It was late. I decided to turn in for the night, so I turned off all the lights. I don't ever normally do this, but that night I decided to watch television while drifting off to sleep. So, I turned on the TV. I lied down beneath the covers, got comfortable, and rested.
The movie that was playing was Constantine, a fantastical movie about demons and sci-fi battles. I had never seen the movie before, and still have no idea what exactly it was about. To this day, I honestly don't have the slightest clue how the movie ends, seeing as it could have been dream or actual footage. I didn't particularly enjoy the movie either - it was rather eerie and I don't care for horror - so don't ask me why my eyes stayed stubbornly open to watch, as my body slept.
What happened was interesting. As my mind was lowering in brainwave consistency... dropping off into sleep... my eyes somehow stayed open. I was partially asleep, but still watching this movie. It was strange; as I watched, the movie took weird and unexpected twists and things literally popped off of the screen. The flashing images slowly increased in size, until all I saw was the story playing out in front of me. Like watching a dream in third-person (I'm sure you're all familiar with that).
It was strange... a sort of foggy hybrid between sleep paralysis and lucid dreaming. And the story progression of the movie that my mind projected was completely consistent with the beginning, which I watched while awake. Granted, it was strange, but I was fascinated with my unconscious story-writing abilities.
Movies and television are so stimulating to our mind that it latches on like a barnacle. This explains the fact that watching horror movies during the day can influence nightmares.
Here's what I do to prompt what I've come to call "movie dreaming".
Your body begins to fall asleep of its own accord, especially if you've had a physically tiring day. Eventually you lose track of what is happening on the TV screen and what is a dream. Remember to use films that are CHOCK FULL of fantasy and abstraction - your dreaming mind wraps around them better! Any of the movies listed here on this website would be perfect:
Although I have been able to replicate this experience, it has never been as powerful and interesting as that first time in front of Constantine.
I feel that this is due, in part, to the fact that I was staying in a foreign hotel, and my sleeping environment was unfamiliar. If you're a lucid dreamer, I'm sure you know that unfamiliar sleeping places induce more powerful experiences (I once had four false awakenings in a row while staying with my cousin).
I've always been fascinated with dream narrative.
Sometimes our unconscious tells us stories that leave us with strong emotions or shifted perspectives / opinions once awake. This method is perfect for doing things like this. It helps with creative thinking or problem solving, and just simple stimulation of the imagination.
Not to mention using this technique to induce lucid dreaming. Throughout the duration of the film, you have a strange perception of reality. You can't know what part of it is actual movie, and what is stuff projected by the unconscious.
It's also a very interesting experience. It's really cool seeing what ending your mind gives the movie, then watching it again while in full wakefulness the next day and seeing the similarities and differences.
Which ending did you like better? :)
I'm sure everyone has experienced this at least once in their life, and I suppose it is simply a variation of sleep paralysis. So it wouldn't be very fun to watch a horror movie! I implore you to try this and record your own experience. It can be very remarkable.
About The Guest Author
Samuel Eger lives in Virginia, USA. He began his lucid dreaming experience about eight or nine years ago, although he has observed and been fascinated with dreams all his life. He is studying to begin a career in the medical field and is also a painter, a writer of fiction and poetry, and a hobbyist of psychology and dream science. Samuel often uses lucid dreaming to inspire his art and writing. He loves nature and gardening, his Sheltie (Callie), piano, swimming and hiking.
Rebecca Turner is a science writer, illustrator, explorer of consciousness - and founder of World of Lucid Dreaming. She is currently studying for a biology degree in Auckland and blogging at her site Science Me.
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