By Ed Kellogg, Ph.D. © 2012
“I have no doubt whatever that most people live, whether physically, intellectually or morally, in a very restricted circle of their potential being. They make use of a very small portion of their possible consciousness, and of their soul’s resources in general, much like a man who, out of his whole bodily organism, should get into a habit of using and moving only his little finger . . . We all have reservoirs of life to draw upon, of which we do not dream. The practical problem is “how to get at them.” William James
Early on in my explorations into lucid dreaming, I theorized that it would serve as a superior venue for the intentional accessing of psi information. (1) After all, historical accounts indicate that psi information shows up far more often in people’s dreams than in their waking lives. Then, in the 1960‘s, researchers at the Maimonides Dream Laboratory convincingly demonstrated, through a series of controlled scientific studies, that subjects could repeatedly tune in to randomly selected external targets in their dreams.
(2) A meta-analysis of research since then has solidly confirmed the existence of dream psi. (3) In the case of lucid dreaming, experiments by myself and others have repeatedly shown that lucidity not only facilitates dream psi, but that it does so to a greater degree than I’d originally expected. In this article I’ll explore the “how’s” and “why’s” of lucid dream psi.
Psi and Lucid Dreaming
Lucid dreamers experience a kind of expanded consciousness, in which the waking mind integrates with the dreaming mind, creating an enhanced sense of Self, as well as access to abilities not normally available to the waking self. However, as I’ve discussed in detail elsewhere(4), lucidity can vary across a wide continuum, from barely lucid, where one vaguely knows that one dreams, to Super Lucid, where dreamers experience a greatly expanded and mindful awareness of their Greater Self as an integrated whole.
In ordinary Waking consciousness I usually have my identity focus and “center of gravity” in the thinking level. (The illuminated area within the parabola represents the light of awareness that defines the “conscious” aspect of self as experienced. The shaded area inside the parabola corresponds to the “unconscious” of the experienced self as then constituted. Please note that this does not mean unconscious in any other sense.)
During ordinary Dreaming, my center of gravity shifts to the feeling level. I have very limited use of my thinking aspect, and usually little memory of the ordinary state of affairs of my waking physical reality (WPR) existence, including my name, address, age, and even physical body type. On the other hand, emotional content, and the meaningfulness of what I experience in dreams, usually becomes greatly enhanced as compared to the waking state.
Finally, the state of consciousness depicted as Being in Figure 1 corresponds to what goes on in deep sleep (like Stage 4), or in deep meditation, where neither thinking nor feeling play much of a role. This aspect of self, the “Knowing,” or “Superconscious,” Self, exists in large part beyond the usual limitations of space-time, and represents the non-local consciousness through which psi information flows.
The waking self brings in the thinking aspect, the dreaming self the feeling aspect, and the Superconscious Self the Knowing-Creating aspect. Full lucidity requires a balance between all three aspects. In lucid dreams the waking ego does not exist separately, but has become integrated into a greater Lucid Dreaming Self. In lucid dreams the waking self merges with the dreaming self, to a greater or lesser extent.
However, if the dreamer’s consciousness has not expanded into the Knowing-Creating aspect, this results in a Lucid but Powerless state, where even though dreamers have become fully aware that they dream, their ability to act has become quite limited. They may even find themselves paralyzed, unable to move, let alone to fly.
Power Dreaming illustrates the other side of the coin, where the dreaming self and Knowing Self have combined to create an Expanded Self, but one in which the waking self plays no part. This combination results in magical dreams, where the dreamer’s every wish manifests with little or no effort, but where the dreamer’s cognitive abilities have become marginal and limited. In my experience, this state of consciousness also corresponds to the one in which non-lucid psi dreaming takes place.
The greater the extent to which the Experienced Self expands into Knowingness, the greater the dreamer’s potential access to psi abilities and psi information. Fully lucid dreaming brings together two necessary components for successfully accessing dream psi. (5) First, the ability to intentionally remember and focus on a psi task while dreaming, and second, integration with the Knowing aspect of Self that has the capacity to transcend space-time.
Bringing the two together can achieve extraordinary results. For example, in the 2012 PDC Precognitive Dreaming Contest, only after I became lucid, at the end of a successfully incubated psi dream, and had consciously remembered my task, did the word “Vermeer” (the name of the artist of the target image) pop into my head.
Over the years, I’ve noticed that experienced lucid dreamers often show a consistently higher level of matches in psi dreaming contests, even in their ordinary dreams, than do non-lucid dreamers. (For example, take a look at the over-representation of experienced lucid dreamer winners over the past 11 years in the PDC Psi Contests Hall of Fame.)
I believe that this indicates that even when habitual lucid dreamers do not become lucid in a psi-dream, that some degree of greater Knowing aspect integration carries over, facilitating their ability to bring through psi information even in “ordinary” dreams.
Psychic Abilities and Spirituality
But why should developing psychic abilities, or the lack of them, matter to lucid dreamers? In his presentation at the 2003 PsiberDreaming Conference, Dr. Charles Tart asked, “Where do psi and altered states like dreaming and lucid dreaming fit into enlightenment and spiritual growth?“
In response, I pointed out that what we today term “psi” and “spirituality” both describe manifestations of an essential part of enlightenment, interconnectedness. Of course, the term “psi” seems technical, and intentionally neutral, given its scientific origin and the limited way that people have used the word.
Even so, psi ability and spirituality do seem inextricably interlinked. Spirituality requires a kind of interconnectedness between all beings, and teaches that individual beings have a component part – a “soul” or “spirit” if you will – that transcends the limitations of space-time. And what exact scientific term do we use to denote the ability to transcend the limits of space-time? Psi.
One might consider the classic enlightenment experience of becoming “One with the Universe,” as the ultimate expression of psi. Given that through psi we connect with other beings, places, and times, it seems clear that if someone experienced psi at its logical limit, they would experience oneness with all that exists. At the other extreme, without at least an unconscious psi component, and the interconnections that it provides to dispel the illusion of physical separateness, an individual’s “spirituality” becomes at best a well-intentioned pretense.
Psi does not seem “an extra,” something “tacked on” to spirituality, but an essential element, without which authentic spirituality cannot exist. It does not seem coincidental that in most cultures of the world, accounts of spiritual development and psychic development go hand in hand.(6) Only recently in the West, after we adopted a materialist-reductionist worldview, have we attempted to divorce the two. But even in the West, the canonization of Saints requires more than good works on the part of candidates, but solid evidence of their paranormal/psychical abilities as well.
Does having psychic abilities mean that one has become a Saint? Hardly. Simply having occasional flashes of psi, or even developed psychic abilities, need not make someone particularly altruistic. More than likely, at first they would use whatever practical information came their way to their own advantage. However, people with such abilities can at least demonstrate on occasion that they can transcend the limited point of view of their individual egos, and enter into the transpersonal realm.
Increase that sense of interconnectivity, increase the development of psi past a certain degree into empathy and identification with other beings, and compassionate behavior becomes the logical outcome. After all, if every time we hurt someone, or made them happy, we also felt that hurt, or that happiness, we’d all become Saints out of pure Self-interest!
Lucid Dreaming and Enlightenment
Bodhi, the Sanskrit word for enlightenment, means “awakened.” My dictionary defines enlightenment as “the realization of the ultimate universal truth.” In both senses it seems clear that becoming lucid in a dream constitutes a degree of enlightenment, given that like the Buddha, one could describe lucid dreamers, who realize that they dream, as “Awakened Ones.” But the simple recognition that one dreams only marks the beginning of lucidity, not the end.
(4) Both lucidity and enlightenment denote similar, almost isomorphic processes, that describe, and in fact require, a continuing expansion of Consciousness with no known end point. (7) One could also characterize enlightenment as a unified consciousness that transcends the dualistic subject-object consciousness we ordinarily experience.
And what bridges the gap between subject and object? Psi. For those on the path to enlightenment, I believe that both lucid dreaming and psychic development can play important, even essential, roles.
- Kellogg III, E. W. (1986). “A Lucid Dream Incubation Technique,” Dream Network Bulletin, 5(4), 16.
- Ullman, M., Krippner, S., and Vaughn, A.,(1973) Dream Telepathy: Experiments in Nocturnal ESP, Penguin Books, Baltimore.
- Sherwood, S. J., & Roe, C. A. (2003). ‘A review of dream ESP studies conducted since the Maimonides dream ESP programme,’ Journal of Consciousness Studies, 10, 85-109.
- Kellogg III, E. W. (1992). ‘The Lucidity Continuum,’ a paper presented at the Eighth Annual Conference of the Lucidity Association in Santa Cruz, June 28, 1992. Published in the October, 2004 issue of Electric Dreams, 11, Issue #10. (http://www.improverse.com/edarticles/kellogg/ )
- Kellogg III, E. W. (2009). Developing Dream Psi Abilities: A Workshop Intensive. As presented at IASD’s Ninth PsiberDreaming Conference: http://asdreams.org/telepathy/kellogg_articles/2010DDPA.pdf
- Murphy, M. (1992). Future of the Body: Explorations into the Further Evolution of Human Nature, Jeremy P. Tarcher, Inc., Los Angeles.
- Kellogg III, E. W. (2012). ‘The Enlightenment Continuum: A Mathematical Model,’ Published in SANGHA, The Franklin Merrell-Wolff Newsletter, Winter 2012, 4.