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August 1st, 2000

Lucid Dreaming

This is probably more appropriate for Fluffypillow, but I figured I’d present it here anyway.

Have you ever been dreaming and while in that state, realized you were dreaming? This is called lucid dreaming and can be an incredible experience if you can hold onto your dream state while still realizing that you are, in fact, dreaming.

As I’m sure you know, dreams can be extremely vivid — often so real that when you wake up it takes a few moments before you can convince yourself that you’re not dreaming anymore. But, there are a number of books, web sites, and discussion groups dedicated to the art of lucid dreaming, where once you become aware that you’re dreaming, you take control of your dreams. You can fly, talk to people who have died, anything you can imagine. Granted, you aren’t actually doing any of these things, but being able to combine the vivid, life-like nature of most dreams with the endless bounds of your imagination can be a pretty damn cool thing.

When I was in high school I first learned of lucid dreaming and began to learn how to do it. I had a number of lucid dreams — in one of them I was arguing with a man about who could jump higher. As I was arguing with him, I realized I was dreaming (how, I don’t remember, but there are a number of signposts that help you realize you’re dreaming). So, I decided to bet him a large amount of money that I could jump over a 20 foot fence, because, hey, I knew I was dreaming, but he didn’t! He agreed to the bet. Before I won my money from him, I decided to try something — I asked the man his name. His name was so good, that eight years later I still laugh at it every time I think of it:

Pal Friendie.

What a name. 🙂 As I said, I had a number of other lucid dreams in high school, but that was the most memorable (though the one where I ran through my high school throwing pies at people, with the floors covered in jelly beans and candy, was pretty cool).

Recently, I decided to try to dream lucidly again. I picked up a couple books and have started keeping a dream journal, as is suggested. As a side note, that’s something I’d recommend to all people — when you read back over the dreams you’ve had, you’ll be surprised at the number of recurring themes there are. My most frequently recurring theme? Computer football games.

In any event, the other morning I had my first lucid dream since high school. It was a pretty cool experience, even though I was only able to remain asleep for a few seconds after I became aware. In my dream I was upstairs in my house (in reality, I had fallen asleep on the couch watching, what else, Family Ties). But even though I was upstairs, I noticed I could still hear the TV from downstairs as if it were in the same room. I realized that I was dreaming and that the sound of the TV had worked its way into my dream. So, I decided to try something that would prove to me that I was dreaming. One of the techniques I learned in high school was to pick up a piece of paper or a book that has writing on it, read it, look away, then look back and read it again. If you’re dreaming, what you read will be different each time you look at it.

So, I picked up a book and looked at the words (one of them was a nonsense word, something along the lines of “vomitaurus”), and even before I could look away and look back, the words started to fade and morph. Extremely cool. So, upon this proof that I was dreaming, I decided to try something that I knew I couldn’t do in real life. Unfortunately, the story ends here, as I don’t remember what I decided to do and I know I woke up shortly afterwards.

Has anyone else dreamed lucidly? Any especially cool experiences? -ram

Posted in Everyday Life

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