Peter Maich is a lifelong lucid dreamer from New Zealand and an active member of our lucid dreaming forums, offering helpful insight to lucid dreamers at all stages of development.
He was recently invited to be interviewed by Robert Waggoner, co-editor of Lucid Dreaming Experience, to discuss his experiences of lucid energy/light, the conceptual void of the dreamworld, and taking Galantamine supplements. Here is the result.
[This article is republished with permission from Lucid Dreaming Experience. You can read more of their extraordinary interviews with advanced lucid dreamers at https://www.luciddreamingmagazine.com/]
I have always had a very rich and vivid dream life and great recall of dreams. This started at quite an early age, around 5, if I recall correctly, and has been the case for all of my life.
In some of the early nightmares, I would get to bed and get these funny feelings as if my body was bigger than it really was and then just be in dreams where I was lost in a rolling landscape that would fall away and force me to jump and run for my life. I would be scared of something in these dreams and just keep running, jumping and crawling up impossible slopes, never getting away and not quite waking up. I suspect that I was aware in these dreams but without any control. I can still recall those forty five years later.
A lot of the time I used to wake up and see people in my room. This used to be very scary and after a time I just got sick of the dreams and wanted to do something about them.
Years later I had what I termed ‘organic dreams'. These started as a young adult and now I understand they were hypnagogic images that would lead me into a lucid dream. In these dreams I would observe organic landscapes and places that looked like the inside of a living body. I used to think I was looking around my mind and inside my body and it was fun and non-threatening and left me feeling good afterwards.
In about my 30's I had a year or so of sleep paralysis more often than not and it was just horrid as I had no idea what it was. These attacks always occurred at home and it was a very scary time. I was working at sea at the time but these attacks did not happen on the boat. Now I think this is because of the movement of my body on the boat at night. To get over it, I slept without sheets as they didn't provide any protection from whatever was attacking me and I tried to not be scared of what was likely to happen. I used to come out swinging when I could finally move and telling whatever it was to just FK off or I would kill it. It always came back! In time these attacks just went away.
Every once in a while I would have odd dreams and a lot of dreams about dead friends. In about ten years, I lost 17 friends and a few of these would appear in my dreams. I always liked this, took it at face value and over the years various people will come back from time to time. Interestingly, they sometimes look older than when they died. One uncle, a deer culler that died in a wheelchair appeared in a dream when I was flying over the mountains and simply said that he was happy now as he could walk again. Another young friend appeared and said its cool where he was as you don't need to sleep and could play 24 hours a day.
Some of these dreams I would now classify as lucid, but I had no idea at the time and no way of really finding out. This was before the Internet made so much information available and so it was a case of trying to work out what I could on my own. I was torn between being sick of the nightmares and the beauty of the dreamscapes that I was wandering around in, in my mind and so very curious to lean about all this in some way.
In my first lucid dreams I was amazed at the control that I had, that I existed as myself in this environment with all my normal senses and could explore, create, destroy or simply look around.
I was very intrigued with how it felt to put my hands through a wall and through each other. The tingling or vibrating that I feel and also the color of my hands was interesting. I started to wonder how real this body was and if you really needed it to get around in the dreams.
In one lucid dream I looked for and found the silver thread that I had read about and was supposed to connect you to your sleeping body. To hold this in my dream hands was an awesome feeling. It truly was a sliver thread and had a solid feel to it that was totally different from anything else that I had played with in a dream. This cord surprised me as it appeared to be of a different material with a different texture and feel and a nice coolness about it as well. If I looked behind me, I could watch this cord cut through buildings as I was flying. From this I decided that the dream world was a construct of energy in some form and not as solid as waking life. In saying this I have hit trees while flying and it really hurt so the dream world is a confusing mix and appears to conform to its own logic.
With more experience and talking to dream characters I was surprised at the ones that would debate and make me doubt that I was dreaming if I asked that question and made good cases to the effect that I was in their dream. I found that by putting my hand thorough them I could win the debate, but it took me a while to work this out.
The first time I really got lucid and became aware of it I was being chased or confronted by a crowd. I got angry and demanded they just stop and when they didn't, I started just throwing people away from me and if they got in my way just pulling limbs off them. This behavior seemed to give me a presence in the dream that created awareness and in time I learnt to become fully aware and therefore lucid.
Various other dreams were very scary and they concerned being in places that felt strange and gave me a feeling of dread due to what felt like an unseen presence and there was always a door in the wall. I just knew if I went through the door it would be bad, but in time I made the decision to go through the door.
In doing this I became lucid and was able to do more in my dreams. In the early days I never sought to change anything and was still on my lonesome as far as information about dreaming. I was simply fed up with nightmares and some of the feelings of dread that the dreams were chucking at me. I think now that the worst dreams were really sleep paralysis within the dream and that created the feeling of being pulled or sucked away and into another dream.
I do recall one powerful early dream when two females took my hands and led me through one of these doors; on the other side there was a hallway that just ended in a black space and in this space was a ball of fire with the top just above us. These two guides led me to the edge and then we stepped out into the flames. I recall sort of just burning up, could feel the incredible heat and then a sense of peace. It might have been my first void experience years before I had any idea of where I really was.
All of these dreams started to really make me curious and want to understand where I was and what place and state I existed in during the dreams. I have never doubted that it was in my mind, as in the waking world everything our senses take in creates the reality in our mind. So I treated these experiences as being as real as the waking world and think the place of dreaming is in our mind.
I knew that I was fully aware during these experiences but not awake in the normal sense and just wanted to know more. There was not much information around and so I thought I would have to work it out for myself. I wanted to know if it was normal and there was really no one to ask about this.
A thought that I had at the time was to wonder if animals were able to access these states to heal themselves - like when a cat will eat grass and then disappear for a few days. I wondered if they would somehow dream these dreams or induce these states by instinct and either get well or die. So it was more than an interest in dreaming that attracted me as I was already looking for practical uses for the dream state and the communication with my inner self.
I used to say that these dreams were a way to talk to your inner self and communicate with another part of your mind using an organic language as I liked to call it. I have solved a lot of puzzles in private and business life by immersing myself totally in a subject and then have the answers come to me without conscious thought, and I was interested to see if all of this had a common thread that was wider that just me and my mind.
More recently, I have a great interest in looking beyond the playground of the dreamscape and would like to explore practical uses for lucid dreaming. I feel there is great potential to heal the body and other uses such as giving handicapped people the ability to experience walking, running, flying and all the wonder of the dreamscape. I have also read a lot about some of our great minds and artists and the fact that a lot of them have tapped into the lucid state for inspiration and innovation that is hard to come by with linear thinking and would like to explore this theme a little more.
The first was externally related and that was simply to use substances to help with lucid dreaming. I had seen the book ‘Advanced Lucid Dreaming' in a book shop a couple of years ago and simply refused to buy it, as it promoted the use of substances or in my mind, drugs. I did in time get a copy and gave it a good reading and yes, I now use supplements as part of my lucid dreaming program.
For me there was also a fear of the unknown. I was not sure of what to expect and the first two or three transitions to a lucid dream on supplements were very intense. The first time I used galantamine I had such a strong attack of SP that I came out swinging at the offender. A few minutes after that I was able to laugh it off and feel a little foolish about my panic as it was a good attack and the intensity got me by surprise.
Most of the lucid dreams induced by using supplements were WILD (wake initiated lucid dreams) and all were transitions to an OBE state, by this I mean that there were the feelings of relaxing, the blankness that I now know as a REM state while awake (courtesy of a ZEO sleep monitor) and then full awareness and sitting up in bed. A lot of these OBEs were quite violent at first and with bits of my dream body getting stuck during the process of an exit.
The first OBE got me by surprise as I fell out of bed and felt quite silly about this for a few seconds until I realized that I was OBE and in my dream body. I then simply got my bearings and got up and walked away. For the fun of it I went through a window and as the glass stretched instead of me bursting through I placed a bubble around me and travelled in this for a while.
It seems the deeper you go into the world of lucid dreaming the more you are removed from a standard view of reality and in some ways the more isolated you become as you reshape your own view of reality. I needed to allow myself time to accept each dream and any new experiences I might have had and allow these times to integrate into my view of the world.
For me the dreams concerning the void and light/energy are more recent and of a nature that makes me question even more what reality is. They have been so profound and as life changing as lucid dreaming itself. There are a lot of views on what and where the dreams are taking place and as I have no belief in religion or many of the spiritual practices, I needed to cement my dreams in my mind in a way that allowed them to be pure experience and not taint them in any way.
Even with experience there are times when it is hard to accept the reality of lucid dreaming and I needed to get over some fears. Supplement-induced dreams for me are almost indistinguishable from waking reality in detail, while in context they can be vastly different. At times I still question the dream, and below is a severe reality check.
I Hope I am Dreaming
"I was facing a lady with a skill saw in her hand. She would not let me go past her and I walked up to her and said this is my dream and you can't hurt me. I then put my hand into the saw and was thinking that I really hope this is a dream as it's going to hurt if it's not. Well it did hurt, bits of finger went flying and then I held my hand up to her, it healed and she smiled. I feel that, at times like this, the dream character is testing you for reasons of their own."
I thought about the dreams and how I felt after them, and realized that a lot of the time and in different ways each dream was a progression on the last. The dreams were starting to have energy appear or states where I was body-less but with awareness and that was quite profound. In my mind, at times I existed as pure energy with awareness and no sense of self or body and this just stunned me. At the same time I wanted to access more of these states and explore them if I could.
I came to believe that whatever part of me created the dreamscape would allow me to explore further as my skills increased and so I started to treat the lucid dreams that were similar to waking reality like a school where skills were developed in preparation for other tasks. These skills were to make correct judgments, increase the ability to focus and retain the state (of awareness) and interact with the dream characters in a respectful way. Some of the dream characters are more aware than others and seem to be pleased at times with my actions.
Wheelchair Dream with Old Lady
"I was riding my bike and went past a group of people standing on the side of a street. Across from them was an old lady in a wheelchair who was looking at me. I rode past her and then decided to go back. I picked her up and carried her across the street to where the other people were waiting (she was very light and small and her body changed to that of a baby while in my arms). I carried her across to the other group and they all looked very happy and pleased with me."
Each dream went a little deeper and left me glowing afterwards with feelings of wellbeing and so I started to believe that I would not come to any harm. I started to enjoy some of the states more and then began to look for them in my dreams. I was also starting to see the energy and void dreams as beyond dreaming in some way but could not define how or what I meant by this but was very keen to pursue this line of thought and see where it might lead.
One of the more unusual dream entries was in a WILD attempt. In this one I got to the stage of experiencing hypnagogic images and from there I was shunted backwards through what felt like an electric field. This was accompanied by a very strong jolt and I had no idea what was happening to me. I ended up in a dream and that was fine but I had not felt entry sensations as strong as that before or since.
There are times in a dream where I will be in a place, normally a room and it gets very quiet and I will sense a presence and get feelings of dread that something awful is about to happen. If I am brave enough to go with these feelings, I will be sucked or pulled along in a burst of energy and end up in another dream or in the void. I suspect that I may have been getting an attack of sleep paralysis from within the dream but am still not sure about this.
There are also quite often in the dreams a Mandala in the sky that seems to be a boil of energy. They are normally round and seething with color and energy and they start to draw me in. I have not allowed them to take me yet, but will do so at some time in the future.
The Lady in the Market
"I recall one incident in which a lady in a market was teaching me how to smell flowers correctly, I went to catch the scent of a flower and the flower turned into one of these balls of energy and I was sucked out of one dream into another."
The encounters with figures of this nature are rare for me and I can only recall one small part of a dream that might feature a spiritual figure. I don't have any belief in religion or in god-like beings so most likely my mind is not seeded to create any of them. The encounters with energy are becoming more common and are a nature that suits me better. I think of these dreams of light and energy as being more than a dream; more of a contact in some way.
Lady of Gold
"I am in a room and looking at a little boy playing on the floor. He is in the room by himself and the scene changes to a lady sitting in a lotus position in the void. She is golden and raises her hand and blows stardust of gold onto the boy. This boy then appears in the middle of her tongue and he is made of sparkling crystals of gold."
The first dream was about 15 years ago - long before I had any real understanding of lucid dreaming.
"I was in a hotel and lying down in the afternoon and was in a familiar space in my mind, observing small spots of light appearing in my eyes. I knew this was the start of going to sleep as I was good at getting to this state and then going to sleep or falling into a dream. I had been thinking about my health for some reason and associated these blue spots with healing and blue as a healing color or energy. I was observing these spots and got this rush or sensation of speed. I just went with it, scared but also curious. I was in a tunnel of light and moving at an unbelievable speed along it. There was no sensation of me with a body but I knew it was me being sucked along this tunnel and it seemed to go for a long time but may have only been a few seconds. The color was just pure, there was nothing I had ever seen that even came close to the purity of it. It was more like it was a living form than simply color. After this rush along the tunnel I exploded into a white light, just a massive blast of white light and, I think, along with a good loud bang in my head."
At the time I had no idea what had happened and of course not a single person to talk to it about. This kept me puzzling for years and also many years later lead me to ask for blue light in a dream and treat blue light as a healing color.
Blue Light Dream
"Before bed, I dwelled on the concept of energy as light and decided I wanted "blue light or energy to come to me in a dream."I relaxed and drifted into the awareness that the supplements seem to bring on and went into a set of OBE type body feelings (you feel your energy body floating out in bits and at times, parts get stuck, and the feeling is of the stuck bits being plucked out to join arm and legs). In time I got out of my body and found I was still in my room and in bed. My room looked about the same but the color was different and one door too many. The dream went for a long time but the bit of major interest is how the blue light appeared as two beams of focused but vibrating light. They snaked across the room, entered my hands and became part of my body. The first time this happened it was spontaneous and I called for the light again and experienced the light and feeling four separate times. I had no fear and the feelings are very hard to describe: the light enters you and floods your body (energy/dream body) and becomes a part of you or you become part of it. The light makes you tingle and vibrate and a peaceful warm feeling overtakes your body."
I don't think the color of the light in the dreams is that relevant but it is more the fact that if you leave it to the dream, as in the rainbow tunnel, it will give you a few colors. While if you are trying for a new effect and ask for a color, it will be there. This may be the way the dreams give some comfort to you and also the illusion of control. There are times when you can ask for the dream to surprise you and the colors will be random.
In my blue light dream the light appeared as snaking beams of energy and they entered my body through my hands; in another I was holding a rock just looking at it and the rock started glowing and then entered into my hand and filled my body. In both cases it was a smooth form of light that filled my body with vibration as it moved through me. I wonder if most of the dreams are made of this energy as placing a hand into a DC (dream character) or yourself or into a solid object has a similar feeling but not the same intensity or effect on you.
Who Are You I Asked
"I had one lucid dream in which I asked a very aware DC who he was. He replied that he was me. We talked a little and I suggested that we meld together to see what happened and we tried about three times to do this. His energy went into me a little way but was rejected each time. It was a funny feeling as he could not fill me or even go through me but was bounced out with the same feeling that a magnet produces when it repels itself.”
I think the light is the energy that forms our reality, physical matter and the content of our dreams and may come from different sources in the same way we have electricity generated in different ways but it is essentially the same product. To me the light is pure energy and we can either call it up and have it shaped by our will - or experience it in a more pure form and bathe in this. It makes no difference if you conjure up a green pill to cure a headache in the dream or ask to bathe in a glowing ball of green light. What you believe will work is what will work. So the light is the basic fabric of reality and may be the building blocks of all reality.
I am really keen to experience this energy in as pure a form as I can and feel that if we can get tuned into this we may be able to explore beyond our own minds in a new realm. Like computer code this may be a common form of exchange between all matter and be a type of consciousness itself. This might be the interface with which we make contact with any other beings if they exist. I am not sure if we generate the energy, add to the total amount of available energy or tap into other sources of this energy - possibly a mix of three might be closer to the correct answer. If this is the case it becomes very interesting as the next step in identifying and tracking the sources of any external energy.
The most amazing dreams are where you are contacted by the light and it comes to you in a form that is just not expected and in ways that are foreign to your own way of thinking.
Yes, the deeper you are into a dream and the more you get comfortable with accepting this energy into yourself the better the experience. Just like needing to keep emotions in check to keep the lucid states, the more experience with this energy the more you can observe and make judgments about the experiences.
The first time I called for the energy or light it was so strong and so invasive, I recall thinking that ‘I hope I am the same after this,' and ‘How will this energy change me?' It was so intense and just filled me but I also had no fear of the light. I just wondered how I could be the same afterwards.
In some of my early dreams I would ask for a new dream and then find myself in a space that contained nothing. It was a dark but comforting place and would contain flashes of light or streams of energy. I used to think this is what was described as hypnagogic images and they may be the same. This interested me and I found that in time I was able to stay there a little longer and observe these forms. I used to say I was observing pure thought or energy before it became anything. I would put my awareness closer to the forms and try to observe the color and structure that I was witnessing. One dream goal is to attach to a thread of energy and just see where it goes. I termed this place ‘the space between dreams' and then ‘the void' but it's not empty as the word ‘void' suggests but more of the place that contains our dreams.
There are several ways that I access this state from within a lucid dream and they are not difficult. From within a dream I will ask for a mirror and then with thoughtful intent, ask for the space between dreams to be beyond the mirror. It's the oddest feeling to be part way through and have dream feet on the floor of one dream and be struggling in the grip of a mirror but also have part of you emerging into the blackness. I can ask for this place or state anytime and also have gone to it on the other side of walls. So really it is by intent that you can call it up and after getting used to the feelings of being there, prolong the state if you wish.
The Great Spin
"I was in bed and attempting a WILD after a small dose of galantamine. When the feelings of an OBE started to get strong, I imagined spinning. The spin started and I ended up spinning at such a rate I felt like one of those pinwheels in a fireworks display. I lost the feeling of my body and dissolved into small worlds like a mass of spinning balls. I was deeply in the void and had no sense of me as a person but a wonderful awareness of being one with this place and not existing in human form."
What I do in the void is relax; I just float around but as energy, as I have no body. It's the oddest feeling to have consciousness but no awareness of a physical body. At other times I see streams of energy moving around and in one dream the void was pure white. I have only seen this coloring on one occasion and can't think of any reason for the change from the usual darkness.
At first, the void appears vast and unbounded. If you are there, you can observe patterns, symbols and streams of energy such as the lattice grids that appear at the onset of a WILD.
One thought is that we are seeing the body's language in pure form or as I used to think, observing the organic communication of the body. This may be the brain sending out energy that is instructing parts of the body to get about their business. If I follow along this line, then I tend to think of the void as a state of mind where we interact and become part of this energy. At other times the patterns in the void are an entry place for dreams as you feel yourself drawn over and into them. So the energy may be generic in the same way some stem cells can form and build the body in a fetus, and so with intent this energy or state can be used for any purpose.
I do know that when I am in the void I can exist as consciousness without any awareness of my physical body. I feel as if I am pure energy or thought and am experiencing a state beyond the human one that requires a body to exist.
As to why so many lucid dreamers are experiencing this state of mind I think a lot of it would be due to the information that is available now on the subject. This will create some awareness and may bring into a dreamer's mind the interest and intent to explore the void. I don't meditate so am also guessing that a lot of lucid dreamers do and there will be some similar properties between what they are seeking in meditation and the state of mind in the void, and they will explore this theme within their dreams.
There are a few differences that I have experienced and would attribute to galantamine. The dreams on galantamine are a lot longer with times extending to an hour or more on some occasions. I am fairly confident of these times as the dreams are almost always from a WILD entry and appear to be unbroken. There is an ease of re-entry after waking at the end of a dream if you choose to wake up and record after a block of dreaming. It is also very easy to recall intended tasks and information from waking life. I tend to spend a little time on first becoming lucid to recall my name, job and some details from the day. This seems to sharpen my mind and prepares me for the dream.
An example of this sharpness is one recent dream in which I was flying along a river bed; just a few metres above it.
A Summer Day
"It was warm, very clear and I was thinking that it was so much like a river bed in waking life. The reality was complete along with sunlight and warmth and I was able to fly along, experience the feelings of the day in the dream and also have independent thoughts about this. There was no difference in sensory awareness from that of waking life. I was able to smile internally at this and just be blown away by the reality."
The awareness for me on galantamine is as complete as simply waking up in daily life and getting about my business.
So in a nutshell the dreams are longer, it is a lot easier to enter via WILD and a lot of dreams will start with an OBE. If you miss the entry, I also find it is easier to have a DILD (dream initiated lucid dream).
Complex tasks seem easier to perform with galantamine as well, as the dream below shows. I had a problem that needed an answer and yes I got what I needed in this one.
"I pulled together an advisory group in a G induced Lucid Dream and was surprised that a couple of my dead friends appeared. The dream maker got me some people I could trust. It was a lovely insight into our inner mind and that it does work with and for us."
There also seems to be different levels of dreaming. I have a lot of vivid dreams and dreams where I am semi-lucid. By this I mean I will have thoughts from waking reality enter my mind but not have awareness that I am dreaming. These semi-lucid dreams are great and can be the most fun as they unfold and you just go along with them.
Next there are the lucid dreams where I have realized that I am dreaming and have full awareness. I will fly, go through walls, change scenes. These form the bulk of my lucid dreams.
Beyond this are the dreams assisted by galantamine. There is a clarity that is way beyond my other lucid dreams and all my skills seem to be enhanced. There is no doubt in my mind about what I want to do - intent is very clear - and I am able to carry out tasks with ease. Most of my void experiences are in dreams assisted by galantamine and I find it very easy to ask for the void and to be there with a clear focused mind. It seems to give confidence and make me more receptive to what is happening around me.
*Galantamine is a prescription-only drug in some countries.
Become experienced with lucid dreaming first, as it is not a magic bullet. Try to gain some experience in WBTB (wake back to bed) and WILD methods first, as this will make it easier to control the process and you will get familiar with some of the feelings of entry and body exit.
The first few times for me the feeling of transition was very intense - mainly OBE and very strong feelings. My experience with sleep paralysis still shocked me the first time I used galantamine and that is after years of having this feeling and knowing it quite well. The dreams will most often start in my room or the room I am sleeping in and I will hear voices in my house and think that someone is there. These hallucinations are very real and convincing and will rob you of the dream, if you are not careful - so go easy on doses and be prepared for whatever comes your way.
NO. I have tried with my partner to induce a lucid dream with G and it just didn't work. The effect of this was to leave disappointment and in some instances this may stop someone from persevering with the induction and exploration of lucid dreaming. There are skills that need to be developed before using substances and I feel it's a little too much like putting a person into the middle of a professional sports team and expecting them to do well. The most likely outcome of this is that they will just get disillusioned and give up due to a lack of a result or some unexpected experience. There is also the temptation to take a mega dose to get a "really good dream"and I would think that this would be a foolish thing to do, but also be very tempting.
I am pleased that there is so much information to be found on lucid dreaming, as for most of my life lucid dreaming has been a very lonely, but major part of my life, that I have been unable to share or discuss. There are now forums, publications and many ways to share and interact with other dreamers and the world has to be a better place for this. My challenges are to look inside and find a way to heal the body and to look outside and move beyond my own local area of mind - hope to meet you there. Is it possible? I don't know, but you can't stop me dreaming...