Friday, August 14, 2009

Lucid Dreaming

Dreams. What are they? An escape from reality or reality itself? Waking Life follows the dream(s) of one man and his attempt to find and discern the absolute difference between waking life and the dreamworld. While trying to figure out a way to wake up, he runs into many people on his way; some of which offer one sentence asides on life, others delving deeply into existential questions and life's mysteries. We become the main character. It becomes our dream and our questions being asked and answered. Can we control our dreams? What are they telling us about life? About death? About ourselves and where we come from and where we are going? The film does not answer all these for us. Instead, it inspires us to ask the questions and find the answers ourselves. Written by

I rewatched this the other day with Jamie. He had never seen it. I had forgotten about my curiosity concerning lucid dreaming. The only fear I have about trying lucid dreaming is getting confused on whether you are awake or dreaming. BUT there is a way to test this. A friend of mine on facebook (he taught school with my mom so we haven't actually met) posted a note recently on the steps to lucid dreaming. I really want to try this.

First, lucid dreaming is an unusual dream-state where you know that you are dreaming, and can then try to exert some measure of control or influence over what you dream.

Step one, if you want to lucid dream, is simply to do something to increase the number of dreams you remember. This is simple: keep a dream journal, right next to your bed -- a simple notebook, with pen or pencil ready. The moment you wake up, write down every detail you can remember about what you were dreaming (lucidly or not) right before waking -- before the dream fades from your memory, as they often do quickly. Just this step alone will make you more aware of your dreams, and therefore make it more likely that you will lucid-dream.

Step two is to take a permanent marker, and write a small "c" on one hand. This "c" stands for a Check of Consciousness. Every time, during the day (which will probably be a dozen times or so) that you notice this "c," stop whatever you're doing, and check -- really, seriously check -- to see if you can figure out whether you are awake or asleep. You can check this by thinking about the events of the last 15 minutes ago, and seeing if they flowed naturally from one event to the next, or were disjointed and random, as dreams often are. An even simpler way to check is to see if the laws of physics work normally, for they often do not in dreams. I do this by simply jumping up into the air. If I fall straight back down, well, I know gravity is working normally, and assume I am awake. I know from experience that gravity often does NOT typically work normally in my dreams, so, if I flutter downward like a leaf or a sheet of paper when I try this, then I know I'm dreaming.

Now, if you do this check a dozen times or so, for 5-7 days (sometimes less), you'll get in such a habit of doing it that you'll continue the habit right into your dream-time -- in other words, you'll perform the check while dreaming, just because you've been doing it so much. If your checks are thorough enough, you're then more likely than not at that point to figure out that you are, in fact, asleep and dreaming. At that point, have fun -- what you choose to dream about is completely up to you!

To be in control of your dreams! How awesome is that?! I highly recommend Waking Life if only to get your mind churning about the possibilites of the mind itself.

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