For some reason, I wanted to start this post by saying, “for a while now I’ve been fascinated by lucid dreaming”, but that’s a complete lie. It began at the beginning of March…
I was looking for a new monthly challenge (à la Benjamin Franklin, Gretchin Rubin, Matt D’Avella, Nathaniel Drew, etc. etc. etc.) and since I was riding the back of two consecutive failures (1000 words a day x2), I wanted something fun. Something a little bit more exciting and inspiring. So, I decided to try lucid dreaming or specifically to record my dreams in a dream journal each morning for a month, while also practicing reality checks throughout the day. At this point, I can’t even remember the initial impetus for wanting to try lucid dreaming. All I remember is that first night, as I do with any new topic I’m obsessed with, I trawled the internet for any resources or advice that might have been useful to me. And also read through a bunch of reddit forums for “research” purposes. I don’t know how but in my first week of attempting lucid dreaming, I got lucid twice. I’m going to be honest and say I think this was complete luck (and maybe a side of crazy obsession).
Usually, I like to write about things that I’ve already processed and reflected on for a while, but in reading “Lucid Dreaming: Gateway to the Inner Self” I realized how cool it was to see the evolution of progress along the way. So here I am, telling you guys about my first and second experiences being lucid as an absolute noob!
The first time I got lucid was actually around like 6pm. I unintentionally fell asleep watching tv after flying back to Philly from SF, trying and failing to sleep on the plane. I don’t think there was any specific trigger that made me realize I was dreaming but suddenly I was lucid. I didn’t do a reality check; I just knew. This dream was weird and chaotic but what dreams aren’t? What confused me was how long I was able to stay lucid for and how much control I felt like I had… As soon I was lucid, I felt intuitively that I needed to be careful and remain in control, which is lucky and weird because I’m totally the type of person to get too excited and ruin it. I’m guessing this has something to do with me reading a ton of stories about lucid dreaming, but I have no way of knowing for sure. I also knew intuitively that to control the dream I needed to “will” things to happen with my mind instead of trying to physically use the body in the dream. I was able to fly through rooms and even through one wall I think, although at times the setting would lose focus when I lost control. It felt immediately like an exercise in meditation wherein I needed to guide my mind back to something and not let it wander or get distracted. It felt effortful, but here, every time I noticed things getting blurry and fading I was able to successfully refocus (unlike my second dream). It was super fun but I mostly stayed in one house (although the interior was pretty dynamic) and interacted with the dream characters. None of the dream characters were any people close to me in real life. I also had no sense of goals or intentions, I think I was partly just exploring the extent of my control and partly just seeing what was there. I don’t remember how it ended or if I woke up, but I was very happy with myself. That being said, it was also my first lucid dream so the bar was very low and I would’ve been happy with anything.
The second time I got lucid was because I realized my dream was “too scary to be real”, whatever that means. It was a chase dream and I was trying to “will” away the monster because I knew I should be in charge, but this time it was really hard for me to gain control. I would “will” the monster to disappear only to have it appear again in the next room. I also remember having a very clear goal that I wanted to seek out in this dream world, but I knew I needed to get rid of this monster first so that I could focus. But I felt like I couldn’t keep controlling the monster with my mind because it was too tiring; I was cognitively exhausted. It was like trying to do a homework assignment after cramming for an exam. There’s just no mental power left and no matter how hard you try, it just isn’t happening. I’m pretty sure that in this dream I didn’t wake up after I lost control, I just went back into the normal scary dream. I don’t know if I wasn’t lucid anymore or if I just gave up trying to control it, but either way I was very confused.
Interestingly, both of these incidents occurred on nights where I had taken the sleep supplement Luna. Now, this could be a complete coincidence or due to some confounding factor like maybe I get more REM on Luna, but I thought I’d make note of this anyways. (Side note: I am a terrible, extremely light sleeper and a huge fan of Luna - but in my experience, it is really hard to wake up if you plan on sleeping less than 9 hours or so).
Ironically, both of these dreams were recorded in my first dream journal which was lost in a bout of dissociation - a story for another day, but also why I decided to take a break from lucid dreaming for the rest of that month. But I’m trying again this month (May) and hope that I’ll be able to get lucid again. Because neither of my first two dreams involved reality checks, I think it’s likely I just got lucky and that it will be much harder now. For reference, the reality check I’ve been focusing on is holding my nose and trying to breath out of it (you should still be able to in a dream), but have been thinking about adding in looking at my hands as well. Last night, I remember being in between cycles of deep sleep in a space where I remembered my last dream but was not fully awake. This happened twice and both times I felt a super strong intention to get lucid in my next dream, but failed. I’ve also found it’s not too hard for me to remember the dream closest to when I wake up, but having a new dream sort of overrides and slowly blurs out my memories of the dreams before. I’m guessing (and hoping) that this will get better over time.
Overall, I’m super excited by the concept of lucid dreaming and the possibility of interaction with my subconscious. I can’t wait to see what happens next.