The first dream I ever recall was around the time I was 3 or 4 years old. I had falsely awoken from a nap and found a cartoon kangaroo conducting an orchestra on my back deck. For some reason, this arrogant kangaroo annoyed me to no end, and as I plunged at him with all my toddler fury, he whipped out of his regal pocket, a black devious pancake hole.
I immediately fell, straight through his cheap Bugs Bunny trick, and was whisked down a giant white and red stripped straw, and landed on a giant ice cube. I remember the terror of watching my ice island melt in a turbulent sea of soda, and awoke just before I would plummet into the carbonated dark sea.
Ever since this experience, I have been hopelessly consumed with the dream world. Each night I would, “Go to the Movies” as my dad would call it, and report my often strange, and bizarre visions to a starry eyed family; however it wasn’t until my teenage years that I became aware of the term “Lucid Dreaming”. I also began to realize the infinite power of ones dreams for self expression, inspiration, healing, prophecies, and the true potential of the most grandiose gift that the universe has shared with all of us humans on earth.
The term “Lucid Dreaming” is most widely acknowledged to be coined by Dutch psychiatrist and writer Frederick van Eeden (1860-1932); however references of Lucid Dreaming can be found as far back as Greek philosopher Aristotle, who wrote, “often when one is asleep, there is something in consciousness that declares that what then presents itself is but a dream”.
Lucid Dreaming, which is commonly misconstrued, does not mean control over your dreams; however, it simply refers to being conscious or aware of the fact that you are dreaming. That is it, the recognition that you are asleep, and you are dreaming, and from that awareness, the possibilities are endless. It is true that a dreamer can develop a certain amount of control in a dream; however I truly feel that Lucidity is Awareness.
At the end of our teenage years, my friend Evan and I began to explore the dream world with simple Lucid Dreaming techniques. As a brief precursor to the following tips, it should be noted that we had developed a keen sense for recalling our dreams, weather through rigorous dream journaling or laying our cosmic journeys upon any slightly attentive ears. I can not stress enough how important diligent Dream Journaling is to one’s Dream Recall!
So, the first trick that we learned is called “Questioning your Reality”. We would seek each other out in random situations and social circles, and ask one another, “Are you Dreaming?” This simple question challenges your mind, body, and soul to pin point exactly which plane you exist on, at that particular moment. I’m the first to admit that this sounds silly and too ridiculously easy; however that question allows you to take a deep breathe, step back and soak in your surroundings like a cosmic sponge. The point of asking “Are you Dreaming?” when you are consciously awake is to invoke yourself when you are asleep to question reality and ask “Am I Dreaming?”
Within a couple of weeks the results of this experiment were undeniable. We’ve all had “normal” dreams where we are strolling mundanely through work, school, or common place routines, however next thing you know, Nancy by the water cooler is wearing a fur candy dress and a Muppet Owl is singing doo-whoop tunes on her shoulder, and “Am I Dreaming” helps you recognize that, yes you are dreaming, or shit… the LSD I had for lunch is in full swing!
Seriously though, my cell phone banner to this day and for the rest of my life reads… Dreaming? Step one to grasping Lucid Dreaming is to constantly question your “reality” throughout the day.
The second trick that Evan and I learned is called “Dream Triggers”. A dream trigger should be something you personally do or perform everyday in waking consciousness and are generally 100% sure of the results.
For example, my “Dream Trigger” for years was a light switch. When I push the switch up, the light goes bright, however when I’m dreaming and push the switch up nothing happens. So many years of my childhood were wasted on fear that the power was out and the creeping boogey man was lurking around the corner that I leapt back into bed, when I should have been recognizing the “Dream Trigger” and fighting that grotesque bad guy alongside the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles in all my lucid glory.
The third trick that became extremely helpful is called “Your Hands”. As we began to recognize that we were in a dream, a Lucid Dream, more often than not, that realization was a fleeting moment. Upon Lucidity, the dream would begin to spin, images blurred, sounds were a cacophony, and chaos would consume before waking. We began to understand that, just as in this life, a moment to meditate and pause is invaluable. If you find yourself at this cross roads, all one needs to do, is simply look down at your hands and breathe. Everything slows down, and you can relish in the proud magical moment of lucidity.
The fourth trick we learned is called “Consciously Falling”. As we humans are about to enter into sleep, we are bombarded by fleeting images, and this idea is to follow each vision consciously without judgment but with vibrant curiosity and imagination into the dream realm. You are consciously falling asleep and ready to resume your awareness into dreams.
I have had countless experiences when “Consciously Falling”, that I can literally feel my body spin from my head to my feet in a full 360 degree rotation, and upon completion, open my eyes and be Lucid in the dream world. It’s a marvelous, humbling experience to consciously drift from your body into your astral body. This is when the imagination and the soul meld and the magic soars.
The fifth trick is kind of intangible to describe, as most ethereal experiences are, but it is called “Absolute Freedom”. Relish in your cosmic delight of Lucid Dreaming and let the wildest stretches of your psyche dance across the universe. Fly swiftly to a cloud hammock and dream you’re dreaming, or delve deep within your soul and paint a breathing masterpiece, or play every instrument known on earth and create a space opera for an alien audience.
With “Absolute Freedom” you can ride on the wings of an archangel and guide your father to a comfortably smooth transition to heaven, or float through your mother’s diseased body and turn struggle into the last trumpet singing, or waltz through the jungle and find your animal spirit guide starring you straight in the fragile face.
As you begin to follow these tricks to Lucid Dreaming please allow yourself to open up, and as you find yourself in this absurdly awe-inspiring place…Please, please let everything that you thought, or had previously imagined possible go and let your soul free!