.....by Melvin D. Saunders
........The rapid-eye-movement (REM) phase of sleep is where most dreams occur. Even fetuses and newborns experience REM (rapid eye movement) sleep, so the Freudian notion that all dreams are sexually motivated has become antiquated. Except for the eyes, there is generally great muscular inhibition during the REM state, and dreamers are virtually paralyzed. This response differs markedly from conscious visualizations.
........Normally REM dreaming takes place every 90 minutes. There is a right to left brain shift during the night after 45 minutes; then a left to right shift after another 45 minutes. Consequently, every 90 minutes, there is a storm of neuronal activity in the right brain as it goes into its REM dream cycle for several minutes. Not surprisingly, the same brain cycle follows throughout the day as well, hence the occasionally tendency towards daydreaming.
........Day dreams and night dreams are ordinarily spontaneous and representative of subconscious inclinations. They can also be a psychological release of tension. As far back as Biblical times, dreams have symbolically carried meaning ("... and Pharaoh told them his dream; but there was none that could interpret them unto Pharaoh." Gen. 41:8). Since dreams are often veiled in symbolism, it's important to record your dreams and periodically review them to acquaint yourself with any interpretive parallels happening in your life. After interpreting your own subconscious symbolism, dreams can open themselves up to personal enjoyment and sometimes precognitive episodes.
........The term lucid dreaming describes the experience of consciously recognizing during a dream that you are dreaming. By involving your conscious awareness in a dreaming activity, you can learn to control the content of your dream and its course of action. The more mindful and fully conscious you are in your normal waking state, the easier it will be for you to master lucidity in your dreaming state.
........Dreams to a lucid dreamer are more vivid than simple visualizations. Objects and people appear to be and feel solid, and the dreamer is often able to converse intelligently with his own dream characters. Lucid dreamers can create or eliminate characters and items within the dream by simply wanting to do so. In dreams, you can even levitate or fly. So if you're ever in doubt of your state, try flying as a test.
........In orthodox, non-spiritual circles, lucid dreaming is simply another state for your consciousness to experience. When people do not believe in a spiritual body, this is the conclusion often made. In spiritual circles, the general opinion is that lucid dreaming is the same as lucid astral projection (see exercise - Astral). When your consciousness is out of the body, the body is paralyzed from the neck down. Your voice box can utter sounds and your eyes can flicker, but the primary part of you that makes you animate is out of the body, hence the inanimate paralyzed condition. The silver cord is still attached at the back of the head and neck, thus animation is possible to a limited degree in the head and neck. Since people deprived of REM sleep exhibit bizarre and often psychotic behavior, this nightly venture into the spiritual realm is obviously necessary. There is also a feeling that you are in the real world when you are lucid dreaming or astral projecting. To the spiritual scientist, you are in the real world, because the real world is the spiritual realm and the physical world is only temporary, hence spiritual scientists call the physical world an illusion.
........Due to the great dissimilarity in development amongst lucid dreamers and astral projectors, some are aware of their silver cord, while others are not. Some have more exploratory, lengthy experiences, while others have short, whimsical experiences. Some are focused and goal directed, while others wander aimlessly in their experience. After you achieve a lucid state for yourself, you can determine what the experience means to you.
........To achieve a lucid dream state, one technique is to ask yourself the question, "Is this a dream?" or "Am I dreaming?" 10 to 20 times just before falling asleep. The conscious repetitiveness of the question will eventually be submerged into the subconscious dream state. Reflecting cognitively upon such a question in the dream state will result in some form of conscious intervention and awareness, and hence a lucid dream state will be achieved.
........As a variation of the former method, simply count and affirm just before retiring, "I am dreaming, One" -- "I am dreaming, Two" and so on. Attending to the counting process keeps your conscious awareness vigilant to what you intend to do. For those people who tend to fall asleep rapidly, this method can have you counting straight into dreamland. Coupling this with moving your eyes rapidly from left to right simulates the REM state and enhances your chances of a lucid dream.
........Another method is to reiterate over and over to yourself just before going to sleep, "I am going to sleep now. I know that I will be dreaming. I will recognize that I am dreaming when I am dreaming. Tonight, I will be consciously aware of my dream. I will remember what I dream in full conscious detail."
........You can also use a stimulus response link. For instance just before going to sleep, look at your hand while reiterating to yourself over and over, "When I see my hand in my dream, I will know I am dreaming." One researcher used with great success a mild electric shock to signal subject dreamers they were dreaming in their dreams.
........Any of these techniques may initiate a flood of colors, images, sounds and thoughts. If you begin thinking in abstract ways, it usually indicates the right brain is taking over and the left brain is becoming idle. Just continue observing and the sounds and images will eventually evolve into a 3-dimensional dream that you can consciously explore, change and learn from.
........For recurring nightmares or fearful dreams, intensely visualize yourself actively in a more preferred scenario just before falling asleep. Imagine yourself initiating actions in the manner that is most beneficial to you so that the stage is set for the superconscious mind to rerun the same play in your favor. Combine your visualization with the suggestion that you are in control of your dream and that there is nothing to fear. Eventually your imagery process will merge into a dream process and positive results will be achieved.
........Using the above techniques will produce an ability to achieve lucid dreaming in 4 to 5 weeks or less. After achieving a lucid dream state, act only as a casual observer at first or the condition might quickly dissipate into wakefulness. Slowly integrate into your dreams volitional control and alterations, and soon full dream mastery will be achieved. If you avoid whimsical notions, you can design purposeful meaning to your dreams and achieve in the dream state that which you want in the real world. If you want positive episodes to happen in the real world, you can now create dreams about them first.
......A new training manual with over two hundred mental exercises has recently become available for those willing to improve themselves. It is entitled, The 100% Brain Course, and it shows you how to train yourself to do extraordinary things with your mind and body.
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