Saving the animals
I am going to help those little turtles. I need to run out into the road, stop the traffic, and save those poor creatures before they get washed away down the drain. The cars swerve as I make my way to the centre of the roundabout. I thrust my fingers into the gaps in the iron grate of the drain cover and lift. I move the cover free with little effort and…oh my God, there’s a kitten down there too. I quickly reach into the drain and grab them before they fall any further down into the abyss. Thankfully I manage to bring them all to safety. There are so many that I have to use my t-shirt as a makeshift cradle to carry them all. I make my way along the line of cars, looking for the bastard who was happy to send all these defenseless creatures to their dark and watery doom. I find the man in no time, and proceed to throw a barrage of profanity his way, but he is oblivious to the suffering he has caused. He is arrogant, nonchalant, and couldn’t care less. So I begin to twist his arm. I continue to twist it until it breaks with a satisfying Snap! I wake up.
That was just a weird dream I had last night, not the strangest ethereal wandering I’ve ever had—not by a long shot—but a dream nonetheless. Just another night-time escapade that leaves me wondering, what the hell was all that about? I don’t have any pet turtles, or kittens, and I haven’t saved anything from a drain recently. And, before you ask, I haven’t broken anyone’s arm either.
My obsession with lucid dreams
I have always found the subject of dreams fascinating, so when I discovered lucid dreaming and the creative potential thereof, I became obsessed. Lucid dreaming is when you become aware that you are dreaming from within the dream, and are subsequently able to take control of every aspect of the dream; the trick is to remain in the dream and not wake yourself up. I first learned about lucid dreaming about a year ago, since then I have only had one lucid dream—that I can remember—not through lack of trying though. Maybe I am trying too hard to have them.
My first lucid dream
My lucid dream started off as a normal dream, by which I mean that I was unaware that I was dreaming. I was walking through a deserted fairground. Rollercoasters, merry-go-rounds, etc., stood motionless all about. I walked on until I came across a stairway which led down to a dark basement. I descended into the gloom. In the basement, I found about a dozen heavily armed police men. They were all sat against the walls, talking to each other. I couldn’t understand what they were saying so I ignored them and explored the basement. While I wandered among the cobwebs, I thought to myself, this is odd… And then the realisation dawned: This is a dream!
To confirm that I was indeed in a dream I performed a simple test (a reality check); I looked at my hand. I had read, in my waking life, that when dreaming, your hand usually looks strange in some way. Well strange would be an understatement, because at the end of each of my fingers and thumb were tiny heads. Each head was laughing while in the throes of some kind of insanity, the deranged heads continued their unhinged levity as small hands protruded from where their ears ought to be and waved excitedly at me. Yes! I was dreaming, and I knew I was dreaming, which meant I was having my first Lucid Dream.
All the police men fell silent and bowed their heads. It was if they were playing a trick on me, and I had worked it out. I became excited—which was my first mistake. I was God, I could do what ever I wanted: fly like Superman, travel through time and space, visit far off wondrous worlds, create fantastic worlds of my own… What should I do? Where should I go? I could not decide what to do next, what to do first—that was my second and last mistake. My first Lucid Dream was about to come to an abrupt end. The basement dissolved away as I ran. I was running down a suburban street, while frantically trying to decide what to do. The world around me flickered with images, a cascade of ideas without cohesion. I woke up. Damn!
Learning how to become a proficient lucid dreamer
I spent the rest of that day enthusiastically researching deeper into the phenomenon of lucid dreaming, and I have continued my research, off and on, ever since; looking forward to my next conscious moment in the dream world. Some things that I have learned about lucid dreaming are: try to keep calm when they happen, have an idea of what to do in the lucid dream, and keep a dream journal. A dream journal is not only a good way to help remember the events within the dreams, as they usually fade away pretty quickly after waking up, it is also a good way to focus on the dream world and improve the chance of becoming lucid within the next dream. I have also taken to performing some odd rituals at random points throughout the day: glancing at my hands, looking for those happy little faces to appear again; trying to poke the finger of one hand through the palm of the other, as this is actually possible in the magical realm of dreams; and whenever I am talking to someone who is familiar to me, I confirm that they are still alive. Obviously the confirmation that a person is still alive is done in my head, but I’m not too bothered what people think when they see this madman walking down the street glaring at his hands and trying to poke a finger through his palms—I’ve seen other people do stranger things. The purpose of these rituals is to make them second nature, and more likely that I will do one while dreaming.
Daydreaming about my next lucid dream
Hopefully the act of writing this blog post about lucid dreaming will have focused my mind to the point where I will have another one tonight. What to do if I do? Fly around Jupiter, swim to the bottom of an ocean and shoot-the-breeze with a passing whale, or have the Goddess Aphrodite pose nude for me atop Olympus Mons on Mars? Decisions, decisions…
Credit for above photo:
Photograph taken by Linda MacKillican