When I talk with experienced lucid dreamers, they often mention noticing how some special lucid dreams made them realize that more is going on here. Can you share a lucid dream which impacted you and your view of lucid dreaming’s potential?
There was a time in recent years when I was contemplating if and how to bring my passion for lucid dreaming and dream-work into the open. I wanted to understand my specific focus and purpose. Where did I turn for these answers? Naturally, my dreams, I incubated for guidance over the course of about a week. What resulted was a sequence of dreams that told a continuous story… like a mini-series. In the first dream, I was traveling to a very distant land. I had already completed a 12-hour flight but was preparing for another, even longer, flight. I recall being warned that this second leg of travel would be rigorous and I had to swallow some kind of gel capsules to prepare.
I was told that the back half of the last flight would be particularly challenging and that this was “when the animals start to make noise.” The following night, in the next installment, I had arrived. Along with the other travelers, I was being held in a week-long mandatory quarantine. We were in a dorm-like setting and everyone seemed to be more prepared than I was. I didn’t have enough clothes and also wished that I had exercised more in recent months for stamina.
In the third dream, we were preparing our field kits with medication, droppers, etc. Evidently, we would be providing medical care for people and animals in this area. In fact, there were so many in need of care that I would be joining an expansive team of people who were arriving in groups each day. To-date, I had not been lucid in any of these dreams but that was to change in the final installment of the series:
I was finally in the field and perhaps had been for some time. A special assignment had been given to a bunch of groups and individuals to create a business plan or, effectively, a plan for contribution in this region. The specific plan would be important because we would need to bring in sustainable funding. There were no banking operations in this area or, for that matter, technology. The financiers who gave the assignment had gathered everyone to present their plans.
The setting was a large clearing in a dry but woodsy area. Chairs had been arranged in arced rows and I sat cautiously near the back. Everyone in the group of approximately 30 – 50 people had a flip-top wooden box on their lap. The boxes appeared to contain their plans. I looked down at my box and was struck with fear because I had no idea what was in it. I wanted to quickly open and study the contents but was nudged by the guy to my left. He showed his plan to me but all I could make out was a list of names that comprised his team. The names were all Spanish but near the end, I saw my name. “I’m on here?” I asked. He replied, “Yep.”
His confidence made me more nervous and, at that moment, one of the investors sat down in the open seat to my right. The presentations had begun. Big ideas and pitches. I knew that I would be called on soon so, finally, I opened my box. There was a single sheet of paper inside and, on it, was written three words: “Lucid Dreaming” and “Darkness.” This cue was enough to simultaneously retrieve memories of my plan and to trigger lucidity. My plan was to provide healing and protection through the applied use of lucid dreaming.
I also recalled that this plan was meant for a future society. Typically, with lucidity comes an automatic air of authority and influence but I continued to feel insecure and continued to go with the story line. Though I could now recall my plan, the others that were presented sounded so much better and more elaborate (of course, I woke not recalling any specifics).
In fact, it seems that the investors were already favoring one of the groups which was fine with me. Maybe I wouldn’t be asked to present at all. People were starting to stand and disperse. My relief, however, was quickly interrupted by some commotion coming from behind the group. Two men approached from a trail that led into the clearing where we sat. They were one of the presenting groups but were arriving late.
I recall thinking that their tardiness was acceptable given that there were no vehicles or cell phones in use. One of the two men was actually half man and half horse and the horse body also had wings. [I should pause here to note that I know very little about Greek or any other mythology nor do I recall ever having a dream with hybrid creatures in the past.] The non-horse guy was carrying a load of stalks or some kind of branching vegetation.
The investor next to me was surprised to see these guys but also excited. He told everyone to sit back down. The attention turned quickly to the horse-guy who was clearly injured. He was doubled over in pain as he approached the group. I heard someone mention “heart attack.” He was put on a make-shift stretcher and was being moved to a different area. At this point, everyone was standing again. I had a growing urge to put my hands on the man in an attempt to heal him but still, I was too self-conscious to step forward.
In waking life I had considered the possibility of dream-healing others but had never actually tried it before. Right then, I heard a voice clearly speaking to me in my mind. It said, “You can do it. Even with the smallest amount of faith in yourself.” As it happened, the people carrying the stretcher were on track to carry it directly past where I was standing. As they passed, I reached over and put my hands on the place where the horse heart would be.
I closed my eyes and focused my thoughts on healing energy. My contact was only momentary as the men continued to carry him away. I was overcome with emotion and felt that I somehow maintained a connection with him. I continued to close my eyes and focus on healing. As I did, an increasing vibration and ringing in my ears overtook the dream and caused me to wake up.
Given the level of elaboration and the multi-staged delivery, this dream series was a real “attention-getter” for me. My most pragmatic interpretation suggests that applied lucid dreaming and dream-healing techniques will have a place in our future society but that courage will be needed to bring it into the mainstream. Of course, some people believe that our consciousness actually travels to other places while we dream. For them, I suggest packing an extra couple of pairs of cargo pants.
Another potential use of lucid dreaming involves accessing creativity and making inventive breakthroughs. Have you explored this in lucid dreams?
This has been a particular interest of mine over the past year. Specifically, the areas of discovery and innovation. I don’t think that many people realize how many game-changing breakthroughs throughout history were heavily influenced if not directly delivered through dreams. From the organization of the Periodic Table of Elements to the algorithm behind Google and countless in between, examples continue to arise of unsuspecting innovators literally waking up with insights and solutions that have changed the world.
What I find fascinating is that, while the majority of these “breakthrough dreams” happened spontaneously and somewhat accidentally, we can examine the conditions under which they occurred. We can essentially reverse engineer the process in order to pursue the innovation dream or the problem-solving dream. Much of this can be accomplished through incubation and everyday dream work. Applied lucid dreaming techniques adds mastery-level opportunity to this pursuit.
Very recently, I took a tour of my own “dream lab.” The people inside were, as you might expect, in white lab coats. They were focused and busy working between a large number of stations setup throughout an expansive open floor plan. When my awareness kicked in, a kind and kempt woman was giving me a tour of the facility.
She stopped at several stations to point out various works-in-progress. Then, she stopped at a large LED screen that was displaying an animation of a specific configuration of cells. There were four cells lined up across the bottom of the screen. Each cell was the size of a hockey puck and was labeled underneath. One was “Cancer” and the others I did not recall after waking up.
The woman called my attention to the screen as each of the four cells connected to each other laterally (represented by lines between them). Once they were connected, a giant network of cells floated down the screen and attached to the bottom four. The woman grabbed my attention and spoke to me slowly and seriously, “This is how it happens EVERY TIME.”
She repeated this again and then a disheveled guy with wild hair and wrinkled lab coat interrupted. He said that he had been giving me some of the tour earlier but was worried that I didn’t remember what he showed me. He pulled me back across the room to reveal… a pinball machine! He was adamant that the lab isn’t too stuffy and they have fun too. He fired up the machine and proceeded to play while I watched him. Then I woke up.
On lucid dream forums, I sometimes see a post that a person only wants to hear about scientifically validated ideas and no ‘new age‘ junk. Do they understand that Stephen LaBerge got inspired about lucid dreaming by listening to a Buddhist monk‘s talk? Or do they understand that before pioneers like LaBerge and Hearne came up with an idea to experimentally validate it, that ‘lucid dreaming‘ seemed ‘new age‘ junk? My point is that today‘s new age junk or modern physics theory might become tomorrow‟s major breakthrough! How do you encourage people to respect the limits of science and take a broader view?
While a belief in only validated science seems paradoxical, I feel that I understand some of this dynamic. There are those who embrace the cutting edge and those who prefer to hang back until the kinks have been ironed out. The ones who side with scientifically vetted concepts do not necessarily reject the notion that our understanding of the world continues to evolve, they just don’t want to be the first ones in line to buy in.
They would prefer that someone else have the first heart transplant or shuttle ride to the moon. When I think about the funnel from conceptual theory to proven fact I have to acknowledge how broad the theoretical side really is. The landscape is vast, disorganized, and resources are limited. It’s hard to know where to pitch your tent and you need to be ready to move around quite a bit. Continuing with the analogy, the “land of proven concepts” has solid infrastructure.
We know how to get around. There are condominiums and strip malls. People can move right in with very little risk. It takes a special kind of person with a sense of adventure to embrace the unknown and be a pioneer like LaBerge, Hearne, and others that have followed.
The larger, underlying issue is the attitudinal judgement that specific areas of innovation are not as worthy as others. The “new age junk,” as you put it. In this, the study of applied dream-work techniques and lucid dreaming sits squarely in the lineage of psychology and other so called “soft sciences.”
More effort is required to prove concept and gain credibility but with less backing and a greater degree of skepticism. Add to this the evergrowing dogma in our culture that anything of value from a health and wellness perspective must be taken in the form of a pill or a patch, and the battle for popular favor is uphill. Dreams are also very hard to tax. So, there’s that.
In order to spark interest among science-grounded critics, I like to use scientific terminology. The placebo effect is commonly known among scientists and lay people alike. In a clinical trial, if the drug being tested cannot achieve results greater than that of, say, a sugar pill, then the test is considered a failure… and placed in a circular file. Those of us in the dream-work camp and perhaps hypnotherapists pull that report out of the trash and marvel at the power of the placebo effect.
The incredible connection between the mind and the body where results are arrived at through thought alone. The placebo effect is a proven phenomenon and, as it happens, serves as a strong foundation for healing in dreams… especially lucid dreams where a healing intent can be planted deep in the unconscious.
If people want to learn more about your work, where should they go?
My website is www.LucidDreamTeacher.com and I can be reached at email@example.com.