By James Bray © 2015
I am a person who has always struggled internally. Depression, self-loathing, and social anxiety are issues that have frequently plagued me. I have been using lucid dreaming to heal myself for the past few years. Not only has lucid dreaming helped me to overcome these issues, it has also clued me in to the cause of additional issues and given me many ideas that I have implemented to help myself.
I was too afraid to go find professional help.
The idea of taking medication for my mental health seemed like putting a bandage on a broken bone. I could barely open up to those I was closest to in life, let alone speak to a total stranger who would no doubt suggest I take pills rather than really help me get to the root of the problems so I could get a permanent resolution. While I can think of many dreams that have helped me along the way, there is one that stands out, above all the rest.
I was at a point in my life where I was extremely volatile. I had been out of work for a year, I was drowning financially and emotionally. My inability to find work, time and again, fueled my negative mental states. I was irritable and anger had become my stationary emotion. It was difficult for me to interact with my loved ones, and I had begun to wonder if I had any saving graces at all. Who had I become? Why couldn’t I find a moment‘s peace, even in my own head? I was a burden to myself, as well as those around me. At the time, there were several things I could have done in a lucid dream to find some relief, but I hadn’t had a lucid dream for months.
My dry spell came to an end one night, by complete chance.
Though I hadn’t become lucid in months, I always kept a dream plan on standby, just in case. My plan was to meditate in my next lucid dream. I had read that meditation could bring about some incredibly insightful experiences, and it was something that I desperately needed at the time. Meditation was something that I knew how to do, but I never did it regularly enough to make a difference. Perhaps it could be different in a dream?
I found myself lying in bed on a sunny, summer morning. I looked over to my bedside table and saw a wooden calendar. In waking life, there is no calendar, but it seemed perfectly logical for there to be one at the moment. I began to try and figure out what day it was. I counted the days on the calendar, but as I counted, the squares changed. Eventually, I was counting and found that there were only 10 days this month. Wait, that’s not right– I must be dreaming!
I got out of the bed and made my way to the living room. The setup was entirely different. There was a wall in the room which should have had furniture against it, blocking any view. It was open, blank. I decided that this is where I would meditate. I sat down and stared at the wall as I began to focus on my breath. As I did this, the wall began to change. It seemed as though the particles in the wall were moving around. Every atom in the wall was visible to me. I continued to focus on my breathing.
The particles, appeared to be moving to specific points. Before my eyes, they began forming a replica of my own face. The face was moving its mouth, as if it had a message for me, but it made no sound. The atoms came together and formed the rest of the body on the two-dimensional plane. Trying my hardest to remain meditative failed, as I was concerned with attempting at reading his lips, to no avail.
The wall disappeared and I was left staring at myself in the half lotus position. The two-dimensional copy had become three-dimensional. My doppelganger sat across from me, with a spotlight on him coming from above. I looked into his eyes as he kept talking away, without sound. He stopped and held out his hand to me. I reached out my hand to grab his, but as soon as our hands touched, he became angry. It was as if I had hurt him, though I certainly had no intention to do so. He looked like he was yelling at me, though still in utter silence. His face became red, he was swinging his arms around, and suddenly the point of the experience dawned on me.
I was getting a look at myself the way others saw me. Take away the sound, take away the words, and what I was left with was a cold, hard look at the person I had become. This was the anger I had been living in. This was the aggression that my friends and family saw. This was the emotion bubbling underneath the surface, no doubt shining through so clearly that even strangers could see it. No wonder I was having trouble finding work. Every interview I had been to recently had seemed to be an exercise in futility, rather than an opportunity. This was how I was.
As the full force of the realization came upon me, I had another feeling hit me.
The person in front of me was in pain. It was essentially me, but it was a person, all the same. I knew I had to say something to him, so I stood up and opened my mouth to speak. “Hey, hey stop,” I said. He stopped yelling and we made eye contact. During the pause, the words came to me, “I accept you.”
Upon hearing the words, his entire demeanor changed. No longer the vision of anger and hostility, but the vision of joy. He smiled, stood up, and pulled me into a hug. As we hugged, a brilliant white light formed between our chests. It felt warm and comforting. I felt like a more complete person. Not only had I gotten a glimpse of how I had been, I also got the opportunity to make peace with it. To see myself, not like what I saw, and interact with myself. Accept myself. That was how I had been, but it wasn’t who I was. It wasn’t who I had to be. Applying a little bit of caring to myself had paid off.
The rest of the dream was spent talking to him, sharing laughs, being merry. I could then hear his words. Once I saw beneath the exterior, I saw the joyous, fun-loving person I could be. In that moment I made the conscious decision to be more kind in my life. Not only to others, but to myself. Cut myself a little slack, rather than beat myself up over every little issue as if it were a total disaster.
This was the dream that turned my life around, in a time when I truly needed saving.