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    1. My Father's Flower (NLD)

      by , 03-22-2015 at 12:34 AM
      The setting of the dream was the farm where I lived as a teenager, but nothing about the plot resembled waking life, and my own character was an adolescent boy. I was the son of our tribe's chieftain, and another adult male in the tribe approached me with an offer. He wanted to buy my father's flower that was growing near the chicken house, offering me a groat in exchange. I refused, of course: the flower was not mine to sell.

      On my way to the barn I passed the flower and glanced at it. It was beautiful and otherworldly, with large hanging bell-shaped blossoms of red and purple. I thought I had made the right decision by turning the man away. I went into the barn, the bottom floor of which was completely empty of everything but a pile of horse manure that had been gathered into the center of the space. This was a bit odd, but my thoughts were elsewhere.

      I was remembering what the same man had done for the nuns: by giving them an iPad, he had eliminated their tendency to engage in other, more heretical, forms of augury. Had he been testing me? Obviously it would have been wrong to sell the flower for my own gain, but perhaps it was also wrong to refuse outright. I should tell my father about the offer and see if he might want to sell the flower after all. Perhaps he needs a groat.

      I go talk to my father. He is not a human but a ring of flexible tissue suspended within a rigid round frame that forms an outer ring. My character, the young boy, is not surprised by this, but OOCly I find it odd. It is hypnotic to watch the creature talk: the inner ring changes shape, forming geometric and other patterns, while vibrating. Together the shape-changing and vibration sound quite similar to a human voice, though higher-pitched and with more vibrato.

      I mention that I want to talk about so-and-so, the member of the tribe who offered me the deal (at the time I knew his name, but lost it on waking), and at once my father starts describing a recent encounter with the guy:

      "We chat a while, then he tells me what a fine young man you are. I'm thinking, wowwww!" He emphasizes the word "wow," drawing it out with varying intonations a bit like a hippy or stoner might... and then the sound blends into the chime of my alarm going off and waking me. I was annoyed to be interrupted mid-dream!
      Categories
      non-lucid
    2. Pumpkin Innards and Monster Blood (DILD + DEILD)

      by , 10-03-2014 at 05:38 AM
      Ritual: WTB 1am, woke 4:45am. Read, drank spice lassi, 7 minutes SSILD meditation, WBTB 6am. Relaxation, counting, mantra, took probably 30–45 minutes to fall fully asleep. Woke 7:30am with dreams.

      Alchemy: 400mg L-Theanine, 400mg Alpha-GPC 50%, 750mg Aniracetam, taken at end of WBTB.

      Notes: Two days ago I was buying ice cream in RL, and it occurred to me that I should use this as a motivator. "You can't eat any of this ice cream until you have a lucid dream!" I told myself sternly. Then last night I was thinking of eating something else for dessert, and I decided to be even more strict: "In fact, no dessert for you at all until you get lucid!" Given everything else that went into my attempt, including excitement about the brand new TOTMs, I can't estimate to what extent this reward-based strategy was a factor in the successful outcome, but it's worth experimenting with some more. Either I'll have more LDs or I'll eat fewer sweets, so it's a win-win either way!

      I've been working on my mantra, and I'm currently going with variants of "Do we perceive the dream?" When going to sleep while counting I was thinking this on the off-counts, and as the hypnagogic state started to set in, at one point I noticed myself thinking: "Do we believe the skies?" ("Skies" as in the sporting equipment, so the rhyme was preserved.) This was so absurd I had to rouse myself and write it on my notepad!

      By the time I started dreaming, it seemed as though there was a degree of dream-awareness from the start of the sequence, but I don't think it blossomed into full lucidity (with agency) until I remembered my tasks. There was no specific "moment of realization," and yet overall the dream felt much more like a DILD than a WILD, so I'm calling it a DILD.


      DILD: I was standing in a narrow lane, enclosed on both sides by walls and buildings, in a residential area. A woman came out from a nearby house and walked past me, carrying a cat. Two other cats were running after her anxiously, so although their size suggested that they were almost fully grown, I intuited that the they must be the kittens of the cat she was carrying. The cat in her arms had wonderful markings, almost like tiger stripes. One of the ones that followed had a similar coat, a cross between tiger stripes and a Bengal's spots. A few minutes later a third cat came along, also striped.

      I was so taken with looking at the cats that I didn't want to get too far behind, so I followed them and called the young boys that were with me to keep up. One of them was pushing an empty wheelbarrow but soon left off and went to chase after his friend, who had now gone ahead of me. I picked up the wheelbarrow and pushed it along for awhile, but it was of very primitive construction, all wood, even the wheel was just a disk of solid wood, so it was cumbersome. I wondered why I even needed it. I had noticed that one of the other boys who had gone ahead was giving his friend a ride in another wheelbarrow, and figured if I kept pushing mine, one of the boys would likewise ask me if they could ride in it, which would make it even more cumbersome. So I put it down and continued along the path.

      There was a barn to the left, with an open door, and I decided to turn aside and explore it. This meant there would be no way of catching up with the others, but I didn't feel much urgency to do that anymore. The barn was full of old objects, and seemed to be used as storage of some kind. I remembered the TOTM and reasoned that in a rustic place like this it should be easy to find a pumpkin, so I started looking around for one. I climbed a ladder to a ledge which was serving as a shelf for additional objects, and was pleased to find that one of them was a large pumpkin. Everything else was covered with dust, which made me wonder how long the pumpkin had been sitting here. It was probably this concern that made me notice that the pumpkin was looking a bit sagging and rotten, but I recalled that the TOTM instructions didn't specify anything about the condition of the pumpkin, so I figured that it would still work!

      Before I could reach for it, I noticed that it wasn't the only pumpkin: now I saw that there were three more on the shelf within arm's reach, all of them of slightly different hues and shapes. I was glad there was an alternative to reaching into the rotten pumpkin, so I grabbed the one whose appearance I found the most interesting: it was small, squat, and had a faintly bluish tinge. I figured I would start with this one, and if I didn't like the results, I had three more to work with.

      Part of me wanted to just punch my fist into the pumpkin, which would have been faster but less elegant, so I forced myself to take my time and cut it open properly. I produced a knife from somewhere, without really thinking about it, and began sawing a circle around the stem, just as if I were going to begin carving a jack-o-lantern. When I completed the circle I lifted up the top section, revealing the interior of the pumpkin, and reached inside. The pumpkin was small enough that my hand barely fit, and I was groping around in the stringy goop and slimy seeds trying to find something else in there, hoping to encounter something interesting and unanticipated. All I felt were the pumpkin's ordinary innards, though.

      Initially I had left my anticipations open-ended, but now that the dream was coming up empty-handed I tried to seed them with some expectations. Although it was a small pumpkin, there would be plenty of room for a ring. Might there be a ring inside? I squished all the pumpkin innards around in my hand to make sure I wasn't missing anything, but there was nothing there, nothing that wouldn't ordinarily be found in a pumpkin. The only distinguishing feature was that the stringy goop and slimy seeds, despite their very naturalistic texture, had the same bluish tinge as the pumpkin's skin. (I think this might have been day-residue, as last night I had been reading an Amazon review of a set of mala beads beads made in China that complained how the wood had soon developed a weird bluish cast.)

      At that point I decided to give up on the little blue pumpkin and get started on the other three, but inconveniently I woke up. I considered getting up and writing my report, but felt that I was still in a state where it would be possible to DEILD, so I fixed the previous events in mind and let myself drift back into dream.

      DEILD: This time I found myself in a place I recognized: it was the house of my maternal grandmother that I often visited as a young kid. It is a place that often shows up in my dreams. On this occasion, the theme of "blue" seemed to carry over from the last dream, as I noticed that the house now had a beautiful deep blue carpet that looked brand new. "Nice new carpet!" I said loudly, in case anyone was home. My grandmother is long dead but in waking life my uncle lives there now. In the dream, however, the house seemed quiet and empty, and no one responded to my complement.

      I felt very lucid and clear, more so than in the beginning of the last dream, and remembered my standing intention to reflect on my bodily awareness. Sure enough, I could feel the characteristic tingles in my abdomen and especially in my legs that I associate with dreaming. (My hypothesis is that this "tingling" is a product of REM atonia.) I also associate this sensation with the ability to fly in dreams, so I experimentally levitated a bit, and then tried to implant the mental suggestion to be more aware of this body state while dreaming, with the aim of getting lucid more often.

      Returning my attention to the environment, I wondered what task I could try next. I had been interested in the other basic task, drinking blood, but I didn't want to have to go all vampire on anyone who I might happen to encounter in this house, given that this was a place where my own relatives lived. "Perhaps if I look in the refrigerator, there'll be a cup of blood in there," I figured. It seemed a reasonable speculation, but after opening the fridge (which at the time I didn't notice was on the opposite side of the room than it is in RL), I didn't see any likely candidates. What would a cup of blood even look like? And would it still count for the task if it came from the fridge? The instructions didn't specify a source. But the idea of drinking a cup of refrigerated blood was not appealing to me, so I thought I should save this task for a more suitable occasion. I much preferred the idea of drinking it vampire-style, especially if I could get the bonus by drinking it from a supernatural creature.

      Closing the fridge, I wondered what other tasks might be suitable for this environment. I remembered my lucid dare, and that struck me as a perfect idea: when I was little I always used to walk and play in the forest behind this house, so it was the perfect "enchanted" forest in which to go looking for elves. I continued walking through the house and went out the back door.

      The world that greeted me once I stepped outside was startling in its freshness. The colors were deep and rich and luminous, more so than I usually see in dreams, and I was struck by the beauty of my surroundings. There were some distinct differences from RL: in the far distance I could residential areas covered in mist, as though I were looking at a town from the summit of a tall hill. The forest I hoped to find was present, but quite a bit further away than I would have expected. And walking across the grass of the wide lawn that lay before the forest was... a minotaur? I looked again. No, not quite a minotaur... it had the same general lineaments, but the head was that of a horse rather than a bull. Nevertheless, the creature was clearly supernatural, and it reminded me of the blood task again. I didn't want to miss this opportunity, since it was walking right toward me, so I approached the creature.

      I didn't want to just grab the monster and start biting him, since he would surely conclude that I was attacking him and fight back, which could be counter-productive. So I went up to him and asked politely, "Sir, would you mind if I drank some of your blood? I only need a cup." He was at least seven feet tall and surely had plenty of blood to spare, so I didn't see any reason he should refuse. To my consternation, he seemed unsettled by my request and tried to demur. But I didn't want to pass up this opportunity, and figured that I had already met the demands of good sportsmanship by clarifying my intentions, so I grabbed his left arm (I was facing him, so it was the arm to my right), extended my fangs, bit him right in the crook of his elbow, and began to drink. Although he was tense and rigid, he didn't fight back, and I concluded that he must be experiencing that peculiar pleasure that the prey of vampires are often said to feel while being fed upon.

      I paused to look up, gauging the creature's reaction, and was surprised to see that his appearance had changed. His head was thrown back, his eyes closed, but it was the head of an ordinary man now, no longer that of a horse. The task was to drink from a supernatural creature and see how it changed me, but it turned out he was the one that was transforming! I returned to drinking his blood before he could recover his wits and fight me off. However, the blood wasn't coming very quickly. Either I had picked a bad spot where the blood couldn't flow freely or he was still resisting me in some way, perhaps stifling its flow through the tension in his arm, which was still very stiff. I woke up before I had finished drinking, and promptly concluded that I didn't think I hadn't drunk a whole cup's worth, if we're measuring technically by eight ounces. However, it turns out that it is hard to estimate the quantity of blood you're drinking when you're getting it right from someone's arm!

      Updated 10-03-2014 at 06:30 AM by 34973

      Categories
      lucid , memorable , task of the month
    3. Proto-Lucid: Half Memory, Half Dream

      by , 08-27-2014 at 08:00 PM
      NLD fragment, early: There was a band of Thai Buddhist monks in Bangkok called "Sacred Light." Contrary to what you'd expect, their music was surprisingly harsh and experimental. A musician from another band commented about one of the group, "His music has an edge of irrancidity." I woke up and for a few minutes I remained fully convinced that "irrancidity" was as much of a real word as "rancidity" (sort of like how you can legitimately say either "regardless" or "irregardless").

      NLD: (I'll gloss over this since it was tedious and contains a lot of RL details. It was a basic anxiety dream: I was performing a task at my workplace and I was ill-prepared, everything was going wrong, and a senior colleague was observing the whole fiasco.)

      Proto-lucid: After the anxiety dream I half-woke and was reminded of my speculations lately about the degree to which increased stress in waking life might actually be a condition actually favorable to lucidity. I slipped from these musings into a proto-lucid event—I don't want to call it a "lucid dream" per se because it felt too superficial and unformed. It started when I transitioned from my half-awake thoughts into walking past the house where I grew up. The back door was wide open, including the screen door, and this bothered me. Was the house abandoned? Or were the people who lived there now just careless? It was not a good idea to leave the door open like that because the nearby wetlands meant that the summer air was always thick with mosquitos and biting flies.

      I stepped up to the threshold and called out, "Hello? Hello?" There was no response. The interior was decorated differently than I remembered, which I attributed to the fact that other people lived there now. I was reminded of the last episode of "The Leftovers" I watched Sunday night and figured that with the door wide open like that, even a large animal like a deer could wander inside. I decided not to go in—it didn't feel like "my" home anymore and I would be intruding on someone else's space, even if they weren't present. However, the wide open door still annoyed me, so I closed the inner screen door. Then I mostly closed the outer door as well. If the inhabitants came by and found their door unexpectedly closed it might startle them, but they should know better than to leave it open in the first place.

      I continued walking around the side of the house and headed down toward the chicken house and barn. I was impatient to cover the distance so I started running, and I was reminded how good running felt when I was living here in my teens. Sometimes I would just run across the grass with sheer exhilaration and excess of energy. It's been a long time since I've felt like that—especially when running! When I got to the space between the two buildings I peeked into the chicken house, but it was empty so I went into the barn instead. I had noticed some people in the pasture so I crept quietly through the barn to the lower area where it connected with the pasture and peeked around the wall. Yes, there were definitely a couple people in the pasture, about a hundred yards away. I was pleased that the dream was finally starting to take some initiative and manifest something other than the basic environment. However, I didn't want those people to see me, since I still felt like an intruder now that they owned the place, so I remained hidden.

      I went back inside the lower level of the barn and headed for the stairs that led upstairs. Meanwhile I reflected on how muddy and vague the environment still was, despite the fact that the dream had been otherwise stable so far. My senses were crap. I had experienced this in plenty of WILDs—which in hindsight this might have almost been, though since it had started in a non-standard location (my WILDS typically involve me "getting up" out of bed) I simply might not have recognized it as such. But at that time I still didn't want to give it credit for being a real dream at all, because I felt that it didn't quite measure up. Maybe I'm getting too critical; on reflection it looks more like a real dream than it felt at the time. But that's probably just a trick of print: the dreamstate was not really rising to the occasion, and I felt too much like I was "working the controls," as it were.

      Anyway, I was contemplating the muddy, vague environment, which I felt was being shaped almost more through my conscious memory of the place than through the independent activity of the dream. Last night I had been reading a thread on DV about ADA, which included claims that greater awareness in waking life can also sharpen one's dream senses, and I couldn't help but acknowledge that my ordinary level of perceptiveness in waking life is probably much lower than most people's—because in effect I've spent most of my life practicing how to filter things out, not let them in. That said, my dream senses are usually reasonably sharp (with the exception of taste and smell) and my recall can be quite good, but I thought that perhaps the muddiness of the environment this time had been conditioned by that chain of thought.

      I headed up the stairs to the upper level of the barn. I wandered around a bit more but don't recall encountering or thinking anything else of note before I woke up.

      On waking, I realized that the circumstances were now all in order for a proper WILD attempt, but although I went through the ritual in a way that felt like it should have been successful, in the end I just fell into a period of regular sleep without even an NLD to show for it. This has actually happened several times over the last couple weeks, which is irritating given my satisfying successes earlier this month.