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    Thread: Age and Lucidity

    1. #151
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      Quote Originally Posted by lenscaper View Post
      What I truly think is happening is that I am beginning to succeed in creating an unbroken continuity of consciousness between my waking life and my night time dreaming life. For me this is a very important goal. I am beginning to truly inhabit my dreams as the very same person that I am when I am awake. I make decisions....I have memories.....I have the same personality. Not all the time, of course.......but when I am that way I wake up feeling as though I am now living a much more expanded existence.
      Have other people in your life noticed anything different about you?

      Quote Originally Posted by lenscaper View Post
      From a dream yoga perspective this is allowing me to liberate tons of lingering karmic traces......and I do have tons from this long life of mine.
      That should be a really good thing. Could be painful at times, though, right? Doesn't liberating karma always have to involve some degree of suffering? I think I read that somewhere. A book about Tibetan Buddhism, I think. But don't really know much about the topic.

      Quote Originally Posted by lenscaper View Post
      It has been a few weeks since I did anything that would be considered truly lucid in a dream. No flights in a while. But I honestly feel that I have become more intrinsically lucid than ever. I have stopped asking myself if this is a dream. I just seem to know that I am dreaming without making a big deal out of it. That's is how it feels anyway.

      You're not much, if at all, into taking LD supplements, right? Do you ever take any natural sleep aids, though? Like theanine?

      Do you do anything special with your diet?

      What about mechanical or electronic devices, such a LD masks? I'm guessing not. But something like an LD mask might possibly have synergistic effects with what you're already doing.
      Last edited by Zthread; 11-06-2019 at 10:32 PM.

    2. #152
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      Quote Originally Posted by Zthread View Post
      Have other people in your life noticed anything different about you?
      Good question. I don't have a very wide circle of acquaintances these days. I live with my co-star in an empty nest and she already sees me as a somewhat unique individual. I finish my exercise routine in the morning before work with a 4 minute headstand. I keep my dreaming to myself.

      You're not much, if at all, into taking LD supplements, right? Do you ever take any natural sleep aids, though? Like theanine?

      Do you do anything special with your diet?

      What about mechanical or electronic devices, such a LD masks? I'm guessing not. But something like an LD mask might possibly have synergistic effects with what you're already doing.
      No supplements. I tried Claridream very early on and decided i did not need it. No drugs....not even any medications.

      I'm pretty tight with my diet. No junk food ever....lots of organic vegetables. No red meat for the last 40 years or so....organic poultry.

      One major dietary enhancement is the kefir I have been making from grains for the last three years. I bought completely into that whole "gut bacteria rules the roost" thing back then and have not looked back. I am definitely a "bactosapien" these days. Healthier than I have ever been.
      Zthread likes this.
      The more I gaze....the more I crave to see

      With this sleep that is conscious....the sun rises in the night.

    3. #153
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      Quote Originally Posted by lenscaper View Post
      Really?

      Debatable, right?

      Here is an interesting take on that from a cognitive neuroscientist. It's a little heady and kind of long....

      https://aeon.co/videos/its-impossibl...neuroscientist
      Just listened to the whole thing. Quite thought provoking!

      If I understand it correctly, he's saying that as a conscious entities we don't experience the true nature of reality because the only thing each of us experiences is our own consciousness. And the consciousness we each experience is actually just our highest-level consciousness. We (meaning each of our highest-level consciousnesses) don't directly experience the lower-level consciousness of agents within our own minds. For example, maybe what we call our subconscious consists of one or more lower-level agents that are themselves conscious and that contribute to our high-level consciousness. What he's saying, which I think is true, is that I (meaning the highest-level of consciousness produced by my mind) normally never experience what my lower-level agents experience. That is, I don't know what it's like to be them. Similarly, they don't know what it's like to be me.

      At best maybe I can sometimes get a hint of what these lower-level agents experience, based on things they do to me. For example, I think my subconscious has a lot of control over my dreams. It tries to alter my dreams in ways it considers to be good and tries to prevent me from dreaming things it considers to be bad. So by looking at my dreams I can learn something about its personality. Sometimes it behaves in a very practical manner. For example, if I really have to pee while having a dream, it does what it can to prevent me from wetting the bed by preventing me from finding a suitable place to pee in the dream. That happens to me a lot in dreams.

      What he's also saying is that we can't directly experience the consciousness of other conscious entities outside of ourselves. If I see you smile I may infer that you're happy about something. But I don't really know for sure what you're actually feeling. I can never know what it's really like to be you. At least I don't know of any method that would allow me to directly experience what you're experiencing. But what other entities are experiencing is a huge part of reality. What he's saying is that we're cut off from that reality.

      Anyway, that's my interpretation of what he's saying. What's your interpretation?

      BTW, that aeon.co website looks like it has a lot of really great stuff on it.
      Last edited by Zthread; 11-06-2019 at 11:38 PM.

    4. #154
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      Quote Originally Posted by Zthread View Post
      What's your interpretation?
      I need to watch it again to really wrap my head around what he is postulating. What I have taken away from it so far is that the only thing that is truly real is our consciousness. All of the things that we experience around us are really icons for something much, much deeper.....and our bodies are pretty much user interfaces that allow us to use these icons around us to access the reality of our consciousness. Something along those lines.

      That resonates with me on a number of levels, including dreaming. If it's true that our consciousness is what is real then when we carry conscious thought with us from the waking world to the dream we are basically extending our "real lives" into the dream, thereby adding all that sleep time to our "conscious existence". That may, however fly in the face of true lucid dreaming where we want to see the dream as "not real" so that we can change it as we wish.

      Hmmmmm.......I see it the other way around. If consciousness truly is reality and we can develop the ability to carry that consciousness between the dream and the waking world, then both of those worlds are the same. That begs the question for LDers......are they both real or are they both a dream?

      Toward the end he alluded to the possibility of sharing consciousness....combining that shared consciousness into one. I need to revisit that to see if I got that right. That would open some very cool possibilities for the continued evolution of a collective human consciousness.

      The more I gaze....the more I crave to see

      With this sleep that is conscious....the sun rises in the night.

    5. #155
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      Quote Originally Posted by lenscaper View Post
      Good question. I don't have a very wide circle of acquaintances these days. I live with my co-star in an empty nest and she already sees me as a somewhat unique individual. I finish my exercise routine in the morning before work with a 4 minute headstand. I keep my dreaming to myself.
      That's a long time to do a headstand! So she's not interested in your dreaming? Seems like most people aren't.

      Quote Originally Posted by lenscaper View Post
      No supplements. I tried Claridream very early on and decided i did not need it. No drugs....not even any medications.
      Good to not use them, especially if they're not needed.

      Quote Originally Posted by lenscaper View Post
      I'm pretty tight with my diet. No junk food ever....lots of organic vegetables. No red meat for the last 40 years or so....organic poultry.
      That should be really healthy.

      Quote Originally Posted by lenscaper View Post
      One major dietary enhancement is the kefir I have been making from grains for the last three years. I bought completely into that whole "gut bacteria rules the roost" thing back then and have not looked back. I am definitely a "bactosapien" these days. Healthier than I have ever been.
      What does that taste like? Haven't tried that, but it's true the microorganisms in our body are really important. The bad ones can make us sick or kill us, but we'd die without the good ones.
      Last edited by Zthread; 11-07-2019 at 10:37 PM.

    6. #156
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      Quote Originally Posted by lenscaper View Post
      I need to watch it again to really wrap my head around what he is postulating. What I have taken away from it so far is that the only thing that is truly real is our consciousness. All of the things that we experience around us are really icons for something much, much deeper.....and our bodies are pretty much user interfaces that allow us to use these icons around us to access the reality of our consciousness. Something along those lines.
      Yes, the stuff about our bodies and sense perception being analogous to user interfaces that let us control a computer without us knowing anything about what's really going on in the computer (e.g., voltage levels in different parts of the circuitry, etc.). But is he really saying that the only thing that's real is consciousness? Maybe. I'm listening to it again right now. At one point he says "...the probability that we see reality as it is is zero." And that's based on the assumption that our senses were based on evolution (i.e., natural selection, random mutations, survival of the fittest, etc.). So he's not saying there isn't some physical reality out there, just that we don't really see it as it is. Instead, we just sense what we need to about it in order to have a reasonably high probability of surviving long enough to reproduce. The idea of survival implies some kind of physical reality, though, doesn't it? Or maybe in a reality that's purely non-physical (i.e., that consists only of consciousness) there could still be entities that survive and entities that don't survive?

      He also says, "...the problem is that the very language of space and time and physical objects is the wrong language to describe objective reality. You could not frame a true description of the world in that language." So he's not saying there is no objective reality, just that we can't really know anything about what it actually is. Seems similar to Kant's doctrine of transcendental idealism, which says that we can know how things appear to us, but can never know anything about things in themselves.

      https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Transcendental_idealism

      He also says at one point that our senses provide us with a way of controlling reality without knowing anything about it.

      He goes on to say, "So now the question that you asked is 'What is that reality?' And the right answer is 'I don't know.' " So he doesn't seem to be saying there's no such thing as physical reality. Instead he's saying that we just don't know what reality is. Maybe even various concepts about reality such as the idea that it's purely based on physical entities out of which consciousness somehow arises, or the idea that reality consists only of consciousness are all without meaning, according to his view. Because if he's correct in saying that we don't know anything at all about the true nature of reality, then how can we have any valid concepts relating to it?

      He then goes on to talk about the "hard problem of consciousness":

      https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hard_p..._consciousness

      He says, "And I'm trying to think of a theory of reality that will allow me to solve the hard problem of consciousness. The problem is this: We have a lot of interesting data that gives us correlations about certain kinds of brain activity and certain conscious experiences that we have."

      But what I don't understand is: If we're fundamentally incapable of knowing anything about reality, how can we hope to develop a theory of reality? It seems totally futile. He even talks about data that he seems to be implying tells us something about reality, while simultaneously denying that we can know anything about reality. Collecting and utilizing data on brain activity, for example, seems to assume we know something about the reality of brains. How could that make sense, given his view that we can't know anything at all about reality?

      Anyway, to continue. He says at some point, "And so this theory of evolution that I mentioned that says we don't see reality as it is has a really strange consequence. It means that when I see a physical object like an apple, effectively I'm creating that apple as a data structure in my interface much like if I'm in a virtual reality and I have a headset on and every time I turn over here I will see something--I'm rendering that in real time--I see an apple. As I go over here, I'm no longer rendering, uh, the apple's gone, but as soon as I return over there, I will again create a three-dimensional apple. So I'm saying this doesn't just happen in virtual reality, it happens in everyday life. I look over here, I see an apple, I'm literally creating that data structure, because now I'm..., effectively the apple is a description of fitness payoffs and how to get them. It's all about fitness, that's the key thing, evolution is all about fitness. But that means that the objects don't exist as pre-existing things. When I see an apple, we like to think well that's because there really is an apple, and I'm saying, no no, there's some other reality out there, but just like the blue icon on your desktop doesn't resemble the true file, the apple doesn't resemble anything in objective reality. It's an abstract data structure that's just telling you how to act to get fitness payoffs. Here's the kicker: When you look inside your brain...inside your skull and you see a brain, that's also just a data structure that you're creating. Neurons are just data structures. They don't exist, and this is the weird stuff, I don't have a brain when no one looks, and some of my colleagues would say, 'Yeah, I agree with that. Ha ha! You don't have a brain!' But the point of this is that we create any physical object that we see in the moment that we see it, and so neurons don't exist when they're not perceived, therefore neurons could not be the source of our conscious experiences."

      I think he's getting things mixed up there. How can he know whether apples or neurons really exist, if he can't know anything about reality? He could say that sometimes we create the data structure of an apple or the data structure of a neuron, depending on the situation, but that doesn't say anything about whether those things in themselves (i.e., actual apples or actual neurons) exist or not in reality. I think he's mixing up our perception of reality with reality itself. That is, he's mixing up epistemology with metaphysics. But maybe I'm misunderstanding what he's saying.

      He goes on to say, "So, what is reality? It's a long answer to your question, but the answer is I don't know, but I'm trying to come up with a reality that would allow me to solve this hard problem of consciousness. So if the brain is just a symbol that we create when we look, and I'm trying to understand how consciousness is related to it, if I start with a theory in which consciousness is fundamental, and I have to do it scientifically, saying what do I mean precisely by consciousness, with mathematical precision, and I have this theory of, that I call, conscious agents, in which conscious agents interact. It's like a... The proposal is that reality is a vast social network. It's like a Twitter-verse or Facebook, so it's a big social network of conscious agents, that's the reality. They're not in space and time. They're just consciousnesses interacting with each other. As they interact, they are passing experiences back and forth. And it's an infinite Twitter-verse, an infinite set of consciousnesses out there in this big social universe, yeah, social-network universe, and any single conscious agent in that network would be overwhelmed trying to understand all of it. Like if you were trying to understand Twitter, there's tens of millions, hundreds of millions, of users, billions of Tweets. How are you going to try to understand what's going on in the Twitter-verse. Well, you can't. But what you can do is you can use visualization tools. Suppose I have a visualization tool that compresses it all down, shows you what's trending in this city and what's trending over there. So you compress it all down, maybe into something you can see through a headset... That's what evolution did for us. The reality is this big vast social network of interacting conscious agents. Each individual agent would be overwhelmed, because it's infinite--social network. And, so, what we call the physical world just is our visualization tool. That's what we have."

      OK, so that's interesting. It's obvious to me that many conscious agents exist and that they interact with each other. I have to agree with him on that. But, given that he doesn't believe we can ever know anything at all about reality, how could he, or anyone else, ever find evidence of any kind for or against his theory that reality is an infinite network of interacting conscious agents? In fact, how could any science of any kind be possible, if it's fundamentally impossible to know anything about the nature of reality? Also, how could his theory help to solve the hard problem of consciousness? Maybe he gets into that later in the video.

      He also talks about how we don't directly perceive anything about anyone else's consciousness. For example, if we look at someone's face, we learn very little about their consciousness. We may get some idea of their emotional state, but that's about it. I think that's a valid point. We only directly experience our own consciousness.

      Then he goes on to say that we mistakenly conclude from the fact that we can't directly experience other consciousnesses to mean that reality is fundamentally unconscious. Not sure that's a common mistake. Most people don't deny that consciousness exists, do they? There are different theories about what consciousness is and where it comes from, but I think most people understand that it exists. At least, one's own consciousness must exist, because we experience it directly. Another question, though, is does reality include entities that are unconscious, or does everything have some degree of consciousness. I get the feeling that he thinks everything has some degree of consciousness, but I'm not sure.

      Listening to more of it, I do think he thinks consciousness is probably fundamental. Meaning that the physical realm, to the extent that it exists, comes out of consciousness. So that is more or less what you were saying in the quote from you at the top of this post. That is, the only thing that is real, or at least that we can really know is real, is consciousness. I thing that's what he believes is probably true, although ultimately he says we can't really know anything about what's real.

      He says, "I don't know what the truth is. I'm just a scientist. I'm just proposing a bold hypothesis that consciousness is fundamental and it's real. Now if it's false, it's false, we'll find out...."

      But how could we ever find out, if his assertion is true that we can't ever know anything about the true nature of reality? That's the main thing that bothers me. Seems like there's a contradiction there, but it could be I'm just not understanding what he's saying.

      Quote Originally Posted by lenscaper View Post
      That resonates with me on a number of levels, including dreaming. If it's true that our consciousness is what is real then when we carry conscious thought with us from the waking world to the dream we are basically extending our "real lives" into the dream, thereby adding all that sleep time to our "conscious existence".
      Good point! Wonder what he would say about that.

      That may, however fly in the face of true lucid dreaming where we want to see the dream as "not real" so that we can change it as we wish.
      True. I would assume that most people who are into LDs believe the physical world is real.

      Hmmmmm.......I see it the other way around. If consciousness truly is reality and we can develop the ability to carry that consciousness between the dream and the waking world, then both of those worlds are the same. That begs the question for LDers......are they both real or are they both a dream?
      Great question! Really would like to know what he'd say about that. He talks about our sense perceptions, and so forth, as being analogous to a user interface on a computer, but, instead, it's a user interface that lets us interact with reality in a way that promotes our survival from an evolutionary standpoint. But is it just as much a user interface to reality when we're dreaming as it is when we're awake?!

      Toward the end he alluded to the possibility of sharing consciousness....combining that shared consciousness into one. I need to revisit that to see if I got that right. That would open some very cool possibilities for the continued evolution of a collective human consciousness.

      Yes, that would be worth exploring! No idea at all how it would be explored, however. Another question that comes to mind in that regard is, if his theory is correct that reality fundamentally consists of interactions between an infinite number of conscious entities, then why doesn't the interface to reality that evolution has given us provide us with any direct experience of the consciousness of conscious entities other than ourselves? Instead, it just appears to give us information about a purely physical, non-conscious (and perhaps completely illusory) "reality." We seem to be almost completely cut off from what others are experiencing as conscious beings. All we can do is get a very imprecise idea of what they're experiencing, based on what they say, what facial expressions they make, etc.
      Last edited by Zthread; 11-08-2019 at 02:54 AM.

    7. #157
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      Quote Originally Posted by Zthread View Post
      Is he really saying that the only thing that's real is consciousness? Maybe.
      i think that is what he is saying.....or at least strongly alluding to I love how he carries on with that kind of mischievous smile as he drops all of this very provocative stuff on us. And, yes.....he readily admits that he could be wrong, even as he says that much of this has been proven mathematically.

      He goes on to say, "So now the question that you asked is 'What is that reality?' And the right answer is 'I don't know.' " So he doesn't seem to be saying there's no such thing as physical reality. Instead he's saying that we just don't know what reality is.
      Zthread likes this.
      The more I gaze....the more I crave to see

      With this sleep that is conscious....the sun rises in the night.

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      Quote Originally Posted by lenscaper View Post
      i think that is what he is saying.....or at least strongly alluding to I love how he carries on with that kind of mischievous smile as he drops all of this very provocative stuff on us.
      Yes, definitely thought provoking stuff! Really fun to think about.

      Quote Originally Posted by lenscaper View Post
      And, yes.....he readily admits that he could be wrong, even as he says that much of this has been proven mathematically.
      Right, he did say those things. If it's mathematically correct, how could it be wrong? I think it's because a theory can be mathematically self-consistent but still not be an accurate description of reality.
      Last edited by Zthread; 11-08-2019 at 10:50 PM.

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      Have been thinking more about that video interview with cognitive scientist Donald Hoffman.

      One thing that doesn't make sense to me is that if consciousness, as opposed to matter, is the fundamental basis of reality, then why does the nature and even existence of consciousness appear to be so dependent on matter? For example, if we ingest certain material substances, such as alcohol or cannabis, it directly impacts our conscious experience in obvious ways. Other material substances, such as certain general anesthetics, can even cause our consciousness to completely disappear, at least temporarily. And physical measurements (EEGs, etc.) of our brain activity directly correlate strongly with the nature or even presence or absence of our consciousness. It seems far more plausible to assume that matter existing in space and time is the fundamental basis of reality and that consciousness is dependent on matter. That is, different configurations of matter produce different forms of consciousness, including the absence of consciousness. How do you think Hoffman would respond to this line of reasoning?

      The other thing that doesn't make sense to me is his claim that we can't know anything at all about reality. That doesn't seem plausible, given the vast knowledge we've accumulated over the centuries regarding how reality behaves. Specifically, the laws of physics. It's true that we don't know everything about reality, but we know enough to have developed advanced technologies that work extremely well. If we didn't really know anything about reality, how could we possibly make working automobiles, aircraft, spacecraft, communication systems, computers, and so forth? It seems far more plausible and useful to assume that we really do know quite a bit about reality, to the point where we can describe how it behaves mathematically in minute detail, as well as to control how it behaves in sophisticated and useful ways.
      Last edited by Zthread; 11-08-2019 at 10:54 PM.

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      Yeah....that piece really does leave one pondering. I actually watched it again today to try to wrap my head around his concepts. It really is a good mental exercise.

      Quote Originally Posted by Zthread View Post
      How do you think Hoffman would respond to this line of reasoning?
      As far as consciousness being dependent on matter.....is it really? Perhaps consciousness itself exists within us in a primordial state and we are merely changing our perception of it through these physical means.

      I think we can know reality, as he depicts it, but to do so we may need to transcend our graspings and aversions to somehow see everything in that fleeting first moment of pure perception that exists, once again, in that primordial state.
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      The more I gaze....the more I crave to see

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      Quote Originally Posted by lenscaper View Post
      Yeah....that piece really does leave one pondering. I actually watched it again today to try to wrap my head around his concepts. It really is a good mental exercise.
      Yes, it really is!

      Quote Originally Posted by lenscaper View Post
      As far as consciousness being dependent on matter.....is it really? Perhaps consciousness itself exists within us in a primordial state and we are merely changing our perception of it through these physical means.
      Perhaps that's true, but what's the evidence for it? All the evidence I've ever seen indicates to me that matter trumps consciousness. That is matter can alter or even destroy consciousness, but consciousness can't alter matter in any way. At least I've never observed consciousness altering matter. If I have a bottle of whiskey on my desk, I can't use my consciousness to alter that bottle of whiskey in any way. I can leave the room so that I can no longer see the bottle, and I may even forget it's there, but it'll still be there when I get back into the room, assuming no physical (i.e., matter-based) incident has destroyed it or moved it somewhere else. If I drink some whiskey from the bottle, on the other hand, it will alter my consciousness. It may even cause my consciousness to temporarily stop existing, if I drink enough of it. That is, it could cause me to black out. And if I drink way too much of it, it may even permanently destroy my consciousness (i.e., kill me). So it seems most plausible that from a metaphysical standpoint matter is primary and consciousness is secondary.

      Quote Originally Posted by lenscaper View Post
      I think we can know reality, as he depicts it, but to do so we may need to transcend our graspings and aversions to somehow see everything in that fleeting first moment of pure perception that exists, once again, in that primordial state.
      So, through various consciousness-enhancing practices, such as meditation? And lucid dreaming!

    12. #162
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      Quote Originally Posted by Zthread View Post
      All the evidence I've ever seen indicates to me that matter trumps consciousness. That is matter can alter or even destroy consciousness, but consciousness can't alter matter in any way.
      That whiskey bottle is just an empty vessel really....in its essence. It has no substantive nature (to me) until I ascribe that nature to it through my desire to drink from it. My consciousness makes the whiskey bottle real....to me. When I leave the room and stop thinking about it, that bottle ceases to exist...for me. In fact, if I direct all of my consciousness at that spot on the wall behind the bottle......it ceases to exist right there in front of me......for me. Now if you come into the room and pour yourself a drink while I am fully involved with that spot on the wall....the whiskey bottle takes on substance for you....but not for me.

      All that sounds pretty good after writing it......I'll be pondering it all day and see if anything sticks.

      I think we have a great deal to still discover about human consciousness as we continue to evolve as a species.

      So, through various consciousness-enhancing practices, such as meditation? And lucid dreaming!
      Definitely!!!! I see lucid dreaming as an incredibly powerful tool in the quest to become fully realized beings....our true selves.
      The more I gaze....the more I crave to see

      With this sleep that is conscious....the sun rises in the night.

    13. #163
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      So....I have been practicing dream yoga protocols for a month or more now and just letting my dreams come that way. I have felt a slow and very steady build-up of clarity and awareness along with a marked increase in the number of dreams I have and remember. These basic protocols as outlined in "The Tibetan Yogas of Dream and Sleep" are performed throughout the night after each natural sleep cycle.

      I have been finding myself with an extra hour or two toward my rise time and this weekend I decided to take advantage off that time by attempting some wake induction techniques. I have never been very successful at achieving a fully realized WILD but this time things were a bit different. What was amazing was how quickly I found myself in HI and how fully involved I became. I incorporated a few of the other techniques I have been working on at the beginning and after a short while I found myself drifting out of my sleeping body and into a dream body.

      I tried to go to a few places that I have been in dream but the results were hazy and incomplete. So at one point I consciously pulled everything back to the bed. My body was asleep.....possibly even in SP but I could still feel intense energy building within. I was definitely awake and in that sweet spot just before sleep. Suddenly I was out in the back yard.....I felt myself rush out through the bedroom wall, through the music studio and out that exterior wall. The moon was in the western sky. I woke up.

      I am posting this experience to underscore the impact of concentrating on a steady program for an extended period of time to establish lucid intent and to relax into a personal protocol. After nine months of daily practice and training I am still blown away by what we can achieve. I know that more control will come.
      The more I gaze....the more I crave to see

      With this sleep that is conscious....the sun rises in the night.

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