Exclusive Excerpt from a Major New Release in Lucid Dreaming Books
By Clare R. Johnson, PhD © 2017
Biking up a two-mile-high mountain one beautiful summer’s day, I had nearly reached the peak when I noticed the path was growing dangerously narrow. To my right was a sheer drop. Seriously scared, I suddenly realised that I was dreaming.
Determined to face my fear, I swung my handlebars to the right…and cycled off over the edge of the mountain. It was so exhilarating to bomb down it. This was the real thing—the wind in my face, my bike wheels defying gravity and skimming down the sheer edge, all the way to solid ground.
My lucid dream showed me I needed to stop climbing the endless mountain of two decades of lucidity research, stop writing my already huge book, and get it published! Following this dream, I found a literary agent, who quickly found the book an excellent publisher. Now this massive lucidity guide is finally out worldwide.
Apart from covering the essential ground of how to get and stay lucid and experiment with guiding dreams, Llewellyn’s Complete Book of Lucid Dreaming tackles sticky subjects such as the ethics of lucid dream violence and sexual behaviour. It explores the scientific and practical aspects of lucid dream healing. It offers a wide range of useful techniques for engaging with lucid dreams. It takes a scientific and personal look at out-of-body experiences. It asks what the lucid dream body is made of and introduces a new theory of dreams and reality. It faces death and dying head-on.
The book also explores the profound experiences that lucid dreaming can open up for us, such as travelling at incredible speeds in white light, dissolving into blissful oneness in the sparkling black void, and connecting with a baseline state of consciousness that may be the bedrock of reality and the universe. I call this supercreative baseline state “Lucid Light.”
In this exclusive excerpt from Llewellyn’s Complete Book of Lucid Dreaming, I share a few personal experiences with shapeshifting in lucid dreams.
Discover new practical techniques for triggering lucidity, resolving nightmares, engaging with lucid dream figures, exploring dream physics, improving physical skills, and much more in Llewellyn’s Complete Book of Lucid Dreaming.
The book has worldwide distribution and can be ordered from local bookstores in any country, or from online stores.
Transform the Lucid Dream Body
One of the many wonderful things about the lucid dream body is its ability to shapeshift. Many lucid dreamers have experienced themselves as different animals, plants, or geographical features. It’s quite something to feel your human shape transform into something else, and it can be startlingly realistic on a sensory and kinaesthetic level; as a lucid dream eagle I’ve felt the weighty flap of my wings at take-off and my body balancing on the air currents. In a lucid dream where I transformed into a dolphin, I experienced the powerful surge of my body underwater and the sun glinting on the tops of the waves as I leapt out of the sea.
I’ve lucid dreamed of being a bouncy ball, a point of light, an expanding star, and a floating eye, and I’ve had many entirely bodiless lucid dreams. Once while dreaming I recalled a friend of mine saying, “Freud says everyone has an inner tree.” Wondering what my inner tree looked like, I glanced down at my dream body and saw a vibrantly glowing green tree inside it! I breathed through that tree; it was a fully oxygenated, alive part of my body, inseparable from my cells and my blood. I was the tree and the tree was me. “Wow,” I thought. “Freud was right!”
On rare occasion, we can even find ourselves inhabiting two different dream bodies simultaneously. Once at university, I was working on an essay at my desk and felt so bored of it that I rested my head on my arms and began to fall asleep. After a bit, I forced myself to my feet and lay down on my bed instead, where I instantly fell asleep. But after minutes or hours, a curious feeling stole over me: I had two bodies! One was slumped at my desk, and the other was lying on the bed. I could feel the weight of my head on my arms and the coolness of the floor under my feet. Simultaneously, I could feel the length of the bed beneath my stretched-out body and the pillow under my head.
Had I really made it to my bed earlier, or had that been a dream—was I in fact asleep at my desk? For what seemed like many minutes, I experienced this dual-body awareness. I got flashes of imagery of my room, but from two different perspectives. Was I at my desk or on my bed? Intrigued, I experimented with tipping the balance and managed to become more my body at the desk for a moment, while the body on the bed lost reality slightly. Unable to decide where my physical body actually was, I dragged myself from this pleasant but perplexing state to find out. It was hard to wake myself up, as I was in sleep paralysis, but with a bit of concerted toe wriggling, I woke up to discover that I was … on my bed!
Who or What Am “I” When I Dream?
I’ve experimented with shutting off physical sensations in a lucid dream, moving from sense to sense and willing each to stop functioning so that first my vision went, then my hearing, and so on. Eventually my dream body vanished too, and I was a non-sensory, floating point of consciousness. I did this out of philosophical curiosity when asking myself, what is the dream “I”? Well, whatever the dream “I” may be, it’s definitely not the dream body. Just as in waking life we are more than our physical body, so it is in dreams, only in dreams this is much more easily verifiable.
Instantly I know I am dreaming. Then I realize that I am no longer myself—I am an earthworm crawling across a thick deep-blue carpet… Looking out through earthworm eyes, I feel the fuzzy pile of the carpet tickle my body.
Lucid dreaming can help us to expand our idea of who and what we are. It can dissolve the boundaries set up by rigid belief systems (“I am just a body and a brain; I cannot change; gravity exists as an absolute law even in the dream state; my thoughts have no effect on my reality”). Understanding that we don’t have to adhere to these beliefs is a step on the path to freedom—and a step towards becoming an experienced lucid dreamer.
Exclusive excerpt from Llewellyn’s Complete Book of Lucid Dreaming by Clare R. Johnson, PhD. © 2017 by Clare R. Johnson, PhD. Used by permission from Llewellyn Worldwide, Ltd., www.Llewellyn.com.
Clare R. Johnson, PhD is a lifelong lucid dreamer and the first person to do a PhD on lucid dreaming as a creative tool. Vice President of the International Association for the Study of Dreams, her nonfiction books include Llewellyn’s Complete Book of Lucid Dreaming and Dream Therapy (published as Mindful Dreaming in the US/Canada).
Her lucid-dream-inspired novels are Dreamrunner and Breathing in Colour. She answers questions on lucid dreaming and nightmares on her website.