Yes, lucid dreaming definitely gives the sane person an idea about madness. And regardless of the consciousness business, lucid dreaming undoubtedly speaks to the oneironaut in profound ways. I've just come upon an interesting lucid dream in my journal where I'd made contact with a dream character:"... I fell asleep during a meditative exercise and began to dream about having travelled to Portugal with my mother and trying to help my brother-in-law’s brother, Rui, to steer clear of drugs. In the dream, Rui was very thin and didn’t look well. In reality, he’s rehabilitated and is a happier family man. Looking back, there is nothing odd about this dream because it sort of reflects what I had been discussing with my mother over the phone before bedtime.
She is helping my cousin Riv to beat his drug addiction just like she helped Rui years ago. Riv wants to move forward in life and so far he’s been cooperative. The dream seems to reflect the conversation that me and my mother had. I remember telling Rui, in the dream, that he needed to eat. After that, I went for a walk in what I took to be my birthplace, Oporto. I was walking alongside a river, and, as I beheld a metallic bridge looming in the distance, I felt lost and couldn’t figure out my way back. That feeling of being lost suddenly seemed familiar.
I remembered saying to myself once that if I felt lost again I’d do a reality check. Bam! I became lucid when I realised it was one of my dream signs. The river, the bridge, the city and the sky were now crystal clear. I appreciated the exquisite beauty of sunlight being reflected by the river and yet the sun was nowhere to be found. I knew I had something to do or somewhere to be but couldn’t remember my plan. I was standing on a concrete pavement, rubbing my hands together, when a group of lads emerged from behind and jogged past me. They laughed and conversed with one another as though sentient and oblivious to my presence. This aroused my curiosity, and, although one might say that the dream figures distracted me from remembering my plan of action, what followed, in a sense, suggests that the unconscious mind prevented me from distracting myself with a plan of action and might have nudged me in the right direction of focusing on something else which might prove to be more important or urgent.
As the men were running uphill I shouted, “hey, you… wait!” One of them stopped while the others continued to run and disappeared. The character who seemed to have heard me turned around and walked towards me. He was a colossal Caucasian man, of muscular build and sporting short blonde hair. “Who are you?”, I said. He was frowning and replied in an angry tone: “Who am I?” He looked like he was going to hit me so I repeated my question. Finally, he divulged: “I am the part of you that tries to understand”. I was confused by this statement. Understand what? Before I could ask him to elaborate, the jogger began to decrease in stature and turned into a black man simultaneously. His arms and hands, however, seemed to have grown and he used them to grab me like I was a little ball before throwing me in the river.
I heard the splash and remained submerged when I realised that I could still breathe. Suddenly, I became aware of a predominantly blue tunnel made of patterned water waves and ripples. I became aware of concentric circles that conveyed depth and saw that there was a long way to go in order to reach the light at the end. As I looked at the water walls of this tunnel, I noticed colourless flower buds and petals of a crystalline nature and my observation appeared to change their protruding shapes as well as the patterns on the walls. I felt compelled to glide towards the distant peculiar light at the end. This attractive shiny speck was surrounded by swirling vibrant patterns of harmonious fluid.
These patterns provided a contrast against the peaceful still light that beckoned me and I was like a child who couldn’t take his eyes off the new toy. I began to shift towards the light and the thought of fouling before I could reach it crossed my mind. With that, I regained physical awareness."
I relived the experience in my mind and pondered about what it meant or represented. I wished I had asked the dream character what he tries to understand. Everything perhaps? Maybe I can meet him again. What would he look like? Would he continue to be a shape-shifter? Then I thought about the possible symbolism reflected in this lucid dream from all the dream dictionaries I’ve perused in the past since my mother’s interest in dream interpretation rubbed off on me from an early age. Could my subconscious have adopted and used that language in order to reflect what is really going on inside me?
The angry muscular man image could suggest that I am more set in my beliefs than I realised, and this, although establishing assuredness and a sense of certainty, can be limiting. By addressing this aspect of myself I may have unlocked and acknowledged the side of me that is “in the dark” about things and repressed or hidden - hence the black man. If a step towards unlocking content from the deep unconscious took place then it was an important step. Was the act of being thrown in the water by the black man image a push in the right direction?
The black man could also indicate the termination of clinging to certain beliefs and being open to other perspectives. The shape-shifting could indeed reflect my fickle nature or my progression in this journey. Perhaps embracing uncertainty is the best bet until a breakthrough or discovery is made. Did that character herald the path to the revelation of unconscious drives, the mysterious depths of the mind and the inner workings of reality?
The patterns of the underwater tunnel could reflect my mind’s inner structure, primordial, symbolic, with the concentric circles amongst the geometric patterns representing wholeness, infinity, continuity, connection, perfect balance - and perhaps, ultimately, the ideal self. The light at the end of the tunnel could indicate clarity and insight. Although this lucid dream was brief, it is abundant in symbolism and the answers, if one can call them that, may be staring me right in the face.
The water environment could convey the inner flow of my very nature. Traditionally, water also stands for emotions, life force, and suggests cleansing. I can also think of constant change, malleability and adaptability. The crystalline flower forms suggest a source of creation. The cool colour blue can be thought to represent infinite possibilities, spiritual development, open-mindedness and wisdom (remember Absolem, the blue caterpillar in “Alice in Wonderland”). Perhaps I was being ’pushed’ towards this as a step towards self-integration.
Finally, we have the river, which can symbolise the course of one’s life, and, it flows towards something greater - the ocean… the deep unconscious that drives us. If there is one thing I can be sure of in my lucid dreaming exploration so far is that, apart from being inspirational, it makes me think a hell of a lot about everything and this may be the natural aftereffect of a highly aroused cerebral cortex phase - the phase state (hybrid stage of brain activity which gives rise to lucid dreams and out-of-body experiences).
Brief but profound. So I drew it...
Now here is a quote from an avid and experienced lucid dreamer that I think we should bear in mind because, as a reminder, it helps us to not lose sight about the nature of dreaming as far as we can tell:"As lucid dreamers create the reality of lucid dreaming, they observe how beliefs strongly affect that environment. For example, in college, I read the Russian writer P.D. Ouspensky's assertion that a person could not recall his or her name in the dream state. I wondered about this. During my next lucid dream, I consciously recalled his assertion and lucidly found a pen and paper. "Robert," I wrote easily, and then I beban to write, "Watt," hesitated for a moment, thinking, "That's not right," scratched it out, consciously recalled my last name, and quickly jotted "Waggoner." Stephen LaBerge reports reading Ouspensky's book and notes that lucid dreamers who apparently believed in Ouspensky's assumption failed to announce their name in a lucid dream. He himself, not believing in Ouspensky's suggestion, had no trouble announcing his name. Undoubtedly, your ideas and beliefs have a major impact on your experiences in the lucid dreaming environment. Though many assert that in lucid dreams you can do whatever you want, as a practical matter, your lucid dream actions will be limited by your beliefs."- Robert Waggoner; "Lucid Dreaming: Gateway to the Inner Self"
If we are limited by our beliefs when we lucid dream, then isn't it possible that our personal DCs respond according to our worldviews when they happen to be coherent? So Hagart's DCs might claim sentience and strongly exude the illusion of conscious individuals inhabiting a dream world, and the shape-shifter in my lucid dream above expressed exactly the very thing that my mind tends to niggle over: the unknown. Perhaps it visually represented my own curiosity, or at least in part.