Why don’t lucid dreaming bother me
In the field of mental training, sooner or later someone mentions lucid dreaming. It’s one of those abilities that is practically a superpower. You spend a lot of time sleeping. Regaining that time, while continuing to rest deeply, would be valuable. In a dream, you can learn and explore without the limits of time, space, or matter. Your own virtual reality training module.
I understand why people like it. A younger version of me almost learned how to do it. What stopped me? I realized that, as incredible as the technique is, it would not do me much good. I already knew better.
Yes, I am confident enough to rule out something I call a superpower. This is why.
I once built a library in my mind. Its tall shelves are stocked with beautiful leather-bound books. It has no stairs or anything, I can fly to get to the top shelves. The entrance to the library has a clear line of sight to the living room, which overlooks a beautiful forest. In the living room there is a statue that changes every time I enter the library. I am amazed by the new rooms in this library, including an alchemy laboratory guarded by a metallic sphere.
If you turn right as soon as you enter the library, there is a room that I call an auditorium. It’s like the Room of Requirement from Harry Potter: its content, layout and size change according to my needs. I go there to practice skills. I’m not limited by time or logic – if I’m in the right trance, I can spend hours there while only a few minutes go by in real time.
Somewhere far from the library, I once spent time with a Martian farmer named Sam. Unlike me, he is pragmatic and down to earth. I asked him for life advice and he told me things I had never considered before. But I had to work for it: my manual labor in exchange for his wisdom. Oxygen isn’t free on Mars, so even talking comes at a price. I offered to use my divine powers on this mental stage to build whatever I needed. The offer offended him. Strange guy.
In my mind, I have two places where I go to heal, dozens where I can relax, even a couple where I feel safe.
This sounds like a lucid dream, except that I can access these places in seconds while fully awake. And I can create new ones just as easily.
To learn lucid dreaming, most instructors will tell you to interrupt your dream. Spend the last two hours of your sleep napping in 20-minute periods. Or set random alarms at night. This wakes you up when you are most likely to remember your dreams. Remembering dreams, they say, is the first step to controlling them.
My hat is off to these people. It takes discipline to change your sleeping habits. And many professionals recommend spending weeks, if not months, on this step. I think it’s great that people are willing to invest in themselves in this way, to overcome difficulties to achieve the promised rewards.
However, I wish they knew what I knew. It took me a couple of days to learn something better than lucid dreaming. It is not necessary to interrupt my sleep.
So learning my approach is faster, easier, and more fun than doing chicken scratches in a dream journal.
What is my technique? You could call it meditation or self-hypnosis. No term is as cool (or precisely defined) as lucid dreaming. But it works, so who cares about labels?
When you go into a trance state, random thoughts like to explode. Normally, you learn to ignore those distractions. For this technique, those thoughts are the raw material for your waking dream state.
In a dream, your unconscious mind controls the situation. Unlike your conscious mind with its fixation on details, your unconscious sees things holistically. Their worlds are strange but always inspired by reality. And they are inspired by you. While dreaming, you are open to all this. Your conscious mind cannot block or filter any of that. It chases your conscience and it consumes you.
The waking dream technique recreates this experience. It’s easier in a trance, so enter one if you know how to do it and it’s safe to do it right now. Give control of your mental experience to your unconscious. Don’t block, deny or judge anything that happens.
What do you do then? It depends on what happens next. If nothing seems to be happening, it means that your kidneys are still too strong. Relax, focus on your breathing and wait a while. It will come. Daydreaming is the easiest thing in the world; this is just a hypnotically enhanced version.
If you experience nothing but agitated thoughts, the kind you feel when you fall asleep, congratulations. It almost works. Focus on the experience. Calmly request a stable landscape of your unconscious. Will provide one, or not. If not, please try again a little later.
When a landscape appears, no matter what it is or how stable it is, interact with it. Touch the ground. Look around. Breathe in the strange new air. Experience it. Accept it.
Sometimes your mind will throw something at you. A monster, a disaster, a group of thugs. Whatever it is, accept it. Talk to the monsters. What is the worst thing they will do? Kill you? And that? If they do, reboot calmly. If your unconscious throws a tantrum, don’t be angry. Show him patience and he will come.
Carl Jung hallucinated terrible demons, even in an everyday state of mind. He wouldn’t let them go until they told him something valuable. That is the attitude I want you to adopt. Politely expect gifts from your inner monsters. They will please you.
All of this is the fundamental skill for daydreaming. Practice this until smooth. Don’t judge your unconscious mind. Kindly accept what it offers and kindly ask for some changes. If your inner world is full of monsters, criticizing yourself is their source. Treat them well. They will come.
When you feel ready with the foundations (take at least a day with this, longer if necessary), then you can start to take more control. There is not much control: if your mind surprises you, you are doing well. Over time, you will have a catalog of mental landscapes to switch between. Entering them is as easy as accessing a memory. They are a thought away.