Thursday, December 31, 2009

Tree Trees

Guess who had a lucid dream? My mother!

She was having a recurring dream, which caused her to become lucid—“I’ve seen this before”—and she also successfully practiced dream control! She said to herself, “If I’m dreaming, I ought to be able to do such-and-such,” and then immediately did it.

Lucid dreaming is no more a goal of hers than it is of my father’s, but, as she said, it’s in the air these days.

I also had a lucid dream quite recently, the morning of Christmas Day, in Steve and Julie’s luxurious Lucid Dreaming Guest Bed, 19 days after the previous one. Some house keys were behaving very strangely and I asked, “Why is all this weird stuff happening?” and answered myself, “Because I AM DREAMING!”

The period of knowing I was dreaming, before I woke up, was very brief. I’m starting to think I enjoyed some beginner’s luck when it came to prolonging lucidity and dream control, because recent periods of lucidity have been extremely short, though I am very confident about dream control itself. So far it has been as simple as saying, “I want such-and-such to happen.”

The two best-known methods of prolonging lucidity are to rub your dream hands together and to spin your dream body as if you’re trying to become dizzy. A time or two I have tried rubbing my hands together with absolutely no effect, and to date, I have not been able to remember to spin in any lucid dream. In the lucid dream that lasted the longest, one of the first things I did after confirming I was dreaming was to jump up and down for a while, another known prolonger of lucidity. Maybe that’s the best technique for me.

In this most recent lucid dream, I remembered to remain calm and observe my surroundings, which were patchy. What I could see—a person’s face, my own hands—was very clear, but there were holes in it. In straining to see, I opened my real eyes, and woke up. Rats. But great!

I also realized again that I was still not exactly following instructions. To recap, Stephen LaBerge’s classic MILD (Mnemonic Induction of Lucid Dreaming) technique calls for mentally replaying a dream you have just awoken from until you can easily remember it. Then you are to affirm something along the lines of “Next time I’m dreaming, I will recognize I’m dreaming,” and picture yourself back in the dream you just awoke from, but this time realizing you are dreaming.

I had decided it would be better to picture a previous actual lucid dream, to jog my unconscious’s memory of that event—no imagination required. I also thought it might boost its confidence to be able to remember an episode where it enjoyed success, but lately I have realized why it might be better to use the most recent dream, as LaBerge says: because it is entirely psychologically consonant with the rest of one’s life, circa now. Organic. All of a piece. Maybe it confuses one’s unconscious to be asked to focus on something that no longer has anything to do with anything.

I periodically review the list of things I want to do in lucid dreams, and quite a few of those things are turning up in non-lucid dreams. One item is to make friends with my grilling neighbors, and I have had very nice dreams about them, like one in which I told the man and his wife, “I sent you a Christmas card,” and they replied, “Oh, we sent you a Christmas card!” It makes me feel better even if the friendly things are happening only in dreams.

A recent Forum on KQED was about the antisocial aspects of wood smoke—it accounts for 40 percent of air pollution some days, and is hard on people with asthma and bronchitis. Also, trees don’t grow on trees, as it were. They had someone there from the something something barbecue association, so I hoped they might even get to the evils of charcoal grilling, but I had to wend my way toward my next engagement, alas.

I have a new hospice visitee, D., and will meet her for the first time on New Year’s Day. But I also got a call from B., who graduated from hospice and is now living elsewhere. I was delighted. I really like her so much. After B. left hospice, I called her daughter and said that if B. ever felt like calling me, she was more than welcome to do so, though I wouldn’t expect it. Then I hung up and hoped B.’s daughter didn’t think I was some sort of stalker, but when B. called yesterday, I could hear her daughter coaching her in the background, helping B. leave her message.
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