This is a guest post written by Wesley Murphy:
The critically acclaimed film “A Beautiful Mind” was released when I was in middle school and inadvertently triggered a change in my perception that made me into an accomplished lucid dreamer. Without giving too much of the film away to those that haven’t yet viewed it, the plot deals a lot with perceptions of reality both objectively true and subconsciously fabricated. It terrified me at the time that I may one day lose or at least weaken my ability to determine reality, so from henceforth I made it a mission to always identify and question my perceptions. Little did I know this is exactly what one must do to master lucid dreaming.
Lucid dreaming is in many ways a journey into deeper levels of consciousness than your waking self is generally accustomed to. It can be as vivid as it is nonsensical or as faded as it is mundane. Lucid dreams share little with each other in terms of subject matter, length, or intensity but have a common thread of both intricacy and awareness.
By definition, a lucid dream is a dream you are aware of and inasmuch must be intricate enough for your mind to entertain that given projected reality. You are often a thinking character within the dream as opposed to a bystander watching a film of your mind’s making and as such are open to much greater possibilities. Before we delve into mastery, we must first work on realization.
Cultivating a heightened sense of awareness of one’s own perceptions is essential for mastery of self. At any given time you should be able to answer simple questions such as “how did I get here”, “is this possible”, and “is this observation truly unique to me”. These can ground you even when diving deeper into levels of your consciousness and grounding is essential for understanding, reacting, influencing, and mastering in that order.
Keeping a dream journal can indeed be very helpful, especially in the early stages, but eventually you should strive to remember your dreams similarly to how you recall a distant memory. Just as we are acting characters in our memories, the only way to reach this level is to become acting characters in our dreams.
As you are drifting to sleep, try to empty your mind of stress, but don’t work to fully clear your mind. A clear mind often has less intense dreams and a stressed mind is obviously more chaotic and fitful. Instead, bring what’s on your mind to a peaceful setting as you fall asleep and be open to the possibility of finding yourself in a dream.
If it any point in time you don’t know how you got somewhere, how something is possible, or that you seem to be the only one reacting to a given perception in a dramatic way it may be time to entertain the notion that you are indeed dreaming. Realization that you are dreaming can often jolt someone awake, but falling back asleep during that point in your sleep cycle will often set you back up for another lucid dream so don’t worry too much if you wake up at first.
Levels of Consciousness
From there you must work in running in inner monologue and actively thinking about your surroundings. This may seem small, but it is incorporating your conscious mind into your more subconscious musings. By having your mind simultaneously work on different levels of consciousness in such an active way will lead you into a more harmonious state of self. From here you can try to interact and even influence the plot of your dream and in so doing influence the plot of your mind.
Besides being merely entertaining or intriguing, lucid dreaming is at its core a quest for harmony and peace. By identifying parts of your consciousness you earlier felt to be untouchable and certainly uncontrollable, you are waking up to who you are in entirety and understanding oneself to a far greater degree. How could one possibly seek mastery of self without first understanding who one is? It takes time and dedication, often many years, to dictate the plot of a given lucid dream at will but it is a goal I believe is healthy to pursue.