• Lucid Dreaming - Dream Views




    View RSS Feed

    Verre

    1. Successful Sled Ride! (FA-WILD + FA)

      by , 05-22-2017 at 04:43 PM
      Ritual: The new Twin Peaks started last night, so I watched the usual Sunday shows in their second round and didn't get to bed until after 2am. I woke around 7 or 8 and looked at my iPad a bit, enough to wake up my mind, with the usual vague intention to make this into a WBTB, but the only other mental preparation I did was to remind myself that dreaming involves proprioreception, so I should pay attention to my whole body as I fell back asleep. It was 9am when I woke after the dream, which I felt had lasted only a few minutes.

      FA-WILD: During my WBTB, my husband mentioned that he was going to the grocery store this morning, so when I was half-woken by the sound of the garage door, I knew he must have left. This much was evidently a real perception, but right after that, still believing I was half awake, I heard voices. I knew my brother was in his room on the other side of the house, but I couldn't account for the other voices. [DL: My brother lives on the other side of the country, and the room I thought he was in does not exist.] Was he on the phone? But there were several voices, and the sounds of people moving around. Had he invited friends over? Then I recognized one of the voices as that of my maternal grandmother. [DL: She died over twenty years ago.]

      Despite the dreamlogic, these observations did actually make me wonder if I was dreaming the voices, not because of the incongruities that would have been obvious to a waking mind, but only because of my conviction that if my husband just left for the store, then no one else (besides my brother) should be in the house so early in the morning. I tested to see if I was getting any dream imagery, and sure enough, when I partially closed my eyes, the four flaps of a manually closed cardboard box appeared superimposed over the rumpled covers of the bed that I had thought I was seeing with my waking eyes. [DL: In retrospect, is it apparent that everything I observed after hearing the garage door was already in dream, so I was mistaken in believing that I had woken up. My mind was half awake, despite the dream logic, which is what led to the confusion about which perceptions were dreamed and which were real.]

      I realized that if I was already seeing dream imagery, then if I was careful I could probably "get up" out of bed and into the dream just like I do in WILDs. This was easily done. I crossed the room, an accurate likeness of my bedroom, and opened the window to look outside toward what I understood to be my brother's room, on the second floor above the attached shed. [DL: The shed has no second storey.] The ground was covered with snow, and I did recognize that this was incongruous with the current season. It gave me the idea to do the TOTY that I had attempted a couple times earlier, the sled ride.

      The last shot of the final show I watched last night was a woman diving backwards over the edge of a boat to go scuba diving. It made an impression on me because I had only ever dived into water face first, and at the time I had tried to imagine what it would feel like to enter the water that way. Now, as I was about to jump out the window, I decided to do it backwards like a scuba diver. For a moment I felt like I was falling and wondered if I would actually hit the ground, but then the nongravity of dream caught me pleasantly in an inverted arc, and I settled gently to my feet.

      I remembered the last few times I had attempted the sled task, and how I had overcomplicated it to the point where I kept waking up before I could finish. This time I decided I'd better just get it done, even if my solutions weren't elegant. So instead of going to the trouble of finding or manifesting the necessary sled and mountaintop, I just asserted these conditions into existence. I'm on a sled, riding down a mountain. As is typical when I "brute force" things in dream, initially it felt like a fiction, but soon I began to feel plausible sensations of sitting on a sled and sliding down the snowy slope. It was far from my best work, but it sufficed.

      I was sufficiently familiar with the task that before I had even intended it, my sled slipped through an irregular opening like the mouth of a cave, into a wide dark space. But then I wondered if this was good enough—I hadn't read the terms of the task in ages. Would a cave suffice, or did it have to be a proper hole through the surface of the earth? I couldn't remember, so I decided to play it safe and conjured a perfectly round hole, like the sort of thing you might see in a cartoon, just in front of me on the lower floor of the cave. My sled and I slipped right through, and at this point my interest perked up, because I didn't know what to expect, and had not planned or intended anything past this point.

      It was dark down here, and I had no sense of the borders of the space, yet I could see the details nearest me perfectly well in the nonlight of dream. The place felt public and even familiar—familiar as a type rather than a specific location—but I can't think of how to relate it to anything in WL. A "town square" might be the closest analogue, but of course in WL town squares don't tend to be in enormous caverns underground.

      I felt my mind shift over into observation mode and began to take deliberate note of the things I saw, but at the same time I felt really hungry and couldn't resist impulsively tasting everything. [WL: I hadn't eaten much for dinner and had even felt hungry again by the time I went to bed, so this was a genuine bleedthrough sensation.]

      My sled had disappeared in the transition through the hole, so now I was on foot. The first object that I passed, on my left, was a piece of fabric that had been fashioned into the form of an elephant, about about eighteen inches wide. It was attached to the top of a pole stuck in the ground, elevating it to just above waist height. I pulled the fabric elephant off the pole to give it a closer look as I continued to walk. White was the dominant color, but the details were stitched in brightly-hued threads, red and blue and green. The base fabric had a thick pile, almost fur-like, akin to what you might see on a stuffed animal, but the object overall was flat, lightly padded like a thin quilt. My hunger impelled me to take a big bite, and in my mouth it had the taste and texture of a sort of bland taffy. (Tastes are rarely very distinctive in my dreams.) I dropped it and moved on.

      The next object I encountered was also on a waist-high pole, and about the same size as the elephant. This one was made of paper and a bit more three-dimensional—it resembled a large origami fish folded from patterned paper. The taste and texture were even less remarkable, but I was so hungry it felt good to be chewing something.

      As I observed with mild amusement the way my hunger was driving me to try to eat things that didn't even resemble food, the rational part of my mind responded that this being a dream, there was no reason I shouldn't try to eat literally anything I could see. I put this to the test, breaking off random bits of any surface I came across and nibbling on them. One thing I remember distinctly was a table. It was a round table covered by a long, dark-hued tablecloth. I think there was a vase of flowers in the center but otherwise it was bare, so I grabbed a hank of the tablecloth and started noshing on that. I was cramming far more in my mouth than I ever would in WL, but I didn't worry since I knew that this stuff had no real substance.

      I was still in snacking mode when I came across a white-bearded gentleman in a navy blue blazer. The bronze buttons caught my eye, and without so much as saying hello, much less asking permission, I reached out and twisted off the top button, bringing it to my eyes for a closer look. Tiny convex letters around the top spelled out "Bartholomew," and a small human figure occupied the center of the button. "Saint Bartholomew?" I asked the gentleman from whom I had taken the button, while trying to remember if there was really such a saint or if I was just free associating. [WL: I still wasn't sure so I googled it. Apparently Saint Bartholomew was an apostle, and although I was not consciously aware of that, I suspect the influence of day residue, because in The Leftovers last night several disciples were mentioned, and I've never been able to keep disciples and apostles straight.] The man shook his head, and when I looked again at the button I saw the letters rearrange themselves into the name "Balthus," which seemed to make a bit more sense... in a way that I can't entirely explain. Still hungry, I licked the button. I thought it tasted a bit sour and metallic, a bit like licking a D battery but without the tingle. The bronze button had been darkly tarnished but now gleamed where I had licked it, so I licked it a few more times to polish the highlights. I looked at the letters again and now they read "Ubewiz," a name meant nothing to me, though I thought it sounded vaguely Polish. [DL: I just noticed the symmetry between the verb "polish" and the adjective "Polish," so I suspect dreamlogic lay behind this observation.]

      FA: I woke up (so I thought) and immediately fished my dream journal out of the bottom drawer of my bedside table. [WL: This was a realistic detail, because although usually I keep it right on the table next to the bed, for the past few days it has been in the drawer.] I flipped through it and couldn't find a single blank page, but I didn't want to waste any time so I started writing my notes in the margins. I was jotting down keywords: "Bartholomew, Balthus, Ubewiz," read the first line. Then I included brief notes about the fabric elephant and origami fish. I hadn't gotten very far when I woke up again and realized that I had been taking my initial notes in a false awakening and would have to start over, so once again I pulled my journal out of the drawer and wrote—grateful for the blank page this time—"Bartholomew, Balthus, Ubewiz."

      Updated 01-13-2019 at 07:42 AM by 34973

      Categories
      false awakening , side notes , lucid , task of the year
    2. At Least I Found Snow... (WILD)

      by , 03-10-2017 at 11:47 PM
      As I was falling asleep last night, at one point I became aware that I was just below the waking threshold and was able to take some control over the hypnagogic imagery. I wanted to try a TOTY and decided to attempt sledding again. I figured my problem last time was that I had gotten fixated on looking for a mountain to sled down... wouldn't it be more sensible to establish that I was on the mountain to start with? Then all I would have to do is go downhill. And find snow, of course.

      I successfully turned the hypnagogic imagery into a scene of sliding down a mountain slope. Initially it felt more like imagining than dreaming, in part because I was not yet fully embodied in the scene, only seeing it in my mind's eye. But already it was manifesting some of the ornery characteristics of dream and resisting my attempts to imagine snow, so I was sliding over bare earth. I let the scene play along and pretty soon I started to feel physical sensations: the bumps along the ground (I thought wistfully how snow would smooth out the ride!) and the surprisingly realistic smack of low hanging leaves against my face as I passed under trees. I was on a round metal saucer sled, barely big enough to seat me, but by concentrating I could prevent it from spinning out of control (unlike the similar sled I have in WL!)

      Before long it started to feel like a real dream with physical embodiment, but I was still lucid enough that I was not concerned when my sled went over a steep embankment and into freefall: I just applied some mental "brakes" and came down gently, landing in the yard of someone's farm. The farmer was there, so I realized this would be a perfect opportunity to coax some snow into existence.

      "Can you believe the weather we're having?" I asked the farmer. "Such thick snow! Hey, where is the snow the deepest?" I tried to make my tone convincing, despite the fact that there was still no snow in sight. Apparently this worked, because the farmer pointed into the distance, and when I sledded off in that direction, soon I was surrounded by snow everywhere!

      I was back in the mountain forest, but there was a slight problem. I looked around and saw no way down but steep rocky cliffs, rather than slopes that looked suitable for sledding. I figured I should just pick a cliff and sled off it anyway, since freefalling posed no real danger. But at that moment, for no good reason, I felt a subtle pang of anxiety about completing the task, and this woke me up.

      Dreams are a wonderful laboratory for discovering all the ways that our own minds can get in the way of our intentions!

      Updated 01-13-2019 at 07:44 AM by 34973

      Categories
      lucid , task of the year
    3. 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
    4. Let's See What's in My Backpack! (DILD)

      by , 01-30-2017 at 05:58 PM
      Ritual: Woke at dawn after about 4–5 hours sleep and complex but dimly remembered dreams. Considered taking galantamine but decided against it, as my motivation was not sufficiently high. I didn't want to completely give up, so I took a quarter teaspoon each of piracetam and bacopa. Woke at 8am with dream.

      DILD, "Let's See What's in My Backpack!": I was walking through some type of institutional corridor when an odd plaque on the wall caught my attention. It was a rectangle of flat grey stone like slate, about a foot long and a few inches high, with block capital letters incised, reading: "AWAKEN."

      Like what, into a dream? I thought wryly. For that to work, I'd have to be... oh wow... am I dreaming? No sooner had the suspicion arose than I immediately recognized it to be true. I immediately went into dream observation mode, taking the plaque into my hands and examining its details.

      Feeling grateful that the dream itself had given me a clue as to its nature, I was reminded of a similar incident that had happened just earlier tonight: this was the second time I had gotten lucid due to events in the dream. A DC had said "lucid" and that had triggered me. No wait, actually it was the third time... I remembered briefly getting lucid in an even earlier dream, but I was embarrassed when I realized how quickly I had lost that awareness.

      Of course, the fascinating thing about these memories is that I have no way of knowing if they are real. I'm more than half inclined to think that they are false memories, the kind of deja vu that is so common in the dream state. Then again, I still forget such a great portion of a full night's dreaming, even now, that the possibility remains that these incidents actually occurred. There's no way of knowing for sure, which is interesting in itself. It is the perfect epistemological quandary.

      Now aware that I was dreaming, I continued walking through the institutional corridor, and felt that I had been walking through similar corridors in my just-remembered lucid episodes earlier tonight. If the memories are not false, there is nothing surprising about the coincidence: for some reason bland institutional corridors seem to be my default dream space.

      I wandered aimlessly for a bit—I think I passed a cafeteria—until I realized that if I wanted to stay lucid this time I would need to perform some deliberate action. During my WBTB I had not felt motivated to attempt any DV tasks, so that is probably why none occurred to me now. As I continued walking and wondering what to do I noticed a familiar sensation, and realized that I was wearing my backpack. Since 2001 I have been using the same leather backpack, seemingly indesctructible, every day at school and on every journey I travel. I was amused that it was with me even here in a dream, and surprised by how distinctly I could feel the impression of weight on my back. Wondering what might be in it, I realized that this could be a fun spontaneous task.

      I passed from the corridor into a very large rectangular room with walls tiled in squares of light blue glazed ceramic. The room was completely empty, with no features or furniture or people. I walked to the very center and announced loudly, even though no one was in sight: "Okay, everybody! I'm going to play the game of 'Let's See What's in My Backpack!'" I unslung the backpack from my shoulders and held it upside down, dumping its contents into a pile on the floor.

      The first thing I pulled off the pile was a winter jacket, made of smooth synthetic cloth with a quilted core. The inside was a rich royal blue, and the outside was bright red with black highlights. It was very clean and new, and resembled no jacket I have ever owned, nor would be likely to purchase.

      The second thing I picked up was a clear plastic bag with a zip lock, one of the medium-sized ones that is deeper than it is wide. It was full of coins. I looked more closely at the coins and it was clear that they were all Thai, though they resembled no WL Thai currency. "I wonder if I just got back from Thailand," I mused—meaning within the context of the dream.

      The next thing I grabbed was a plastic bag of similar shape and size, and this one also contained flat pieces of metal, but instead of being round like coins, these were engraved rectangular strips. I decided that they must be some decorative pieces I had picked up in Thailand. This idea had evidently taken hold, because the next few items in the pile were cheap Thai souvenir gifts, like decorative little pouches and other small assorted knickknacks. I set these aside impatiently.

      Next was a book, evidently a journal, titled A Wonderful Compendium of Lessons of Life Learned. I regret now that I was not inspired to open and read it! I must have figured that if the lessons were already learned, I wouldn't get anything new out of it. It did not occur to me that my waking mind might be really interested in what my dreaming mind might think to put in such a book.

      After this I pulled four different water bottles off the pile, one after another. One was a hot water bottle like you use in bed. One was military style canteen that I thought I recognized as one I used to own. Another was a flat drinking flask, fairly large in size. I think the last one was just an ordinary plastic bottle of water. My impression was that I needed all four bottles because they each served a different purpose: hot water for warming, cold water for drinking, warm water for drinking, and flask for drinking. But I realized that it was terribly inefficient to carry four separate water bottles, and I wondered if I could consolidate them down to just two, so I would have less to carry around. I decided to worry about that later.

      The last thing I pulled from the pile was a very large duffel bag, the size of the one I use to carry my HEMA gear. In WL my bag is plain black canvas, but this one was (not inappropriately) emblazoned with the Tournament of the Phoenix logo. It occurred to me that given how much stuff had been in my backpack, perhaps I should be using this duffel bag to carry it instead—but I remembered what a pain it was to lug around a huge unwieldy duffel bag, and decided to stick with the backpack.

      At this point a huge crowd of people suddenly thronged the room, all seemingly in a hurry to go somewhere, and they were sidestepping me and my stuff with annoyed expressions like I was in their way. "Hey! I claimed this space first," I protested. One DC paused to look at my Tournament of the Phoenix duffel bag and asked another DC standing across from me something about martial arts training in the area, talking right over my head (I was still sitting on the floor with my stuff). "You'd think you'd be asking the person with the duffel bag," I muttered, slightly miffed. I noticed that whereas I had initially occupied the very center of the room and had not moved, now I was all the way over near a side wall, and yes, right in the path that everyone was trying to walk through.

      I had time enough to wonder if I should wake and write or dream on a little. I decided the latter—I usually do—but found myself waking up anyway.
    5. Six Episodes (DILD + FA)

      by , 01-25-2017 at 06:26 PM
      Ritual: I went to bed at 1am last night, early enough that I hoped to get some dreaming in. I'd had good luck with the "Dream Leaf" supplement last time, so took the blue tablet before bed, together with two tabs of bacopa and a vitamin D supplement (the latter unrelated to any dreaming intentions). I slept deeply and I don't even think I woke up for a few hours. I still have no clock in the bedroom since I've been charging my phone downstairs, but I estimated it was around 4 or 5am when I first woke. At that point I took the red pill and went back to sleep. I woke a couple more times but was disappointed that I didn't recall any dreams. Finally it must have been around 8 or 8:30am and I felt almost awake enough to get up, but I thought I would give it one more shot. I mixed about half a teaspoon of Piracetam in some water and swallowed that before going back to bed. That's when the magic happened. It was about 9:30 when I woke up again after a linked series of lucid dreams.

      1. ???
      I feel certain there were one or more fully developed scenes initially, but so much else happened afterward that I lost all memory of these earlier episodes when I woke. One thing I like about tasks is that they act as a focus for memory as well as intention.

      2. Gifts under the Tree
      I was in my bedroom and already aware of dreaming, and it felt like some scene had just concluded. The thought occurred: Didn't I mean to finish the gift task properly? I'd better get that done before I wake up or I'll be annoyed. I remembered that my error last time had been forgetting to look under a tree for the gift. However, I looked around and saw that there was no tree in this room. Rather than waste time trying to find a tree elsewhere in the house, I decided to brute force it and manifest one right in the room. My ambivalence about this inelegant solution nearly destabilized the dream, but I was determined to finish the task so I managed to hold it together, even though I had to do this by getting down on all fours and crawling across the room toward the corner where I decided the tree would be.

      Everything had gone dark but I figured as long as I could still feel the floor, it was not too late to restabilize. The texture of the floor was distinct, hardwood, and I could feel the smooth boards with small grooves between them, so I focused on that until the visuals kicked in again. My sight slowly returned, and although the lighting remained dim, I could see an illuminated Christmas tree in the corner I was heading for. Is it lit with real candles? I thought, noting the especially warm quality of the illumination, and remembering the nineteenth-century images that had always captured my imagination. But then I remembered why we don't do this anymore: Isn't that a fire hazard? I felt a flicker, not of the candles, but of the dream nearly destabilizing again at my irrational concerns, so I forced my attention away from the lights and onto the area underneath the boughs. I was still on my hands and knees so it was easy to peek underneath.

      There were three objects. Two were wrapped, one rather messily, but the last caught my eye because it was unwrapped. It was a single glove, and from the position of the thumb I could see that it was for the left hand. No sooner had I observed this than two more manifested, in different colors, also for the left hand. As I wondered about the possible significance (nothing occurred to me) the pile got larger... maybe a dozen left-handed gloves were now strewn under the tree. This was getting out of hand (no pun intended) and anyway I preferred to choose a wrapped gift, so I withdrew my attention from the gloves and looked at the other objects. The first two hadn't appealed to me, but now I saw a flat, rectangular, neatly wrapped item that seemed perfect, so I picked it up for a closer look.

      As I tore through the several layers of wrapping and tissue paper, I came across small textual clues that made me think this must be a gift from my spouse. It turned out to be a book, a beautiful old volume bound in leather that looked like it couldn't have been published later than the nineteenth century. The title was printed in small stamped gilt letters on the front cover. It was something like Personalities of Note, and subtitled Pple of Our Time, where I understood "pple" to be an abbreviation for "people." The author was identified as Lord Lytton, a name that I knew I recognized from WL history but couldn't immediately place.

      Turning the book over in my hands and admiring the beautiful cover, I discovered a library sticker on the lower part of the spine. I wondered what library had held such a fine book and looked on the sides of the closed pages where the name is sometimes stamped. The top side of the pages had been coated with gleaming silver pigment, further attesting to the book's quality, but there were no stamps on the outside. I found it inside the back cover: "Library of _______" (I can't clearly remember the name but it was a one-syllable word ending with "nsk," similar to Svensk or Minsk, but something else I think). I continued to look for a "discard" stamp or some other clue that it had been deliberately divested from the library's holdings. I couldn't find one but reasoned that it must have been; surely it wouldn't have been given to me as a gift if it was still a part of a library's collection, and anyway, ex-library books are very common these days.

      I opened the book hoping to read some passages, but despite the English title and author, the text was unmistakably in Cyrillic. This was disappointing since I don't read Cyrillic, and I concluded that it must be a translation.

      3. Vampire Interlude
      I don't recall the transition, but found myself lying next to a blonde boy. I realized that I was a vampire and that also reminded me that I was dreaming. I fed on his blood and gave him advice on his sexual difficulties.

      4. False Awakening
      I found myself lying under my down comforter in a very plausible facsimile of my WL bed, and even though I was lying sideways across the foot of the bed, I didn't think it odd because sometimes I'll lie in odd positions when I want to relax a bit more but avoid falling back to sleep. I felt aroused and began touching myself, but then I noticed an odd feeling of displacement and realized that even though I could distinctly feel the pressure of my fingers when I flexed them, my hand was resting at my side and not actually in contact with any other part of my body. I correctly deduced that this was because I was not fully awake. Eventually I was able to persuade myself that if I was lucky enough to still be in the dream state, I should make better use of it, and forced myself back out of bed.

      5. Explaining Massage to the Snow Lizard

      I flew out the window and landed in heavy snow. Now that I was on my feet, I found that the snow was so deep I could barely push my way through it. I was actually enjoying this, because I've been disappointed with the quality of the snow in the WL winter so far. It was night, and I was walking around a vague dream version of my house, but the thick snow made me feel like I was in some deep kingdom of winter. Wondering what to do next, I tried to remember any of the other current tasks of the month or year, but I was having trouble coming up with them. I thought hard until one came to me: the massage TOTM. This wintry realm seemed like an odd place to look for a massage, but part of the fun of dream is improvising, right?

      Movement in the air made me look up, and I saw thick-bodied, pale blue lizards flapping slowly through the air. Maybe I could convince them to do it! I beckoned them down, and two of the snow lizards landed and gazed at me curiously.

      "I'd like you to give me a massage." I instructed. They looked back blankly. Either they didn't understand the concept, or didn't understand why they should comply. I worked on the latter angle: "I need you to help me! It's for a Task." I tried to make the word "task" sound very important. "Please just rub my back a little." I sat down and turned my back to the nearest lizard.

      What the lizard replied was so peculiar that I repeated it to myself many times afterward, making sure I would remember the phrasing: "Mr. Cooper, could you please salute the Constitution? I mean, lift your shirt." I found it very amusing that "salute the Constitution" was apparently a local euphemism for "lift your shirt," though I had no idea why he addressed me as "Mr. Cooper," a name that inspires no particular resonance. I complied with his instruction and looked foward to the prospect of a massage, since my back muscles have actually been sore lately in WL and I've been needing one.

      I should note that by this point I had already been dreaming for so long that I was starting to worry how well I would be able to remember the details, so I was actually carrying around my dream journal and taking notes. I recognized sadly that they would be unlikely to persist into waking (though I always, irrationally, hope that somehow they will), but I figured that the concentration of writing down details might help me better fix them in memory. I jotted down what the lizard had just said while I was waiting for the massage to start. I think the second lizard was looking on quietly the whole time.

      The lizard wasn't doing anything, so I tried to instruct him in how to give a massage. "Stroke my back," I suggested. He limply touched it. We wrangled a bit but weren't getting anywhere, so I decided to try a different tack. I lay face-down on the ground and insisted, my exasperation rising, "Just walk on my back! Walk directly on it!" I remembered when I was little my dad would have me walk on his back this way, so it was a valid form of massge. I was afraid the lizard might be too heavy, but reminded myself that since it was a dream I couldn't come to permanent harm. But the lizard still balked.

      I sat up again, trying to come up with a solution. I remembered shiatsu, how it uses chopping motions. I thought that might be easier for the lizard to master, so I attempted to explain it. Finally I felt something vaguely massage-like as the lizard patted me several times on the shoulders with the flat part of its front feet. (For the first time I contemplated the anatomical differences that might make this challenging for the lizard.)

      "Great!" I exclaimed, pleased that we were finally getting somewhere. "Okay, now keep doing that."

      But the lizard sounded like someone awkwardly trying to escape an embarrassing social encounter as he replied: "Ummm... it was nice to know you..." and disappeared into the night.

      6. The Lonely Beauty of Dream
      Somehow after all this I still wasn't awake. I could hardly believe it myself. I knew I should force myself awake at this point, I was juggling so much in memory, and had so much to write down—and the dream notebook I was still carrying was not likely to be much help, though I continued to jot down details.

      But I didn't want to wake up. I was enjoying this too much, and wanted to see where else it would go. I was still next to the house, but the sense of winter was fading as I walked around the corner, feeling fully in my element and murmuring: "This is my domain." I walked into the house, which still felt like mine even though it had no resemblance to WL, noting how detailed it all was, even a bit cluttered, boxes of cereal on the counter. What should I do next? I didn't feel like attempting another task as I already had so much to remember. As I approached the front door, which was open on a beautiful bright day—it was no longer dark outside, and the trees were green now—I was inspired to try to see the dream world at its best.

      "Show me the beauty of dream," I commanded as I walked through the doorway back outside. I was addressing the dream state directly now. I repeated this a few times, and indeed, the natural landscape around me was incredibly lovely. I walked to the edge of the trees and pulled down a fir bough to admire it. The needles were an unusual shade of purple.

      I continued admiring the landscape until I was struck with sudden note of melancholy. Everything was so beautiful, but what good is all this beauty if you have no one to share it with? That was always the problem, wasn't it? Could this explain something about the kind of beings we are, why we choose to cohabit a shared dream despite all the inevitable conflict? I felt a hint of that distinctive sensation you get when you're stoned and think you've stumbled on some revelation of cosmic importance, but at the same time you realize that it will sound bland and foolish when you look back on it later. The sense of loneliness persisted, so I attempted to break through the solipsism, to summon something to me, to reach out and find some other cognition.

      A spacecraft flew low across the sky, seeking a place to land. It was not an alien ship but clearly of human make, chunkily built. I don't think it resembled anything in WL but was probably inspired by films or games: the first thing I thought to google was 'mass effect shuttle' and the image results are actually about right. I was surprised to see, as it came closer, that the word "AMERICAN" was written in block letters across the side.

      The shuttle settled to the ground and I walked toward the landing site. The hatch opened and a few people came out, walking in single file. The guy in the lead was wearing his suit, but no helmet. He was a dark-haired, middle aged man with a rugged face. I thought he resembled the character Group Captain Peter Townsend from The Crown, which made sense because we've been watching that show lately, and the character was a military pilot.

      I wanted to signal my benign intentions so I held my hands out and up. The captain also held his hands up, although I noted that he did not let go of the rifle in his right hand, he just wasn't pointing it at me. I guess he felt wary and uncertain of my intentions. "I come in peace," I announced to reassure him, though it occurred to me that he should be the one saying that—I lived here. As we came closer I slowly (so as not to startle him) brought forward my right hand, inviting a handshake. He slung his rifle over his shoulder and did the same. I brought down my left hand to clasp his in both of my own, feeling warm and benevolent. "Be well," I said sincerely.

      At that moment I felt the irresistable pull of waking draw me out of the dream. I hadn't intended it, but it was perfectly timed.

      Updated 01-25-2017 at 06:32 PM by 34973

      Categories
      lucid , false awakening , memorable , task of the month
    6. Teensy Tiny Trump (NLD)

      by , 01-23-2017 at 05:18 PM
      I was in a seemingly ordinary room, white-walled and minimally furnished, when something unusual caught my eye. Near the leg of a chair was a tiny little human, no more than two inches high. Closer inspection revealed that it was Donald Trump!

      Trying to figure out what was going on, I remembered hearing that this room had been designed as a sort of art installation by the punk rock impresario Malcolm MacLaren. All the furniture was subtly oversized in order to make one feel smaller, maybe even bring back memories of navigating the grown-up world as a child. But what I was seeing now was a much greater shift of scale than I would have expected. Just how big is this furniture, if it makes a grown man look only two inches tall? I knew that Malcolm MacLaren had been rich, but it would have cost a fortune to build an installation to a scale like that!

      Then I realized that my scale was perfectly ordinary in relation to the furniture, which could mean only one of two things. If the furniture were vastly oversized, then I too must be an enormous giant, so that if I left this room I would be blundering through the city like godzilla... but that seemed unlikely. I was pretty sure that I remembered being in ordinary scale to the world outside this room. The other possibility was that Donald Trump is actually only two inches tall. That made a lot more sense, given the extent of his overcompensatory bluster. I wondered if it might help if other people came to perceive this.

      Updated 01-23-2017 at 10:07 PM by 34973

      Tags: furniture, scale
      Categories
      non-lucid
    7. "Fading Gift" (WILD) and "Elephant Ride" (DILD)

      by , 01-12-2017 at 06:55 PM
      Ritual: After a year or so of initial successes with galantamine, back in 2010–11, it had stopped working very well for me to the point where I hardly ever use it anymore. But last night after going to bed late (around 3am) and waking up just before dawn, I still felt heavy enough with sleep that I thought I might give it a shot. (Galantamine is a stimulant, so the main risk is not being able to get back to sleep.) I took one of the red pills from a bottle of "Dream Leaf," which I had nearly given up on since it had never worked for me before, possibly because I only tried it long after I had gotten "over" galantamine. I know the red pills contain galantamine from the distinctive effects, but I must say that it greatly bothers me that this supplement neglects to identify the presence of galantamine on the label, or even on their website, much less clarify the actual dosage. In fact, I would go so far as to call this obfuscation shamefully irresponsible and borderline criminal. Galantamine is a powerful substance that should never be given to people without their knowledge. So for ethical reasons I dislike this particular supplement and definitely would not recommend it, but galantamine is galantamine, and on this occasion it actually worked. Woke and wrote at 9, so I'm a bit underslept with a slight galantamine hangover, but it's been so long since I've had this sensation that I'm almost enjoying it.

      I've always found galantamine dreams a bit superficial, but that's not always a bad thing. My recent attempts to force dream events to unfold in a detailed and realistic way, in the name of quality, often prove counter-productive. Sometimes a little "cowboying" is necessary to get the job done, especially in the inherent instability of the dream environment. So tonight's dreams were ultimately successful, but not exactly Masterpiece Theatre.


      WILD, "Fading Gift": I was lying on my back in bed, and recognized I was in dream even as I started making elaborate sweeping gestures with my hands, but continued gesturing for a while to increase my sense of motor control. At one point I closed my eyes and scratched my scalp, and I was amazed that the sensations felt exactly like like waking life. "I am the dreamer," I murmured a few times, as if to fix the idea in mind.

      I recalled how often I make unnecessary difficulties for myself at this transitional stage and told myself that if I was already dreaming, I didn't need a ton of preamble before getting out of bed—I should just get up. So I did, and it was fine. I've really been wanting to do the "finding a leftover present" TOTM, so I started looking around the room. (As has become typical lately, the room did not resemble my bedroom in WL.) I looked under the dresser, on the table... nothing so far. I felt a slight contradiction in my mental outlook: on the one hand, the best way to find the present would be to expect or even to will it to be there, but on the other hand, since it was a present I wanted to be surprised rather than force the issue. So I allowed myself only a vague expectation and kept looking. I found a wooden cabinet much like the one in my office and when I opened the door there were a few presents on the middle shelf. The first two I noticed, very small objects, I rejected as not quite right. Although they were loosely covered in wrapping, it wasn't taped down, so it looked like they had already been opened and then put back.

      I kept looking and on the left side of the shelf was the perfect gift: a wide cylinder about six inches high wrapped in red and white paper with a red ribbon rising vertically on four sides to form a neat bow at the top. The paper looked familiar at first so I studied it for a moment, but it was not any pattern I've seen before. It consisted of thin white lines on a red background, but they were awkwardly curving and abstract, like an elaborate doodle.

      Just as I started to open the present, I felt the dream begin to fade. I moved quickly, trying to open the box in the little time I had left. When the top came off, I plunged in my hand and felt... tissue paper. I was almost awake now, and as I reached past the tissue paper I felt like I crossed that indiscernable border between dreaming and waking consciousness. Or maybe it is not so indiscernible: what had just disappeared was my sense of touch, without which the dream had lost its tangibility. Vision lingered a little longer, and I saw my hand pull out a thick gold chain the length of a necklace, sparsely ornamented with tiny flowers that were each composed of four thin petals of white enamel. I was dissatisfied, however, not only with the gift itself (I don't care much for jewelry and this was definitely not my style), but with the fact that the dream was fading so fast that I couldn't determine to what extent dream imagination or waking imagination (not that I clearly understand the difference!) had determined the nature of the gift.

      I went back to sleep, resolving to try to get lucid again and complete the task in a more satisfactory way.

      DILD, "Elephant Ride": I was lying in bed but felt uncomfortable, realized I was still wearing day clothes, including a bra. Ugh, had I passed out last night? As I removed it, I noticed it was a lacy underwire thing that didn't even look familiar. I wanted to get back to sleep but the television was on loudly, so I tried to find the remote to turn it off. There were four or five remotes on top of the dresser, and I pressed the power button on all of them but nothing worked. On a couple, the image would cut out as though it were turning off but then come right back, and other remotes had no effect at all. Fine, I'll pull the damn plug, I thought grumpily, but the TV was mounted on the wall and on closer inspection it seems the wiring was concealed behind the wall. I settled for muting the volume (at least that worked) and turning the screen to the side, which accomplished little but expressed my annoyance with the device. [Possible source: I just got back from visiting my mom, where the TV was on loudly in the mornings, making it hard to read or work.]

      I headed back toward the bed, but suddenly realized I must be dreaming. That would explain the difficulty I just had with the televisions, at least! And with the realization came the memory of my earlier lucid episode and my dissatisfaction with the TOTM I had attempted. I was pleased with the chance to try again.

      Looking around, I soon spotted a wrapped gift on the bedside table. It was a small square box, around two inches wide and one inch high, made of that shiny gold cardboard that is common in gift boxes, and wrapped with a red ribbon. I started to untie the ribbon and realized that I was wearing gloves. At first I thought it an oddity, but quickly understood that it was just the dream's way of representing the slight awkwardness I felt in my fingers as I tried to complete this fine motor activity. I considered pulling off the gloves but recognized that it would just be a pointless waste of time, and decided instead to ignore them. At least they were thin gloves, and didn't impede me that much in my attempt to open the box. By the time it was open, they were gone.

      This time I was very pleased with what I found in the box. It looked like a single confection of some sort. "Perfect, I love food!" I thought to myself happily. I pulled it out and looked it over. It was not very distinguished in shape, light brown in color and vaguely round, but a bit lumpy. There was a darker spot in the center like a piece of chocolate. [Possible source: I've been eating my mother's Christmas cookies, which have a spot of apricot jam covered with chocolate in the center. They have a much firmer texture overall than this one did, though.] The surface was dry but felt a bit pliant between my fingers, a sort of rubbery texture.

      I bit into the confection and found the mouthfeel similar to what the outer texture had led me to anticipate. There was just the hint of a thin crust, and then the inside was soft but chewy. It reminded me of mochi but was firmer and easier to chew. At this point I was analyzing it with the idea of possibly attempting to recreate it in waking life. I knew that it would have to be based on glutinous rice flour. However, the overall taste was lightly chocolatey and fruity. I looked where I had bitten and distinctly saw raisins, both black and gold. There were also pieces of another fruit that was harder to identify. It had faint striations that reminded me of the fresh jackfruit I had eaten last night in WL (so that was probably the source), but this had the texture of a dried fruit. Can jackfruit be dried and baked into cookies? I couldn't say. If not, I thought that dried apricot might work just as well. The taste could have been either; it was hard to tell with all the other flavors going on. I finished the confection and found it very satisfying. If I ever do manage to recreate something like this, I'll have to post the recipe here!

      I felt that I had now completed the TOTM satisfactorily, so what next? I looked around the room, and wondered if I should just leave through the door and go exploring. But somehow that is never very satisfying; I usually get better results when I am pursuing a specific idea of some sort, even when the results are not what I expected. The dream felt reasonably stable, so I wondered if I might attempt one of the TOTYs. I recalled the "riding" theme, but unfortunately, I hadn't looked at the list lately and couldn't remember the specifics very well. There was a window here... maybe I could summon a bird and ride it through the night sky? That sounded fun, but I didn't think it was on the list. The only one I could clearly remember was the elephant ride, because my studies have given me such a distinct impression of how elephants were used in battle in pre-modern Siam. I had always planned to try that one, but how do I get from my dream bedroom to pre-modern Siam?

      I tried to remember the transportation spell from Harry Potter, but the command wasn't coming to me. All I could recall was "flue" something, and anyway there were no fireplaces in this bedroom (unlike my WL bedroom, which does have one!) I decided my best bet was probably the window. I knew you needed to mount an elephant from someplace high, so if I could summon one over, I could probably just descend from the window directly to its back. Then once I was on the elephant, it would be easier to get to Siam. On the way to the window, I felt impelled to opened the middle drawer of the dresser as I walked past. It was nearly empty, with just a few stray pieces of clothing... but in the far right corner was the gleam of gold. It was a pile of chocolate coins! You know the ones, disks of chocolate wrapped in gold foil stamped like currency. These were a few different sizes. I realized these might come in handy if I ended up having to buy the elephant, so I grabbed a handful and put them in my pocket.

      I opened the window and felt the cool night air. The window was on the second storey, as I had anticipated, but looking out, I actually recognized that this looked nothing like my house. To the left, I could see a garage door extending perpendicularly to the wall my window was in. The house appeared to be painted beige. Across the driveway, which ran next to this wall to meet the garage, there was a wide grassy yard bordered by trees. I looked up at the night sky above the trees to see if there were any familiar constellations, and immediate recognized Orion. Of course... it seems anywhere I go, I see Orion, even in a dream. He was at an angle, almost on his side, just over the treetops... but not exactly the same in WL. At first I counted four stars in his belt, instead of the usual three. The more I looked at it, the more stars accumulated, but only in certain areas, so pretty soon Orion appeared to be wearing not only a belt, but also a brassiere, which amused me, and a crown. The crown had spikes pointing upward, like the common representation of crowns in modern iconography, but matching spikes adorned the brassiere and belt. At this point the whole shape of the constellation was getting a bit thin and stretched, and while I'm sure these transformations could go on indefinitely, right now I needed an elephant.

      I knew my husband was in the next room, probably working, and even though I suspected this was dream logic, I hesitated to shout lest I annoy him. (Though I suppose it is still reasonable not to want to annoy the dream husband.) So I tried to summon the elephant quietly. Nothing happened. After trying for a bit without results, I decided to take a more dramatic approach. I stepped through the window and jumped, setting my intention for there to be an elephant down there, so I could land on its back.

      There wasn't. But the results were promising nonetheless... from unconstructed dream space, I managed to conjure something plausibly like the interior of a palace in Siam. It was a bit of a hack job, without much detail, and I confess the throne was far too low (must not have been the formal audience hall), but it was sufficient for my purposes. There were various ministers standing around (another embarrassingly inaccurate detail; no courtiers would stand in the presence of the king in early nineteenth-century Siam! Good gracious!) and the king was on the throne, but a bit vague. My initial impression was that he resembled the recently deceased Rama IX, but that troubled me because I was going for an earlier era. I tried to make him look more like Rama III, but it wasn't working very well, so in the end I just didn't look too closely. At any rate, the king was vague enough that he didn't quibble when I handed over my handful of chocolate coins and requested an elephant. I didn't feel like getting into complex negotiations; I just allowed myself assume the success of the transaction and walked away.

      As I exited the interior of the palace and momentarily noticed the bright sunlight reflecting off the whitewashed arch of the doorway, I felt a flash of familiarity. Of course, I thought to myself, This must be the Grand Palace, I've been here a few times. I let my memory conjure something akin to the elephant-mounting station I remembered observing there, and walked over to it. There was no elephant there presently, so I waited for someone to bring it around... and started getting impatient. No one seemed to be doing much, or paying attention to my repeated request. They must not understand English, I considered. I'll have to try it in Thai.

      "Chang!" I shouted, the Thai word for elephant. "Ma nee!" I realized how rude I must sound: while "ma nee" would probably be correctly understood as "come here," or, given the contextual clues, "bring it here" as I had intended, it was a terribly rough and simple way of speaking. It was the sort of thing you might say to call a dog. I hadn't even appended a perfunctory "kha" at the end. But then I started wondering what level of politeness would be proper in this situation. I was in the palace, which made things more difficult, because royal Thai is another ballgame altogether. But what was my own social standing here? In speaking roughly I was assuming a great deal of authority... maybe that was not so bad in this situation. Fortunately, I saw my elephant being brought around before I was able to go too deep down the rabbit hole of Thai honorifics.

      It was a disappointing elephant, by any standards... not only small but kind of flabby and soft, a cartoonish cross between a real baby elephant and Dumbo. Moreover it was completely unadorned, with no harness or howdah. I momentarily wondered if the lack was due to an inadequate mental impression of what a howdah should look like? But no, I could picture it clearly enough in my imagination... it just wasn't on the elephant. I guess that's what I get for being rude to the staff. To add insult to injury, they didn't even properly lead the elephant to the mounting station—though it was probably too small to get on from there anyway—they just dumped it on the stairs, where it crumpled over weakly. On the bright side, this made it easy to clamber up on its neck, so I did so and prepared to forge on.

      I knew I had to enter a battle, so we promptly exited the city. I had thought to do this properly on a magnificent war elephant with a howdah and a driver and four soldiers to guard the legs—I've seen plenty of paintings and movies of proper war elephants in action—but instead I was alone, bareback with no weapon, on the most pathetic elephant I've ever seen. But at least in dream there was no risk of actually falling in battle, so I figured I could make do.

      We had barely gone past the city walls when I saw the invaders approaching from the jungle. That wasn't much of a stretch; it seemed like Ayutthaya was always under attack. (I had originally envisioned myself in Bangkok, but had already slipped back to an earlier era more appropriate for elephant combat). The invaders were on horseback, I noticed, and I was relieved to see that they were only coming in ones and twos, given that I was going to have to take them on alone. They had long black hair and Asian features, and naturally I assumed that they were Burmese... until I got close enough to swing at one and saw the pointed ears. Elves?! Last night I was playing Witcher II and Pillars of Eternity, and the portrait of Aloth in the latter game closely resembled these invaders, but I wasn't sure why they were showing up here. Also, I'm fond of elves and felt loathe to fight them. Fortunately, our combat was more play-acting than anything. I had a good mental image of the kind of long-handled glaive I should be wielding, but though I swung it toward the elves and they gamely mimed being struck, the weapon did not visibly appear in my hands—and I was thankful that it drew no blood.

      So I marched forward on my pathetic elephant, going through the motions of bashing the elves (elves?!) with my invisible glaive, while they went through the motions of being knocked aside, until the jungle started to coalesce into a new kind of space, a kind of wide passage under an increasingly low ceiling. The texture of the ceiling interested me, and from my position atop the elephant I could reach up and just touch it. It was covered with a kind of thick cloth, like a yellowish patterned felt, and I reached into the seams between two pieces and felt something hard and smooth. I pulled it out and found an object streaked with yellow and brown that resembled a wild bird's egg, but it was too hard and irregular, so I thought it must be a stone. I slipped it into my pocket. The felt overhead was gaping at the seams so I grabbed it and tore it off, revealing a kind of wide hatch with a knob for a handle. I wondered what it might be concealing so I pulled it open... and found the dream space deconstructing, muffling me in a soft blankety texture. Instinctively I tried to protect myself by putting the stone I had just found in my mouth, but I was still being enveloped in the stuff. I tried to pull at it with my hands, and as my fingers sank into it I was struck by the familiarity of the texture, like coarse sheep's wool—not the clean feel of a fleece, but the dirty, oily texture it has when it is still on the sheep. That was the last thing I felt before waking.
    8. Category Error (NLD)

      by , 01-11-2017 at 06:22 PM
      Vague and poorly remembered dreams overall, linked by a pervasive feeling of threat, but in the end I came to an insightful realization.

      In one scene, the garage door was open, and I was with at least one other DC pointing a gun at some cats milling around just outside. I love cats, but I suspected that these might be evil spirits in disguise.

      In another scene, I saw a collection of malevolent dolls outside the front door of a house at night. Their malevolence was limited by the fact that most of them had no arms, except for one shaped like an octopus, which had its full complement of tentacles. That one was almost cute, though. Another doll was especially wicked but consisted of only a head, and I watched as a dog came up and carried it off. "It's just as well," I commented to someone standing nearby. "He was already almost dead."

      In the final and most notable scene, I was holding a door shut against some evil force that was trying to push it open. I was exerting as much strength as I could, hoping to lock the door to better secure it, but I couldn't get it closed tightly enough to fasten the latch. I felt the door beginning to open wider, despite all my efforts, and my anxiety increased... until I suddenly realized that I was making a category error.

      If this was my world, a physical threat, then yes, I would need to try to hold the door with physical force. But I recognized that this was not my world, and in this world, my attempts to push the door closed only gave more power to the threat. To avoid the threat I needed to deny it my strength by denying it my attention, just like in dreams. I did not actually recognize that I was dreaming, only that this was an analogous situation.

      There was a woman standing next to me, so I expressed my thoughts to her and distracted myself by caressing her face and shoulders. The sensuality quickly dissipated the anxiety I had felt about the door, and it ceased to be a threat even though I was no longer holding it closed.

      I was inspired by my realization, and inquired the woman's perspective on it. "So it works because we are aliens here?" I asked her. She replied that some groups held this point of view, but others disagreed, so that my standing in relation to this world remained controversial.
    9. Another Rainbow (DWILD)

      by , 12-24-2016 at 08:09 PM
      Ritual: WTB 2am, woke up after a couple hours and strapped on the Motivaider, timed for 30m intervals. I woke up again after what I thought must be at least an hour and hadn't felt any vibrations. I decided that my awareness was not sufficient tonight to continue, removed the device, and went back to sleep. But apparently this process created an anchor for the idea of lucidity, because in my next sleep interval I became aware of lying in that intermediate state between sleeping and waking and went through the motions of getting up into a WILD. However, in retrospect it is clear that I was already dreaming at the start of this experience, so it was not a genuine WILD but a dreamed WILD (hence DWILD). It was 5:45am when I woke from the dream.

      DWILD, "Another rainbow": I am lying on the flat surface of a wooden table as though it were a bed in a large, strange room with a distant, domed ceiling. I feel groggily half-asleep, but notice the distinctive sensations in my body that make me wonder if I'm close to the dream state. I start playing with it as I would when inducing a WILD, attempting to roll and rotate my body while avoiding real physical movement. When I find myself face down and succeed in getting up on my hands and knees, I'm sure that I'm sufficiently integrated with my dream body to get off the table and explore the dream—and given that in retrospect I know was dreaming all along, it is apparent that the sense of difficulty that I experience as I carefully maneuver myself into a standing position, similar to what I experience in real WILDs, must be wholly a mental fabrication.

      My awareness is still low and initially lacking in agency, so I go along with the dream narrative for a while. The space in which I find myself is strange and hard to describe. There's a kind of reflective dome above me that rotates and shifts to reflect different parts of an upper floor or balcony. The dome moves until it is showing a distorted reflection of what looks like an early twentieth-century radio, one of the elegant ones in a large wooden cabinet. I am aware that seated up by the radio there is an older man who owns this place, and I am his guest. After this is a scene in which someone tells my brother that if he wants to get along with this man then he should take up shortwave radio as a hobby.

      Then a bunch of us are seated at a long table for a dinner party. [Source: Order of the Phoenix was on TV last night, and it has a number of scenes with people seated at long tables.] Plates are served and they all contain huge sandwiches. The older man that I saw in the balcony earlier is picking disinterestedly at his sandwich and asks where the other food is, the stuff that had been simmering in the crockpot. My brother, who had put together the food, says that it will be coming up as the next course. I'm seated directly across from the older man, who I think of as our "host," and can tell from his expression he doesn't want to eat the sandwich. I decide to be helpful and comment loudly: "That's a huge sandwich! I couldn't eat all that even for one meal." Although this is true, my intention in speaking was to save face for the other man by legitimizing the option of leaving the sandwich uneaten while waiting for the next course.

      After the sandwich course, we take a break from the meal and everyone who was at the table, about a dozen people in all, are standing in another room. The host is there, and a bunch of vague random people I don't recognize, as well as DC versions of my brother, mom, and dad. For some reason, maybe because of the lull in the narrative, I finally remember my intended task, the leprechaun TOTY, as well as how I had planned to accomplish it. My chief difficulty in previous attempts had been that once I managed to create the necessary rainbow, I got thwarted in my attempts to seek the end of it. As I had earlier been pondering this difficulty, a straightforward solution, perfectly obvious in retrospect, finally occurred to me: why not create the rainbow such that it ends right in front of where I'm standing?

      "Okay everyone, we're going to play a game, kind of like a party game." I smile at the host and add, "It'll give you time to digest before the next course." I reach out and pat his belly, an oddly familiar gesture given that the DC did not scan as anyone I know in WL. [Possible source: yesterday I was doing research related to Budai, the so-called "Laughing Buddha," and rubbing his belly is a recognized ritual gesture. But the DC did not in any other respect remind me of Budai.] I complete my announcement by telling the group: "We're going to make a rainbow!"

      The room we are in is walled entirely with glass on two sides, like a skyscraper, and I recognize that this clear view of the sky will be helpful for the task. I'm slightly more concerned about the fact that we're three or four storeys up, which means that if the rainbow ends here and I start digging through the floor, I won't actually be digging in solid ground. I remind myself that it is silly to maintain these kind waking life assumptions in the dream state. It can be solid ground if it wants to be, or maybe I can find the leprechaun in the room below us. Dream is nothing but malleable, so I really don't need to be this finicky.

      I continue with my instructions to the group: "What we need to do is hold hands and create the end of the rainbow right here." I gesture to indicate the patch of floor in middle of our circle of people. "Then we'll go through, fight the leprechaun, and take his gold." I look around to gauge the response and decide the DCs need a little more incentive. "We can split the money," I add, and am pleased to see that this perks up their interest.

      We join hands around a large circle. I feel that my shirt cuffs are too long and and getting in the way, so I have to break off and fold them up in order to get proper skin contact with the people around me. Once again I wonder if I'm being too finicky. Probably. Even the hand-holding seems like overkill, but I thought it might help us join our focus on the same goal.

      My assumption had been that the assistance of the DCs would help my own confidence and focus on the task. This idea was probably based on my last rainbow-making dream, when I really did feel like I benefited from the help volunteered by the little girl. But this group of DCs is not helping at all. Like typical adults in a social setting, they are only marginally interested in my unusual party game. While I'm trying to concentrate on making a rainbow, the others are getting distracted and starting to chit-chat among themselves. This is distracting me in turn.

      "Quiet!" I rebuke them sharply. "No talking, please. I need you to concentrate. Focus your intention." I figure they could use a reminder of the goal of our task: "We're going to create a rainbow"

      Periodically I've been glancing out the windows to see if a rainbow is visible in the sky yet. This time I notice that the weather has changed. The sky is grey and a steady rain is now pouring down. Rain, well, that's halfway to a rainbow, isn't it? I let myself be encouraged that the environment is showing some response.

      I continue attempting to focus, and the DCs continue to stand around without helping much. They're quieter after my reprimand but still distracted, and I have the impression that they don't seem to know how to focus their intentions properly. This is exasperating. What good are dream characters who don't even know how to interact with a dream? My mom starts speaking and I almost raise my hand to swat at her, irritated by yet another interruption, until I realize that what she's saying might actually be helpful. She is commenting on the light, how it needs to filter through the water particles a certain way to create a rainbow.

      I had never intended to create a rainbow with meteorological accuracy, but hey, since it's already raining outside, we might as well give it a shot. If we can just get the right sort of light, it might encourage our expectations in a way that will make this easier. You know how when it rains and then you see the light break through the clouds, and you wonder if you will see a rainbow? That's the expeirence I was now trying to recreate. I look out the window and sure enough, in one direction bright sunlight is now alternating with the dark clouds. Very well, the rainbow can come from that direction.

      Once again I concentrate, reminding myself that rainbows consist of light broken into the spectrum of colors. I think I almost see them in front of me, faint and translucent, but I can't tell if I'm only imagining them until the DCs all break out into "oohs" and "ahs," and saying things like "amazing!" I smile triumphantly, amused that everyone is acting so impressed after their earlier disengagement.

      (While it seems odd to make the above distinction between something that "happens" in a dream and something I'm "only imagining," given the many times I have attempted to complete some task by imagining the outcome and it has not tangibly manifested in the dream, some such distinction seems warranted, if much less clear and stark than the difference between imagining and experiencing in waking life.)

      It is a bit odd to try to look at a rainbow head on, from immediate proximity, but I do see a faint shimmering band extending from the lit quarter of the clouds to the floor right in front of my feet. I remind everyone that creating the rainbow was only the first step. "Now we have to dig through the floor." I start scrabbling at the smooth wooden boards, trying to imagine that the floor is soft and that my hands can scoop it up like clay. I feel everyone watching (no one else is trying to help) and their expressions are dubious. If merely creating a rainbow surprised them, imagine the skepticism they must feel watching me try to break through solid floor with my hands! I wonder if I can better align the expectations of the onlookers if I use some sort of tool to dig with, but I can't think of what might be handy.

      This time it is my dad who speaks up with some advice: "The location of the floor isn't localized on the floor." I don't understand what he's trying to tell me, and I don't have long to think about it because I feel myself waking. I lose the dream and lay still for a few minutes, feeling to see if I can DEILD, but no, my body is fully awake now.

      Updated 12-24-2016 at 08:17 PM by 34973

      Categories
      lucid , task of the year
    10. Julbock (WILD)

      by , 12-21-2016 at 07:01 AM
      Ritual: I often wake up briefly during the night, but at one point last night I noticed that my husband was awake too, so we ended up having a conversation, probably around 3 or 4am. After that it was hard to get back to sleep, and I tossed and turned for a while. Eventually I realized that I was tossing and turning with the distinctive sensations that suggested I might already be asleep. I played with it a bit, rolling until I was sure that I was not moving in a physical way, and when I felt certain that I was in the dream state, I "got up."

      WILD, "Julbock": I realized that it was my first WILD since moving to my new house, but as is typical, I failed to recognize the ways that the dream environment was different from WL. In fact, it bore very little resemblance to the place I currently live.

      I remembered my intention to work on the last two TOTYs I haven't completed, but after my difficulties making rainbows the other day, the idea felt stressful. Maybe I could just relax and explore the dream world? But I knew that abandoning my intentions was a recipe for losing lucidity fast. I decided on a sort of compromise: I would work on the Basilisk—why do I keep thinking of it as Basilisk? This is a mistake I keep making in waking life, not in dream—I would work on the Chimera task, but rather than go through the motions and try to force things to happen, I would let my subconscious take care of it.

      I was actually surprised how well this worked. Normally, if I needed a goat (as the task specifies) I would deliberately try to summon one, but this time I just held the idea casually in the back of my mind as I walked through the my darkened apartment. Moments later, what should catch my eye, but a stuffed toy goat! It actually resembled an object that I possess in waking life, a little Beanie Baby goat that I have for many years brought out around Christmas time and designated the "Julbock." I have not yet brought it out this year, but it crossed my mind to do so a few times recently.

      Is this a psi-ball?-julbock.jpg

      "Would a stuffed goat work?" I wondered as I picked up the small toy. I tried to remember the wording of the task. Surely it just specified "goat," not "live goat" or "real goat," as if those terms could even be meaningful in dream, so I figured that this goat would be adequate for my purposes, and carried it with me.

      Since the task required the chimera to act violently against DCs, I didn't want to create it in my own apartment, what with the dream version of my husband asleep in the other room, so I left and went out into the hall. (It is worth specifying at this point that I don't live in an apartment, and have not for many years, nor have I ever lived in any apartment that resembled the one in this dream, which is what I mean when I say that this dream environment was very different from WL.)

      Across the hallway was an open door leading into another bedroom, apparently empty. Should I summon the chimera there? But I didn't know whose bedroom it was, so I decided to keep moving. To my right was a solid wall, the end of the hallway, so I turned left and walked down the corridor. The hallway was narrow to start with, and the walking space was further restricted by the many chests of drawers that were pushed up against the wall on the left hand side.

      I sidled along with barely room enough to pass through the corridor for about twenty feet, until I emerged into a slightly wider but still relatively cramped lobby area. To my left, a chest-high counter bordered a desk and work area where two women were seated, clearly employees of this apartment complex. Attached to the wall behind them was a row of large gingerbread men, a festive decoration for the holiday season—but also just what I had been looking for. I was impressed how well my subconscious was pulling through for me. You see, in my earlier WL attempts to plan how how I might complete the chimera task without harming any human-like DCs, the inspiration occurred to me: have it fight gingerbread men! I wouldn't feel the least bit bad about crushing some animated DC cookies, since I happily bite the heads off gingerbread men in WL. And now, even without any elaborate summoning rituals or focused intent, my subconscious had handily provided me with everything I needed to complete the task: I had my goat, and I had some gingerbread men that could serve as victims. All I needed now was to transform the goat into a proper chimera and cause some cookie mayhem.

      "Could I borrow those gingerbread men?" I asked the women politely.

      "Sure," one of them replied nonchalantly.

      "Okay," I said, preparing myself for the complicated part. "I'm going to try to keep this under control. Hopefully no one will get hurt."

      Though I intended my words as a subtle warning, it was apparently so vague that the women took no notice whatsoever. One of them asked the other, "Could you get me a Coke?"

      "Sure," the other replied.

      "Half," added the woman who had made the request. This puzzled me. I had assumed that the request was for a can of Coke from a vending machine. How would one bring back half? But I didn't put too much thought into it, because I was preparing to transform the stuffed goat into a chimera... everthing was in place...

      ...And I woke up, once again, just before I could get to the heart of the task. When I was at my best, early this year before my long recent dry spell, I could often keep from fully waking and DEILD-chain my lucids in order to finish complex tasks like this, but now I seem to be out of practice.

      Updated 12-21-2016 at 07:13 AM by 34973

      Categories
      lucid , task of the year
    11. 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

      Categories
      lucid , task of the year
    12. Three Vials (NLD)

      by , 10-22-2016 at 04:16 PM
      Ritual: Ongoing dry spell. I'm not sure what caused my focus and motivation to diminish so drastically, but neither has been sufficient in months to deliberately achieve lucidity. Even when I thought I've been motivated, I haven't been able to concentrate properly, or pay sufficient attention to the stages of sleep. Less attention to dreaming in general means that even my NLDs have become intolerably drab and dull for the most part, and since I've been journaling less my ability to remember dreams has also dwindled. However, this morning I woke up with a dream that I found interesting enough to write down, and I'm posting it here to try to help get my head back in the game.

      NLD, "Three Vials": The container in my hand consisted of three conjoined steel vials closed with screwcaps. Each one held a different substance that would change me in some way. I was in a militarized compound full of soldiers and agents of some secretive organization; I was their experiment. Evidently one of their high level people, an old man with grey shoulder-length hair, had decided that it was time for my transformation. I began unscrewing the top of one of the vials while remembering the prophecy:

      His breath is the wind.

      The method of ingestion seemed straightforward. Breath? Wind? I held the end of the vial to my mouth and inhaled. It did feel like a great wind coursing into me. When the turmoil had settled and I spoke, my voice was changed. It was no longer a human voice, but impossibly deep and resonant.

      There were things going on around me but I don't remember the details. I saw a news briefing of some sort; apparently the nation was in a state of emergency. I was being transformed so that I could go do battle, perhaps with another creature similar to what I was becoming. I decided to use the second vial. I had a vague anxiety that I should consume all three vials before someone stopped me: the old man had wanted to go through with the procedure, but I could tell that a lot of the others did not think this was a good idea. I should finish the transformation before someone decided to organize the opposition and restrain me. I recalled another line of the prophecy:

      Sunlight fills his heart.

      I opened the second vial. At first I habitually started bringing the container to my mouth, but the prophecy suggested that it contained light, so I diverted it to my eyes instead. White light filled them, blinding me. When I could see again, I went to look at myself in a mirror. My eyes were white now, but not an undifferentiated white. The pupils were tiny little pinpricks at the center, literally no larger than if the tip of a pin pricked a hole in a piece of paper. I thought that made sense, given that pupils contract in the light, and they had just been exposed to more light than ever before. The irises were still differentiated, but they were an ivory white and glowed as if with inner light around the inside of their circular rims. The whites of my eyes were now pure white.

      I also noticed that my skin had turned white, but not smoothly or evenly, instead it left a mottled appearance, prompting me to comment wryly: "I hope the last vial contains a pore cleanser." No one laughed at my joke. The dream ended before I ever found out what was actually in the final vial.

      Notes: There are some straightforward influences, though the dream transformed them into an original scenario. But the concept of putting things to my eyes and mouth clearly derives from the Vive VR game "Accounting," which I played last night. (It was brief and hilarious, I totally recommend it!) Then before bed I was playing Witcher II and noticed how cool Geralt's eyes looked. (I recently finished Witcher I, since I wanted to play all three in order, and just started on II. It is a breath of fresh air compared to the first one.) Having the Witcher series fresh in mind probably also contributed to the concept of drinking potions to achieve transformational mutations.

      Updated 10-22-2016 at 04:24 PM by 34973

      Categories
      non-lucid
    13. Roan Unicorn (DEILD)

      by , 04-29-2016 at 06:00 AM
      Ritual: Was working *really* inefficiently yesterday—took me almost eight hours to finish a 22 page article (one with lots of pictures, even!) because I kept looking things up and building my powerpoint at the same time. It was already after midnight before I started reading the 50+ page article (with almost no images) that I was also supposed to finish before bed, so I crapped out at 2:30am without getting it done. I woke at 8am and continued reading in bed, then napped again at 9am—so it became an inadvertant WBTB. Woke at 10:15 after this amazing dream, so I guess all the stress and angst paid off (though it is now 11:15am after writing up my account, and I am no closer to finishing that article! Yikes!)

      Earlier NLD: Some interesting features actually. I'm in what I take to be the sheriff's office of a small lakeside town. The building is rustic and wooden. I am one of the cops, a man like the others. They're all macho, gruff, with mustaches. I notice a small boat in the lake just off shore. Although it looks like an innocent fishing expeditiion, I have a definite premonition of what is coming next. I know that someone is lying prone in that boat with a gun pointed toward us, and there are other shooters positioned strategically nearby, and any minute now they're going to fire. I know my colleagues brought this on themselves so I leave them to their fate, diving into a side room and locking the door. There's a random guy in here so I tell him to get down, we're going to be under fire. Meanwhile I make use of whatever time I have left to arrange the furniture to better blockade us, turning the tables and chairs over so that we can crouch behind them like shields. All of this feels like it has happened before—not in the vague sense of deja vu, but a very concrete and specific way like when you replay an encounter in a video game. For this reason I know that if we just position ourselves correctly and keep our heads low enough, we'll make it through this. The bullets start flying. I feel one zing very close to the left side my body, provoking a strange vibration. Did it hit me? Not quite. My sense of repetition is so strong that after the bullets stop, I predict even before lifting my head that I will see a bullet hole in the lower right hand corner of the window behind me. I turn around and there it is, just as I had predicted (not so astonishing in a dream, after all, but I hadn't realized I was dreaming yet). I pull out my phone and snap a picture of it to document this remarkable event before going back outside. I decide the only sensible thing to do is slip out of town immediately, so I take a side path through someone's backyard.

      DEILD: Around this time the dream destabilizes enough that I become lucid. I wonder if I can restabilize and continue. I remember the principle I've devised for this: don't worry about visuals, focus on physical movement. Tactile integration is what is needed, then the visuals will re-establish themselves naturally. I dance my way back into full dream state. Now what? I remember my goal to continue with the TOTYs, and decide to try the Unicorn task.

      I set my will to summoning a unicorn and soon see a suitable animal galloping toward me down a lane that bisects the fields. This is no ethereal being, but a sturdily built strawberry roan that just happens to have a horn on its head. I found a picture online that gives a good sense of the coat color, only in mine the red hues were more pronounced across the top of its rump.

      How old is everyone here?-strawberry-roan-2.jpg

      After it reaches me, I realize I don't actually know how to climb on a tall horse bareback, so I command it to kneel so that I can get astride. Now we need to find a portal and travel to another land, but I had a plan for this: I've been wanting to visit the Wood Between the World.

      I canter the roan unicorn back down the path it came from, priming my expectations to see a pool of water as we round the corner. We get halfway around and I still don't see water, but I keep my anticipation high. There it is, after all! I didn't see it at first because it is a very small pond, not much more than ten feet across, but sufficient for my task. "The Wood Between the World," I murmur, imagining what it will look like as I canter up to the pool and have the unicorn jump in. Although I've done my best to maintain conviction, we splash into the pool and... now the unicorn is standing in water up to its knees. We haven't gone anywhere.

      This portal was a bust, so decide to look for another, passing a group of teenagers as I leave. I travel down the road until I find myself in what looks to be a luggage store room, like the kind you might find in a train station. The oddest thing is how familiar it looks: I have the distinct impression that I remember this place from an earlier dream this very night, but I can't tell if it is false memory or true. Nothing useful here, but as I leave I spot the group of teenagers again, and ride up to them. I ask if they know of any portals nearby. They mention the pool.

      "I already tried that one, but it didn't work." The kids confirmed that, yeah, they don't work anymore, the magic is too weak. But the magic may not be gone entirely—one kid points out that if you stand near the pool and the background music fades, you can still hear something. This brings my attention to the music. I hadn't been paying attention to it, but a song has been playing in the background all along since I became lucid, like a soundtrack. It is a woman singing in a foreign language—it reminds me of the second half of the song "Bjarkan" from Wardruna's album Gap Var Ginnunga, which would make sense, because that's the main thing I've been listening to lately.

      The kids can't think of any way to strengthen the portal magic, so I ask if they know of any other portals nearby. They point back across the field and tell me to look for a small shack. I ride over and find the door slightly ajar, so I go in. The door swings shut and clicks behind me—it seems to have automatically locked. Nevermind, I was planning to use this as a portal anyway. How do I pass through? Maybe I should stand here astride the unicorn and let the environment around us shift phase. I begin to try to reimagine my surroundings... but I am interrupted by a cry of alarm.

      It comes from a young couple, a boy and girl, who had apparently been making out in a sort of nook or loft halfway up the side wall of this shack. They are startled by my presence and furious when they discover that I have accidentally locked the door. "We'll die in here!" wails the girl. I look around. This shack wasn't built of terribly sturdy materials, I'm sure we can find a way out, even if we have to dismantle it. Distracted by the unexpected crisis, I forget about portalling and even forget that a locked door should be no barrier to me as a dreamer.

      "This wasn't designed as a prison, we'll find something." I reassure them. I look around carefully and notice an opening halfway up the side wall in one corner. It's six or seven feet up: all we have to do is climb to it, then jump over a gap of a few feet to the low flat roof of an adjacent shed. I dismount and give the girl, Sarah, a boost to help her climb up. Next I go to help the boy, Tom. His head is now attached to a long pole, like a broomstick, instead of a body, so this is easy: I pick up the pole and pass it through the opening to Sarah. Now my cat is here for some reason and also needs rescuing, but there is a paper grocery bag handy, so I put the cat in the bag and try to hand that across to Sarah. Suddenly uncooperative, Sarah threatens to dump my cat out of the bag. I am flabbergasted. Why would she suddenly turn against me?

      "But I showed you the way out and helped you!" I protest. Sarah and Tom are unsympathetic; it is clear that they feel no obligation to return the favor. My annoyance reminds me what I am capable of. After all, there was another way this task could go—that wasn't how I planned to do it, but now that I've been provoked, maybe that's how this will play out. I look back at the door, remembering the classic "Knock" spell from D&D. "Unlock," I command, pointing at the door, and the latch obediently clicks open. I get back on the unicorn and walk calmly out. Tom and Sarah, who have just climbed down from the shed, are astounded to see this. They are even more shocked when the unicorn gores Sarah through the chest with its horn, tossing her body aside like a limp rag. Tom watches in horror, and then his turn comes. Despite my scruples about killing, once I felt that these DCs had justified it by their treachery, I dispatch them without hesitation or remorse. Instead, I find myself wondering if my unicorn will be transformed by this dreadful act—I was envisioning something like the "bog unicorn" in Dragon Age: Inquisition—but it remains a roan horse with a spiral horn protruding from its head.

      Okay, apparently now I'm committed to the murder version of the task, so I need a third victim. [Note: I was mistaken about this; the task only required two.] I remember that earlier in the NLD I had encountered some unpleasant people in town, so I ride back in that direction. On the way, I see a number of people working outdoors. I reflect how easy it would be to pick one at random... but that would be wrong. I can't just run up to a random DC and spear them, unprovoked. I do try to maintain *some* ethical standards.

      The people working outside resemble medieval peasants. Actually the whole scene has become more medieval in appearance. Just past the peasants I see the remnants of an old ruined stone structure, reduced to its foundations and a few half-standing walls. Congregating around it are men that I take to be warriors. They have brown or red hair, some balding, and many flaunt long beards decorated with bands and beading. I ride up without attracting any attention. What if I just pick the most evil one? "Show me a rapist," I instruct the dream. Surely among a band of what appear to be tribal warriors from some feudal period there must be no shortage of those, given that it was a standard aspect of warfare in many early societies. So I'd better be more specific: "Show me the worst one." The results are inconclusive: I look over the men again and there is no clear candidate.

      I recall D&D includes a spell that can be used to check alignment. Maybe I can frame it this way? I instruct the dream to reveal the most evil person by making them glow. Now I see one: the glow surrounds a burly guy with his back to me, looking out over the water. He has short brown hair shaved into a distinctive flat line where it meets his neck, and his head is bare on top, either bald or shaved. As I approach, he moves away and I lose sight of him, the glow fading. I study the crowd but since I only saw the guy from behind at a distance, it is hard to be sure which one he is. I don't want to pick the wrong guy. I attempt to cast the spell again, but now the glow seems to be targeting someone else. While trying to sort out this confusion, I spy something across the field, even better—no, perfect!

      It is a jousting tournament!

      The jousting is already under way, but I ride up and boldly demand to enter the lists. The organizers comply without too much fuss. But I also have demands to make about my opponent: "I wish to find the most immoral among the contenders."

      Meanwhile, the more honorable among the knights point out that without a saddle I will surely be unhorsed. Worse, without the protection of armor or a shield, the lance will surely pierce and kill me. I shrug off their objections, thinking that without saddle or armor maybe I can do some stunt riding and duck down to the side, avoiding the lance entirely. After all, my intention is not to strike my opponent with a lance—my unicorn's horn must fulfill that function to complete the task.

      I continue to insist that I be matched against the most immoral of the prospective opponents. There is some debate about who that should be. A man wearing ecclesiastical robes and a cross seems to be the top choice, which makes sense given everything I've heard about the medieval church. I realize that this is all taking a very long time and add to my demands:

      "Also, I demand to go next!"

      The organizers comply with this too. My bout is set up. But I'm not entirely happy with what I see. Facing me at the other end of the lists is a tall black woman on foot, wielding a club in each hand. This isn't what I had in mind: she is not even a jouster! And I sense that she is clearly not the right match: did they assume she was immoral from a medieval sense of racism or xenophobia? Or is she immoral in the fun kind of way, a free-spirited woman who lives large? Either or both seemed likely. This wasn't what I was looking for. If I have to dispatch someone, I prefer that they be genuinely evil.

      "No, this is not the right opponent!" I protest. "I mean, who is the most immoral to the people?" There is no response at first. I have the impression that people are intimidated from replying aloud, so I ride up close to the audience in the stands and ask again. Listening closely, I hear a whispered name: "Lüsswig." I ride along the stands and the whispers of "Lüsswig... Lüsswig..." are unmistakable, repeated everywhere by people trying to speak anonymously under their breath.

      I return to the center of the lists and announce: "I shall fight Lüsswig!"

      Lüsswig turns out to be a guy wearing a long grey cloak with a hood that is closed in the front, completely covering his face. He removes the hood, revealing himself to be a man with short dark brown hair and full cheeks covered with several days worth of stubble. A smug, sinister smile spreads across his face at the prospect of the coming match. [Note: I've spent a long time trying to figure out who Lüsswig resembled, and the best I can come up with is a badly shaven Jonathan Frakes.]

      "Yes, this is a better choice," I declare. His glee is slightly unnerving—he clearly thinks he will best me. I mentally prepare myself by deciding that it must be his destiny to die by unicorn.

      We take our places at opposite ends of the tilt and... I can feel the dream fading... oh fuck fuck I was so close... hold it together, surely I can... no, I'm in my body, in my bed, it's gone. Lüsswig you bastard... I guess you win after all.

      I can only assume this will augment Lüsswig's dastardly reputation. Stories will spread of the mysterious unicorn rider who disrupted the jousting tournament, arrogantly demanding to fight the most evil of men, but then fled the moment she realized was it was Lüsswig!

      Notes: So close! So very very close to completing the unicorn task! I could have finished easily had I taken the practical (but vicious) route and chosen a third victim at random. But no, I had to be honorable and look for someone who *deserved* it...

      Oh! Oh! I just looked up the terms of the task. For once I misremembered the details to my benefit—I thought I needed to murder three DCs, but now I see it was only two. So I did it after all! And then my mistaken conviction that I needed a third actually led to some pretty cool extra scenes.

      Updated 04-29-2016 at 07:01 AM by 34973

      Categories
      lucid , non-lucid , memorable , task of the year
    14. 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
    15. Garbage Pickers and Snowscape (DILD)

      by , 04-17-2016 at 10:54 PM
      Ritual: I've had a bit of a dry spell lately, and even worse than the lack of lucid dreams has been the sensation of diminished overall awareness: my sleep lately has been distressingly ordinary. I'm still waking up frequently during the night, but now I can't even tell what time it is—usually I can guess accurately within ten minutes or so. When sleeping properly I always wake up a few minutes before my alarm, no matter what time I set it for, but lately the alarm has been waking me. I've been having an ordinary number of dreams, but they too are lacking even in rudimentary awareness. In the past, stressful periods at work have boosted my LDing, but I feel like maybe I'm getting a bit burnt out, so I've started using sleep as a form of escapism, instead of an opportunity for more interesting kinds of work. I've become a lazy sleeper!

      Probably because of this lack of awareness, this time even when I started wondering if I was really dreaming, I continued to find the environment and events extremely persuasive and followed the plotline to its end. Only then did I take the time to deliberately RC. The only aspect of this that isn't disappointing is the fact that, once having noted I might be dreaming, I did manage to hold that thought and then come back to it, instead of just forgetting. I also felt as though my rational mind was functioning well in the way it recognized the dream sign, something that hasn't always been reliable.


      The dream plot was based on waking life residue. Last night (in WL) around 1:30am we heard the sound of someone going through our trash bins outside the house, even though the bins are through a gate which, although it has no lock, clearly demonstrates a property boundary. Unfortunately there is no window through which to observe that area, and by the time I went out with a flashlight the person was gone.

      The same thing happened in the dream, except that the person had left behind bags of newspapers, and I was worried they might contain criminal evidence. I wasn't sure if I should call the police, as I had already moved some of the bags, so my prints were now on them too. There were many more minor details and events that would only be tedious to record here, so I'll skip them.

      Later the garbage-pickers come back, and I realize I can see them if I get the right angle through a window (not true in RL). I want to take pictures for evidence, but I have trouble pulling up the camera on my phone, normally a very simple operation. Even when I do get the camera working, it is too zoomed in and I can't frame the shot properly. I recognize these technical difficulties as dream signs, but at the moment I'm too caught up in events to RC.

      The garbage-pickers leave before I can get a good shot, so I go around the front of the house for another try. The camera is still giving me trouble, and once again I notice how much it resembles a dream sign, even though this doesn't feel like a dream. After a few more minor incidents that plotline wraps up, and I now realize that I can give my full attention to checking whether or not I am dreaming. Everything has felt very real and convincing, but I know well how little that sensation can be trusted.

      I jump... inconclusive. I came down quickly enough, but the jumping itself felt easier than I think it should, as though I am not lifting my full body weight. I jump a couple more times, trying to draw out the moment at the apex. It might actually be lengthening as I focus on it. My suspicion grows, I jump a bit more, and then sure enough, I find that I can pause at the top, hovering in the air. That clinches it. It was a dream all along.

      What now? It's been so long since I've been lucid that I just want to explore and enjoy the environment. I look out the glass wall of the living room and see an expanse of snowy fields and pine forest stretching to a distant low mountain, utterly unlike the RL scenery. I feel satisfied with this prospect, so I fly through the glass without hesitation and start soaring over the landscape, looking down and enjoying the clarity of visual detail. I'm reminded of a recent conversation with a WL friend who also turned out to be an LDer, who mentioned that he prefers not to do tasks but would rather just fly around and enjoy the environment. Today that feels just fine.

      I fly to the top of the mountain and land, hoping to explore on foot. There is a problem with scale, however: I am huge in relation to the mountain. My feet cover its entire upper surface. I take off into the air again, hoping I didn't crush too many trees and little creatures. The distorted scale now makes everything feel artificial, and the dream destabilizes. I exert will to remain in the dream state as it deconstructs, and for a moment I find myself flying through a black boundless space marked with thin white lines running horizontally and vertically in three dimensions. It strongly resembles the conception of virtual space in the movie Tron. I recognize that this is unconstructed dream space, and try not to let it disconcert me that the dream has faded, and I feel very close to being awake... I remind myself that if I should be able to enter a new scene if I can just be patient and maybe suggest something.

      I'm trying to stay relaxed, so I imagine lying in a bath of warm water. This makes me realize that my flying feels like swimming so I use the idea. I am swimming underwater in a pool of water that is no different from my body temperature—that's why I don't feel it. And of course I can breathe underwater, because why not? These thoughts in mind, I now think I can see the glimmering underside of the water's surface just above my head, so I fly up and break it, preparing to find myself in a new scene. I notice how seamlessly my breathing remains the same as I transition from breathing water to air, and again this feels too artificial for my liking, but I try not to let it disrupt the dream.

      I am in an empty tiled space containing a pool. The lining of the pool is made of identical square beige tiles as the walkway around it and the low walls bounding the space. It appears to be outdoor because the walls don't go up all the way, but there is no impression of any surrounding environment, much less sky or weather. It is still very vague and plain and artificial; perhaps it could be described as "semi-constructed dream space." I look around for something notable, perhaps a DC, and I begin to hear music. It is a simple melody on a plucked string instrument, like a medieval lute. I don't see anyone else, but vision isn't perfect now, so I keep listening and looking. The song ends, and a woman's voice says, "Thanks, I really enjoyed this one song." There is a kind of parenthetical remark appended to the sentence in the same voice that I perceive simultaneously, though I don't seem to "hear" it as literally as the words just spoken. The parenthetical remark is: "...after a moment's reflection." In ordinary text one could write it as:

      "Thanks, I really enjoyed this one song (after a moment's reflection)."

      But that wouldn't quite convey the effect that the parenthetical part was not spoken aloud, and that it had a kind of simultaneity with the statement itself.

      Feeling confident that I will momentary see the singer, I keep looking around... and feel paws on my face, my real face. The cat has chosen just this moment to come back to bed, waking me. Damn!
    Page 1 of 9 1 2 3 ... LastLast