic to clear and I was passing it, I heard the scream of tires as a car went into a skid on the wet road. Then the skidding car shot up onto the sidewalk between me and the van. It was an extraordinary experience. But I have had many such things happen to me since I have tried to listen to that wider awareness in which our little self lives.

What happened to me walking along the road was one form of lucidity, and the more you become lucid in your dreams, the more this wider awareness will become a feature in your life.

If you have made a habit of the reality checking technique you have probably experienced lucid dreams by now. But there are ways in which your lucidity can be made even more frequent. Don’t forget though that remembering your dreams is the most powerful method of increasing lucidity. Meanwhile here are some ways to bring about more lucid dreams.

Exercise Eight – Create a Helper

You can create an external helper by making a tape recording that plays while you are asleep. Having already practised the Reality Check, the tape is aimed to work with that. You need a long playing tape, or if you know how to put the recording onto a CD use that instead. If you use the tape get a 120 minute cassette. You can put quiet background music on most of the tape if you wish. This in itself keeps you nearer the surface of sleep, enabling more frequent lucidity. But the important point of the tape is to have the words, “You will now do a reality check” spoken about an hour into the tape. This should then be repeated just before the tape ends. Put the same recording on the other side so when the tape ends you can simply turn it over and let it play again.

This is like having an external friend sitting with you through the night gently reminding you to do a reality check as you sleep and dream. By turning the tape over, or the CD to replay, you can have the prompt reminding you through the night. Obviously the volume needs to be fairly low so as not to wake you completely. As you go to sleep, say to yourself over and over, “When the tape reminds me to do a reality check I will become lucid in my dream.”

This method is extremely powerful. The tape method, allied with your continued reality checking, needs to be continued until you become lucid frequently enough to start exploring and discovering the possible wonders of the lucid experience. As that happens, take time to use some of the suggestions as to what you can do while lucid. This is like learning any other skill and needs practice, so do not be impatient.

Also, as the taped message begins to work and stabilise, you can introduce many other messages played in the same way. If you seek an answer to a problem you could put the words on the tape – “You will now do a reality check while dreaming, and while lucid seek an answer to …” and then put in what it is you seek. In this way you could use the external helper to explore any of the areas of lucidity described, such as finding your innate life direction, or satisfying love, and so on.

Lastly, a waking exercise you can do when you have time and inclination. This is something that helps to develop the keyboard condition that is so important when trying to access some of the lucid possibilities.

Create a space about a single blanket in size in which you can move without banging into things. Wear loose clothing, and perhaps play some music that does not grab your body with its beat. You need to be in a place where you are not distracted or disturbed for up to 30 minutes.

Now stand with eyes closed and feet slightly apart. Raise your hands above your head toward the ceiling – or sky if you are outdoors. Hold in mind the idea or image of a dried seed. You do not need to concentrate. Let your body take on the keyboard feeling and watch to see if your posture expresses what shape you feel a dried seed would be. Follow that feeling until you find a position that you sense is right. Once you feel reasonably satisfied with your position, imagine what a dried seed might feel like inside. Is it waiting, sleeping, unconscious? Whatever you imagine it to be, allow your own inner condition to be as nearly like it as you can.

Then let your seed be planted in warm moist soil. Just as you followed the feeling sense to find the ‘seed’ position, now follow that in the same way to see how your body and feelings will express as the growing seed.  But don’t worry if you have no urge to move, and only wish to stay in the warm. Many people find the meditation has its own dynamic, and they can only grow to a certain stage, or the unfolding story throws up unplanned details. These details of how your own growth in the meditation occurs are relevant to your own life situation. Just follow what arises and note in your journal what you experience, and try it again within about five days. (991 words)

Powerful Prompts to wake you in your dreams

The methods you have used so far to help you become lucid are powerful enough, but if you need an extra boost to take you into lucidity, the following techniques will do it for you.

Exercise Nine: The Waking Dream

  1. You need to remember a dream that is clear and vivid. As soon as you wake, with the dream still in mind, use your relaxation technique to drop tensions. Then imagine yourself entering into the dream, just as if it is a real environment. Feel the atmosphere, look around you feeling and sensing what you did in the dream. Take your time with this, and as you look around notice what is dreamlike or different to waking awareness. Learn to recognise what these signs of dreaming are. It might be that things change rapidly, or you are intimate with people you don’t know. Go over the recognition of these signs of dreaming until they are easily remembered. Use this with each dream you recall. And as you do so say to yourself mentally that in future dreams you will recognise these signs and become lucid. In fact imagine what it would have been like to become lucid in this dream through recognition of the dream signs. Allow yourself to change the dream or experience it in any way you choose.
  2. Repeat the process over again, telling yourself that in future dreams you will become lucid. Explore your dream, noticing what is dreamlike about it. Tell yourself that in future dreams, when you meet these dream signs you will wake in your dream and begin to access its treasure. Visualise waking up in your dream and experiencing the things you want to gain from lucidity. Keep repeating the process for at least ten minutes before you finish.
  3. If you miss out on this as you wake, you can do it during the day.
  4. While you dream, your brain produces all the signals to your body that if you were awake, would promote physical movement, speech and emotions. However, a small area of the brain blocks these signals so you do not move around too much while you sleep. Even so, the movements and sounds you make in the dream are important and are part of your memory of the dream. Therefore if you have time and space to do so, imagine yourself walking into the dream and actually make some of the movements, sounds and postures in your dream. This acts as a restimulant of the deep levels of memory. When you have done this act out what you would do and feel in becoming lucid in your dream.

After you have used the previous method for some time, try this next one. What you will find is that one or the other approach suits your particular temperament. In fact, as you enter more fully into lucidity you will find very personal tuition arising from your dream experiences. Until then, however, use these given methods. The next approach is based on a method suggested by Bradley Thompson in his excellent Lucid Dreaming Kit. It is perhaps the most powerful of methods, and if used after you have done the previous exercises, will certainly take you into lucidity.

Exercise Ten: The External Reminder Prompt

  1. Take time to purchase a digital wrist watch that gives an audible beep on the hour. Set the watch to sound its beep every hour. Wear the watch during the day, and every time you hear the beep look at the watch and do a reality check. You must do this until it really does become a habit. It is the habitual response of this that is the important factor. Building the habit takes the action and reality check right into your unconscious where it will act with hardly any awareness – as in sleep.
  2. Do this for three days. Then place the watch near you as you sleep, so that you can easily hear the hourly signal. As you go to sleep, repeat over and over for a minute or two, “When I hear the hourly signal I will do a reality check in my dream and become lucid.”
  3. Use this method for as long as you wish. The more you use it the more effective it becomes
  4. As with the other methods, when you attain lucidity, start giving yourself goals to achieve. To start with it is good just to play in the lucid experience to discover the unbelievable freedom you have and the completely safe environment you are in. You can swim underwater without breathing; you can fly, either as yourself or as a bird; you can become any of the characters in your dreams, or any character in history or the present. These are play things, and you can later move onto things that really interest you.

Lastly here is a script that you can put onto a tape and play to yourself as you practise your relaxation or your slow breath. Please think of the words used only as a suggestion, not as an attempt to state any absolute truth. They are a means to enable you to open to your own wonderful potential. Read it slowly so it plays in that way.

Exercise Eleven: The Lucidity Script

Imagine standing by an immense and beautiful ocean.  Create a feeling or an image of this ocean.  This is not an ocean of water, but an ocean of life and consciousness.  This ocean pervades all space, enters into all things, and is the source of your own awareness.  You emerged from it at birth and began the journey of this life with a sense of separateness.  But now you are ready and strong enough to accept your part in that ocean and open more fully to what it can offer you.  Ask help from it on your journey of further growth — of widening awareness.  As you ask this you are allowing the protective layers of yourself to melt sufficiently for you to become more aware of this ocean of life from which you emerged.  (1017 words)

Are there dangers in spreading your wings?

There are dangers in virtually everything we do in our everyday life. People die from normal activities such as driving a car, eating out and the electricity in their home. We take it for granted that knowing and avoiding such dangers is a regular part of life. So it is good to look at the possible dangers of crossing the frontier into wider awareness and transformation.

Years ago a young man talked to me about developing his intuition. He was going to use a crystal ball to do this. I discovered he was convinced pictures and scenes actually appeared in the ball, rather than it being a focus for his mental imagery. That lack of understanding could put him in a dangerous relationship with his own imagination and imagery. He would not arrive at a balanced evaluation of what he was experiencing.

The danger of this lack of understanding applies to lucidity also. You are dealing with powerful mental, emotional and spiritual processes. It is important to understand what the dream process is capable of and what it does. Remember, a dream is a full surround virtual reality activating all your senses and abilities. When you are in it, it is just as real to you as the physical world. But there is a huge difference. The environment, people, animals and objects are all projections. In the film Matrix, the hero is at one point put into a lucid virtual reality called ‘the construct’. He cannot understand what is happening to him, and his guide says, “What you see now is what we call residual self image. It is a mental projection….” Your dream is exactly that, an amazing moving and living projection in which you act and interact with YOURSELF. There is, in the widest or cosmic sense, nothing else. The dream process transforms your emotions, your beliefs and hopes, your fears and traumas, your intuitions and creative visions, into people, environments, animals and events. Understanding that is vital.

The second danger is avoidance. Because everything you meet is an aspect of yourself – either your small or cosmic self – any avoidance of a frightening dream figure, a difficult environment is an avoidance of yourself. The figures and environments are created out of your own mental, emotional and sexual energy. Avoiding them means losing portions of your potential and your physical and emotional energy. I know this as a vital personal truth. At one time I suffered what is now called ME. I was so tired I barely wanted to stand up. As I reclaimed my dream figures the tiredness disappeared.

Your dream characters and animals are intelligent and purposeful. They have a semi independent life within you until you integrate them. You create them unconsciously using your energy, positive feelings and motivations. Avoiding them leads to the loss of your full potential and health. I am not suggesting you immediately meet and integrate all your many aspects. That takes time, courage and a form of strength that only grows as you mature in this new environment. What is important is to remember your goals – integration and wholeness – growth into a new level of ability and maturity, a new connection with others and yourself. You do this by claiming and loving all that you are.

The third danger is the lack of understanding about your own growing abilities. In crossing the frontier into your fuller life, you have opened a gate wider than you have in the past. Usually only a few dreams and feelings have been allowed through into waking life, and for some people not even dreams have emerged. So it is important to remember that the world of lucidity can sometimes emerge into waking life if it is important enough. Sometimes there is an urge from within that needs to be known. This breaks through in the form of a waking dream. That sounds easy, but remember that a dream creates a full surround virtual reality. When the breakthrough occurs you see people, perhaps hear a voice talking to you, or see an animal that is not physically present. If you do not understand the process you may develop crazy anxious ideas and feelings about it. So take this in and make it something you understand. A vision, a hallucination, is the dream process occurring while you are awake. It is not a sign of madness, but an indication that you are now able to access your intuition and unconscious senses more capably.

The fourth danger is in not knowing your territory. This is not a big danger, but it can be disturbing if you are suddenly in an environment you have no understanding or concept of. So recognise that there are five major levels of consciousness, each producing very different ways of experiencing yourself.

  1. The first is waking consciousness. The attributes of this are focussed awareness through the physical senses. Limited perception of and ability to change your surroundings. Ability to reason deductively and inductively. Critical observation.
  2. Dreaming. This, without lucidity, loses the ability to reason and critically evaluate situations. In it you are immersed in a world of your own creation that is infinitely variable and easily open to change. You unconsciously create an apparent reality expressed as dream images and drama.
  3. An environment beyond the images of dreams in which you directly observe the forces of mind and body that create the dream imagery. Usually to enter this you need to be lucid, otherwise it expresses as dream imagery. Here you can directly work with the bodymind processes.
  4. Dreamless sleep – usually experienced as unconsciousness. If entered lucidly it becomes an infinite ocean of awareness in which you are an integral part of the cosmos and all that exists in it. Here there is the possibility of gaining insight into how your present personality was formed out of this ocean of possibilities and collective experience.
  5. Totality. In some cultures called enlightenment or liberation. In this phase you are both the ocean of consciousness and also the individual waking awareness at the same moment.

What near death and out of body experiences tell us about the world of lucidity

When I was eighteen and living in German, I was woken from sleep one summer evening by a sensation of rushing upward in darkness and a release from pressure. When I could see, I was looking down on my sleeping body and experienced terror because something was happening to me I had no explanation for. Then suddenly I realised I had read that some people experience leaving their sleeping body. That is what was happening to me. I had left my body behind and was still conscious and independent of it. The terror disappeared and I found myself curled up with my arms around my knees, flying over the countryside, still light because of the summer evening. But suddenly I was in my home in London, standing behind our couch. I felt more awake than I had ever been before in my life, was amazed at what was happening. I seemed as solid as ever, despite having no physical body. My mother was sitting knitting, alone except for our Alsatian dog asleep in front of the gas fire. I was so excited I called to my mother, “Look what’s happening mum.” She paused for a moment but carried on knitting. This puzzled me as I seemed completely solid and real to myself and couldn’t understand why she couldn’t see me. So I shouted to attract her attention. She carried on knitting, but as I shouted the dog heard me, awoke and came bounding to me, barking and howling to see me. I later found out my mother had been alone that evening, and the dog had suddenly rushed to the back of the settee barking and howling.

Dr Melvyn Morse specialises in the care of young children. Katie, a young girl, had been found floating face down in a YMCA swimming pool was brought to Dr Morse apparently dead.  A CAT scan revealed that her brain was abnormally swollen.  If not dead, she was certainly in a deep coma, and was placed o a machine that breathed for her.

In his book Closer to the Light, Dr. Morse describes how Katie made a full recovery, and because he had to find out how Katie came to be face down in a swimming pool, Dr Morse had to interview her.  To his amazement Katie described the operating theatre in which she had been placed while in coma.  She also described the other people who were working on her and what they did.  While this was happening she told Dr Morse that she knew what was going on in her family home and could described in detail what her brothers and sisters were doing.  In fact it seemed as if she existed in a different state of time and space.

Dr. Morse went on to investigate hundreds of such experiences. He did this as a long term study, and also followed up on the children he had investigated and recorded their experience of out of body awareness during their apparent death. Of course, many authorities try to explain such experiences away if they have not experienced it themselves. But Dr. Morse examined the possibilities of drugs influencing the brain, and other possibilities and found these did not apply. Again and again, people could witness and report actual happenings around them while they were apparently unconscious or without a heartbeat.

His long term finding discovered that all of the children who had an NDE show an absence of any drug use. They have little rebellion against authority, and showed a keenness to learn and be active in the world. Their maturity and wisdom was marked, and they each claimed that during their NDE they had learned profound lessons about how to live and the meaning of their life.

Because we often believe that what we see in the physical world is an ultimate truth, we hold the concept that distance takes time to cover, and that our body is the very foundation of who and what we are. Many people do not believe that there is anything to learn from within them. The hold the view that there is only one reality and that is the physical world and all it offers. They believe this despite the fact that consciousness is an extraordinary miracle, and imagination a profound argument against all being in the exterior world. Such ideas have given rise to mistaken views of the world that we enter in lucidity. As can be seen from my own and Katie’s experience, when released from the domination of her five physical senses she had a completely different relationship with time, space and her environment.

This points to an astounding possibility – beyond the limitations of the world we know through our five senses, our mind or core consciousness can move around and live in a world not limited by time and space, or the needs of the body. In this world of experience within us lie enormous resources of information that are deeply relevant to who you are. From it you can gather insights that clarify the most important lessons you face in this life, and your greatest talents and best direction.

Some aspects of modern physics suggest that at a fundamental level the separate parts and units of the universe are totally and immediately connected beyond distance or time. If we add awareness to this, it is saying that consciousness fills the entire universe beyond the limitations of space and time. It also suggests to us there are possibilities open to us beyond our imagination – if we reach out for them! Near death experiences, out of body experiences, and lucidity, give us entrance into that world of timeless and spaceless existence.

I am not asking you to take that in and believe it all at once. Just hold it lightly like a beautiful flower, and perhaps discover it for yourself as you explore lucidity.  (985 words)

Will you be a prisoner of your limitations, or a traveller of wider possibilities?

Memory is a good example of how the unconscious and conscious work together, how the known and unknown meet and pass backwards and forwards. It also helps us understand how an enormous breakthrough can occur. For instance a huge mass of your experience and potential lie in you unknown. To illustrate this I am going to ask you a question the answer to which is at present still unconscious. When I ask the question notice if you can how the answer becomes conscious.

The question is – What is your present home address?

As you see, something that was not on your mind suddenly appears. Quite magical!

You could be asked questions for hours, days, and still discover more information. You might discover parts of yourself that had never before been known to you. However, what we are moving toward in lucidity is something beyond that. Supposing you are trying to remember somebody’s name and you are searching your memory under the ‘Bs’; while in fact the name is Jane, and you should have held in mind the letter ‘J’ to trigger the memory. Holding the ‘B’ in mind could act as a block. Certain things in you need the right trigger. This is basic in nature where plant growth and animal mating is activated by duration of light, temperature, or other triggers. While most of our personality unfolded through infancy, childhood, youth, adolescence and maturity, and this occurred spontaneously, there is another level of growth open to us as humans that has to be triggered.

As with adolescence, it isn’t a case of developing it through personal effort. It is more like riding the wave as the development takes place – except that it will not usually take place until the trigger calls it into action. Also like adolescence, it is the birth of a completely different way of experiencing the world. Something new and splendid is born in us. Examples of the birth of this new level of growth are seen throughout history in outstanding men and women. But we live in special times. Many more of us are ripe for this new and wider life. As a species we have gone through enormous and almost inexplicable changes. From a mammal that had no self awareness or complex language we made the huge jump to self awareness, with its explosion of cultural and eventually technological development. But as a species we are ready for the next big change – linking the personal with the whole.

Natural processes, largely unaided by you, like a current have carried you through enormous physical and psychological changes to your present situation. Not only did you develop personal awareness, something unique in the natural world, but you also developed personal will to some extent. What the next step involves is a linking of your personal will and awareness with the natural forces that brought you this far. In fact that is the trigger – the opening of your personal will and awareness to the core life processes that cause your existence. (504 words)

Opening the Gates of Mind and Looking beyond 

In 1969 I was lucky enough to spend time with the psychiatrist R. D. Laing exploring the unconscious. At the time I had an unforgettable experience of lucidity that after all these years remains a fount of inspiration and guidance. I had relaxed deeply and entered a state of lucidity in which I felt like I was falling down a very deep hole. This wasn’t frightening, but reminded me of Alice in the rabbit hole. As I fell I passed through memories of things that had hurt me during my life, like the time I broke my nose. Then I hit the bottom, experiencing a womb-like feeling of great peace. I realised as I observed, that it wasn’t the womb, but the very basic level of my personal awareness. But there was still a current carrying me back further, and I resisted, fearing I would lose my identity.

Then I suddenly realised there was nothing to fear. I did this every time I went to sleep – trusted myself to the bosom of the deep. So I slipped into what I have called the ocean of consciousness, and it caught me and started growing me as if from a tiny seed. I knew as this happened that it was this power that had grown me in the first place, and that there was so much more of me to discover than I presently knew. Then the immense Life spoke to me. “Come to me each day like this (in surrender) and I will grow you.”

Western science has in the past painted a picture for us that suggested nature and the universe is one vast impersonal and almost mechanical process. When you travel beyond the frontier of your own personality and contact the life that gives you existence, a completely different viewpoint emerges. What you find is the mysterious love that leads a crocodile mother to carry her babies in her mouth unharmed. You discover the wonder that drives birds to fly hundreds or thousands of miles to an exact location to mate again with their dedicated partner. You meet the indescribable beauty that lies behind a flower’s miracle of colour and intricacy. You meet the creative impulse of the universe that has woven your being throughout eternity.

Within the meeting between yourself and Life lie all the other possibilities – the healing of your ills; the finding of a meaningful place in society and the world; the solving of problems; the discovery of creativity; peace. If any of that seems abstract, take a few moments to look at yourself. If you feel you are not totally connected with the processes of nature and this planet, consider this:

  1. You are a river. Water flows through you all the time. Without water you would not exist.
  2. You are the wind. Air flows through you all the time. Without air you would not and could not exist.
  3. You are the earth. The body of the earth flows through you in the form of food. Without substance you could not exist.

You are totally and inextricable a part of the wind and the rivers and the earth. Lucidity is a growing awareness of that. Lucidity is a greater awareness of the part you play in the scheme of things, and the personal attitudes, pains and conflicts that stand in the way.

All the previous exercises and techniques have been ways of gradually looking beyond the limitations of your physical senses and exploring the frontiers of a new level of awareness. There is no reason you should not continue in that way and be an explorer. At this point though, if you wish you can choose to take the first steps in becoming a new being. You can choose to open to the process of life at your core and become a co-worker with Life.

If you wish to open to that new influx of growth, take the following steps:

Exercise Eleven – Opening to Your Core

  1. Take time to clarify what you feel is at the core of your existence. You are not being asked if you believe in God. No such belief is necessary. If there is a God you will find it at your core without any belief, just as you know the wind on your face without having to believe in it. What you are being asked is if you brought about your own existence, and if you completely know who and what you are. If you do know, then you need read no further. If you are uncertain and believe that you are probably a mass of chemical, biological or energetic responses, ask yourself again if you know deep down that you have the final answer. If you admit that you do not know for certain, you can take the next step.
  2. The state of not knowing is important. It frees you of preconceived or rigid ideas and opinions that might stand in the way – so this step requires no belief. What it does require is a sense that there is something you do not understand that brings you into being. Take time to develop this condition of not knowing.
  3. When you feel the open condition active in you, state in some way that is an expression of this pivotal moment in your life, that you want the unknown mystery at your core to emerge more fully into your experience. A suggested statement is: “I come with all my being held open to the action of the mystery that is my core self.”

Considering that in the environment of dreams, and therefore of lucidity, you experience a world you create out of your own beliefs, ideas and attitudes, it is fundamental that until you learn to become empty, all you will experience is what you already hold to be true and believe or are frightened of. Learning the condition of openness or ‘unknowing’ allows the birth of a new level of your own growth. Use it each day. (1002 words)

Copyright © 1999-2010 Tony Crisp | All rights reserved