12-15-17 Update

What I’m reading
I finally finished reading Dreams of Awakening: Lucid Dreaming and Mindfulness of Dream and Sleep by Charlie Morley. I made plenty of notes.

I began Queens Consort: England’s Medieval Queens by Lisa Hilton. I think watching the second season of The Crown on Netflix renewed my interest in English history. I’m only in the first chapter and I’m finding interesting genealogical information. The chapter talks about Matilda of Flanders, William the Conqueror’s queen, and mentions that her ancestry goes back to Charlemagne. Maltilda has another husband, a man named Gerbod, by whom she had a daughter, Gundrada (or Gundred), who eventually became the wife of William de Warrenne, first Earl of Surrey. There’s some speculation that Gundrada may have actually been the daughter of William and Matilda.. Genealogy works in strange ways. History seems more personal when it’s about your own ancestors.

Events I’ve attended
On Tuesday I attended my grandson Nick’s first band concert. He even had a trombone solo. He and the rest of the Sixth Grade Band have only been playing since September but, with practice, they’ll improve and sharpen their skills.

Nick-171212-04 (copy)After the band concert, we made our way to the high school for the choir concert. I don’t have any grandchildren in the choir but at the end, they bring up all the choir alumni for two songs. This is Jacob’s first alumni performance so we were eager to see him on the stage again.

Dreams
Reality-CheckI still haven’t had a lucid dream but I’m starting to see positive indications in my dreams. Two nights ago, although I didn’t remember any dreams, I did recall an image of two hands with one pushing a finger through the palm of the other. The image looked like a crude drawing.

 

This morning I had a dream in which I squeezed an egg until I broke the shell. I looked at my hand and saw no yolk or egg whites, only the shell fragments. In the dream I attributed the lack of a mess to the fact that it was a dream. I did not become lucid so I’m not sure whether or not I was actually aware that I was dreaming. It may have just been the way the way the dream was playing out. Still, the idea of lucid dreaming is working its way into my dreams which is encouraging.

Quotes I’m pondering
“The real you is not a body. Your body is merely a suit of clothes. Physical birth was not your beginning and physical death is not your end.” ~ Marianne Williamson

“No one and nothing can free you but your own understanding.” ~ Ajahn Chah

Advertisements

Counting to lucidity

After awakening from a dream this morning, I jotted the dream down in my written dream journal. After going back to bed I decided to try Charlie Morley’s technique from his book Dreams of Awakening, counting “1. I’m lucid? 2. I’m lucid? …”. It’s very similar to the counting technique Robert Waggoner describes in Lucid Dreaming, Plain and Simple.

I was in bed lying on my back with my legs slightly spread and my hands at my sides. Soon after I began counting I became aware of hypnagogic imagery and once the count was well above 50 I began to notice changes in how my body felt. I felt a general tightening sensation in the center of my torso and a vague feeling of stiffness in my joints but I wasn’t sure if it was sleep paralysis setting in. (I’ve never consciously experienced sleep paralysis so I don’t know what it feels like.) I also noticed my breath becoming shallower. The images in my head seemed to solidify and become more cohesive but were still not forming into a dreamscape. I was still also aware of the physical reality around  me like sounds and physical sensations and that I was lying in bed. By this time I’d stopped counting (around 100) and mentally repeating a mantra of “lucid dreaming”. When I drifted off to sleep I still wasn’t fully in a dream state, although I felt I might be getting closer, and I recalled no dreams from that last sleep period of the night.

 

State of Dreaming (10/12)

My efforts to have lucid dreams seem to have regressed lately. For a while I was regularly remembering my dreams, at least one nearly every night but now I seem to be remembering them less frequently and most of those I do recall seem to have fewer details and rather generic. I had a solid week where I didn’t remember any dreams or the dreams faded almost immediately upon waking.

I’ve reading Robert Waggoner’s Lucid Dreaming Plain and Simple and taking a lot of notes. Since I’m reading it on a Kindle, it’s taking a while. In the book, he has some exercises that looked interesting.

One was a practice for the MILD technique in which you look at a recent dream, find a point in the dream which could have triggered lucid awareness, and rewrite the dream from that point as if you were lucidly aware in the dream. I chose to try it with the pool dream I had on September 20th. [State of Dreaming (9/22)]. The main difference between the dream and the rewrite was that in the dream I just found myself in the air with the others while in the rewrite I had become lucid and chose to fly up there. I was only able to rewrite it as far as the original dream went. I was at a loss as to how I would have moved the dream forward.

Another exercise from the book was an exercise to find symbolism and meaning in dream objects. The exercise was to review the written dream, list all the nouns and then, next to each noun, write three descriptive words or short phrases. Then I rewrote the dream, replacing the nouns with the descriptive words. The results were interesting.

On a couple of occasions I tried a technique from the book called “Countdown to Lucidity.” This is a technique that can be used when you’re already drowsy or have awaken in the middle of the night. You close your eyes and begin counting: “One, I am dreaming. Two, I am dreaming. Three, I am dreaming.” And so on. So far, I haven’t had any success with this technique. I first tried it one afternoon when I felt drowsy after reading and decided I’d try to take a nap. I’d counted up to over 400 before deciding that it wasn’t working.

That same night I tried it again after having woken up around 1AM. I fell asleep sometime after passing 100 but didn’t recall any dreams other than a dream that occurred about five hours later.

This morning I set an alarm to wake me up early so I could attempt a WILD and used the countdown technique to get back to sleep after being awake for about half an hour. After reaching 100, I stopped and drifted off to sleep normally. The only dream I recalled was one I had just before my alarm went off.

On the other hand, I’ve made progress in my meditation practice and have been meditating twice a day. Aside from my meditation, I find the shower to be a good place for contemplation. I’ve been reading the online magazine, Lucid Dreaming Experience, and found some articles about surrendering to the lucidity in a lucid dream or the awareness behind the dream. That got me to thinking about my concept of surrender. In Western culture, surrender is seen as giving up, admitting defeat, or relinquishing control through demand or compulsion. In many Eastern philosophies, such as yoga and Buddhism, surrender often means willingly submitting to a divine power, a higher consciousness, or the Inner Self. I prefer the Eastern connotation but I’m a product of Western culture. Maybe I need to reword my intentions to reflect a willingness to accept the gifts and blessings of the Inner Self or the Greater Awareness.

Letting go is another concept I have trouble with. It seems to imply loss because when I let go of something (an object, an idea, a belief, a habit), I no longer have it. It seems that having “something” is empowering, even if that something no longer serves me, holds me back, or may be harmful or toxic. I’m still working with that one.

09-29-17 Update

What I’m reading
I’m reading Lucid Dreaming Plan and Simple by Robert Waggoner. I’m taking notes as I read so it’s going to take me a while. It’s his second book on lucid dreaming but the book I probably should have read first. Oh, well.

Projects
This week I trimmed trees and other plant life in my backyard as well as in my son’s backyard. On Thursday morning I hauled three truck loads of branches to the city’s’ yard waste site before they closed. I still have at least one more load left. I haven’t decided whether to wait until Thursday when the city’s site is open again or to load it up and haul to the county facility on the other side of the county. At least most people don’t tailgate me when I’m hauling a load of brush down the interstate through downtown Dayton. Of coarse, there’s always one idiot out there.

Events attended
It’s homecoming week here and I happen to live on the route for the homecoming parade. I’ve also got two grandchildren in the marching band. The homecoming game was this evening and I worked behind the scenes in the concession booth during the first half of the game. The game was sold out so I was busy. I spent two hours popping and boxing popcorn, dispensing fried chicken in cups, and handing out slices of pizza. My son and I finished our shift just before half-time. We watched the half-time festivities but  since it was homecoming and alumni night, the band didn’t do their usual show because they had a lot of alumni marching with them. Afterward, we decided to leave early and avoid the inevitable traffic jams.

This week’s quote:
“If there’s nothing wrong with me maybe there’s something wrong with the Universe.”
~ Dr. Beverly Crusher, Star Trek TNG: Remember Me

09-22-17 Update

What I’m reading
I furnished reading Lucid Dreaming: Gateway to the Inner Self by Robert Waggoner. I read it on my Kindle and I took a lot of notes, especially when it came to tips and techniques. Now I’m starting his second book, Lucid Dreaming Plain and Simple. I’m hoping to learn more and have lucid dreams.

Projects I’m working on
The weather was nice this week so I concentrated on outdoor projects. I spent a couple of days edging the driveway and the sidewalks, a task that I’ve neglected for a couple of years.

Events attended
High school football game on Friday night. I’ve come to enjoy watching athletic events at this level although I’m primarily there for the marching band. It’s great to see these kids playing music and thoroughly enjoying what they’re doing. They put on a good half-time show but I look forward to when they take the field after the game and really boogie down. It used to be an impromptu thing where the percussionists would take to the field and start jamming while the rest of the band would dance to the beat they laid down. This year it’s a bit more organized. The band forms up and plays a couple of numbers with perhaps a bit more improvisation than allowed for the half-time show. It’s worth hanging around after the football team has left the field.

On Saturday, my wife attended a mass for Our Lady of Peñafrancia at a Catholic church in Dayton while I sat in the church basement reading a book. I probably could have dropped her off and gone back home but I knew there would plenty of food afterward. Food is central to any Filipino gathering.

On Sunday we attended a picnic for the local Philippine-American Society (Phil-Am) annual elections. Of course, there was plenty of food. I overheard one of the organizer commenting about so many people bringing food after being told the the Phil-Am would be providing it. In the Filipino community most feel that they need to contribute something and to share it with others.

Quote I’m pondering
“Questioning our own motives, and our own process, is critical to a skeptical and scientific outlook. We must realize that the default mode for human psychology is to grab onto comforting beliefs for purely emotional reasons, and then justify those beliefs to ourselves with post-hoc rationalizations.” ~ Dr. Steven Novella

State of Dreaming 9/22

I read in Robert Waggoner’s book about the various level of lucidly in dreams and it’s possible that I’ve been at a lower level of lucidity where I’m aware that it’s a dream but it’s interesting so I opt to see how it plays out. I’ve also read how one’s beliefs, fears, and mental attitudes can interfere with having lucid dreams. I don’t have any beliefs that would prohibit delving into lucid dreaming and I’m quite open to the ideas of it and the possibilities of lucid dreaming.

In waking life, I’ve never been one to take control or be in the forefront, preferring instead to work in the background or on the sidelines. I’ve always preferred to observe, document, and draw conclusions. I think that carries over to my dreams. There are inhibitions in my waking life that carry over into my dreaming life and I need to overcome them and be more willing to assert myself in both realities.

Here are a couple of recent dreams (non-lucid or low lucidity)

September 15
The dream starts out in an apocalyptic future on Earth. The land is barren but we still have much of our technology. I’m a manual laborer, and I’ve been recruited to work in the cargo hold of a spacecraft. I tell the recruiter that I’m not qualified for that kind of work but he says that’s not a problem as he puts a helmet-like device on my head and flips a few switches. I hear the device hum and I feel it vibrate, then I feel a current flow through me for few seconds, and suddenly I’m fully trained for the job.

Then I’m aboard the spacecraft and we are traveling in outer space. Several other workers and I are in the cargo area of the craft. We are notified that some sort of alien entity is attacking the ship and we start making preparations for the attack. We don space suits and ready our weapons. There are not enough weapons for everyone so I don’t have one. The entity attacks and the hull is breached. The entity looks like a shark. In the initial attack, several workers are killed and I’m able to obtain a weapon. We fire laser weapons at the “space shark” thing but they don’t seem to have much effect on it. All seems lost.

Next I find myself back on Earth many years later. I had apparently survived the space shark attack and lived to be quite old. I’m in a vehicle with several other people and we are stopped by a cop. The cop recognizes me and says, “Romig, eh?” somewhat derisively. He says that I shouldn’t have survived that mission when no one else had and hints that I must have been a coward. I don’t respond. I know that I’d fought valiantly but I have no recollection of how I survived or how I was rescued. I think that the event had either been so traumatic that I’d blocked it from my memory or that my memory of it had been deliberately and permanently erased.

September 20
A small dream fragment. I am at a large outdoor Olympic-sized pool. Three athletic-looking men, around college-aged, are skinny-dipping in the pool and they suddenly leap out of the water like dolphins to a height of maybe 20 feet n the air. When they reach the apex of their trajectory, they stop and hover in the air. At this point, I am watching them from the same level as they are so I am apparently also hovering 20 feet in the air although I don’t know how I got there. Then one of the men decides he’s going to belly flop into the pool and drops straight down with his arms and legs outstretched. He hits the water and makes a big splash while the other two and I watch from above. This is when I awake.

Dreaming Update (9/15)

Lately, I haven”t been remembering many dreams and what I do remember seem to be small isolated fragments with only a few details. I’ve also noticed that the dreams I remember aren’t as vivid as they were a month or so ago. I still haven’t had a lucid dream.

Looking over my dream journals, I’ve noticed a general lack of continuity in my dreams. There are a few general themes that come up fairly often but most of the time they have few common or recurring elements. That’s even true of dreams that fall into one those themes. I don’t recall ever having having recurring dreams.

My meditation practice has been becoming more regular over the past month or so and I’ve been doing at least one session a day and two a day is my goal. I’d been doing a mantra meditation but for the past week or so I’ve been doing a simple Vipassana (mindfulness) practice which seems to be working well for me. From what I’ve gathered from guided Vipassana meditations and what I’ve read online, I see to be on the right track. The hope is that this meditation practice will increase my mindfulness and awareness while awake and carry over into the dream state.

During meditation I usually hear a continuous high-frequency tone in my head. Actually, the tone seems to be always there, I’m just more aware of it when I’m meditating and at other times the mind is quiet. I’m not sure what it is but it’s been there for as long as I can remember. Another phenomena that occurred frequently during mantra meditation but not so much in Vipassana, was a vision of swirling, red cloud-like shapes behind my eyelids. It’s like watching clouds float across the sky while looking through a red filter.

This afternoon I laid down for a nap. I covered my eyes with a towel folded over several times to block out some of the light and I mentally repeated “When I dream I will see my hands and realize I’m dreaming.” I was hoping that maybe I would have a lucid dream. I can’t say for sure whether I slept but a couple or hours later I was still mentally repeating it.

I seemed to be very much aware of the tone in my head the entire time. Could that tone be some kind of a mental barrier or white noise created by my mind to block conscious access to my unconscious? That’s an interesting thought. I’ve been hearing the tone a lot today even when I’m not resting or in meditation.