- July 23, 2014 at 10:54 pm #581
I’m dealing with depression. The thing I care the most about is dreaming, at least as far as what is within reach for me. It is pretty much the only thing keeping me alive. Focusing on the potential of dreaming, the potential to experience anything, is really the only thing that manages to quiet the suicidal ideation down. Even if this is nothing but fantasy, it is still the only thing that matters to me right now. I’m not asking here for advice on depression, I’m just putting this into context. There is nothing else I have to do during the day, no job, no school, no real social commitments, and no money with which to venture far from my room. I’ve been trying in various ways to improve my dream skills but the results are… very, very dissapointing. I’ve never had a vivid, lucid dream, and the closest thing to one that I experienced never lasts more than a minute.
I would like help figuring out the best way to invest my time during the day (and night) in order to master the skill of dreaming lucidly in the shortest possible amount of time.
In the past, when I had a little money I bought supplements, such as a B-100 complex, fish oil and other stuff, including galantamine, which did have a very clear impact on the vividness of my dreams and my ability to gain some degree of lucidity. I can count on my fingers the number of times I’ve seen bright colors in a dream without the aid of a supplement (the first I recall was with 300mg of B6 right before bed). I’ve also taken DMAE, which had a very, very dramatic impact on dream recall and so I do wonder sometimes if there is something wrong with my brain, some biological deficiency which is keeping my dreams shadowey and unstable. But… being broke, there is nothing I can do about it so I just have to focus on training, somehow. If my brain is capable of rendering this vivid and stable virtual reality while awake, it should be able to do the same while asleep, shouldn’t it?
What is the best way for someone in my situation to train and develop these skills?July 24, 2014 at 12:55 am #582
What are you using right now for techniques? Do you have any structured routine for dreaming?
What is your pre-sleep dream preparation? What do you do once you wake up, and how do you wake up?July 24, 2014 at 2:19 am #584
This is difficult to answer because no, I’m not very structured. Everytime I tried a structure it just ended up falling apart or plain not working so I just settled on a more flexible “let’s try this today” approach. I try to always remember my dreams but often I’m woken up by people screaming my name, demanding my immediate attention and the dream slips away. I always have the intent to remember and be lucid in my dreams when I go to bed and sometimes I try to “incubate” one by “visualizing”. When I had a bottle of galantamine (which was very expensive as I had to import it and ended up paying three times its listed price) I was very motivated (because of the hype and how expensive it was for me) to follow the ideal WBTB procedure as I was sure it would work but I would find it extremelly annoying that the need to pee would throw the WILD attempt off multiple times (yes, this is a problem for me, sometimes more than others). The galantamine did produce some results but nothing major, my dreams at WBTB (when I managed to fall back asleep) were still very dark even when lucid (and would break when I tried to deepen or stabilize them) and I had to resort to using it with a nicotine patch to experience dreams that were bright. I’ve tried various alarm setups only to wake up the next day and see the alarm turned off. I’ve struggled with WILDs as I don’t managed to relax my body while keeping my mind awake, it seems that I’m hardwired to match one to the other; it is very rare for me to experience any sort of hypnagogic imagery.July 24, 2014 at 2:30 am #585
Everytime I have a dream that is more vivid and stable than usual, this lifts my mood up immensely and I remember the dream quite easily, I don’t even have to write anything down. In fact, I remember all vivid hypnagogic “flashes” I have ever experienced (by far more vivid than any dream imagery I have ever experienced) and never wrote any of them down (then again, maybe I just forgot all others). So I do wonder if the main problem with me isn’t low dream quality, maybe because I haven’t properly trained my imagination. But… I don’t know.July 24, 2014 at 4:19 am #586
I’ve been going through your “A Course on Consciousness” and it seems like a pretty good structure to use for training so I suppose you’ve answered my question a decade and a half ago. However, I would still like to know more about things you think might be effective to do during the day to aid this training.July 24, 2014 at 4:49 am #587
“If you are getting better at this skill, you will be amazed just how vivid
this initial stage of dreaming can be if you can change your thinking skills
from a linear verbal language to a third dimensional sensory interactive
This I think is the essence of my problem.July 24, 2014 at 7:53 am #589
It sounds like you are on the right track, structure for dreaming doesn’t hurt. A lot of what you are describing is not to uncommon, in the Course on Consciousness I don’t focus on the neurological changes that happen during sleep. It does offer however concepts like cognitive mapping where we walk around in our waking world with the intent to be aware of the vivid details as to carry this level of perception over to our dreamstate.
In my book, I start to tackle more neurology and discuss three very important cognitive aspects for dreaming which I call MAP for Memory, Awareness and Perception. Memory obviously is the most important as without it we are in a state of sleep-induced amnesia so waking up with no recall nullifies dream content for our waking self.
Awareness again links to lucidity, the more aware we are in the dream the more lucid we become while in the dream. This can range from unaware to fully aware.
Perception is how we experience and sense the dream content so to speak, a lot of what you are describing seems to indicate that your perception is lacking thus the dreams appear faint and without the vivid qualities you are after. The cognitive mapping in the course is to help address perception in dreams.
There are certainly other factors like Intent which I do not add to the MAP group, intent is what you do with the dream once you are in it based on your waking desires. It’s important for content specific dreaming but not important for general dreaming where MAP is critical in bringing forward a quality within our dream content.
With all of this, I will confess that I don’t fully understand the differences between people’s neurology in such a way that there are people who never dream to those who always dream. It’s my “belief” that for most of us dreaming is a skill we can become better at so like any practice skill over time should yield improvements.
Dreaming for me is a dedicated practice, if I slack off my dreams dim and become less. If i practice and stay on top of this then I yeild a lot more dreams so I’m in the group of people who have to work hard to dream as well as work even harder to lucid dream. It’s not entirely spontaneous and natural although I wish it were only because I am a bit lazy too.
However, unlike going to a gym it really takes about 5 minutes before bed to prepare for dreaming and another five minutes after waking up to sit and start to recall what I dreamed about. The real time drag is if I want to keep a detailed journal of the dream content as that can take an hour or so to transcribe based on the quantity of dream content.
Keep working at it, and I’ll glady provide advice. Just keep posting in this thread what approaches you are taking as part of your pre-sleep preparation for dreaming and when you wake up for your post-dreaming results. We can look at ways of improving that and see if it starts to produce profitable results with your night-time adventures.
It’s the least I can do.July 24, 2014 at 10:09 am #590
Thanks Ian.July 25, 2014 at 7:14 am #592
The only thing that worked for me when I first began really focusing on attempting to get lucid in Dreaming is discipline. Meaning, I would think and focus solely only Dreaming night and day, for many months, asking myself hundreds of times while awake, “Am I Dreaming?” This seemed to trigger something while asleep and while regular dreaming to ask, “Am I dreaming?” And, wala, it worked. Once I got to where I could get lucid a lot, then of course I could do whatever I wanted in waking or Dreaming.
Many of the people I communicate with in regards to Dreaming or spirituality or whatever seem to be quite an un-disciplined and un-structured group. Everyone whats results in some form or another, yet few want to do anything to achieve the results. It’s all theoretical. Inner peace without the time meditating, dreaming without any focus on any actual Dreaming practice other than a vague thought here or there that, “Oh, I’d like to lucid Dream more.” Enlightenment without examining ones beliefs, etc.
Please note I’m not accusing anyone of not doing anything…just what I see from 99.99% of those I communicate with.
Yet, who knows? Perhaps I’m completely wrong. But also, from what I see, 99.99% of these people don’t get any results either.
It seems all the answers are given in regards to anything, yet one needs to do the work themselves. You can’t just have the answer. That’s what I mean by being ‘theoretical.’ People want to discuss and debate everything, yet when it comes down to doing the work involved, few do it.
Have a great Friday!
KristopherJuly 25, 2014 at 4:15 pm #593
asking myself hundreds of times while awake, “Am I Dreaming?” This seemed to trigger something while asleep and while regular dreaming to ask, “Am I dreaming?”
This is odd to me because my regular dreams don’t really have enough “outer structure” for me to ask such questions. That is, I’m not usually present in a place, doing something. What happens is a sort of flow of vague images and ideas. When I used supplements, my dreams did gain more structure and it was much easier to gain lucidity through self-reflection so it seems to me that the success people describe with reality checks has a lot to do with where their dreams are already. I’ve talked with a few relatives about dreaming and they express the idea that “everyone dreams in life-like realism!”, that it’s entirely normal, but to me it’s not even close to being normal. What I have noticed is that my most lucid/vivid dreams start with me in my bed, somehow realizing/guessing that I’ve slipped into a dream by noticing a mental shift, so that is where I have focused my efforts. I’ve triggered this a couple of times by using earphones with music/lectures, which triggered lucidity when I tried taking them off in a dream where I was trying to sleep. And I’ve triggered it a couple of other times without aids. The dream or lucidity broke in less than a minute but these were great successes for me; trying to get up, or walk out the door is often what breaks the dream, as if my mind isn’t sure how to simulate the changes in my visual field, or my sense of physicality, so it says “Fuck, let’s just wake up!”. It seems that is what I do in my dreams… sleep! Oh, the irony!
July 25, 2014 at 4:41 pm #595
- This reply was modified 3 years, 3 months ago by andrergsanchez.
I spent some time doing mnemonic/visualization exercises before going to bed. When I went to bed I decided to try and play a music video in my head, audio and video, with as much clarity as possible for as long as possible. I’ve been toying with the idea presented in the Course in Consciousness of creating a mental “video game” to play but I decided to just do the music video this time. I didn’t reach a conscious hypnagogic stage and the next thing I remember was someone yelling my name, asking me to help with something. I don’t remember any dreams.July 25, 2014 at 7:09 pm #596
I’ve been toying with the idea presented in the Course in Consciousness of creating a mental “video game” to play
This is a very interesting idea to me because of two things:
1. While I don’t play many games these days, when I used to play they were very effective at keeping me focused and making me ignore my physical body. They also did an annoyingly (at the time) good job of sticking to my mind and even triggering some hypnagogic hallucinations (they even have a name for this, The Tetris Effect).
2. I have experimented with sleep deprivation. The only effective way I found to wake myself up, or stay awake, is gaming.
I’m not entirely sure how to go about this but I’ll let you guys know what I figure out.July 26, 2014 at 3:27 am #597
I spent some time doing mnemonic/visualization exercises before going to bed. When I went to bed I decided to try and play a music video in my head, audio and video, with as much clarity as possible for as long as possible. I’ve been toying with the idea presented in the Course in Consciousness of creating a mental “video game” to play but I decided to just do the music video this time. I didn’t reach a conscious hypnagogic stage and the next thing I remember was someone yelling my name, asking me to help with something. I don’t remember any dreams.
Hearing the voice shout out is a good sign that you were getting close. Audible sounds flow from the inversion our senses as described in the course. Quite often the reaction is to push back and the voices or sounds dim but that is also learning to be comfortable with this shift. If you are able to do some naps, I find the WBTB method or even a nap a few hours later after sleep really works well with traversing the hypnagogic territories.
The good news is that’s progress having some audible feedback; don’t try to engage in any of the dream drama either ie talk back or engage just allow it all to flow naturally as you progress into sleep.
I’ll try to post some of my dreams, I’ve been logging them for a study but haven’t had the time with work to push them out to the blog.July 26, 2014 at 5:43 am #598
Hearing the voice shout out is a good sign that you were getting close. Audible sounds flow from the inversion our senses as described in the course.
I’m sorry I wasn’t clear, I mean an actual person, in the awake, external world. The disturbance is probably why I wasn’t able to recall any sort of dream, though sometimes (possibly because of when it happens in my sleep cycle) this doesn’t completely erase dream memory.
Quite often the reaction is to push back and the voices or sounds dim but that is also learning to be comfortable with this shift. If you are able to do some naps, I find the WBTB method or even a nap a few hours later after sleep really works well with traversing the hypnagogic territories.
I have a few times managed to hear audio from within. Once when I was a teen I woke up with my cousin calling my name (from within). I have also once managed to hear hypnagogic music as if it was some sort of inner radio, the clarity of the (seemingly original) music really amazed me and helped solidify my faith that all of this dream exploration was possible. When I am somewhat sleep deprived I find that I can sort of shift the focus of my hearing from external to internal by a mental shift of attention (vision is not quite as easy). When I was younger I remember laying in bed at night and shifting to a sort of “crowd chatter”. Back then these things creeped me out so I didn’t explore and I seem to have forgotten the skill, it’s trickier now. I haven’t been able to do that while naping or with WBTB, unless you count the engine-like vibrations/buzzing I got to a couple of times as audio feedback.July 26, 2014 at 5:57 am #599
unless you count the engine-like vibrations/buzzing I got to a couple of times as audio feedback.
What I find really interesting about these vibrations is that the impression I get is of an engine being turned on, as if some electronic device within my skull had suddenly been activated. My experience is that it will “power down” at the slightest sign that I might be awake and I’m not at all paralyzed when I hear it, even when it’s to the point of very intense shaking. I thought the body had to first enter sleep paralysis? Well regardless I’m hoping I’ll be able to figure out how to more reliably induce this sort of thing.
- This reply was modified 3 years, 3 months ago by andrergsanchez.
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