Lucid Dreams

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


30 Replies to “Lucid Dreams”

  1. Hello Daniel MacKillican,

    Your first dream was definitely one of those what was that all about dreams, but it could have been something as simple as your brain/mind giving you a chance to practice or do a good act; sometimes my dreams seem like training or practice for various possibilities and scenarios and/or like my brain/mind needs to deal with something that is happening in my life or that I am lacking in my life.

    The look at your hands reality check worked for me once, unfortunately I almost never look at my hands in my dreams so I have not used this reality check again since then, and I can not remember in what way(s) did my hands look strange but I do know that it was nothing as strange as what you saw in this lucid dream; now what you saw was crazy and interesting and creepy, how did you feel when you saw this? 😀

    The behavior of the police in your lucid dream is a bit like what happens when some of my dreams go lucid, sometimes dream characters stop/freeze and start acting robotic like they loose their personalities when your consciousness starts taking over the dream from your subconscious or something, and so they sometimes have to be given orders to get them to do things and they act strange and more robotic.

    Keeping lucid dreams stable is also a problem that I have, especially in the early days, getting excited and trying to control the dream too soon and too much would usually cause the dream to become unstable and collapse and I would wake up; and if I try to be too cautious I usually forget that I am dreaming and the dream becomes normal and non-lucid again, and so reminding yourself to calm down first and slowly control the dream and finding a stabilizing technique is important for some of us.

    I never tried this yet but I once heard that someone recommended spinning in circles if you feel the dream starting to destabilize, maybe one day we will try this technique to see if it works for us, or maybe we will figure out our own technique.

    Setting the intention to lucid dream, your plan on what to do once the dream goes lucid, and a reminder to remember the dream before going to sleep every night really helped me to increase my chances of lucid dreaming, and when I did this while looking in the mirror I had a lucid dream that night after only trying this about two or three days in a row.

    Maybe we should do a lucid dream challenge to see who lucid dreams first, maybe that will help you, and get me to stop being lazy and actually try to lucid dream again. 😀

    Thank you for sharing your dreams,
    -John Jr

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Whenever I describe what happened, the faces at the ends of my fingers and thumb, I always wonder why it didn’t freak me out when it happened, but for some reason it didn’t. I stared at those tiny demented faces and they stared back at me, waving their tiny hands, and I felt incredible excitement. Although in my waking life I am not the sort of person who is easily spooked, I’m pretty sure that if I saw tiny heads growing out of my digits I would completely lose the plot.

      I have have read about, and seen tutorial videos, describing the spinning in circles technique as a means to keep the lucid dream going; also rubbing hands together is apparently another way to help stabilise things.

      Laziness is definitely not something I suffer from when it comes to lucid dream practice, if anything, the opposite is true. Maybe that’s why I haven’t had another lucid dream yet, because I’m trying a little too hard and should step back from it for a bit. In the meantime, I do enjoy experimenting with hypnagogic and hypnopompic hallucinations, although what I sometimes see and hear can be disturbing. I always pull myself out of this state before the onset of sleep paralysis though, as letting my imagination have free rein while I’m paralysed is not something that I am willing to go out of my way to experience. Hypnagogia is also a fascinating subject and is on my list of things that I’m planning to write a blog post about at some point.

      Daniel.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Yeah, I was assuming that it was the excitement of realizing that you were dreaming that helped you during that situation. 😀

        I imagine the rubbing hands technique will probably be better because it might be less likely to mess up the visuals of the dream which can be caused by spinning for some people.

        It is good that you are not being lazy like me, last night I did make a weak attempt by setting my intentions in a mirror before going to bed, and I might do it again because now you are helping inspire me to try to lucid dream again.

        I have some of my lucid dreams posted on my blog among my thousands of dreams, I blog my dreams almost every day, and so if you ever want to look for some of them you can use the search widget and search for lucid dream or something like that. 😉

        A few months ago I first heard those words when reading and commenting on a dream post by another blogger, I have had some of those hallucinations before during sleep paralysis and some when walking up from a dream, so you have actually experimented with and successfully induced these type of hallucinations before?

        -John Jr

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Even though I have only recently learned what they are, I have experienced hypnagogic hallucinations, both audible and visual, for as far back as I can remember. Sometimes it is just a loud ‘brain fizz’ or bang, or my name being called by a disembodied voice, and sometimes it is an incredibly complex visual experience.

        It is fascinating, although sometimes unnerving, what the human mind can manifest when allowed to roam free. I have read that if the hypnagogic experience is left to run its course, the next step is sometimes a lucid dream. But my imagination can get pretty twisted at times (Read my novel ‘Ama’ to get an idea of what I mean: https://danielmackillican.com/2016/08/10/chapter-1-of-ama/), and combining that with the possibility for sleep-paralysis is not something I would like to try, which is why I always put the brakes on before it goes too far… Who knows, I may work up the nerve to let it take me all the way one day. It could end up being inspiration for another novel ;0)

        Liked by 1 person

      3. I think that most or all of mine have been hypnopompic with at least two happening shortly after waking up with me seeing maggots in my bed briefly and the other with me seeing a fake shadowy cockroach (roach) on my bed rail, and during my first sleep paralysis experience (https://johnjronline.wordpress.com/2011/07/22/1999-or-2000-my-first-recorded-sleep-paralysis-metatron/) it was auditory and in my other sleep paralysis experiences they have been visual (example: https://johnjronline.wordpress.com/2014/10/20/10-20-2014-dreams-sleep-paralysis-and-hallucinations-lightgood-versus-darkevil/).

        I listened to chapter one of Ama, nice narration by the way, and it is nice that you have audio for those who want to listen; and so I can see why you would not want to let your hallucinations carry one. 😉

        -John Jr

        Liked by 1 person

      4. One of my first experiences with hypnagogia, specifically hypnopompic hallucinations, happened when I was very young: I was staring at the teddy bears and other assorted fluffy toys that lay next to my bed, when suddenly a weird creature with one large eye, and covered in slime, popped up from the middle of them (it was similar to the creature in the trash-compactor scene from the first Star Wars film). I remember feeling absolutely terrified. I will probably talk more about that particular dance with my inner id when I eventually get around to writing a post about hypnagogia.

        The voice actor I employed to produce the audiobook version of Ama (http://www.audible.co.uk/pd/Sci-Fi-Fantasy/Ama-Audiobook/B01GGPLFIS) is a talented man by the name of Matthew Lloyd Davies (http://www.matthewlloyddavies.com/). I’m looking forward to adding the audio narration to each chapter on my website, hopefully later this year.

        Liked by 1 person

  2. Hi Daniel, I enjoyed reading your post as well as your conversation with John Jr. in the comments. I too have been obsessed with dreams my whole life and am an on and off avid lucid dreamer. Just recently re-joining the practice a couple weeks ago. I’m curious about his hypnagogic state. I’ve read some on-line about it and I have some strange falling asleep experiences that may or may not be this hypnagogia. As I’m falling asleep, I’m completely aware of my body lying in bed, but my subconscious takes over my mind. I enter into the world of this dream, while still being aware of my body lying in the bed. This state of being is always incredibly disturbing, not scary, but very disturbing (the images and thoughts). Usually I will catch the disturbing thoughts and then bring full consciousness back to my bed and realize I must have been falling asleep. A similar thing happens when I meditate except, I do not fully enter into a dream state world, I just lose control of my thoughts, and they are not disturbing. It is very hard to remember any detail at all after bringing full consciousness back to the physical world. Does this sound like hypnagogia to you? I am very curious as to your experience in the hypnagogic state as well as how it is you experiment in this state. I’m not familiar with the term hypnopompic. I’ll have to google it. I’ve only just heard of hypnagogia a couple weeks ago when I began researching other peoples take on lucid dreaming for the first time. Anyway, nice to find another dreamer. Good luck in your lucid dreaming endeavors!

    -Side note – do you meditate? I find this practice with lucid dreaming.

    -W

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Hi, and many thanks for your visit and sharing your experiences. Yes, that does sound like hypnagogia. I think hypnagogic hallucinations are kinda like when looking through a film collection, deciding on what to watch; hypnagogia is the brain deciding on what the seed of the dream is going to be, before launching the consciousness into it. Hypnopompic hallucinations on the other hand, are just to cause confusion for the rest of the day. It is fascinating what our brains are capable of, and the magic they can cast.

      In answer to your side note: I’m a great believer in the benefits of meditation, and I should put more effort into finding the time to practice the art, but alas, my organisational skills with my time are somewhat lacking. I daydream a lot, which I suppose is the lazy man’s version of meditation ;0)

      Liked by 2 people

      1. Daniel – Thank you for the explanation and breakdown of hypnogogic/hypnopompic. That is an interesting take on hypnogogia, I will try to pay more attention to these states of mind and see how they correlate with the rest of my dreams that night.

        Liked by 1 person

    2. Hello Lost Truth,

      That sounds more like an accidental Wake Induced Lucid Dream (WILD) (http://howtolucid.com/wake-induced-lucid-dream-w-l-d-technique/) to me, which is said to be easier to do for people who meditate, and so maybe you accidentally do this sometimes.

      Also here is a short article about some of the types of hallucinations:

      https://www.sleepassociation.org/patients-general-public/hallucinations-during-sleep/

      I never meditated before but I imagine that it would help someone like me with some of my problems like social anxiety disorder and generalized anxiety disorder et cetera, but no one ever showed me how to do it so is there a YouTube video or something that you would recommend to help someone learn how to meditate?

      Thank you,
      -John Jr

      Liked by 1 person

      1. John Jr. – I put my other comment in the wrong place. I’m still trying to figure this whole thing out. Consciously taking on zombies in a dream – no problem! Posting a simple reply on wordpress – still a mystery. 🙂

        Your thoughts on it possibly being a WILD is interesting to me. Maybe it has the potential to be that, but I’m not quite there. I’m thinking, then my thoughts shift to being out of control, then I’m watching something like a movie in my mind, while still aware of my body, then I consciously become aware of this movie as my thoughts, but I’m not in it. I immediately jolt out. Last night I tried something different. I tried to hold onto awareness while slipping into this state. Not much to report on, but something was different. I was slightly more present in the movie, and instead of jolting awake, my visions softly flashed back and forth between the movie and waking reality. Then I was all the way awake. I was never actually conscious in a dream setting though.

        As for meditation. I’m not the best person to give advice, but I’ll share what I can. I’ve never looked at anything on youtube about it and have nothing to recommend. I’ve tried some different guided meditation podcasts and would recommend http://www.oneminddharma.com. I specifically like this one http://second-2a3c.kxcdn.com/BGM/2016/45.mp3

        I think the basic idea of standard meditation is it can be 2 things. Either you are focusing on nothing/everything or focusing on 1 thing.

        For example – You can light a candle, clear your mind, focus on your breath going in and out to try and help clear your mind, then just watch the candle. Let the candle consume your consciousness. Just focus on the flame. If thoughts arise, allow them to pass. Don’t grab hold of them or analyze them. Watch your thoughts float passed like clouds.
        You can also do this gazing into your own eyes in a mirror.
        A somewhat different technique would be focusing solely on your breath. You can say to yourself, “inhale, exhale, inhale, exhale” to help you stay focused.

        You can also focus on stillness or if your outside focus on the sounds of nature. It typically starts with the breathing. Feeling your breath move your body, when you feel your thoughts start to race this is always a good place to come back to. I try to focus on the void, or the energy outside myself. The main thing is breath and to not allow your thoughts to enter the forefront of your mind. While meditating I constantly whisper in my mind, Shhhh, to quiet those thoughts.

        I recommend sitting opposed to lying down so you don’t fall asleep.

        Other types of meditation could be any kind of mindfulness. Kind of like Taoism. To just focus on a task. If you are washing the dishes, simply put all your focus, thoughts, and attention on the act of washing the dishes. Observe the colors and contour of the dish. The feel of the sponge and friction of its contact against the dish. The feel of the warm water against your skin, etc.

        There is also a type of writing meditation which I am particularly fond of. Where you can either freely write without thinking and perhaps without making sense, and also where you ask yourself questions (in writing) and answer them (in writing) without thinking. I find this helps me focus my thoughts and get to the root of a problem or answer.

        I have a very long post about my experience with dealing with anxiety and using this written meditation as a way to help me get to the root of the problem. https://gazedeeper.wordpress.com/2017/05/15/overcoming-anxiety/

        I feel like so many people deal with social anxiety, myself included, and I think that’s sad. My general anxiety has gone away though as of the beginning of this year.

        I hope somewhere in there I passed on a meditation idea that might help or at least gave you some key words you can do a youtube search for and find what vibes with you

        good luck

        Liked by 2 people

      2. Hello Lost Truth,

        You are doing pretty good, WordPress.com can be confusing at times. 😀

        That somewhat reminds me of something that has only happened to me only a few times where I have been in an unknown state where it seems that my subconscious is doing its own thing like replaying memories from the day like a movie and sometimes it will rewind and replay certain moments repeatedly like it is examining them and deciding where to store the memories and which ones are important enough to save and maybe comparing them to old memories.

        Thank you very much for answering my question, and taking the time to share that information.

        I am also glad that you have find something that helped you deal with anxiety.

        The link to your post about anxiety says that post no longer exists.

        Thank you,
        -John Jr

        Liked by 1 person

      3. Yea, sorry. I decided to delete that post. I’m still unsure what I want to do with /on this blog and have deleted a few things.

        I was just listening to a podcast about lucid dreaming which included an interview with Robert Waggoner. He mentions using lucid dreaming to help with anxiety, but he does not elaborate. Might be something worth looking into. He also mentioned, once lucid to shout out into dream space, ‘show me something important’. Which reminded me of you asking dream characters questions. Just thought I’d share.

        Thanks for your reply

        Liked by 1 person

      4. No problem Lost Truth. 🙂

        It is amazing that you said this because I thought about this today as I was setting my intention to lucid dream!

        I was trying to think of various ways to communicate with my subconscious, and yelling out to / in the dream world was one of the ideas that I thought of today.

        I also thought of some things that I would talk to my subconscious about, and anxiety was one of those things.

        Thank you for sharing that Lost Truth, I guess you are starting to read my mind now. 😀

        -John Jr

        Liked by 1 person

  3. Hi, Lost Truth. Sorry it took so long for me to okay your reply to John, for some reason it was picked up by my spam filter (which is usually spot-on so I rarely check it). I’ve also deleted the duplicate comment you referred to 😉

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thank you Daniel MacKillican.

      Akismet (the anti-spam system used on WordPress.com) triggers sometimes when too many links are used (more than two) per comment, and so that happens sometimes unfortunately.

      -John Jr

      Liked by 1 person

    2. Thanks for letting me know what happened Daniel and for approving the comment. I had wondered if maybe I messed up and forgot to click “post”

      Liked by 2 people

      1. You may already know this, but you can also change the settings, if you’re interested, to not have to approve comments, or to allow comments with links to be posted, or to allow longer comment threads to continue on. You do this by clicking on ‘my sites’, then ‘settings’, then ‘discussion’

        Liked by 2 people

      2. I’m reading up on the best way to configure the settings, to make damn sure I get it right; as my spam filter gives me a very long and scary list of comments it has stopped. Your reply was buried deep within the mire.

        Liked by 1 person

    3. That is a good idea Daniel MacKillican.

      Only about a year, interesting, so I guess that makes me the WordPress.com veteran out of the three of us.

      Feel free to ask me questions sometimes if you both need help, who knows, maybe I will have some answers.

      😀 😉

      -John Jr

      Liked by 1 person

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