Carpe Somnia Mundi: Protracting Lucid Dreams

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Summerlander
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Carpe Somnia Mundi: Protracting Lucid Dreams

Postby Summerlander » 11 May 2015 23:41

To be able to protract lucid dreams as much as possible is a valuable skill for any aspirant lucid dreamer. As most people here are aware, the cerebral phase state that begets lucid dreaming is unstable. In order to maintain it, several techniques can be employed. Fear, by the way, is an emotion that can sustain lucid dreaming in some at the cost of comfort and increasing loss of control -- not something to rely on by oneironauts. If panic ensues, a premature awakening can occur if the lucid dreamer is lucky enough to be spared a string of frightful false awakenings. Fear of failure is also not an option when one is consciously avoiding a premature awakening. If you fear awakening during a lucid dream, you will invoke thoughts of finding yourself back in bed in the real world, the termination of lucid dreaming, the evanescence of your dream world, a sense of failure and other negative modes of thinking that will potentially disrupt your journey.

I know this can be a challenge to execute, but, I am trying to encourage oneironauts -- especially the novice -- to remain unconcerned about premature awakenings whilst trying to preclude them. It appears to be a paradoxical ask, but the idea behind it is doable. Most people think about the pounds they must be losing when they exercise and stick to prescribed diets but there are those who HABITUALLY do the right thing without focusing -- or being aware of -- the benefits they reap. Likewise, these individuals don't fear the pounds they'll gain if their behavioural pattern is broken. Their beneficial comportment is natural to them. It's a habit. It's second nature. Not much thinking involved. In order to turn such helpful actions into useful habits, one must practise -- and it helps if early efforts are ENTHUSIASTICALLY implemented ab initio. I hope you are getting a picture of what I'm trying to convey here...

Worry and (to a lesser degree) ambition should not feature strongly in any approach. Be calm and tolerant of mistakes. If you awake prematurely without having been disturbed in the real world, you have most likely allowed yourself to be distracted by thoughts. If you fall off the taut rope, as it were, your mind has wandered. You can probably see now how the practice of lucid dreaming is akin to meditation -- especially where its maintenance is concerned -- and the two certainly interrelate. (Remember the times when your goal was to induce a WILD, and you noticed how your mind persistently strays from a point of focus into a maelstrom of noisy thinking -- this, in the induction of lucid dreams as much as meditation, already is a great leap in recognising the complex nature of the human mind.) So, before attempting any of the techniques I'm about to highlight, one must be serene and curb internal dialogue (or "monologue" if you want to pedantically emphasise that one talks to oneself in one's mind).

Beware of thinking in lucid dreams! They can be a major distraction which will ultimately cause you to lose sight of your plan (it behoves you to have one prior to lucid dreaming) -- and with it, lucidity -- or to wake up. On this note, it is worth mentioning that oneironauts should CAUTIOUSLY interact with dream characters and scenes. Engage with them if you will but don't become so involved that you lose yourself. Probe them, test them, converse with them, experiment with dream events and forms, but remain the LUCID OBSERVER. If you feel that you are losing yourself, and thus losing control as you dangerously verge on dream inebriety, move away from the situation. In any case, a well remembered action plan will help you remain lucidly riveted and elevate a mind frame befitting stability of the Gamma phase state (40 Hz cerebral bandwidth) and conducive to the protraction of lucid dreams.

Included in the lesson of lucid-dream prolongation is learning to enjoy the experience responsibly. This includes a little dream incubation coupled with real-time focus in the dream world. You should have an INTERESTING PLAN so solid that the myriad thoughts from your subconscious cannot compete with it. Remember: Everything in the dream world is the end product of those very thoughts that ostensibly compete for your attention -- their limelight is the light of consciousness. If you don't have a plan, you are more liable to be absorbed by those thought-forms and their illusory scenarios where you will no longer be your waking self and the truth about what surrounds you -- a dream -- will be lost.

The reason why the self can change so radically is that it, too, is the product of thinking by the brain. That's right! The self is a bundle of thoughts (you are who you think you are) in the light of consciousness. You don't believe it? Then consider the following facts: One can have several identities and think irrationally, or incoherently, in ordinary dreams; the lucid-dream self -- which is liable to Alan Worsley's "bizarre thinking" (see Dream Science) -- is the closest assimilation to the waking one; the waking self can be moulded or eradicated by false memory and amnesia.

The self, as the interpretation of a soul riding the physical body, does not exist. (See Anatta, the realisation of no-self.) Even in linguistic expression we inadvertently convey this truth when we say, "The self is THOUGHT TO BE an immaterial soul" and "Who do you THINK you are?" (The "you" in this confrontational phrase clearly doesn't refer to a distinct personality, but rather, that which does the thinking and potentially generates identities -- the brain, me thinks.) I won't even go into multiple personality disorder. Consciousness, whatever its relation to the physical world, underlies the sense of self, which, needless to say, is a persistent illusion. This is the reality Siddhartha Gautama, the historical Buddha, discovered. I think it's important for every lucid dreamer to realise this because lucid dreaming can provide some insight into the nature of consciousness as it can offer shortcuts to meditative goals. When the Buddha became enlightened under that Sacred Fig tree, as the story goes, he realised that consciousness can become convoluted into a plethora of thought-forms -- the most intricate of all, which is entangled with the simpler ones, is the waking ego or self. If consciousness is like a mirror, what it reflects are the thoughts. Prince Gautama witnessed the "mirror" not reflecting anything, so to speak. Once he recognised all concepts arising in the mind for exactly what they are (objects of consciousness), without ever becoming distracted by them, he was "free."

The most elusive and intricate conceptual clump persisted until our renowned contemplative turned his attention to it: the self. When he inverted consciousness on itself -- looking for the observer in him -- the subjective-objective dichotomy was shattered and the ego, like every other fleeting thought, vanished. What remained was a clear consciousness with no identity -- a PRISTINE AWARENESS, a neutrality that cannot be moved by anything. This naked awareness, posited by the majority of scientists and materialists to be the byproduct of some yet unknown physical harmony, is, despite its neutrality, blissful. Why should this be? Perhaps, as some modern contemplatives have suggested, pure consciousness -- free of all mental baggage including the self -- has a "blissful tone." Consciousness as being intrinsically blissful is quite feasible once we acknowledge that its convoluted form, which we experience in our day-to-day lives, leads to desires, a relentless search for happiness, unhealthy attachments and suffering. It isn't hard to see that the core of what the Buddha prescribed was legitimate and meditation has indeed been scientifically established to be beneficial for the brain. Our clouded minds force us to live our lives based on LIKES and DISLIKES and when things don't go as planned we become dysphoric. The Buddha truly showed us another way...

The general goal in the management of lucid dreaming isn't shattering the illusion of self. (Unless, of course, one is using lucid dreams as meditative shortcuts in order to self-transcend.) On the contrary, if one wishes to lengthen the duration of a lucid dream, the self must be preserved and kept as close as possible to the model of the waking ego. The lucid dream state depends on this. The closer the lucid-dream self emulates the waking one the better. But where the same meditative -- or, indeed, Buddhist approach -- applies is where oneironauts bear in mind the illusory nature of dream reality and keep at bay its elements for they can potentially generate other identities with the power to jeopardise and replace the lucid self. Lucid dreaming, when executed properly, is the adroitness of manipulating the very convoluted mental web that the Buddha urged us to address. In this sense, and as the two strive for the betterment of minds, lucid dreaming and meditation are compatible. Both encourage us to be mindful.

Without further ado, what techniques can one utilise to prolong lucid dreaming? Well, the principle behind all of them is CARPE SOMNIA MUNDI (seize the dream world). One way to do this is to amplify the senses in the lucid dream. What does the dream world FEEL like? Bring clarity to your vision; touch dream objects (this includes your phantom body) and assess their properties; pay attention to audition; taste food and drink; and move around! Avoid pausing to think and avert hesitation as actions from uncertainty can bring about abrupt awakenings. (You really can't afford to go without an action plan if you want your lucid dream to last!) If the dream world shows signs of fading in any way, shape or form, intensify what has dimmed. If the environment continues to fade despite your efforts, quickly grasp a dream object, and, if you are still holding it whilst perceiving yourself to be lying in bed, you are still dreaming! Just get out of bed and quicken your surroundings to reasonable realism.

You want dream environments to exhibit real-like -- or ever hyper-real -- qualities. The reason for this is that there is usually a correlation between a strong illusion of perceptual realism and the stability of the hybrid phase state of the brain which appears to promote waking consciousness whilst dreaming. Here's an example of deepening and maintaining this phase state:

"After a perceived separation from my body, I stand in darkness. I rub my hands a few inches from my face, paying attention to the EXPECTED warmth, noise and friction this action produces, all the while HOPING to see. MINDING these percepts gradually INTENSIFIES the experience. I blow a stream of hot air from my mouth which appears to make my hands visible exactly as DESIRED. I am mildly EXCITED at the simplicity of this experience. Then, with my magical puff, I ENTHUSIASTICALLY colourise the rest of the bedroom surroundings until darkness has been completely replaced. I REMEMBER my action plan and follow it through as I occasionally maintain the dream world as needed using the same techniques previously employed to intensify the lucid dream ab initio."

As you execute your plan, carpe somnia mundi. Do not be distracted by thoughts. Live out the lucid dream. Absorb the hallucinatory experience enthusiastically with your senses. Live in the now as it happens. Later, in the waking state, you will have time to once again marvel at the lucid dream in memory and mull it over. It helps to revisit the experience in the present tense as you jot it down in your journal. If it was interesting (as a successfully executed action plan should be), it will have a lasting mnemonic impact.

Strong sensations, with great illusion of realism, will help the oneironaut remain in the dream world. One must resist awakening and the clutches of ordinary dreaming by keeping active, avoiding internal dialogue and stray thinking, and never hesitating. Other techniques include: Spinning; counting; maintaining a strong vibrational state during perambulation of the dream world; a periodic analysis of awareness ("Am I dreaming?"); avoiding looking into the distance for too long (which can precipitate awakenings); a strong intention to have a perdurable lucid dream; and re-entering lucid dreamland as many times as possible after brief -- and undesired! -- awakening-like interludes until this option expires.

So there you have it, my friends. I hope this disquisition helps the recent neophytes and refreshes the memory of some of the veterans here who have been devoting much of their time to discussions that do not pertain to lucid dreaming in the Off-topic section. Please feel free to suggest new ways to aid the protraction of lucid dreams. Good luck and carpe somnia mundi!

Sweet lucid dreams... 8-)

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"Empty cognizance of one taste, suffused with knowing, is your unmistaken nature, the uncontrived original state. when not altering what is, allow it to be as it is, and the awakened state is right now spontaneously present."

- Padmasambhava

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Alvar
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Re: Carpe Somnia Mundi: Protracting Lucid Dreams

Postby Alvar » 14 May 2015 04:48

Amazing contribution. All I can say is thank you.

It all makes sense to me, given my experiences, but I had not put two and two together on the fact that worrying about waking up will make me wake up. The longest lucid experiences I've had were ones that seemed almost plotted stories, beginning, middle and end... and I think that was due to the fact that I had prepared myself to look into something when I had the next event of lucidity. I guess I could say that I was so intent on looking or experiencing something that I forgot to worry about waking up.

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taniaaust1
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Re: Carpe Somnia Mundi: Protracting Lucid Dreams

Postby taniaaust1 » 14 May 2015 10:35

Thoughtful post :)

Fear of failure is also not an option when one is consciously avoiding a premature awakening. If you fear awakening during a lucid dream, you will invoke thoughts of finding yourself back in bed in the real world, the termination of lucid dreaming,


So true. We probably don't mention that enough at this website.

Beware of thinking in lucid dreams! They can be a major distraction which will ultimately cause you to lose sight of your plan (it behoves you to have one prior to lucid dreaming) -- and with it, lucidity -- or to wake up.


That depends. It's thinking of the sort which people just stand there and stop interacting with their dream which is the issue and is quite likely to cause a dream loss.

Like getting inside their heads too much so for a split moment, so hence becoming distant to the dream (one only has to not focus on a dream for a fraction of a moment to loose that dream). Thinking is fine if you keep your attention on the dream. One can deeply analyse a dream while staying focused on whatever you are seeing, hearing, feeling etc at the time. I often even analyse my own dream symbols while still in the dream.

Do not loose attention on a dream even for just a moment, don't focus on self like inside ones head while in a dream eg don't stand there doing nothing and thinking to oneself "what did I want to do?" what was my goal? ***think *** (cant remember) think (cant remember)*** think**** the mind is now away from the current dream/disconnected from dream. (be aware of where the mind is).

It's great to have dream goals but if you forget do not dwell on it, it doesn't matter, just find something in your dream to do.

It's often only a danger of dream loss in a wake up, if one stops focus on the actual dream. Don't stand around just thinking too much but if one is looking at something in the dream and thinking about it or analysing it (observing in detail), that can be fine. (though some do wake up if they use their normal thoughts too much but I usually don't from that).

On this note, it is worth mentioning that oneironauts should CAUTIOUSLY interact with dream characters and scenes. Engage with them if you will but don't become so involved that you lose yourself. Probe them, test them, converse with them, experiment with dream events and forms, but remain the LUCID OBSERVER. If you feel that you are losing yourself, and thus losing control as you dangerously verge on dream inebriety, move away from the situation.


Some can find it helpful to really interact with the DCs and scenes esp people into WILD in which the dream state may start off quite unstable. Deeply interacting with the dream in these cases can often help. Some need to interact more deeply to keep the right balance so not to wake up in real life. I sometimes use getting more involved in dreams at times for dream deepening rather then using stabilising techniques by rubbing hands etc.

How much to interact or play along with a LD often can depend one what the state needs... does the person need to go lighter? (due to the risk of loosing themselves) or does the person need to go deeper? (due to risk of loosing the dream). To prolong a LD one needs to keep the state balanced to stay consciously in it.
The only thing to fear is the fear itself

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Summerlander
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Re: Carpe Somnia Mundi: Protracting Lucid Dreams

Postby Summerlander » 14 May 2015 11:21

I suppose I should mention that interaction with dream characters is stabler when it's part of an action plan. It helps if you already know what to say. It's been said that focusing on their lips as they speak can be distracting and eventuate premature awakenings. If you plan to have a deep and intense conversation with them then it may indeed help you to engage because this is your lucid dream plan. But be careful. Don't lose sight of what you're trying to do. You should be able to preserve your autonomy. Don't get so doped up (think too much about what the DC is saying) that you lose your waking-like self and the DC ends up exhibiting more of an autonomous mind than you.

I find that it also helps if I rub my hands whilst conversing with a DC. On this occasion, I don't need to look at my hands and it wouldn't be a good idea as it would overload the visual field. During communication with DC's, rubbing hands should be a background sensation (tactility to help keep the dream world stable).

You are right about pausing to think, by the way. Oneironauts should stay focused on what's around them and execute their plan. Keep moving. Keep doing something. Pausing increases the chances of an undesirable exit from the lucid dream.

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"Empty cognizance of one taste, suffused with knowing, is your unmistaken nature, the uncontrived original state. when not altering what is, allow it to be as it is, and the awakened state is right now spontaneously present."

- Padmasambhava

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taniaaust1
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Re: Carpe Somnia Mundi: Protracting Lucid Dreams

Postby taniaaust1 » 14 May 2015 11:50

Summerlander wrote:I suppose I should mention that interaction with dream characters is stabler when it's part of an action plan. It helps if you already know what to say. It's been said that focusing on their lips as they speak can be distracting and eventuate premature awakenings.


I don't understand why anyone would stare at their lips, is that something people do in real life?. I focus on them just like I would do if I was talking to a normal person but always are aware they are just a DC but by treating them as if they are normal people when speaking to them, it can help me deepen the dream.

(deepening my dreams are always my biggest need when Im LD, its wake ups which is my issue, once I'm lucid it would be extremely rare for me to drift into an unaware dream state, my waking mind is too active to do that)

If you plan to have a deep and intense conversation with them then it may indeed help you to engage because this is your lucid dream plan.


I never plan before hand to talk to them (unless its part of a dream challenge Im working on) but they still really can help me engage with the dream.
The only thing to fear is the fear itself

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Summerlander
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Re: Carpe Somnia Mundi: Protracting Lucid Dreams

Postby Summerlander » 15 May 2015 01:31

I don't understand why people would focus on moving lips either, Tania -- I've never done it! -- but it seems that some oneironauts have decided to observe dream characters' lip-sync abilities (perhaps curious to see if lip movements match the voice being heard) with adverse effects. Probably best to regard DC's as a whole when we interact with them. Anyway, however lucid you feel, don't let your guard down. ;-)

If the plan is to ask specific questions when you meet a dream character, then there isn't much room for hesitation. If the plan is an impromptu conversation, then the bar is raised for most, but not much -- I'd imagine -- for superb interviewers and conversationalists. Reporters may even use lucid dreaming to hone in on their communicative skills -- especially if they wish to always be ready and unwavering come whatever may from their respondents.

By the way, Alvar, I'm glad you found this helpful. It seems that you have already realised what I propose here. Carpe somnia mundi with enthusiasm and intention can override the worry about premature awakenings and prolong lucid dreams. Thanks for sharing! 8-)

[ Post made via Android ] Image
"Empty cognizance of one taste, suffused with knowing, is your unmistaken nature, the uncontrived original state. when not altering what is, allow it to be as it is, and the awakened state is right now spontaneously present."

- Padmasambhava

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Limeth
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Re: Carpe Somnia Mundi: Protracting Lucid Dreams

Postby Limeth » 16 May 2015 20:36

I dare to join this converastion of LD veterans with my contribution.

As a newbie to lucid dreaming, I find your post extremely helpful. Now I actually not only know what works to stabilize a dream, but most importantly, how it works. Not only was the post very enjoyable to read, it is also full of interesting and useful information, that I have not known about before. I believe it was one of the best written articles about lucid dreaming I've read on the Internet.

Thank you.
Throwing away your dreams means throwing away 20% of your life.

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Summerlander
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Re: Carpe Somnia Mundi: Protracting Lucid Dreams

Postby Summerlander » 17 May 2015 01:13

I'm flattered, Limeth. I'm glad people are finding it useful! 8-)

[ Post made via Android ] Image
"Empty cognizance of one taste, suffused with knowing, is your unmistaken nature, the uncontrived original state. when not altering what is, allow it to be as it is, and the awakened state is right now spontaneously present."

- Padmasambhava

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torakrubik
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Re: Carpe Somnia Mundi: Protracting Lucid Dreams

Postby torakrubik » 19 May 2015 01:20

Fantastic contribution Summerlander, thanks a lot! Plenty of stuff in there I'd forgotten about.
Dreaming is my drug

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Summerlander
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Re: Carpe Somnia Mundi: Protracting Lucid Dreams

Postby Summerlander » 19 May 2015 02:29

You're welcome. I think lucid dreamers should work together in improving their practice. We can all learn a lot from one another. :-)

[ Post made via Android ] Image
"Empty cognizance of one taste, suffused with knowing, is your unmistaken nature, the uncontrived original state. when not altering what is, allow it to be as it is, and the awakened state is right now spontaneously present."

- Padmasambhava


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