Somewhere I mentioned my intention to learn lucid dreaming as a way to find peace in my aggravating, troubling dreams, to go into my mental office, as it were, to straighten up. A lucid dream, if you don’t know, is a dream in which you are actually conscious that you’re in a dream and are able to control your actions and do whatever you like.
I promise I will not bore you with drawn-out descriptions of my dreams, only details as needed to illustrate.
First, I know I can change outcomes with my mind. I went to use the bathroom in the middle of the night and a breeze must have closed the door because I walked right into it. When I fell back asleep, I dreamed I was laying exactly in my bed the way I was, except there was a towering wall in front of me made of quivering panes of glass. I thought, if that falls on me, it will kill me. This has to be a dream, and I was able to will it away and the dream moved on.
I also know I can influence my dreams through my thoughts during the day. There was a person I did not want to dream about and hoped I didn’t, and of course they showed up. They used the bathroom, and I asked them coldly to comb their hair and leave. So although they were an unpleasant guest, I know it’s possible to exert influence, if practiced correctly. I wonder if it is the case that you have to positively manifest something, as opposed to willing its absence.
Next, I have made progress in remembering more details of my dreams. I usually recall some details or storylines every night. I never have a night where I remember nothing. My technique is quite simple and is the most widely recommended one–writing them down as soon as I wake up and still have a hold on them. Don’t tell yourself you’ll write it down later and then turn over and go back to sleep. If you wait, it will slip right out of your memory like you were trying to grab a fistful of water. The snooze button is fatal.
I place my journal right next to my bed right before I go to sleep. Its cover says “Follow Your Dreams” and has a picture of a happy sloth. While not fond of cutesy journal covers, I bought it to use because I liked its juxtaposition with my total lack of a future. But it serves my current project just as well, and it’s perhaps safer for my mental health.
By writing down everything I remember, I am able to remember even more. After only a few nights, I’ve already discovered a couple of places I have dreamed of before. I try to snap a mental photo of these images and write down every detail that sticks out in the hopes of identifying recurrent places, objects, people, and motifs. Perhaps I could even sketch the ones that seem salient. But that might be too much work.
I don’t view dreams as some sort of magical revelations. I look at them quite practically–they are filled with all that we hear and see and think and experience. They look like someone turned a filing cabinet inside-out in a fit of rage, its contents of photographs, films, and diaries scattered everywhere in the foreboding dreamscape otherwise known as my brain asleep.
Everything I’m doing is only the preliminary work to the actual attempt at lucid dreaming, which will involve many other tricks.
Between the dreams and back pain, sleeping is torture for me and I hope I can find at least a modicum of peace or relaxation, along with some interesting psychological material.
The only downside is knowing that I am going to encounter people and things I would much prefer not to, but I rationalize this by reminding myself that no one is going to see it and I can always lie to myself about what it means.
Do you remember your dreams or do you only close your eyes and open them again? Have you ever tried dream journaling and learned something about yourself? Is there something reoccurring that bothers you?