In the past, I have become conscious rather frequently in my dreams. For example, last night I was interacting with a few of my friends and right when the conversation took its most exciting turn, I realized I was dreaming and gained control of the dream. The only thing I wanted to do was hear the next sentence! I tried to wait out the end of the conversation and even tried to let the dream continue, but now that I was conscious, I couldn't really be surprised by anything that was happening.
What suggestions might you have for actually reaching the part of dreaming where conversation with the unconscious becomes possible? I'm not too worried about the flying or breathing underwater yet (which I actually have done on occasion), but rather, is there a way to really let the dream continue with my conscious mind playing only a minimal part in affecting the actions of others?
Rebecca says: I applaud your desire to use lucid dreaming for something other than dream control. This can be a big distraction for most of us. Conscious clarity of thought and experience is actually the true meaning of lucid dreaming. It's not primarily about dream control but simply having the higher capacity of thought and self awareness to enjoy the dream in a more vivid and meaningful context.
When you become lucid, heighten your awareness (rub your hands together and remind yourself you're dreaming) but refrain from exerting any other conscious will over the dream. I find if I passively explore the dreamscape for a minute (walk round a corner, or pass through a dream door, anything which requires new imagery) the dream picks up again on its own and I become wrapped up in the story.
If you're hanging around and still nothing happens, try actively handing the dream back to your unconscious. Say out loud: "Show me something I've never seen before" or "Take me somewhere really cool". Tell the dream what you want... not specifically, but that you're open to anything happening.
Another option is to go somewhere busy and be an observer. Fly to a city, sit on top of a building and observe the streets below. Lock onto a dream character you find interesting and follow them.
Here's another surprise experiment you might like to try. Find a portal - a mirror, door or even a wardrobe - and jump through. Expect to find something amazing the other side (perhaps a house from the past, or a spaceship of the future). Having an expectation will admittedly start to shape the result but it is usually necessary. You don't want to be standing at the back of an empty wardrobe, having not traveled anywhere. But that seed plants new possibilities for the unconscious to create a new dream scene which will evolve new characters and developments.
So give your lucid dream a little nudge, keep exploring, and it will resume its own path.
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