Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Lucid Dreamer Mildly Perturbed by Missing Finger

The lucid dreaming project is now six months old, and I’m averaging two lucid dreams a month, which is an absolutely satisfactory state of affairs. My goal is to be able to have them pretty much at will, and to be able to prolong lucidity for some minutes.

I had stopped having an alarm go off in the middle of the night on the theory that I want to be able to have lucid dreams without external aids, but then I decided that it’s probably good to have the artificial awakenings while I’m still learning (for the next ten years, probably), so I have alarms that go off every night at 1:30 a.m. and 3 a.m. Yes, I am a zealot.

The idea is that after such an awakening, you may go right back into REM sleep, the kind of sleep most dreaming takes place in, and since there’s a relatively short time between being awake and being in REM sleep, you might have a better chance of recalling your intentions.

Several months ago, this wouldn’t have worked because I would not have been able to get back to sleep, but now I usually can drop off again after being up in the middle of the night.

I lately had one of my best lucid dreams in quite a while, when it dawned on me apropos of nothing that I was dreaming, and then I did a reality check to confirm that. I counted my fingers and there were six: I’m dreaming!

I remembered to jump up and down, and to practice hovering in the air, and then I did another reality check, just for the heck of it. This time I counted five fingers and thought, “That can’t be right.” I counted again and was back to six fingers. Then everything crumbled and turned black in front of my face, but I didn’t wake up, as I realized later.

The ending of every lucid dream prior to this one has coincided with waking up. Because I didn’t wake up after this one, I almost didn’t realize I’d had it. I remembered two or three dreams in the morning and was writing them down when the lucid dream popped back into my mind, thank goodness.

My left knee is slowly coming along, since the big knock it received on December 21, but still hurts and is still red and sore looking. Jack advised putting arnica on it—arnica is good for bruising, stiffness and muscle pain—so I’ve been experimenting with Nelson’s arnica cream, and topical Traumeel, which is arnica plus several other things. (I also tried some internal Traumeel, but it gave me a headache.)

Both of these are homeopathic remedies, though they don’t truly meet the standards for homeopathic medicine, in that they actually contain appreciable amounts of their active ingredients. Did you know that in homeopathy, the more diluted a substance is, the more powerful it’s considered to be, with the very “strongest” potion having virtually no measurable amount of the agent? I’m reserving comment on that.

I think these creams have been helpful, and have decided the arnica is the better of the two. It rubs in very nicely, while the Traumeel can tend to flake, eventually, and it feels slightly stickier. Neither has stained my clothing.

Last weekend, I went for the first time to the new (i.e., four years old) de Young Museum, with Carol Joy. Carol Joy had seen a King Tut exhibit long ago, so we skipped that—there was a huge line, anyway—
and saw much of the permanent collection, and the quilt exhibit, and we had lunch in the museum café.

Yesterday evening, my little meditation group met at the Zen Center. I was going to have dinner at Ananda Fuara, but it was closed, so I went on to Hayes Valley and was pleased to see red neon lights screaming “taqueria” right next to La Boulange de Hayes, but by the time I crossed the street, it was nowhere to be seen. I finally figured out that what I’d seen was Timbuk2, and wishful thinking and imprecise observation had done the rest.

I went and tried Café Altano at Hayes and Laguna, which was wonderful and reasonably priced. I had squash ravioli. It was delicious, and the atmosphere is pleasant.
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