Photo by Ryan Brohm via Iowa State Daily
Lucid dreamer Chad Adams and his twin brother ventured into lucid dreaming as teenagers. What happens when a regular guy begins to experiment deeply in lucid dreams? Read on and find out.
Tell us a bit about your early dream life. Anything interesting or unusual?
I‘ve always had vivid dreams, and good dream recall. I can still remember a recurring dream when I was about 6 years old. It took place on the second floor of the house I lived in at the time. At the top of the stairs, there was a wooden railing, like a small balcony, which overlooked the foyer. In the original dream, I remember climbing onto the wooden railing and jumping off into the foyer. I never hit the floor. Instead, I began floating.
Whenever I had a dream where I was near that spot in the house, I would remember that I could jump off into the foyer and float around. After having this particular dream occur so often, I taught myself to jump off and begin to fly around the house.
When did you first learn about lucid dreaming? Can you recall your first lucid dream(s)? What prompted your lucid dream awareness?
I have an identical twin brother, and we used to talk about dreams when we were younger. It seems like we always had some occasional lucid dreams, but it wasn‘t until we were about 14 years old that we really understood what lucid dreaming was. We used to tell each other how incredible it would be to have lucid dreams all the time. To have lucid dreams whenever you wanted – it would be like heaven! Whenever we had a lucid dream, we often would wake the other twin up and talk about it late at night.
I read Stephen LaBerge‘s first book and practiced the techniques in it, when I was about 15 years old. While reading the book, my frequency of lucid dreams increased to one every two months or so. The lucid dreams were pretty short, because as soon as I became lucid, I would get excited and almost immediately wake up.
I remember my first really successful lucid dream. I was in a backyard and became lucid. I began to get really excited, and was about to wake up. I calmed myself down, and for some reason went over to a wooden fence. I started to study the grains of the wood and focus on that and nothing else, except maintaining my lucid awareness. It worked very well, until I looked away from the fence to explore the dream. As soon as I looked away from the wood slats, everything would begin getting gray and unfocused, and I knew I was on the verge of waking up.
So, I immediately returned to staring at the fence to see how long I could stay lucid. This got very boring quickly! I racked my brain to figure out an approach that would let me explore. Then it came to me. I pulled my hand up in front of my face and focused on all the palm lines and my fingertips. I walked away from the fence, and remained fully lucid. It worked! From then on, I knew that focusing on intricate patterns helped me retain lucidity. Whenever I began feeling like I was losing lucidity, I would stop and put my hand up in front of my face, focus for a bit on the lines, then continue for another few seconds.
But when I reached the street in front of the house, a school bus came by, and I saw kids my age in it. It stopped, so I went into the bus, and it was full of girls! I got so excited that I immediately woke.
The entire lucid portion of the dream lasted about 3 minutes long. That‘s it. But it taught me ways to remain lucid without waking up. I knew it involved focusing consciousness and remaining calm. My lucid dreaming path was still a frustrating and long process, because lucidity would only come once in a great while.
Do you remember any of those pivotal early lucid dreams that inspired you? What happened?
I recall discovering my own unique techniques for mastering the lucid state by creating triggers for different stages of my development. One trigger involved finding patterns in my dream journal and then noticing if similar patterns happened while awake. When I was awake, I used the critical reflection technique of asking yourself if you are really in a dream. Whenever I came across something in waking reality that was similar to whatever patterns I found in my dream journal, I would really focus on that and ask myself over and over, ‘Are you sure this is not a dream?’
I had practiced this technique so often in the waking world that it became commonplace in my dreams. The problem was this: many times I would think, ‘There is no way this is a dream!’ and not get lucid.
I resolved this by merging two triggers. One was the critical reflection technique I just mentioned above, and one was my trigger for flying. When I was lucid, I would try to fly by jumping into the air. Most times in those beginning years, I wouldn‘t fly, but instead I would float slowly back to the ground. This gave me a great idea! Whenever I asked myself in a dream, if I was really in a dream, I hopped. I didn‘t even have to jump. All I had to do was a small hop, and if I floated at all, I knew without any doubt that I was dreaming. This simple reality check worked every time! Whenever I wonder if I am dreaming, I then immediately do a little hop. Yep! Instant lucidity.
What was it about those early lucid dreams that propelled you deeper into lucid dreaming?
I remember the one pivotal dream that changed everything. After I was successful at it, lucid dreaming was never the same for me. I began meditating in my dreams.
At the time of the particular lucid dream, I had been meditating for a while to the Monroe Institute‘s Gateway Series. My goal back then was to have lucid dreams and OBE‘s like Robert Monroe seemed to have. I wanted it more than anything else. I didn‘t want sporadic, flailing attempts. At the time, I thought my best bet was to meditate. I spent about a year without any type of success.
One night, I lay there in bed, wondering if it was possible for me to get into a deep altered state by meditating. I wanted it so bad, but I was not having much success. Then a thought just popped into my head, I wonder what would happen if I meditated while lucid in a dream? Not long after, I had the opportunity to explore the idea:
Sometime in 1997 – First Meditation in a Lucid Dream
I stand on the beach and small waves lap on the sand. It is dark out and everything is tinged in a deep purple except the sand, which is a brilliant glowing blue. The sky overhead is luminescent with a vast amount of stars and what looks like the Milky Way Galaxy.
I become lucid and immediately want to try a new experience of practicing meditation while lucid in a dream. I sit down on the sand, cross my legs and close my eyes. Strange that immediately upon closing my eyes I become extremely aware of my mind as bi-local, or being in two places at one time. I sense myself lying on my bed, and here, meditating on a beautiful beach at night in a lucid dream. I push that thought away and begin clearing my mind of all thought. Time passes.
I feel a presence. I open my eyes and stand. Someone or something is standing above me. (I cannot recall what it looked like.) It doesn‘t speak; instead, it motions me to follow. We walk down a path winding through the sand dunes and enter a cave. The interior is lit with an orange light, which has no source. To our right a ramp leads up towards an archway, above which is a sculpture of an eye etched from the rock wall of the cave itself. The eye is very reminiscent of the one on the back of a dollar bill. I know I am to go through the archway and go under what later I realized was a symbol of my third eye. I walk the stone ramp, underneath the eye. Suddenly, I lose my footing and I‘m sliding down a slippery ‘tunnel slide’ that has the texture and appearance of loose skin. It startles me, but doesn‘t yet scare me.
When I come to a stop I find myself in a tiny room, the size of a small shower. On all six sides I am surrounded by the texture and feel of skin flowing like a thick curtain. Again, there is a subtle light illuminating the tiny area, but I haven‘t thought of its source for I am beginning to panic. Everywhere I place my hand, my foot, everywhere I push, it gives slightly, like elastic. I am really scared now as there is no way out. The panic overrides the knowledge that I am in a dream and I feel as if I am to suffocate and die in this place. It seems unending. The realization of the utter uselessness of ‘panic’ hits me. There is nothing to be gained in the fear. It has gotten me nowhere. And when the fear of enclosure dissipates, I am released. I slow down and slump to the ‘floor’.
At first I feel resignation, then a bit of guilt for giving up, but it is quickly replaced by a feeling of complete peace. A feeling like a close friend is there, and will always be there. The walls, the ceiling, the floor… fall away. I am infused by a blissful euphoria, floating in no-time. There is nothing around. Fear seems to be a historic past. I remember asking myself how I could possibly be afraid of anything that is so… so wise, so teaching, so…
How can a dream make me feel so childish, so full of the obscene and hurtful emotion of fear? I float there for an indeterminable amount of time. Slowly I open my eyes to the bedroom.
I lay there trying to process what had happened. I was in awe. Everything about my lucid dreaming was about to change. I had been reborn.