What techniques were you using to become lucid? Which did you find most helpful?
From my experience, the general observation of the dream world is helpful because you can exactly identify when you are approaching altered states of consciousness through the appearance of certain dream themes like flying, sliding, running, talking about lucidity topics or noticing and writing down persistent hints from the subconscious ‘to awaken you to the dream state.’
I also pay attention to the way I wake up in the middle of the night. If my awakening involves sleep paralysis, astral sight, etc. any WILDing technique might bring about a lucid dream in the following nights. If I register the heightened amount of pre-lucid moments in my current dreams, I concentrate on mindfulness techniques to accelerate a DILD instead.
For all interested, German-speaking readers concerning my approach to becoming a proficient lucid dreamer —I published a workbook (Kindle edition) on lucid dreaming last month.
However, I mostly use breathing meditation as part of a WBTB as my main induction technique which derives from a past dream scene where I coincidentally noticed a mysterious inscription on an Erlenmeyer flask: ‘Emptiness of the mind is the home of the Soul.’
From then on, I was making an effort to empty my mind in the middle of the night through the practice of shamatha and yoga nidra with gratitude and openness towards the outcome. I would never complain if it happens to be an OBE or samadhi and not a lucid dream in the first place.
In any case, it is very useful to regularly list the lessons you have learned in your lucid dreams and to review them regularly to ensure your advancement. Also, I would recommend examining the ‘consciousness triggers’ in your lucid dreams when you become a more experienced lucid dreamer:
At some point, lucid dreamers often begin to look at things in the lucid dream that happen without their influence or manipulation. Did you have any lucid dreams which caused you to consider this? What happened?
In particular, such dreams occur when I use mantras (and mudras) in lucid dreams. Despite previous preparation about the meaning of a mantra, it is impossible for me to predict how the dream might react after I have chanted a sacred formula.
For instance, in my LDE article about the mantras and mudras associated with compassion (Summer 2017) I was faced with this unexpected development of a dream scene:
… I thoughtfully look at my hands and become lucid. Then, I instinctively go for a swim in the turquoise blue sea. Having recalled my intent, I find a stone to stand upon while forming the Kshepana mudra in front of my heart. Instantly, I see a huge pair of hands in the sky, holding the same mudra, which gives me a shiver as I recall this position also symbolizes the “Buddhist seal of enlightenment.” Spontaneously, I say aloud the mantra of the Vedanta philosophy I’ve been practicing in the physical reality, denotating “I am in God, and God is in me”: “So’ ham!”
Immediately, a soft, female voice booms from above, “Sing with me.” A wonderfully harmonic chant in an unknown language fills the sky. While swimming back to the shore, I try to sing along by humming and singing the only one word I understand, “Anahata.” On a pier in front of me, I remark to an elderly, Indian woman in an orange sari, apparently waiting for me.
“Continue your journey,” she tells me gently in the English language, “continue Anahata.”
Speaking of which, last Christmas, I found myself amongst a group of agitated children in a lucid dream which indicated I was stretched too thin in the waking state. Unexpectedly, my dream self started to chant the mantra, “Om vajra satva hung” and I immediately noticed a clarification of my thoughts. Apart from that, all the children around me started to sing with me which increased the effect enormously.
How would you explain this? This mantra represents refinement and purification and was not chosen by myself deliberately. Who made this decision? Was it my subconscious mind?
When you have these kinds of lucid dream experiences (the unexpected, the surprising), what does it imply? How do you resolve it in your mind or minds?
My openness towards the unexpected events in lucid dreams prevents me from suffering from a hubris, the stagnancy of any development, by remembering the following important realizations:
I am not the commander of the entire dream.
I am not ‘a chosen one’—I am a part of a bigger picture in a complicated framework.
I am the sum of my previous experiences, including (still latent) past life aspects.
From my experience, each surprising element involves the chance to learn and to grow by implying a lesson, i.e., a direct hint from the subconscious not to rest on my (imaginary!) laurels.
In a past LDE, you wrote about Reiki energy and lucid dreaming. Tell us about Reiki and how it connects with lucid dreaming? (By the way, I heard about Reiki in a dream decades ago—and had no idea what it was.)
To me, Reiki itself is energy that pervades everything, i.e., all realms and states of consciousness. Through lucid dreaming, it is possible to explore this energy on a deeper level than in the waking state, for instance, through the interaction with the divine beings that are looking after this particular system of spiritual healing.
To illustrate this, consider my first encounter with the Reiki energy published in the LDE:
“Experiencing the Reiki energy”
Wondering what I might ask the larger awareness, I finally announce intrepidly, “Show me the Reiki energy!” Immediately, I hear a piercing, already familiar female voice, screaming as if just performing a karate chop, combined with a swirling wind sweeping vigorously across me, leaving behind golden streaks. I laugh out loud with relief, recognizing Dai Marishi Ten in spite of her invisibility. Then I give my thanks to the dream and awaken.