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    false awakening

    False Awakening

    1. Lost Music (DILD + FA)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

      by , 01-08-2015 at 04:38 AM
      I was stressed about work. How am I going to complete all the obligations piling up this month, which is already getting shorter? I figured it would be best to prioritize. I should be able to finish the map in an afternoon if I get the right materials together. I thought about what I would need to finish it, and came up with vellum and archival paper. Fortunately I knew I already had these somewhere and was pretty sure where I had last put them, in a box in the storage area. I could see it in my mind's eye. I had woken up early and wanted to go retrieve them, but the rest of my family was still asleep.

      My mother, brother, and father were all staying with me in the house and I didn't want to disturb them by walking through the building and rummaging around in boxes. I decided to go outside for a walk instead. I walked down the stairs, which were littered with all the discarded santa masks. This struck me as odd at first, but I reasoned we must have had a holiday party yesterday.

      Outside it felt like early morning, and there was a narrow stream of clear water nearby. Next to the stream was a small building of naturally weathered wood, a sort of shed. Just after I entered it, it occurred to me that even though I know I'm awake, I should practice some RCs to instill good habits. No one else was around and there was no reason not to do a blatant one, so I jumped. Yes, just as I thought, it's obvious I'm awake, because that felt perfectly normal. But just for good measure I should do it a few more times in order to internalize the feeling of what a proper jump feels like in waking life.

      So I jumped in the air several times in succession, concentrating on that critical moment at the apex, when the upward motion reverses and gravity takes over. I knew that I would be able to tell if I were dreaming because the timing would be off, that moment would feel drawn out slightly, extended. Hmmm.... it isn't, is it? Was that a touch of hesitation at the top? No, I'm pretty sure this is natural. I've just never concentrated on it sufficiently before, my attention is making it seem more pronounced.

      And yet... it does seem a trifle too long. Could it be...? What if...? I had just begun to seriously consider the possibility that I might be dreaming after all, when I woke up in bed. Only very slowly did I come back to myself and realize that all the things I had taken as evidence that I was awake were wrong or askew, signs of false memory. The building and surroundings that seemed so familiar at the time were pure dream space, unlike any place I know in waking life. It made sense at the time that my whole family was there, but the only accurate part is that I'm currently sharing a hotel room with my mother. The anxiety about work is real enough, but it was only well after I had written down my initial notes that I realized that in the dream I had felt responsible for an additional project that didn't exist in WL, in addition to the real ones. Finally, as I initially lay in bed reviewing the dream, I didn't even notice how I slipped back briefly from genuine waking into an FA, and briefly found myself another place entirely, which only transitioned again to lying back in bed once I reached the point where I felt I had enough grasp of the memory to get up and write.
    3. "If there's water near the house, it's a dream" (EILD-FA-DILD)

      by , 10-05-2014 at 07:55 PM
      After reading about Tlaloc's homebrew EILD technique, I wanted to try something similar, so I compared the devices available on Amazon and settled on the "MotivAider." Although bulky and overpriced, I liked that the vibration length and intensity are fully customizable, and the fact that it has an option to go off at random intervals. It recently arrived in the mail, so I read the instructions before going to bed last night, but decided to wait until my WBTB to program it, since I figured the task would help reawaken my mind as well as focus my intention.

      Went to bed at 1:30am, woke naturally at 5am. I realized my motivation wasn't as high as I had anticipated because I remembered how much work I needed to get done before the weekend was over, and reasoned that sleeping in after a long WBTB and writing a dream report if successful would really cut into my available time. However, the MotivAider beckoned, so I decided to do a very short WBTB, just long enough to program it and set it up before going back to sleep. I set the vibration to its minimal length (two seconds), programmed it to go off in random intervals up to 45 minutes, and placed it in the case of my leg pillow, where I should be able to feel it through the fabric. (I am a side sleeper and always use an extra pillow between my knees.) I thought the vibration would be too disruptive if it was near my head, so I wanted it somewhere closer to my feet. I returned to bed at 5:20am. I lay awake for a while with anticipation, and eventually decided I had better also put the vibration on its weakest setting, so I reprogrammed the device by the light of my phone.

      At some point I must have drifted off to sleep, and then I felt the device go off. But something had gone wrong: the vibrations were pulsing repetitively without cease. I tried to ignore them, but they seemed to be going on for over a minute. I decided I must have programmed the device incorrectly, so I got up and took it out of the pillow, setting it aside. Tomorrow I could figure out what the problem was.

      Shortly after that I was walking through the house, and I noticed something odd. Glancing through the sliding glass door in the kitchen, I saw that the water level of the river next to the house had risen way too high. In fact, the water was coming right up to the base of the door, like it was on the verge of flooding in. This observation was so startling that it made me realize I must be dreaming... maybe the EILD had worked after all! Had I ever really gotten up, or had it all been an FA?

      In retrospect there was something very intriguingly incomplete about the observation that prompted me realize that I was dreaming. Through the door, I could see a vast sea of water that I interpreted as a wide river, with just a strip of land visible a mile or two distant on the other side. The water looked entirely natural, brownish-hued, its surface sleek and reflective of the warm pre-dawn light. At no point, even after I fully realized I was dreaming, did it occur to me that there is no such river next to the house, much less a broad vista of this kind... the only body of water visible in that direction is an in-ground pool of the conventional turquoise hue on a concrete patio bounded by thick trees that block any view further into the distance. Yet only thing that seemed odd to me in the dream, even after getting lucid, was the high level of the encroaching water, not the improbable existence of the vast river!

      Probably because I have been thinking about dream music again, I was inspired to turn my observation into a song. "If there's water near the house, it's a dream," I sang, repeating the line several times to reinforce the association, just in case it came up again in the future. Then I wondered which tasks to work on. I decided to try StephL's lucid dare (enter an enchanted forest, look for an elven gathering and learn a new song from them), which I thought would pair well with the October bonus TOTM (create a song on a musical instrument that doesn't exist in waking life). No sooner did my thoughts turn to the bonus task than I could actually hear ambient music in the air around me, like notes plucked from a stringed instrument. Perhaps I should have paused and investigated—I could probably have found a suitable instrument to fulfill the task—but I already had a plan in mind for getting to the enchanted forest, so I walked out of the house through the front door.

      Traveling to a forest on foot hasn't been working well for me in my TOTY attempts (I tried it in Hansel and Gretel a couple times), so I had been pondering alternate strategies. One possibility simply involved growing trees around me in the house until the environment around me transforms into a forest, but another approach I found appealing was to try to use the little fir tree growing outside the front door as a portal.

      It was three or four years ago that I bought this little tree at the grocery store one December and that year used it as a miniature Christmas tree (at the time it was only about two feet tall). Afterwards I put it outside in the front yard. Improbably it thrived, more than doubling in size, and apparently seemed to be doing well with no care other than being watered by the automatic sprinklers that went on briefly every morning, so I left it alone. Then one day I went to move it and discovered the secret reason it was flourishing: its roots had apparently gone right through the bottom of the pot and grown directly into the ground! I am impressed by the resourcefulness of this sapling, so I had the idea of approaching it in a dream and asking it to transport me to the enchanted forest.

      When I opened the front door, I was surprised to see snow on the ground. This is probably because last night I was looking up pictures based on the search term "winter forest" to incubate appropriate visual impressions. However, since I live in a climate where snow is impossible (it has been in the nineties the last couple days!), I immediately recognized that this was more evidence of the dream state, so I added a new line to my song: "If there's snow on the ground, it's a dream." Looking over at my little tree, I saw that it was also covered in snow, and added another line, "If there's snow in the branches, it's a dream." Since I was already singing, I saw no reason to stop. I walked over to the tree, grasped its narrow trunk, and requested in song, "Take me to the enchanted forest, the enchanted forest of dream!"

      Unfortunately, I promptly woke up. Normally I might have been annoyed that the dream ended before I could accomplish anything, but this time I didn't mind because it was such an amusing first success for my new EILD device!

      Sure enough, the whole experience turned out to be a false awakening: when I got up to start my report (at 6:10am), I discovered that I had never removed the device from the pillow like I remembered doing. And this indicates that it must not have malfunctioned after all, and that the extended sequence of vibrations I felt was most likely an experience of time dilation conditioned by the dream state.

      Updated 10-05-2014 at 07:58 PM by 34973

      lucid , false awakening , side notes
    4. Experiment: Calea zacatechichi and Remee (NLD + FA)

      by , 09-28-2014 at 07:40 PM
      Ritual: WTB 1am, woke 5am. Read and drank a cup of Calea zacatechichi tea. WBTB 6am, attempted WILD (counting and senses scanning), fell asleep while still on my back and had an ordinary NLD.

      NLD: We were assaulting a dwarven fortress. I had stealthed in and filled the place with a smoke that was supposed to put all the dwarves to sleep. There were three other people my party waiting outside. As I was leaving I noticed that the smoke didn't seem to be working: the guards were as alert as ever. But someone started firing and soon we were embroiled in a full-out battle, which was what we had hoped to avoid because we were outnumbered. Although not the slightest bit lucid, I had a good deal of dream control and was using both levitation and invisibility to avoid being shot or captured, but my companions were not so fortunate, and I wasn't going to abandon them. In the last scene, the four of us have been captured and are being taken somewhere in the back of a van wearing straightjackets. One particularly gruff member of my team said to the others, "That's why one doesn't start to shoot until the light says he's turning on." I think he was trying to tell them that they should have waited for me to give the signal before initiating battle, and that our plan had failed because one of them had jumped the gun. After I woke up I thought it odd that he had been referring to me with the masculine pronoun, since I hadn't felt distinctly male in the dream, but perhaps that's how the others had perceived me.

      After I woke it was light out, so I started with my plan to experiment with Remee in nap mode, set to go off after 20 minutes. Anticipation made it hard to fall asleep promptly, so after a while I reset it for another 20 minutes, since I wanted to make sure I was well asleep and ideally in REM before the lights started. I hadn't been carefully checking the time, so when I woke up again I was uncertain if I had missed the signal or if it had not gone off yet. No dreams I could recall. I checked the time, it was about 8:10, reset the Remee and went back to sleep, more easily this time.

      FA: I woke up, looked at the clock, and saw that it was almost 9am. I remembered it had been shortly past 8 when I had last set the Remee, so I must have missed the signal again. I got out of bed, completely oblivious to the fact that I was transitioning smoothly from a false awakening into a real rising, until I began to take off the Remee and just then the red lights started flashing on the mask. After brief confusion I realized that I had just been fooled by an FA: how could I have checked the time on the clock just a moment ago when at that time I was still wearing the mask? I checked the clock again now that I was really awake and saw that it was a lot earlier than I had thought, only 8:30, so the Remee was going off right on schedule.

      Note: The fact that I had woken up just before the Remee went off didn't feel coincidental, but rather a manifestation of what always happens to me with alarm clocks. Although I rarely form an accurate conscious impression of time in my dreams, for some reason I have an eerily consistent ability to wake up right before any alarm that I set actually goes off—usually within a few minutes, sometimes less than a minute in advance of the alarm. This seems to be what accidentally happened here. Not helpful in this case, though!
    5. Fortune Cookies and Patronus Charm (WILD + FA)

      by , 09-16-2014 at 09:51 PM
      Ritual: WTB 1am, woke 4:20am, got up and read, drank spice lassi (yogurt, water, turmeric, cumin, salt), did 12 minutes seated meditation incorporation SSILD technique before returning to bed at 5:50am. Before going to bed I affirmed several times, "I vow to lucid dream," reflecting on how a vow is much more serious than an intention, a little nervous that I might inadvertantly break my vow, but reminding myself that I didn't dare, failing to go through on an intention is one thing, but you're never supposed to break your vows. I wanted to avoid supplements for the most part as that hasn't helped much lately, but I did use a few drops of Calea Zacatechichi tincture, because although I can't say for sure if it actually works, I thought the distinctive taste might contribute a useful placebo effect. I lay on my back in bed and did a series of tension-relaxation exercises, then cycled in random order through several affirmations ("I am aware / I do / I dream"). Drifted off, woke up a little, realized it was getting too bright out and my mind felt sufficiently wakeful that this might be an obstacle to sleep, so I put on my sleep mask (a device of last resort as I don't like wearing it), turned on my left side, and continued the affirmations until I fell asleep. I got a lot of distinct hypnagogic imagery and sounds every time I started to drift off, but I did not feel the physical signs of transition.

      WILD, Part 1: I woke up again, thinking I might have transitioned successfully, and got out of bed. I could still distinctly feel myself wearing the sleep mask so I wondered if I was really dreaming, but realized that since it wasn't obstructing my vision, then I must be. I was tempted to rip off the mask but decided to just ignore it, and soon the sensations disappeared for the duration of the dream. Now that I was sure I was dreaming, I wanted to get started right away on my tasks. I reached behind me for my wand, a gesture familiar from a few years ago when I had been playing a lot with Harry Potter style magic. I got used the idea that my wand was sheathed just behind my right hip, so I could just reach back there at any time to draw it. However, this time I came up empty-handed. I realized that this was probably because, having just gotten out of bed, I wasn't wearing any clothes. Nevermind, I can work on that task later. By this time I'm in the kitchen, so it should be an easy matter to procure some fortune cookies!

      I walk toward the kitchen counter, expecting to find a bag of fortune cookies ready to hand. Sure enough, there is a clear plastic bag right where I expect, but as I reach for it I see that it contains... what are those, pierogies? I laugh because they look almost like fortune cookies and are anything but, and it is just like dream to bait and switch this way. I pick up the bag and reach into it anyway, focusing my expectations around pulling out a proper fortune cookie, and by the time my hand closes around something, I can tell that it is falling into line: it has the dry smooth surface, distinctive shape and ridges of a fortune cookie. I pull it out and break it in half to get the fortune. I remember that I'm supposed to eat the cookie too, so I start nibbling at it while extracting the fortune, which was wedged inside the cookie in a crumpled up wad. As I smooth it, I see that the little strip of paper is covered with what looks like dabs of herb butter mixed with little shreds of nori seaweed, a kind of east-west fusion of ingredients. I'm disappointed to see that there is no writing on the paper at all, just the seasonings.

      No problem, the bag contains several cookies. I'll just get another. I try again, and fortunately the next cookie contains a larger slip of paper, one that comes out properly this time and contains actual text—quite a lot of text actually, four or five lines of it. I start to read it, murmuring aloud to help fix it in memory. It starts something like: "And earth her allies rift..." It goes on from there, not making much sense, and worse, by the time I get to the second line the first one is already changing, now "her allies" looks like it has been replaced by something in German, "die Beile."

      (Weird, according to my German dictionary app "die Beile" means "axes, hatchets." I've studied a bit of German, which is why I have the app, but I'm not aware that I've ever learned that word and didn't even know if it was a real one until I looked it up.)

      I continue reading the fortune, and by the time I get to the end the first line has changed again even more, and I'm pretty sure so has everything else. I realize this is somewhat hopeless, the fortune was so long that it would have been hard enough to remember even if it were static, much less track all the changes, so I just determine to remember the part that I read initially, since I think I can keep at least this much in working memory: "And earth her allies rift."

      By this point the fortune has transformed into a large plastic wrapper like the sort that might have wrapped a whole box of cookies, and as I continue to look at it, I'm surprised by how much additional text is written on the side in small print: mundane details like the address of the manufacturer, etc. I see a date, "1945," and note that the place of manufacture is San Francisco, which makes sense (wasn't the fortune cookie invented there?) but by now the date has already changed to "1929."

      FA: Around this time I wake up and grab the notebook I keep next to the bed to start writing things down. Something's wrong, though: even though I normally open it to a blank page before sleeping, it is now open to a page wholly printed with graphics resembling some type of manga. I don't remember the notebook having graphics! I flip through to find a blank page quickly while my memories are fresh, but all the white pages are already filled with previous notes, and they are interspersed with the manga pages, like a cross between a notebook and a graphic novel. I find a space of blank color on one of the manga images, just enough room to scribble, "and earth her allies rift," but then I feel guilty about spoiling the drawing. I don't even remember what the story is, but if I write all over it I might end up regretting it.

      While I'm still trying to figure out where to put down the rest of my notes, my husband comes into the room carrying two boxes wrapped in paper, like presents. Apparently this is some new game that has just arrived that he wants to play together, a console game. I remember him telling me about it earlier: the plot has something to do with cartoonish kids and their gorilla allies. It seems that the game can only be played in two-person mode, so he has come in to try to wake me up. I'm still lying in bed, so he sets the two boxes down right on top of me and starts to rip off the paper wrapping. The boxes are cubes measuring about a foot on each side, and at first I wonder why they are so large, but as he tears off the paper I can see from the box art that they contain individual devices like Playstation controllers.

      Although I do want to play the game at some point, I'm annoyed at this disruption because I was in the middle of a lucid dream attempt! After jotting down my notes I had been planning to try to re-enter the dream state. However, I already vaguely suspect that this might not be a real awakening because everything seems so exaggerated, from the problems with my notebook to my husband's rude attempt to wake me. He may not share my hobby, but he's aware of it, and would be unlikely to disturb me while I'm still sleeping, much less set boxes on me! This remains only a suspicion, and I don't become fully aware of the fact that I'm still dreaming. Rather, I conclude only that I'm still on the verge of it, since I can still feel the heaviness and tingling in my limbs that lets me know that I can probably re-enter the dreamstate once this distraction has diminished. So I quietly grumble at my husband until he leaves, careful to keep calm and not lose my temper since that could wake me up too much and make it impossible to to return to the dream. After he goes out of the room, I get myself settled in the bed again and prepare to re-transition. This is amusing in retrospect because evidently I was fully dreaming the whole time—I had the impression that I was DEILDing back into the dream, but obviously if this had been a real awakening DEILD would have been impossible after such a chaotic interlude! When I felt confident I was dreaming again, I got back out of bed.

      WILD, Part 2: Having done fortune cookies, I thought I should put all my focus now into completing the Patronus TOTM. Once more I reach for my wand and once again come up empty-handed. No matter, I've used a chopstick as a wand before with great success, and I keep a jar of those right on the kitchen counter, so I walk up to it and pluck a nice sturdy one. Although the jar is mostly full of delicately-pointed Japanese chopsticks, I choose a sturdier one of the Chinese type, cut half-square and half-round. It looks just like one of my real chopsticks, from a simple and practical set I acquired many years ago in Nonthaburi because I didn't know I was supposed to give them back to the door-to-door noodle vendor, and it feels comfortable and familiar in my hand.

      I figure that it would be most appropriate to summon a Patronus if there were a real threat, but I don't want to over-complicate things by going to look for one. I reason that since my husband was annoying me just now with the boxes and almost woke me up, this could serve as a sufficient stand-in. So I find him in the living room, point the wand toward him and say firmly, "Expecto Patronum!" I hear an audible "pop" like something bursting but see no change in the visual field. I try again and nothing happens at all. I strengthen my resolve, try a third time, and... what is that?... I look closer... it's... moths! The air between us where I was aiming the wand is now occupied with a cloud of small shimmering moths!

      I'm delighted with these results because they were so unexpected. I figured my Patronus would turn out to be something predictable like a type of animal I like, maybe a cat or an owl or a raven or even a horse, but moths had never crossed my mind! However, I had intentionally left the form of the Patronus unspecified, because I was hoping the dream would collaborate with me creatively and come up with something interesting and unanticipated, and in this respect it fulfilled its role splendidly.

      Moths! I would never have consciously arrived at this solution, but now it makes perfect sense: I am very much a night person, after all, and these are definitely night moths. I watch them for a few moments, entranced by the glitter and sparkle of their silver bodies in flight. They are relatively small, with wingspans of roughly three-quarters of an inch, but there is a whole cloud of them, many dozens filling an area several feet on either side. Although we are indoors, they appear to be illuminated by moonlight. It is incredibly beautiful. And they've fulfilled the function of a Patronus, it seems, in that they have averted the "threat" (such as it was) and completely defused the tension in the room. My husband is watching them too, and appears just as enchanted with them as I am.

      After admiring the moths for a while, I notice a rabbit on the living room floor. It is wonderfully well-articulated, closely resembling Dürer's famous drawing of a hare. (Probably WLR because I briefly saw that drawing yesterday.) Since I'm still holding the wand, I figure I might as well try out another HP spell. I recall that there's one that ends with "leviosa," and although I can't remember the first word, I figure it is unimportant because clearly "leviosa" is the operative term. So I point the wand at the hare and say, "Leviosa!" Sure enough, it rises right off the ground into the air. I set it back down and pet it fondly.

      I now feel satisfied that I have accomplished both the tasks I had intended, and I know I should wake up now and write promptly before I forget any details. But the dream is going so well, so clear and stable and responsive... it would be a shame to leave it so soon... I give in to the temptation to take a quick look outside, just for a minute, before coming back in to wake up and begin my report.

      Walking back through the kitchen, I open the screen door to the back patio. Sometimes my WILDs become more unstable after I leave the house, probably in large part because I've developed the expectation that this can happen, but in this case I plan to wake up soon anyway, so I walk outside without hesitation.

      It only takes a step or two before the environment no longer resembles my backyard. I encounter a group of four DCs, a mix of men and women who appear to be in their twenties. They begin to approach or accost me in a vaguely threatening manner. I try the Patronus charm again, but it is not as effective this time: the cloud of moths is much smaller and the DCs appear unimpressed. I'm not sure if I actually see them holding wands, or only rationalize that they might be, but I figure this would be the perfect opportunity to try another HP spell. "Expelliamus!" I shout, aiming at the guy on the far left. Sure enough, his wand jumps right out of his hand toward me, and I catch it neatly. You'd think this would give the others enough warning to prepare their defenses, and indeed they seem to be scrambling to try, but I promptly disarm them all using the same technique.

      I walk on a little further, and encounter a few more DCs sitting on a low brick wall and chatting. The initial four have followed me, and I get the impression that the new ones are their friends. I wonder if they are going to retaliate at me for having taken all their wands, so try the Patronus charm yet again: "Expecto Patronum!" This time only a scattering of moths appear, a half dozen or less. I feel a bit embarrassed at this poor showing. "It must be out," I muse, wondering if the wand can only conjure a limited number of moths in a given interval.

      Nevermind, I've got more tricks in my arsenal, and I want to intimidate these DCs so they'll back off. I wonder if I can levitate the whole group of people? "Leviosa!" I command, trying to make them all rise in the air at once. It doesn't work, and I speculate that maybe this is like game mechanics, where it is easier to perform such effects on simple creatures like animals, but harder on a more intelligent creature like a person, since they get a free roll to resist. I think it over and decide, well, maybe so, but... I have all the wands! Their combined power should be enough to counter any resistance. Is it possible to use more than one wand simultaneously to cast a spell? Only one way to find out!

      Standing in the center of the DCs, who form a ring around me, I levitate myself initially—partly to cement the idea of levitation more firmly in mind, and partly because some of them look like they might want to make a grab at me at any minute. Hovering in the air just above them, I arrange all the wands together in my right hand so that I am gripping them evenly, and try again: "Leviosa!" This time I am pleased to see the whole circle of people around me—about six or seven now I think, the initial group plus their friends—rise simultaneously several feet into the air until they are almost even with my own level. They all look discomfited and alarmed by this change of circumstances, so to reassure them that I mean no real harm I let them sink gently back down to the ground and come down as well myself, satisfied with the results of my experiment.

      I decide to stop fooling around now and go back into the house to write my report. It seems dream logic has made me forget that I can just wake up whenever I want to, I don't actually have to go back bodily into the house and manually start writing. But as I turn to go, one of the girls who has returned to her seat on the brick wall yells something hostile and sarcastic after me. I figure she's upset over my levitation stunt, so I decide to use friendliness to try to transform her attitude. I walk right up to her and, maybe taking "friendliness" a little too far, kiss her on the lips. Although she just looks startled and confused now, I smile warmly and say with genuine affection, "See you later!"

      Returning to what I think must be the spot where I came out of the building, I go back inside. Just in case the DCs are still feeling miffed and try to follow me in, I lock and bolt the heavy door behind me. This is no longer the sliding screen door to my kitchen, but a large and solidly made wooden door with numerous locking mechanisms. I'm not sure if I came in the right door at all, because when I turn around I see that I'm in what looks like a nineteenth-century boiler room: it is full of heavy, old-fashioned machinery. Nevermind, I'm sure I can find the entrance to my kitchen just a little further on, so I'll go through and look for it.

      As I pass by some of the machines, I marvel at their intricacy and the clarity with which I can perceive how they are constructed. I pass one machine that has a cylindrical body like an old stove. Although it is made out of solid black cast iron, there is a primitive electric cord incongruously coming out of it, so I figure it must be from a period of technological transition in the late nineteenth century. The electricity is driving some kind of rotating grinder that is hidden in the upper part of the cast iron body under a round upper plate, and with a flash of insight I think I know what this is: it must be a mill of some kind! But what is it grinding? I look at it a little longer and see a lower basin, also cast iron, positioned below the cylindrical body to catch drippings of some kind: the drippings resemble hot slag, semi-melted metal. Whatever this thing is milling, it is definitely not flour!

      I continue to make my way through the room, dodging complex pieces of shaped metal and machinery that crowd around closely on all sides, but when I get to the far wall I'm disconcerted to find that there's no door. How am I going to get back into my house? Although there seems to be no exit in the walls other than the door I came in, the ceiling is so far overhead as to be out of sight, and I observe that this is less a room than a vertical shaft filled with industrial machinery all the way up, so I begin to levitate and rise through the lattice of metal bars. When I get about three storeys up I see in the wall what looks like the worn wooden cover of a hatch, arched on the top and with a flat base. There is no handle and it looks like it would be too small to crawl through comfortably, but I figure I can make a portal in the wall here to pass through.

      Aiming my wand at the wall, I intend for a portal to form in the location of the hatch. Although nothing appears that I would recognize as a portal, the wall changes, the area in front of me becoming transparent, and just a few feet beyond I see a vertical transparent sheet of glass, apparently the wall of a neighboring building, a modern glass-walled high-rise. Directly across from me through the glass, I see what looks like the interior of a cafe, the sort of place the people who work in this building might stop for coffee or a snack on their lunch hour. It is dark inside and empty of customers, as it is nighttime, but I notice with mild alarm that several cops are running through the cafe and aiming guns at me! They seem very deliberate, as though this was a sting operation directed at stopping me. If they shoot, they'll surely break the glass and then I'll be exposed.

      I consider making the first move and breaking the glass myself to engage them, but I don't feel like getting into combat. I point my wand toward the cops with the intention of creating some kind of protective barrier between us, but I don't see any change and can't tell if this is successful. I decide to just get out of here. Making another portal directly in front of me seems like a bad idea, because the cops might shoot at any moment, so I get a bit creative and make the portal directly under my feet—all this time I have been hovering in the air, after all—and then I take what feels like a leap of faith and simply let myself fall directly into it. Would any pursuers be able to follow? As I fall, I decide that probably the best course at this point is to let the portal lead me to waking, and so I transition from feeling as though I'm falling through a round tunnel of undefined space to waking up in my bed and scrambling to start taking notes before the memories fade.

      It's interesting how clear and stable my dream memory remains—even of such a complex series of episodes—for as long as I am still dreaming, and it is only on waking that the whole fabric begins to thin and fray unless it is captured immediately. Fortunately there were no problems with my notebook this time so I jotted down the key details quickly by hand and then spent the next hour and a half typing up my full draft of the report while the memories were still fresh in mind. I don't mind devoting the time (and sacrificing the sleep) for it when the dreaming is so good!
    6. Nicotine Dreams (DILD + FA)

      by , 09-14-2014 at 08:34 PM
      Ritual: I got fed up with the dry spell I've been having for the past couple weeks and took drastic measures. Back in 2010 I experimented a couple times with nicotine (in patch form) as a lucidity trigger, but quickly gave it up because I found it impossible to fall asleep with even a very low dose (half a 7mg patch, so 3.5mg). These days my problem—and the main thing hampering my lucid attempts—is that I've been falling asleep way too easily, so I thought there would be a good chance I'd be able to fall sleep wearing the patch and see if it had any effects on dreaming after all.

      Went to bed at midnight, woke naturally at 3:30am and stayed awake until 5am, mostly reading, but finishing the WBTB with a brief seated meditation. I googled to make sure using nicotine patches well past their expiration date was advisable, but was reassured by what I found. So I took 200mg L-Theanine to make it easier to fall asleep, and applied a 7mg patch with half its surface covered, so 3.5mg total (though the dose might have weakened with age). I also worked on my mental motivation, not just intending but vowing to get lucid tonight.

      When I returned to bed I felt my heart beating faster than normal, though I wasn't sure if it was the nicotine (if so the patches must be exceptionally fast acting, because this was only minutes later) or just a consequence of the excitement and anxiety of trying something new. The feeling reminded me trying to fall asleep on galantamine, which also has a very powerful stimulant effect. However, I started counting and was reassured (and somewhat surprised) when I began to lose my place already by the time I hit "ten." I reset and kept counting, rarely making it as far as "ten," and often not past "one," until I felt my mind had reached a place where I could easily fall asleep, then turned on my side to do so.

      I fell asleep very quickly, although my intention to remain aware of the transition went nowhere—I just zonked out. I woke up almost two hours later with the memory of a DILD and least one FA. The dreams were definitely atypical in tone: the plot was epic and confrontational, which I attribute to the nicotine. The dream awareness was spontaneous rather than triggered, but the lucidity was at very low level. Worse, my dream recall was unusually vague and fragmentary.

      DILD: The dream had a complex narrative that I can't satisfactorily recall. The most notable aspect was that my husband was in it and my dream logic concluded that it was a shared dream and that he was actually there and trying to learn the ropes of lucidity from me. We were trying to summon spirit allies, and he wanted a gryphon. The first version looked cartoonish, reminiscent of the monsters from Where the Wild Things Are, but it wasn't a proper gryphon. Neither were the next two, though they were massive, monstrous creatures that reminded me of the kinds of avatars you would summon in the later Final Fantasy games. When I summoned my own spirit ally, I was surprised to find that it was just a somewhat transparent virtual version of me.

      (Source: I think this was day residue, as last night in ME3 my Shepard came across the holograph AI of herself on the Citadel. The notion of iconographically incorrect gryphons might have been inspired by the poor versions I saw in the astonishingly bad—so bad it was almost good, I couldn't stop laughing—film version of Hercules I caught the last fifteen minutes of on cable yesterday evening.)

      I wish I remembered the plot of the dream more clearly. There was a group of entities that we were in conflict with, and they were insisting that I was breaking the rules of dream in some way. I disagreed, as I felt justified to do as I liked in my own dream, so I countered by exerting a massive field of control over the environment that made the ground shudder and shattered buildings. It wasn't quite an earthquake, more a gravity-reversing vibration: I have a mental image of dust and dirt rising and hovering in the air accompanied by an almost subsonic drone. It felt good to do this, powerful, though something of a guilty pleasure.

      (Source: I was sure there was a waking life source for this image of dust rising from the earth in the wrong direction but couldn't remember; now it occurs to me that it might have been from the movie Transcendence, which I saw last month.)

      At one point I had the presence of mind to wonder, or maybe someone asked me: was I actually hurting anyone by doing this? But I pointed out that you can't hurt DCs merely by disrupting their physical bodies, because the dream state does not have that kind of continuity. I demonstrated this by plucking my own spirit ally from deep in the rubble where she had been buried and reviving her.

      I might actually have remembered somewhere in all of this to try the Patronus TOTM, which had been my intention before falling asleep, but if so I don't recall the outcome, unless that was somehow connected with the idea of spirit allies. Too vague to be sure, unfortunately.

      FA: I woke up next to my husband and wondered if it had really been a shared dream, so I watched his reaction carefully. He gave me a look which led me to conclude that it had been. But before long it began to dawn on me that this might be a false awakening, and soon I was sure of it. I decided to review the events of the previous dream in my mind before I forgot, but as I was doing so, I became aware that my mind was interpolating new ideas, and whole new scenes were even taking place, spinning off from my memories of the previous plotline—this is the risk of reviewing dream memories while you're still dreaming!

      For instance, when I thought about our spirit allies, a girl showed up at the foot of the bed who I took to be a transformation of the gryphon in the previous dream, only now she looked human and very familiar. I tried to place her face and decided she resembled the character "Marnie" from Girls. Not sure where that came from, as I haven't watched an episode of that since the last season ended.

      Then when I was trying to remember the main plot, it became confused with a new plotline in which I was worried that war was imminent and that if it took place, the spirits of mythological creatures would fuse with nuclear bombs to create a weapon that was as devastating to dream as to the waking world.

      I was out trying to investigate and prevent this outcome, and found myself in the house of people who had melee weapons shaped like real or imaginary animals. One was a rod with a sculpted head shaped like the head of an animal that mingled the qualities of a lizard and a single-horned rhinocerous. Another was a club shaped like a narrow stylized boar, and while my husband was handling it, I noticed that it could also be fired like a crossbow. Again, very random imagery.

      Conclusion: I would call this a partial success at best, as the low-level awareness and limited recall made the overall experience less than satisfactory, and I didn't actually succeed in doing the TOTM that was my original goal. Still, breaking my dry spell by any means is reassuring. It definitely felt like nicotine had an effect on dream content, and I attribute the unusually "epic and confrontational" quality to its influence. However, after waking up I felt almost as uncomfortable and unrested as I do after using galantamine, so while I might experiment a little more along these lines, I will not be making this a frequent induction method—which is probably for the best, nicotine bad and all that.

      Updated 09-14-2014 at 08:37 PM by 34973

      lucid , false awakening , side notes
    7. Disgusting Ordinary Eyeball

      by , 08-13-2014 at 04:30 PM
      Ritual: Went to bed at 2am, much later than I had intended. Wanted to wake up between 4-4:30 if possible so I could make a sandwich for my husband to take on his flight. Didn't set alarm, only intention; if it didn't work, that was fine. Woke up promptly at four so got up and went to the kitchen. Then I realized if I didn't stay up to give him the sandwich he would never know it existed, so in the end I didn't go back to bed until after he left at 5. I repeated my tasks aloud a few times to make them easier to remember, using simple keywords: "eyeball, calcifer, fairy tale." Wanted to give SSILD another fair shake after recent lack of success—been falling asleep too easily. After this hour-long WBTB I arranged a ramp of pillows to elevate my upper body and settled back to do SSILD, supposing that the half-reclining would help inhibit sleep. It did—and I realized I had been semi-dozing rather than really sleeping when I got up again at 5:40 and decided to dismantle the pillow-ramp to get some proper sleep. I didn't notice REM during any of these sleep and half-sleep periods so I wasn't optimistic, but I did a couple SSILD cycles on my side before drifting off to sleep fairly quickly. It was 6:30am when I woke up for real (after FA) and began this account.

      FA: "....it ignored me, and I felt silly talking to a fire."

      Okay, guess now I have to start over. Wrote half of the account up in FA. Which is funny, because when I woke up I did sense that I could probably re-enter the dream state but decided not to because I wanted to write a solid report on what I'd done so far. And here I had felt so responsible and industrious! I wrote down quite a bit but only remember the last line word for word, so I reproduced it above. It's interesting that it is worded in the past tense. My dream reports often swap randomly between past and present tense but the present tense predominates.

      DILD: I was in my bedroom in the half-light of early morning, and I heard voices outside the room. This confused me, because no one else should be home right now. One of them sounded like my brother, but he shouldn't be here. And I could hear another voice, a man's voice I didn't recognize. I grabbed my phone from the nightstand, thinking I'd dial in "9-1-1" and have the call ready to go if needed before I investigated further, in case it was burglars or something.

      The phone wasn't working. It seems to be stuck on the calendar app, and even this is in some weird and confusing format. I keep pressing the main button to try to get back to the home screen so I can reach the page to dial from, but nothing helps. I still hear the voices and worry that the intruders might come into the room before I can get the phone working and then I'll have no recourse. Should I go outside to the back patio, so it will be easier to run away if necessary? At some point the absurdity of the whole scenario finally strikes me and I wonder if I'm dreaming. Since no one is around to see, I do a quick nose pinch. I can breathe easily. So I am dreaming! Oh good, there were tasks I needed to get done! I realize that since this was a DILD, I'm probably already fairly well-integrated into the dream state and check my impressions. A bit of roughness as I begin to move but not too bad, and the dream feels stable. I don't feel the need for further stabilization as long as I can avoid letting the paranoia of waking wake me up, so I put it out of mind and walk rapidly to the kitchen.

      I've brought my phone and figure it might come in handy at some point later on, so I try to slide it into the pocket of my skirt. Trouble is, I'm not wearing a skirt. I make the "sliding into pocket" gesture a few times, intending a long skirt with pockets to manifest, but it doesn't and the phone falls to the floor. Whatever. At least the pattern is in place, so I feel confident that I can get it out of my pocket later if I need it.

      I grab the bread from the kitchen counter, noting that it is a packet of round pita bread rather than the sandwich loaf that is there in waking life, and head out to the patio. Which task first? I love the idea of Howl's Moving Castle so I decide to start with that one. First I try to summon the castle directly, not through any special method, just willing it to approach on its own legs. It doesn't appear promptly, so I start with plan B: conjure a fire, call it "Calcifer," and feed it until it becomes strong enough to build the castle from the ground up. The first part should be easy; I've practiced conjuring fire before in this very spot. So I hold out my right hand and concentrate on creating a flame in my open palm. There's just one problem. It is raining, quite heavily actually. Typical dream perversity! I'm trying to fill my palm with fire, but meanwhile it is filling up with water. I ignore the dream's little joke, and keep concentrating on the fire.

      Sure enough, I shortly begin to feel the heat and see the brightness of the flame. I set it on the ground and start feeding it chunks of pita bread, calling it "Calcifer" and trying to coax it to respond. It grows larger at first, but doesn't show any sentience, and now the rain is causing it to dwindle despite my attempts to feed it. I decide to continue this experiment indoors, out of the rain. I pick up the fire, just carrying it in my hands, go inside and set it down again on a flat stone ledge, about two and half feet in width and height (the interior of the house no longer corresponds in any way to RL). I feed the fire and continue calling it "Calcifer" to try to get a response, but it ignores me, and I feel silly talking to a fire. I go outside, careful to take the fire out again with me so as not to leave it untended in the house, and fly up in the air before releasing it. I instruct it to go seek out Howl's Castle, hoping that it might reappear at some point later point in the dream.

      I return to the ground, once again in a place recognizably like my back patio, though it is no longer raining. What next? I realize the eyeball task should be quick and easy, if I can stomach it, so I ought to knock that one out of the way. I consider going inside the house to use a real mirror, but I don't want to waste time so I stand outside the sliding glass door to the kitchen and rely on the faint reflection of myself I can see there. There is nothing unusual about my reflection—much less so than usual, actually. When thinking about this task in waking life I had decided (for the sake of safety and squeamishness) to try to remove the eyeball in a more hands-off way, simply raising my palm and trying to pop it out through will alone, but now that I'm ready to go I don't even remember that idea. Instead I lift my right hand to my right eye and just start digging in there. I feel a momentary discomfort, enough to make me think, "I'd better be damn sure I'm dreaming!" before I feel the fingers slide smoothly into the socket with little pain, and this reassures me.

      The eye pops out easily, but it is attached to a surprisingly thick, gross, fleshy stalk. Even at the time I realize that my experience has probably been colored by other accounts of this task I've already read on the DV thread, some of which mention similar stalks. The stalk is inconvenient and ugly so I keep pulling until the eyeball breaks free, then turn it around to inspect it. It looks remarkably like an eyeball. I had been hoping that it would transform into something cool, like an orb of glass or even a jewel. But nope. It is a disturbingly life-like eyeball, with a distinct iris and pupil and even a bit of red tattered membrane where the stalk had been attached. When I aim the iris and pupil toward me, they already look dead and unseeing, so it doesn't occur to me to try to use this eyeball to see with. Also, although I don't take note of this at the time, in retrospect I can report that there was no subjective change in my experience of vision; I was still "seeing" as though with two intact eyes.

      I had meant to look at my reflection again after pulling the eye out, but I forget to do so. Instead I'm absorbed in inspecting this very ordinary-looking eyeball and trying to find any notable details to report. I do observe that the iris seems to have changed color: from the initial blue it has faded to a drab brown. It is still kind of creepy to be holding my eyeball, so without experimenting further I pop it back in. Luckily no difficulties there, and only then do I remember to check my reflection. I look normal and still don't notice any changes to my vision. I feel a momentary regret that I didn't remember to try to transform the eyeball into something else before putting it back in, but I feel reasonably satisfied with the task so I'm ready to move on.

      Now I'm down to the last of the three tasks I'd planned, and I feel a bit apprehensive. In one way or another, this damned Hansel and Gretel idea has been eluding me. But I still have my bag of pita bread, so I get started: my plan is to start dropping breadcrumbs as I walk, hopefully find myself in a forest, and see what happens from there. I re-read the story a few weeks ago in my copy of Brothers Grimm, but I haven't tried to flesh out the intended scenario because I want to give the dream leeway to respond creatively to my breadcrumb trail. So I start walking across the patio and dropping crumbs, and now I just have to figure out which way to go. My original plan had been to start on the street in front of the house, which had once transformed into an ideal forest in a previous unrelated dream, but now I'm behind the house and want to get started right away rather than have my plans potentially disrupted by a detour. It's okay, I'd planned for this too. I figured the hill behind the house might be wild enough that I could start climbing it and work it into a suitable forest. However, now when I look in that direction, I see a paved concrete footpath that leads between suburban houses with neatly trimmed lawns. Dream is being perverse again. In the opposite direction is a second path, smaller, with a similar suburban aspect. Which one will lead me sooner to a forest? Both look completely domesticated. I figure I'll just start with the first one and try thinking "forest" as I go. I start off, dropping my bread crumbs, but with no warning I wake up—or out of the dream, at least. As mentioned above, I sensed that I could re-enter the dream state but decided to write my report instead, was under the impression that I had gotten up, and wrote for quite a while before waking up for real.

      Updated 08-13-2014 at 04:47 PM by 34973

      lucid , false awakening , task of the month , task of the year
    8. Foreign Words

      by , 08-03-2014 at 06:24 PM
      Ritual: Went to bed 1am, woke at 2, too early to do anything, woke again at 5:40 with fresh NLD, so forced myself to get up and do a proper WBTB. Returned to bed at 6:15, did hybrid of SSILD and counting, but kept getting disturbed by environmental factors. Hard to sleep, eventually dozed off without awareness, finally woke at 7:20 and declared it a failed attempt. I could still squeeze in another hour of sleep though so I figured I'd just try FILD as a last resort.

      After this things get confusing. My best guess is that I did FILD, then fell asleep and into a NLD, then... I woke up, or thought I did (might have been an FA), and did FILD again (possibly in the dream state). Then I noticed that my arm was lying free on the bed rather than tucked under my pillow as usual, so I thought, "Fine, I'll do the stupid nose pinch RC," and what do you know, I could breathe! So I knew I was dreaming, but I was very perplexed. I had just been doing FILD and hadn't observed any kind of transition or even a momentary lapse of awareness in which the transition could have occurred. How could I have fallen asleep and not realized it? In retrospect, I really do think that this started as an FA that I mistook for a real waking, so I did FILD without realizing that I was already dreaming. Hey, whatever works.

      So I sat up, and immediately became more perplexed. I was in a bed, but it was not the one I had gone to sleep in, and the bedroom also bore no resemblance to mine in RL. I got up and started looking around, but then I realized that I recognized the place after all: hadn't I been having a non-lucid dream here, just before I woke up and tried that FILD attempt? (This also argues for the FILD-during-FA hypothesis, and it wouldn't be the first time I've had a "WILD" that was initiated from within an ongoing dream—a DIWILD?)

      This is hard to confirm because I always have a hard time putting dream events in their proper sequence, but there were events I remembered taking place in this building that don't seem lucid and don't fit into my memory of the lucid episode, so I think that must be what happened. That is, all the previous events took place downstairs, but the entire lucid sequence took place upstairs in what I took to be the same house.

      NLD: Earlier when I was downstairs, there had been some complicated narrative I don't recall, but it resulted in me opening the front door several times to let cats into the house. At one point there was a really big one, an orange tabby, both large-bodied and very plump. When I saw him sitting on the doorstep I thought he was the biggest cat I'd ever seen, and I invited him in and closed the door. But there had been two or three other orange tabbies of normal size sitting with him, so I relented and opened the door again to let them in too. "Okay, fine, we'll just let them all in." I knew we didn't have room for them all, but figured it wouldn't be fair to turn them away after I'd already let in others. We could sort it out later.

      After this I stood in the entry and watched the extra-big cat ambling away down the hall. Now it was even larger than it had seemed at first, with a lean, bony frame that was not at all cat-like. In fact, I thought I recognized what it was, and said to someone standing nearby, "That cat looks an awful lot like a moose. You know, I think it might actually be just a moose with no horns." Only it was still orange, which seemed a very odd color for a moose.

      DIWILD: So apparently this all happened earlier, before the FILD attempt, and afterwards I was convinced I was still in the same house. In the wall facing the end of the bed was a doorway to another room, and when I went inside, I encountered someone that I immediately recognized as the moose-cat from earlier, although now he was a human-looking man with orange hair. I was still curious, so I asked him, "Are you a cat or a moose?"

      "I have three types of glands," he answered, and I had the impression he was suggesting that he was both, and something more besides, a protean type of creature.

      The two of us sat down on the couch, and for a moment my dream libido took over, and I started making out with him. But as things got more intense I recognized that this was a distraction and would accomplish nothing useful. Didn't I have tasks to do? I remembered that last night I had been on DV looking over the monthly tasks for August, and there had been one that I particularly wanted to try out. This seemed like the perfect opportunity. So I disentangled myself from moose-cat-man's embrace and said firmly, "Tell me a word in a foreign language."

      It was hard to make out what he said at first. It sounded like "Arab mormon."

      "What?" I wasn't sure if I had heard him correctly.

      This time he distinctly just said, "Mormon."

      It didn't sound like a word in a foreign language, but whatever. Run with it. "Alright, now tell me what it means."

      "A married man."

      I wasn't very satisfied with this result and wanted to try again. Another DC was in this room, sitting on another small couch further along the same wall, so I went and sat down next to him. This time I made sure my instructions were more explicit from the start: "I want you to tell me a word in a foreign language, and then tell me what it means."

      "Sprenn," he said promptly.

      "Spread?" I repeated what I had thought I heard at first.

      "Sprenn," he clarified, and helpfully spelled it for me. "S-P-R-E-N-N."

      "Okay, what does it mean?"

      At this he smiled coyly, as if embarrassed. "I'll... tell you later."

      I had the impression it must be a word for something naughty, but I needed to find out. "Please?" I wheedled. He shook his head.

      I decided to be more forceful. "Come on, you have to tell me!" I tried to think of how to back this up, and added, "It's my homework assignment."

      He tried to explain in a roundabout way: "It has to do with the city of Myrkbalik, and the laws of Garibaldi."

      The two names he mentioned sounded complicated, so I wanted to make sure I had heard them correctly. "What was the name of the city? Mrkbalik?" He nodded. "And the second name? Garibaldi? Garifaldo?" This reminded me of a name I had heard in waking life, so I tried to remember, then joked with him, "The laws of Janeane Garofolo?"

      He laughed, though it wasn't clear whether or not he recognized the pop culture reference, and repeated the name for me. It still sounded closer to "Garibaldi" than anything, though I had so much to remember at this point that I didn't dare ask him to try to spell it. Already in the back of my mind I was cycling through data points "mormon... married man... sprenn... mrkbalik..." trying to make sure I would be able to preserve them through waking.

      Mrkbalik... that's how it sounded, and I didn't ask him to confirm the spelling of that one either. But he had said it was a city name, and to my ears it sounded Russian or Eastern European. I had a sudden insight about this DC, and asked him, "You majored in Slavic studies, didn't you?" He confirmed this.

      I felt as though this conversation was winding down, so I got up and crossed the room. Against the opposite wall was a sort of shelving unit, framing square cubbyholes about the size you might put a pair of shoes in, six cubbies high and six wide. It was resting on some elevated base so that the fourth row of cubbies up was equal with my eye level. I looked in this row and saw that a couple of the cubbies were inhabited by small kittens. Could the kittens talk, I wonder? If so, I might even try the task again. But as I was wondering this, the little grey tabby kitten in the cubby I was peering into addressed me first. It had a tiny creaky high-pitched voice, like you might expect of a kitten, and said something about how its eyes were damaged or hurting. I was troubled to hear this and wondered how I might help. Since this was a dream, I figured the most effective way to help the kitten would be to correct its expectations. I smiled and said encouragingly, "No, your eyes are perfectly fine!" We had a few more exchanges like this, where the kitten would say something upsetting and I tried to reassure it. I don't remember anything afterwards so around this time I guess I woke up, although I don't have a distinct sense of the moment when it happened.
    9. Breadcrumbs / Sketchbook

      by , 07-30-2014 at 07:48 PM
      Ritual: Went to bed around 12:50am. Woke naturally at 3:32. Seemed a bit soon to WBTB but my motivation was good and I recalled traces of imagery so decided to go for it. Drank guayusa tea and read Brooks & Vogelsong. Before going to bed did hybrid of SSILD/counting/affirmation while sitting in chair. Technique: counted incrementally while breathing slowly and deeply, thinking the number on each in-breath, and on outbreath rotated between senses (thinking "look," "listen," or "feel") and then adding an affirmation, letting it fall randomly between "always lucid" or "always aware." Counted to fifty in this way, though I was impressed how easily it was to lose track of the number (this is good, it means the mind is losing its focus on waking life) even while sitting upright in a chair. Returned to bed at 4:52am and continued counting up to 70 while lying on my back, then ceased the practice and turned on my left side to sleep. I soon realized that I'd overdone the WBTB a bit and was excessively wakeful, but consoled myself that I should be able to return to sleep eventually given how few hours I had gotten so far, and my chances for WILDing should be improved by this touch of insomnia.

      I had made sure to fix a very clear task in mind: I had read about the "fairy tale" challenges on DV and they seemed potentially interesting, but I realized I should make a clear plan. If I did successfully WILD I would find myself in my house, so how would I go about pursuing the task? My idea was this: grab a loaf of bread from the kitchen, exit the front door, turn right and walk up the hill, where in a previous WILD I had passed through a tunnel and found myself in a deep, dark forest. I could leave a trail of bread crumbs and see what happened from there.

      WILD #1: It took a long time to go back to sleep. Eventually I felt sensations I interpreted as the onset of SP: tingling and distortion of the physical body, then a sense of weight on my chest so localized and specific that I wondered if the cat had actually jumped on me, but the weight quickly increased beyond that of any cat. I was encouraged because it seemed like this transition was happening very cleanly and consciously, and turned my attention to beginning to "move" the non-physical "body." I was careful not to wiggle my fingers or adjust my limbs lest I break SP, so I concentrated on unnatural movements like full-body rotation. I could begin to feel my body swinging in a horizontal rotation but didn't yet have enough traction to "get up" out of bed. Suddenly I felt a vertical "lift" as though my body had floated up several feet, and the next moment I was standing on my feet next to the bed. "And I'm up!" I thought to myself, pleased.

      I noticed right away how dark it was, and despite the clarity of the transition, I did not feel well-integrated into the dream body. I deduced that this was probably a consequence of weak REM-state, given how little sleep I had gotten before the WBTB. I thought I'd better do some stabilization, so I touched some surfaces around me and then rubbed my hands together. This felt lifelike enough, so I became too easily complacent and didn't do anything further to integrate... a mistake, as it turned out. But I was pre-occupied with performing my task and didn't want to get distracted to the point where I never left the antechamber, as so often happens, so I rushed to get started.

      I moved swiftly toward the kitchen and picked up the bag of bread from the counter as I passed through. It felt quite full, and I recalled that I had bought a new bag just the other day in waking life. Although the environment was still very muddy and vague, I could easily find my way through the house out of habit, so I headed straight for the front door. As I was crossing the threshold, I noticed that the bag of bread suddenly felt very light, as though there were only a few slices left. I hesitated for a moment, wondering if I should return to the kitchen, but didn't want to be distracted from my task, so I figured, "That's alright, I can always manifest more."

      I walked out into the night, the outdoor environment no more distinct than the indoors had been, but I knew where I was going. I turned right and began to walk uphill, reaching into the bag to start dropping breadcrumbs. To encourage the right environment to appear, I started muttering under my breath: "Entering the world of Hansel & Gretel. Entering the world of Hansel & Gretel." But I only got off two recitations before I abruptly awoke. I realized my error at once: the dreamspace outside the antechamber is always less stable, and in my impatience to get started on the task, I hadn't integrated properly before exiting.

      I lay for a long time in the position I woke in. Often I can seamlessly re-enter a WILD if I half-wake and don't move. But this was no half-waking: my mind was fully awoken and I soon realized that holding my position would be of no use, sleep had well and truly gone. I used the bathroom so it wouldn't pre-occupy me later and returned to bed, lying on my other side now to make a fresh start. By now the sun was rising so I got out my sleep mask from the drawer. I hate wearing it, but I could tell the light would be disruptive today. I considered checking the time but was trying not to stimulate wakefulness any further, so deliberately decided not to. It was evidently around sunrise, anyway, which occurred at 6:01am today according to Google. That was well over an hour after I had finished my WBTB and the dream can only have lasted a few minutes, so it must have taken me a very long time to fall asleep beforehand.

      WILD #2: I lay on my right side and tried to keep a positive attitude: of course I can do it again! I re-WILD all the time! Not usually from such drastic awakening, admittedly, but I didn't let myself focus on the negatives. I wondered if I should rise and write a report, but reflected that there was little to report apart from the exact wording of the phrases I had thought or spoken, and these I had already scrawled in my notepad. The rest, what little there was, would be easy to remember. So I let go of those worries and focused attention on my breathing, remembering not to "try" to fall asleep but just let it happen. Eventually, it did.

      Whereas the previous transition had been so vivid, this time I was surprised to find myself simply standing at the foot of the bed. I hadn't noticed the separation. But at least I remembered where I had gone wrong in the last attempt, and reminded myself: don't rush it. Get traction. Find something to do in the antechamber to better immerse yourself.

      I noticed that this time the bedroom was full of books, stacked in messy piles and filling bags all over the floor. I figured that these would provide a good opportunity to more fully engage my senses in the dreamspace. So I selected a few and carried them with me as I moved out of the room. The kitchen floor was also covered with books, so many piles and stacks that was actually hard to pick a path through them. I was picking up volumes more or less at random until I noticed what was clearly an artist's sketchbook, a spiral-bound 9"x12" Strathmore, on top of one pile. "Oh, I should look at that!" I thought, and grabbed it. Finally I made my way to the living room, where I found a small oriental rug on the floor (about 2'x3', black pattern on a white background) and sat down on it to begin to peruse my books.

      I chose the sketchbook first, because I was the most curious what I might find inside this one, and dream pictures tend to be easier to perceive and remember afterwards than dream text. The first picture I saw upon opening it was a portrait of what looked like a tribal chieftain, showing the upper half of his body and filling the whole page. He looked about middle-aged, with angular but weather-beaten features. The most distinctive element of the portrait, dominating most of the visual space, was the enormous headdress he was wearing. It wasn't made of feathers or any obvious RL material but seemed composed of abstract patterns with a Mayan styling to them. I took note of the colors. The headdress was all in shades of red, mostly an earthy brick shade. There were constrasting shades of muted green in the distinctive wide straps criss-crossing his body in various places. It didn't occur to me at the time, but the obvious deduction is that these straps were there to secure the enormous headdress.

      After looking carefully at the first drawing, I turned the page. The next image I saw was more cartoon-like. The page was divided into four rectangular panels, each one the width of the page, and stacked vertically. There was a caption, though I don't remember if it was above or below the panels: "Doyle Oss Toss." How clever, I thought... until I realized that it didn't rhyme as well as I had thought at first, because I was aware from the start that "Oss" meant "Owl" but soon realized that the RL word had been distorted unrecognizably to fit the rhyme. My dream texts often demonstrate this tendency to favor rhyme and alliteration over comprehensible meaning.

      The four panels showed the Doyle Owl being punted by a large shaggy grey wolf. The Owl was on the left, the wolf on the right, and the setting suggested the outdoors but was very plain, with little in the background to distract the eye. The sky behind them was dark. The first panel showed the Owl already in mid-air, with the wolf's head lowered, evidently having just head-butted it. The second panel showed the Owl about halfway down, in the act of falling, the wolf's head still lowered. The third panel showed the Owl having come to rest again on the ground, the wolf's position unchanged. The last panel showed the Owl lying on the ground where it had fallen, and now the wolf had lowered its haunches into a crouch and lifted its head toward the sky, howling in what I interpreted as triumph.

      I think I might have spied one more drawing but I don't remember it, because around this time I woke up. In a false awakening. Which I didn't recognize. Responsibly, I immediately began to record the dream on my notepad, first sketching out the four-panel cartoon I have just described. After completing that, I started blocking out the tribal chieftain, and made some notes about the colors. I think I wrote about the green straps first, and when I started trying to describe the particular shades of red in the headdress, the dream began to evolve, and I thought I remembered dreaming that I was a sultan who had a vizier who wore a turban constructed of red cloth in various textures and shades, including a dark red kerchief. It's possible that this image relates to a drawing from the original sketchbook that I've forgotten, because as I was jotting down notes about color of his headgear a new visual appeared, where I could see the vizier from above and behind, with a clear vantage on the dark red kerchief, and I was surprised because I knew that I had not previously seen him from that perspective.

      Before the FA could evolve any more, I woke up for real and recognized that I had just been writing my dream report in another dream, and I'd better get up and do it properly. In this case I didn't mind the delay because writing it down in the FA had helped cement the details in memory (this is not always the case). So I started jotting down my notes on the notepad next to my bed... only to realize soon after I'd started that even though I was more or less awake now, I still wasn't actually doing it, I was still just experiencing a kind of half-dreamed enactment of writing, and I should stop tricking myself and physically get out of bed so I could be sure I was doing it properly. So I got up and hastily sketched out the four-panel again—noticing with amusement how much crappier it looked in RL than in the more elegantly sketched version from my initial FA. I noted the time of rising as 6:56am, and recorded the rest of the dream on my laptop.

      Updated 08-02-2014 at 10:48 PM by 34973

      lucid , false awakening , task of the year
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