• Lucid Dreaming - Dream Views

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    1. The Mona Lisa Experiment

      by , 11-21-2021 at 09:56 PM
      Date: 20/11/2021
      Bedtime: 1.30am
      Awakening: 8.45am
      Return to bed: 9am
      Method of entry: deferred direct
      Awakening: 10.30am
      Attempt: successful
      Phase experience: The Mona Lisa Experiment
      Duration: 50 seconds


      I wake up to feed my mum's Yorkshire terriers and leave them to play in the back garden before returning to bed to try the direct method of entering the phase state. Because I feel tired, it is easy to relax on my back—which is not my usual position to fall asleep in but ideal for reaching hypnagogia under the circumstances. Before long, a series of fleeting images manifests until a perceived lapse of consciousness.


      I become aware of standing in a living-room replica, realistically surrounded by Christmas decorations, and remember to look for the Mona Lisa portrait for Project Elijah. I go through the back door like a ghost in order to access the garden where I believe Mona Lisa is to be found. What I find, instead, is what appears to be a basketball court with some characters milling about and no Leonardo da Vinci painting in sight; however, the surroundings brick walls display colourful graffiti. I focus on a particular wall replete with complex art and fail to detect anything that resembles a portrait—and even after looking away and back at the surface to summon the Renaissance picture, hardly anything changes. I carefully move along the wall in order to examine it carefully and come to a central square about the size of an A2 canvas containing geometric shapes; as I tilt my head, I begin to make pictorial sense of it—the image depicts a vehicle headed downhill and appears to be partially cropped by a shrugging cartoon character that can be best described as a clueless bald man pouting.

      I return to the house expecting Mona Lisa to be present in the living room but I encounter an altered interior dominated by more graffiti. I ascend from the floor and pass through the white ceiling with plans to access an imagined upper level containing da Vinci's masterpiece but find myself floating in darkness instead. Due to a cold, I begin to hear my laboured breathing and snoring in my sleep, which immediately strikes me as paradoxical because I am awake and hovering in a dark, phantom space. I'm losing depth of perception so I start rubbing my hands and notice the sound it produces getting louder. I also slowly spin in the void in order to create a vestibular sense and preclude sensations of lying in bed. A vertical column of white light emerges a few feet away and appears to moderately define a sombre bedroom environment in which I perceive myself to be facing partially drawn curtains.

      An edgy man in black resembling the actor Dennis Haysbert (who plays the troubled President David Palmer in the TV series 24) is restlessly pacing up and down next to the bed and mumbling incoherently. My judgement is askew here: even though I take the man in black to be a hallucination, I believe I can get a head start in recording my sleep experiences by rushing to my bedside cabinet to get a pen and a piece of paper. As I sit on the bed, and before I can open the drawer, the neurotic man in black approaches and sighs exasperatedly. Surmising this figure to be a frustrated aspect of myself, I hold his hand and invite him to take a seat and relax. 'I can help you!' I say as I take both of his hands. The man squats down in front of me and sardonically replies, 'Really?!' I get the impression that he has no faith in me when he gives me a wry smile. Suddenly, he grips my hands and his countenance takes a devious turn; dreadful, malevolent eyes leer at me—his physiognomy now similar to Tony Todd's when he played the demonic Candyman back in the '90s.

      As I try to break free from the grapple, he cocks his head to the side to reveal an extra almond eye on his cheekbone. I assess the situation in Jungian terms and regard the aggressor as possibly representing a shadowy aspect of myself which I have perhaps been denying on some unconscious level and now an opportunity presents itself to potentially address my dark side, as it were. This view, however, doesn't allay my fear in the slightest and wrestling with this figure is proving too much to handle. 'You need to be gone!' I shout as I shake the shadowy monster off me, making it magically vanish in an engulfing dark background. Now I feel a presence behind me and an arm wraps itself around my torso. I want to believe that I'm perceiving my wife cuddling me in the real world as I am still shaken by the unpleasant encounter with the man in black. I briefly wake up and my sleeping wife has her arm around me as suspected and wished for. I can hear the dogs barking in the back garden, making me a little annoyed with the noise they are making in the neighborhood. I'm tired and fall asleep.


      I am at a crowded Canning Town train station in East London. As I walk around, the surroundings morph into a Tate Modern gallery displaying exquisite metal sculptures and Bauhaus images in mostly black, white and blue (a lot less colourful than the graffiti art I'd seen earlier). There is a frustration in me as I'm not quite sure what I am looking for but I know it is not what I see. I exit what appears to now be Twickenham Stadium and my wife and children—who are a lot younger and smaller than they ought to be—happen to be with me. Suddenly, a heavyset Asian man appears to have been kicked out of the stadium and does not look happy. In his irascible state, he cursed at a group of men in high vis vests and I move the kids to safety. A rottweiler, chained to a bollard, constantly barks and snaps at the enraged man who threatens to punch the animal. A couple of bystanders restrain him before he has a chance to hurt the dog but subsequently let him go when he appears to calm down. A crowd carefully observes him and he begins to feel like a potential terrorist. He picks a fight with the group of workers and the police turns up. I wake up to the sound of barking.


      I reflect on my experiences and jot them down, noting that I could not find Mona Lisa in the phase state. In hindsight, the subsequent dream state reveals cues—such as absurd environmental changes and my kids being the wrong age—which I failed to recognise in order to promote consciousness of the true nature of its events. I do suspect the terrorist in the dream reflected my anger at the barking in the real world, which needs to be recognised and kept in check. Time to see to the dogs.