Sure enough, last night I had a lucid dream, the first since April 25! In the dream, I was in an apartment where I lived in the 90s, and noticed there were two kitchen sinks, and in fact, two kitchens. I said to Hammett, “Could I be dreaming?” though I was almost embarrassed to ask such a silly question. It seemed extremely implausible that I wasn’t awake, two kitchens or no—everything was so vivid and real.
But Hammett agreed that I was dreaming (no, it didn’t seem odd to be discussing this with a cat) and I spontaneously started jumping up and down, in semi-slow motion, looking at my fingers, and then I crumpled to the floor. Everything turned dark, and I started to fall. I realized that since I was already on the ground, I must be heading into the pitch black underworld.
I didn’t feel at all scared. I knew I was dreaming and that nothing could hurt me, and I knew that I had some sort of help, an otherworldly guide or my departed Grandma Lee or someone. I was kind of interested to see what would happen next, but the dream ended there.
This is precisely one of my reasons for doing this practice—facing scary things and knowing that they can’t hurt you (that there is no “you” to hurt) can only be beneficial in waking life, too. I have found myself treating waking life more as if it’s a dream, as if things are fluid (which they are), as if there are plenty of choices (which there are), as if entities that appear to be hostile can be friendly if approached in a welcoming manner.
Last night I had returned to using sounds as an object of concentration, as I had tried a few evenings ago, and this confirms that sounds it is! This practice is not unpleasant, doesn’t particularly keep me awake, and imparts enough alertness that it can carry into sleep.
I have a long list of things I’d like to do in lucid dreams and I still intend to do them all, but I’ve always known that my ultimate goal was simply to be conscious and explore the dream world. (I love that you can be awake while asleep!) I assumed I would do all of the things on my list and then move on to just enjoying being alert—which has already made simply knowing I'm awake during the day a source of conscious joy much more often than before—but I’ve decided to proceed per B. Alan Wallace.
Herewith an extensive quote from his article in Tricycle magazine, which might need even more ellipses than seen here; you can find it by Googling “tricycle lucid dream.” B. Alan Wallace:
“The daytime practice of dream yoga centers on maintaining the awareness that everything we experience around us is illusory. …
“The nighttime practice of dream yoga begins with recognizing that you are dreaming and then sustaining that awareness. To achieve such attentional stability and clarity, it's very helpful to train first in the practice of samadhi, or focused attention, both during the daytime and as you fall asleep. Once you've stabilized your awareness that you are dreaming, you progress to the second phase, in which you learn to control and transform the contents of your dreams. This is not just an ego trip, seeing how much you can dominate your dreams. Rather, it is a practical way to investigate the pliable nature of your dreams and to fathom more and more deeply how illusory they really are.
“For example, you may set yourself the task of walking through walls. After all, the walls are made of the stuff of dreams, so why shouldn't your dream body be able to glide right through a dream wall without obstruction? But when you try this, you may find to your surprise that you move halfway through the wall and then get stuck! This shows that there's a whole range of degrees of lucidity. You may know that you're dreaming, but that knowledge hasn't yet sunk in enough for you to transform anything in the dream as you wish.
“ … Whenever you feel threatened in a dream—perhaps from ferocious animals, roaring fire, or raging waters—deepen your awareness of the nature of the dream by asking yourself, ‘How can such illusory apparitions possibly hurt my illusory self?’ Then allow yourself to be attacked by the marauder, incinerated by the fire, or drowned in the water. All this is like one rainbow assaulting another rainbow, and insofar as you recognize the illusory nature of everything in the dream, there is no way you can be harmed.
“A lucid dream provides you with the perfect laboratory for exploring the nature of the mind … .”
I tend to fight back vigorously when attacked in a dream, or when I think I’m going to be attacked, and I always prevail. It will be interesting to experiment with letting myself be vanquished.
I went to the Zen Center again this week for the Wednesday night talk, and in other news, I have received a nice offer by email: “Amazing increase in thickness of your penis, up to 30$”
I’m thinking it over, but I’m not sure if 30$ is going to be a big enough increase.