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    Thread: Verre's Workbook

    1. #1
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      Verre's Workbook

      Hello everyone! I've been hanging around DV for a several years now, on and off, so by way of introduction I'll try to summarize my dream history and why I want to join the class.

      I feel like my lucid dreaming has gone through several phases. I guess the first phase would be during my childhood and teen years in the 1970s and '80s, when I became lucid randomly and spontaneously from time to time, and I didn't even have a word for it or realize it was a state one could deliberately invoke... this was before I had access to the Internet, an era that seems ever stranger and more mythical when I try to remember it. I mean, how ever did we look things up? If we had questions that couldn't be answered by printed dictionaries or encyclopedias or phone books or yellow pages, I guess we just had to live without answers. Or ask another person, I guess, but they probably didn't know either. It seems like it must have been a time of tremendous intellectual impoverishment, but it felt normal, because it was all we had ever known. I think we actually learned things differently, remembered things differently. Anyway, back then I had no concept of lucid dreaming as a formal practice; only that I would randomly sometimes become aware that I was dreaming, and it was wonderful, but all too brief and rare.

      Like most people my lucid experiences became less common as I got older. I have a vague recollection of discovering ETWoLD at some point, probably in my late '20s or early '30s, but my memory of this is so vague and uncertain it is like a half-remembered dream. I think I put a little effort into learning to LD back then, but didn't make any progress, and then life got in the way and distracted me, and I forgot all about it. Apparently I kept a dream journal from time to time, but I don't even remember why, and the dreams I recorded aren't very interesting. (I've developed a bad habit of feeling resentful about uninteresting dreams.)

      In 2010 I was going through some major life changes -- big move, new job, lots of stress -- and I had a spontaneous, shockingly vivid WILD that changed everything. I was reminded that lucid dreaming is a thing, an amazing thing, and began researching methods and practicing in earnest. This time I had good success, and I developed my practice for a couple years in isolation. At one point early on I found DV, made an account here, and promptly forgot all about it. (I'm prone to forgetting things.)

      Eventually my motivation started to wane and I was getting desperate for the company of other dreamers, so I started being more active here on DV. The TOTMs and TOTYs were great motivation for a couple years, and for a long time my lucids were frequent and my dream recall became satisfyingly vivid. The only downside was the time investment -- after a good session I would wake up and have to spend hours writing if I was to capture everything. I heartily believe it was time well spent, and I treasure those journals, and the experiences they preserve, but at the same time I was getting frustrated. Somehow it was never enough, never enough reliability or recall or control, and worse, I never felt any closer to *understanding* the nature of dream. Dream is a terrible laboratory: how does one acquire reliable objective information from an environment that is wholly shaped by your conditioning and expectations?

      Familiarity and frustration bred occasional dry spells, and it seemed they got a little worse each time, and I discovered that my biggest struggle was maintaining the right kind and degree of motivation. I thought it would help if I had someone I could discuss dreams with in real life, and I once overheard a colleague express interest in the subject. Eventually we had a longer conversation and it turned out he was a follower of Freud's dream theories who had never had a lucid experience, but I hoped perhaps we could trade insights from our very different perspectives, so I ventured to send him an account of a lucid dream. That went nowhere, and I felt so embarrassed and annoyed that the doors of dreaming slammed shut. That was just about a year ago now. I've had a few lucids since, but the experience was a terrible setback, and now my motivation and recall and control are the worst they have been since I started this venture.

      When I was poking around DVA trying to figure out if joining a class here might help, I came across this incredibly insightful comment by FryingMan on ThreeCat's workbook:
      Quote Originally Posted by FryingMan
      What causes lucidity, especially consistent lucidity? I'm not sure anybody really knows. It seems to have a lot of inertia: both in building up and in ebbing away.
      Inertia, absolutely, yes. And it feels oddly akin to the struggles I have with motivation and inertia in other important areas of my life: with physical exercise, and with the writing I need to do for my career. The more I can compel myself to remain involved in any of these areas, the more interesting they become and the more momentum I build up, the more progress I make. As with a moving vehicle, inertia helps you stay moving once you get going. But whenever something gets in the way and blocks the inertia, it becomes really hard to get it started again, like trying to push a car after it has come to rest. So I'm here because this is something I haven't tried yet, and it's a lot easier to push that car if you have a few friends to help.

      Now I just have to try to stay motivated enough to keep working on this workbook. Hey! This is a class, right? Maybe one of you teachers could give me some homework...
      "You have to play the game to find out why you're playing the game." —eXistenZ (1999)

    2. #2
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      Welcome Verre! Apologies for just now seeing this new workbook and leaving you hanging 5 and a half days. Some of that about your early days sounded like it could have been written by me.

      Quote Originally Posted by Verre View Post
      So I'm here because this is something I haven't tried yet, and it's a lot easier to push that car if you have a few friends to help.
      I'd be happy to be a friend and try to assist and I'd bet FryingMan will swing back by before long.

      Now I just have to try to stay motivated enough to keep working on this workbook. Hey! This is a class, right? Maybe one of you teachers could give me some homework...
      Sure, if you can start by listing what your day and night practices look like at the moment and as much as you can remember about what it was like during the height of your successes. In the longer term, I would like to assign you to update at least weekly what your past week's practices have been like and any adjustments you are considering for future weeks.

    3. #3
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      Hello, Verre, and welcome to the class! Let me add my own apologies for not getting back to you sooner. I myself am at a place in life where waking matters are taking priority, but I'm trying to maintain a presence here as well.

      To jump to the meat of the matter: whatever activities and hobbies we pursue, it must ultimately be fun. If not, why bother? And I don't mean just the dreams themselves: we all would probably agree wholeheartedly to the receipt of long, stable, vivid, lucid dreams every night with little or no special effort on our part. But the practice itself: the attention, reflection, and memory work that it takes, we should enjoy the process of the practice itself. If we can find a way to integrate the practice into our everyday lives and really enjoy the effort, then the motivation issue mostly solves itself.

      It all comes down to balance: relaxation vs. intention/effort, strongly desiring results & pursuring goals vs. "going with the flow." We all must find the way through those opposing poles.

      One thing that almost always serves to re-motivate me is re-reading the fundamental literature: ETWOLD chapters 1-3, Tibetan dream yoga literature (TYoDaS, Holecek's new book mainly).

      Fogelbise gave you an excellent first "homework" item: a brief write-up of your day and night-time dream-focused lucid dreaming activities, mentioning your WBTB attempts, dream recall/journaling, RCs, any awareness-focused activities, etc.

      Secondly, I would say begin also right away with re-reading ETWOLD chapters 1-3 (up to the WILD chapter). Also, I would recommend some PM/daily RC targets ala what LaBerge recommends in ETWOLD.

      For motivation myself, what has always kept me going in between the lucids are the excellent/amazing/epic non-lucid dreams every night! Lucidity can be fleeting and finicky at times, but I find that dream recall always reliably responds to attention and memory recall efforts. Recall is where consistency really pays off.

      I'd also recommend looking through my dream recall tips, the list of very helpful/important posts, and if you like, my "unified theory" post. All the links are in my signature. Also, the Lucid Dreaming bibliography, in a sticky at the top of the DILD class folder. Those are references that are always valuable to have in your library (online or print), I frequently refer back to those.

      Good luck and let us know how it's going! You can use you workbook thread there to track your goals, list progress, ask questions, whatever you'd like!
      FryingMan's Unified Theory of Lucid Dreaming: Pay Attention, Reflect, Recall -- Both Day and Night[link]
      FryingMan's Dream Recall Tips -- Awesome Links
      “No amount of security is worth the suffering of a mediocre life chained to a routine that has killed your dreams.”
      "...develop stability in awareness and your dreams will change in extraordinary ways" -- TYoDaS

    4. #4
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      Thanks for your responses!

      In some ways dreaming frustrates me because it is so different from the kind of incremental mastery that we take for granted in relation to waking life skills. It takes a tremendous investment of time and energy to learn a language, but the path is clear enough, and steady effort yields gradual progress. I've found dreaming—both induction and control—to be much less tractable, even though I know that the only real obstacle is the shape of my own mind. I suppose one useful by-product of dream practice is that you come to understand what a challenging obstacle (to use polite language) your own mind can be, an insight potentially applicable to many other areas of life.

      My past successes in getting lucid have been... I want to say "cyclical" but that implies some kind of regular pattern or rotation, which I cannot find, so I'll have to settle for "arbitrary." Months with frequent LDs alternate with months with few or none. According to my notes, my most successful period was March and April of 2015. I wrote 50,000 words in my dream journal during those two months alone, and the dreams I had then, both LD and NLD, were some of my most memorable. What do I remember from WL about that time period? I was really, really busy and stressed with my job, and had no time for lucid dreaming! Part of the reason I was dreaming so vividly and often was that my job stress was upsetting my sleep schedule: I would work in the evening until I had to go to bed from sheer exhaustion, but the work wasn't done so I would wake up after a few hours to finish, then go to bed again. Hardcore WBTBs, however unintentional. Many nights I wasn't even *trying* to get lucid but it was happening anyway, because I was so wired from the stress that my mind was half awake even when I was asleep. It makes sense, given that it was a similar period of profound work-related stress that kickstarted my lucid dreaming in the first place.

      That was an extreme case, but overall I think that is the most reliable pattern I've been able to find. More than once I remember having a lot of vivid or lucid dreams during a stressful period at work, and thinking, "Good thing I have a break coming up—then I'll really be able to focus on my dreaming!" And what happens? Once the stress recedes, the dreams become blander and more elusive, despite my best efforts. The past year has probably been the least stressful since I've started this practice, so no wonder I'm in my longest dry spell to date!

      If this theory is correct, I should start dreaming more vividly again in a few months, when my job gets really busy and demanding again. We'll see!

      In the meantime, I'm just trying to rebuild my recall, which has dipped to pathetic levels... about 1 to 2 on a scale of 10 each night. A lot of times I wake up knowing I just dreaming but have a hard time remembering anything concrete. So I'm forcing myself to at least take some notes in my bedside journal each time I wake up, and trying not to feel too disappointed when the dreams are dull. At the moment I'd be content with some vivid, interesting NLDs!
      "You have to play the game to find out why you're playing the game." —eXistenZ (1999)

    5. #5
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      Thanks for your responses!

      In some ways dreaming frustrates me because it is so different from the kind of incremental mastery that we take for granted in relation to waking life skills. It takes a tremendous investment of time and energy to learn a language, but the path is clear enough, and steady effort yields gradual progress. I've found dreaming—both induction and control—to be much less tractable, even though I know that the only real obstacle is the shape of my own mind. I suppose one useful by-product of dream practice is that you come to understand what a challenging obstacle (to use polite language) your own mind can be, an insight potentially applicable to many other areas of life.

      My past successes in getting lucid have been... I want to say "cyclical" but that implies some kind of regular pattern or rotation, which I cannot find, so I'll have to settle for "arbitrary." Months with frequent LDs alternate with months with few or none. According to my notes, my most successful period was March and April of 2015. I wrote 50,000 words in my dream journal during those two months alone, and the dreams I had then, both LD and NLD, were some of my most memorable. What do I remember from WL about that time period? I was really, really busy and stressed with my job, and had no time for lucid dreaming! Part of the reason I was dreaming so vividly and often was that my job stress was upsetting my sleep schedule: I would work in the evening until I had to go to bed from sheer exhaustion, but the work wasn't done so I would wake up after a few hours to finish, then go to bed again. Hardcore WBTBs, however unintentional. Many nights I wasn't even *trying* to get lucid but it was happening anyway, because I was so wired from the stress that my mind was half awake even when I was asleep. It makes sense, given that it was a similar period of profound work-related stress that kickstarted my lucid dreaming in the first place.

      That was an extreme case, but overall I think that is the most reliable pattern I've been able to find. More than once I remember having a lot of vivid or lucid dreams during a stressful period at work, and thinking, "Good thing I have a break coming up—then I'll really be able to focus on my dreaming!" And what happens? Once the stress recedes, the dreams become blander and more elusive, despite my best efforts. The past year has probably been the least stressful since I've started this practice, so no wonder I'm in my longest dry spell to date!

      If this theory is correct, I should start dreaming more vividly again in a few months, when my job gets really busy and demanding again. We'll see!

      In the meantime, I'm just trying to rebuild my recall, which has dipped to pathetic levels... about 1 to 2 on a scale of 10 each night. A lot of times I wake up knowing I was just dreaming but have a hard time remembering anything concrete. So I'm forcing myself to at least take some notes in my bedside journal each time I wake up, and trying not to feel too disappointed when the dreams are dull. At the moment I'd be content with some vivid, interesting NLDs!
      "You have to play the game to find out why you're playing the game." —eXistenZ (1999)

    6. #6
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      Well, it is said that everyone's path to lucid dreams has difference, sometimes great differences, and your example is another case in point. Stress is often seen to have a negative impact on dreams and lucid dreams so it is great to see that this does not have to be the case. Reviewing your notes can provide a good deal of insight into what works for you and you may be able to find additional ways to tap into this "stress effect" without stressing yourself out.

      I'd like to second FM's advice to find fun in whatever practices you pursue so that you can keep up recall and lucid dreaming practices regularly.

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