Elliot Gish is a PhD student, personal lucid dream trainer, and founder of Lucid(Gear)Up.
Welcome to the LDE. When did you first learn about lucid dreaming? What did you think when you heard about it?
I first learned about lucid dreaming from watching the movie, Inception, back in 2010. I was shocked and excited, thinking, “Wow! You can know you’re dreaming while dreaming? What a powerful state of mind, I must try it!”
Did you have immediate success with lucid dreaming, or did it take a while? What happened in your first lucid dream?
It took me a while to have my first LD, but it finally happened after a few weeks of consistently trying multiple induction techniques. In the LD, I was being chased by zombies when I ran across Joseph Gordon-Levitt from Inception. Seeing him made me realize that something was askew, and I became lucid after noticing his strange-looking weapon. It was an S-shaped sickle with spikes and I thought, “No one would use this to fight zombies…this is a dream!” I was instantly captivated by this concept of being aware inside a dream and all the incredible detail, but my lucidity was quickly lost as the zombies came running around the corner.
As you went along, did you have lucid dreams that surprised you? Or led to unexpected events? Tell us about those.
Definitely, LDing is naturally full of surprises. In one LD, I received some unexpected advice when I was searching for information that would help me with chronic depression. Like many lucid dreamers, I went into an LD and picked up a book with the expectation to find an answer. When I opened it, there was a single word written on the page. It said, “patience.” This unexpected answer made me realize something new about my mental health: anxiety is a contributing factor to the chronic depression and I can ease the depression by easing my anxiety through the practice of patience. I tried it and it helped!
What was it about lucid dreaming that fascinated you?
Everything! I fell in love with lucid dreaming the moment I learned about it, but the aspect that really captured my attention was the fact that it was learnable. Here was a whole new state of consciousness, a whole new way of being, that I didn’t even know existed, but I could gain access to it as long as I followed the proper training. And the potential applications of it seemed endless! Anything from creativity to stress relief to motor-skill development, lucid dreaming showed a wide variety of benefits. Eventually, I became enamored with the idea of using lucid dreams to increase one’s quality of life, especially through the avenue of health, and this will likely be the focus of my doctoral dissertation.
What techniques were you using to have lucid dreams? Which did you find most helpful?
When I first started, I found the Wake-Back-To-Bed (WBTB) technique with acetylcholine supplements to be the most successful for me. However, I stopped using the supplements regularly because of their potentially negative impact on my long-term mental health. Nowadays, I get consistent results when combining the WBTB and Mnemonic-Induced-Lucid-Dream (MILD) techniques. Since I’m a deep sleeper, I find the WBTB technique to be the most helpful, along with mindfulness meditation when I find the time/motivation to do it frequently. Also, I’ve found it incredibly beneficial to have a clear goal in mind for the LD, and the more emotionally-charged the better!
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?
I’m almost always influencing the lucid dream in one way or another because there’s generally a goal I want to accomplish, but it’s astounding to me how some other awareness fills in all the details. This co-creative process can lead to some intriguing encounters. One interesting LD I had involved seeking out my dream guide, Morpheus. It was a Wake-Initiated Lucid-Dream (WILD), and it started in the same hotel room in which I fell asleep:
I step into the bathroom and proceed to draw a circle on the round mirror. It became dark upon completion as if it were hollow and, with my right hand, I reach into it intending to pull Morpheus through. Instead, I feel a heavy spherical shape placed in my palm so I pull out my hand to examine what I have been given. It was an energy ball shrouded in a black, sparkling mist looking like it had been pulled from outer space.
The energy field it emitted was strong to the point that I couldn’t hold onto it for much longer, so I threw onto the ground. It broke when it hit the floor, making a faint sound of shattering glass and exploding into more of the dark, starry mist. The mist began to slowly morph into a human-like shape, starting with the feet and working its way up. Its edges were blurred by the mist, making it look more like a sparkling shadow than a detailed human figure. As it began to solidify and become more defined, I woke up instantaneously.
The next day, I’m sitting in a seminar and trying to draw the outer-space energy ball from my dream when the man next to me leans over and says he has something to show me. He reaches into his bag and pulls out a glass orb that looks amazingly similar to the one from my dream! Then he said he bought it the previous day after feeling directed by his dream to go into a certain nearby shop. The synchronicity was uncanny.