shutterbugjen wrote:Thank you for doing this, Dem! I look forward to seeing more installments in the Consolidation.
Thanks Jen! I hope it's helpful to many.
I have a question for you, as a long-time oneironaut-- do lucid dreams come naturally to you now, or do you find yourself practicing particular techniques to induce lucidity?
Excellent question! It's a little bit of both actually. I have a daily meditation practice (which will be outlined step-by-step in the meditation section of the project) which takes me about 5 minutes each morning, and another 5 to 10 minutes at night as I fall asleep. The morning meditation helps my day start off (and usually continue) with a bright and positive outlook about myself, others, and life. The evening meditation assists with targeting specific things I'd like to dream about, and enhances dream recall, vividity, stabilization, and lucid awareness when I dream.
I also continue to use reality checks during the day as a semi-regular thing I do. When my dream cycle (the natural cycle of dreaming which I believe is tied to hormonal cycles, which can increase or decrease the quality of my dreams) is low, I tend to focus on doing more reality checks in order to maintain good recall. However, when my dream cycle is high (when the quality of my dreams is better, and lucidity is easier), I focus less on reality checks, and more on targeting.
These days, even when I'm not trying to become lucid in my dreams, I average about a 50% chance to become lucid. So my conclusion there is that long term practice does lead to natural lucidity on a regular basis. When I intend to become lucid, I have an overall average about an 85% chance to become lucid (the day-to-day average fluctuates according to where I currently am in my dream cycle).
Do you find your level of lucidity to be different when you enter the lucid state in different ways?
Another awesome question! Yes. Tho I tend to think of this more as different types of lucid dreams instead of levels of lucidity. There are different qualities of dreams, each which acts as dimension unto itself. This is easiest to explain by using color and Cartesian coordinates (X, Y, Z axis for 3D space and T axis for time) as an analogy.
The axis in this analogy are different dimensions in space and time (or degrees of freedom) in our waking world, and I use them to highlight different dimensions within the dreamscape. You can have X and Y axis to give a location on the ground (like Latitude and Longitude), and a Z axis to give height (above/below sea level), and then give a specific time for someone to meet you there.
Dreams tend to have different types of dimensions which include vividity (clarity of the dream), control (how much of the dream you can control/dream powers), duration (which is an aspect of stability), engagement (how much, and what kinds of interaction you have with objects or characters), dream layers (dream within a dream), and lucidity, for example.
Each of these dream dimensions has a full spectrum; such as from having no control over a dream to having full control, as well as all the tiny increments between the two extremes. I liken this spectrum to the saturation of a color; blue for example can range from near black, to near white. The saturation levels of the various dream dimensions often fluctuate from dream to dream, but may also change many times within a single dream. Each dream dimension can be thought of as a different color; the blending of which produces the overall quality of the dream.
When I talk about different types
of dreams (together with the analogy), I liken it to different art styles and mediums where color can be used for expression in different ways. For instance, there are "normal" dreams; there are "ultra real" dreams which feel more real than waking life (which is akin to vividity, but not quite the same, as here I'm talking about the way the dream feels
as opposed to appears
, tho they go hand-in-hand often); then there are "Out of Body Experiences" (OBE) and "Near Death Experiences" (NDE), which are another type of lucid dream; and many other types, some that don't have easily identifiable classifications.
Each type of dream has all the dream dimensions, and the full spectrum of each dimension to work with, like a color palette ready to be coupled to an art style to create a work of art. The main distinction between dream dimensions and dream types is that the type of dream is defined more by how the dreamer feels concerning the quality of a dream, whereas the dimensions are the combination of all the other ways the dreamer experiences the dream, as well as content.
Some of my current research is on identifying different dream dimensions and types, as well as trying to figure out what does and doesn't work to influence them.
So far, my findings suggest that the methods used to enter a lucid dream can have an effect on the likelihood of the type (art style) of the dreamscape. For instance, practicing a body trance (aka "disconnection" or "stiff body") style of meditation for a WILD induction has a high chance of inducing an OBE/NDE type of dream.
Of course, my research on ways to influence dream types and dimensions is still on-going.