So you’ve seen something that seems a little odd, perhaps you’re talking to Einstein or Mozart or maybe you’re skiing down Mount Fuji but don’t remember getting there.
You reality check, pushing your index finger through your hand, it goes through. That familiar feeling of euphoria rushes over you as you begin to realise this is a dream and anything is possible. You perform a cognitive check to make sure you have your wits about you.
You have now begun to stabilise the dream. This is very important to continue to do until you are confident enough to start moving around.
The first thing to do is to relax and tell yourself that this is a dream and you can enjoy it.
Staying relaxed, I next perform what I call a Body Check. Rub your hands together and touch the tip of your tongue off the roof of your mouth as you look at your body and examine it. Are you wearing clothes, if so are they your clothes? This can be a fun activity as the dream will dress you in all sorts of outfits so check it out. This body check activity will flood your mind with focus on the dreamscape and take away any temptation to alert your sleeping body to wake up. To further preoccupy the mind with dream activity, I also recommend singing and dancing out loud (don’t worry about looking silly, it’s a dream!).
I am often bare footed in dreams and I find that this keeps me mentally focused in the dream. I now make it a habit as part of my body check to take my dream shoes off or just intend to be bare footed in order to consistently be bare footed in the dream. This is a good idea and I do recommend it.
Steve LaBerge recommends spinning around with your arms out, just like when you were a kid, playing in the garden, trying to make yourself dizzy. This seems to flood the mind with dream sensory input.
On this subject, I want to point out that the body you occupy is a mental construct, not a physical body. We call this the Dream Body or Dream Ego. I will return to this point after we explore the rules of Dream World a little more intimately first.
Look around but don’t overly focus on any little point yet as there is a temptation to fall back into the dream sleep, maybe pick four points and shift your vision casually between them as you relax and remind yourself that this is a dream.
Sometimes the dream imagery is not as clear as we’d like so, in order to make it more vivid we can shout “Increase lucidity now!” or “Increase Clarity Now!” This has the effect of directing our mind, creating the imagery to focus its intent to make the dreamscape clear. You can use this technique any time the dreamscape seems faded or obscured.
So what does a dream look and feel like?
Mostly, a lot like reality, but much more vivid, colours are more intense, sounds clearer. Let me explain. The dreamscape is constructed by the reality generator, from what we referred to earlier as schemas. These, as we said are models of the world based on sensory input, which is then contextualised by experience. So if we see water for example, we know it’s going to feel wet on our clothes if we jump in.
This begs the question, what about if we have not experienced something previously, how is there a schema for that, like, for example flying?
The reality generator extrapolates and creates a scenario, based on what it knows about similar events and what it thinks the event might actually be like. So for example, I’ve never actually walked on the Moon (at least not in physical reality) but I know what it looks like from photos and I would think the ground is dusty, maybe a little soft and there is no gravity with little light. So my reality generator takes previous experiences similar to these factors and creates what it thinks the moon would be like and actually does a great job as it is, in effect creating your own personal fantasy Moon!
This is also the reason things seem very intense or vivid in dreams. As the mind constructs scenarios without direct influence from limiting physical factors, very clear images can be created. So for example, the colour of the sea in the dreamscape is determined not by the presence or absence of sunlight but by your own mind so it can be the bluest sea in the world, better still in your imagination. Furthermore, there is no background interruptions from physical realities so a song will sound crystal clear, rather than, for example being interrupted by the background sound of traffic going by.
Putting this together for martial arts training it is simply a matter of putting this knowledge into play and recognising that if one can create one’s own reality, then martial arts scenarios are simply just a question of putting your own experience together and we will explore some of the tools to do this in the next lessons.
However, there are, without a doubt varying levels of lucidity and I cannot stress this enough. Many clearly inexperienced web bloggers casually seem to ignore this so don’t worry if your dream does not meet the classic criteria – you may still be lucid, so long as you know you are dreaming.
I would briefly describe levels of lucidity in terms of duration, vividness, sensory awareness, ability to control the dream, cognitive function and control of emotion.
Only experience will give you insight but I would say a 2 minute, hazy, difficult to control dream is the very definition of a beginners dream.
More advanced dreamers can dream for up to an hour (some beyond). Definition is intense with heightened sensory awareness and cognitive function is as in waking life.
Put the time in for the results and you will receive.