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What do you do in waking life to help with dreaming?
I personally view waking life and dreams as ‘mental constructs’ and the mental principles that I apply to my dreams are also applied to my waking experience. So while awake, I pay attention to my experience as if it were a dream and examine my thoughts, my sense of con- sciousness, what I’m experiencing in that moment, and ‘why’ I’m having that experience in that moment. All of this helps me understand the connection of my beliefs, expectations, focus and other mental principles to my experience at any time.
What sleeping strategies do you use? If you do WBTB, what do you do in that time that helps you have success?
My preferred method, which works virtually every time with the proper focus, is the WBTB method.
I usually get out of bed and throw cold water on my face. Then I take the time to think about what experiment or experience I intend to try out when I fall back to sleep (which makes me look forward to, and focus on, falling back to sleep).
Because I believe that dreams are a co-creation between my mind and my larger Awareness, I fall asleep thinking about how my intent to become lucid will be incorporated into the creation of the forthcoming dream. I naturally trust that my larger Awareness knows the proper moment and timing to spur me into lucidity or put me in a situation that will activate my critical awareness (to question if I’m dreaming).
Besides just the intent to become lucid, do you focus on anything else while falling asleep?
Underlying my intent to become lucid and experience a predetermined experiment is a natural feeling of excitement in how the larger Awareness will express my intent to become lucid. Along with experimenting with the larger Awareness’ Creativity in the dream, I also love experimenting with the larger Awareness’ Creativity in inducing lucid dreams.
The best way I can describe the ‘feeling’ of the technique is when you’re a child falling asleep on the night of Christmas Eve. You know you’ll be opening Christmas presents when you awake but you’re also curious about ‘what’ you may get for Christmas as well. So as I fall asleep intending lucidity, I know the larger Awareness will construct my intent and present it to me in the dream, but I am also naturally curious as to ‘what’ the larger Awareness may present me with to make me lucid.
Once you become lucid, what stabilizing techniques do you use?
Again, because I see the dream as a co-creation between my mind and larger Awareness, I focus on using mental manipulation instead of any physical actions like rubbing my hands together, spinning, or anything kinesthetic. In my earlier lucid dreams I found it useful to announce aloud (or mentally) that the dream was stabilized. But even when the dream was stabilized I noticed that my awareness might still be dim or the coloration of the dream would be fuzzy.
To remedy that initial concern, I thought that from then on I should first increase my awareness and then stabilize the dream. Interestingly, I learned one of my first lucid lessons in stabilizing the dream and also the relationship between my mind and the dream—when I intended a change and increase in my awareness.
When I intended or requested greater/more awareness, not only did I notice a greater sense of mental clarity, but also a corresponding change to the dream environment itself (in which the dream became more vivid and stabilized in direct relation to my increased awareness).
From then on, I found it more direct and powerful to manipulate my mind and see a corresponding change in my experience (according to the specificity and clarity of my mental action).
Chapter 10 of Lucid Dreaming: Gateway to the Inner Self clarifies the relationship between our beliefs, expectations, focus, intent, will, and the co-creative larger Awareness (which is what seemingly changes or stabilizes the dream in accordance with our mental changes).