Sunday, April 25, 2010

The Lucid Dreaming Project Is Dead. Long Live the Lucid Dreaming Project.

I’ve been obsessed with lucid dreaming for nine months and have immersed myself very thoroughly in the subject, reading several books and making near daily visits to a particular LD website, where I have received many excellent ideas.

And then, a few days ago, I was like, you know what? Screw it. This project is over.

This came shortly after recording approximately this dream for what seemed like the 500th time:

It’s night. I’m riding my bike. An unseen person says something about niacin.

I was lately telling my friend Angela that I’d had a dream about her. We were close when we were eight and have recently reconnected on you know what. Now we take turns calling each other on the phone every two or three weeks, and send the occasional email in between.

She wondered how I knew it was a dream about her, since it’s been 40 years since we saw each other in waking life, and I can’t have a good idea what she looks like now, despite recent photos.

I said it wasn’t a case of seeing an approximation of her. As in most of my dreams, I didn’t see her at all, I just knew it was her. That was confounding to waking-life Angela, but in probably 80 percent of my dreams, other characters are completely invisible, though it’s perfectly clear to me whether the person is unknown, a certain friend, or my mother.

In another 10 percent, other characters are sort of seen; in eight percent, they are pretty much but not really seen, and in two percent, they are crystal clear, or at least part of them is.

Also, darn near every dream I have takes place either at night, underground, inside, or on a dimly lit day. I virtually never have a really well lit dream.

I reflected that I had missed X amount of sleep getting up to record these kind of boring dreams, plus X amount of sleep lying abed in the morning in hopes of a lucid dream, plus X amount of sleep practicing various techniques and making dream notes during the night, not to mention X amount of waking time reading and obsessing about lucid dreaming.

The result? Hundreds and hundreds of pages of printouts of dimly lit dreams full of hardly seen people, and about 15 total minutes of lucidity.

Which is great! But screw it.

I decided not to record my dreams anymore, and when I went to bed the past couple of nights, I had a couple of new affirmations: “I probably won’t remember my dreams, and I probably won’t have a lucid dream.”

But it has been months since I went a day without remembering at least something of my dreams, so I do still wake up during the night and know what I was dreaming, and I do of course remember dreams in the morning.

For what it’s worth, when I wake several times during the night and thus remember many dreams, there is a very high likelihood of a lucid dream on that night. It’s just that there aren’t very many nights like that.

This project has turned my ideas about sleep upside down: Getting in bed, falling asleep right away and remaining so until the alarm goes off? Bad. Getting in bed, falling asleep after completing pre-sleep protocol, and waking up nine times during the night? Good!

The latter doesn’t happen that often, but if one could get the hang of waking after every dream, one could probably have great success with lucid dreaming.

Anyway, last night I stayed up late reading The New Yorker and watching a terrible movie on DVD—I can stay up late now that I don’t need an hour in the morning for writing down dreams—and this morning, while thinking over some dreams I’d had, I realized I’d had a relatively long lucid dream. Yeah!

Which I am certainly going to write down, plus I retrieved my pencils and little dream note notepads from the place I’d stowed them and put them back under my pillows. Just in case.

In this dream, I told two friendly young women, “I’m dreaming! This is my 18th lucid dream. Do you know I’m dreaming right now?” They said in a very pleasant manner, “Sure, we know that. We’re dreaming, too.” [It was actually my 19th.]

New plan: I will practice no technique whatsoever and I will not make dream notes or record dreams unless the dream was lucid and/or particularly interesting or delightful. And if I have a lucid dream, I will be very happy about it, as I am right now.
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