Remembering Lucid Dreams

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So, do you know why we don’t remember most of our dreams?  It’s not a trick question.  The basic answer is, most of our dreams are rather on the boring side, and just as we don’t remember every moment in our waking lives because sometimes it’s rather dull, our dream lives are also mostly just boring scenes and sights and sounds.  There is also another good reason why we don’t remember some of our dreams.  We dream in cycles.  This is how the cycles work.

We have two basic states of sleeping.  We either sleep with Rapid Eye Movement (REM) or No Rapid Eye Movement (NREM).  We also have 4 stages of sleep, from light (stage 1) to deep sleep (stage 4) which we cycle through at various points during the night.

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We start off with NREM and sleep for approximately 90 minutes before the first REM sleep cycle kicks in.  I say approximate because our bodies are analog, not digital, so the number of minutes may vary from individual to individual depending on your inner sense of timing.  The first REM sleep usually only lasts about ten minutes, and since it is at the start of our dream cycle, most often, we are not going to remember this dream sequence unless we are awakened in the middle of it by some external force like an alarm clock or someone physically waking us up.

The next 90 minute cycle of NREM is then followed by a longer REM sleep cycle, and each 90 minute cycle results in longer and longer REMS, with the NREM cycles hitting less and less of the deep sleep stages until we are barely asleep in the last couple of hours that we are sleeping.

If we happened to have a particularly exciting dream in the first half of the night, say around three hours into our sleep cycle, most likely we won’t remember it, or if we do, it will seem to be like a vague memory that we’ve been there and done that before, except it was in a dream state, and only as we are dreaming.  If the last cycles of REM sleep are just boring scenes and nothing untoward is happening, then our minds won’t even bother trying to remember it because there is nothing about it that is all that exciting.

The real magic though, is turning our REM sleeps from a non-interactive visual situation where things happen to us, and change it into an interactive environment where we get to change the scripts and make some changes of our own so that we can enjoy it better.  This is called Lucid Dreaming, and I’ve talked about it extensively in many of my other dream posts.  There are methods with which we can use to make ourselves become aware that we are dreaming.  After all, it is rather hard to know if we are really dreaming our lives or if we are actually awake.  Sometimes, I have awakened from my dreams only to realize that I had dreamed I woke up.  I only realized that the awakening was a dream once I really woke up.

The key to knowing whether or not we are in dream state is to see if anything concrete will change.  A good exercise to try is to look at a digital clock.  If there is no digital clock around, make one up.  If it appears in front of us, we don’t even need to check what time it is.  We’re in dream state all right.  Now, let’s just say the clock is in front of us and we haven’t magically created it out of thin air.  Take a look at the time.  It doesn’t matter what the time is (it can be 2:93 for all we care) but we keep that number in our minds and then turn away.  Turn back immediately, and if it is the same number, chances are, we are awake.  However, I would be wary about a clock that shows the time as 2:93 since there are only 60 minutes in an hour.  Irregardless, look at that time and try to change the numbers on the clock face.  If we are dreaming, it should be easy.  If we are not, we won’t be able to change the numbers at all.

Once we are able to change it, we will have known that we are in dreamland, and what’s even better, we KNOW we’re in dreamland.  Now is where the fun begins.  We can fly, we can conjure things up out of the air, we can do most anything you wish.  It is all within our powers to do so.

Unfortunately, if the lucid REM episode happens earlier on in the night, we probably won’t remember it.  However, if the good stuff hits at the last cycles of REM, that is when we can see and hear all the excitement and then remember them.  That is when we can wake up with the scent of plumeria still in our noses and the flash of the summer sun still warm on our faces.  This is when we grab our pens and jot down the impressions before they fly away, never to be retrieved again.

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Traveling the Dreamstate Multiverse

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Just wanted to quickly jot down a few thoughts about lucid dreaming.  I had always thought that the dream-state was one reality and that once I entered that reality, I was there for duration of the ride.  But apparently, that’s not the case.

Last night, I went from that reality into another reality, and I was AWARE that I had switched over to another realm!  In my dream I was walking through an empty darkened building with staircases that lead to an outer courtyard.  The sky was lead grey and suffused with dark clouds but the courtyard was beautifully lit, with millions of little white lights, almost like it had been decorated for Christmas.

I walked outside and found myself alone in that beautiful courtyard with grass and trees and flowers, and various grey stone statuary.  There was a fountain that trickled water from the mouths of lions into a round receptacle, causing a wonderful water sound to reverberate throughout the courtyard.  Everything was quiet and peaceful.  It was so serene that I wanted to take in the beauty and just enjoy.

I looked about a bit and found a stone bench nearby and enjoyed the scenery, and I remember wanting to document it, so I conjured up a computer keyboard and began typing out a description of the scenery (this is why I remember it so vividly.  I could see the text appearing in front of me, like some holographic computer screen).

Then my dream changes, so that I find myself going around, interacting with people from my past, none of which is all that relevant to this dream sequence, but then all of a sudden, I find myself back inside the building.  I see the staircase.  I start walking down, but this time, it is slow going.  I can barely make my legs move, it was almost as if I was wading through thick gooey molasses.

A girl from behind me dashes past and runs out the doorway at the foot of the stairs, and since there were windows looking out, I could see her in the courtyard, making her way to the food court.  All of a sudden, there were people everywhere walking around that courtyard, and even going up and down the same staircase I was struggling trying to reach.  In the middle of the courtyard, she stops and looks back into the building at me.  “Come on!”  She urges, “Let’s go get something to eat.  I’m hungry.”

I tried going faster but no go.  In a last desperate measure, I thought to myself, well this sucks.  I’m not going to do this the hard way.  I’m just going to visualize myself out there.  And POP!  There I was, standing next to her.

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I looked around at all the people.  The courtyard is now at high noon.  The sun is bright and I barely hear the sound of the water because there was so much noise from the people walking back and forth.

“Did you see me materialize out here?”  I asked her.

“Of course I did.”  She said, as if I was an idiot, asking such a dumb and obvious question.

“Did anyone else see it?”  I asked her, looking around.

“Of course they did.”  She shrugged, and then turned towards the dining hall.  “Come on.  Let’s go, slow poke.”

I follow her into the dining hall, and we grab some food from the line.  As I am sitting there eating my food, I conjure up a typewriter again, so I can document what just happened, but this time, it was different.  My fingers were typing words, but the words that appeared in front of my eyes were gibberish, even in my dream-state.  I frowned and looked down at my hands.

Well, no wonder.  The typewriter was now arranged in a strange format.  Apparently, since I had moved into a new dimensional realm, I was no longer able to use the same keyboard that I had configured for the last realm.  I was going to have to fix it before I could type it.

It was really strange.  The alphabet, starting from the letter ‘a’, was lined up alphabetically, and if I wanted to type, I had to peck at it.  I thought, how idiotic typewriters were in this new reality.  I couldn’t type like this.  So I mentally began rearranging the letters so it would be easier to type.  Since we use vowels more often than we do consonants, all the consonants, I pushed into the upper rows, and all the vowels, I pushed into the lower rows so that my thumbs could add the vowels where needed, quickly and with little effort.  Once the typewriter had been arranged to my satisfaction, I began to type out the words again, and this time, it worked.  I could read the text again.

At this point, I woke up, but I kept the startling realization that I was able to transport myself from one realm to another in the same dream-state.  This understanding opened up many connections to past dreams that I never did understand, but now is clear to me.  All of a sudden, my dream-state just got that much larger!  An entire dimension larger.

I just found a whole new realm to play in!