Advanced lucid dreamers have noticed that by talking to the dream itself (as opposed to a specific dream figure) you can have a meaningful conversation with a second awareness or consciousness.
In his book, Lucid Dreaming: Gateway to the Inner Self, expert oneironaut Robert Waggoner calls this the "awareness behind the dream". It often appears wise and all-knowing, offering helpful insights into waking life problems or whatever question is posed by the lucid dreamer.
Tapping into this source of knowledge is another of the extraordinary benefits of lucid dreaming, one that no lucid dreamer should overlook. So, where does this awareness come from and how do you connect to it?
Fortunately, the technique is very simple.
Next time you're consciously aware in a lucid dream, perform Waggoner's counter-intuitive technique to probe your unconscious mind:
It's that easy. Just tilt your head back and lucidly shout out your request.
You can ask any question in your conscious dream -- and receive an answer in just about any form. It may be written on the wall, spoken to you from the sky, or a new dream scene may materialize before your eyes.
The answers provided by the inner self may sometimes surprise you, coming from an extraordinary hidden secondary awareness.
Since learning about this method, I have asked countless questions of my lucid dream self.
Sometimes, nothing happens, so I need to shout the question again which seems to cement my lucidity too. Rarely do I receive no answer at all.
I have no expectation of the response. Instead I just wait momentarily while my dream formulates an answer to my request.
Here are a few examples:
In my lucid dream I was walking down a semi-familiar road in England. Most of the colors were gray and dreary as in real life. But, being lucid, I was feeling whimsical and so without any expectations I simply shouted: "Show me something hilarious!"
The next thing I saw was a man-sized, multi-colored furry ape turn the corner and walk down the street towards me. (A distant cousin of Sully from Monsters, Inc perhaps).
He had a groovy walk and his fur ruffled in high-definition. He walked straight past me like he didn't have a care in the world.
This bizarre, out-of-the-blue image was hilarious and I fell into fits of giggles in my dream. It was delightful. I woke up truly bemused by my inner self's sense of humor.
I was standing in a stunning landscape of trees and fields that stretched to the horizon and, now lucid, shouted out to the sky: "Show me something amazing!"
The sky lit up then and turned into a brilliant orange sunset. I saw a giant woman appear in the sky, with long brown wavy hair and orange robes. She was full of bright light.
She didn't actually say anything to me but I got an awesome sense of power and confidence. I felt like this was a projection of my own inner self, or at least a culturally generated projection that would make me feel strong. That was a great lucid moment.
The Inner Goddess
In the examples above I simply asked my lucid dream self to show me things. Other times I have asked specific questions about my personal life, when I am not sure which avenue to take (it certainly weighs-in on big decisions).
The dream self is also a wonderful source of creativity and taking the lucid dream in new and exciting directions, as in this example:
I am standing in a house with Pete at night. I recall my lucid dream challenge (from the Lucid Dream Exchange magazine) and go outside among some fields and draw the symbol for infinity in the air.
At the same time I look around, notice the stars in the night sky and the way the landscape is brighter than it should be, and I say rather grandly: "To infinity... and beyond!" in the style of Buzz Lightyear.
Nothing happens at first... then a few sparks appear in the air, like a magical engine starting up.
I decide to try again. This time I draw the Omega sign to represent absolute infinity, and repeat the phrase out loud: "To infinity... and beyond!"
I am hit in the face - POW - with a million white dots. I find myself zooming through space, or rather something like space, an indescribable void, impossibly full of stars and blackness at the same time. They disappear outside my vision in an unexpected way, as it they are circling around me and high speed. Soon the experience becomes overwhelming and I wake up.
You can begin to see this is not a simple question-and-answer game to play with a dream character. This is how you interact with the inner awareness, the hidden director of your lucid dream. There may not always be a face to communicate with (in fact, in 9 out of 10 of these encounters, the self is not personified). But you will feel as if there is a consciousness behind the events that shape up. This is one of the great wonders of the lucid dream world.
Robert Waggoner has theorized about the source of this mysterious observer:
"In addition to knowledgeable and volitional dream figures (that may represent fragments of conscious awareness or sub-personalities), lucid dreamers appear able to contact something more comprehensive and aware, perhaps what could be called the subliminal self, the inner ego, of the inner Self."
Note how this inner observer is distinct from dream figures or objects within the dream. It is the dream itself.
Its communications are vocalizations, thoughts and ideas woven into the fabric of the dream, by altering the dream, presenting new imagery and sounds. Hearing a booming voice in response to a question shouted to the dream is an excellent signal that you were truly communicating with your inner self.
Waggoner goes on to explain how this view aligns with Carl Jung's speculations on an inner psychic system of awareness:
"...experienced lucid dreamers report numerous examples of interactions with the inner ego that can only be characterized as responsible, seemingly intelligent, and educationally oriented (i.e., purposeful). The nature of these preliminary interactions suggests an inner, functioning, perceiving psychic organism or inner Self, accessible in the lucid dream state. Some experienced lucid dreamers already refer to it more poetically, as the Dreamer of the dream."
Perhaps most revealing of all is the calm, logical, authoritative nature of the inner observer. Far from Freud's theory of a primitive unconscious, ruled by instinctive impulses and repressed emotions, this subliminal awareness appears to be a healthy, co-conscious system concealed beneath our waking ego.
Studies by Ernest Hilgard suggest this "hidden observer" is also accessible through deep hypnosis. On conversing with the hidden observer, his hypnotic subjects later made insightful comments such as: "The hidden observer is watching, mature, logical, has more information." Another said: "The hidden observer was an extra, all-knowing part of me."
So, when we talk to this hidden observer in our lucid dreams, it may be that we are not talking to a repressed Freudian self, but an equal partner in consciousness. In this parallel processing system, one part (our inner self) provides a monitoring function and the other (our waking self) provides an executive, decisive function. Which is why we can receive unexpected answers from this hidden intelligence: they truly are unanticipated by our waking ego.
It's most helpful to formulate your question(s) while awake, when you have time to consider what it is you really what to know.
Take some time to write down a few questions now, or at least memorize them in your mind, so you have a meaningful go-to question when you're next lucid.
I wanted to know what the leading expert on the lucid inner self recommended we ask, so contacted Robert Waggoner about this experiment. He gave me this list of 10 things to ask your lucid dream self:
Remember, unless you are talking directly to a dream figure (which typically represents a part of your psyche, or otherwise is a sort of dream automaton) the answers to your questions arise directly from your inner self. This appears to be a source of significant intuitive insight.
What's more, this dreaming self is not filtered by your usual waking judgment, which often gets bogged down in self criticism and nay-saying. Here, the answers are potentially more wild and ambitious than you ever dare think in waking life.
That's really why I like this lucid dream technique.
Click here to view Robert Waggoner's Lucid Dreaming: Gateway to the Inner Self on Amazon.
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