Some Thoughts on Personalizing Reality Checks/Dreamsigns

Discuss lucid dreaming techniques including dream recall, MILD, WILD, meditation and other ways of attaining lucidity in dreams.
fineganswaker
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Joined: 08 Jun 2011 18:17

Re: Some Thoughts on Personalizing Reality Checks/Dreamsigns

Postby fineganswaker » 02 Aug 2011 20:23

rdubya,

Thanks for the continued insights. Oddly enough, your lucidity "timeline" coincides roughly with mine. I had an intense lucid dream about four or five months ago that shook me down to the core of my being (in a very good way--you could say it woke me from my "dogmatic slumbers"!).

That kicked in my investigations into lucid dreaming--a term which at that time I didn't know existed. Since then I've also started seriously reassessing my views about waking reality (which, since my adolescence, has always felt a little "thin" to me to begin with).

I've meditated off an on for over 20 years, but meditation never seemed to quite "work" for me (however, post-graduate work in Western philosophy didn't quite "work" for me either). What I like about lucid dreaming is that it's an oddity in life that I believe almost everyone experiences at some point in their lives (or at least has the potential for experiencing). The implication here is that we all have this direct link into the "wholly other", as Terrence McKenna once said. Oddly, lucid dreaming has given me new insights into meditation. I'm still not meditating on a regular basis right now, but lucid dreaming has gone a long way in making the actual practice of meditating "work" for me (as opposed to just working for me on a conceptual basis).

Dreams, lucid and non-lucid, are indeed incredibly personal. But the odd thing about dreaming is that we all have them. Like waking reality, the dream reality is personal, but oddly "shared" as well. You could say that dying is the same kind of thing. But I just can't shake this feeling that there's much more going on down there. As Robert Waggoner writes in his book, there are things in lucid dreams we just do not control. But if we don't control these items (like the creation of dream scenes, or dream figures who act incredibly autonomous), then it begs the question of "who" or "what" does this controlling? Waggoner posits that unconsciousness itself is a much more complex structure than we tend to give credit to. And it's still largely terra incognito. My recent experiences in lucid dreaming tend to make me agree with him.

And, hey, as far as those Tibetans being hippies, here's a (probably bad) analogy. Truman Capote once dismissed Jack Kerouac's writing as "mere typing". But what Capote failed to realize is that that was really cool typing! By extension, maybe those monks are just really cool hippies! ;)

rdubya
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Re: Some Thoughts on Personalizing Reality Checks/Dreamsigns

Postby rdubya » 08 Aug 2011 17:25

Finnegan,

Just a thought on "forgetting LD". I had a strong LD the other night. During the day, I was thinking to myself, I was sure I had a LD, how can I not remember it?? Then it came to me, and I recalled it just like normal dream recalling. Then I also realize there was a part I lost the LD and fell back to the dream. Perhaps this is why I did not remember the LD since I did not "wake" from it, it continued in the form of a dream. Once I started recalling it, it was as vivid as typing this on the forum, and crazy how I forgot I did it.

-Ryan

fineganswaker
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Re: Some Thoughts on Personalizing Reality Checks/Dreamsigns

Postby fineganswaker » 08 Aug 2011 21:27

rdubya wrote:Finnegan,
Just a thought on "forgetting LD". I had a strong LD the other night. During the day, I was thinking to myself, I was sure I had a LD, how can I not remember it?? Then it came to me, and I recalled it just like normal dream recalling. Then I also realize there was a part I lost the LD and fell back to the dream. Perhaps this is why I did not remember the LD since I did not "wake" from it, it continued in the form of a dream. Once I started recalling it, it was as vivid as typing this on the forum, and crazy how I forgot I did it.
-Ryan


Hey Ryan,

Yeah, that's interesting. I had something very similar happen to me in a recent LD. It was my first where the lucidity lasted for quite a while (or at least it seemed that way, I think the actual (external? physical?) dream lasted, say, only five to ten minutes at the most). Anyway, there are parts of the dream that I can't quite recall, even though I was lucid throughout.

So, you are right, my friend. And I can totally see how a person might not recall LDs at all after having them for a while (a thought that disturbs me greatly).

In my case, the problematic dream recall in that recent LD might be that it has to do with a pretty indescribably situation: A major dream shift that ended up in a false awakening--where then I did realize that I was in a different dream and still was lucid (like being "born" into a new dream). I can (and did) use English to write about the two "ends"--the actual pre- and post-shift dreams--but the shift itself was like the end sequence in the Kubrick movie 2001 as far as complete weirdness (LSD was never this strange!). The closest I can come to describing it is simply with the words "tunnel" and "surfing"--but the words don't do justice to the experience--and there was much more to it I only have vague, fleeting notions of.

Dream recall, lucid or non-lucid, continues to fascinate me for just the reason you mentioned. How can something be so vivid once recalled, where before it was almost non-existent? This, of course, can and does happen in waking reality. We all know this, but those memory "erasers" seem particularly at work at night. Just this morning I took the time before heading out to work to journal a non-lucid dream I had. Not because the dream was particularly interesting, but simply because, if I hadn't recalled it--and I really had to work to get it--I would've summed up the night as not having particularly vivid dreams. But, once recalled, it was a full-on, very vivid dream. I also know that I had a few dreams earlier in the night that were probably even more intense and more vivid (there's just this feeling about them). I almost recalled one of them, but it slipped away, much to my chagrin. And that's another odd phenomena: that sometimes the act of recall will actually push the dream farther away out of reach. It's like a Chinese finger-trap of the mind!

--Finn

rdubya
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Re: Some Thoughts on Personalizing Reality Checks/Dreamsigns

Postby rdubya » 08 Aug 2011 23:35

There definitely is a wonderful amount of unknowns for this, especially in the scientific community. We just haven't been able to "dissect" what the mind is and how it works. A strong notion is that the mind cannot work without the brain, however look how far we have gotten with that belief. Not very far at all. Many scientists are convinced everything we think stems from the brain. I personally believe that is why the complexity of the brain is not understood, we think it does more than it really does.

For example:

How does the eye work? The eye refracts light and then is interpreted by your brain.(we don't think the eye interprets sound waves, we say the ears do that)

How does the brain work? The brain transfers current reality "data"(most commonly gathered from our 5 senses) and your mind interprets it.

How does the mind work? That we have yet to discover.

fineganswaker
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Re: Some Thoughts on Personalizing Reality Checks/Dreamsigns

Postby fineganswaker » 09 Aug 2011 01:18

Probably THE philosophical conundrum of Western civilization is Cartesian duality: how does this immaterial construct we call the "mind" interact with this material construct that we call "nature" (which includes our own brains)? Descartes believed that they were two separate and distinct "substances", so how do they interact?*

Different thinkers over history have tended to try to solve the problem by thinking away one or the other, or that one realm was actually subservient somehow to the other. Spinoza, to take one case, weighed in on the side of the mind being primary. The materialists, of course, believed just the opposite, and there were plenty of piss-poor deus ex machinas along the way that thinkers would employ to get out of all kinds of tough philosophical jams (often with the Catholic church hot on their heels).

Science, of course, tends to weigh in heavily on the materialist side of things. One of its most pernicious views being that not only does the mind not exist--but neither does consciousness. It's just an "epiphenomenon" that the brain creates. From that viewpoint you can see how easy it is to dismiss everything we experience in life as an illusion--that, beyond our physical processes, we're not really "alive" at all--at least not in any way that we feel and experience life. Under that viewpoint, we're just fooling ourselves into believing we're alive at all...

--And you don't even want to begin to talk about lucid dreaming to those folks! ;)

There's much more to say here, but instead of my yackin', here are some lines from T.S. Eliot's The Hollow Men instead:

Between the idea
And the reality
Between the motion
And the act
Falls the Shadow

--Finn

*Descartes wimped out by saying the pineal gland was the doorway between these two "substances" (which he called "thought" and "extension")--but the pineal gland is still a physical part of the body, so...

rdubya
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Re: Some Thoughts on Personalizing Reality Checks/Dreamsigns

Postby rdubya » 09 Aug 2011 16:42

Good information there Finn. I would say that was a pretty good summary of the two sides of the debate to be honest. Of course I like to believe my side is right =). Right or wrong, it is surely more interesting in discovering than just accepting something I was told.

In all truth, I have no idea if the world is in fact round. It could be an odd shape oval for all I know, but I simply accept the truth that society has told me because I have no interest in discovering that truth. I could care less if it is a triangle or a sphere, I just appreciate it for what it is. But knowing the truths of the mind, now that interests me. I feel we are not able to appreciate the mind for what it is because we have put such low limits on its capabilities. But, to each his own, so if this doesn't interest everyone, so be it, I am just glad there are others such as ourselves who are curious in the same subject.

fineganswaker
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Re: Some Thoughts on Personalizing Reality Checks/Dreamsigns

Postby fineganswaker » 09 Aug 2011 19:06

rdubya wrote:But knowing the truths of the mind, now that interests me.


--If, indeed the mind exists. There's the rub. As we all know, believing doesn't necessarily make something true.

I got thinking more about all this last evening, and it made me think again about how so much of the way we make sense of the world we live in (including our own sense of self) is wrapped up in the language we use to describe that world. Wittgenstein perhaps expressed this best with the simple aphorism The limits of my language mean the limits of my world. That tends to beg the question: So, if you change your language, then in some way do you change the world (or at least "your" world)?

This ties in with something you mentioned in an early post in this thread, where you said something along the lines of --that line of thinking didn't get us very far. Talking about things in terms of Cartesian duality might have, historically, worked for a while (and in many cases it's still a useful conceptual tool), but by the early 20th century, some of the major eggheads started to think that we needed new ways to talk about philosophical topics. This development seems to have coincided with conceptual changes in science. It's not that the world stopped working according to Newtonian physics. Far from it. But there were wider topics of consideration that came to light due to research that had been done in such seemingly disparate specialties as electromagnetism, gravity, and the speed of light (I'm sure you can see where I'm going with this). In a way, you could say that a new, substratum of reality itself opened up.

--And I guess you could sum up all that was going on, historically speaking, with the now overused term "paradigm shift".

One of the more interesting thinkers who tried to undermine Cartesian dualism with both new concepts and a new type of vocabulary was Alfred North Whitehead. He started to think that "reality" should not be thought of as something static, like a frog that can be dissected. He started thinking of it more as a type of "process" or dynamic system (shades of early cybernetics here!). I don't want to say much more about Whitehead because, well, I'm not all that familiar with his work, but what I think is interesting is that his work was dismissed during the middle part of the last century as just not being very relevant or even very interesting, but his magnum opus Process and Reality has slowly been reassessed over the last, say, forty years or so--and, for myself, when I cogitate over the topic of lucid dreaming Whitehead's ideas often come to mind.

As a matter of fact, beyond the personal practice of working toward lucid dreaming with an increased regularity, the idea of lucid dreaming presents--at least for me--some incredibly interesting philosophical perspectives and paradoxes. Yeah, it's great to fly all around, have dream sex (if you get lucky, that is), get out of your body, be a secret agent, go to the moon...but there's really so much more there to consider. I'm probably repeating myself, but just the idea of being awake while you're asleep is a philosophical nugget of gold! And this isn't some kind of esoteric topic that only the academics would be interested in, like language analysis itself. Everybody sleeps; everybody dream (whether you remember it or not), and it happens every single night.

I'll leave y'all with this question: Since dreaming is only one part of our nocturnal experience, is there any possible way that someone could become lucid at some other point during the night? In other words, could you become lucid, say, during just regular sleep (call it lucid sleeping!)? If so, how?--and what the heck does that feel like!? If no, why?--and what, if anything, does that have to say about lucid dreaming or dreaming in general?

rdubya
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Re: Some Thoughts on Personalizing Reality Checks/Dreamsigns

Postby rdubya » 09 Aug 2011 19:30

Knowing the truths of mind and/or brain then =).

"All truth passes through three stages. First, it is ridiculed. Second, it is violently opposed. Third, it is accepted as being self-evident." Arthur Schopenheur.

This quote could be used to explain your language limits of the world. Once a truth becomes "self-evident", it is now a part of a language and other possibilities of truths(in forms of new language) open from this.

Lucid Dreaming entertains me sure, but my true interest is upon finding the relevance of it to the physical life. I have read many accounts of Astral Traveling including at a low vibrational state that allows the person to perceive the physical world and objects in it. But, I need to do this myself or experience someone who can first hand before I am convinced it possible, and lucid dreaming is the starting point i have read from every source.

As for being able to Lucid Dream whenever, again, I have read masters, such as Tibetan Monks who meditate 4 hours daily, can enter this state fairly rapidly at any time. I have no reason to doubt these readings as all of the content have been accurate to my own experiences. I don't see why this wouldn't be possible, I think it is just easiest for beginners to do it during sleep.

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Peter
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Re: Some Thoughts on Personalizing Reality Checks/Dreamsigns

Postby Peter » 09 Aug 2011 20:18

Interesting thoughts, I don’t think you need to be in rem sleep to dream at all. I have used some supplements recently with great results and one of them 5-HTP is meant to suppress REM sleep so to create a REM rebound at some stage of the night. I used these and if the supplements are working and I have tried 2 brands of them I still can get dreams and vivid dreams from the word go. I have real issues with blank statements that box off anything into black and white. It only takes one incident to change a view and open up new prospects
I will post soon on my experiences with herbs/supplements
Peter
Who are you I asked, the reply "dont be silly, we are your daughers" many years before they were born

fineganswaker
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Re: Some Thoughts on Personalizing Reality Checks/Dreamsigns

Postby fineganswaker » 09 Aug 2011 22:22

rdubya wrote:Knowing the truths of mind and/or brain then =).


Ok, then, what makes you think the brain exists? ;)

Peter wrote:I have used some supplements recently


Hey, have you guys found any supplements for just increasing dream vividness? I guess I'm trying to answer the question of why some dreams are easy to remember and others not so much--or not at all. Is there a link between "vividness" (whatever that means, but I think we all have a general sense of it) and recall, or does it just all come down to recall skill--or is it a combination of the two?

Seems to me that vividness does play some kind of roll (or at least for me personally), but I'm still investigating into it.

Anybody try mugwort?


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