Lucid Dreaming

Michael O Hartigan, modified 11 Years ago at 3/6/12 6:14 PM
Created 11 Years ago at 3/6/12 6:14 PM

Lucid Dreaming

Posts: 21 Join Date: 2/15/12 Recent Posts

Years ago, I experienced success in lucid dreaming practice, due to practice of western techniques ala Stephen LaBerge. Then I started smoking cannabis and the dreaming went away. I don't smoke now, and I would like to re-enter a dreaming practice.

Do any of you have any experience dreaming lucidly?

Do you recommend any books beyond "The Tibetan Yogas of Sleep and Dream" by Tenzin Wangyal for entering the practice from an eastern perspective, as opposed to the western scientific approach?

Thank you for your responses!

Jampa Rinchen
Dauphin Supple Chirp, modified 11 Years ago at 3/7/12 8:22 AM
Created 11 Years ago at 3/7/12 8:22 AM

RE: Lucid Dreaming

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Even though I never tried to produce lucid dreams, I started experiencing them as a side effect of the 4th ñāṇa (udayabbaya ñāṇa; A&P) after a couple of months of Mahasi noting practice.
Frank El, modified 11 Years ago at 3/20/12 9:05 AM
Created 11 Years ago at 3/20/12 9:05 AM

RE: Lucid Dreaming

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I got the two mentioned books and had lucid and half-lucid dreams with the MILD technique as described in the book by Stephen La Berge. I still have them sometimes, even if I stopped doing it years ago.

In my opinion the MILD and WILD method are better than the tibetan practices, because they are much simpler and doesnt need complex visualisations and mantras (maybe unless you are a tibetan monk and know their lingo and way of practicing).
But the book is still a very interesting read and contains a lot of helpful advices.

If you ask me, just stick with the method that was working for you and keep a dream journal.

Michael O Hartigan, modified 11 Years ago at 3/22/12 7:29 AM
Created 11 Years ago at 3/22/12 7:29 AM

RE: Lucid Dreaming

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thanks frank

i ordered a copy of namkhai norbu's "dream yoga and the practice of natural light", and tenzin wangyal's "tibetan yoga of sleep and dreams" and i'm gonna give it a try.

i already know the western stuff works, so i can go back to that if i don't have success with the tibetan methods
Gerry T, modified 11 Years ago at 3/22/12 8:24 PM
Created 11 Years ago at 3/22/12 8:24 PM

RE: Lucid Dreaming

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Lucid dreaming can be a prelude to astral projection.
Both are a form of the mind body.
You are projecting mind.
Just give yourself the intent to remember your dreams.
When you wake up in the morning try to do so without a loud alarm clock.
When you wake up try not to move your body right away, instead try to remember what you dreamed.
Perhaps during the day ask yourself if you are dreaming or not. This helps you to question yourself when you are in a dream.
Daniel M Ingram, modified 11 Years ago at 3/22/12 10:01 PM
Created 11 Years ago at 3/22/12 10:01 PM

RE: Lucid Dreaming

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Speaking of Astral Travel...

I like this one:

Accidental Expert's Guide to How to Leave Your Body
Jigme Sengye, modified 11 Years ago at 3/23/12 1:16 PM
Created 11 Years ago at 3/23/12 1:13 PM

RE: Lucid Dreaming

Posts: 188 Join Date: 8/22/09 Recent Posts
Daniel M. Ingram:
Speaking of Astral Travel...

I like this one:

Accidental Expert's Guide to How to Leave Your Body

I get the following error when trying to access that link:

You do not have permission to access the requested resource.

Edit: Incidentally, I was logged in when trying to access it. I don't know if that makes a difference.
Jigme Sengye, modified 11 Years ago at 3/23/12 1:29 PM
Created 11 Years ago at 3/23/12 1:29 PM

RE: Lucid Dreaming

Posts: 188 Join Date: 8/22/09 Recent Posts
During the very brief period when I was trying to induce lucid dreams, I found that having a strong resolve to remember my dreams in the morning and consistently writing a dream journal immediately upon waking up improved my dream recall to the point where I was able to recognize the dreamlike pattern of events and wake up in a dream.

My main interest in doing this was to get more noting time and I'd like to get back to it to up the number of hours per day I do vipassana. I'm curious to know what people have experienced when trying to do noting or any other kind of meditation during lucid dreams, astral projection or OBEs (assuming there is any difference between the last two). Any tips?
patrick o connor, modified 10 Years ago at 10/14/12 4:45 PM
Created 10 Years ago at 10/14/12 4:45 PM

RE: Lucid Dreaming

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I used to be quite into this and intend engaging more with it again when time n kids allow
This downloadable book is v good and comprehensive

Also this is very interesting and offers a great potential. I was suprised at the immediate results in terms of WILDs
Advanced Lucid Dreaming: The Power of Supplements [Paperback]
Thomas Yuschak (Author)

Good luck

tom moylan, modified 10 Years ago at 10/15/12 8:26 AM
Created 10 Years ago at 10/15/12 8:25 AM

RE: Lucid Dreaming

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...don't forget your Choline Bitartrate
The Xzanth, modified 10 Years ago at 1/9/13 2:12 PM
Created 10 Years ago at 1/9/13 2:12 PM

RE: Lucid Dreaming

Posts: 71 Join Date: 12/28/12 Recent Posts
I did a lot of work with dreams, lucid dreaming and astral projection. I too put a stop to it all with pot smoking. (if I can't remember where I put my keys chances are I won't remember my dreams) I have started the practice again however. (even though my meditation instructors have told me that those states are meaningless; I don't believe them, hehe)

Here are my tips for inducing those experiences.

1. Keep a dream journal. As soon as you wake immediately write everything that you remember from your last dream. Eventually you will be remembering multiple dreams / night so it might be best to go with the last dream unless another dream left an important impression. By the end I was writing about 500 words every morning and my dreams were like epics full of (original) music and poetry multiple story lines, etc. (a hollywood blockbuster every week)

2. (this one worked for friends of mine) Before falling asleep strongly visualize yourself doing some simple body oriented task (ie. looking at your hands or stomping your feet). The goal of the visualization is that it might leak into your dream state and prompt an 'awakening' into lucid dreaming. "I'm looking at my hands... omg! I'm dreaming, awesome!"

3. Remain calm, there is nothing to be excited or fearful about. Lucid dreaming is exhilarating and other alternate (as opposed to altered) states can be down right terrifying (such as sleep paralysis). There is nothing that ends the experience faster than strong sudden emotions. Learn to relax and soon you too will be floating out of your body to explore the astral.

4. 3rd Eye meditations (stimulation of the pineal gland) seemed to be helpful in inducing alternate states of consciousness.
Andrew K, modified 10 Years ago at 1/9/13 5:59 PM
Created 10 Years ago at 1/9/13 5:59 PM

RE: Lucid Dreaming

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The Xzanth:

3. Remain calm, there is nothing to be excited or fearful about. Lucid dreaming is exhilarating and other alternate (as opposed to altered) states can be down right terrifying (such as sleep paralysis). There is nothing that ends the experience faster than strong sudden emotions. Learn to relax and soon you too will be floating out of your body to explore the astral.

I've had some "soft" lucid dream experiences, which were somewhat disappointing because they weren't quite as "real" as waking life was. They felt more like very vivid day-dreams.

I've had 2 or 3, very brief and momentary experiences which felt as if I had awoken (me as in, my personality, ego, daily self) in an alternate dimension, and I was just as awake as in ordinary life, and each time it has been terrifying. Probably the same feeling I would get if I would wake up tomorrow in a dungeon somewhere - complete disorientation and terror and confusion at not being in my bed where I should be (hahah..). My immediate feeling after waking was something like "holy s***, alternate realities exist / i was just actually really dropped /awoken into a parallel universe!!" etc.

this was accompanied by sleep paralysis once (in my sleep-terror i began screaming my lungs out, and i could feel my body screaming, but as i began to wake up i thankfully (?) found that my body and throat were paralysed so no sound was being made (caused no commotion in the house).

i've had a more ordinary type of sleep paralysis also, which had the same feeling of being awake in an alternate universe accompanied by terror, except the universe looked just like the one I went to sleep in that night.

the awakening moments that were accompanied by terror but not by sleep paralysis - do you think if I were able to remain calm and relaxed, I could continue to wake and interact with the dream world? is that how it works? because doing so with such a real-life intensity of awakeness, in an alternate universe, must be absolutely amazing, probably in equal measure to the terror i feel upon first contact.

the worlds i awoke to appeared as solidifed as daily life - although i was only there for 1-3 seconds at most. when you say "float into the astral", does that mean that that's what the dream state is actually like - really fluid and nonphysical - (this actually makes most sense to me) or is that related to astral projection practices (which are different?)
Dannon F, modified 10 Years ago at 1/9/13 9:48 PM
Created 10 Years ago at 1/9/13 9:44 PM

RE: Lucid Dreaming

Posts: 40 Join Date: 1/6/13 Recent Posts
I have dived deep into the world of lucid dreaming. And it is great! My dark night and dissolution of my marriage and other things distracted me and I am waiting for my life to settle down to get back into it. But I have a lot of knowledge to share and it is a passionate subject for me. I suspect that lucid dreaming can be a whole yana.

Basically vajrayana lucid dreaming is to become lucid and practice manipulating experiences, creating awareness of subtle energies, yantra yoga of the dream body. Sex with dakinis, Tummo, etc. having fun flying, breathing underwater, going to the moon, basically freeing your mind as in "The Matrix" and expanding the limits of your imagination. Cultivating psychic dreams can fall into this category.

Dzogchen lucid dreaming is less of that and more of meditating in the dream doing a vipassana type meditation, and the dream dissolves and what you have left is the clear light mind. One can investigate how dreams form and end, where they come from, etc.

I am certain that doing either/or/both/all of the above can be one of the fastest ways to enlightenment. From the very beginning your equanimity is trained to enter these subtle states, like has been said to keep the mind from sudden extremes of emotion. Also, it is enjoyable and blissful, non-dual, empty, all of that.

In Tibetan Buddhism, enlightenment through dreaming relates to the Sambhogakaya, while Dzogchen focuses a little more on the inseparability of the three kayas.

I would love to be a part of a group of like-minded dreamers, dharma dreamers! I was involved in a group of more western magical dreamers who would do things like explore the kabala tree of life and harry potter type spells and it was great. I have been a part of an online community of dreamers but they were mostly skeptical materialist atheist scientismers. I think dharma dreamers can go to infinity and beyond in our dreaming practices. We should think about it. PM me if you are interested.

Edit: I was just laughing as I was remembering my friend's accounts of his fun adventures in "Joyful Hells".
The Xzanth, modified 10 Years ago at 1/10/13 8:33 AM
Created 10 Years ago at 1/10/13 8:33 AM

RE: Lucid Dreaming

Posts: 71 Join Date: 12/28/12 Recent Posts
In retrospect I guess not all lucid dreams are that exciting. I've had more than one where I just couldn't figure what to do so I just sat there bored, waiting to wake-up! Funny in retrospect but rather disappointing for my lack of imagination.

The way I understand it the various states of consciousness reflect various brain wavelengths. By 'relaxing' we are allowing ourselves to go a little deeper.

Sleep paralysis is as far as I know always terrifying, with thoughts ranging from 'I can't move' all the way to 'I can't breathe because there is a demon sitting on my chest.' But I have broken into the astral a few times by trying to relax, reminding myself of what I was really going through (as opposed to how it felt). The paralysis disappeared and I was able to leave the body.

Most of my astral experiences however did not involve sleep paralysis (thank-you very much!). I generally would 'wake-up' either feeling my body as energy like full-body pins and needles, or would wake with part of my body detached and free floating the rest still anchored down. There usually had to be an act of will to leave the body; thoughts of shooting out of my head, feet or 'rolling' to my side. (that part always was difficult and not always successful) Those were the experiences that occurred during sleep. Other waking experiences happened spontaneously without my fore-knowledge or effort.

I have also noticed that the experiences tend to happen in clusters. If I lucid dream or project one night I am more likely to also the next. This can help one prepare mentally.

I think that there are different layers of the astral with some being almost parallel to normal consciousness. I've experienced 'false awakenings' where one wakes up believing they are awake only to wake up again (often numerous times). This is anecdotal but I noticed that with each false awakening the reality I was waking up to was more like my base-line reality.

I believe with a disinterested attitude (ho hum I'm in the astral, people do this all the time they just don't remember) you can spend more time there and with greater freedom of action. Just learning to use one's astral senses was a challenge for me (opening my astral eyes) Let's face it though, it is fun and exciting to explore different realms of consciousness; like a psychonaut.

I have never been able to affect normal reality through actions in the astral save one time. Sleeping next to my girlfriend, I awaken to lucid dream. Am flying through the jungles of India (giant trees). I think, I need to bring back proof of this, so I rip a twig off a tree. I have a false awakening and am next to my girlfriend. I am still holding the twig (which has now lost all of it's leaves). I wake my girlfriend up to show her the twig. I wake up for real now. My girlfriend then tells me that she dreamed that I showed her a twig. Was this success? (as in irrefutable proof of the 'reality' of these states of consciousness) Unfortunately not, without the laboratory setting it is impossible to know if I was talking in my sleep or not, I could have planted the suggestion of the twig in her sleep. Pretty good personal proof however.

Regarding your experiences. Was there gravity? Were all of you senses engaged?

Some people experience night terrors where they do manage to make sounds waking everyone up and generally scaring the entire household. Interestingly however i do not believe people tend to remember those experiences.
Jigme Sengye, modified 10 Years ago at 1/10/13 2:50 PM
Created 10 Years ago at 1/10/13 2:50 PM

RE: Lucid Dreaming

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Dannon, that's very interesting. Let's say that I'm taking a very long-term vacation from Vajrayana to shore up my foundations in order to go back to it better suited to that style of practice. I only ever got very basic dream yoga instructions and not from my main teachers. I'm curious as to who taught you the kinds of dream yoga you're describing. I'd be very interested to find out more.
Dannon F, modified 10 Years ago at 1/11/13 5:45 PM
Created 10 Years ago at 1/11/13 5:36 PM

RE: Lucid Dreaming

Posts: 40 Join Date: 1/6/13 Recent Posts
Xzanth: Interesting twig experience! I like stuff like that.

Unfortunately sleep paralysis gets a bad rap. It is only terrifying if you have never heard of it and you experience it unexpectedly. The fear of not being able to move colors the whole experience. The fear manifests as demons or witches or whatever we associate with malevolence and evil. Or if you have heard horror stories about it and it becomes "scripted". However, if you know that it happens every night to everybody but they are just unconscious and that fear is unnecessary, it is actually very pleasant. Now I don't even know if I am paralyzed because I don't try to move. I enjoy laying there all still. I have an affirmation that I say: "Even if I wanted to move, I am unable to." Also sleep paralysis is the best opportunity to have an OOBE. One should look forward to sleep paralysis.

Jigme: I have been lucid dreaming regularly since I was 12 but at times my practice slackened off. I am 39 now. It was my primary means of knowing the mind. I learned how to do all the fun things first. Then I read the six yogas of Naropa and regarding the dream yoga I realized "Hey I already do that." Then reading Namkhai Norbu's book about Dzogchen dream yoga brought my practice to a new level. I had never thought about ending a dream to see the true nature of the empty luminous mind. But I kept practicing and exploring. I had a lucid dreaming teacher who was very into the Kabala and western magick practices which he wanted to teach me. I learned some things but I prefer the Tibetan and Celtic flavors. I had a series of dreams where the Dalai Lama and I were in an apartment in a skyscraper and we were preparing for a ritual for dreaming that he was to lead. He gave me the job of sitting at the empty doorway to a room where the ritual was to be held. My job was to not let anybody in or out (but there was nobody in the room, but apparently somehow people were to appear in the room and I was not to let them out). While we were preparing for the event, he was teaching me verbally about how dreaming corresponds to the bardos. I don't remember what he was saying, but it felt like the knowledge became part of my being. One time I woke up because he farted and the smell was horrible. He just giggled. What a funny little man.

One time I had a dream I was hanging out at some tropical beach with George W Bush! He was wearing a suit and a tie and was seeming very stiff and awkward. He wanted to be accepted and validated. Many of my other friends were there as well. George W wanted to fit in. I said "Hey man, take off the suit and tie and get some sun." I passed him a joint. He loosened his tie, took a hit off the joint and said "Wow, so you guys just kind of take it easy and enjoy life? Wow, I never thought of that, you guys got it figured out!" hehe. I saw George Bush in a different light after that dream.

I would like to investigate the six realms in dreams and the bardos. I had a scary bardo experience when I wasn't lucid. All of space was filled with demonic gods. They weren't evil, just scary and they wanted to eat me. I was trying to get away but there was nowhere to go. They were growing and expanding and soon there was no room for me to be and they were pressing in on me from all directions. It was like if you find yourself between two elephants who are side by side and they don't know you are there and they come to lean against each other and you get squashed. I was being squashed and I was terrified. THEN I became lucid because I taught myself to question if I was dreaming whenever I became scared. Knowing that it was a dream, I gave myself up to be eaten by these gods. They broke my back and my neck, crushed my skull, smeared my brains and ate me up. But I was still there with no body, no self, nothing, just awareness. The dream dissolved into awareness. Pure smooth blissful awareness!

If you find yourself lucid and you don't know what to do now that you are lucid dreaming, that is your own fault! hehe. Always have a list of tasks you want to accomplish. Repeat the list mentally a few times before you go to sleep. For example: "Tonight I will realize lucidity in my dreams and go into the King's chamber of the great pyramid" "I also want to go see what is under the left paw of the Sphinx!" "I also want to explore the Great Barrier reef off the coast of Australia." "I want to dissolve the dream into pure awareness" etc. You can breath underwater in your dreams, you can be a merman. Have a list of things to do. Then when you realize lucidity you will ask yourself "Now what did I want to do? Oh yeah, I will go...." If I can't remember what to do I usually fly around and often end up in a sexual experience with some woman. even if I do remember my task it is easy to get distracted by things.

How to avoid distraction? Instead of walking to your destination or riding in a vehicle, fly like superman. When you are down on the ground in the streets or where ever, there are things happening around you which will suck you into their story. This is how rebirth happens. Rebirth=getting sucked into a story and losing lucidity. If you are flying high above the landscape, you will most likely be marveling at the amazing suchness of the dream.

If your dream is too boring or mundane, fly up. Straight up. See what happens. Keep going. Or fly down, through the ground, into the center of the Earth. Hehehe Look in a mirror! Better yet, walk through a mirror or visualize someone you want to summon in the mirror and have them step through it into your dream. I love suggesting tasks that can have great surprises.

If you are in a building, maybe a large dark dusty mansion full of cobwebs, rooms, staircases, etc... renovate it. Take out the walls. Clean it up. Get some light in there. Generally such buildings represent your psyche. You don't want your psyche to be all dusty and dark and neglected. Fill it with light, make it spacious. explore the basement, explore the attic. I had eagles living in my attic. Evict squatters. hehe. No actually I would not evict the squatters, I would make them work for me. They are aspects of my body/mind and evicting them might have undesirable consequences.

I use mirrors as portals in my dreams. But you can use doors, caves, trees, ponds or lakes, stone circles, etc.. I have a feeling that using portals is how you enter into someone else's dreams or have them enter yours. I once could not think of who to summon so I just said "The person who will appear in the mirror will be who I secretly want to meet." It was Albert Einstein! He wouldn't believe that this was a dream. He believed it intellectually, but he thought he was real and was trying to work it out mathematically how the physics of the world worked. He was frustrated because his equations weren't making sense and all the numbers kept changing into other numbers and symbols and moving around. It was totally obvious to me. "Einstein! This is not a theory! This is actually a dream, literally! Look and see and realize!" That brings up an interesting point: "How can I realize that I am dreaming but still think that Einstein is more than a dream character?" This is a symptom of incomplete lucidity. Maybe stream entry lucidity or A&P lucidity (analogy of the stages of insight applied to the stages of lucidity).

Dream characters say the darndest things. Just for fun, walk up to a random ghostly dream character that is just filler for your dream, walk up to him or her and ask him or her a question. Watch as they become more convincingly real. And they will answer you totally unexpectedly as if they have a mind of their own, but usually their answer is totally off the wall and funny. I woke myself up laughing at times.

Imagination is the limit, however, this being a dharma site, I have to encourage you to get your thrills out of your system then use dreams for meditation and insight. Woohoo! I am inspired.

Sorry for the essay but I am very passionate about dreaming. Hehehe
The Xzanth, modified 10 Years ago at 1/11/13 7:01 PM
Created 10 Years ago at 1/11/13 7:01 PM

RE: Lucid Dreaming

Posts: 71 Join Date: 12/28/12 Recent Posts
Thanks Dannon,

Dreaming to me is better than psychedelic drugs, free, always healthy and exhilarating, makes me look forward to going to bed at night. I even love nightmares. I suspect that as a culture we pay WAY too little attention to our dreams. The very fact that we dream at all is remarkable. If I ever have children I hope to pass on this personal passion of mine to them. My very first lucid dream (as a child) was quite a watershed moment in my life, perhaps I could say that it was my first spiritual experience; it changed me by showing me that there was an inner world (hell, an entire inner universe!)

Reading your post helps me realize why I got into those 'bored' lucid dreams. It was a side effect of the way I was trying to remain longer in the dream/astral state. (ho hum indeed) lol. Your writing also help me understand other avenues for exploration and introspection. Thank-you.

The day we invent a way of electronically recording our dreams is the day the movie industry passes away.

Flying and sex... that's the first thing the vast majority of us do in the astral. Sexuality there is very free and natural (I guess that's what it would be like if there were no consequences likes disease, pregnancy or attachments :-D)

I love that, going up to random dream characters and saying, "I'm dreaming dude! But I won't take away from your existence... you might be dreaming of me too!" I've had great conversations with those guys.

Man I can't wait to go to bed. lol.
Dannon F, modified 10 Years ago at 1/11/13 7:48 PM
Created 10 Years ago at 1/11/13 7:47 PM

RE: Lucid Dreaming

Posts: 40 Join Date: 1/6/13 Recent Posts
The sexuality in dreams is great, I agree. Have you seen that movie Waking Life? They portrayed it well when he was walking and a girl walked up to them and they both immediately and with choiceless awareness started kissing because they recognized the chemistry they had together.

Hahaha, I feel a little funny saying this, but I can make my penis any size I want to in my dreams. lol
Hermetically Sealed, modified 9 Years ago at 8/14/13 4:53 AM
Created 9 Years ago at 8/14/13 4:53 AM

RE: Lucid Dreaming

Posts: 113 Join Date: 6/27/13 Recent Posts

^ the stuff in here about visualizing the tibetan letter A before you go to sleep is certainly potent. I'm not saying that it produces a perfect lucid dream but it's certainly not a 'fake' technique.