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Μάρκος Αυρήλιος

Πέμπτη, 13 Δεκεμβρίου 2012

CHAPTER 6: PRINCIPLES AND PRACTICE OF LUCID DREAMING

[From: S. LaBerge & H. Rheingold, (1990). EXPLORING THE WORLD 
OF LUCID DREAMING. New York: Ballantine. ISBN 0-345-37410-X]

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CHAPTER 6: PRINCIPLES AND PRACTICE OF LUCID DREAMING
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HOW TO STAY ASLEEP OR WAKE UP AT WILL
So far you have learned how to increase your dream recall and 
various techniques for inducing lucid dreams. Perhaps you 
have succeeded in having a few lucid dreams, or perhaps you 
know how to induce them more-or-less at will. Now that you 
are learning to realize when you are dreaming, what can you 
do with this knowledge? As discussed previously, one of the 
most fascinating potentials offered by lucid dreaming is the 
ability to voluntary control dreaming. It may be possible to 
dream anything you choose, as the Tibetan dream yogis 
believe. But before you can try it, you need to be able to 
reamain asleep and retain lucidity! 

Novice lucid dreamers often wake up the moment they become 
lucid. They can recognize lucidity clues, apply state tests, 
and conclude that they are dreaming, but are frustrated 
because they wake up or fall into nonlucid sleep soon after 
achieving lucidity. However, this obstacle is only temporary. 
With experience, you can develop the capacity to stay in the 
dream longer. As you will see in a moment, there are also 
specific techniques that appear to help prevent premature 
awakening. If you continue to apply will and attention to 
your practice you should be able to refine your lucid 
dreaming skills.


PREVENTING PREMATURE AWAKENING
Informally experimenting in their beds at home, lucid 
dreamers have discovered various ways of remaining in the 
dream state when threatened by early awakening. All the 
techniques involve some form of dream action which is carried 
out as soon as the visual part of the dream begins to fade.

Linda Magallon, editor and publisher of the Dream Network 
Bulletin, and an intrepid explorer of lucid dreams, has 
described how she prevents herself from waking up by 
concentrating on the senses other than vision, such as 
hearing and touch. She reports that all of the following 
activities have successfully prevented awakenings from 
visually faded dreams: listening to voices, music, or her 
breathing; beginning or continuing a conversation; rubbing or 
opening her (dream) eyes; touching her dream hands and face; 
touching objects such as a pair of glasses, a hair brush, or 
the edge of mirror; being touched; and flying. [1]

These activities all have something in common with the 
Spinning Technique described below. They are based on the 
idea of loading the perceptual system so it cannot change its 
focus from the dream world to the waking world. As long as 
you are actively and perceptually engaged with the dream 
world, you are less likely to make the transition to the 
waking state.

Magallon may be a dreamer with an unusually active REM 
system; it may be that she has little trouble staying asleep 
once she is in REM. However, many others are light sleepers 
who find it difficult to remain in lucid dreams for long 
periods of time. These people need more powerful techniques 
to help them stay in their lucid dreams. 

Harold von Moers-Messmer, a German physician, was one of the 
handful of researchers who personally investigated lucid 
dreaming in the first half of the 20th century. He was the 
first to propose the technique of looking at the ground in 
order to stabilize the dream. [2] 

The idea of focusing on something in the dream in order to 
prevent awakening has independently occurred to several other 
lucid dreamers. One of these is G. Scott Sparrow, a clinical 
psychologist and author of the classic personal account, 
LUCID DREAMING: DAWNING OF THE CLEAR LIGHT. [3] Sparrow 
discusses Carlos Castaneda's famous technique of looking at 
his hands while dreaming to induce and stabilize lucid 
dreams. [4] Sparrow argues that the dreamer's body provides 
one of the most unchanging elements in the dream, which can 
help to stabilize the dreamer's otherwise feeble identity in 
the face of a rapidly changing dream. However, as he points 
out, the body isn't the only relatively stable reference 
point in the dream: another is the ground beneath the 
dreamer's feet. Sparrow uses this idea in this example of one 
of his own lucid dreams:

"...I walk on down the street. It is night; and as I look up 
at the sky I am astounded by the clarity of the stars. They 
seem so close. At this point I become lucid. The dream 
'shakes' momentarily. Immediately I look down at the ground 
and concentrate on solidifying the image and remaining in the 
dreamscape. Then I realize that if I turn my attention to the 
pole star above my head, the dream image will further 
stabilize itself. I do this; until gradually the clarity of 
the stars returns in its fullness." [5]


DREAM SPINNING
Some years ago I had the good fortune to discover a highly 
effective technique to prevent awakenings and produce new 
lucid dream scenes. I started by reasoning that since dream 
actions have corresponding physical effects, relaxing my 
dream body might inhibit awakening by lowering muscle tension 
in my physical body. The next time I was dreaming lucidly, I 
tested the idea. As the dream began to fade, I relaxed 
completely, dropping to the dream floor. However, contrary to 
my intention, I seemed to awaken. But, a few minutes later I 
discovered I had actually only dreamed of awakening. I 
repeated the experiment many times and the effect was 
consistent--I would remain in the dream state by dreaming of 
waking up. However, my experiences suggested that the 
essential element was not the attempted relaxation but the 
sensation of movement. In subsequent lucid dreams, I tested a 
variety of dream movements and found both falling backward 
and spinning in the dream to be especially effective in 
producing lucid dreams of awakening. Here is a method for 
spinning to remain in the dream state:


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THE SPINNING TECHNIQUE

1. Notice when the dream begins to fade
When a dream ends, the visual sense fades first. Other senses 
may persist longer, with touch being among the last to go. 
The first sign that a lucid dream is about to end is usually 
a loss of color and realism in your visual imagery. The dream 
may lose visual detail and begin to take on a cartoon-like or 
washed-out appearance. You may find the light growing very 
dim, or your vision becoming progressively weaker. 

2. Spin as soon as the dream begins to fade
As soon as the visual imagery of your lucid dream begins to 
fade, quickly, before the feel of your dream body evaporates, 
stretch out your arms and spin like a top (with your dream 
body, of course). It doesn't matter whether you pirouette, or 
spin like a top, dervish, child, or bottle, as long as you 
vividly feel your dream body in motion. This is not the same 
as imagining you are spinning; for the technique to work, you 
must feel the vivid sensation of spinning.

3. While spinning, remind yourself that the next thing you 
see will probably be a dream
Continue to spin, constantly reminding yourself that the next 
thing you see, touch or hear will very probably be a dream. 

4. Test your state wherever you seem to arrive
Continue spinning until you find yourself in a stable world. 
You will either still be dreaming or have awakened. 
Therefore, carefully and critically test which state you are 
in (see Chapter 3). 

COMMENTARY
If I think I have awakened, I always check the time on the 
digital clock beside my bed. This usually provides a 
foolproof reality test. 

Frequently, the spinning procedure generates a new dream 
scene, which may represent the bedroom you are sleeping in, 
or some more unusual place. Sometimes the just-faded dream 
scene is regenerated in all its vivid glory. 

By repeatedly reminding yourself that you're dreaming during 
the spinning transition, you can continue to be lucid in the 
new dream scene. Without this special effort of attention, 
you will usually mistake the new dream for an actual 
awakening--in spite of manifest absurdities of dream content!

A typical false awakening would occur if, while spinning, you 
felt your hands hit the bed and you thought: "Well, I must be 
awake, since my hand just hit the bed. I guess spinning 
didn't work this time." What you should think, of course, is 
"Since the spinning hand that hit the bed is a dream hand, it 
must have hit a dream bed. Therefore, I'm still dreaming!" 
Don't fail to critically check your state after using the 
Spinning Technique.
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EFFECTIVENESS OF SPINNING
This method is extremely effective for many dreamers, 
including myself. Out of the one hundred lucid dreams in the 
last six months of the record in my doctoral dissertation, I 
used this technique in forty percent of my lucid dreams. New 
dream scenes resulted in eighty-five percent of these cases. 
Lucid consciousness persisted in ninety-seven percent of the 
new dreams. When spinning led to another dream, the new dream 
scene almost always closely resembled my bedroom.

The experiences of other lucid dreamers who have employed 
this method have been very similar to mine, but suggest that 
the post-spin lucid dream need not be a bedroom scene. One of 
these lucid dreamers, for instance, found herself arriving at 
a dream scene other than her bedroom in five out of the 
eleven times she used the spinning technique.

These results suggest that spinning could be used to produce 
transitions to any dream scene the lucid dreamer expects. 
(See Exercise: Spinning a new dream scene, later in this 
chapter) In my own case, it appears that my almost exclusive 
production of bedroom dreams may be an accident of the 
circumstances in which I discovered the technique. I have 
tried, with very little success, to produce transitions to 
other dream scenes with this method. Although I definitely 
intended to arrive elsewhere than my dream bedroom, I cannot 
say that I fully expected to. I believe I will someday be 
able to unlearn this accidental association (if that is what 
it is). Meanwhile, I'm impressed by the power of expectation 
to determine what happens in my lucid dreams.

HOW DOES SPINNING WORK?
Why should dream spinning decrease the likelihood of 
awakening? Several factors are probably involved. One of 
these may be neurophysiological. Information about head and 
body movement, monitored by the vestibular system of the 
inner ear (which helps you to keep your balance), is closely 
integrated with visual information by the brain to produce an 
optimally stable picture of the world. Because of this 
integration of information, the world doesn't appear to move 
whenever you move your head, even though the image of the 
world on your retina moves.

Since the sensations of movement during dream spinning are as 
vivid as those during actual physical movements, it is likely 
that the same brain systems are activated to a similar degree 
in both cases. An intriguing possibility is that the spinning 
technique, by stimulating the system of the brain that 
integrates vestibular activity detected in the middle ear, 
facilitates the activity of the nearby components of the REM-
sleep system. Neuroscientists have obtained indirect evidence 
of the involvement of the vestibular system in the production 
of the rapid-eye-movement bursts in REM sleep. [6]

Another possible reason why spinning may help postpone 
awakening comes from the fact that when you imagine 
perceiving something with one sense, your sensitivity to 
external stimulation of that sense decreases. Thus, if the 
brain is fully engaged in producing the vivid, internally 
generated sensory experience of spinning, it will be more 
difficult for it to construct a contradictory sensation based 
on external sensory input. 


WHAT TO DO IF YOU DO AWAKEN PREMATURELY
Even if you find that despite your best efforts to stay 
asleep you still wake up, all is not lost. Play dead. If you 
remain perfectly motionless upon waking from a lucid (or non-
lucid) dream, and deeply relax your body, there is a good 
chance that REM sleep will reassert itself and you will have 
an opportunity to consciously enter a lucid dream, as 
described in Chapter 4. For some people with a strong 
tendency to REM sleep, this happens almost every time they 
awaken from a dream until they decide to move. Alan Worsley 
is one of the world's most experienced lucid dreamers. He has 
been conducting personal lucid dream experiments since the 
age of five. During the 1970s, he was the first person to 
signal from a lucid dream in pioneering experiments carried 
out in collaboration with Keith Hearne. [7] Worsley appears 
to possess this felicitous sort of physiology, and offers the 
following advice for dreamers who have just awakened but 
yearn to return to their lucid dreams: "Lie very still--don't 
move a muscle! Relax and wait. The dream will return. I've 
had dozens of lucid dreams in a row with this method." [8]

USING INNER SPEECH TO PREVENT LOSS OF LUCIDITY
We have used language to control our thinking and behavior 
since we first learned to speak. Our parents would tell us 
what to do and how to do it and we were guided by their 
words. When we first we did these things under our own 
direction, we would repeat out loud the parental instructions 
to remind ourselves of exactly how and what we were trying to 
do. Now, having fully incorporated the role of parental guide 
within us, we repeat the instructions silently to ourselves 
when carrying out complicated new procedures.

This process of verbal direction of conscious behavior can 
also be used to regulate your behavior in the lucid dream, 
for instance to maintain your awareness that it is a dream. 
Until becoming and staying lucid is a well developed habit, 
we are all too likely to lose lucidity anytime our attention 
wanders. The moment we take a bit too much interest in some 
facet of the dream, lucidity vanishes. If you are a novice 
lucid dreamer who has problems maintaining your lucidity, the 
temporary solution is for you to talk to yourself in your 
lucid dreams. Continually remind yourself that you are 
dreaming by repeating phrases like "This is a dream!...This 
is a dream!...This is a dream!" or "I'm dreaming...I'm 
dreaming...I'm dreaming...." This self-reminding can be 
spoken "out-loud" in the dream, if necessary. Otherwise it's 
better to say it silently to avoid the repetition becoming 
the predominant feature of the dream. 

Sparrow recommends the same procedure, advising dreamers with 
shaky lucidity "to concentrate on an affirmation which serves 
as a continual reminder of the illusory nature of the 
experience." [9] Sparrow considers it essential that the 
affirmation (e.g., "This is all a dream") must be learned by 
heart and cultivated in the waking state in order for it to 
be an effective aid in the dream state.

After you have acquired some experience, you will learn to 
recognize the situations in which you tend to lose your 
lucidity (i.e., the presence of strongly attractive or 
repellent elements), and find that you can maintain your 
lucidity without conscious effort. Learning to do this can 
happen fairly rapidly. In my first year of studying lucid 
dreaming, I lost lucidity in 11 (18%) of 62 lucid dreams; in 
the second year, I lost lucidity in only 1 (0.9%) of 111 
lucid dreams, and in the third year, only 1 (0.5%) out of 215 
lucid dreams. [10] In the following 10 years, the rate of 
lucidity lost has stayed at less than one percent.


AWAKENING AT WILL
"My first lucid dream arose from my discovery as a child of 5 
that I could wake myself from frightening dreams by trying to 
shout 'Mother!'" [11]

"I have found a paradoxical sounding, but simple technique 
for waking at will: 'Fall asleep to wake up.' Whenever I 
decide I want to awaken from a lucid dream, I simply lie down 
on the nearest dream bed, couch, or cloud, shut my dream 
eyes, and 'go to sleep.' The usual result is that I 
immediately wake up, but sometimes I only dream that I wake 
up, and when I realize I'm still dreaming, I try again to 
wake up 'for real', sometimes succeeding at once, but 
sometimes only after an amusing sequence of false 
awakenings.' [B.K., Palo Alto, California] 

"When I was a little girl, about six years old, I came up 
with a method for awakening myself when dreams got too 
unpleasant. I don't recall how I came up with the idea, but I 
would blink my eyes hard three times. This worked well for a 
while, and got me out of some pretty horrific and 
surrealistic scenarios, but then something changed, and the 
method began to produce false awakenings. When I once used 
this technique to end a mildly distasteful dream, only to 
find myself awakening in my bedroom just before the arrival 
of a terrible hurricane, and certain that the experience was 
real, upon actually awakening I decided to abandon the 
practice." [L.L., Redwood City, California]

If the secret to preventing premature awakening is to 
maintain active participation in the dream, the secret to 
awakening at will is to withdraw your attention and 
participation from the dream. Think, daydream, or otherwise 
withdraw your attention from the dream, and you are very 
likely to awaken. 

When five-year-old Alan Worsley called out for his mother in 
the physical world, he was directing his attention away from 
the dream as well as possibly activating the muscles of 
vocalization in his sleeping body, which could awaken him.

But nothing could provide a better illustration of the 
principle of waking by withdrawing attention from the dream 
than Beverly Kedzierski's formula "go to sleep to wake up." 
After all, what does sleep mean but withdrawal of attention 
from what is around us?

Another way of withdrawing your participation from the dream 
is to cease making the usual rapid eye movements so crucially 
characteristic of REM sleep. Tholey has experimented with 
fixation on a stationary point during lucid dreams. He found 
that gaze fixation caused the fixation point to blur, 
followed by dissolution of the entire dream scene, and an 
awakening within four to twelve seconds. He notes that 
experienced subjects can use the intermediate stage of scene 
dissolution "to form the dream environment to their own 
wishes." [12] Artist and dream researcher Fariba Bogzaran 
describes a very similar technique called "Intentional 
Focusing," in which she concentrates on an object in her 
lucid dream until she regains waking consciousness. [13] 

However, the examples here show that using methods to awaken 
from dreams may lead to false awakenings. Sometimes, the 
false awakening can be more disturbing than the original 
dream you were trying to escape. In general, it is probably 
best not to try to avoid frightening dream images by escaping 
to the waking state. Chapter 10 explains why and how you can 
benefit from facing nightmares. An example of a good use for 
techniques of waking yourself at will from lucid dreams is 
for awakening while you still have the events and revelations 
of the dream clearly in mind.


TWO KINDS OF DREAM CONTROL
Before we go on to discuss ways in which you can exercise 
your will over the images of your dreams, consider the uses 
you can make of your new freedom.

When faced with challenging dream situations, there are two 
ways you can master them. One way involves magical 
manipulation of the dream: controlling "them" or "it," while 
the other way involves self-control. As it happens, the first 
kind of control doesn't always work--which may actually be a 
blessing in disguise. If we learned to solve our problems in 
our lucid dreams by magically changing things we don't like, 
we might mistakenly hope to do the same in our waking lives. 
For example, I once had a lucid dream about a frightening 
ogre, whom I confronted by projecting feelings of love and 
acceptance, leading to a pleasurable, peaceful, and 
empowering resolution in my dream. Suppose I had chosen to 
turn my adversary into a toad, and get rid of him that way. 
How would that help me if I were to find myself in conflict 
with my boss or another authority figure whom I might see as 
an ogre, in spite of my being awake? Turning him into a toad 
would hardly be practical! However, a change in attitude 
might indeed resolve the situation.

A generally a more useful approach to take with unpleasant 
dream imagery is to control your self. Self-control means 
control over habitual reactions. For example, if you are 
afraid and run away, even though you know you should face 
your fear, you aren't controlling your behavior. Although the 
events that appear to take place in dreams are illusory, our 
feelings in response to dream events are real. So when you're 
fearful in a dream and realize that it is a dream, you fear 
may not vanish automatically. You still have to deal with it; 
this is why lucid dreams are such good practice for our 
waking lives. We're free to control our responses to the 
dream, and whatever we learn in so doing will readily apply 
to our waking lives. In my "ogre dream," I gained a degree of 
self-mastery and confidence that has served me as well in the 
waking world as in the dream. As a result of such lucid dream 
encounters, I now feel confident that I can handle just about 
any situation. So if you'd like to enhance your sense of 
self-confidence, my advice is that you'd be wise to "control 
yourself, not the dream."


FLYING
"I read about your work and the techniques you suggested for 
having lucid dreams. I practiced noticing whether I was 
dreaming. The first night, after several non-lucid dreams, I 
suddenly remembered to ask myself tf I was dreaming. As soon 
as I answered "yes," something happened that your article did 
not mention. Everything in the dream became extremely vivid. 
The visual aspects were like someone turned up the contrast 
and the color. I saw everything in great detail. All my dream 
senses were amplified. I was suddenly intensely aware of 
temperature, air movement, odors, and sounds. I had a strong 
sense of being in control. Even though I had not planned to 
fly, something in the dream made me think about flying, and I 
simply leaped into the air (Superman style) and flew. The 
sensation was the most exhilarating and realistic dream 
experience I have ever had. I used to have flying dreams when 
I was younger, but they were more of the floating variety, 
and never higher than tree-top level. I never had the degree 
of control that I experienced in my lucid dream. I flew down 
a canyon of tall buildings, gradually gaining altitude. The 
buildings gave way to a park, where I embarked upon some 
aerial acrobatics. It was my last dream of the night, and the 
feeling of exhilaration lasted all day. I told everyone who 
would listen about the experiment and theΚsuccess I had." 
[G.R., Westborough, Massachusetts]

"One night I was dreaming of standing on a hill, looking out 
over the tops of maples, alders, and other trees. The leaves 
of the maples were bright red and rustling in the wind. The 
grass at my feet was lush and vividly green. All the colors 
about me were more saturated than I have ever seen.
   Perhaps the awareness that the colors were 'brighter than 
they should be' shocked me into realizing that I was in a 
dream, and that what lay about me was not 'real.' I remember 
saying to myself, 'If this is a dream, I should be able to 
fly into the air.' I tested my hunch and was enormously 
pleased that I could effortlessly fly, and fly anywhere I 
wanted. I skimmed over the tops of the trees and sailed many 
miles over new territory. I flew upward, far above the 
landscape, and hovered in the air currents like an eagle.
   How the dream ended I don't recall, but when I awoke I 
felt as if the experience of flying had energized me. I felt 
a sense of well-being that seemed directly related to the 
experience of being lucid in the dream, of taking control of 
the flying." [J.B., Everett, Washington]

Flying dreams and lucid dreams are strongly related in 
several ways. First, if you ever find yourself flying without 
benefit of an airplane or other reasonable apparatus, you are 
looking at a fine dreamsign. Second, if you ever suspect that 
you are dreaming, trying to fly is often a good way to test 
your state. And if you want to visit the far corners of the 
globe or distant galaxies in your lucid dreams, flying makes 
an excellent mode of transportation.

If you think you are dreaming, push off the ground and see if 
you can float into the air. If you are indoors, after you fly 
around the room, look for a window. Go out the window, and 
strive for altitude. Curiously, more than a few dreamers 
(most likely city-dwellers) have reported that they sometimes 
find an obstacle in the form of electrical power lines that 
seem to prevent their passage. And some of these oneironauts 
report a surge of energy, often accompanied by a burst of 
light, when they fly through the "power" lines. Beyond that 
barrier, oneironauts have flown around the earth, to other 
planets, distant stars and galaxies, and even mythical realms 
like Camelot or Shangri-la. 

Flying is fun, and therefore worth doing for the sheer joy of 
it, even if you aren't determined to reach a specific 
destination. People seem to be able to fly in just about any 
manner imaginable, according to the hundreds of reports we 
have received. Many people fly "Superman style," with their 
arms extended in front of them. Also common is "swimming" 
through the air, probably because the closest experience we 
get to flying in the air, is "flying" in the water. Others 
sprout wings from their backs or their heels, flap their 
hands, or straddle jet-powered cereal boxes, or flying 
carpets, or supersonic easy chairs.

One way to challenge yourself and to begin to fly is to jump 
off tall buildings or cliffs. Uncontrolled falling is a 
common theme of nightmares, and the following anecdote 
suggests the potential usefulness of lucid dream flying as a 
means for overcoming this terror:

"My attempts at flying lucidly were the most interesting 
adventures I've had in lucid dreams. I have a great fear of 
heights, so falling in dreams, while not nightmarish, is 
common for me. I always wake up before I land. But attempting 
the exercise I read in your article, I flew over places which 
would have terrified me in a dream before--open water, snowy 
mountains.
   One night I was soaring in outer space and coming back to 
earth. No fear involved. But coming eventually to a small 
ledge in a mountain, I was afraid to land and almost woke up. 
Using your techniques (especially spinning), I forced myself 
to deliberately land on the very edge. I could see the 
mountains below, feel the cold, even smell the fresh air. It 
was really a great feeling to know I could not be hurt; 
because if I started to fall, I could just fly away again." 
[N.C., Fremont, California]


EXTENDING YOUR DREAM SENSES
"I gained conscious control in one of my dreams. I took a 
bicycle ride because I decided I'd like to broaden my sensual 
experience. As I pedalled, I called out the senses: Hearing! 
And I heard my own heavy breathing. Smell! And I smelled a 
whiff of cigarette smoke. I touched a big, rough-barked tree, 
heard the flapping of sparrow wings, saw much greenery, felt 
the wooden handles of the bicycle. My senses were so alive, 
just as good as if I were awake. Yet I knew I was dreaming. 
This excited me incredibly! I pedalled furiously to get back, 
to wake up, but I woke up feeling refreshed." [L.G., San 
Francisco, California]

Most people are astonished to discover that they are 
dreaming. The astonishment stems from the realization that 
they have been fooling themselves in a colossal way. It is 
definitely a surprise, especially the first time, to learn 
that your normally-trustworthy senses are reporting to you an 
absolutely flawless portrayal of a world that doesn't exist 
outside the dream. Indeed, one of the most common features of 
first lucid dreams is a feeling of hyper-reality that happens 
when you take a good look around you in the dream and see the 
wondrous, elaborate detail your mind can create.

First-time lucid dreamers often note a marked, pleasurable 
heightening of the senses, particularly the sense of vision. 
Hearing, smell, touch, taste can intensify instantly, as if 
you had found the volume control knob for your senses and 
turned it up a notch. Give it a try. Play with your senses, 
one at a time, as you explore the dream world. During daily 
life, we all have good reasons for tuning out our senses so 
we can concentrate on getting our jobs done. In your dreams, 
however, you can learn how to turn them back on again.

Senses are marvelous instruments for providing continuous 
data about events inside and outside our bodies. Our brains 
structure this data into the models of the world we 
experience. We all have learned how to think, perceive, 
believe, and model the world in a certain way, and the 
greatest part of this learning took place when we were 
infants. The world-modeling process was automatic long before 
we were able to think about it. Therefore, it comes as a 
surprise when we discover in lucid dreams that the drama we 
perceive as real might only be a kind of stage set, and all 
the people in it but mental constructions. However, once we 
get used to the notion, it is natural and empowering to begin 
to take conscious control of our senses in the dream state.


THE DREAM TELEVISION
In the early 1980s, continuing his dual role as lucid dream 
explorer and researcher (like many in the field), Alan 
Worsley developed an interesting series of "television 
experiments." [14] In his lucid dreams he finds a television 
set, turns it on, watches it, and experiments with the 
controls to change such things as the sound level and the 
color intensity. Sometimes he pretends that the T.V. responds 
to voice control, so that he can ask it questions and request 
it to display various images.

Worsley reports that "... I have experimented with 
manipulating imagery, as if I were learning to operate by 
trial an internal computer video system (including 
'scrolling,' 'panning,' changing the scene instantly, and 
'zooming'). Further, I have experimented with isolating part 
of the imagery or 'parking' it, by surrounding it with a 
frame such as a picture frame or proscenium arch and backing 
away from it ('windowing')." [15]


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EXERCISE: THE DREAM TELEVISION
Before bed set your mind to remember this experiment. When 
you achieve lucidity, find or create a large, ultra-high 
resolution, total surround sound, television set. Make 
yourself comfortable. Turn it on. Find the volume, 
brightness, and color saturation controls, and slowly 
experiment with them. Turn the sound up an down. Tweak the 
color. When the picture is right, imagine the smell of your 
favorite food wafting right out of the picture tube. If you 
are hungry, allow it to materialize. Savor a sample. Conjure 
up velvet pillows and satin pajamas. Give all the senses a 
controlled workout. Observe what is happening in your mind as 
you adjust the color or contrast control on your world-
modeling television monitor.
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MANIPULATING LUCID DREAMS
"I dreamed of falling down the side of a building, and as I 
fell I knew I was still unprepared to face the fall, so I 
changed the building to a cliff. I grabbed onto foliage and 
shrubs that grew down the side and began climbing confidently 
down. In fact, when someone began falling from above me, I 
caught him and told him to think of footholds and plants to 
support him because 'it's only a dream and you can do what 
you want in it.' And I enjoyed a totally new excitement and 
headiness of purposely facing danger and risk. It was a 
deeply gratifying and proud moment in my life." [T.Z., 
Fresno, California]

"In this dream I was at my mother's house and heard voices in 
another room. When entering the room, I realized without a 
doubt I was dreaming. My first command was ordering the 
people in the room to have a more exciting conversation, 
since this was my dream. At that moment they changed their 
topic to my favorite hobby. I started commanding things to 
happen and they did. The more things began to happen, the 
more I would command. It was a very thrilling experience, one 
of the most thrilling lucid dreams I've had, probably because 
I was more in control and more sure of my actions." [R.B., 
Chicago, Illinois]

"Two weeks ago I had a dream of being pursued by a violent 
tornadic storm. I was on a cliff high above a beach and had 
been teaching others to fly, telling them that this was a 
dream and in a dream all you have to do to fly is believe you 
can. We were having a great time when the storm appeared, 
coming in from the ocean. Tornados and I go way back in 
dreams. They are some of my pet monsters of the mind.
   When this one appeared, it was announced by exceptionally 
strong winds and lightning and high waves. A young boy, a 
puppy, and I were together for some time running and seeking 
shelter, but then we stopped, poised on the very edge of the 
last great cliff before the open sea. Panic was bringing me 
close to the point of losing lucidity. But then I thought 
'Wait! This is a dream. If you choose, you can keep running. 
Or you can destroy the tornado or transform it. The storm has 
no power to hurt the boy or the puppy. It is you it wants. 
Anyway, no more running. See what it is like from within.' 
   As I thought this, it was as though some exceptional force 
lifted the three of us, almost blurring our forms as we were 
pulled toward the tornado. The boy and puppy simply faded out 
about midway. Inside the storm there was a beautiful 
translucent whiteness and a feeling of tremendous peace. At 
the same time it was a living energy that seemed to be 
waiting to be shaped and at the same time was capable of 
being infinitely shaped and reshaped, formed and transformed 
over again. It was something tremendously vital, tremendously 
alive." [M.H., Newport News, Virginia]

Taking action in dreams can mean many things--you can command 
the characters, or manipulate the scenery, as in the examples 
quoted above, or you can decide to explore part of the dream 
environment, act out a particular scene, reverse the dream 
scenario or change the plot. Although, as explained above, 
the greatest benefit from lucid dreams may come not from 
exercising control over the dreams, but from taking control 
of your own reactions to dream situations, experimenting with 
different kinds of dream control can extend your powers and 
appreciation of lucidity. Paul Tholey mentions several 
techniques for manipulation of lucid dreams: manipulation 
prior to sleep by means of intention and autosuggestion, 
manipulation by wishing, manipulation by inner state, 
manipulation by means of looking, manipulation by means of 
verbal utterances, manipulations with certain actions, and 
manipulation with assistance of other dream figures. [16]

Chapter 3 showed how intention and autosuggestion can 
influence lucid dreams. Manipulation by wishing is amply 
illustrated by oneironauts who have written of their ability 
to transport themselves and change the dream world simply by 
wishing it to happen. Manipulation by inner state is 
particularly interesting. Tholey says this about it, 
referring to his own research findings: "The environment of a 
dream is strongly conditioned by the inner state of the 
dreamer. If the dreamer courageously faced up to a 
threatening figure, its threatening nature in general 
gradually diminished and the figure itself often began to 
shrink. If the dreamer on the other hand allowed himself to 
be filled with fear, the threatening nature of the dream 
figure increased and the figure itself began to grow." [17]

Manipulation by means of looking plays an important part in 
Tholey's model of appropriate lucid dream activities. He 
cites his own research in support of the hypothesis that 
dream figures can be deprived of their threatening nature by 
looking them directly in the eye. Manipulation by means of 
verbal utterances is explained thus: "One can considerably 
influence the appearance and behavior of dream figures by 
addressing them in an appropriate manner. The simple question 
'Who are you?' brought about a noticeable change in the dream 
figures so addressed. Figures of strangers have changed in 
this manner into familiar individuals. Evidently the inner 
readiness to learn something about oneself and one's 
situation by carrying on a conversation with a dream figure 
enables one to...achieve in this fashion the highest level of 
lucidity in the dream: lucidity as to what the dream 
symbolizes." [18]

Spinning, flying, and looking at the ground are two examples 
of manipulation by certain actions: these are actions that 
stabilize, enhance, or prolong lucidity. Other dream figures 
may be able to help you manipulate dreams to find answers, 
resolve difficulties or just enjoy yourself. Reconciling with 
threatening dream characters can help you to achieve better 
balance and self-integration. This application of lucid 
dreaming is a key topic in Chapter 11.


GETTING PLACES IN DREAMS
On a more basic level, to get the most out of lucidity, you 
need to know how to get around in the dream world. For many 
lucid dream applications, you may wish or need to find a 
particular place, person, or situation. One way to achieve 
this is by willing yourself to dream about your topic of 
choice. This is often called "dream incubation." It is a 
timeless procedure used throughout history in cultures that 
consider dreams valuable sources of wisdom. In ancient 
Greece, people would visit dream temples to sleep and find 
answers or cures.

Dream temples are probably not necessary for dream 
incubation--although they certainly would have helped 
sleepers to focus their minds on their purpose. This is the 
key: make sure you have your problem or wish firmly in mind 
before sleep. To do this, it is helpful to arrive at a 
simple, single phrase describing the topic of your intended 
dream. Since for the purposes in this book, you are trying to 
induce lucid dreams, you need to add to your focus the 
intention to become lucid in the dream. Then you put all of 
your mental energy into conceiving of yourself in a lucid 
dream about the topic. Your intention should be the last 
thing you think of before falling asleep. The following 
exercise leads you through this process.


=============================================================
EXERCISE: LUCID DREAM INCUBATION

1. Formulate your intention
Before bed, come up with a single phrase or question 
encapsulating the topic you wish to dream about: "I want to 
visit San Francisco." Write the phrase down, and perhaps draw 
a picture illustrating the question. Memorize the phrase and 
the picture (if you have one). If you have a specific action 
you wish to carry out in your desired dream ("I want to tell 
my friend I love her."), be sure to carefully formulate it 
now. Beneath your target phrase, write another saying, "When 
I dream of [the phrase], I will remember that I am dreaming."

2. Go to bed
Without doing anything else, go immediately to bed and turn 
out the light.

3. Focus on your phrase and intention to become lucid
Recall your phrase or the image you drew. Visualize yourself 
dreaming about the topic and becoming lucid in the dream. If 
there is something you want to try in the dream, also 
visualize doing it once you are lucid. Meditate on the phrase 
and your intention to become lucid in a dream about it until 
you fall asleep. Don't let any other thoughts come between 
thinking about your topic and falling asleep. If your 
thoughts stray, just return to thinking about your phrase and 
becoming lucid.

4. Pursue your intention in the lucid dream
When in a lucid dream about your topic carry out your 
intention. Ask the question you wish to ask, seek ways to 
express yourself, try your new behavior, or explore your 
situation. Be sure to notice your feelings and be observant 
of all details of the dream.

5. When you have achieved your goal, remember to awaken and 
recall the dream
When you obtain a satisfying answer in the dream, use one of 
the methods suggested earlier in this chapter to awaken 
yourself. Immediately write down at least the part of the 
dream that includes your solution. Even if you don't think 
the lucid dream has answered your question, once it begins to 
fade, awaken yourself and write down the dream. You may find 
on reflection that your answer was hidden in the dream and 
you did not see it at the time.
-------------------------------------------------------------


CREATING NEW SETTINGS
"Dreams of this degree of lucidity also let me change the 
shapes of objects or change locations at will. It's lovely to 
watch the dream images sort of shift and run like colors 
melting in the sun until all you have all around you is 
shifting, moving, living color/energy/light--I'm not sure how 
to describe it--and then the new scene forms around you from 
this dream stuff, this protoplasmic modeling clay of the 
mind." [M.H., Newport News, Virginia]

Another way to dream of particular things is to seek them out 
or conjure them while you are in a lucid dream. In other 
literature about dreams you may find some objections to the 
notion of deliberately influencing the content of dreams. 
Some believe the dream state to be a kind of psychological 
"wilderness" that ought to be left untamed. However, as 
discussed in Chapter 5, dreams arise out of your own 
knowledge, biases and expectations, whether or not you are 
conscious of them. If you consciously alter the elements in 
your dream, this is not artificial; it is just the ordinary 
mechanism of dream production operating at a higher level of 
mental processing. Dreams can be sources of inspiration and 
self-knowledge, but you can also use them to consciously seek 
answers to problems and fulfill your waking desires.

Changing dream scenes at will can also help you to get 
acquainted with the full illusion-creating power at your 
disposal. Seeing that the world around you can switch from a 
Manhattan cocktail party to Martian canals at your command 
will be much more effective than the words in this book for 
teaching you that the dream world is a mental model of your 
own creation. 

The increased sense of mastery over the dream gained by 
knowing that you can manipulate it if you wish will give you 
the confidence to fearlessly travel wherever the dream should 
take you. Your power here is precisely as large as you 
imagine it to be. You can change the color of your socks, 
request a replay of the sunset, or segue to another planet or 
the Garden of Eden, simply by wishing. Here a few exercises 
you can experiment with in trying to direct your dreams. Not 
much is known about the best way to achieve scene changes in 
dreams, so take these exercises as hints and then work out 
your own method.


SPINNING A NEW DREAM SCENE
In my dream-spinning experiment, I wanted to go to the 
setting of a book I'm reading. I wanted to solve the mystery 
in the book. I reached my target. I started at the point the 
book began, met the characters in proper sequence, and when I 
went to the point in the book where I was with another 
character in the book who is a wizard, he took a running 
start, leaped off a mountain fortress wall, and turned into a 
hawk, thereby escaping his enemies, I also jumped off the 
wall and changed into a hawk. I dressed and spoke in the 
manner of the characters and took an active part in solving 
the mysteries in the book. [S.B., Salt Lake City, Utah]

Spinning during the course of a lucid dream may do more for 
you than merely prevent premature awakening. It may also help 
you visit any dream scene you like. Here's how to do it. 


=============================================================
EXERCISE: SPINNING A NEW DREAM SCENE

1. Select a target
Before going to sleep, decide on a person, time, and place 
you would like to "visit" in your lucid dream. The target 
person and place can be either real or imaginary, past, 
present, or future. For example, "Padmasambhava, Tibet, 850", 
or "Stephen LaBerge, Stanford, California, the present", or 
"my granddaughter at home, the year 2050." 

2. Resolve to visit your target
Write down and memorize your target phrase, then vividly 
visualize yourself visiting your target, and firmly resolve 
to do so in a dream tonight.

3. Spin to your target in your lucid dream
It's possible that just by the intention you might find 
yourself in a non-lucid dream at your target. However, a more 
reliable way to reach your target is to become lucid first 
and then seek your goal. When you are in a lucid dream at the 
point where the imagery is beginning to fade and you feel you 
are about to wake up, then spin, repeating your target phrase 
until you find yourself in a vivid dream scene--hopefully 
your target person, time, and place.
-------------------------------------------------------------


=============================================================
EXERCISE: STRIKE THE SET, CHANGE THE CHANNEL 

Think of this as the opposite of the kind of magical 
transportation involved in spinning and flying. Instead of 
moving your dream-self to a new, exotic locale, simply change 
the environment of your dream to suit your fancy. Start with 
a small detail and work up to greater changes. Change the 
scene slowly, then abruptly, subtly, then blatantly. Think of 
everything you see as infinitely malleable "modeling clay for 
the mind." Some oneironauts have elaborated on Alan Worsley's 
example of the dream television. When they want to change the 
scenery, they imagine that the dream is taking place on a 
huge, three-dimensional television screen, and they have the 
remote control in their hand.
-------------------------------------------------------------


DOING THE IMPOSSIBLE
"I dreamed that I was at a party recently and having a boring 
time when I stood back from the dream and knew it was a dream 
and then had a great time projecting myself into being 
whoever was having fun. At first I just tried being women, 
but then I said, it's a dream, why not be a man and see what 
that feels like? So I did." [B.S., Albuquerque, New Mexico]

In waking life we are used to restrictions. For almost 
everything we do, there are rules about how to act, how not 
to act, and what it is reasonable to try. One of the most 
commonly quoted delightful features of lucid dreaming is 
great, unparalleled freedom. When people realize they are 
dreaming, they suddenly feel completely unrestricted, often 
for the first time in their life. They can do *anything*.

In dreams you can experience sensations or live out fantasies 
that are not probable in the waking state. You can get 
intimately acquainted with a fantasy figure. But you could 
also become that figure. Dreamers are not limited to their 
accustomed bodies You can appreciate a beautiful garden. Or 
you can be a flower. Alan Worsley has experimented with 
bizarre things like splitting himself in half, and putting 
his hands through his head. [19] Many oneironauts pass 
through walls, breathe water, fly, and travel in outer space. 
Forget your normal criteria, seek for the kinds of things you 
can only do or be in dreams.


REFERENCES
[1] L. Magallon, "Awake in the Dark: Imageless Lucid 
Dreaming," LUCIDITY LETTER 6 (1987): 86-90.
[2] H. von Moers-Messmer, "Traume mit der gleichzeitigen 
Erkenntnis des Traumzustandes," ARCHIV FUR PSYCHOLOGIE 102 
(1938): 291-318.
[3] G. S. Sparrow, LUCID DREAMING, DAWNING OF THE CLEAR LIGHT 
(Virginia Beach: A.R.E. Press, 1976).
[4] C. Castaneda, JOURNEY TO IXTLAN (New York: Simon & 
Schuster,1972).
[5] Sparrow, op. cit., 43.
[6] A. Hobson, THE DREAMING BRAIN (New York: Basic Books, 
1988).
[7] K. M. T. Hearne, LUCID DREAMS: AN ELECTROPHYSIOLOGICAL 
AND PSYCHOLOGICAL STUDY (unpublished Ph.D. diss., Liverpool 
University,1978).
[8] A. Worsley, Personal communication, 1982.
[9] Sparrow, op. cit., 41.
[10] S. LaBerge, LUCID DREAMING: AN EXPLORATORY STUDY OF 
CONSCIOUSNESS DURING SLEEP (Ph.D. diss., Stanford University, 
1980). (University Microfilms International No. 80-24,691).
[11] A. Worsley, "Personal Experiences in Lucid Dreaming," in 
CONSCIOUS MIND, SLEEPING BRAIN eds. J. Gackenbach and S. 
LaBerge (New York: Plenum, 1988), 321-342.
[12] P. Tholey, "Techniques for Inducing and Maintaining 
Lucid Dreams," PERCEPTUAL AND MOTOR SKILLS 57 (1983): 87.
[13] F. Bogzaran, "Dream Marbling," INK & GALL: MARBLING 
JOURNAL 2 (1988): 22.
[14] Worsley, "Personal Experiences," op. cit.
[15] Ibid.,327.
[16] Tholey, op. cit., 79-90.
[17] Ibid., 87.
[18] Ibid., 88.
[19] Worsley, "Personal Experiences" op. cit. 


 
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