• Lucid Dreaming - Dream Views

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    1. Making Rainbows (DILD)

      by , 12-17-2016 at 03:34 PM
      Ritual: I'm coming out of my longest dry spell yet, but it was clearly a problem of motivation. Even when I had the superficial motivation to LD (I always do), the deeper motivation that makes it actually work was thwarted. In time I came to recognize the reason for this. At the end of last semester I started talking to a colleague that I knew was very interested in dreams. Even though their interest had been shaped by Freudian principles, I ventured to reveal my interest in (and practice of) lucid dreaming in the hope that we might have an interesting dialogue across perspectives. Well, the colleague promptly stopped talking to me, and I was so annoyed and embarrassed that it took a terrible toll on my dreaming. Not just lucidity—even the quality of my NLDs and my ability to remember them faded drastically. And even after I finally diagnosed what was causing the problem, I couldn't seem to dismantle the emotional block. I would just get irritated whenever I thought about it. I think this combined with the natural cyclic tendencies of my dream practice—I have too many interests and hobbies so all of them seem to wax and wane at various points to make room for one another—but hopefully my dreaming is now on the verge of a comeback. I can't think of a better New Year's resolution.

      I went to bed early last night (11pm) hoping that would help to get lucid, and for good measure spent some time browsing DV. I woke up a few times during the night and it seemed like it was going to be a bust, since I barely had any dream impressions. But the last dream I had before waking (at around 7:45am) was lucid and controlled and clear, if not ultimately successful in completing my intended task.

      DILD, "Making Rainbows": I was in a warehouse-like space with tall shelves crammed with every imaginable object, though everything looked old and used. I was having a conversation with someone about the place, though I don't feel like there was anyone walking with me; I think I was speaking aloud, but the other person was answering in my mind. I was observing that many of my own dreams (the comparison suggests that I did not yet recognize this as my own dream) included environments just like this, crammed full of objects, often taking the form of stores, libraries, archives. I proposed the hypothesis that these kind of object-archives were a metaphor for the mind, for the way it stores impressions or information. I wondered if I could put that idea to the test. (This idea suggests that I did recognize that I was in a mentally-constructed environment. What did I think it was, if not my own dream? Maybe the dream of the person I was talking to.)

      This next section is ambiguous in that I can't be sure if I had the name and was looking for the object or holding the object and was looking for its name or shelf location, but it was definitely a matching exercise between object and name. The object was a tool of some kind, flat strips of somewhat oxidized metal bent into a particular configuration with a short chain attaching some sort of polygonal fastener. It vaguely resembled one of those old metal spring traps, but not exactly, and its function was unclear. I had never seen or heard of such a thing, but I learned that it was called a "streng." I either got the name at the outset from the voice I was talking to and then found the object, or (and I think this is more likely since I have memories of holding the object as I walked), picked up a random object and then had to find out its name by looking for its shelf. But this is a false dichotomy... dreams don't always divide so neatly between what, in waking light, seem like the logical possibilities.

      At any rate, I was putting the idea of this warehouse as a kind of memory archive to the test by trying to match an object with its name. The mental effort took, I reasoned, as long as it actually took me in the dream to find the shelf. Given that it sometimes takes me a day or more to recover some sought-after piece of information from memory, this doesn't seem too far-fetched. I'm sure my archives are, like my physicial spaces tend to become, terribly cluttered with extraneous matter, making it hard to find anything. I actually commented at one point, looking at all the crap on the shelves, "I can't stand to throw anything away." But the details that make this whole exercise less plausible as a valid hypothesis of mental functioning was the object itself: neither the name "streng" nor the metal object it described corresponded with anything in waking life. The whole process seems at best to have been metaphorical.

      After this improvised task was complete, I wondered what to do next and remembered, sinced I'd just browsed DV before bed, that I still had a couple unfinished TOTY. At this point it occurred to me that if I'm now taking conscious control of my intentions and the dream environment, I must be lucid, but it didn't feel like there had been any qualitative change in my mental state. Rather, the difference between being non-lucid and lucid seemed in this case to come down primarily to whether I was acting spontaneously within the structure of the dream (as in my former task) or whether I was accessing memories and intentions that I had earlier established with waking consciousness.

      I wondered if I should try basilisk or leprechaun, and decided on the latter. Its no wonder that I'm stuck on these last two. I think I have a mental block against leprechauns because my mental imagery is composed primarily of cheesy cereal commercials; maybe that's why I have yet to actually meet one. Meanwhile I keep avoiding basilisk because it explicitly instructs killing DCs, which I am reluctant to do. I have no problem killing NPCs in RPGs and computer games, or experimenting with different ethical alignments in those environments, but dream feels different, like the stakes are higher. I'm not sure why. At any rate, given the options, I went with leprechaun again.

      Would it be possible to create a rainbow indoors? I thought it over and figured that in dream, that should be entirely reasonable. And even though the shelves in this warehouse were only a bit over head-high, the ceiling itself was vastly higher overhead: the space was huge. So I started trying to conjure a rainbow. At first nothing happened. I put my hands together in front of me, touching at the sides with the palms up, and tried to use this as a focus to create a rainbow directly from my hands, arcing upward. I managed a weak one a few times, but they quickly fizzled out.

      A young girl, maybe eight years old with blonde hair, noticed what I was doing and approached with an offer to help. "Sure," I said. I don't remember exactly what form her help took, she might have just added her concentration to my own, but with it my rainbows were getting better. I managed to make one finally that had bright colors, though there were only four of them and they were oddly separated into tube-like strips resembling neon lights, and shining with the same fluorescent intensity. Good enough for the task? I gazed at it critically, annoyed that there were only four colors. In response, the second tube from the left split down the middle and became two different colors. Good enough, I figured, and started looking for the end of the rainbow. But then that one flickered out, too.

      Every time a rainbow failed, I regrouped and tried to improve my concentration. The four-color failure made me realize I needed to focus on what the colors of a rainbow actually were, so I started chanting them as I concentrated: "Red orange yellow blue indigo and violet...." I had a hard time keeping them in the right order, and after I woke up I realized that I had completely left out "green," an interesting difficulty given that while awake, I can easily and accurately recite the colors of the rainbow without a second thought.

      The little girl continued in her role as my assistant, and now that I was working on the getting the colors straight we managed to produce a bright, very proper-looking rainbow. Best of all, it touched the floor right in front of us, so all we had to do was dig, presumably, to find the leprechaun and his gold. But no sooner had we rushed up to the spot than the rainbow disappeared again. This was getting annoying.

      Just then I became aware of a commotion in the building. We were now standing outside one wide entrance to the warehouse, which opened onto what looked like an atrium of a shopping mall, still an enclosed space but walled with plate glass windows. People were rushing over to the windows in excitement, and through the windows I could see the people outside down below (we were around four storeys up) moving in the same direction.

      The view through the glass looked out over an urban street and the row of buildings on the far side, beyond which the city ended at steep brown hills of nearly barren rock and earth. Everyone inside with us was pointing and staring at the hills, or hurrying outside to get closer to them, and the moment I looked out the window I could see why. An extraordinary rainbow had spontaneously appeared outside, and its end was clearly visible where it touched the side of one of the hills. The rainbow actually resembled the four-colour neon one that we had created earlier, but this one was exceedingly large and bright.

      The hills were probably at least a mile away and too steep to climb by foot, so I knew I would have to fly. I started pushing out the large square glass panes in the wall above me, wondering if this was the most efficient way to leave the building, or if I should just walk the thirty yards or so to the exit everyone else was taking. (The exit occupied the space to our right that had formerly led into the warehouse, which was no longer visible.) The exit led onto a sort of sky bridge that crossed the road, so it would also be a fine place to take off from. I chastised myself for wasting mental energy deciding between trivialities and decided to just continue with the window.

      After pushing out four panes to make a larger square, I grabbed the girl's hand and asked, "Have you ever flown before?" She shook her head. "Well, hold on tight." I levitated both of us up and through the space I had made. I did not feel physically obstructed by the metal frame that criss-crossed between the four panes of glass I had removed, though I felt a bit annoyed by the way I had so blithely floated through it. It felt careless. I mean, why bother taking out the glass at all if I was just going to pass ghost-like through the frame? I realized that again, I was letting myself getting bogged down with unnecessary and unhelpful mental baggage, but I've never felt comfortable "cheating," even in dream.

      We flew high over the street and buildings bordering the city, and I realized how startling the experience of flight must be to someone who was unaccustomed to it. Indeed, the girl felt very tense at my side, and murmured plaintively, "I want to sit down." I felt it would be cruel to ignore her terror, so as soon as we cleared the city, I aimed for a flat outcropping of rock at the base of the hills. We came down fast and landed hard, much harder than I had ever landed when flying on my own, so I attributed it to her fear weakening my own buoyancy. As soon as we landed, I asked her, "Are you alright continuing?" She shook her head and I prepared to take off on my own, but even as my feet left the ground I felt myself waking up and was unable to forestall it.

      Updated 12-17-2016 at 03:56 PM by 34973

      lucid , task of the year
    2. Lost Music (DILD + FA)

      by , 01-20-2015 at 09:41 PM
      WTB 3am, woke just before 7:30am. Although I had set no alarm, it must have been intention that woke me, since I needed to take my car to the mechanic this morning, and 7:30 is when they open. So I drove in, did some grocery shopping across the street, and then walked back home since it's not too far. Returned to bed around 9am and focused intention to get lucid since I'd had such a good WBTB.

      I was at a party in some guy's house. (The "party" theme must be WLR because last night I did the party scene in ME3, though none of the details were similar.) I was younger, maybe even a teenager—I think so, since the guy hosting the party was living with his parents—and wasn't really "me" in terms of identity. I was lounging on the floor with some other kids. A guy next to me joked with someone else about me taking my clothes off, and I reprimanded him sharply.

      Vague scene change; it was the next day, and everyone else was gone, but I was still in the house—only now I didn't have my clothes. Obviously I needed to get them before I could leave, but this was complicated by the fact that the host's mother had come home, together with her young baby. I was sneaking around, hoping not to get caught, because I was afraid of how she would react if she found a nude girl in the house. I didn't recall doing anything inappropriate but she would naturally assume the worst.

      I managed to sneak into the bathroom and thought that from there I could maybe call her from the door and make up some story about how I had taken a shower and now needed my clothes—though I worried that it might be hard to explain how my clothes had ended up in another room, and it didn't help that I wasn't exactly sure where they were. But my anxieties about this were resolved when I looked down and noticed that I was fully dressed after all. (Thanks, dream!)

      Now my only challenge was sneaking out of the house. But the dream was even more obliging in that regard. The mother caught sight of me as soon as I entered the next room, and I was afraid that she would respond with horror and alarm at discovering a stranger in the house. Instead, she just called me over in a friendly way as though we were already well-acquainted and she expected me to be there. We went into her large walk-in closet, where she wanted my opinion on some clothes as she changed. She put on a lower garment that was made of two separately patterned pieces of cloth, one for each leg, that fit very loosely like Thai fisherman pants. Attached to the upper part was a horizontal band of cloth, at least six inches wide and several feet long, in a third contrasting color and pattern, that she could wrap around her waist to secure the garment. The cloth and patterns were lovely and I complemented it; she said that she had made it herself. Next, while she was putting on a top, I noticed how beautifully flat her stomach was in profile and complimented her on that as well. She laughed and said modestly that it had just looked that way because she had been holding her arms over her head.

      After that she and her husband went out to an indoor mall and I tagged along. As I glanced around at the various shops, I reminded myself that since we were dreaming I should make sure to attempt one of the tasks, since it had apparently slipped my mind until that point. This made me wonder when I had first realized I was dreaming. I thought back and couldn't figure it out. In retrospect, I don't think I really was cognizant of the dream until that point, but at the time it felt much more ambiguous, like it had been a latent awareness all along. (I get this a lot—I think there is often a latent awareness of dreaming on some level, in which case lucidity requires becoming aware of the awareness!) That might explain why earlier the dream had soothed my anxieties rather than exploiting them, even though I hadn't been aware of directly controlling it.

      I figured that since it was the New Year's holiday in the dream, it would be a great time to try the fireworks TOTM again, since there were bound to be fireworks tonight anyway. Again, it's hard to say if I had really "known" all along that it was the holiday, or if I had only just "realized" this when it was convenient to my goals. I was lucid enough to know that in WL it was much later in the month, but remembered it was still January at least... so close enough.

      I walked back to the front doors of the mall, which were transparent glass, and looked out over the landscape. I didn't see any fireworks yet—it was dark out but it seemed like it was too early in the evening—and I hoped my intention could make some appear. I scanned the horizon but nothing manifested. I decided maybe it would be easier to spark them directly from my hand, so I turned around and started walking through the mall again, willing some kind of visual display to manifest from my palm. This should be easy, since in the past I've practiced summoning all the basic elements, and fireworks just seemed like a variation of this. But again, nothing happened.

      I tried to figure out what the problem was, and wondered if maybe I was too distracted with the music. Here's another case where I can't say for sure when I started singing. Often I deliberately use music in dreams as a way to channel focus into particular tasks, a method that has worked very well in the past, but right now I felt like I was singing for sheer pleasure, and the music was of unearthly beauty. Now that I noticed it, I put aside my other goals for the moment to pay attention to what I was singing. I was using my voice, but there were no real words, just abstract vocalizations emerging spontaneously in a lovely, lilting melody. The most distinctive thing about it was that I was singing in harmony with myself, as though I had several different interweaving voices, at least three, maybe more. I've sung like this before in dreams and once again had to wonder: what does it mean? When the music manifests like this, so complex and ethereal, it feels like it has some primordial significance.

      Most of my attention was now focused on the song, and nothing else seemed so important. I wanted to be in the open air, so I returned to the front doors of the mall and walked through them. I sang for a while longer, until the world around me faded in color and substance and I knew I was waking up. My first impulse was to grab my phone and try to record some of the melody as best I could before I lost it entirely. However, my phone seemed to be stuck on camera mode, and although I was insistently pressing the button and even trying to close the window manually by clicking in the upper right corner (a PC reflex, obviously this doesn't work on phones!), I couldn't get back to the main screen. Problems with tech like this are a dreamsign so I even wondered if this was an FA. However, my main concern right was to preserve any shred of the music intact, so I didn't want to distract myself with an RC, but tried to keep as much attention as possible on preserving the song.

      Even though I now only had a single voice, I was surprised how easily and spontaneously the music was still flowing, and figured it was because I had just woken up and retained lingering traces of the dreamstate. More than traces, I realized, when I woke up again and knew that it been an FA after all. I once again reached for my phone and was gratified that I could now access the main screen. But I was still having difficulties: I looked through all my apps for the voice recorder and couldn't find it! I went back and forth from screen to screen, cycling through them all three or four times, and it was nowhere! I was forced to question if this was yet another FA, even though I was now sure that I recognized everything around me from waking life, and the dream memories and music were fading rapidly. In the past I've sometimes had trouble recognizing the voice app icon because it has such a bland appearance, but I had made a point of remembering that it resembled a microphone.

      After taking more time and deliberately examining every icon on every screen, completely baffled by my inability to find it, the mystery was finally solved. I found it at the very end of all my apps, where I had placed it deliberately with the notion of making it easy to find, only I had misremembered its appearance: the last OS upgrade had completely changed the graphic to some wavy lines. It was too late to salvage the music. I tried to record the one line of melody that I could still vaguely recall, but it sounded completely wrong. I couldn't get my real voice to match the way the song sounded in my head, either in terms of the general register or even the specific notes.