• Lucid Dreaming - Dream Views

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    Non-Lucid Dreams

    1. Freeze! (EILD-FA/DILD)

      by , 03-04-2015 at 02:57 AM
      Ritual: WTB 12:30am, woke ~6am and set vibrating alarm for 40 minutes. I don't have a clear memory of it going off the first time (~6:40). The second time it went off (~7:20) I seem to have experienced it entirely within the dream state. My lucidity lapsed shortly thereafter but came back when I noticed that the circumstances were suitable for one of the TOTMs. I must have dreamed for about ten minutes after the alarm went off the second time, waking at ~7:30 with 29 minutes left on the alarm going into its third 40 minute cycle.

      NLD: I was on a bus traveling through a desert. Looking out the window, I saw an enormous lizard resembling an early-model godzilla. [DR: an image of a similar godzilla was shown briefly John Oliver's show on Sunday night.] It didn't look real, because on closer inspection its "skin" was wrinkled and rippling like that of inflatable parade float rather than a living creature. I concluded that it must be a world boss and looked away. Even though it was so much larger than me and very far off, I was afraid that my scrutiny might draw its attention, and I was not equipped to battle it without a raid.

      Our destination was a cave, which was pleasantly cool and dark after the burning light and heat of the desert outside. I passed through the large front cavern through a door labeled "Imagemakers" that led into a back room. These "imagemakers" were literally cave painters, a studio full of artists each doing individual murals on the walls, but in a modern, Asian-inspired style. [DR: One painting seemed reminiscent of Toshio Aoki's Thunder Kami (1900), which I was looking at yesterday.]

      I comment to one of the artists how pleasantly cool it is here in the back room. She replies, "It's only 25, if you're not careful you might freeze." [DR? I had reviewed the TOTMs before bed and my notes used the word "freeze," which also ended up being the task I attempted later in the same dream.] I assume she means Celsius because it's not that cold in here, and try to remember what that would be in Fahrenheit—72 or so? I point out to her that when I start to feel cold I can just put on more clothes. Outside in the heat, there was nothing I could do, so this is preferable.

      EILD-FA: I feel the vibrating alarm and "wake up," or so I believe, though it retrospect it was obviously an FA because I was in a room with no resemblance to WL. I am sitting in bed reading a book, and after I feel the vibration I remember not to move at first, lest I break REMA. As I start to feel more confident in my dream senses, I venture to turn the page of the book. Slowly I expand my range of motion until I'm sure that I'm not going to disrupt the dream. The plot of the previous dream continues (insofar as it has any continuity, which isn't much) and I soon lose what little lucidity the alarm had prompted.

      NLD: Now everyone's talking about a bride who is coming, also on a bus, and someone instructs me to go to a counter to buy a present for her, "a small dog." I had envisioned a tiny dog that was only a few inches long, but the two available at the counter aren't small by any reckoning; they must weigh 40 or 50 pounds. The clerk asks me what I want the dog to be able to do. I think this over, rationalizing that it is a gift to someone who might not be expecting it, so it would be best if it isn't too high maintenance. "Ummm.... sleep a lot?" is my first suggestion. I try to think of other possibilities. "Stand up? Lick? Can they do that?" The clerk looks at me and answers in a tone that suggests he thinks I am an idiot, "Yeah, they can all do that."

      While I'm deliberating someone has come up and bought one of the two dogs, so I'm stuck with the one that is left. I think it's really ugly, with shaggy beige fur, and I hope the bride likes it or I'll be stuck with it. At least the dog has a good personality, friendly and responsive, nuzzling up to me like it wants to be liked. I go to another room and start talking with two girls. Suddenly the dog starts humping the floor, which embarrasses me. "I hope he doesn't do that around her," I say, meaning the bride. One of the girls laughts comments that the way she's been carrying on with her new husband, she probably won't be offended.

      DILD: As the conversation continues, I suddenly notice: hey, I'm in a room with DCs, this would be a perfect opportunity to try the "freeze" TOTM. I mean, okay, there's only two of them, but we are in a room, so that should qualify as a "roomful."

      "Freeze!" I say suddenly, interrupting whatever else we were talking about. The girls stare at me with looks that say "WTF." They're still moving normally, so I issue the command again, attempting to focus my will by tensing my body. That doesn't work either, and I realize that I have the wrong approach. I need to be focusing my mind, not my body. "Freeeeeze," I say cajolingly, drawing out the word. At this point they do stop moving, but I have the impression that they're just playing along. I decide to try the narration technique. "Your body feels so heavy, you can't move. You're paralyzed, like when you sleep." That reminds me, of course we're not completely paralyzed when we sleep, and I'd better not kill them by overdoing it. I hastily add, "You can breathe, of course, just like when you're sleeping."

      The girls seem to be complying now, so I study them closely to be sure. I also remember that I should take conscious note of their names, which I had instinctively known earlier in the dream but had almost forgotten on going lucid. The smaller one on the left, with the dark hair... I think back and all I can come up with is "Calm." It sounds odd, but that's the only name that I remember for her. The plumper girl on the right, a blonde, I know for sure is called "Amy."

      The smaller girl seems completely comatose now. I lift her arm and drop it, and it falls with satisfying limpness. The larger girl is also lying still, but I get the impression she's just pretending: one of her arms is in a position that could only be maintained by exerting muscle control. I lift it and it is stiff in my grasp.

      Then I realize I'm going about this all wrong. I try to remember the specifics of the TOTM. Was I just supposed to freeze them in place, or was there something about actually stopping time? I can't clearly remember the wording. I decide I'd better try the latter in any case, it might work better—and I won't have to worry about the girls accidentally suffocating if time itself has stopped.

      "Freeze!" I shout, now indicating not only the two of them but the whole environment, with only myself as an exception. I find that the logical impossibility of this trouble me: if I continue moving normally, then in what sense can time itself be said to have stopped? It doesn't make any sense. I remind myself that this is a dream, and I'm not obliged to work out the physics of it. I look at Amy to see if my new strategy has resulted in any improvement. No, although she is lying quite still, and her arm looks properly limp now, she's actually tapping the fingers of one hand.

      "Freeze!" I shout again, looking directly at her hand. Still tapping. "Freeze!" I yell, glaring at the hand. Tap... tap... tap. "Freeze!" I insist, mustering all my intent. The hand finally goes limp. It occurs to me that at some point I'm going to need to write all this up, and the thought wakes me.

      Notes: I never did remember the second part of the TOTM, not just in the dream but even after waking up, recording my notes, and going about my day... but I had the feeling that there might have been more to it, that I left something out, and on coming home from work and checking the forum, I see that there was a whole second part of the task that I skipped!

      Updated 03-04-2015 at 03:02 AM by 34973

      lucid , non-lucid , false awakening , task of the month
    2. Eating Earthworms (NLD)

      by , 02-01-2015 at 09:14 PM
      This was the last dream of the morning, and it seems to demonstrate the process of waking up, as the self-awareness and memories of my dream-self gradually align closer and closer with those of waking life.

      Am I a human or a fox? It is unclear at first. I find an overturned clay pot on the walkway next to a building. It is full of writhing earthworms, and I eat a number of them, enjoying the slick chewy texture. Approvingly I think, "From the foxes' perspective, stocks aren't really working out. What they want is more protein, more easily accessible."

      By "stocks" I mean the stock market, which I think must have crashed, and I have the impression that the world is in some post-apocalyptic state. I am on the grounds of a museum in Northern California, one with a park-like campus. I move across the lawn and encounter an enormous earthworm sliding out from under a bush. It is already several feet long, and I guess that this is only a quarter of its length. In diameter it is as thick as my arm. At this point my body is clearly human, and my thoughts are getting closer to those of my waking mind.

      It surprises me to see a worm so large. I feel like I've seen ones this big in other countries, but never here. Still, I remember seeing those big banana slugs in the Bay Area, so maybe giant earthworms are part of the same ecosystem. Probably I never saw one before because they're usually underground. Why is this one on the surface?

      I tear off a few inches of meat from the front end of the worm and nibble on it. It is much coarser in texture than the regular-sized worms I was just enjoying, and I find it unpalatable. I wonder if cooking would improve it or make it even worse, softer and mealier. I throw the uneaten portion to the ground, regretting that I took more than I'm able to consume. I should have started with a smaller sample. Poor worm. I look at it, and it is still crawling along as though nothing happened. I reassure myself that it will probably be fine; the missing section might even grow back.

      I start to wonder if it is safe to eat raw worm. I always thought it was, and the couple I swallowed whole in the past had no ill-effects, but this one was enormous. It was sobering to learn that raw snails can harbor fatal parasites. Given that worms just eat rot and fungi, might they contain bad bacteria? After all, now that I've seen where they live... I think about my worm compost bins. I probably should look into this before eating any more.
    3. Bread and Milk (NLD fragment)

      by , 01-29-2015 at 07:23 PM
      Increasingly frustrated, I was trying to rearrange the objects on the top shelf of the refrigerator. This was made challenging by the downward slope of the shelf and the fact that there was no raised lip at the front to catch things. It was also quite full, so the weight of the objects in the back was pushing down against the things in the front and knocking them off. My dad walked up as I was once again moving things around trying to find a more stable arrangement, so I complained to him:

      "The fridge is full of bread—bagged bread! And milk." I screwed up my face, pronouncing "milk" with as much disgust as I could put into my voice. I've never liked milk, but thought I should provide a better reason for my objection. "The milk's going to go bad in a few days and then we'll have to throw it out."

      "Room for more bread!" My father kept a straight face, but I was pretty sure he was teasing me.

      "Look," I said impatiently, "If this is some kind of survivalist thing, we'd do better to stock complex carbohydrates than all this processed crap."
    4. Worms (NLD)

      by , 01-13-2015 at 04:06 PM
      I blew my nose, and noticed that something solid had emerged into the tissue. My growing unease ripened into sharp alarm when I inspected the contents. Next to some meatier pieces of phlegm was the unmistakable segmented shape of a short, light grey worm. It was about half an inch long, and completely alive and intact. I'm not sure if it was a true worm or had two hair-like rows of short legs, but it even started to move as I watched. The thought of such a thing living in my body, in my sinuses even, infused me with silent horror quickly ripening to desperation as I saw the front half of another worm, which would have been twice as long as the first if it were intact, in the tissue's contents. On the underside was a distinct mouth with two visible mandibles curved back so that they lay flat against its body like fangs. What were these things doing to me?

      Just after discovering the worms in the tissue, I felt an itch just above the hairline of my forehead and absently scratched it. A soft body crushed under my fingers, getting tangled in my hair, and I brought them back to find the green ooze of yet another worm staining their tips. The horror became even more intense. Were there so many in my body that they were emerging? I needed to do something about this now.

      Mustering all my willpower to stay calm and focused, I brought the unwieldy vehicle I was driving over to the curb, put it in park, and engaged the parking brake. It was a boxy shuttle like those that sometimes ferry people and their luggage around airports; this one had no seats and was specced for military use. I left the engine running, even as I wondered why I was doing so: this was unlikely to be a short stop. As I disembarked, I said something like, "Men, make sure not to move this vehicle," to my company. They were prone to horsing around, and I was afraid someone might bump the parking brake and accidentally disengage it. The vehicle was tricky to operate.

      I disembarked, dodging the idle men lounging on the short flight of steps that led from the strip of grass bordering the curb down to the sidewalk bordering the building. The door was open, and there were more men clustered around the steps that led down into the building. I knew they were here because I had left for the last mission in such a hurry that they had been left behind. I had already sensed that something was wrong at the time, but it had still been too vague to articulate, a vague but crushing sense of oppression rather than any physical symptoms I could describe.

      I was looking for someone in particular. Not the young doctor, but the old one, who I had known for a long time and trusted completely. After passing a row of men leaning against the bar to the right of the entryway, I turned left and was relieved to discover him standing next to a table. He had grey hair and a lined, weathered face, with a serious but not unkindly expression. I addressed him in a tone that was urgent but still tightly focused, doing everything I could to remain cogent and not lose myself to the mounting hysteria I was feeling.

      "Richard, I think there's something wrong with me."

      He looked up, and I saw that he could tell from my face that the matter was dire, but when he spoke his tone was relaxed, the practiced ease of an experienced combat physician. "Okay, tell me all about it."

      "It started about a week before this mission," I began.

      It was here that I woke up. The dream was a patchwork of distinct day residue. The worms were inspired by Jimmy Carter's appearance on the
      Daily Show with Jon Stewart, where they briefly discussed his efforts to eradicate guinea worms in Africa. The doctor's face was a combination of Lance Hendrickson, who I saw the night before last when Aliens (1986) came on TV, and another old guy from another film of which my husband made an approving remark when he appeared. The film might have been The Talented Mr. Ripley (1999), which we caught much of on cable last night, in which case the guy must have been Philip Baker Hall (b.1931)—I had to look up his name, but the face looks right. My role as a female leader of a military company comes directly from Mass Effect 3 (2012), which I was playing last night. I think there was a lot more to the dream, because it actually started with the scene prior to the mission when I first felt a foreboding uneasiness. I reported it in retrospect because I couldn't remember most of what happened before that last scene; the mission itself remains a blur in memory. There was physical input as well: when I woke up I still had a slight itch on my head where I had scratched in the dream and discovered the third worm.
    5. 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.
    6. Doctrinal Dispute (NLD)

      by , 12-14-2014 at 08:23 PM
      I was sitting with two women friends (no one I know RL) across a table from the Dalai Lama. One of the women was showing us pictures of a guy she said had just died. The pictures were a vertical strip of three, like those that come out of a photo booth, only larger format, about 3x4 I guess, vertically aligned. What was more striking was the figure in the photos, which didn't look human, but like a skinny reddish angry muppet with an open howling mouth and a shock of hair over its eyes, a bit like Animal but more gangly.

      I recognized him at once, though: "That's Kelsang Gyatso," I told the other women. "He's like a dissident, except in relation to mainstream Tibetan Buddhism. It's over some stupid doctrinal dispute." Then I remembered that the Dalai Lama was sitting right across the table and I blushed and apologized, since obviously the dispute was important to him and I hadn't meant to offend. "I just meant it seems stupid to people on the outside."

      The Dalai Lama gently admonished me, "It is better not to say things that you might have to apologize for." I felt like retorting, "I know, but I'm not enlightened," but recognized that he was right so I just nodded in acknowledgment.
    7. House of Dream Signs (NLD)

      by , 11-22-2014 at 09:06 PM
      I was in a small shop when blood dripping from overhead stained the white shirt I was wearing. I looked up and I could see small circles of blood pooling and dripping down from from the ceiling in two separate places. Where could it be coming from? The explanation that seemed most likely was that the vampires were leaving their victims on the roof again. If so, I was going to be very annoyed, because sometimes it was days before anyone found them and by then they were going bad. I wondered if I should go up and check, but remembered that there was somewhere I needed to be shortly so I would have to hurry home to shower and change my shirt.

      Back home, I had sufficient awareness to notice that the place looked unfamiliar (like most of my dream places, it resembled nowhere I've been in RL), but then I remembered that we had just moved here. I walked around admiring the new house: it was much more spacious than the last one, and had great atmosphere. For instance, in my room there were places where tree roots were growing down over the wall, creating beautiful lattice patterns and giving the room a pleasant rustic feel. I remembered my last landlord was always paranoid about tree roots growing near the house, but in this case their growth had been shaped in such a way that they formed a wonderful symbiosis with the architecture. There was a shallow pond my room too, unless I'm remembering a different room, and some kind of fish or crustaceans living in the pond.

      I found my mother in the yard just behind the house. She was engaged in some kind of task, using a tree stump as a base to scrub the blue pigment off of some pieces of paper (as far as I could make out) and wanted me to come help. I also noticed a little pool or pond in the backyard that I thought I should take a closer look at when I had more time. But it was already 11am and I needed to be at my next engagement by 11:30, which barely left me time to take a shower. My brother came out to help my mom instead, so I excused myself and went back inside the house.

      I passed a room that was entirely filled with an inground swimming pool, leaving just enough floorspace to walk around the edges. I gazed down into the water and was surprised how deep it was. I think my dad was in the room; I remember asking about the depth and then noticing the large black numbers marked on the side of the pool that confirmed his answer: eighteen feet. I reached down to touch the water and was delighted by how warm it was. This was much better than an outdoor pool because we could use it year round! And it was the third body of water I'd seen in the house so far. "I'm really starting to like this house!"

      There was more but my recall gets vague after that. One thing to note, though: this dream was little more than a concatenation of dream signs! Mother, father, brother, unfamiliar house, no less than three bodies of water—somehow I went from one to another in a state of total obliviousness, and yet the dream kept throwing them at me as if to say, "Erm, excuse me. Hey. Hey! Notice anything?"
    8. Give me back my car! (NLD)

      by , 11-12-2014 at 06:17 PM
      I was returning to my car in a parking lot, and when I went around to the driver's side door, I was surprised to find the headlights on. This was surprising. Had I left them on somehow? I hoped the battery hadn't run down too much. But then I noticed the passenger side door was open as well. I peeked into the backseat to make sure no one had gotten in and was hiding back there, then went around to close the passenger door. At that point I saw three guys in front of the car, one holding jumper cables. I'm not sure how they got my car open but apparently their aim was to use it to help jumpstart the car next to me. It looked like they had just finished. I indicated the other car, from which I could distinctly hear the purr of the engine, and asked "So it's running now?" to confirm my impression what had just taken place.

      Things seemed resolved so I was about to get in and drive away when I discovered that one of the men was now in the driver's seat and my husband, who hadn't been in the dream at all before this, was occupying the passenger seat. When I asked if I could have my car back, the driver said something like, "I just need to do this first," and started backing up. I don't know if he thought he was being helpful by backing out of the parking space, but the car kept rolling backward, and since there was no room for me inside, I was trying to run backwards right next to it while keeping my grip on the passenger side door, which was still open in front of me. This was challenging and I worried I might fall and be dragged across the pavement. It occurred to me that it might almost be worth it if it made the guy realize how unhelpful he was being, but I managed to keep my balance.

      The guy kept backing up to the point where he—accidentally, it seemed—overshot the edge of the parking lot altogether and went rolling backward down a grassy embankment, me still hanging on outside and struggling to keep my balance and pace them. Finally the ground leveled out and the car gradually rolled to a stop on the grass. At this point I was rather annoyed, and leaned in to tell the driver, "No one else can drive my car the way I can. Can I please have it back now?"
    9. Desert Adventures (NLD)

      by , 11-10-2014 at 06:16 PM
      I was walking with my dad, who now resembled the older Russell Crowe from Noah, out of the town into a desert to join an expeditionary force that was tasked with recovering some powerful ancient artifact. "Are we going to help them get it or take it for ourselves?" I asked him, trying to clarify our motivations. "We'll see how it plays out," he replied. In the next moment I observed the leader of the expeditionary force raise at least a hundred undead elephants from beneath the sands, adding considerably to the impressiveness of their force. "For them, it looks like," I commented wryly, answering my own question.

      Moving swiftly ahead of the rest, my dad and I were the first ones to reach the stone antechamber that served as the entrance to the dungeon where the artifact was said to be buried. While we waited for the others to catch up, we heard an altercation outside. I heard a booming voice that I understood to be that an antagonist in the form of a powerful AI, announcing that it had trained an orbital telescope upon the army we were assisting. It claimed that the telescope was pointed at an ancient city beneath the sands, and was capable of igniting some flammable resource right underneath the army's feet.

      Although in dastardly-villain style the AI had revealed its plan before executing it, there was no chance to thwart it: in the next moment we saw a tremendous conflagration through the cracks in the partially-open doors of the stone chamber in which we took refuge. Fortunately the entrance was facing the opposite direction from the blast, and although the stone walls at our back protected us from immolation, we still had to put our hands over our faces to protect them from the sudden withering heat.

      We knew that anyone outside who had been exposed to the blast must have been destroyed—all but one, a single man who had arrived just outside the stone antechamber in time to be protected by it. I took him to be the leader of the army that had just been decimated. "Wow," I said, not directing my words to anyone in particular, as he slipped into the antechamber and joined us. "That was... overwhelming." I realized that under these changed circumstances, we would no doubt be seeking the artifact for our own purposes now, though whether this third guy would turn out to be an ally or antagonist in the long run was impossible to predict. "Guess it's just the three of us now," I commented as, without further ado, we started down the stone steps into darkness to begin our adventure.
    10. Notes: Dryspell

      by , 11-04-2014 at 07:26 PM
      I wasn't practicing seriously for the last couple weeks as I felt too busy with work to devote much time to journaling, so my motivation to LD was also low (because successful attempts commit me to hours of writing if I'm going to record them right). Last night I felt more motivated so instead of playing video games late at night I went to bed early (11:30pm, early for me anyway) and put in a solid WILD attempt, with a full two-hour WBTB (from 1:45am when I woke up naturally until 3:45) followed by 14 minutes seated meditation and the usual counting ritual on returning to bed.

      The attempt felt promising as I didn't fall asleep too quickly but maintained liminal awareness for awhile, and it was around 4:15am when I finally went back to sleep. However I did not achieve a WILD, and experienced nothing but an extremely vague NLD
      (something about a shoot-out, I was a young man in Vietnam I think, maybe during the war, the guys on my side had a sort of built structure to take positions in but it was full of rats, and my character felt very uncomfortable about the rats).

      I woke up again at 6:30am and was desperate enough to take galantamine, even though I hate the after-effects and it hardly works for me anymore. This was followed by another vaguely-recalled dream which involved distinct manifestations of dream control (elaborate flying and levitation, which felt like I was deliberately testing the limits of my abilities) but very little dream awareness. At the end I was having what felt like a very meaningful conversation with a DC, but I don't remember what we talked about. It felt like there was great complexity to this dream as well as the previous one but my recollection was not sufficient to preserve it.

      At 8:30am I woke up again, realized I had another bust, and as a last resort tried my vibrating alarm. I felt it go off three times but each time it jostled me out of sleep and I didn't feel like there was much I could do dream-wise, nor did I remember any dreams of note. The last time I at least remembered to try to DEILD but the REM atonia was apparently already broken, so it didn't work. I've always been able to instinctively DEILD-chain my WILDs, even before I knew what it was called, but for some reason that is the only situation in which I've been able to pull it off. Woke up for the final time at 9:30am and now I'm frustrated enough to declare a dryspell. Writing a report anyway because it was a deliberate attempt and also so that my mind can't use the break from journaling as an excuse for not dreaming properly.
    11. Swimming in the Rain (NLD)

      by , 10-26-2014 at 06:32 PM
      I was a young man swimming at night in a bay. A storm had blown up, and for some reason even though I was already in the water I felt the need to take shelter from the rain, so I grabbed a tarp that was connected to a rectangular three-sided frame (so open on one side) and held it over my head. This didn't feel sufficient, so I found a second tarp, this one on a round frame. Propping both of these overhead, I felt sufficiently protected from the storm to swim back to shore.

      When I reached the beach, I peered through the darkness for the friends I expected to find there, but it was quiet and empty. They must have all gone home when the storm began, leaving me stranded. At first I felt a deep sense of loss and abandonment, but after a moment I realized there was another way to look at it: I was now free. I didn't have to go back with them, I could go someplace new.

      I swam back out into the water, feeling no need to hide under the tarps anymore, and went farther than I had ever gone. As I was about to swim out the far side of the bay, the ground came up close under the water, like a boundary. I could feel the rocks sharp under my feet and I almost turned back, but mustered my courage and pressed forward. Then I was swimming in what resembled a small inlet into a river, and I recognized that I was in another land.

      It wasn't as dark here, and I could see a boat passing by in the main river. There were several people in it, who I took to be natives of this land. I was tempted to hide at first, afraid they might be hostile if they spotted me, a stranger, but again I kept my courage up and swam forward. Fortunately they were friendly, and welcomed me among them.

      I think there was a male chieftain in the boat, although the main purpose of the boat was to take the pregnant daughters of the tribe to a special place where they could finish their pregnancies. I immediately bonded with one of the girls and realized that I wanted to go along and help her, if she would let me.
    12. Tour de France (NLD)

      by , 10-26-2014 at 04:07 AM
      I was participating in the Tour de France, except there were no bicycles involved. At first I was swimming in a river. There were other people swimming around me, including little babies and their mothers. The babies were eligible for a special award if they could swim well on their own, but in one case we noticed the mother secretly helping her infant by supporting it from under the water, so it was disqualified.

      I didn't like being stuck in a group of people, so I exerted some effort to swim ahead of them and find my own space. It made me think about the huge variation in human athletic ability. In a long distance race like this, some people were already hours ahead. I figured I was probably somewhere in the middle, and I was sure that there would still be people hours behind me. I didn't feel any pressure to compete against others or try to finish the race quickly; it felt like the sort of event that one could complete at one's own speed.

      Under the water I could see seaweed in a form that resembled bundles of thick green ropes, stretching endlessly in the direction the river flowed. They looked like they were flowing along too, so I grabbed them to see if I could catch a ride, but they were moving slower than I could swim on my own so I let go again. The race course led me out of the river and now I was running on land down a quiet little house-lined street, like a small village.

      I was still thinking about that strange ropy seaweed. It had reminded me of thick cables of the sort that might carry electricity or another kind of signal. What would it be like if our society used biological materials like this for our technological infrastructure? I decided to try out the material, so I manifested a hand made out of the same stuff as the seaweed. It resembled a human hand in shape but was not connected to a body, and was light green in color. Mischievously, I made the hand crawl up the porch of the nearest house and pull the string of the bell that hung on the doorframe.

      The door opened, and inside I was surprised to see that the one who opened it was not a human but a chicken, an ordinary-looking hen. She must have been a Plymouth Rock, judging from her black and white barred plumage. It reminded me of a silly line I'd heard somewhere, so I joked, "There's nobody here but us chickens!" She didn't make any response—maybe she didn't know that one?—and I was still running so I soon passed by.
    13. Making Breakfast (NLD)

      by , 10-16-2014 at 06:00 PM
      I was trying to make breakfast. I was standing in front of a kitchen island with a stove range with at least nine burners, maybe twelve, frying up slices of some sort of eggy loaf and making pancakes from a batter that appeared to contain whole grains of barley. Periodically I would go from there to the refrigerator, where I was checking on a large glass jar of liquid in which I was somehow (the logistics don't make much sense in retrospect) attempting to make a complicated frozen cube that contained a whole strawberry and some kind of alcohol.

      After going back to the stove, I noticed that the things in the frying pan were on the verge of burning even though the heat was set to medium-low. What confused me even more was that the surface of the pancake batter appeared to be burning as well, though it was still in the bowl. I figured the latter must be an effect of oxidation, contact with the air, and mixed it up some more.

      I checked on the refrigerator again and saw that at least my big strawberry ice cube was freezing properly, because it looked visibly white and opaque within the liquid. As I watched, it floated up and popped to the surface, but fortunately there was enough extra room at the top of the jar that it did not splash out and make a mess.

      I went back to the stove... but now the arrangement had changed. Where was my frying pan? Had someone come and moved it? Now an empty ceramic baking dish was sitting on the hot burner! That wasn't good, they're not supposed to be used that way! I hastily moved it, and although I was concerned that the cookie tray I set it on might be cold enough to make it crack from the heat difference, I couldn't spot a better place to put it. The stove was crowded with pans and dishes, none where I had left them, and I wasn't sure what had become of the food I was frying just a moment earlier.

      Who had come and re-arranged everything? My breakfast was going to be ruined! None of this made any sense! In desperate frustration I wailed aloud, "What the hell is going on here? What could it be? I don't understand!" But instead of recognizing the inconsistency as a clear dream sign, I woke up with those words still ringing in my head.
    14. 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!
    15. Climbing Beanstalks, Getting Nowhere (NLD + DILD)

      by , 09-24-2014 at 01:18 AM
      Ritual: WTB 1am, WBTB 4–6am. Plenty of hypnagogic imagery but hard to fall fully asleep, last noted time at 6:45am. Woke at 7:30 with dream as follows.

      Alchemy: First experiment with phenylpiracetam, 100mg. Stacked with 300mg Alpha-GPC (50%), and 200mg L-Theanine. Took in first hour of WBTB (in retrospect, I think this was too early and interfered with sleep). In second hour of WBTB, drank yerba mate tea (this was also probably overkill, as it turned out).

      NLD: I was in a big auditorium. No memory of what was going on there, but I was trying to climb a big pole in the center (maybe I was already prospectively thinking of Jack and the Beanstalk?) However, I felt weak and uncoordinated, and couldn't make it up very far.

      Later, I ended up in conflict with a guy. He was lean and wiry, small-framed, with a short trimmed greying beard. He and my husband had been in tiny vehicles on an indoor track and this guy, for no apparent reason, started aggressively crowding my husband into the side of the track. I was so angry I chased him. He got off his vehicle and disappeared into the crowd. I kept watching his movements and followed up until I was finally able to catch up. At the last minute I wondered if I was really going to go through with my intention to beat him up when I caught him... and decided yes, he needed to learn a lesson. So when I got close enough I immediately threw a punch, dodged his return blows, and finally knocked him down to the floor.

      He had a dream device on him—I took it to be his journal, but it resembled a long strip of chromed metal, several inches wide by about sixteen inches long, with some holes running along the center area. I took it away from him as a punishment. I wanted to hide it somewhere it would be hard to find, so I took it into the women's bathroom, where he presumably wouldn't think to look. There was an incinerator in there as well as a garbage can, but I decided that I couldn't destroy his journal, no matter how much I disliked him, because dreams are too important, even his. I just wanted to inconvenience him for a while, so I put the device in an inconspicuous shelf where I figured someone would come across it eventually. There were a lot of dream herbs and supplements on the shelf, apparently free for the taking, but I reminded myself that this was a public place and anyone could have tampered with them, so I'd better leave them alone, and stick to my own at home which I know are clean.

      DILD: It was around this point that I remembered to RC and realized I was dreaming. My goal was to work on the fairy tale TOTYs. I had actually come across a sandwich bag containing a handful of Giant White Beans in my RL kitchen the other day, and thought that these would be ideal to plant outside to grow the beanstalks. So after getting lucid, I headed straight for the kitchen and grabbed the bag, then went outside to plant them in the little plots of soil that abut the wall of the house. I felt like I was rushing, but the dreamstate felt shallow and unstable so I was motivated to act quickly.

      In the dream it was drizzling lightly, so the soil was soft and easy to work. I planted the beans by hand, three in the first plot, and then went to the next plot to plant three more. But by the fourth bean I realized that they might take a long time to germinate if I didn't hurry things along. Fortunately I had a plan for this. I had been meaning to work with the Ars Magica Form "Herbam" for a while anyway, and this seemed like the perfect opportunity. Would "Creo" or "Rego" be the proper technique for this case? I decided to go with "Creo" since I was growing the beanstalks from seed.

      I held my hand over the soil where I had just planted the fourth bean and intoned, "Creo herbam." After a little concentration it readily responded, a thick sprout emerging from the earth. It didn't look so much like a beanstalk as a huge stalk of asparagus, at least six inches in diameter. I figured that would be okay, as it would turn out sturdier this way... and I like asparagus. I quickly planted the other two beans in the second plot, but the stalk was growing rapidly and was already a few feet tall. There were still two more beans in the bag but I decided to save them... what if I needed to plant another stalk to get back down? Jack probably saved a few beans if he was smart.

      Remembering how much trouble I had experienced attempting to climb in the previous NLD, I came up with a better idea. While the stalk was growing past chest height, I grabbed onto it and let it lift me as it grew. I wondered if this would still count for the TOTY, but figured probably, in terms of altitude I was certainly climbing, even if the stalk was doing all the work!

      We went up and up. I was waiting to reach some kind of surface or platform that I could step off onto. How did this go in the story? I don't think I've ever actually read the original, and started to regret that I hadn't done a bit more research, because it was hard to imagine what kind of solid ground Jack could have encountered at the top of the stalk. Did he step onto the upper surface of the clouds? Or was there some kind of floating island? I may have been overrationalizing, but it annoyed me that I couldn't remember how this was supposed to work.

      The dream seems to have responded to my confusion, because the space around me became ambiguous. I had started outdoors but now felt like I was indoors again, still on the beanstalk, which was still growing. However, it was now "growing" through what was effectively a visual loop: I noticed the same attic space passing by again and again in front of my eyes, like a skip in a record. I attempted to wait it out but it just kept repeating, so finally I figured, okay, I'll take the hint, I'll get off here.

      Around this point the dreamstate was feeling very thin and shallow, and my senses felt poorly integrated. I had to focus my attention for a moment on just on staying engaged in the dream. When this awkward passage resolved, I was back in a room that somewhat resembled my RL bedroom, only now the beanstalk seemed to be growing from the middle of the bed and burst right through the ceiling. I didn't have the impression that any giant was in the vicinity. Maybe I needed to climb it again? But the hole in the ceiling was only big enough to accommodate the beanstalk. I would have to widen it if I wanted to crawl through.

      This reminded me of my separate and fallback intention to work on Hansel and Gretel if the beanstalk idea went awry. My new strategy involved breaking off pieces of a house and eating it, to encourage it to turn into the gingerbread cottage of the story. I reached up with my hand to tear a piece from the edge of the hole in the ceiling. It broke off easily in my hand like rotten wood. I took a bite: it has the texture of a dry crumbly cookie but not much flavor. I tried to conjure the taste of gingerbread but I don't notice much change. I went wandering through the house looking for a witch but there's no one else home.

      There's a vague section here. I can't remember if I actually ended up climbing the first stalk to end up outside on the roof, or if I just walked outside to check on the other beanstalks, but at some point I am outdoors again, and I observe that the other beanstalks I planted also grew at some point but are now brown and withered. I can't remember what became of the first one, but evidently it couldn't get me any farther than the roof. Still no giants, but I see what looks like a higher platform on top of a neighboring building. I break off a length of one of the dead stalks and try to use it to pole vault myself up onto the platform. It gets me almost to the top but not quite.

      Occupying the center of the wall leading up to this platform is a very tall bookshelf, only about three or four feet in width but running all the way up to the top of the thirty or forty foot wall. After my second or third attempt to pole vault up, I realize that I can't make it all the way to the top using this method, so I get off on one of the uppermost shelves. I don't think I can finish the climb directly from here, but I have another idea. My weight is already destabilizing the bookshelf, pulling it down and me along with it, so I realize that I might be able to use the rebound effect to launch myself onto the platform. As the top of the bookshelf sinks all the way down to ground level, I climb over the top and position myself on the back of the shelf (which is level with the ground and facing up after the bookshelf has fallen all the way down). I anticipate that the whole shelf is going to rebound back into its original place, and sure enough it does. Using the force of its rebound, I jump off when I'm near the top and finally make it up onto the platform... when the dream ended.

      Note: Although I managed to get a fair amount done despite adverse conditions, the dreamstate was low quality throughout. I stayed up during the WBTB about twice as long as I had originally intended, which meant I took the supplements way too early so that they were actively inhibiting sleep by the time I returned to bed, and drinking the caffeinated yerba mate on top of that was evidently a mistake. But it is hard to argue counterfactuals because sometimes if I don't overdo it, I don't get lucid at all, so it's always a tricky balancing act.
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