A few days ago I was up late, and without any real clear idea of where it would lead, I took a picture of my hand with my cell phone. I set it as the background, and now whenever I open my phone, I remember to look at my hand to make sure they match. Over the past two nights (about 5 days after I first set it) this simple action has given me two low level lucid dreams. (Not by looking at my hands, simply by realizing it’s a dream) I have tried reality checks before, but never with this quick of success or even of effects. Given this could be coincidence, but it seems like a big one.

I believe the reason this worked is because I hit the sweet spot between strength of intention and attention to intention. I’ve done reality checks for months on end, with better and more thorough checks, more checks, as well as more frequently. I got results, but not nearly as quickly as this. I was too focused on the goal in the first instance, and in this one, it was just enough willpower to set it, but little enough to let it sit in my subconscious and grow.

This is all assuming it’s no coincidence of course. Either way, I think that using your cell phone’s background as a reminder for a reality check is a fairly good reminder.

-Hatter

Popularity: 13% [?]

I went through another round of shared dreaming attempts recently, with my high level lucid dreaming friend I mentioned in my previous article. While success eludes us for now, our attempts did produce some rather interesting results. Before I get into that though, here’s our “techniques” for sharing dreams:
Both picture the same environment and try to meet there.
Try to meet in the dream counterpart of our real world place of residence.
Stepping through a mirror with the intention of being where the other person is
Googling where the other person was to locate them.

That last one was my friend’s idea, I thought it was rather funny. While I failed to become lucid during the week or so of attempts we did, she was lucid every night, so we got to see potential issues and troubleshoot rather quickly. Here’s a brief synopsis of the interesting events:


In one of my non-lucid dreams, I was trying to board a train to get to my friend’s apartment. I was at a different location then where my house should be, and I was waiting for the train. However, whenever a train got close, something stopped me from boarding it. Lacking a ticket, a last minute change of destination, and the most blatant dream-fighting-my-intention block: The platform spinning around when I would get to the end where the train was.


My friend tried to google me. She said that it kept changing and she eventually lost me before she could leave to get me. I guess I was having a particularly turbulent dream that night. She also tried stepping through a mirror, but that she said that had the same result. She would lose me.


The closest we got to success was a dream in which I remembered getting up in my friends apartment. The physical place was unaltered, except there were two cots in the kitchen, one of which I was sleeping on, the other was also occupied. I remembered doing a few things in the apartment. My friend had a dream that night of me and another person waking in her apartment, and then walking to campus. It was a very interesting coincidence, the disappointing (or perhaps not, depending) problem was that our descriptions of the third person weren’t very similar.


I won’t go into the different conclusions you could draw about the person showing up differently to each of us. Your view on the source and reality of dreams will influence the various interpretations you draw. There are many, many, interpretations. The simplest, which is what I’m sticking with, is that we weren’t sharing a dream, and that it was coincidence. If I err on the side of failure, any success will stand out all the more.


The most interesting effect of these attempts was that my friend found that the more she tried to find me and to connect to my dream, the less and less control she had. This effect continued to increase over the week of our attempts, until she decided to quit after we both decided the experiment was having a negative impact on her own personal dreams as well as our shared attempts.


This result has big ramifications! It suggest that if you were to mix the dream consciousness of two people, you would get a kind of average of their awarenesses, instead of two separate consciousnesses in a shared environment. It also helps to outline what might be necessary for two people to share a dream: a like mind and a sort of connection (to avoid a jarringly different joined conscious) as well as relatively equal and high levels of lucidity.


I am looking forward to our next experiment.

-Hatter

Popularity: 14% [?]

Many people have trouble going to sleep, and I thought that I should share some of my strategies for the times I have trouble falling asleep. Following are some of my favorite ways I use to ensure that I fall asleep. The Approximate times to fall asleep are just guidelines for how long it will probably take you to fall asleep once you start that method. If you’re an extreme insomniac however, it may take a bit longer, but should still help you fall asleep faster.

Deepening the Breath
Approximate Time Until Sleep: 5-15 Minutes

This technique has many different roots, so I’ll just leave that part of it alone. The basic idea here is to observe and deepen your breath. As you breath in, try and take a deeper breath. Don’t strain yourself, just go as far as feels natural. Then let out a slow, relaxed breath. Try and keep your mind focused on this alone. (This will help alleviate a racing mind) If you find yourself thinking about other things, you can count up to the end of your in breath and count back down to the end of your out breath. Try not to go past your comfort level with how deep your breaths are; keep it natural.

Advantages: Helps slow down the mind and eventually to clear it. Fairly quick effects.
Disadvantages May not help some people even after an extended period of time.

Tense and Relax
Approximate Time Until Sleep: 15-20 Minutes

This is a method I first came across in a book by Robert Bruce. This is also meant for preparing for an OBE, and relaxes you fairly well. As you lay in bed, tense your larger muscle groups for 5 seconds, and then relax for about 10 seconds. Repeat this about 3 times for each muscle group. Start with your calves and move up until you reach your face. Tense your face in three ways. Tense all of your muscles on your face, and then make these different shapes with your mouth each time: An O, a smile, and a frown. Done well, this method relaxes your muscles very well. You may wish to repeat it for parts of your body if you still feel tension in certain muscle areas.

Advantages: Easy to do. You’re unlikely to forget what you’re doing as the physical activity keeps you awake while you’re performing it.
Disadvantages: Keeps you awake for the first parts. Doesn’t work as well if you’re sore.

Monroe’s Method
Approximate Time Until Sleep: 5-25 Minutes

This technique was developed by Robert Monroe to prepare you for attempting an out of body experience (OBE). Its main goal is to relax your body however, so it fills our purposes as well. To accomplish this relaxation, you imagine all the stress leaving your body with your breath. As you breath in, visualize your anxiety and/or stress and/or muscle tension build up as a black cloud, and as you exhale, see it drift away. While doing this attempt to feel the black cloud actually leaving you. After doing this for a few minutes, if you don’t feel relaxed enough to fall asleep, begin working on individual parts of the body. Start with your toes and work up to your head. Imagine all the tension exiting the toes in any manner you wish. Again, make it as tactile as possible. Remember to keep your body still during this, and you should fall asleep fairly quickly once you relax your body.

Advantages: Very effective overall, you can fall asleep while performing it.
Disadvantages: Extremely variable in the time requirements, as your mind tends to wander once you’re in a certain level of fatigue.

Melatonin
Approximate Time Until Sleep: N/A

Disclaimer: I do not recommend this method for anybody under 18, anybody not comfortable with supplements and the relatively new nature of Melatonin (wiki) to the supplement market, or anybody uncomfortable with the risk that it may have unknown effects. I am also not a doctor, so this advice, like everything on this blog, is simply my opinion.

Melatonin is a hormone related to sleep cycles, which is secreted by the pineal glad. It typically takes noticeable effect around 45 to 60 minutes after having been ingested. Many of the supplements I have seen are sizes of 3mg. This is, in my opinion, overkill. You typically receive anywhere from 15-25 micro grams of melatonin from the pineal gland, and that 3mg supplement has 3000 micro grams. From my experience, as little as .3 mg (300 micro grams, still a large increase over normal, but a lot more reasonable) is an effective dose. Now, all that you really need to do to use melatonin is to make sure you have enough time to get a decent amount of rest (7~8 hours) and take it about 45-60 minutes before you plan to go to sleep. If it doesn’t make you sleepy enough, you might increase the dose, but I wouldn’t go above 1 mg. That’s just my opinion though.

Advantages: Easy, period.
Disadvantages: Dose issues, timing, potential unknown effects, money, not being able to use it on a whim. (You have to have it on you to use it)

Combinations

If those methods don’t work by themselves, you can also combine them for a greater effect. That means it takes longer to fall asleep probably, but if you’re unsure whether you’ll fall asleep in an hour or two, adding another ten minutes to make it two techniques is probably worth it. Here are some of the combinations I would recommend, as well as the orders I would perform them in. As a note, melatonin may be added to any of these as a general aid.

Deepening the Breath + Monroe’s Method
Approximate Time Until Sleep: 15-30 Minutes
First, you watch your breath and try and relax yourself in a general way by deepening your breath. (This will also slow your mind down) Then, get to the specific muscles and tight spots with Monroe’s Method.

Tense/Relax + Monroe’s Method
Approximate Time Until Sleep: 25-35 Minutes
The idea here is to relax the biggest parts of the muscles with Tense/Relax, and then get to the smaller tensions with Monroe’s Method.

Tense/Relax + Deepening the Breath
Approximate Time Until Sleep: 20-30 Minutes
Relax the big muscle groups with tense/relax, and then relax everything (including the mind) by deepening the breath.

Tense/Relax + Deepening the Breath + Monroe’s Method
Approximate Time Until Sleep: 30-45 Minutes
Get your entire body relaxed, then your mind, and then keep the body relaxed and occupy the mind.

As a parting thought: These are just suggestions for how to use these techniques in combinations. You might find that certain orders that I didn’t list work for you (although these tend to be the most successful.) You might also find that while one technique works great for you, the others don’t work at all. Experiment with what works, and try to suit the technique to the situation.

Sleep Well!

-Hatter

Popularity: 6% [?]

dreamy-street.jpg
As I’ve hinted at and alluded to a new series of articles that I would post soon. The time is nigh, and I present to you a recent and exciting method of achieving lucidity: Supplements.

SALD stands for Supplement Aided Lucid Dream. I italicized the “aided” to draw attention to the fact that although these supplements are a great aid to achieving lucid dreams, they are no magic pill. They will not give you the powers of a Tibetan monk or the equivalent value of practice. What they will do is give you about as favorable setup as you can ask for. These supplements work by altering brain chemistry (because of this, they aren’t recommended for anyone under 18, you don’t want to mess up what’s still developing) to give you various situations which are beneficial to dreaming.

The information I draw upon in these articles was gleaned from the book Advanced Lucid Dreaming: The Power Of Supplements. To Be clear about a few things: These articles represent my experiences with these substances.I recommend the book as it has a lot of great information about supplements and how to use them. One more formality: I am not a doctor, so everything in these articles is yours to use at your own risk, and should not be attempted if you are 18 or under. It is also worthy of note that supplements may have unforeseen consequences, and using any brain altering substance may have consequences later.

One more thing: These are more advanced practices, and won’t benefit the new dreamer as much. If you’re a new dreamer, I’d suggest going through my Introduction to Lucid dreaming, then coming back to this series.

Without further ado, here is the first in the series.

Part 1: Galamantine and Acetylcholine

Popularity: 14% [?]

My “Dreaming Slump” as I deemed it several weeks ago continues. I still remember my dreams, despite getting little sleep lately, as well as not practicing many things I should be, due to lack of energy. I’ve hit that fateful problem of just being too tired to do anything when you finally are done with tasks and are ready for bed. I’m going to make more of an effort to plan in dreaming exercises, so this should change.

Then again… It seems to me like this is just a bad time for the dreaming community. I haven’t really seen a lot of progress on many sites, most of them seem to be in some form of hibernation. There’s activity to be sure, but nothing new is being done, no new innovations or exciting projects, with one exception:

A new blog and its sister site: Bliss Of Being and Healing Beats.While technically not directly dreaming related, they are both indirectly related. Bliss of Being is a broad reaching personal development site, and Healing Beats is a site dedicated to building a community around binaural beats. Healing beats looks to offer a lot once it gets some momentum, as it offers free binaural beats as well as a place to learn how to create beats as well as share them. The creator of these two sites is Wayne, who is an experienced mediator and binaural beats user. We should be seeing some guests posts from him soon, so keep an eye out for that.

I hope that I can make some progress soon, otherwise things might continue to hibernate. I hope the community as a whole wakes up a little more too.

-Hatter

Popularity: 5% [?]

As you may have guessed by the fairly infrequent posting as of late, I’m in a bit of a slump. Since I think you can learn from just about any experience, I’m going to try and post about how I get out of this. I suppose the first step is realizing you’re having trouble, so I’m already on the road to recovery in my mind. The first thing I should learn from this is probably how to avoid getting in a slump in the first place.

3 Habits to Avoid to Prevent Slumps

Get adequate sleep! If possible, get more then the bare minimum as It really does help lucid dreaming.
Don’t lose your interest. Keep reading about lucid dreaming and stay active in the community.
Don’t overwork yourself. Make sure you aren’t falling into bed each night and then conking out. It also helps to keep your mind from racing.

I’ll keep you updated with my “recovery” from my dreaming slump.

-Hatter

Popularity: 6% [?]

The mind enhancement program is designed to induce heightened Gamma brain activity to trigger a variety of results including but not limited to rapid development of expanded awareness, increased intuition, lucid dreaming, miscellaneous psi abilities, the achievement of higher states of consciousness, and many other fascinating possibilities.

From Reality Shifter’s introductory page about the Gamma Mind Enhancement Technology.

I have been using this technology for six nights now, and I have had some interesting and consistent results in the short term already. Here they are in list form:

Tingling
Loss of feeling in hands and feet
Easier to work with energy
More vivid visualizations
Increased energy in general, the biggest boost being right after the session

I also had two one time events which may or may be related to the Gamma technology:

This is fairly minor, but it hasn’t happened again, so I can’t put it up under the first category. I had increased dream recall after the first night, probably three dreams over normal. This was most likely a fluke.

The other occurance happened when I was sitting down and staring in a relaxed manner at someone, and I saw colors around them. This reminded me of Auras, and I was able to focus and do it for a few minutes, then I was unable to continue maintaining the focus required. I’ve tried to learn to see auras before, but never really wholeheartedly. I hadn’t seen colors around people until now, so it’s most likely due to the gamma experiment, but it’s too early to be anywhere near sure.

Interesting results thus far.

-Hatter

Popularity: 14% [?]

Lucid Plaza Release!

One of the big things going on at Dreamport has been the lucid plaza project. This project is dedicated to creating a digital world in which dreamers could incubate the environment and attempt to share dreams. A big landmark release happened today: Nachician released the point and click program, which uses screens from the models that Donoteat created. In this program, the user explores the environment in still photos with descriptions of what they are looking at. This is the first release, so additions are likely. As far as we know right now, the real time version of the program is on hold due to technical problems.

Now, just how useful is this actual program?

Somewhat useful.

This first release is just the basics. It’s got a picture of everything important in the plaza, although there was a lack of interior photos as well as a shortage of photos in general. This lack caused a sort of disorientation, at least for me, as I looked around the plaza. My suggestions for the second part of the release would be a less jumpy sort of walk, and many more pictures. Perhaps the forum’s manpower could also be turned to snapping images.

Good work so far Nachician, I look forward to further releases. With any luck, these aids will give the participants in the shared dreaming project on Dreamport an easier time of it.

-Hatter

Popularity: 5% [?]

Dreaming is not unlike other skills in that you must practice to get consistent results. The trick is, what do you practice?

Dreaming is kind of like Soccer…

There are some exercises which will not only avail certain short term benefits, but also offer broader benefits down the road. Let’s use soccer as an example. When you first start playing, you’ll probably notice you get tired from all that running fairly quickly. You’ll also probably notice that keeping control of the ball and running is not such an easy task as it seems. Add to this specific skills like throwing the ball in, passing down field, slide tackling, and many others, and you have a lot of work ahead of you to become an all around competent soccer player.

Perhaps you really enjoy slide tackling, and decide to practice that particular skill the most. When you go out to play, you find yourself missing a lot of slide tackling opportunities because you can’t get there fast enough. The few times you get the ball, not only can you not control it, but you can’t pass it. While the slide tackles help the team, you’re fairly worthless outside of that particular skill. The game doesn’t go so well for you, outside of the few tackles you had, mostly through luck.

Disappointed with your rather poor overall game, you decide to focus on running instead. The next time a game comes around, you not only have a good slide tackle, but you can keep up with more players, get more slide tackles in before you tire out, and outmaneuver other players, even if you do lose control of the ball occasionally. This game leaves you with a feeling of major improvement.

The lesson here is that while the specific skills might be more fun or interesting, they aren’t always the best for the overall improvement in an area. Focusing on slide tackles helps very little when you can’t even catch the ball, or control it if you manage to get it. Running gives you a little boost in many areas, even if it doesn’t leave you as skilled in any one thing. Practicing the exercise that applies to most skills is the most worthwhile.

The Most Worthwhile Dreaming Exercises

There are several catch all exercises in dreaming practices. Listed below are my favorite ones, in order of broadest reach of effect.

Willpower/Enthusiasm- I know this isn’t a technical practice, but it certainly is the most broad reaching. Being strong of will helps just about everything, as it certainly isn’t easy to get out of a warm bed at 3 AM, or sit quietly for hypnosis, or even dedicate time for practice!

Meditation- Meditation helps just about everything as well. It may have a rather minimal impact in a short period of time, but becoming more clear minded and raising your overall level of consciousness is useful in every facet of dreaming. Being able to focus on one thing is essential to avoid getting distracted in the altered states found in dreaming. I would recommend you do visualization and concentration type meditations, as found about halfway down on this page.

Dream Journaling- This practice is very important in developing dream recall, finding dream signs, raising overall level of consciousness to realize dream signs, keeping a nice coherent record of dreams, recognizing dream patterns over long periods of time, and to improve willpower. (Who wants to write a bunch of stuff down while you’re groggy?)

Reality Checks- Reality checks are great for raising overall level of consciousness, realizing you are dreaming, and improving willpower. (remembering to do reality checks is not an easy task!)

These exercises all typically lack immediate, tangible results, but if you practice them dutifully you will see marked improvement in time.

Skill Specific Exercises

These exercises are just the some of the many, many, exercises to give you lucid dreams. While I’ve been focusing on overall techniques, focusing on just getting lucid dreams isn’t a bad thing either. It just tends to leave gaps in your development. Learning to lucid dream 5 times a week is great, but if you are having low level lucids, non vivid lucids, or having trouble controlling the dream in general, then it isn’t very satisfying. Listed are some specific exercises, also listed in order of level of effect.

WBTB- Learning how to get the oh so important mix of just awake enough but not too awake is what makes the simple wake back to bed technique trickier than it appears. It is good for almost any other technique or practice however. Its effects aren’t long term though, you either have a lucid dream and/or better dream recall afterwards or you don’t. It doesn’t really benefit you past that.

MILD - MILD is one of the most comprehensive and effective techniques out there- Practiced as originally written. Most people practice the simplified version of repeating something to yourself as you fall asleep. This is good for increasing the likelihood of whatever you are affirming as you fall asleep, but only that specific thing.

WILD- Learning to WILD is a fairly specific skill, but learning to concentrate on ignoring sensations and focusing on something is also useful in the dream state itself, mostly for remaining lucid.

Hypnosis- Hypnosis is a great way to get your subconscious in line with what your conscious wants. Whether its planting a suggestion to have yourself realize when you’re dreaming or that you will remember your dreams, it can be used for almost anything, but only one thing at a time. That’s why it’s down here, you have to focus on pretty much a single thing if you want it to be effective.

Daily Affirmations- These are basically hypnosis by brute force. I wouldn’t rely solely on these, but they can help a hypnotic suggestion or to keep your willpower up. They can be used for other things too, but like hypnosis they are effectively limited to one subject at a time.

Conclusions

I hope you take up meditation, and that you are already keeping a dream journal. Even if you do nothing else you’ll be able to pick up any other technique in very little time with little effort. You’ll already be familiar with what your dreams are like, you’ll be able to focus and stay in an altered state of consciousness from all that meditation. It makes these techniques much easier then if you had just picked them up.

Whichever path you choose, remember that they all get the same result, the only variable is the amount of time you have to put into it.

-Hatter

Popularity: 9% [?]

I ran across another great blog, one which I am really impressed with. Anmolmehta deals with meditation, enlightenment, and kundalini yoga. This witty and insightful blog deals with all aspects of meditation, and the author seems to be well versed in the subject. Here is the list of articles, a very long list indeed.

I think I’ll be practicing a few of these myself. This site is the best I’ve seen on these subjects, so I hope you too put some of this great information to use.

-Hatter

Popularity: 18% [?]