Lucidity – Awake In Sleep

Lucidity Part 4

Sometimes in the practice of deep relaxation, meditation or sensory deprivation, our being enters into a state akin to sleep, yet we maintain personal waking awareness. This is like a journey into a deeply interior world of mind and body where our senses no longer function in their waking manner, where the brain works in a different way, and where awareness is introverted in a degree we do not usually experience. It can sometimes be a frightening world simply because we are not accustomed to it.

In a similar way a measure of waking awareness can arise while dreaming. This is called lucid dreaming. During it we can change or wilfully direct what is happening in the dream in a way not usual to the dream state.

“Only a handful of psychical researchers studied lucid dreams and many people associated such work with the paranormal or occult. Orthodox scientists who studied sleep were not interested. They argued that lucid dreams could not possibly be real dreams at all; that the very idea of awareness during a dream was a contradiction in terms. So their theory went, lucid dreams must be occurring in brief moments of wakefulness or in the transition between waking and sleeping – but not in the kind of deep sleep during which rapid eye movements (REMs) and ordinary dreams usually take place. In other words, lucid dreams were not really dreams at all.

How could the dreamers of lucid dreams convince them otherwise? After all, when you are in a deep sleep and dreaming you cannot shout, ‘Hey! Listen to me. I’m dreaming right now.’ The muscles of the body are paralysed. You cannot even move a finger.

The breakthrough came when sleep researcher Keith Hearne, at the University of Hull, realised that, of course, not all your muscles are paralysed. In REM sleep, the eyes move. So perhaps a lucid dreamer could signal with eye movements. It was just over 10 years ago that Alan Worsley, a lucid dreamer, first managed this crucial trick. He decided to move his eyes left and right eight times in succession whenever he realised he was dreaming. In the sleep laboratory, Hearne had him connected to a polygraph and could see the string of extreme eye movements clearly recorded in the middle of REM sleep. So the doubters were wrong. Lucid dreams are real dreams and do occur during REM sleep.” Quoted from New Scientist vol 178 issue 2397 – 31 May 2003, page 26

 Example: ‘I had backed my car into a big yard, a commercial area. My wife, two of my sons and I got out of the car. As we stood in the yard talking I realised there was a motorbike where my car should be. I said to everyone, ‘There was a car here a moment ago, now it’s a motorbike. Do you know what that means? It means we are dreaming.’ Mark my son was now with us, and my ex wife. I asked them if they realised they were dreaming. They got very vague and didn’t reply. I asked them again and felt very clearly awake.’ William V.

William’s is a fairly typical lucid dream, but there are features which it does not illustrate. During the days or weeks prior to a lucid dream, many people experience an increase in flying dreams. The next example shows another common feature.

 Example: ‘In many of my dreams I become aware that I am dreaming. Also, if anything unpleasant threatens me in the dream I get away from it by waking myself.’ Alan LBC.

Lucidity often has this feature of enabling the dreamer to avoid apparently unpleasant elements of the dream. The decision to avoid any unpleasant internal emotions is a common feature of a person’s conscious life, so this aspect of lucidity is simply a way of taking such a decision into the dream. Some writers even suggest it as a way of dealing with frightening dreams. Avoidance does not solve the problem, it simply pushes the emotion deeper into the unconscious where it can do damage more surreptitiously. Recent findings regarding suppressed grief and stress emotions, which connects them with higher incidence of cancer, suggests that suppression is not a healthy way of dealing with feelings. See The Healing Experience

Another approach to lucidity is that it can be a sort of playground where one can walk through walls, jump from high buildings and fly; change the sofa into an attractive lover, leave ones body, and so on. True, the realisation that our dream life is a different world and that it does have completely different principles at work than our waking world is important. Often people introvert into their dream life the morals and fears which are only relevant to being awake in physical life. To avoid a charging bull is certainly valid for waking life. In our dream life though, to meet its charge is to integrate the enormous energy which the bull represents, an energy which is our own, but which we may have been avoiding or ‘running away’ from previously. Realising such simple differences revolutionises the way we relate to our own internal events and possibilities. To treat lucid dreams as if they offered no other attainable experience than manipulating the dream environment, or avoidance of difficult emotions or encounters, is to miss an amazing feature of human potential.

 Example: ‘In my dream I was watching a fern grow. It was small but opened out very rapidly. As I watched I became aware that the fern was simply an image representing a process occurring within myself which I grew increasingly aware of as I watched. Then I was fully awake in my dream and realised that my dream, perhaps any dream, was an expression of actual and real events occurring in my body and mind. I felt enormous excitement, as if I were witnessing something of great importance.’ Francis P.

It is now acceptable through the work of Freud, Jung and many others, to consider that within the images of the dream lies valuable information about what is occurring within the dreamer, perhaps unconsciously. Strangely though, it is almost never considered that one can have direct perception into this level of internal ‘events’ without the dream or without dream interpretation. What Francis describes is an experience of being on the cusp of symbols and direct perception. Considering the enormous advantage of such direct information gathering, it is surprising it is seldom mentioned except in the writings of Corriere and Hart – The Dream Makers.

 Example: ‘After defining why I had not woken in sleep recently, i.e. loss of belief, I had the following experience. I awoke in my sleep and began to see, without any symbols, that my attitudes and sleep movements expressed a feeling of restrained antagonism or irritation to my wife. I could also observe the feelings were arising from my discipline of sexuality. Realising I did not want those feelings I altered them and woke enough to turn toward my wife.’ Francis P.

After the first of his direct perception dreams, Francis attempted to use this function again, resulting in the above, and other, such dreams. Just as classic dream interpretation says that the dream symbols represent psychobiological logical processes which might be uncovered by processing dreams, what we see in Francis’ lucidity is a direct route to self insight, and through it a rapid personal growth to improved life experience. Such dreams provide not only psychological insight, but very frequently, a direct perception of processes occurring in the body, as the following examples illustrates.

 Example: ‘Although deeply asleep I was wide awake without any shape or form. I had direct experience, without any pictures, of the action of the energies in my body. I had no awareness of body shape, only of the flow of activities in the organs. I checked over what I could observe, and noticed a tension in my neck was interfering with the flow and exchange of energies between the head and trunk. It was also obvious from what I could see that the tension was due to an attitude I had to authority, and if the tension remained it could lead to physical ill health.’ C.

Example: Taken from CompuServe files – contributed by Oliver W. Markley. First appeared in Whole Earth Review, Fall 1991:

 It was as though the dream I had been watching was a movie, and instead of looking at the screen on which it was being projected, I somehow began looking into the lens of the movie projector. As I did so, the energy of my gaze ‘melted’ the movie that was passing through, which in turn allowed my gaze to penetrate deeper into the movie process, seeing where the movie came from. I knew that I was about to get an answer to some of my deepest questions about dreaming: What is the true nature of dreams? Where do they come from? What function do they play?

I was somehow able to see first the more superficial levels of dream process within myself, and then deeper levels, until the depth of my gaze revealed processes so alien that I was no longer able to understand them. At this point I returned my attention to the need to record the dream, and woke up. There were five categories of dreams in all. The function of the first type of dream process I saw was pure entertainment.

The second reviewed current concerns and unfinished business, and the attempt to find solutions to problems therein.

The third process involved the reception of guidance from higher wisdom sources within the mind. At a superficial level, this guidance dealt with the concerns of the second type of process; but at a deeper level, it dealt with topics that came along with the guidance process. These topics seemed to concern the future, and the evolution of the mind and soul both individual and collective.

The fourth type answered a question about the familiar assertion that ‘most of us use but a small part of our mental capacities’ (some ‘experts’ say we use only about 10 percent, others that it is as small as 2 percent). I had often wondered about this, thinking that in nature, if things don’t get used, they atrophy. If we have all this excess mental capacity that we aren’t using, why doesn’t it atrophy?

The fourth mode seemed to be some sort of gymnasium, with a range of mental, psychic, and spiritual exercises to keep the brain/mind fit.

The final type of dream content was totally surprising. As I penetrated deeply into my internal dream process, what I found can perhaps be best described as being visited by aliens.’ The ‘foreground’ resembled a resort hotel, a place for sightseeing and recreation. It was benign and human-feeling, although the visitors were anything but human! As I explored more deeply, however, things got so alien that I couldn’t understand them in the lucid-dream state.

As I reluctantly turned back from this journey, I realised that I had an answer to yet another question about dreams that had long puzzled me: ‘Why are our dreams so highly symbolised? ‘

I now understood why the deeper reaches of dream life must be camouflaged by symbols: the self-protective belief systems which dominate waking life are simply unable to accept the alienness of deep dreaming process; symbolic camouflage artfully bridges the gap.

This last category of dream represents what I call ‘the L-Squared dream,’ a lucid dream in which the dreamer is lucid about the process of being lucid. To become lucid in this way, it is helpful to imagine having a miner’s lamp on one’s forehead, a metaphoric ‘truth beam’ that reveals the underlying truth of whatever is involved.

An effective way to develop lucidity is to frequently consider the events of waking life as if they were a dream. Try to see events as one might see dream symbols – what do they mean in terms of ones motivations, fears, personal growth? What do they suggest about oneself? For instance a person who works in a photographic darkroom developing films and prints might see they were trying to bring to consciousness the latent – unconscious – side of themselves. A banker might feel they were working at how best to deal with their sexual and personal resources. A person working with children who are in some way injured or deficient might be trying to heal their own inner child. In this way one might actually apply what is said in this dream dictionary to ones outer circumstances.

The second instruction is, on waking, at a convenient moment, imagine oneself standing within ones recent dream. As you get a sense of the dream environment, realise that you are taking waking awareness into the dream. From the standpoint of being fully aware of the dream action and events, what will you now do in and with the dream? Re-dream it with consciousness. For example the things you run from in your normal dreaming you could now face. See: Techniques for Exploring your Dreams; The Waking Lucid Dream; for further suggestions Dream Yoga and Lucid Dreaming

 See also: processing dreams; Lucidity- The New Frontier; Creativity: The Lucidity Institute.

Link to List of ChaptersLink to Part 5


-Olyvia Fleming 2016-12-15 17:54:05

I always dream that i can’t fall asleep, i know its a dream because i wake up. Then, I lucid dream. Wtf is wrong with me?!

-krystal larson 2015-01-16 14:01:19

My boyfriend has been having a reoccurring dream for years now. It drives him crazy. He dreams of lying In Bed awake as if he is not sleeping at all. What does this mean or what is this? And how shpuld he deal with it?

-Elaine 2013-12-29 13:54:33


I had a dream , a veri vivid one.. i was in a classroom receiving classes but allof a sudden the tearches interrupted the lessonssaying that someone wanted to say something important so a guy stood up and walked straight towards me.
He was a little nervous and shy but asked me to be his girlfriend, i realized thst this guy is an ex coworker i used to be in love with but i hadnt seens him for over 5 years and never conta ted him in all those years,,, what do you think of this one? My name is elaine

-stephanie 2013-03-12 6:11:54

When I was 8 years old until the time I was 12 years old, nearly every night I would stare at my ceiling until I drifted asleep. What it would seem very soon after, I would be staring at my ceiling, hearing voices. Each second exponentially more voices in number. Then before I realized it, what I can describe as a bomb went off in my head. This would in turn, wake me up, and leave me with a migraine that lasted hours until I had no strength left but to pass out.
I in turn developed insomnia, and dealt with sleeplessness on and off until I was around 17. Catching 15 minutes here, 30 minutes there, but for the most part, I was up. All the time.
I started sleep medication at 17 years old, which made me start to sleep- eat, sleep-walk, sleep-“watch” tv. Needless to say, the people close to me were more or less freaked the hell out by it. So, because it scared me as well, I stopped the medication.
This is now where I find myself. After quitting the meds at 18, it’s now 6 years later. I am left with lucid dreams close to every night. Sparing the nights I might drink. It’s a whole deal better than insomnia, medication, or explosions. It’s almost like meditation for me. It keeps me at ease, but there is one thing I don’t understand.
Why is it ALWAYS something with me when it comes to sleep. What could be the cause? Is it that after all the years of utter torture, why now? How do I fall asleep everynight, but feel it and transfer so beautifully into a dream which I am fully aware I am in.
I have to admit, it was hard at first staying asleep. If I got too excited about actually controlling things, I would wake up. I got use to it, and now I have dreams that seem like days, but I will wake up and it was only 2 hours.

It’s so soothing at times…and scary at others. When i actually fall asleep, I just drift away. I create compositions of music, or speed through wooded areas, pop in and out of areas of my own house, or countless of other experiences. Then its like a curtain opens, and a dream that I am conscience of, sprawls out before me…and I explore.

-Victor 2011-08-15 2:05:46

I woke up – could not move/speak – but felt something getting off the bed and as I felt the mattress move upwards…
Then I saw something clinging to the wall, through a dim night lite … it jumped across the bed and
me and landed on a chair on the opposite side of the room – I was finally able to move and heard
some noise under the chair – I turned the light on on my night stand and was surprised when I saw that
my cat was hissing at the chair and he looked like had gained 10 lbs of weight because his hair was straight out – he growled at the chair for several minutes – I realized then I had not seen something that wasn’t there – unless someone is going to try to tell me that my cat was having the same dream as me
[ which I will reply RUBBISH!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!]
This was an extremely strange experience and having a witness tells me something else is going on !!!

    -Tony Crisp 2011-08-15 7:03:23

    Victor – Quite a dream. I have only come across this myself a couple of times, the one most similar to yours is as follows:

    In the dream I was walking up several flights of stairs to get to the attic room. I was holding a small dog in my arms – one of those rather flat nosed toy dogs. When I arrived at the attic I put the dog down. But now the attic was empty and dark. I could feel my hair stand on end and my skin ‘crawling’. Actually I feel it all again as I write this. The feeling arose because there was an unformed dark shape creeping around at the far end of the room. The dog was really afraid and came into my arms.

    Then the dark creature leapt at me, transforming into a massive mouth with huge fangs and awful demonic face. Immediately I leapt at it in the same way and smashed against its face with my own huge fangs. This utterly disarmed it because it had felt, in its primitive way, to terrify me. It surprised me too that I could so immediately transform into a monster when necessary.

    Then I approached the dark form, back in its original condition, trying to find out what it was and why I had met it in that way. Gradually I experienced its situation. It had originally been a human being, but had gradually lost its humanness and become this slinking darkness. I was slowly able to help it realise that it could once more take the path to become human if it wanted to. Then it asked me how that could be done. I told it that first of all it had to come out of this dark and empty place to mix with people. The human environment created a different surrounding and influence that would penetrate it and help it to change. It also asked me how I knew about its condition and how I could transform into its own monstrous form. I told it I had once experienced that condition, and that’s how I knew it was possible to come out of it.

    I feel that the only weapon such creatures of our dreams have is fear, and if we are not afraid they can do us no harm. I usually attack such creatures and they are quite piffed. The cat/dog so a good external help. I left my body once and went home and my big Alsatian dog was so please that he jumped around me – but nobody else in the room could see me. Then some time later I was visiting a friend of my father and my dog was with me. As soon as we went in the kitchen my dog stared fixedly at a corner or the ceiling and kept barking.

    I haven’t come across other than human degraded forms that are harmful, and as I say, their only weapon is fear. There are demons as well I have had battle with, but they are projections of ones own dream creator.


    ps I forget to mention This explains why you couldn’t move, and also why you were still dreaming

    -Tony Crisp 2011-09-02 10:46:25

    PS – I forget to mention This explains why you couldn’t move, and also why you were still dreaming

-Molly 2011-05-13 16:52:36

I have always dreamed very vividly and grafically. My dreams have always invoked strong emotions into my sorroundings and towards people’s “auras” so to speak. But my dreams have never consisted of an actual thought process. Recently though, I have begun to be totally clear headed and logical in my dream state. I have not yet experienced a realization of dreaming, but when crazy things happen I do recognize that they are out of place. It is like watching a movie of absurdity flash by me while I remain consistent and have clear thought processing as if I were awake. However, since my dream state has begun to evolve into this, my awake state has become a confusing mess of unclear sporadic thoughts and strong vivid emotions. My ability to apply cognitive processing and make sense of the absurdity around me has become like it should be in a dream during my waking hours, and vice versa.
I do not know if this is something I should relax into and may help me better myself and connect myself further in the future. Or if this is very bad.
Regardless, people have always told me that I am out of it and seem like I am in space, and doctors have told me that my ability to form memories is almost non existent. I have only never felt that way until now. After experiencing what true clear thought is like and normal awareness and ability to remember things in my dreams, I feel oddly and newly aware of handicaps when I am awake. That may or may not have always been there.
What does this mean?

    -Tony Crisp 2011-05-20 7:43:23

    Molly – I would need to talk with you and ask lots of questions to really understand what is happening to you. But one thing that is clear to me is that with such a big change in your dreaming experience, it must also produce a massive effect on your waking self.

    I believe the dream self preceded the waking self, and so is dependent on the sleep self.

    Also I can see that a change in viewpoint or perspective can completely change your view of the world. We do this all the time but without awareness. If you stand before a closed door and look around you and notice what you feel, then you open that door and look through with awareness and feelings, you will experience a completely different space and feeling.

    So I wonder if it is not a ‘bad’ thing but that you will get used to it and it will change.

    Also I am surprised that you haven’t yet woken up in sleep. You must be very near to it.

    I believe there are enormous changes going in people’s awareness. A lot of this is unconscious, but such things reach a point where a persons whole viewpoint shifts. Just today I came across this cutting.

    GENEVA, Switzerland (UPI) — The search for the so-called God particle, underpinning theories of mass and gravity, could be over by the end of next year, researchers in Switzerland say.

    If the subatomic particle predicted by theory and known as the Higgs boson exists, then the Large Hadron Collider of the European Organization for Nuclear Research Geneva will detect it by the end of 2012, a scientists involved in the search said.

    “I am pretty confident that towards the end of 2012 we will have an answer to the Shakespeare question of the Higgs boson: to be or not to be?” Rolf-Dieter Heuer told Britain’s The Independent.
    “But not finding the Higgs will not be a failure; on the contrary,” he said.
    If the collider fails to produce evidence of the Higgs, something even more mysterious must explain mass and gravity, Heuer said.

    This would require an overhaul of the “standard model” of physics that has guided scientists for decades, he said.
    “If it does not exist, and therefore we do not find it, then we must find something else which takes up the job of the Higgs, namely giving up mass to elementary particles,” he said.

    Researcher Guido Tonelli said physics was on the verge of changing the way we view and understand the universe.
    “Physics will not be the same after 2012,” he said. “This will probably change our vision of the world. It will have an impact on the future, depending on what we discover or don’t discover.”

    I would suggest you read and


-rai 2011-01-19 5:22:21

just like tammy.. I can also control that state of sleep. at first it was afraid but everytime it occur to me, i feel more and more free to control what’s happening. As i was searching for answer on what i’m experiencing. i found out that this is called sleep paralysis. And again just like tammy, i mostly glide and fly and actually feel falling. I’m always looking forward to sleep paralysis.

    -Tony Crisp 2011-01-31 13:06:33

    Rai – That sounds like you are very lucky to be able to explore what is such a rare condition.

    If you can get hold of my book Lucid Dreaming it describes the many areas of yourself you can explore and benefit from.


-Tammy 2010-12-30 15:14:43

I have what I call awake dreams almost 3x a week. I know I am sleeping and in a dream state, but I feel “free” as if I was awake. I get to do anything I want, but with no reprocussions what so ever. Mostly, the state I enter is either hovering or flying, and outrageous sexual promiscuity — no guilt and with both sexes. So far, I celebrate this state I enter often. Is there anything I should do to encourage or discourage? Please let me know.

    -Tony Crisp 2011-01-10 13:35:47

    Tammy – You are someone special if you manage lucid dreaming three times a week. And your exploits without repercussions are proof that most people introvert their morals views unnecessarily. Morals are very useful for outer life, but they should not lead to the sort of dreams most people have of being imprisoned in one way or another.

    I don’t think you should discourage this. But I feel you are only on the very tip of what is possible for you. I know lots of books say you should be capable of controlling your dreams and doing whatever you wish – okay, but not at the cost of allowing your self to explore the wonders of your core self.

    For instance instead of creating your own dreams, perhaps realise that ‘you’, the personality you know has only a tiny control of the forces that keep you breathing and alive. You are a minute part of the cosmic forces that exist to cause you to be. So allowing that part of you to spontaneously show you and lead you deeper into yourself is an incredible adventure – the greatest adventure there can be.

    Here are some of the possibilities of what you can do in waking sleep.

    In my dream I was watching a fern grow. It was small but opened very rapidly. As I watched I became aware that the fern was an image representing a process occurring within myself, one I grew increasingly aware of as I watched. Then I was fully awake in my dream and realised that my dream, perhaps any dream, was an expression in images of actual events occurring unconsciously in myself. I felt enormous excitement, as if I were witnessing something of great importance.

    Here is another one with greater range.

    I am in a landscape and notice that everything is brown; the whole world is brown and lifeless. There is also a feeling of solemnity or dullness. I have enough lucidity to wonder why the world of my dream is so brown and dull. As I ask this I become more aware of what feeling the brownness expresses. It is seriousness – with no room for humour or fun. The feeling deepens, real enough and clear enough to look at and understand. I see it is my father’s attitude to life that I have unconsciously inherited. I realise how anxious he always felt about life, and how I took this in. That is how I became a ‘brown’ person. I see too that I do not need to be either brown or serious anymore.

    Then the landscape changes. There are trees, plants and animals in brilliant colour. I wonder what this means, and the landscape begins to spin until the colours blend and shimmer. Suddenly my body seems to open to them, as if they are spinning inside of me, and with a most glorious feeling, a sensation of vibrating energy pours up my trunk to my head. With this comes realisation. I see how stupid I have been in my brown, anxious existence, how much life I have held back. The animals and plants are the different forces in my being that blend into energy and awareness. I feel I am capable of doing almost anything, like loving, writing a song, painting, telepathy, or speaking with the dead. This sparkling vibrating energy is life itself and can, if I learn to work with it, grow into any ability or direction I choose. I wake with a wonderful sense of my possibilities.

    And those are again just the tip of the iceberg of your being.


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