For the last 31 years, I have pursued the Art of Lucid Dreaming since the age of fifteen after reading an article in an Omni Magazine published in March, 1987 where Dr. Stephen LaBerge talked about this ability to be conscious during a dream. It was called Lucid Dreaming. As a young teenager, the idea that I could be in control of my dreams was a thrilling idea. My non-lucid dreams were already loads of fun, and I could only imagine how incredible it could be to actually be awake and in control.
Shorty after reading the article, I had my first lucid dream. It was everything the article promised and more. The first of thousands of lucid dreams to follow and now after 31 years I thought it would be a good time to reflect on what I have accomplished and learned through living a second life in the world of dreams.
Why is Lucid Dreaming something one would like to do? Why do we read a book, watch a movie or play a video game? We like to be entertained. At the most fundamental level Lucid Dreaming is a thrilling form of entertainment. Even non-lucid dreams can be wonderfully entertaining. Look at any dream you can remember that left you in awe at what you experienced in that focus state. Now imagine being in control where you can dream anything you desire in that same realistic format. It’s not hard to see that Lucid Dreaming can be both an adventure and an experience.
When I talk about what dreaming is. I first describe it as having your own virtual reality simulator that is more evolved and sensory driven than say our current VR technology like Oculus Rift. Unlike digital virtual reality which offers a visual 3D view, Lucid Dreaming (and dreaming in general) allows you to have a 100% fully immersed sensory driven virtual reality experience. Having practiced this skill along with other techniques to enhance perception in dreams, my dreams for the time that I am there are as detailed and complex as the waking world. I exist in a simulated 3D environment, I can see vivid colors, hear sounds, feel objects and textures, taste and smell food. I even have a sense of heat/cold as well as pain. Through a technique I call cognitive mapping which invokes perception exercises in the waking world for the purpose of enhancing the same skill of perception in the dream world, the end result are dreams that appear as real or more real than how I experience my waking life. This truly is a virtual reality simulator that nature has evolved, and all it takes is consciousness to play.
What this has given me is best of two worlds. I get to be conscious and self-aware in my waking life, and take this quality of self-awareness into a dream reality which extends who I am and add new conscious experiences that I otherwise would never have. Think about this as one of my driving motivators. We all know we are going to live for a relatively short period of time. There is no escaping the inevitability of death so knowing we have a limited amount of time to experience ourself existing, what do we have that adds conscious experience to this limited amount of time? See where I am going? We can add hours of consciousness during sleep in another format of experiential reality adding time to our over all conscious experience pool.
In 31 years of lucid dreaming, I have incubated and cultivated roughly 10 years of consciousness during sleep. Why I estimate roughly 10 years is due to the perception of time during lucidity which can greatly exceed that time when I sleep. And in many cases I have logged these extra hours, even days in my journals. Funny enough I have encountered people who just cannot fathom that this potential exists and call me out claiming I’m lying because almost zero research has been done short of one experiment in 1985 which during the run didn’t provide evidence of time perception being expanded during lucid dreaming.
It is a known fact that the perception of time can stretch under the influence of drugs, hypnosis and surprise surprise… dreams. Neuroscientist Warren Meck tested drug induced time perception on rats and noted that they did have a speed up or slow down of their internal clock based on drug influences. There is also other research such as the Kappa Effect which is another form of temporal illusion where our perception of time in waking life can feel longer than actual physical time.
There is even a desire to create a time dilating drug for prisoners that trap them in this sense of altered time for 1,000 years in 8 hours. http://www.telegraph.co.uk/technology/news/10697529/Prisoners-could-serve-1000-year-sentence-in-eight-hours.html. Psychoactive drugs like LSD, Mescaline and DMT also have people reporting extraordinary perception of time.
My first encounter with the perception of time stretching in my own lucid dreams was back in 1992, 5 years after I started lucid dreaming. It was 8:00am in the morning and I had some time to sleep before I had to go to work. I became dream locked in this dream where the perception of time lasted 2 weeks. Trapped in this pocket of dream time living a second life as an artist going to college and then working at a cafe. I would even wake up and fall asleep in the dream until finally waking up. I was lucid for the whole time knowing I was dreaming but couldn’t wake up from it. When it approached what felt like 2 weeks I started to have the fear and panic that something was wrong, that maybe I am sleeping in or worse something bad happened to my body so I forced myself awake to then look at the clock seeing the time as 8:30am. Only 30 minutes of sleep yet I had an insurmountable amount of time that I could never fit in 30 minutes. Even just one of the art classes took over an hour and I had many of those in just one of the days, let alone the job at the cafe, or hanging out with friends going to pubs and night clubs. All this experience which felt like 2 weeks yet only 30 minutes of sleep. I was hooked on this potential. I saw the possibilities of what it could add to my life and have never looked back.
In many cases it can be just a few extra hours, others a few days but in the rarest the longest I have experienced is 2 weeks. I call them Mini Vacations. That said I have talked with people through the years over the Internet who claim to have lived entire lifetimes in one cycle of sleep. I have not, and have no reason to lie or embellish that I have. My max is 2 weeks and that has only happened a couple of times. The average seems to be extra hours, sometimes up to 8. It’s more common, the ones that last days are also rare but recently I did have one that lasted about 3 days. I just never know what to expect the inevitable wake-up always happens.
I know another conscious practitioner who I respect, and we discussed this ability to perceive more time during sleep than when the body sleeps and their longest experience was 3 months. I haven’t broken the 2 week barrier yet in my own sleep. Quite often this is due to fear as have a hard time allowing it to just continue as my fear is that I might be sleeping too long, or maybe something is wrong and I wake myself up foolishly to check on my body only to find 20 or 30 minutes have past.
I doubt many people know what it’s like to be locked in a dream that goes on and on, like a lengthy false awakening. I personally love it, but I admit defeat at chickening out when it gets too lengthy. This is something you really have to go through multiple times to appreciate it’s potential also why certain understandable fears may arise that can cause you to eject yourself from that dream. Hopefully, I can become more allowing and proficient as I still manage to have very long lucid dreams in short naps.
Why do I believe the 1985 sleep study failed? The lucid dreamers had to use their physical body to move their eyes to count time in the dream. In my view, this is already syncing your perception of time with physical time as you are using a physical mechanic, the eyes to measure time. In my deep lucid dreams, there is 100% immersion and I have no sense of my body lying in it’s bed. The immersion is so deep, that the dream reality for that time is all I know. I believe this deep level of immersion allows the perception of time to stretch as there is no physical constraints applied to the dream in such a case. But how does one measure it? I can imagine perhaps differences in EEG and fMRI scans may review additional activity, perhaps an increased activity.
At this point in my life, I don’t worry about what other people believe rather I’ll figure it out for myself through knowledge gained from actual valid lucid dream experience where I answer my own questions. If I listened to the naysayers when I was 15 that lucid dreaming was impossible and woo, I’d have lost 31 years of amazing adventures. Somethings you just have to do it for real rather than read about it in some book. Lucid dreaming is one of those things you have to experience to know.
Unlike belief which this world is ripe with, lucid dreaming is a genuine experience that one can obtain through focus, practice and discipline. The rewards and potential in my view are endless. It’s a gift that keeps on giving unlike a belief which offers zero experience and no return on investment. A belief isn’t going to make you lucid dream, a belief won’t extend your perception of time. Actually doing it will. That’s the difference. Once you know you can be conscious in a dream, it’s no longer a belief it’s fact. You now have knowledge through experience. Why, because this is something you achieved. No one else can dream your dream, let alone make you conscious in them.
My dream routine of late has been doubling up on lucid dreams per day as I have been using two time periods to incubate lucidity. In the morning I wake up at 4:00am, stay up until 5:00am using WBTB [Wake-Back-To-Bed] and WILD [Waking Induced Lucid Dream] for 15-30 minutes if I fail, I fall back on MILD [Mneumonic Induced Lucid Dream]. If I stick to this method as part of my daily routine I have a lucid dream nearly every night.
If time permits, I try to have a nap at 5:00pm to about 6:30pm for an evening lucid dream using the same technique as listed above. In many cases I can double up on lucid dreaming for the day and for me this is far superior a form of entertainment than anything I have encountered in the waking world. TV, Movies, Video Games, Books are all ok, but I can do better with my dreams having the benefit of total control and ability to create anything I desire in nearly any formatted genre as one of my driving inspirations to dream is using a technique I call Genre Specific Lucid Dreams [GSLD] which I have been perfecting over the last 30 years. Sure, it’s entirely about entertainment and that is exactly what brought me into lucid dreaming at the age of 15.
I’ve been trying to write down the more exciting ones. It makes my dream journal read like an epic Heavy Metal / Sci-Fi / Fantasy movie as not only do I dream in normal waking reality but can create cartoon, video game, movie genres by manipulating the dream through visualization and intent. The dreams I tend to skip over are the more mundane, boring or down right weird.
This is also why many of my dream journal entries can be quite lengthy. And quite often, I am only covering what I liked about the dream omitting plenty of uninteresting mundane content as writing all of it down is vastly time consuming. I get to skip the long moments of say walking down a street, or driving in a car. No way to create that sense of time in the reader and why bore them with the lack of interesting details.
It’s nice to have a dream blog as I hope people who encounter one of the more adventurous dreams see that potential and desire to be able to also achieve that type of dream. When you approach lucid dreaming as an art form where you are the writer, director, content creator and star, it becomes a supreme form of experience and entertainment.
Lucid dreaming has been scientifically proven that we do lucid dream. Today, I find skeptics and atheists who enjoy lucid dreaming. They are able to do it, and enjoy the experience that it brings. There are still skeptics I encounter who don’t believe it which is fine, they haven’t had the experience. I’m not here to convince them but all I can do is offer techniques and my own interpretation of the experience as a motivator for others seeking to do the same or greater with their own dreams.
Even today, our entire culture is so dream illiterate I find very few people who routinely explore and experience lucid dreaming short of through the Internet. I find it sad, because people seem to believe in all sorts of unverifiable ideas yet don’t want to believe in the one thing that provides genuine experience and adds valuable self-awareness and conscious experience to one’s limited lifespan. I always try to get that point across. I add hours of conscious experience to my life by engaging a vividly realistic and fantastically detailed dream reality every night. Even my non-lucid dreams are vividly realistic and also add a value of experience as long as I remember them. I dream every night, it is very rare not to remember any type of dream upon waking.
And the jest of it, most people who I try to open up about with this ability make the stupid mistake of judging me either weird or crazy. I’m weird or crazy because I can remain conscious into sleep, a skill I worked on since 1987 over the last 31 years so I could learn to simulate and create a vivid reality as real as the one I wake up to for hours on end in a format that is better than anything I find in waking life. The food is better, the sex is better, the activity is better, the worlds are endless and it never stops producing amazing experiences that even drugs fail to offer. My attitude in response? Enjoy loosing 8 hour of their life every day until they die where those who engage and participate in their dreams stand to gain 2, 4, 8, days, weeks potentially unknown hours of pure conscious experience every-time they sleep.
In my life, I have had to endure the judgments of others who don’t get it or understand. I’ve been called everything from crazy to weird. The reality is, I can create anything I desire when I sleep. What a terrible and weird thing to be able to do. Who wants to have the power and control to create absolutely any fantasy or desire in a vivid format that is equal to or better than waking reality? Yet they all love movies, books and video games missing out on the one virtual reality simulator nature evolved and they’ve had since birth. I didn’t make that mistake. I engaged it passionately.
I don’t blame them, our modern society has given dreaming a bad rap with such lame claims that dreams are nothing but random noise so every psychologist or researcher cites that as some fact rather than listening to the the ones who actually have some intelligence behind the art of dreaming as a skill. We have the scientific evidence that lucid dreaming exists, it is real. We don’t have to pretend that it doesn’t and ridicule those who engage this art form.
Look at how neglected and shoved to the wayside Lucid Dreaming really is. It took until the late 1970’s to obtain evidence that it was possible to satisfy the skeptics. Prior we had the skeptics claiming this is woo, which really means it will be ignored by the academic circles. Fast forward and through fMRI we have undeniable evidence that people can be conscious during sleep. Wow scientists… took you that long to figure out what people have been doing since before the bronze age. Where has this benefited humanity with knowledge of how to obtain this focus state? Not in the media, not in the schools, still throwing that baby out with the bathwater in 2018.
Sure they teach you how to draw, play a musical instrument, add numbers, do sports in school but I’ve yet to see main stream academia establish a lucid dreaming class that progresses people from child hood up to a master PhD in University in the science and skill of lucid dreaming. Thus no one benefits, most live half their life throwing away the better half. What is it going to take to wake people up to this wonderful skill and ability?
Now we have the Internet and there are pockets of forums and newsgroups that offer information on lucid dreaming. Many websites and authors cropping up but like anything there is good information and bad information mixed in with this simply ability to maintain consciousness during sleep. I think my progressive guide on lucid dreaming embodies the most straight forward tested approach to this experience. Largely in part to the influence of Dr. Stephen LaBerge who I credit for sparking my initiation to this idea back in 1985. He’s been a wonderful influence in my journey.
Thus the choice resides in the individual, it is up to those who want to pursue this ability to make that lifestyle choice and reap the rewards while others lie unconscious in their sleep wasting away potential experience. I guess you don’t know what you miss if you don’t value it.
For me, I enjoy the quality of the experience and the entertainment value. I’ll share some links to some of my more genre specific lucid dreams as I love to recreate fantasy worlds in this vividly real dream format.
Movie Inspired Genre Specific Lucid Dreams:
Star Wars inspired GSLD
I was Flash from Justice League
Marvel Infinity Gems / Thanos inspired.
Became a Werewolf
Video Game Inspired Lucid Dreams:
Fallout 3 Las Vegas
Borderlands 2 inspired GSLD
And that is just the tip of the iceberg. Plenty more where those came from and many more to come. Lucid Dreaming is a gift that keeps on giving once mastered.
Here is my Progressive Guide to Lucid Dreaming:
The best part, everything I have written and published on-line with regards to dreaming is all free, I’ve never monetized my website and think of what i contribute as being open-source. If it helps someone achieve lucidity, that is my reward and it has for many people so mission accomplished. If you haven’t yet hopefully I’ve inspired you and given you something to look forward to experiencing when you sleep.