I’m Watching Me Dream

lucid-dreamOctober is for Dreams

 

You are engaged to your old boss from 40 years ago, even though in reality you have moved to a different state and have been happily married to someone else for almost as long.

You have an important dinner date or presentation to make. All you can find to wear is some tatty t-shirt and dirty shorts. All the clothes you’ve ever owned are piled way high around the washing machine. You watch yourself throw clothes everywhere, digging, digging through the pile. Yet everything looks the same.

You are hiding from some unknown monster/entity that is clearing out your apartment complex floor by floor. You are running from room to room, finally settling on hiding under a shelf behind the clothes rack in some closet. You’ve never lived in a high-rise apartment, and you don’t believe in monsters. So you hide and wait to see what happens.

Are you dreaming? Or lucid dreaming? Is there a difference?

I’ve scoured the Internet looking for clues, for some sort of distinction between the two.  If you want detailed explanations, the Internet is your portal. If you want the I-enjoy-your-blog-so-give-me-the-short-version version, stick around. Because you and I want to have fun with this.

According to Web MD (Dream1), dreams are basically stories and images our mind creates while we sleep. They can be vivid, happy, sad, or downright confusing. They can occur any time during sleep, but most vividly during deep REM sleep, when the brain is most active.

Lucid dreams, on the other hand, is more like having a dream where you know you are dreaming. In other words, you know the house you are walking through is not your house or your spouse is not your spouse and you follow along anyway. You don’t have to wake up to know that whatever is happening is not real. Lucid dreaming represents a brain state between REM sleep and being awake. More like those twilight dreams at the edge of waking.

I think most of us experience a combination of the two. Most times we find ourselves in situations and places and memories we have no control over, and we go with the flow. But sometimes we make decisions to do certain things in our dreams like jump off buildings and fly or open doors that lead to huge mansions and strange factories and more. We don’t fight the dream – we actually encourage it.

You can scour the Internet (my favorite phrase today!) for ways to become more aware/involved with your dreaming. Some sights are hokey; but others share real information.  The Goddess and I have a few suggestions for this next step of evolutionary dreaming, though.

  1. Don’t pay for seminars, pills, lectures, or anything that concerns moola. Simple – and free – ways are available.
  2. Sleep in complete darkness. Don’t let the stray light of a bathroom light or hall light unconsciously raise you from your well-earned dream stroll.
  3. Keep a dream journal. I know it’s a pain the buttocks to turn the lights on and off all the time, but the act of writing forces the art of retaining. This training will help you acknowledge and track your dreamscapes.
  4. When your weird dream ends, don’t jump up. Don’t move. Don’t even open your eyes. Recall as much of it as you can. Even if it doesn’t make sense. The mere act of recalling the feeling and actions encourages more recollection.
  5. Condition yourself at night to let your dreams go where they may. The final thoughts you have before switching gears into dreamland help influence where your dreams go. So go lightly but firmly.
  6. Allow yourself to check in and say “Hey! Cool dream!” Let it flow as a passing thought, not a change in the river’s flow. The more you find yourself letting your dreams go where they may, the more you can stand back and watch them.
  7. Unless it’s a nightmare, don’t try and force yourself awake. Many squiggly dreams make it to the surface to taunt you then fade back into the abyss. The more you let the dreamworld take you by the hand the more you will remember.

Dreaming is a wonderful way to explore the worlds of “what if” and “if only.” Not to mention “Wha??” and “Woah!!”  Those are the ones you want to explore, continue, and repeat.

Happy Dreaming!

 

 

Astral Traveling on a Budget

There are so many things that fill our lives — work, family, laundry — that it’s hard to find time to do the thing that we are born to do: Astral Travel.  Now, you may snicker — astral traveling? You say it sounds a bit too airy fairy for you. Way out in left field and all. Well, believe me, you do this all the time.

You finish your to-do list for the day and finally sit down for five minutes to relax. You put a bit of music on in the background, or, on the contrary, turn off every electrical device in sight, and take advantage of your few minutes of peace and solitude. You sit on the sofa, close your eyes, and where do you go? You may think you are working out the number of people to invite to your birthday party or what to make for dinner, but what you are really doing is heading for that sphere of energy known as the ethereal. It’s that place full of light and insubstantiality; that place at the edge of heaven, at the edge of another dimension. You are standing at the gateway that opens to other worlds, other times, and other possibilities. Oh sure, every day annoyances come into your head like popcorn, but if you just follows your own rhythmic breathing, you will find yourself leaving office politics behind and wandering through the hallways of the fourth or fifth dimension. Pretty cool, eh?

Astral traveling, astral projection, is a meditative state of being; the suspension of time and space, getting lost in the Zone somewhere between Timothy Leary and Captain Kirk. It’s taking the zigzaggy path through the woods, finally coming across the trail that leads to “what if?” Traveling with your mind takes you back to a time when there were no restrictions on your imagination. It taps into your adult innocence in surprisingly wonderful ways. I mean, where else could you and Johnny Depp share espresso in a small café in Italy and talk about Renaissance art? Where else could you deliver that awe-inspiring speech that brings the audience to its feet? Where else could find out what really went on behind the closed palace doors of Henry the Eighth?

Many a truth floats between the zones of reality when you let your mind roam, especially if you can turn those five minutes into fifteen or twenty. We figure out ways to cope with loss and disappointment. We strengthen our weaknesses and sort out our emotions. We relate to characters in the books we’ve read, people we’ve met, places we have been. Or want to go. There are no computers in the astral world. There are no ringing phones, no screaming kids or dirty dishes. The longer one meditates, the further one drifts away from the nonsense of the day to our own crystal innocence.

And your heart really is innocent. You may think it is jaded, crushed, bruised or frozen closed. But the human heart is continually growing, adapting, learning, and feeling. When you “astral travel” you wander over to the other side of growing, adapting, learning and feeling. Back to the time when you believed in the good of your fellow man, to the time when you saw dragons in the clouds and faeries dancing at the edge of the woods at sunset.  Back to a time when words like adultery and cholesterol and obsessive/compulsive disorder sounded more like Japanese than English.

Alas, it’s hard to ride the astral train for any long stretch of time, One is not meant to stay in nirvana forever. The secrets of the prophets, the shamans, and the elves will often have to wait for another day. Sooner or later you will glide back to your body, back to earth, back to the way things were before you took that left turn at Jupiter.

Who cares if the astral trip was real or not? What matters is that you are never quite the same person as the one who closed their eyes fifteen minutes earlier. No one will know — or care — if you heard the cries of those waiting to be executed in the Tower of London or the whispers of aliens in some distant galaxy or if you remember swinging on the swing set when you were little. It doesn’t matter what you find in the depths of your mind. What really matters is that you keep that mind open.

You will not change the world on this journey: you won’t put a stop to war or abuse or neglect. You can’t pay your bills on the astral track, nor will you be able to stop tornadoes or make lima beans taste good . But you will find that your thoughts are clearer, your eyes can see further, and your breathing is more regulated. You’ll find that quiet spot in your soul where the spirit and the beyond are one. Your step becomes a little lighter, and your endurance lasts a little longer. You may be skeptical — but just give it a chance. Five minutes at a time. Surely you have a spare five minutes somewhere. Or, as they say, baby, make the time!

The great thing about astral traveling is that you can return to this energy plane any time you want. All you need is you. You, a little time, a little fresh air, and a little imagination. Astral traveling doesn’t cost you a thing. You don’t have to pay anyone for the information; it doesn’t turn your hair blue or change the love you have for others.  All you have done is found a different way to play. And people don’t stop playing just because they are middle-aged, you know.

And, in the end, who cares what others think? After all — Johnny Depp is still sitting at that table in Italy waiting for you. Or rather, me.

Ciao, baby…