Daily Posts

Daily Correspondences, Affirmations, Thought of the Day, Cosmic Calendar, Lunar Almanac, Calendar of the Sun, Calendar of the Moon, etc.

‘THINK on THESE THINGS’ for July 23

‘THINK on THESE THINGS’
By Joyce Sequichie Hifler

How weak-willed we are at times when we’ve made a decision and know we must stand on it. It is so much easier to give in to the easy way of doing things.

We are almost a “house divided against itself,” and the strain of staying with a decision seems almost our enemy. But we never gain much stature by giving in to ourselves against our better judgment. And we never get anywhere by scattering our efforts.

Making a decision is difficult enough without losing one’s determination in following through. Laying down the responsibility is someone like warning children to behave themselves and then permitting them to continue to misbehave.

How long has it been since you’ve proven to yourself that you mean business in carrying out a plan?

A man of wisdom has written that we have firmness of character when we have the ability to say “no” to the wrong as well as to those things which are good but stand in the way of our progress.

Always remember that to want something that is good and right is the blessing. God gave us that ability to desire or we would never have thought of using it. But God also gave us the ability to cry, to feel pain, and the freedom to choose whether we go on or quit.

In our lives we face many decisions. Some are hard to make because we know we must turn our backs upon something that seems harmless at the moment simply because we know it would not be good in the long run.

But there are also decisions that are more challenge than decision. They are the good things that are placed before us, and our will to follow through is tested. When defeat seems sure, then is the time to begin to fight. When others are quitting, then is the time to throw more strength into the battle. Anything worth having is worth working for, and is of lasting value.

Very often these sieges must be made silently and without seeming effort. And yet we know we cannot get something for nothing. We have a service to perform. We can make it a drudge, or we can make it a delightful experience, according to our faith. Be persistent. Unless you do not particularly want your dreams to come true, you can’t afford to know the meaning of apathy. You must continually be on the scene with the muscles of your mind toned.

It isn’t difficult to have a dream. But it often ceases at that point. The willingness to follow through, the determination to look impossibilities in the eye and trudge on must be practiced before that dream can amount to anything.

All along life’s road there are those who would discourage you, every often in ignorance, not realizing the effect of their words upon you. It is then that you must muster the strength to believe that theirs is only an opinion while your plans are based on the principle that all good things come to those who hustle while they wait.

It is too bad that they cannot see your invisible companions, persistence, faith, and a worthwhile plan. Smile and walk on.

There is a Divine Being with whom we can place all our obstacles, all our doubts and fears – and then our work begins. We give lovingly of friendship, of any kind of help that we are capable of giving, of positive words and thoughts and understanding.

Give without thought of return. For while we are giving with loving selflessness, life shapes for us our heart’s desire.

___________________________________________

Available online! ‘Cherokee Feast of Days’
By Joyce Sequichie Hifler.

Visit her web site to purchase the wonderful books by Joyce as gifts for yourself or for loved ones……and also for those who don’t have access to the Internet: http://www.hifler.com
Click Here to Buy her books at Amazon.com

Elder’s Meditation of the Day
By White Bison, Inc., an American Indian-owned nonprofit organization. Order their many products from their web site: http://www.whitebison.org

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Elder’s Meditation of the Day July 23

Elder’s Meditation of the Day July 23

“…the greatest strength is in gentleness.”

–Leon Shenandoah, ONONDAGA

Our Elders have taught us many lessons about becoming a Warrior and how to think and act like one. We have been told about the power of gentleness. We have been told about the power of the stillness. Physical power is about effort. Mental power is the opposite. It’s about being effortless or less any effort. Gentleness is one of the greatest attributes of the Warrior and one of the greatest mental powers. It takes a lot of love to be gentle. Gentleness is not an ego word. Gentleness is the weapon of the Great Spirit.

My Creator, today I will be gentle with myself and with others. I will listen to the whisper of my heart and learn the power of being gentle.

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July 23 – Daily Feast

July 23 – Daily Feast

Much is lost through misunderstanding – and often because we want someone to know we are angry. We choose to think they intentionally displease us, though we know nothing of their circumstance of what their thoughts really were. It must be an ego-building thing to believe that someone is trying to offend us. Somehow it gives an importance where there had been none. We have the uncanny knack of building a sad story with such realism that it makes us think we are more important than we are. It is not enjoyable to be the kind of person who wants to misunderstand – not only other people, but also life itself. It is painful to be unhappy and disagreeable, but some cannot resist the temptation.

~ It has come to me through the bushes that you are not united (agreeable); come to me when you are united. ~

BIG BEAR

‘A Cherokee Feast of Days’, by Joyce Sequichie Hifler

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The Daily Motivator for July 23 – You can make it better

You can make it better

Maybe you haven’t been knocked off track. Maybe you’ve found a better way.

Perhaps the challenge is not there to punish you. Perhaps it is there to strengthen you.

When something disappointing happens, you don’t have to automatically assume that it’s a negative. In fact, you can find a way to make it a positive.

No, life won’t magically be transformed into a wonderful experience just because you say so. However, there are always plenty of things you can do to make it better and better.

Remind yourself that there’s a positive response to whatever happens, and you’ll find that positive path forward. Commit yourself to making a difference, and you’ll discover countless ways to do so.

No matter what happens, choose to see the positive possibilities. You never have to settle for the way life is, because you can always make it better.

— Ralph Marston
Source:
The Daily Motivator

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The Daily OM for July 23 – Life as It Is

Life as It Is
Making Life Work for You

by Madisyn Taylor

Running your life and your household is a bit like running a business for which some things can easily be delegated.

Sometimes we have so many varying responsibilities in our lives, ranging from work obligations to caring for children to running a household, we feel we cannot possibly make it all work. We may feel overwhelmed in the face of it all, ending each day feeling hopelessly behind schedule. However, regardless of how frustrating this can be, these are the parameters that make up our lives, and we owe it to ourselves to find a way to make it work. Rather than buckling under the pressure of an impossible to-do list, we might take a moment to view the larger perspective.

Like the president of a large organization, we must first realize that we cannot do every job ourselves. The first step to sanity is learning how to delegate some of the responsibility to other people, whether by paying someone to clean our house or trading childcare duties with another parent. In addition, we might find places where we can shift our expectations in ways that make our lives easier. For example, expecting ourselves to create a healthy home-cooked meal every night after a full day of work, errands, or caring for an infant or toddler may be a bit excessive. We might allow ourselves to order in food once in a while without any guilt. Accepting the adjustments needed to make our lives work is an essential ingredient to being at peace with our situation.

At the end of the day, we must come to terms with changing what we can and accepting what we cannot change. Sometimes the laundry piles up, a sick child demands more of our attention than usual, and we temporarily get behind with our schedule. Accepting this momentary state of affairs and trusting in our ability to get back on track when the time is right, we gracefully accept our life as it is, letting go of perfectionism and embracing life as it stands.

 

Source:
Daily OM

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Dreams, Lucid Dreaming and Out of Body Experiences

Dreams, Lucid Dreaming and Out of Body Experiences

Author: Rhys Chisnall 

We all dream, every night, although we may not always remember them. Dreams occur in the Rapid Eye Movement (REM) state of consciousness that occurs in sleep. This is when the brain activity is high and resembles being awake. Apparently dreams can also occur in other stages of sleep but these dreams tend to be less vivid and so less likely to be remembered. Dreams, when they occur, can last between a few seconds and 20 minutes or so and the average person has between 3 to 5 dreams a night, although some people have up to 7. This works out that in 8 hours of sleep, 2 hours are spent dreaming. Most dreams are the sorting out of information from the day’s events. According to a recent article in the New Scientists, sleeping is essential for laying down long-term episodic memories in the hippocampus. Crick and Mitchison argue that dreams work as a defragging system of the brain, as a way of ‘unlearning’ useless information while a study in 2001 argued that dreams strengthen semantic memory, i.e. memories about facts.

So why are Witches concerned with dreams? At another level of analysis, the famous Austrian Psychiatrist Sigmund Freud argued that dreams were the ‘royal road to the unconscious’. Dreams, in his view, give us an insight into our psyche, our inner world through which we make meaning and experience the outer one. Therefore dreams help us to understand ourselves and how we interact with the rest of the world. For Freud, dreams represent unconscious desires and anxieties (usually sexually based) . For example, he tells the story of a patient who dreamt that she throttled a little white-haired dog. Obviously this was a traumatic dream for the dreamer, but Freud interpreted it that he patient wanted to throttle a white-haired relative who was a constant source of annoyance.

Carl Jung, on the other hand, argued that some dreams are attempts by the unconscious to compensate or alert the dreamer to a deficiency or one sidedness in their conscious ego life. Jung argued that the dynamic force within the psyche was wholeness and integration. For Jung, some dreams contained symbolic messages for the dreamer, which if heeded to lead to improvements to the dreamers conscious life. A famous example of this comes from Jung’s book, “Modern Man in Search of a Soul”, where he described a mountain climber who dreamed that he had stood off a cliff into the void. Jung interpreted this that the man’s unconscious warning him of an imbalance in his conscious life and Jung warned the man to lay off mountain climbing for a while. Needless to say, as in all good stories, the man did not heed the warning and a couple of months later fell to his death.

For Jung, not all dreams were significant. Jung was particularly interested in reoccurring dreams and very vivid dreams, which he described as big dreams. He argued that these dreams had particular significance for the dreamer. For example, Jung described a dream he had of a house, where he explored the upstairs, which was bright and airy. He went down stairs, which contained older furniture and fixtures. He then went down into the cellar, which he described as 16th century in style, where he discovered a couple of old decaying skulls. In Jung’s dream, the house represented the psyche, which the upstairs being the ego, and subsequent levels being the levels of the unconscious, the first being filled with personal history, and the second being the collective unconscious that all in our species share. It is from this collective unconscious that the instincts and images common to all mankind, no matter time and location, formed by our evolutionary history emerge. It is from here that archetypal images and ideas enter our dreams, making them these big dreams.

As we are aware by now, there is no limit to the archetypes within the collective unconscious; perhaps this is because what counts are an archetype is subjective. However well known archetypes include the personas, the shadow, the self and the anima/animus. Jung argued that these aspects of our own psyche are represented in dreams as human figures or possibly animals. As such the shadow complex, which is an archetypal figure and forms our personal unconscious, is often represented by a sinister figure of the same gender of the dreamer.

When I first started doing shadow work and did my training with Dave and Tricia, I had a reoccurring dream in which I was pursued by a shark. I interpreted the shark in my dream as my shadow and then, by practising lucid dreaming, I was able to accept the shark as part of myself, rather than fleeing from it in the non conscious dream state. The anima and animus are often portrayed as member of the opposite gender to the dreamer.

For Jung, dreams portrayed the same kind of images as are portrayed in mythology. The reason is that dreams and mythology all arise from the same place, the collective unconscious. Both dreams and myth work through a symbolic language, which can have multiple, rather than one interpretation. It could be argued then that mythology is a culture’s dream images.

Jung tended to be suspicious of the dream dictionary approach as employed by Freudian dream interpretation and argued that the dream needed to be interpreted in respect to its context and content all of which is going to be different for each person. So what happened in the dream? What is the story and how do the other characters in the dream act towards the dreamer? For example in a Freudian dream analysis of someone’s dream of a snake will always be interpreted as a penis. For Freud phallic like objects signified a phallus, which perhaps from Kelly’s personal constructs perspective says more about Freud than the dreamer.

From a Jungian perspective it depends on the context of the dreamer’s life. For example, if the dreamer has a fear of snakes it might represent an aspect of that person’s shadow life. If they are fond of snakes and keep them as pets, it might refer to an aspect of the ego or even the individuated self. It all depends. The story of the dream also makes a difference to what the dreams mean. This means there are no hard or fast rules, and different people would interpret the same dream differently. For Jung it was the purpose of the dream, its teleology that was more informative than what caused it. In other words it was what is the message of the dream, what it is trying to tell you, rather than an explanation for what caused it.

Before you can start to interpret our dreams, you first have to remember them. There are one or two techniques that you can use to help you to do so. The first is to try to remember only a small part of the dream. This is called a dream hook. If you can remember your dream hook, it allows you to build up the rest of the dream for memory. The second technique is to keep a dream journal by your bed. Upon waking up from the dream, write it down straight away, before you forget.

Once you have kept you dream diary, it is best not to interpret them straight away. It is better to leave some time and have a go at interpreting the message later on. That way you can look more objectively at the context of your life at that particular time. When asked to interpret other people’s dreams, it is well worth asking the person what they feel the dream means first. This means that the person continues to take ownership of it and it also give you some insight into the context of their lives, which may be of relevance to the dream.

There are some people who believe that dreams are occasionally prophetic, meaning that they predict the future. I think that it is important to split these into two categories. The first category is those dreams that predict a future event, such as a natural disaster or car crash which the person is not directly or indirectly involved with. The second category predicts an illness, danger and death either within the dreamer, or within someone they know well.

Richard Wiseman (2011) , a psychologist who is especially interested in so called paranormal experiences, makes a convincing argument for why people believe they have dreamt the future. The chances of a single person dreaming of a disaster, say a pile up on the M1 within a week of it happening are incredibly low. You would simply not expect it to happen. However the chances of say 100 people out of the 70 million inhabitants of the UK dreaming of such an event within a week of an event happening is much higher. However the fact that a person dreamt of an event before it happened is still going to be of meaning and value to the dreamer as it represents a subjective meaning as opposed to the objective meaning of the statistics. It is also important to figure in the fluid and dynamic processes of memory as well, for example a dreamer may dream about a helicopter crash, or a car crash, but after hearing about a plane crash on the news, remembers the dream as a plane crash. What this means is that is statistically highly likely that at least a few people will have dreamt of something resembling an actual disaster before it happened.

The second category of prophetic dreaming is to my mind far more significant to Witches. It seems to me from a cognitive perspective that it is highly likely that information received through the senses can be processed unconsciously and the pattern recognition and inference be presented to consciousness as a dream. So someone dreaming that a parent (or self) will become seriously ill has picked up subtle clues from interacting with the parent (or self) , which manifest as dreams. It is also entirely possible that unconscious inferred knowledge of dangerous behaviour of a person, who is not present, may manifest itself as warning dreams. These kinds of dreams will seem strange and surprising to the dreamer when they turn out to be true, but to my mind there is no need to infer a supernatural agency at work. It seems to me that the naturalistic explanations are amazing and wonderful enough. It also suggests that some people are much better at this kind of instinctive pattern recognition than others. But we also have to remember that sometimes our hunches (and dreams) are not always right.

Lucid dreaming is where the dreamer knows that they are dreaming and can change the dream according to will. There has been quite a bit about lucid dreaming in the media and it is a well-attested phenomenon, which has and is being investigated scientifically. While lucid dreaming can be used for entertainment purposes, for example visiting what you imagine a Caribbean beach or sleeping with your favourite celebrity, it can also be used for exploring your inner world.

Lucid dreaming occurs when there is greater activity in the parietal lobes of the brain indicating that it is a conscious process while still being asleep. There are several ways of inducing lucid dreaming based firstly around the dreamer becoming aware that they are dreaming during the dream. This is the method that I tend to use. Once the dreamer is aware they are dreaming they can then change the dream to suit themselves. The second way of inducing lucid dreaming is to go straight from consciousness into a dream. There is a considerable amount of information on the Internet on lucid dreaming and how to do it.

Techniques include, asking yourself through the day whether you are dreaming. This should transfer into your dream state, where the answer will be yes and will hopefully induce consciousness. You could also try keeping a dream diary, looking for any reoccurring themes, which you may recognise while dreaming. You could change your sleep patterns to match the most likely time to have lucid dreaming. Lucid dreams are most strongly associated with sleep just before you wake up. Set the alarm so it will wake you up 4 ½, 6 or 7 ½ hours after you fall asleep. When you wake up try to remember as much of the dream as possible and then imagine that you are returning to the previous dream while saying’ I am aware that I am dreaming’. Do this until it has sunk in and then go back to sleep. If random thought pop into your mind while trying to sleep, restart again. Often the longer it takes the more time it will have to sink in.

Perhaps the most successful technique is the wake and back to bed technique. Set your alarm for five hours after falling asleep. Fall asleep and wake up when the alarm goes off. Stay up for an hour and focus on lucidity alone, then go back to sleep using the MILD technique.

Related to lucid dreaming are Out of Body experiences. OBE’s and astral projection are also commonly attested phenomenon currently researched by science. Out of body experiences are where people have the feeling that they are leaving their body and perceive themselves from the outside. Many people have had this kind of experience and some people are more prone to them than others. For some people it works as a defence mechanism if their body is undergoing a severe trauma, while other people seem to be able to do it for fun. They were once seen as proof of a dualistic split between body and mind, but research now shows that these experiences are induced in the brain.

The world famous neurologist Vilayanur Ramachandran in his book ‘Phantoms in the Brain’ demonstrated how the brain can be tricked into believing that a rubber hand was part of the body. In Sweden, the neuroscientist Bigna Lenggenhauer has been able to induce a sense of embodiment within the body of another person. Henrik Ehrsson of Karolinska University in Sweden has demonstrated that it is possible to induce out of body experiences in the lab by the using head mounted cameras. Research by Olaf Blanke in Switzerland found that it is possible to reliably induce OBEs by stimulating regions of the brain called the right temporal-parietal junction (where the temporal lobe and parietal lobe of the brain come together) .

It seems that out of body experiences can be induced by three methods. The First method is via mental techniques such as deep meditation and trance. A similar technique was used by Thomas Edison to tackle problems while working on his inventions. He would rest a silver dollar on his head while sitting with a metal bucket in a chair. As he drifted off, the coin would noisily fall into the bucket, restoring some of his alertness. The Spanish artist Salvador Dalí was said to have used a similar “paranoiac-critical” method to gain odd visions, which inspired his paintings. Deliberately teetering between awake and asleep states is known to cause spontaneous trance episodes at the onset of sleep, which are ultimately helpful when attempting to induce an OBE.

The psychologist Susan Blackmore (1982) , who had her own out of body experience, argues that they are most likely to occur when the brain becomes habituated to sensory information. For example, when we chew gum, the flavour does not go; rather our brains become habituated to the flavour and no longer recognise it. When we are in a deep state of relaxation, the brain becomes habituated to the low level of signals from the body, which can lead to an out of body experience.

The second method is through mechanical means, such as the use of Persinger’s electromagnetic helmet and Blanke’s brain stimulation techniques. Finally there is the chemical method using certain drugs. There is something of a tradition in magic of the use of flying ointments to induce out of body experiences. These flying ointments contain psychoactive herbs such as deadly nightshade, cinquefoil, cannabis and liberty cap. Care is required when using flying ointments. Firstly some of the ingredients such as cannabis are illegal which means that in purchasing it you are supporting criminals, some of which are very unpleasant people (this matters if you think of yourself as an ethical consumer) . Secondly, some the plants used, like deadly nightshade, hemlock, datura and henbane can be very poisonous and a misdose can result in death. The amount of the psycho-tropic biochemistry within the plants can vary, making judging the right dosage difficult. Thirdly, it takes little discipline to use them. These flying ointments are a short cut, but their use means that you do not learn the techniques and disciplines of occultism. Finally they may not leave you with the ability to exercise control over your out of body experience. If you do wish to try flying ointments always do so in the company of someone who knows what they are doing.

Related to out of body experiences is astral projection, this is where out of body experiences are used to do deep level pathworking or shamanic journeying. Essentially it is used to explore the semantic landscape of the inner planes. Astral projection is also a technique used by ceremonial magicians when they pathwork the tree of life. In the Craft it can be induced in trance either by the use of a Witches cradle, which is a form of sensory deprivation and disorientation device, or possible through use of the scourge. However, most often Crafters, if they are so minded, will use mental techniques such as meditation to induce it.

_________________________________________

Footnotes:
Blackmore, S, (1982) , Beyond the Body: An Investigation into Out of Body Experiences, Paladin Grafton Books,
Jung, C, (1968) , Man and His Symbols, Turtleback Books
Jung, C, (2001) , Modern Man in Search of his Soul, Routledge Classics
Ramachandaran, V and Blakeslee, S, (1999) , Phantoms of the Mind, Fourth Estate
Wiseman, R, (2011) , Paranormality: Why We See What Isn’t There, Macmillian

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Becoming a Lucid Dreamer

Becoming a Lucid Dreamer

Surveys have show that about 50 percent of people (and in some cases more) have had at least one lucid dream in their lives. (see, for example, Blackmore 1982; Gackenbach and LaBerge 1988;
Green 1968.) Of course surveys are unreliable in that many people may not understand the question. In particular, if you have never had a lucid dream, it is easy to misunderstand what is meant by the term. So overestimates might be expected.  Beyond this, it does not seem that surveys can find out much.  There are no very consistent differences between lucid dreamers and others in terms of age, sex, education, and so on (Green 1968; Gackenbach and LaBerge 1988).

For many people, having lucid dream is fun, and they want to learn how to have more or to induce them at will. One finding from early experimental work was that high levels of physical (and emotional) activity during the day tend to precede lucidity at night. Waking during the night and carrying out some kind of activity before falling asleep again can also encourage a lucid dream during the next REM period and is the basis of some induction techniques.

Many  methods have been  developed (Gackenbach  and  Bosveld 1989; Tart  1988; Price and Cohen  1988).  They roughly fall into  three categories.

One of the best known is LaBerge’s MILD (Mnemonic Induction of Lucid Dreaming). This is done on waking in the early morning from a dream. You should wake up fully, engage in some activity like
reading or walking about, and then lie down to go to sleep again. Then you must imagine yourself asleep and dreaming, rehearse the dream from which you woke, and remind yourself, “Next time I dream
this I want to remember I’m dreaming.”

A second approach involves constantly reminding yourself to become lucid throughout the day rather than the night. This is based on the idea that we spend most of our time in a kind of waking daze. If we could be more lucid in waking life, perhaps we could be more lucid while dreaming. German psychologist Paul Tholey suggests asking yourself many times every day, “Am I dreaming or not?” This sound easy but is not. It takes a lot of determination and persistence not to forget all about it. For those who do forget,
French researcher Clerc suggests writing a large “C” on your hand (for “conscious”) to remind you (Tholey 1983; Gackenbach and Bosveld 1989).

This kind of method is similar to the age-old technique for increasing awareness by meditation and mindfulness. Advanced practitioners of meditation claim to maintain awareness through a large proportion of their sleep. TM is often claimed to lead to sleep awareness. So perhaps it is not surprising that some recent research finds association between meditation and increased lucidity (Gackenbach and Bosveld 1989).

The third and final approach requires a variety of gadgets.  The idea is to use some sort of external signal to remind people,  while they are actually in REM sleep, that they are dreaming. Hearne first tried spraying water onto sleepers’ faces or hands but found it too unreliable. This sometimes caused them to incorporate water imagery into their dreams, but they rarely became lucid. He eventually decided to use a mild electrical shock to the wrist.  His “dream machine” detects changes in breathingrate (which accompany the onset of REM) and then automatically delivers a shock to the wrist (Hearne 1990).

Meanwhile, in California, LaBerge was rejecting taped voices and vibrations and working instead with flashing lights. The original version was laboratory based and used a personal computer to detect the eye movements of REM sleep and to turn on flashing lights whenever the REMs reached a certain level.  Eventually, however, all the circuitry was incorporated into a pair of goggles. The idea is to put the goggles on at night, and the lights will flash only when you are asleep and dreaming.  The user can even control the level of eye movements at which the lights begin to flash.

The newest version has a chip incorporated into the goggles.  This will not only control the lights but will store data on
eye-movement density during the night and when and for how long the lights were flashing, making fine tuning possible. At the moment, the first users have to join in workshops at LaBerge’s Lucidity Institute and learn how to adjust the settings, but
within a few months he hopes the whole process will be fully automated. (See LaBerge’s magazine, DreamLight.)

LaBerge tested the effectiveness of the Dream Light on 44 subjects who came into the laboratory, most for just one night.  Fifty-five percent had at least one lucid dream this way. The results suggested that this method is about as succesful as MILD, but using the two together is the most effective (LaBerge 1985).

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Lucid Dreaming FAQ

Lucid Dreaming FAQ

(Answers to these frequently asked questions on lucid dreaming brought to you by THE LUCIDITY INSTITUTE.)

Q. What is lucid dreaming?
A. The term “lucid dreaming” refers to dreaming while knowing that you are dreaming. The “lucid” part refers to the clarity of consciousness rather than the vividness of the dream. It generally
happens when you realize during the course of a dream that you are dreaming, perhaps because something weird occurs. Most people who remember their dreams have experienced this at some time, often waking up immediately after the realization. However, it is possible to continue in the dream while remaining fully aware that you are dreaming.

Q. If you are lucid, can you control the dream?
A. Usually lucidity brings with it some degree of control over the course of the dream. How much control is possible varies from dream to dream and from dreamer to dreamer. Practice can
apparently contribute to the ability to exert control over dream events. At the least, lucid dreamers can choose how they wish to respond to the events of the dream. For example, you can decide to
face up to a frightening dream figure, knowing it cannot harm you, rather than to try to avoid the danger as you naturally would if you did not know it was a dream. Even this amount of control can
transform the dream experience from one in which you are the helpless victim of frequently terrifying, frustrating, or maddening experiences to one in which you can dismiss for a while
the cares and concerns of waking life. On the other hand, some people are able to achieve a level of mastery in their lucid dreaming where they can create any world, live any fantasy, and experience anything they can imagine!

Q. Does lucid dreaming interfere with the function of “normal” dreaming?
A. According to one way of thinking, lucid dreaming _is_ normal dreaming. The brain and body are in the same physiological stateduring lucid dreaming as they are in during most ordinary non-
lucid dreaming, that is, REM sleep. Dreaming is a result of the brain being active, at the same time as the sense organs of the body are turned off to the outside world. In this condition, typically during REM sleep, the mind creates experiences out of currently active thoughts, concerns, memories and fantasies. Knowing you are dreaming simply allows you to direct the dream along constructive or positive lines, like you direct your thoughts when you are awake. Furthermore, lucid dreams can be even more informative about yourself than non-lucid dreams, because you
can observe the development of the dream out of your feelings and tendencies, while being aware that you are dreaming and that the dream is coming from you. The notion that dreams are unconscious processes that should remain so is false. Your waking consciousness is always present in your dreams. If it were not, you would not be able to remember dreams, because you can only
remember an event you have consciously experienced. The added “consciousness” of lucid dreaming is nothing more than them awareness of being in the dream state.

Q. Does everybody dream?
A. Everybody dreams. All humans (indeed, all mammals) have REM sleep. Most dreams occur in REM sleep. This has been demonstrated by awakening people from different stages of sleep and asking if they were dreaming. In 85 percent of awakenings from REM sleep, people report having been dreaming. Dreams are rarely reported following awakening from other types of sleep (collectively called non-REM sleep). REM sleep alternates with non-REM sleep in 90 minute cycles throughout the night. In a typical 8 hour night, you will spend about an hour and a half total time in REM sleep, broken up into four or five “REM periods” ranging in length from 5 to 45 minutes. Most dreams are forgotten. Some people never recall dreams while others recall five or more each night. You can improve your ability to recall dreams. Good dream recall is necessary for learning lucid dreaming. There are two basic things to do to get started with developing dream recall. Begin a dream journal, in which you write everything you remember of your dreams, even the slightest fragments. You will remember the most if you record dreams right after you awaken from them. Before falling asleep each night, remind yourself that you want to awaken from, remember and record your dreams.

Q. Why would you want to have lucid dreams?
A. The laws of physics and society are repealed in dreams. The only limits are the reaches of your imagination. Much of the potential of dreams is wasted because people do not recognize that they are dreaming. When we are not lucid in a dream, we think and behave as if we are in waking reality. This can lead to pointless frustration, confusion and wasted energy, and in the worst case,
terrifying nightmares. It is useless to try as we do to accomplish the tasks of waking life in dreams. Our misguided efforts to do so result in anxiety dreams of malfunctioning machinery, missed
deadlines, forgotten exams, losing the way, and so on. Anxiety dreams and nightmares can be overcome through lucid dreaming, because if you know you are dreaming you have nothing to fear.
Dream images cannot hurt you. Lucid dreams, in addition to helping you lead your dreams in satisfying directions, enjoy fantastic adventures, and overcome nightmares, can be valuable tools for success in your waking life. Lucid dreamers can deliberately employ the natural creative potential of dreams for problem solving and artistic inspiration. Athletes, performers, or anyone
who gives presentations can prepare, practice and polish their performances while they sleep. This is only a taste of the variety of ways people have used lucid dreaming to expand their lives.

Q. How do you have lucid dreams?
A. There are several methods of inducing lucid dreams. The first step, regardless of method, is to develop your dream recall until you can remember at least one dream per night. Then, if you have a
lucid dream you will remember it. You will also become very familiar with your dreams, making it easier learn to recognize them while they are happening. If you recall your dreams you can begin immediately with two simple techniques for stimulating lucid dreams. Lucid dreamers make a habit of “reality testing.” This means investigating the environment to decide whether you are
dreaming or awake. Ask yourself many times a day, “Could I be dreaming?” Then, test the stability of your current reality by reading some words, looking away and looking back while trying to
will them to change. The instability of dreams is the easiest clue to use for distinguishing waking from dreaming. If the words change, you are dreaming. Taking naps is a way to greatly increase
your chances of having lucid dreams. You have to sleep long enough in the nap to enter REM sleep. If you take the nap in the morning (after getting up earlier than usual), you are likely to enter REM
sleep within a half-hour to an hour after you fall asleep. If you nap for 90 minutes to 2 hours you will have plenty of dreams and a higher probability of becoming lucid than in dreams you have
during a normal night’s sleep. Focus on your intention to recognize that you are dreaming as you fall asleep within the nap.

Q. Is there a way to prevent yourself from awakening right after becoming lucid?
A. At first, beginners may have difficulty remaining in the dream after they attain lucidity. This obstacle may prevent many people from realizing the value of lucid dreaming, because they have not experienced more than the flash of knowing they are dreaming, followed by immediate awakening. Two simple techniques can help you overcome this problem. The first is to remain calm in the dream. Becoming lucid is exciting, but expressing the excitement can awaken you. Suppress your feeling somewhat and turn your attention to the dream. If the dream shows signs of ending, such as the disappearance, loss of clarity or depth of the imagery, “spinning” can help bring the dream back. As soon as the dream starts to “fade,” before you feel your real body in bed, spin your
dream body like a top. That is, twirl around like a child trying to get dizzy (you probably will not get dizzy during dream spinning because your physical body is not spinning around). Remind yourself, “The next scene will be a dream.” When you stop spinning, if it is not obvious that you are dreaming, do a reality test. Even if you think you are awake, you may be surprised to find that you are still dreaming!
Q. How can I find out more about lucid dreaming, or get involved in lucid dreaming research?
A. Contact the Lucidity Institute, an organization founded by lucid dreaming researcher Dr. Stephen LaBerge to support research on lucid dreams and to help people learn to use them to enhance their lives. The Lucidity Institute’s mission is to advance research on the nature and potentials of consciousness and to apply the results of this research to the enhancement of human
health and well-being. The Lucidity Institute offers a membership society, whose quarterly newsletter, NightLight, discusses research and development in the field of lucid dreaming, and
invites the participation of members in at-home experiments. Workshops and training programs are available periodically. The Institute sells books, tapes, scientific publications and the DreamLight.

 

Write or call:
The Lucidity Institute
P.O. Box 2364
Stanford, CA 94309
(415) 321-9969

Or email: clint@matia.stanford.edu

Categories: Articles, Daily Posts, Dream Magick | Tags: , | Leave a comment

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