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    1. No Snow for Sledding (WILD)

      by , 02-05-2017 at 06:00 PM
      Ritual: WTB around 2am. Drank a lot of wine last night, so woke up many times to rehydrate. Just before dawn I felt the slightly anxious insomnia that often helps me get lucid, so I decided to confirm my intention with a little piracetam. For years I've been trying to come up with a good dream mantra/affirmation but never found one that stuck. Since I got lucid in a recent dream from seing the word "awaken" I decided to start with that. I wanted it to be longer and have good rhythm, so I tried "Awaken into (seeing) dream," where the word in parenthesis could be varied with any other two-syllable verb with the emphasis on the first syllable: seeing, hearing, feeling, being, dreaming, etc. I liked the versatility and hoped the variations would help keep my mind active. It seems this mantra was actually successful because it was still going through my mind well after the dream had started, although, curiously, the words had changed (see below).

      WILD, "No Snow for Sledding": The transition was very smooth, and I think the mantra actually served as a good anchor this time. At one point I was inspired to see if I could move my dream limbs, and felt that familiar ambiguity about whether it was dream movement or real movement. I was 65% sure it was dream, so I kept at it until I gently 'flumpfed' in a loose heap right off the bottom of the bed, and then I knew for certain. This dream version of my bedroom was remarkably accurate to WL.

      I was crawling at first, and from that low perspective had a good view of my two cats. They looked a little different—shorter hair I think—but I could still tell them apart. Dream logic made me wonder if I could somehow better communicate with my anxious cat in a dream. I crawled over to her and put my hands on her head, reaching toward her with gentle thoughts and telling her that she didn't need to be so anxious. It didn't work: she bit my hand! After that she went into the hallway where I was surprised to see our older cat chase her, an inversion of their usual relationship. I moved toward them and noticed a third animal, a remarkably lifelike grey squirrel—even more vividly rendered than the two cats. [Source: I had recently remarked to my husband how odd it was that I had never seen any squirrels near our house here, but he said that he had. Then just two days ago I glimpsed a grey squirrel outside.]

      I thought I had better remove the squirrel from the house, so I picked it up by the scruff of the neck—it was so realistic I thought I had better handle it carefully lest I get bitten again. I peered down to it, wondering if it might have anything to say (this being a dream and all), but no, it just twitched its nose like a regular squirrel. So I opened the window on my side of the bed, the place where in WL I toss out the miscellaneous bugs that stray into the house, and tossed it out.

      Around this point I noticed that my mantra was still going through my head, though slightly changed from what it had been as I fell asleep. It had taken the form: "Awaken, dreamer, I am dream." It occurred to me that once I was already lucid, the word "awaken" was no longer useful, and in fact might be detrimental. I thought about how the meaning of the word depended on its context: from non-lucid sleep one can "awaken" into lucidity, but from a state of lucidity, to "awaken" is to wake up. With the precarious thought of waking I felt the dream begin to destabilized, and hastily altered the mantra to: "Dream on, dreamer, I am dream." I managed to restabilize, and with the natural musicality of dream found myself adding a bit of melody to the words.

      After this my thoughts turned to more practical ends. Wasn't there a task I wanted to do? Right, the sled ride. I thought over the details. I would need to sled down from the top of a snowy mountain and then through a crack in the earth into... who knows? Finding out would be the fun part. It was snowy outside, like it is in WL, so I thought that would make a good start. I just needed to go outside and find a sled and a mountain.

      I opened the window again to fly out, but now there was a pane of what felt like transparent plastic covering the opening. I was annoyed because even in WL this is one of the few windows in the house that has no screen, so there should not be anything barring my passing. I decided to shatter the barrier with my mind, concentrated, and... nothing happened. Disappointed that I could not resolve this more stylishly, I manually peeled aside the flexible plastic panel and slipped out onto the lower roof. (This part was not quite accurate to WL: although there is a sloping side of another roof to the left, there is no level area just below the window where one could stand.)

      I willed myself to fly, but nothing happened initially. I kept focusing until I began to float up and across the yard. There were a lot of random pavilions scattered below, and I reminded myself to be observant so I would remember the details later. I flew over to the roof of a small outbuilding—the environment no longer bore any resemblance to WL—where I found two sleds. One was child-sized, the other larger, and I noticed approvingly that they were the old fashioned kind on runners, much easier to control than round saucer sleds.

      I picked up the larger sled and looked it over. The details were wonderfully vivid: it had a painted metal superstructure consisting of thin round bars painted white, and flat wide bars painted green. These encircled a small rectangular seat of heavily aged and distressed wood. I noticed an odd detail in the very center of the sled, a transparent glass sphere about four inches in diameter, half full of water. I peered closer, wondering if it was some sort of gyroscope, and saw words printed on the sphere: "FAST WATER." I decided that this was a device for boosting speed, and that I would name my new sled "Fastwater." I felt very pleased with it.

      Sled in hand, next I needed a mountain. I resumed floating through the air and scanning for suitable topography. I soon found myself approaching a steep hillock, but since it was at most a couple dozen feet high, I didn't think it qualified as a "mountain." After that was a second, taller hillock, but I rejected that one too on the same grounds. Then in the distance I saw a much taller hill with a massive castle on top of it. I had the impression that it was a German castle called "Schwanzstein," though even in the dream I recalled the meaning of schwanz (which, in common with many Americans, I learned long ago from the Mel Brooks film Space Balls). That seemed like a peculiar yet somehow familiar name for a castle, and I wondered why it came to mind. [Source: German castles have come up in conversation twice in the last few days, both the one at Wernigerode and another whose name I couldn't remember. I just asked my husband and he reminded me it was "Neuschwanstein." So there you have it. Sorry Freudians, you can go back home now.]

      I figured that the type of hill on which one was likely to find a German castle could qualify as a small mountain, and decided that this would be a good spot to sled down from. I floated closer, noting a number of stiff and oddly sepia-hued guards standing around the courtyards, as though peopling an old postcard. I noticed a perfect straight chute for sledding that ran down from the top of the mountain, so that's where I landed. Everything was in place... except... there was no snow anymore. Could I just sled down anyway, I wondered? No, I distinctly recalled that the task specified a snowy mountain. I peered around, hoping I could at least spot a few patches of snow and call it even. But the grass was as brown as the guards—there was a hint of sepia about the whole place, like a movie scene shot through a filter—and no snow was visible anywhere.

      I sat down with my sled, willing it to snow. I concentrated my expectations, imagining how the first tiny flakes would move erratically through the air. Once again the distinction between imagination and experience—which seems so improbable in the dream state—was reconfirmed, because even though I could clearly see the type of snow I envisioned in my mind's eye, the dream air remained stubbornly free of flakes. This TOTM has a lot of moving parts, I thought. It's as hard as a TOTY! A moment later I woke up and was amused to recognize my error; in waking life I would not have misremembered the category of the task, since the TOTYs are linked by a common theme.

      Updated 02-05-2017 at 06:12 PM by 34973

      Categories
      lucid , task of the year
    2. Angry Fairy and Turnip Fairy (DILD)

      by , 04-26-2016 at 07:52 PM
      Ritual: WTB 1am, woke 8:30am after spontaneous DILD.

      In the course of an NLD, I was changing clothes in my bedroom when I spontaneously realized I was dreaming. I decided I shouldn't waste any more time fussing with clothes and instead get to work on the next task I had prioritized: the Fairy Circle TOTY. Glancing at myself in the mirror, still partially undressed, I headed outside.

      I wondered if the dream would let me pass through the sliding door to the patio without obstruction, but instead I found myself exerting what almost felt like a realistic level of force to open it. Once outside, I didn't want to get bogged down looking for a fairy circle, so I primed my expectations. The fairy circle, it was right over here... I've seen it before. I headed right and found a nice patch of soil like a garden plot. Just as I had "expected," I saw tiny plants like seedlings growing in a distinct circular ring about five feet in diameter. At first I didn't see any mushrooms, so I reminded myself: And there were mushrooms. Looking closer, I now observed a few small mushrooms interspersed among the plants. I also saw a few smooth, bulbous growths that reminded me of the "stone plants" that had fascinated me when I was a kid. I had forgotten those even existed!

      Now that the circle was adequately established, I needed to summon fairies. I knelt down and focused on the center of the ring, where the soil was bare. I noticed faint movement in a spot slightly off-center, and then the loose earth began to fall inward, as though a hole were forming beneath it. I continued to concentrate on the summoning, and then an odd formation slowly rose out of the earth until it stood about two feet high. It resembled a candelabra with at least two tiers of arms in all four directions, except instead of candles, it held small figures that I presumed were the fairies. I reached out and grabbed the one from the very top of the arrangement. It was about eight inches tall and stiff like a statuette.

      I looked closely at the small figure in my hand. She was dark-skinned with shoulder-length black hair, wearing a crimson dress with a dark green cape on her back. Her hat was the same crimson as her dress, but in form it resembled a Santa hat, with a white fuzzy brim and a white pompom at the end of the conical tip that draped behind her. Attached to the toes of her green shoes were round bells, both silver and green. I thought the overall impression was really cheesy, not at all how I would have preferred to imagine a fairy! There was one more incongruous detail: her face was contorted with an expression of unmistakable anger.

      I was tempted to ask her name, but remembered how pointless and distracting this line of questioning can become, so I should get straight to my real question: "What is your secret?"

      Her response was both unexpected and chilling: "It is evil." She sounded as furious as she looked.

      "What is?" I asked, utterly perplexed.

      I can't recall her initial response, but it did not resolve my confusion. I decided to be more specific: "When you said, 'It is evil,' what did you mean by 'it'?"

      She said a few more things that I don't recall, and then a line that struck me clearly: "The evil of a controlled substance is the substance."

      This was even more confusing. I hardly ever use controlled substances, at least not illegal ones, so I didn't understand how this could be relevant. Moreover, I disagreed with her stated position: in my view, the main evil of a controlled substance is the social strictures that punish people for possessing or using it.

      "Why did you bury amphetamines?" the fairy pressed.

      What happened next was the clearest case of false memory that I've experienced to date. With what felt like a flash of insight, I suddenly realized the probable reason she was so angry. I "remembered" something about my fairy circle—something that I'm pretty sure had not come up in the dream until the point at which I now "remembered" it, but now seemed to explain everything. I recalled that at one point I had buried a bunch of drugs inside the fairy circle, mostly amphetamines, as part of my preparations for the ritual to lure or summon the fairies. It now occurred to me that this might have caused problems within fairy society, and I felt a twinge of guilt.

      I didn't think I would get any more useful information from this fairy, so I put her aside and grabbed another, this time from the side of the candelabra-like arrangement.

      This fairy didn't look human at all. It looked like... a turnip? Was that the right vegetable? The white round bulb with a blush of purplish-red at the top? Yes, a turnip. I was reminded of a photograph of a white radish by Edward Weston (1886–1958) that I had seen the day before in WL. This was clearly a turnip, not a radish, but it gave me a similarly vulgar impression. If this was a fairy, it was clearly not from the upper echelon of fairy society. Or could its abject appearance be the result of too many amphetamines?

      Well, here goes.

      "I have a question." I said, wondering if the turnip-fairy could understand me. "The question I've come to ask is: What is your secret?"

      I was still rotating the turnip in my hands as I spoke to it, uncertain which side was the appropriate one to address. How do you talk to something with no face?

      I heard a male voice, faint, with the accents of a yokel, like Cletus on The Simpsons. It responded to the question in my mind, not the one I had voiced: "There is a side that says: 'Look at me'."

      I realized the turnip must be trying to help me orient it properly, so I turned it until I found a round black label with white block lettering that, sure enough, said "LOOK AT ME." It was hard to make out—I missed it at first—because the label was embedded in a scene featuring the stylized profile of a man in a black cloak.

      "It would be a lot easier to see if there was some white space around it," I commented about the label.

      The turnip-fairy took my suggestion and the surrounding scene promptly faded, leaving the round black label with its white letters clearly discernible. I reminded the turnip that I had come to ask its secret.

      I don't recall its initial answer, but I do remember my skepticism. Whatever he had said had sounded as unconvincing as the response I had gotten from the first fairy, and I assumed that he, too, might be pursuring an agenda that involved concealing the truth.

      "I don't think that's your secret." I said doubtfully. "Tell me your real secret."

      The tone of his response implied that I was wilfully ignoring the obvious: "Oh come on, we can't tell you that."

      Even before his sentence had concluded, I was ejected from the scene and found myself standing in my bathroom. I felt like I had woken up, but wasn't sure. I briefly considered going back outside and attempting to continue the scenario, but realized I should promptly write down what had already happened. I grabbed my notepad from the bedside table, and after a bit of trouble with the pen—which I recognized as another dream sign—I started writing down what had happened. Although I realized I was probably not yet awake, I figured that even while still dreaming it could be useful to write down some initial recollections while they were fresh, and it might help me remember them better when I did wake up.

      However, I hadn't gotten more than a few sentences into it when dream-writing began to feel tedious, and I was afraid I would get distracted, fall into an NLD, and lose the memories entirely, so I forced myself awake. But as soon as I grabbed my actual notepad to begin writing in WL, I realized my mistake: merely transitioning to wakefulness had dulled the memories of the dream that had been so crystal clear just before I had woken up. I wrote down everything I could still recall, but unfortunately some details of the conversations were lost.

      Updated 04-29-2016 at 07:05 AM by 34973

      Categories
      lucid , task of the year
    3. Do DCs Dream? (DILD)

      by , 03-02-2016 at 12:16 AM
      Ritual: Woke up at dawn after a DILD in which I was joyously flying over a gorgeous verdant landscape and admiring an enormous white castle. The detailed report took two pages and I don't see the need to reproduce them here, however, I'm amused to see that my initial notes on it look like an odd little poem:

      party, paul
      crash in kitchen
      bird
      ceiling, sky
      oh, this is a dream, isn't it
      fly up, clarity, joy
      look at that castle, it's huge!
      hello everyone, hello!


      While flying around I wondered if I should try a TOTM, and remembered that February was ending but that I hadn't looked at the March list yet. After recording that dream, I reviewed the new TOTMs and went back to bed. At first I tried my vibrating alarm, but after an hour of unproductive sleep, decided that my state of mind was not suitable for that method and took it off. It was 8am by this point and my hopes weren't high, so all I did was think about the TOTMs as I went back to bed. I was especially drawn to the one where you ask DCs about their dream, because I thought I remembered planning to try that myself at one point but had never gotten around to it.

      I actually did end up having another DILD in which I performed this task, but it wasn't very satisfying because I failed to wake and write promptly. This was annoying because during the dream itself I had been taking pains to try to remember the specific responses given by the DCs, but by the time I woke up fully at almost 10am, my memories had become blurred and vague. Here's what I can piece back together.


      DILD: I was in a room with three male friends when I realized I was dreaming, and that the presence of the DCs was a perfect set up for the task I wanted to try. I approached one of the guys and asked him to tell me about a dream he had recently. He said something to the effect that he didn't remember any dreams but was curious about them.

      What would it be like not to dream, I wondered—to be aware only of the moments when one is actually awake? It sounds like a kind of half-existence, a disturbing prospect.

      I went over to the second guy, who was sitting on a barstool nearby, and discovered that his appearance had changed. Now he resembled... a jawa? Except his robe was red... no, a dark pink. Weird. When he spoke, his voice sounded high and girlish. I don't remember the details of his reply, but it was also in the negative. No dreams to report.

      I approached the third guy and asked if he remembered any dreams. My hopes weren't high, but I was pleasantly surprised when he said he had dreamed about a location where HEMA could be practiced. (HEMA stands for Historical European Martial Arts, something I've been practicing since last year.) He started telling me about a weapon that he called a "brouheea" or something like that. I couldn't make sense of the word and asked him to repeat it a few times, so he showed me an example of one that was in a display case on the wall. It was shaped like a tiny axe, about six inches long, and the label demonstrated that the word had a complex spelling with a silent last syllable, like "Brouheeages." I thought it sounded vaguely Dutch.

      When I finally woke up some time later, it was frustrating not to be able to recall if the three guys, who I had thought of as "friends" within the context of the dream, had represented specific WL friends or had simply been random DCs who felt familiar at the time (I get this a lot).

      Updated 03-02-2016 at 12:24 AM by 34973

      Tags: hema, jawa, memory
      Categories
      lucid , task of the month
    4. Plump Calico Cat (DILD)

      by , 07-04-2015 at 02:28 AM
      I was looking under the bed for my two cats, and they were there, but to my surprise I found a third! It was an enormous calico, at least twice the size of any other cat I'd ever seen, and unbelievably fat. Startled by this strange discovery, I pointed it out to my husband. He gave me a suspicious look and said, "That's Crowl," as if explaining the obvious.

      "He must have at least fifteen percent of the Internet!" I exclaimed, thinking that there's no way such an unusual cat could avoid becoming an Internet sensation. My husband nodded in confirmation.

      "Where did he come from?" I inquired. It seemed like a reasonable question, since I had never seen this cat before but my husband appeared to be familiar with him.

      Again my husband looked at me in wary confusion, as if he couldn't understand why he had to keep telling me things I should know perfectly well. "We got him from Donna Slope."

      "Who's Donna Slope?" The tension was growing with every question I asked. My husband was now staring at me as if he feared that I had finally lost my mind. I gathered that this was the name of someone we knew quite well, for for the life of me I could not remember a single detail about her.

      I noticed that the sliding door to the patio was open, and one of our own cats and Crowl had gone outside. I expressed alarm: ours is an elderly indoor cat, and definitely not allowed outside without close supervision. My husband seemed strangely unconcerned: "It's okay, he'll follow Crowl." I was not reassured. "We'll have to talk about this later," I said, indicating the events of the entire morning, and went out after the cats.

      The two were already walking along the side of the house toward the street. To my alarm I saw that the front gate was open, and they went right through it. For some reason after I caught up with them I picked up Crowl first. As I walked back along the side of the house I noticed an assortment of little pumpkins or round gourds next to the path. One green one was rattling violently as if something were trying to get out. This piqued my curiosity, but I could not investigate with my arms full of cat, so I resolved to take a closer look after both cats were secured back indoors. I unceremoniously dumped Crowl back inside the bedroom, making sure to close the screen door behind him, and then went back for the other cat.

      I was worried at having left my cat unattended, but reminded myself that he moved very slowly in his old age and he could not have gone far. As long as he hadn't blundered out into the street, he should be okay. I soon spotted him next to the sidewalk chewing on grass... but something was amiss. There were now two cats of his appearance. I studied them closely until I thought I was sure which one was him, and carried him back inside. After he was safely secured in the house, I went back to investigate those pumpkins.

      The pumpkins ranged in color from green to orange, and seams indicated that the tops could be lifted like those of jack-o-lanterns. What did I expect to find inside? What if it was a coiled up snake, and it bit me? I brushed aside the fear impatiently: the only reason to be afraid of a snake is if you think it might have deadly poison, but that is quite rare. Most snakebites are harmless. Still, why did I want to look inside the pumpkins? I needed a good reason. "Curiosity," I concluded. "Curiosity is the desire to know more." That seemed like a good enough reason in itself.

      The first few pumpkins were hollowed out as I anticipated, but they contained only vague shapes, like something was still buried in the pumpkin flesh. I peered closely at one and I thought it looked lizard-shaped. "Maybe they aren't ready to hatch yet," I concluded. I reached the green one that had been shaking violently. Surely this one was ready! I stopped and tried to imagine what I would most like to find inside, and decided on one of those little troll dolls. Wouldn't be cool to find one that had come to life? I lifted the top and... it was just another lizard. This was vaguely disappointing after I had gotten my hopes up for something more exotic.

      After going back in the house I started thinking hard. I realized something very strange was going on today, and I needed to figure out what it was. My husband was acting very uncharacteristically, and I was apparently unfamiliar with major details of my own life. What could it be? Was it related to time travel? My current situation felt very similar to the life I knew, but not identical... could I have somehow "jumped the tracks" to a different timeline, a different possible present?

      Later I was shelving some books in the kitchen when another possibility came to mind: I could be dreaming. At first this felt very unlikely, but I knew that apperances could be deceiving, and I would need to test thoroughly. I began by looking at a book on the shelf and trying to withdraw it through will alone. Nothing happened, but I thought it might just need a headstart, so I pulled it out about an inch with my fingers, then tried to finish using only mental strength. This time it worked! I let the book hover in the air above my palm to confirm that I was controlling it with my thoughts.

      Alright, so I'm definitely dreaming. Shit. That means I have to remember everything so I can write it down when I wake up. I started going over details from the morning, listing them aloud to better fix them in memory. "Crowl... Donna Slope... lizards in pumpkins..." I'm sure several other things happened that morning that I'm now forgetting, but I lost lucidity and had another long NLD before waking up, so some of the details have faded.
    5. Notes on dream memory

      by , 06-16-2015 at 09:20 PM
      I just woke from a night that was thick, rich, dense with dreaming, but the recall was scattered and sparse, which makes me ponder the nature of dream memory. After this last waking, I lay there for some minutes without being able to remember a single thing, not one detail, yet I knew for certain that I had been dreaming. This is a peculiar state of mind, the ultimate experience of ambiguity. I lay back down on the bed sideways across the covers so that I would not accidentally fall asleep again, and then let my mind drift, looking for the particulars. At first it seemed hopeless, like groping through mud, until through some mysterious process a tiny detail took shape...

      ...near my new house, a stream full of fish, all sizes and varieties...

      That detail links to more images and events, and then there all are, as vivid as life, all those memories that had seemed to be lost, and might have never been recovered had I not taken the time to seek them...

      ...I look forward to fishing, catching my own dinner... is the water clean enough? I need a fishing pole, I can buy one right now on Amazon, I'm sure they sell them, it will be here in two days... or is this the sort of thing I should buy in person? find a sporting goods store, feel the weight and balance in my hands first, try out the cast...

      ...and finally I'll have somewhere to shoot my bow! so nice to have space again.... but my bow and target are still in my old house, I won't have them until we complete the move... guess I'll have to be patient...

      ...a bit concerned about the neighbors, though, that father yelling at his children, hitting them with tires, and so openly, right in the yard! should I call and report? but surely someone has tried before, and nothing has changed. I walk back that way and he's still at it, now they're all carrying tires, all four or five children, and he's still hitting them, yelling "we don't put wood in the house!" what does that mean? all houses have wood in them, it's a basic building material... I should inquire with the other neighbors, something has to be done... at least my house is across the stream, away from here, secluded in the woods...


      And this reminds me of yet another dream...

      ...the two boys were living in such a house, alone in an open field, only woods on all sides. the old man must have been living off the grid, so no one knew when he died, and they quietly took over the house... his guests become his heirs... what did they do with the body, bury it in the yard? and then the seclusion let them build their operations, what was it, computers? what were they trying to accomplish... still can't remember...

      And another...

      ...but before that we were looking for someone, an uncle?...can't just "lose" someone these days, not unless they don't want to be found... it takes a lot of care not to show up on the internet, to avoid social media entirely. the only clue we had was a partial bag of english muffins, not sure what that can prove, but then I wonder if the city where it was purchased is printed on the bottom... sure enough it is... but it is the name of my own city! is he here, or is this not even the right bag?

      And so on... from no memories at all, to more than are worth writing down.

      What would have happened to those memories if I hadn't taken the trouble to consciously retrieve them? What happens to all the memories of the dreams we don't remember, or have forgotten? Is there a kind of deep storage? I think there must be, because from time to time they come swimming up in flashes, like fish catching the light near the surface...

      ....a gleam of light against the wall of the building across from us, like a tile of glass catching the sun... Arya isn't paying attention, I catch her eye and direct her toward it with my own... she looks the wrong way and I have to pantomime the gaze even more cartoonishly before she sees it... we are under observation and can't speak aloud... but at last she sees the gleam and we go over to find out what it is... I think it is magic itself, these signals... this isn't the first... but is it directed by a person or inherent in the world, plot, fate? we climb the stairs inside the building and open the door at the very top... with satisfaction I perceive it is a magical goods store, and actually tell the lady proprietor what brought us there... perhaps she or something she sells here can assist us in our predicament...

      That was yet another from last night, where my own turn of phrase, "catching the light," caught the memory. But often I'll be sitting around doing things in waking life and apparently random glimpses will surface of dreams I know I had years ago, probably ones I never even wrote down, yet in some obscure way they still shadow me. Where and what are memories when we're not remembering them? Dream memory feels like it is stored separately from waking life memory, which would make sense if we need to distinguish the two to maintain sanity. But maybe that sense of separateness only comes because dream memories do not fit into the established contexts of ordinary life... at least for me, where dreams and waking life have so few qualities in common.

      There are people who hardly remember their dreams at all... are those dream memories buried inside them as if in some secret vault? Could some odd balance of brain chemicals unlock it, bring them all flooding back, the dreams of a lifetime?
    6. Dream Battle / Rainbow Tasting / What's Up My Sleeve? (DILD)

      by , 06-14-2015 at 08:18 PM
      A woman and I are running from a pursuer, another woman. "Faster, faster!" the first woman urges me. "Don't look back, it will slow you down." I don't see why I have to run away, but fine, I'll play along... I do look back, however, and I'm surprised how close the pursuer is. This motivates me to try to put some distance between me and her, so I run harder... and yet I can't seem to make much gain on her. I'm perplexed: I know I should be able to do this, I'm dreaming, it's not like I have to rely on my physical stamina. I wonder if the answer is in running with more short strides rather than trying to cover more distance with each step, much as one is advised to run in WL, so I try out variations. I'm making progress, but concentrating so hard on my running form is becoming tedious. "Imagining running is almost as hard as the real thing!" I comment to the woman fleeing with me. Getting bored with this situation I decide to put an end to it, and succeed in sprinting ahead to the point where I can turn a corner and leave the pursuer's field of vision, at which point I figure I've made a fair escape.

      However, it turns out that my pursuer had an accomplice: I now find myself in a struggle with a huge brawny man with a shaggy brown beard. I perceive him as a Viking, and I'm aware that his name is Torvald. He is connected somehow with the woman who was chasing me earlier, and is likewise an antagonist. Our struggle manifests partially as a kind of combat, but it feels as much like a battle of dream control as a physical battle.

      I easily resist Torvald's initial attempts to subdue me, but his immense confidence makes me wonder if I should doubt my own. I go on the offensive and try to put him out of action more permanently, trying various tactics to destroy his body. For instance, at one point I imagine his body being crushed by a great weight from above, and although this has him stretched out supine on the ground for as long as I'm actively thinking it, he is soon back on his feet. I try crushing his heart and throat from inside his body, but he is only briefly inconvenienced.

      I wonder if fire would do the trick, and visualize Torvald's body burning to ash. Though I've said nothing aloud, he appears to understand my intentions, and rather than actively resisting like he did with my other attacks, he simply denies the efficacy of this approach. "Fire won't work," he tells me flatly. I refuse to acknowledge this and continue contentrating on the image of fire consuming him. "Fire won't work," Torvald tells me again. I'm thinking: how could this be? It's my dream, isn't it? Fire should work if I say it should work. So I redouble my focus on the fire. With patient indifference, Torvald insists: "Fire won't work." I find this disconcerting, because apparently my confidence is unable to overcome his. Aren't I the dreamer? But there is no time for philosophical questions; we are still in combat. I switch tactics: if he is resistant to fire, how about ice? I start to try to freeze him—even if it doesn't destroy him it might at least slow him down temporarily—but Torvald has found the opening he needed and pins me to the ground.

      Torvald's inexplicable ability to ignore my attempts to burn him makes me wonder if I should worry that he could actually harm me. But I have a superpower too: as the dreamer, I am invulnerable... aren't I? I decide to play it safe, and secretly project my "real" identity to the roof of a nearby building. It is a large square brick structure about 8–10 stories high, and I crouch behind the low brick railing that surrounds the flat roof, tempted to peek out at the combat occurring down below but not wanting to let Torvald see me and discover the trick. So I transfer my perceptions back to my body on the ground, which I now regard as a mere DC, and thus disposable. If my attacker succeeds in destroying this body, it won't matter: I've secured my identity elsewhere. Torvald actually glances up toward the roof when I think this, and I quickly realize that I need to guard my thoughts as well.

      "Do you have someone watching me?" Torvald asks. I am relieved, because although he suspects that there is an observer on the roof, he hasn't seen through my whole trick—he doesn't seem to recognize that the person up there is actually me. I project a new thought toward him, gleefully: I recall how undercover police have been tracking him, and that I've been using our encounter to distract and delay him until they were in position. Maybe none of this was true earlier, but it doesn't matter: this is a dream battle, so it is true now! When Torvald looks back down at me, I grin mockingly and deliberately call him by the wrong name, "Harald," just to annoy him further. The game is up, and my undercover officers move in and force Torvald to release me. I'm not sure what happens to him after that... pleased with having solved the dilemma, I simply walk away.

      What's next? The last incident was not one that I had intended, but now I'm free to work on tasks. I enter a wide clearing and wonder if I should try the Dragon Age task again. I've always liked the idea of aligning dream space with fictional environments from books, films, or games, but I'm still trying to figure out how to do it. I suppose the first step would be to remember a concrete environment from the game and try to insert aspects of it here. I played DA:I just last night, so I should be able to access those memories... but as I seek them out I feel a tremor of dream instability, and decide not to push it. If there's a risk of waking, I should put that task off until later. For now, there are still a few TOTMs I haven't tried this month, and I decide to work on those.

      "Taste a rainbow." That one is easy to remember. I imagine a rainbow in the sky, and produce something very faint and not at all rainbow-colored. The colors are largely ochres and earthtones, and not even in proper lines but arranged in a more tesselated pattern over the arch. I'm not being a perfectionist at this point, so I accept this as a "rainbow" and shrink it into a stick of candy in my hand. The colors have changed in the process, and for some reason the candy stick is white with swirls of red and blue. Still not rainbow-colored! But I take a bite. The texture is interesting, lots of little pieces that crunch between my teeth, but the flavor is a real disappointment: vague, muted, and blandly sweet. Apart from "sweet," no other descriptors really present themselves. This won't do. A rainbow should taste more unusual than this! I decide to start over.

      This time I put more work into the rainbow itself. I first visualize it, then focus on the faint transparent arch until it becomes more clearly visible, but this also has the consequence of making it more material. Now it appears like a physical object, a two-dimensional vertical banner in an arch about ten feet high and twenty feet long, right in front of me. I work on correcting the pattern so that it has rainbow colors in properly aligned stripes... I see some improvement, although it is a C+ effort at best. It looks better than my last attempt, anyway, so I approach the "rainbow" and try to take a bite directly out of it. The experience is like... chewing on a shower curtain. It really feels like I've put a sheet of plastic in my mouth, although the material is soft enough to crush between my teeth. Again the texture is more prominent than the taste. I put all my attention on the flavor, trying to detect anything describable, and think maybe I get some underlying fruity notes, but again it remains vague and uninteresting. Taste and smell are the least developed of my dream senses... I wonder if I could improve them if I worked at it?

      I feel like I have adequately completed the task, anyway, and wonder what to try next. In all my efforts with the rainbows I had hardly paused to note all the people sitting at various tables around this clearing, like picnickers, but observing them now, I figure it might be fun to try the magic show. What would a stage magician do? I guess the most basic tricks involve having something up one's hat or one's sleeve? I notice that I am completely naked, which has long since ceased to embarrass me in dreams, but gives me a mischievous idea.

      "What's up my sleeve?" I start circling among the various tables, challenging the audience members to come up with a response. One of the first responses is: "Following a guy from Eton to [...]?" (I forgot the second place name.) This answer reminds me of the earlier scene, and how I resolved the conflict with Torvald. This DC must have been one of my officers! "Are you an undercover cop?" I ask him in reply. He grudgingly nods. "Not anymore!" I'm joking about how he has just blown his cover, but it also feels like an appropriate analogy to my own lack of sleeves... I'm not "undercover" either.

      I continue asking, "What's up my sleeve?" and collect various other responses from the audience, all of which were non-sequiturs... but I reasoned that the illogic of the question itself (since there was no sleeve) invited such creative responses. After hearing from seven different people, I realized that I might have trouble remembering all this when I woke up, so I stopped and went over their answers again, one by one, to help fix them in memory. Already I had trouble recalling two of the answers, but one of the DCs helpfully reminded me, additionally pointing out that the answers varied between the metaphorical (things that never could go up a sleeve) and the literal ("Three shekels" was one of these answers, I think). Meanwhile I was getting ready for the grand finale to my show, when I would reveal my own answer to the question. I had been planning on the groaningly obvious "Nothing!" and was ready for the big reveal when I noticed that something had changed... now I was wearing clothes, including a short-sleeved shirt. I realized that if I was going to go for the groaningly obvious at this point, I would have to answer "My arm!"

      I felt myself start waking up, and I already had a lot to remember and report so I didn't resist the process. I woke up slowly enough that I was able to concentrate on those seven answers from the DCs and hold them in mind, with what felt like excellent clarity and accuracy. And then something happened... as I crossed the threshold, despite all my care and preparation, the memories abruptly tattered, the details dissolving. The only one of the seven answers I could still remember, and that incompletely, was the first—and that I suspect only because it was anchored by its reference to the earlier scene.

      Updated 06-14-2015 at 10:11 PM by 34973

      Categories
      lucid , memorable , task of the month
    7. Memory (NLD fragment)

      by , 04-16-2015 at 06:40 AM
      Recall: 4/10. I woke up with a crystal clear memory of what I was saying to a DC just before waking, but the context is lost:

      "My short-term memory is phenomenally good. Better than most people. I test extremely well. That's how I got this far in academia. But my long-term memory is absolute shite." I go with the British pronunciation for emphasis. "It's like living with a disability. About half the people I know, if they come up to me, I have no idea who they are. I've been living with this my whole life, so I can usually bluff my way through it. Half the time, at least they look familiar, and I spend the whole conversation trying to remember where I've seen them before and what their name is. But the other half of the time, I don't remember ever even having met them."
      Tags: memory
      Categories
      non-lucid , dream fragment
    8. Dark Spirit (NLD fragment)

      by , 04-03-2015 at 07:05 PM
      Recall: 1/10. WTB 4am, woke 10am. All night on waking I had the impression of complex dreams but could not recall even the broad outlines. At one point there was a fragment of Japanese in my head: play between the words "iro iro" (which I think means "various") and "iru" (infinitive of "to be"). After final sleep had the vague impression of seeing places on a map, and was sure that I had dreamed something urban and apocalyptic... but I cannot seem to find the thread.

      10:45am. Took a shower, still trying to remember. At first I thought the hot water was a distraction, but after a few minutes something flashed into mind and I murmured: "I was in the woods."

      I was in the woods. There was at least one other person, and we were digging for something. And then another entity approached us. I have the impression that he usually drove a horse and carriage, but at the time of our encounter he was on foot. I recognized him as something terrifying and supernatural. He had a name, the everyday kind some boogeymen develop in folklore, consisting of an adjective and a common first name. The adjective might have been "dark"; I don't remember the name. I have the impression he had a stunted body, a normal-sized male torso on short and shriveled legs.

      When I saw this creature on the forest path, I recognized the terror and danger he represented, and then the strangest thing happened: on a whim, I ran up and hugged him! And as this was happening, I was thinking wryly to myself, "If I were lucid, would I dare to do this? I don't think so!" Somehow I managed to have this thought without being lucid in the slightest—I guess you could say it was dream awareness without memory or agency. However, there might have been a touch of dream memory, even if WL memory was absent: my comment was in reference to an incident that occurred several years when I was lucid, and my intended task was to approach a fae spirit, but the one I glimpsed in the distance was so creepy that all she did was glance in my direction and I started running away as fast as I could!

      Updated 04-03-2015 at 07:08 PM by 34973

      Categories
      non-lucid , dream fragment
    9. Accessing Memory (EILD)

      by , 02-13-2015 at 08:59 PM
      Ritual: WTB 3am, woke several times before and after dawn but didn't WBTB, woke around 9:30am and put vibrating alarm on wrist, set for 24 minutes. Woke up too soon, before it went off, reset it. Next cycle effective.

      EILD: I feel the pulse of the alarm on my left wrist, waking me, but remember to lay very still and see if I can maintain dream state. I experimentally move my hands and arms and from the sinuous and unimpeded sense of motion I'm convinced this is working, that I'm moving the dream body and not the physical one. I know I have to be careful not to overdo it and actually engage real motor functions, so I spend some time almost "dancing" in place with my arms, writhing them bonelessly like a snake dance, until I have enough sense of engagement with the dream body that I risk rolling out of bed. I can't walk yet: I can barely crawl over the rug. I know I need to engage the environment, so I stare at the carpet, noticing the texture of the pile. I'm pleased when I spot a piece of random detritus under my dresser, because something unexpected means the dreamstate is gaining momentum. To gain traction I focus on physical sensations, running my hands over the carpet and even bending lower to rub my cheek against it. Even though I've done this many times before I'm still impressed with the vividness of the sensation, it feels so scratchy and real.

      When I feel sufficiently engaged with my dream body, I manage to stand upright and walk. I easily recall my plan to work on memory—carefully though! I don't want to actually wake myself up. Trying to remember where I went to sleep seems unnecessary, as I still haven't left the bedroom. What about the date? I'm pretty sure it's February... I don't want to think harder to get the precise date lest that efffort wake me. (It's worth nothing that I usually have to think just as hard to remember the calendar date in WL. Usually I just look at my phone because it's easier.)

      I start walking through the hall toward the kitchen. What other memory should I try to access? I know, what have I been reading lately? I'm pretty sure I came up with the correct general impression, but even as I write this, details of my waking life knowledge of this topic are corrupting and crowding out the dream recollections to the point where it is hard to be sure how specific my answer was. At any rate, in the dream I felt satisfied with my level of memory access and moved on.

      As I entered the kitchen I noticed something peculiar: even though I was in a very accurate mental model of my house and had a strong access to waking recollection, and had even managed to access WL memory without disrupting the dream state, it had not in the least improved it either. I had a good sense of tactility (I find that the easiest sense to maintain), but as so often in early WILDs (which this effectively was though induced by EILD technique), my vision was still extremely poor. The haziness was mitigated by the fact that I was in a dream version of my house, as I almost am at the start of dreams of this type, so I "knew" what was around me and that knowledge could help make up for the lack of visual clarity. Perhaps that is partly why my mind instinctively frames such dreams in this way, in addition to the straightforward logical continuity of entering the dream from a mental model of the same place I went to sleep. It moreover suggests that from the start of WILDs I always instinctively remember where my WL body is sleeping, even if I am not paying deliberate attention to the fact.

      I wondered if concentrating would clean up my vision but there was no improvement— it's too bad I didn't think of Fryingman's awesome technique, which I only read about last night, of "taking off the blurry glasses." I figured I should try to clean it up in the usual way, interacting with the dreamstate until it naturally clarified and brightened. Meanwhile, I thought about the other tasks I had been planning. Most important was the elusive forest. After many tries fruitlessly trying to reach it on foot, I decided that I need to stop chasing it, since I seem to be encountering a mental block, and instead will it to manifest around me. I also remembered another task that I've been wanting to try for ages but never managed to think of when dreaming (so maybe this memory trick is working after all?) My idea was to see if I could "play" my WoW character, a Forsaken, and explore the Undercity. I murmur her name aloud, but decide to save that for another time—right now my main goal is to work on the forest.

      I stand squarely in my kitchen and start to visualize myself surrounded by trees. There is a tall houseplant to my right with feathery foliage: it must be the little potted tree I used for Christmas, a Norfolk pine. I reach out and grasp its soft needles with my right hand, thinking this will help focus my thoughts on the forest I am attempting to conjure. Intriguingly, I fail to notice the spatial discrepancy: although the real tree is only a few feet from where I dreamed it, in WL it is now outside on the patio rather than inside the house.

      Unfortunately, this is as close as I get to manifesting anything like a forest before my husband comes into the room. I figure he'll just ignore me because I am dreaming—and oddly I make the assumption, as I seem so often to do in the dreamstate, that I am encountering the real-life version of him even though I know I am dreaming. Maybe it is this tendency that makes some people interpret dreams so closely modeled on RL spaces as "OBEs". But I am thrown into confusion when my husband looks right at me and starts talking. What does it mean? How can he possibly see me? Could I have been wrong in my conviction that so-called "OBEs" are a naive misinterpretation of certain kinds of LDs; might I really be "projecting" an image of myself into the waking world? This still doesn't seem plausible, but the only alternative I can think of is that I am actually awake. (Note the dream logic: despite the generally high level of memory access and mental function in this dream, I completely fail to consider the most likely— and as it turns out correct—alternative, that the encounter with my husband is nothing more than a projection of my dreaming imagination.)

      So am I awake or dreaming? I'm not sure anymore. It feels like a dream, and I'm still not seeing my environment very clearly, but maybe I'm still groggy and bleary from having just gotten up. How could I be confused about this, though? Although there are plenty of times that I'm fully convinced I'm awake and turn out to have been dreaming, not once have I ever been fully convinced I was dreaming and turned to be awake. It doesn't occur to me to try any of the typical RCs, but I focus my attention inward, on my sense of bodily awareness, to try to figure this out. I've often noticed that my dream body is characterized by a peculiar kind of inward vibration radiating from the area of my solar plexus—this impression used to be very strong and distinct, especially when flying, but it has become much less noticeable as I've grown more experienced. I think I can sense it now but it is very faint.

      My husband is still talking, and although I am too perplexed to follow what he is saying, he seems to be complaining about some bad habit of mine. "...twenty-one times a day," he concludes. Apparently that's how often I do the thing that has been annoying him. Does it have something to do with my dream practice?

      The encounter has now totally disrupted my concentration on the forest task, so I turn around and approach the patio door, thinking I'll just go outside. The weather looks lovely, cloudy and wet. "Hey, it's raining," I comment aloud, and anticipate how nice it will be to feel the cool water on my skin. I start to take off my sweater so I'll have something dry to put on when I come back in (it doesn't occur to me how odd it is that I'm wearing a sweater if I supposedly just got out of bed) and pull open the door.

      "Don't, we have to leave," warns my husband. I recall (correctly) that he wanted us to go out on an errand today, but even if I am somehow actually awake, it must still be mid-morning. I assumed we were going in the afternoon, why would he want to leave so early? With these thoughts the dream is finally disrupted and I wake up.

      Note: On the way to my laptop to write things down, I remember the silent alarm still on my wrist and look at the time. It reads 20:42, and it was set for intervals of 24 minutes, which means the whole dream played out in just under three and a half minutes. Of course, then it took an hour and a half to fully record, which is maybe why it's a good thing I don't LD every night, lol.

      Updated 02-13-2015 at 09:10 PM by 34973

      Categories
      lucid
    10. 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.
    11. Meonarra (DILD)

      by , 12-21-2014 at 03:39 AM
      Tonight I'm in a hotel and had gone to bed at 12:30am, early for me, after a big meal with lots of wine. I slept for a few hours and it was probably around 3–4am (an estimation, I didn't check) that I started water-cycling. I've found it the best way to avoid a hangover: I wake up at intervals to drink as much water as I can comfortably consume, which inevitably means also having to use the bathroom frequently once the rehydration sets in.

      I had already woken a few times in the night and this waking seemed no different at first, because dream logic prevented me from realizing how odd it was that I was walking down a long hall to use the bathroom rather than just using the one in the room. Yet from the start, something made me wonder if I was dreaming. I tried jumping and levitating but it was inconclusive. It didn't occur to me to try other checks. I went in the bathroom and noticed it looked just like one I had just been dreaming about before I woke up, which also seemed suspicious, but I still felt very embodied and awake. I even noticed how clean and inviting this bathroom felt, in contrast to the unpleasant aspect they often present in dreams. I felt awake enough and had to pee urgently enough that I was tempted to just go ahead and use the facilities, reasoning that if I was actually dreaming then with careful intention I should be able limit this activity to the dream state and not accidentally release my bladder in waking life. But uncertainty made me hesitate—I couldn't afford to be wrong about this! Something still made me sense that I was dreaming, even if I couldn't seem to prove it.

      I noticed a woman sitting nearby, which did not strike me as odd, but opportune. I approached her and asked, "Am I dreaming?"

      "Yes." I was struck by the simple decisiveness of her answer. It was also uncharacteristically straightforward, given the usual evasiveness of my DCs.

      "Thanks for being honest. Usually when I ask people in dreams—" (I used this phrase instead of "DC" because I was afraid she might it insulting to be reduced to an acronym) "—they say 'no'. Why do they do that?"

      She shrugged slightly. "They're probably just nervous."

      I wondered what they might have to be nervous about, but wanted to understand what made her different. "Then why were you so honest?"

      "I represent your higher functions." I'm pretty sure this is what she said, or very nearly. It struck me as an oddly technical response.

      This DC really intrigued me. She seemed so smart and self-aware, in contrast to the typical dullness and blandness of those I try to interact with. I looked at her closely. She was a slim young woman who appeared to be in her twenties, pretty, with glossy shoulder-length black hair and an Asian cast to her features. Her demeanor was calm, precise, and assured. I wanted a name to remember her by, so I asked: "What's your name?"

      She promptly uttered a string of numbers, something like "2166309."

      Perplexed by this response, I pressed, "I mean in letters." If she couldn't answer, I decided that I would name her "Murasaki." I had just been reading about the names of Japanese colors so the word was fresh on my mind; I knew it meant purple, and the woman was wearing a bright purple shirt and looked like she might be Japanese. I also recalled that "Murasaki" was a name of ancient pedigree, being the heroine of The Tale of Genji as well as the pseudonym of its courtly author. But my deliberations were unnecessary, it turned out.

      "Meonarra," she said. At least that's what it sounded like.

      I pressed for clarification: "Can you spell that?"

      She might have started with an "M," but what followed was not a series of normal alphabetical letters. She specified particular accent marks and chemical symbols that I wasn't even familiar with. Her explanation of the spelling sounded far longer than the actual name, and at least half of it seemed to be special characters. Even listening closely, I couldn't follow it at all. I wished I had a way to record it other than my own weak memory. I reflected how people in many pre-modern cultures had developed their memories to an extraordinary degree, but we, who can almost always rely on other means of recording information, have very little ability in that regard. I wished I had a notepad to write down what she was saying, but there would be no point: I couldn't keep it with me when I woke up. So instead I just asked her to repeat herself: "Can you say that again?"

      She obliged, but it sounded completely different this time, and I could swear the new spelling ended with a "D." That wasn't anything like the name I thought I'd heard. I figured if I couldn't spell it, I should at least make sure I had the pronunciation right. "Meonarra?" I asked, pronouncing the first syllables as "mee-oh." She corrected me; the first vowel was more like the "a" in "after," so it sounded like "mae-oh."

      I realized that I was falling into a rut by obsessing over the name, and the dream was not going to last much longer. "Can I see you again?" I asked Meonarra. "I'd like to have a conversation sometime."

      She shrank back with a stricken look, as if I'd suggested something completely inappropriate. "No! That's _____'s territory." I didn't quite catch the name, but I think it was two syllables, might have started with an "I," and sounded male. Similar to "Isaac"? But it wasn't exactly that; I don't think it was a waking-world name.

      I wasn't sure what was wrong with my request, but I tried to reassure her. "I just mean to chat, like we're doing now. I'd like to see you." I realized that I was drawn to her. I couldn't tell if it was the stirrings of a romantic attraction or if it was just that I found her so interesting. But the thought awakened a sensuous impulse and I put my arms around her. I recognized that it was the dream state itself that made it so easy to slip toward this sensation, and I asked her why dreams had this quality. I can't remember how I worded the question, and can't remember her reply, if she had time to make one before I woke up.

      Writing this up it perhaps sounds more bland than it felt at the time. It was one of those dreams that felt really significant, even if nothing much happened. I regret that I got so pre-occupied with her name. Although my waking mind really likes to have names for things, a tendency that bleeds over pedantically into lucidity, I'm not sure if naming things is especially useful or meaningful within dream itself. It is becoming clear, at least, that the kinds of names things have in dream are not always as clear and straightforward as our ordinary linguistic appellations of waking life. Instead they appear to operate much like written text in dreams, characterized by the shifting instability of dream logic. So it might have been better if I could have thought of more substantial questions to ask her, instead of wasting the whole dream just trying to pin down her name. I do like having something to remember her by, but what else might she have told me if I had been able to come up with a more introspective line of questioning?

      It is now 6:43am (it was a few minutes before 5:12 when I started so I've spent over 90 minutes writing!) and the sky outside has blossomed into an unbelievably beautiful pink sunrise. I'm going back to bed.

      Updated 12-21-2014 at 03:48 AM by 34973

      Categories
      lucid , memorable , side notes
    12. Notes: Bad dream recall

      by , 12-01-2014 at 12:50 AM
      My dream recall has become atrocious of late. I wake up and have the impression of complex narratives, but often can't even piece together enough specifics to write even fragmentary accounts. The impressions simply refuse to link up with concrete words and images.

      I woke up recently and promptly tried to recollect what I was just dreaming about. "Was there a... a... there was! There was a place!" I felt a glint of triumph until I woke up a little more and realized that this was not exactly the start of a compelling dream narrative, however fragmentary:

      I was in a place.

      At least I was able to find humor in the absurdity of it. Yet effectively this is the sum of what I'm able to articulate about most of my dreams lately, despite an unmistakable feeling, an impression that is almost but not quite visual, of so much more depth and detail.

      I was in a place. There were people around. We were engaged in activities.
      Categories
      side notes
    13. 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.