Alexandra Enns is a German writer and blogger whose main focus is on lucid dreaming.
When did you first learn about lucid dreaming? What did you think when you heard about it?
My first lucid dream occurred when I was a child, emanating from the persistent apprehension that a giant alligator (!) would creep from under my bed as soon as I would fall asleep. I turned lucid by simply looking under my bed each time I lay upon it. If there was a monster, then I was definitely dreaming (and vice versa).
Did you have immediate success with lucid dreaming, or did it take a while? What happened in your first lucid dream?
I suppose the fact that I had already had several lucid dreams as a child felt surprisingly natural to me when I turned lucid approximately a decade later. In that teenage dream of mine, I suddenly became lucid in a seemingly endless corridor of a hospital—“That’s a dream!” I exclaimed with 100 percent conviction. At that point, I did not know anything about reality tests, but deduced a suitable alternative from my thought: ‘Well, if this is a dream, then I can fly now.’
Consequently, I rose into the air and floated in this sterile-white corridor with countless doors and opaque windows until I finally woke up.
Nowadays each time a white room or white light in my (lucid) dreams appear, I know I am about to enter a dimension where spiritual growth becomes possible.
Nevertheless, it took me another decade from spontaneous lucid dreaming to the deliberate induction of this altered state of consciousness. At first, I had to overcome the fear of sleep paralysis and other frightening symptoms of the vibrational state I experienced as a teenager for a long time. To achieve this, I spent several years reading and contemplating out-of-body experiences and lucid dreams before I would open ‘that mysterious door’ which Robert Monroe had mentioned in his book Journeys out of the Body: ‘A note of caution is in order here for those who are interested in experimenting, for once opened, the doorway to this experience cannot be closed. More exactly, it is a case of ‘you can’t live with it, and you can’t live without it.’
Because of this, I strived for being thoroughly prepared and learning from the leading experts in these areas. Having become aware of the potential of lucid dreaming and OBEs, I delved into their induction with compassion and enthusiasm. That step brought about giant leaps in my development as I was focusing on getting in touch with the larger awareness I read about in your first book and the phenomenon of lucid surrender introduced by Mary Ziemer right from the beginning. Having set these goals, I held the keys to the ignition of profound lucid dreaming.
As you went along, did you have lucid dreams that surprised you? Or led to unexpected events? Tell us about those.
As a beginner, I found Paul Tholey’s (a significant German dream researcher) approach while talking to dream figures very supportive which included posing one of these questions: Who are you? Who am I? Why am I here? What are you doing here?
The answers were often surprising, as demonstrated by this dream excerpt from the LDE (Winter 2016) :
“An unnecessary (?) question.”
After having performed a WILD, I dash out of my house. While exploring my environment, a black spot attracts my attention which grows into a dark scene as I enter it. At last, walking through an empty street, I notice a group of eerily strolling youngsters. Having cheered me up that the dream usually rewards brave deeds, I choose the most creepy young man to ask him this appropriate Paul-Tholey-question: “Why am I here?” He stares at me disapprovingly. Then he explains: “Because you like movies.” In disbelief, I slowly remember having seen a dimly lit movie theater at the very beginning of this street…
However, I have to admit that nowadays I prefer to communicate with the larger awareness and not with ‘rather unreliable’ dream figures that you spontaneously meet. Their replies might result in ignorant behavior or contain utter nonsense as in this conversation (excerpt from my dream journal in 2016):
“What’s the matter?”
“Who are you? Are you a part of my self?”
“Yes and no.”
“?!” (rather puzzled) “What do you mean?”
“I am YOU, and I am MYSELF”…
In general, I was (and still am) startled by the complexity of answers I received from the larger awareness which included hearing a booming voice from the sky, writings or pictures in the air and sudden appearances of dream figures or symbols containing important messages. The most spectacular replies usually brought about a transformation of the current dream scene which I mentioned in an LDE article (Fall 2016) of feeling ‘nearly blown away as in Indiana Jones in the Raiders of the Lost Ark’:
Leaving the courtyard of a university, I am concerned by the abandoned street I find myself in. I recall having planned to contact the awareness behind the dream, so I shout out with a yearning look towards the sky: “Show me the most beautiful landscape!”
For a couple of seconds, nothing happens. Then, I am startled by the fact that I gave rise to the wind blowing along the sandy roads. As the wind starts to roar at a great speed, whirling tiny stones and branches around me, I get a panicky feeling. What’s going to happen now? Why did I refrain from using or creating a simple portal? I notice an isolated post and quickly embrace it. Watching an enormous storm forming around me, I make up my mind to hold out to the end, no matter what. I am shocked at the scene being slowly wiped out in front of my eyes like using a rubber eraser on a sheet of paper!
Although I think that the whole path of lucid dreaming is full of surprises, I feel that ‘far-reaching experiences’ started to happen right after I had succeeded in surrendering to the dream (I wrote about this in my first article for the LDE). On that occasion, I had to unexpectedly cope with my first shadow integration which deepened my understanding of the possibilities of lucid dreaming with regard to personal development. In that article, I refrained from writing about the content of the conversation with my ‘guardian’ of that groundbreaking dream which I will now share:
“Staring at the Death” (excerpt from the 2016 Fall edition of the LDE). . . Unexpectedly, he pulls his cowl down. I am surprised by the kindness of the face looking at me. He smiles and indicates to me to sit down in a corner with several leather armchairs. During our intimate conversation, I recognize: He is my guardian I’ve already encountered in many different lucid dreams, staying in the background, protecting me…
“What are you doing here?” he asks me with genuine interest on his face. How is it possible he looked like death a few moments ago and now is my trustworthy companion? I wonder, awe-struck.
“Well, I actually was just experimenting with ‘Mary Ziemer’s lucid surrendering technique.’ I would like to write about it in the LDE”, I add awkwardly, thinking surreptitiously: And now, look, what this has led to! I survived the fright of my life!
He nods approvingly: “That is a good idea, in fact.”
Upon awakening, I felt certain I was heading in the right direction both with lucid dreaming and writing for the LDE in the long term.
What was it about lucid dreaming that fascinated you?
I am still fascinated by addressing the larger awareness in lucid dreams. Its responses seem to possess an infinite potential for spiritual growth! In my opinion, the most valuable approach would comprise of exploring concepts I read about in your first book, as in the following example I published on my blog “Traumlektuere” last year:
“More than just in Love”
Turned lucid spontaneously, I run on an empty street. Having remembered my goal from the waking state, I call out: “Let me experience unconditional love!” Immediately, I feel an intense tingling sensation and overwhelming happiness, increasingly flowing through my dream body. I feel a thousand times “in love” and curiously repeat my request. My sensations are now even intensifying. Also, my running speed accelerates, as if something is pushing me from behind until I lose the contact with the ground completely. The air starts to shine in pink orange yellow colors and is penetrated by countless tiny stars, sparkling beautifully … In total, it was a truly magical experience that went beyond all the feelings I had ever felt in the physical reality.
In my view, the blog post excerpt below makes lucid dreaming very exciting as you apparently won’t always get what you intended:
“In Defiance of Expectation”
I’m once again frustrated on the balcony and see practically nothing in front of me. So I call out with a firm voice into the darkness, “Let there be light!” I “expect” that my surroundings will be bright in a flash. But I am faced with quite a contrary result. Suddenly, a small sun with a diameter of about 2 meters, a golden edge and bright flashes of light sink in front of me. Fascinated, I watch the planet prancing around me, no longer bothering about the darkness. Its sunbursts show a beautiful spectacle of light effects. Better than in a planetarium! I think approvingly.
I suddenly realize that I have just used the “words from the Bible”… Oops. So no wonder it did not get bright the same way as usual… I observe the forming sun until waking.
Stating this dream report I wanted to clarify that even the smallest “change in the formula” you pronounce in a lucid dream can produce opposite results. Countless times did I illuminate the dream scene by saying “More light!” But the biblical expression “Let there be light!” led to the creation of a sun, in spite of my expectations.
Besides, I am hooked by the possibility to explore the variety of spiritual traditions, in particular by using mantras which sometimes turn out harder to implement than anticipated.
While working on the LDE article about Tibetan healing sounds (published in Winter 2017), I discovered a mantra that contained a combination of three of them, ‘Om a hung’ and tried to chant it in one of my lucid dreams.
But I had to repeat my experiment three times (!) until I was ‘truly successful’ with my endeavor: The first time a choir of Tibetan monks joined me, and even one of them emerged from nowhere. But I was so startled that I didn’t speak with him, so he simply disappeared.
The second time the monk appeared again. But while I was running towards him, he transformed into a Tibetan child! I was so surprised about this fact that this ‘elusive’ dream figure managed to vanish again!
The third time I sang this mantra in the void. And then I was suddenly ‘transported’ into a sacred environment with little fire flames flying around everywhere (in the blackness of the void). They were also dancing in the palms of the choir of monks around me (this somehow reminded me of the Christian Pentecost when the Holy Spirit is conveyed to have come down). That’s when I finally met both the grown-up monk and the child from the former lucid dreams again. I then learned that this mantra was also used during sacrificial offerings that probably confirm why I saw a Tibetan goddess (?) there, sitting on a throne and being worshipped. I was allowed to witness this overwhelming ceremony but also was carefully held back by the monks as I wanted to approach and speak to their goddess.
The lesson I learned here was that sometimes you have to remain persistent and that your efforts are always rewarded by the subconscious. You have to show ‘for real’ that you would like to find out the secret behind the invisible appearances in your lucid dreams.