By Alexandra Enns © 2018
My Reiki experiments reminded me of a former waking dream of mine I have dismissed in the past due to lack of time: To learn Japanese.
After having familiarized myself with the complexity of the Japanese language, I decided to ask for an educational piece of advice first:
An Educational Aid
I can’t fall asleep for a long time, so I try to meditate instead and don’t notice myself slipping into a dream after all. Suddenly, a strong feeling of being in a dream comes over me. But my hands keep on looking perfectly normal each time I perform the palm check! “This is not the time to be fooled!” I whisper, and try to push several fingers of my right hand through my left palm, observing it taking an unnatural, curved form. Now convinced of having become lucid, I hurry down an alien staircase and enter a park with people milling around aimlessly.
I don’t have much time to accomplish my goal, as I must have fallen asleep rather late, I muse. “Teach me Japanese!” I shout out loud and with urgency in my voice. Why does the larger awareness not respond? I marvel, confused. Only upon my fifth persistent try, a change in the dream scene takes place.
“Would you like to learn Japanese?” someone says softly, and I notice a female figure, separating from the meandering crowd, giving me a little wave. “My language skills are … err, aren’t profound at all and the time is just running out,” I admit rapidly as a middle-aged woman with the typical looks of a school teacher plants herself in front of me. Already the dream environment starts to blur but stabilizes itself while I try to look intently at the woman opposite.
“I have something right with me. It is for easy readers,” she proclaims confidently. Pulling out a magazine from her bag, she swiftly rifles through it and eventually taps on a colorful page.
At this point, my vibrating alarm clock starts to penetrate the dream scene, causing awakening and the appearance of an image from the past, showing myself as a teenager, learning English ambitiously in my leisure time, along with an ‘easy reader’ in my hands. How could I forget about this graded reading system? I wonder, and remember the secret of learning a foreign language: Perseverance and repetition.
I note down in my journal: ‘Interesting how slow time felt, though I must have had a very short lucid dream—15 minutes in total, including mental preparation and falling asleep! It seems it is never too late to try out a lucid dreaming technique’.
Only a few weeks later, I discover graded Japanese ‘readers’ and a Kanji learning system made up of levels, which turn out to be both helpful and enjoyable. Having mastered Hiragana and learned a few expressions for potential ‘lucid small talk,’ I make up my mind to explore where my increasing fascination with Japan and its culture might emanate from. The following two coherent, lucid dreams reveal a possible explanation:
My Relation to Japan
Lucid, I call out in a semi-dark, unspectacular street, “Show me the reason why I feel attracted to Japan!” Instantly, the scene starts to dissipate before my eyes until I find myself in the sunshine, under bright colors of an apparently empty metropolis. On a skyscraper, I spy a banner with a large Japanese inscription, being stirred by the wind. ‘This looks very much like modern Japan,’ I conclude, examining the incomprehensible Kanji. It seems like I might be right here…
All of a sudden, I realize I am not alone at all. To the right of me, a neon green robot is moving strangely up and down. Remote future? I am pondering, while taking another look around and noticing a dream figure, which I quickly approach. Oh dear, I can barely speak Japanese, I sigh.
“Chotto sumimasen…” (Excuse me), with a tormented expression on my face, surprised by the promptness of my vocabulary choice.
“English goes fine with me,” replies the young, roundish friendly Japanese man.
“Thank God!” I exclaim, relieved.
“This way,” he tells me meaningfully, and I follow him, surprised by his behavior until another, slender dream figure in good spirits emerges.
“I know you! We have met before!” I shout enthusiastically and embrace the tall man with light hair, obviously ‘from the West.’ How come I know him? I cudgel my memory from the waking state at the same time. Why is my dreaming self claiming such a thing?
“Yes and No, I still don’t love you,” the young man teases me gently, twisting me around heartily while I am staring at him in stupid surprise, feeling my cheeks flushing….
Vision Of … Me?
Cheerful spinning must have worked as a technique to change the dream scene. My surroundings dissolve into a new short, lucid dream scene where I get a glimpse of the back of a Japanese woman in a red, tight kimono. Standing before a shoji (translucent paper screen) in front of a traditional samurai’s yashiki (onestory building), she is carrying a weapon smaller than a katana (probably a wakizashi sword) in a black, ornamented case.
Upon awakening, I wonder why our postures and hairstyles had resembled each other. Besides, it strikes me that my rising fascination with the history and way of life of the samurai might not be a coincidence. Have I just been shown a past life aspect of mine? Might this also be the reason why the ‘belligerent version of Dai Marishi Ten,’ has granted me her protection ‘so readily’ in my past lucid dreams? I set the intention to ask her who I am (in her opinion) when the time has come.
Having studied Japanese for about five months, I decided to finally speak with Dai Marishi Ten, a Japanese dream character I have met before, but could not understand at that time. The following dream report deals with the outcome of my attempt:
I feel like running through the void, awaiting the dream start, ‘til there is a cracking sound as through breaking through ice which illuminates my surroundings at the same time. That’s better than watching a special effects movie, I think, looking at my distorted left hand.
As she continues to approach, I carefully pronounce the request I tried to formulate properly in the waking state: “Watashi tachi hanashiatta h? gaa ii ne.” (We need to talk.) “Watashi wa dare desu ka?” (Who am I?) And, in case she’ll start telling me something too complicated in Japanese I might not grasp, I add, “Kaito o misete kudasai.” (Please show me the answer.)
“You did not want to come with me last time?” she suddenly declares in German (!), going up a thickset hill, obviously hinting at following her. I remain glued to the spot, wide-eyed and with my heart pounding. What does she mean? Was it when she used that torrent of Japanese words?
“I am going to the place where Gods become men (i.e., human beings),” she announces, smiling enigmatically.
“I want to go with you NOW!” I shout behind her. But then I have a change of heart and let her disappear from my view. Why should I go to such a weird place? What does it have in common with my self anyway? This is too mythological! Well, it might be in a kind of “another time” … hmm—I am going to think about it when I wake up!
Upon awakening, I jot down in my journal: ‘Using Japanese at the beginning of a conversation has worked as a communication key whereby the statements of my counterparts were subsequently decoded by the dream (?) in a language I can understand and speak fluently.’
It’s important to mention here that the process of learning a new language seems to be facilitated through lucid dreams. From my experience, the recently learned vocabulary or phrases are at instant disposal even if they still give the impression of only have been saved in short-term memory. By active usage of this ‘uncertain’ knowledge, the dreamer might foster memory retention that will, in return, bring about quicker, more satisfying results in the waking state.
Enns, A. (2018). Motiviert zum Klartraum: Ein Arbeitsbuch für Traumbewusste. Kindle Edition.
Enns, A. (2017). Uncovering the Source of the Reiki Energy in Lucid Dreams. Lucid Dreaming Experience Magazine, 6 (2), 6-8.
Turnbull, S. (2016). The Samurai. Oxford: Osprey Publishing.