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    Thread: Why do people fall off the wagon?

    1. #1
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      Why do people fall off the wagon?

      I'm curious why people may start making progress with dream recall, achieving lucidity, and then giving up.

      I do remember about a decade ago, when I'd gone through a divorce about a year earlier, difficult at the time, but I thought I was well over it. I started working on dream recall, and was appalled to find my ex-wife turning up in practically every single dream. Talking urgently to me through a closed window so I couldn't hear a word she was saying, that kind of thing. I never thought about her during the day! It got so annoying that I gave up trying. I just didn't want to see her anymore.

      Hmmm. I've done yoga and meditation pretty much every day for years now, and I still feel resistance every single morning when I look at the yoga mat. But I do it. When I was younger, I often started those things, felt wonderful -- but didn't keep up with it. I wonder what it is?

      Ha. I remember my father started doing yoga, an extremely unlikely development for anyone who knew him. He stuck with it for a surprisingly long time. I didn't see him for a while, but when I did, I asked him how he was going with it. He gave me a look and said he'd given up. I asked why. He said "Oh, I just got sick of feeling so goddamned good all the time." Haha.

      Resistance is a funny thing.

      I guess it's not the only reason. People get busy, have babies, tough periods at work, whatever.

      I guess it's also quite a lot of work, it requires effort. I guess if you feel you aren't making progress, you get dispirited.

      What else? What are other reasons?

    2. #2
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      In my mind this would kind of seem to apply to lots of things in life, as per your example with your dad and yoga. You're right that resistance is a funny thing and I would guess that motivation alone can be a big factor in it. But what drives motivation doesn't always feel like the same thing.

      Like for me personally, I used to go to the gym very often as a teen because I wanted muscle mass and so on, then eventually after a year or two dropped it for some reason. I think because a friend I went with stopped being available and that was important because he was the kind of person that did push me to do more. Then I would go running, again mostly with another friend or two; part of the motivation there was actually more just to hang out actually. So when it started being the case that it was mostly by myself, it just slipped away too. At several points in my life I've returned to physical exercise in general and never stuck with it, despite being something I really enjoy. The constant factor? I can't be bothered to do it if I'm alone and I'm not interested in doing it with random people, I feel a need to know them from somewhere.

      Yet, the same is true for me with games. Every year I will rotate between playing several different games, often even the same ones and online games in particular go for the longest if I'm interacting with someone specific quite often. I get really into a game and then suddenly after a few weeks or months, the interest magically drops off if nobody else is holding my interest, regardless of whatever goals I had.

      So yeah, sometimes I've been doing some things because of a direct goal/benefit from the activity itself and other times I've been doing things because of a social element to the activity. Especially over the last three or four years it's become more apparent to me that I have my own cycles in terms of interests and activities, even for very trivial things.

      Also yeah, life does get in the way of anything as you point out, though putting that aside, to me it would seem that keeping up with an activity isn't just about effort and that it's not just about a potential benefit or gratification either.

      I haven't made "real" progress with becoming lucid in dreams for quite a long while now, and yet I haven't dropped the interest really. I don't have a certain motivation I did have once upon a time, but then a lot of other interests I had around the time I first got the interest for lucid dreaming have also become subdued. I'll say one thing though, especially from my experience with exercising and making art, if something doesn't feel easy or convenient to get into, it feels way more difficult to get started if nobody else is pushing for it. And the danger of someone else pushing for it is that it can make the resistance factor worse, depending on their way of going about it.

      Dreaming as a whole and making art are on a pretty similar level for me and from what you've said I'd say that those things to me are like yoga is to you every day. I have long-term interests in those areas and when I'm into it, I'll be making an effort and pushing past any initial resistance (which almost always exists) even daily, but I do sometimes go through periods where absolutely nothing is happening/being done, like right now, and every time this happens I do have confidence that I'll be able to get myself back into each area of interest, which does always happen sooner or later. I find plenty of things challenging and frustrating about both dreaming and art, but I also really value the desired outcomes, when they happen, so that's a pretty big motivation factor.
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    3. #3
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      Hey, congrats on your yoga and meditation practice!

      ---------------------------------------------------------------------
      I haven't been so serious about doing lucid practice either. Although, I try to adapt to my current schedule or sleep cycle. I always thought that Lucid dreaming was a long game that would always have challenges, stress, chemical, and psychological imbalances.(Generally speaking)
      Or those naysayers that you should do it their way or that you are doing it wrong, or that they know better and shove their experience down your throat. I would expect it and take it with a grain of salt. (IMO)
      Pace yourself when you have stress and challenges.

      This may be a little off-topic.
      #1 tip: It is probably best, not to waste your time comparing yourself to other lucid dreamers. Instead, focus on your own lucid Journey. Find your own learning style for lucid dreaming. Also, don't force something that is not ready to come.

      One who admits to knowing nothing is open to experiencing all things in existence. We're only limited to our own self-development in parallel with self-awareness. (IMO)




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    4. #4
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      I've fallen off and gotten back on many times. The way I see it, since the subconscious is so hypersensitive to everything you experience, dreams naturally reflect that. So I expect my dreams to be unpredictable and hard to control as long as I find life itself unpredictable and hard to control. Likewise I feel my difficulty in attaining lucidity likely corresponds to how I struggle to be actually lucid, objective and realistic, in the way I perceive, conceptualize and act on my circumstances in life, which is not always easy to do. Of course it's a skill like anything else that improves with practice, but I guess what I mean is that practicing this has to do with more than just dreams themselves.

      I see success with lucidity and understanding my dreams like achieving inner balance, which of course is no small task for anyone. I believe this because dreams are like an embodiment of the subconscious, and unless you have the strongest and purest of minds, there's always something within you that needs fixing, or something you've neglected or forgotten about, or some fear or trauma that still needs confronting. And unlike your conscious mind, your subconscious won't lie to you about or ignore these things, and I think that when it confronts you with them, your emotional response to them may prevent lucidity the same way it gets in the way of proper judgment in real life. Something you're strongly attached to or hung up on arrests your attention when you encounter it, in a way blinding you to everything else.

      So I feel that being able to innately recognize dreams must come from a deep and honest understanding of oneself. It's one of the major reasons I pursue this to begin with, and also why I think it can be so difficult. I really believe that my flaws and weaknesses, in all respects, are the most direct barrier to my success with this. I also think it's no coincidence that meditation is such an important factor as well. I think it's a matter of disciplining yourself and maturing your perception. It's a kind of self development that naturally has its ups and downs.

      For me it's part of a spiritual journey, or whatever you prefer to call it. Acceptance, learning to see things objectively, keeping the ego in check, mending relationships with others, things like that. And the freedom and insight in lucid dreams is the reward for patience and self-discipline. It's my personal view at least, naturally it's a subjective matter. Ultimately, the real reasons for everyone's difficulty with lucidity most likely are as varied as people themselves; their individual beliefs, subjective experiences and personal struggles. But as difficult as lucidity can be for me, the small (and sometimes big) victories are enough to keep me going. Personally, I'm just thankful to even know it's possible at all, and to be fortunate enough to have access to all the resources and communities for it that exist today. So I'm never going to give up on it completely, even if I experience periods of fatigue.

    5. #5
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      Quote Originally Posted by kellow View Post
      I've fallen off and gotten back on many times. The way I see it, since the subconscious is so hypersensitive to everything you experience, dreams naturally reflect that. So I expect my dreams to be unpredictable and hard to control as long as I find life itself unpredictable and hard to control. Likewise I feel my difficulty in attaining lucidity likely corresponds to how I struggle to be actually lucid, objective and realistic, in the way I perceive, conceptualize and act on my circumstances in life, which is not always easy to do. Of course it's a skill like anything else that improves with practice, but I guess what I mean is that practicing this has to do with more than just dreams themselves.

      I see success with lucidity and understanding my dreams like achieving inner balance, which of course is no small task for anyone. I believe this because dreams are like an embodiment of the subconscious, and unless you have the strongest and purest of minds, there's always something within you that needs fixing, or something you've neglected or forgotten about, or some fear or trauma that still needs confronting. And unlike your conscious mind, your subconscious won't lie to you about or ignore these things, and I think that when it confronts you with them, your emotional response to them may prevent lucidity the same way it gets in the way of proper judgment in real life. Something you're strongly attached to or hung up on arrests your attention when you encounter it, in a way blinding you to everything else.

      So I feel that being able to innately recognize dreams must come from a deep and honest understanding of oneself. It's one of the major reasons I pursue this to begin with, and also why I think it can be so difficult. I really believe that my flaws and weaknesses, in all respects, are the most direct barrier to my success with this. I also think it's no coincidence that meditation is such an important factor as well. I think it's a matter of disciplining yourself and maturing your perception. It's a kind of self development that naturally has its ups and downs.

      For me it's part of a spiritual journey, or whatever you prefer to call it. Acceptance, learning to see things objectively, keeping the ego in check, mending relationships with others, things like that. And the freedom and insight in lucid dreams is the reward for patience and self-discipline. It's my personal view at least, naturally it's a subjective matter. Ultimately, the real reasons for everyone's difficulty with lucidity most likely are as varied as people themselves; their individual beliefs, subjective experiences and personal struggles. But as difficult as lucidity can be for me, the small (and sometimes big) victories are enough to keep me going. Personally, I'm just thankful to even know it's possible at all, and to be fortunate enough to have access to all the resources and communities for it that exist today. So I'm never going to give up on it completely, even if I experience periods of fatigue.
      Thanks very much for sharing your thoughts.

      Yes, I guess it's like the resistance I felt when I started seeing my ex-wife in my dreams every night, so I gave up trying to recall them. If that was all I was going to get, why bother? But a more mature approach would have been to engage with her in the dream, to listen to her and try to come to terms with her.

      But I didn't want to.

      So maybe it's more than just patience and discipline, it might be about being prepared to do things that you don't want to do. People get attached to their dysfunctional selves and don't like being told to change, even if the entity telling them to change is their higher self. A bit like my father, with his two packs a day of Camel no-filter cigarettes not being able to cope with yoga, even when it made him feel better. I think the idea of abandoning his idea of who he was that he'd held for so long was a bit too scary.
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    6. #6
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      Quote Originally Posted by WanderAbout View Post
      I'm curious why people may start making progress with dream recall, achieving lucidity, and then giving up.
      Not all people have the same intent or the same devotion when it comes to a particular subject. For example we have elite athletes who devote their whole lives to a particular sport and everything else becomes secondary... while others do that sport once a week or once in a while.

      Our motivation and intents can change a lot. For me personally I realized that since more than a decade I was constantly "cycling" with lucid dreams, it constantly comes back if I shift my focus on something else. I dont think it will ever leave me. Its part of who I am.

      So yeah for some people it will just be a temporary interest, it lasts as long the "superficial" motivation" or desire is there. For people like me it is more a part of their identity, in the same way that lets say a "healthy diet" is for others. lol

      Oh I almost forgot... there is those who literally dont care about lucid dreaming and do nothing consciously for them to happen yet they live in a way that the indirect causation for lucid dreaming is established (like self awareness etc...).
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    7. #7
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      I don't think people should be just focused on lucid dreaming only but, maybe focus more on their sleeping habits and the way they learn. I have noticed some newbies who practice lucid dreaming in hopes to have it every night. Nothing wrong with that.
      Only to find out that they are making their lucid habits worse because of a lack of sleep Or that it is way more work than they thought. Then they quit because of frustration or have a mental breakdown.


      Quote Originally Posted by allismind View Post

      Our motivation and intents can change a lot. For me personally I realized that since more than a decade I was constantly "cycling" with lucid dreams, it constantly comes back if I shift my focus on something else. I dont think it will ever leave me. Its part of who I am.
      .
      Have you ever had this problem, people getting mad at you because you are succeeding in lucid dreaming?
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    8. #8
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      Quote Originally Posted by Lang View Post
      I don't think people should be just focused on lucid dreaming only but, maybe focus more on their sleeping habits and the way they learn. I have noticed some newbies who practice lucid dreaming in hopes to have it every night. Nothing wrong with that.
      Only to find out that they are making their lucid habits worse because of a lack of sleep Or that it is way more work than they thought. Then they quit because of frustration or have a mental breakdown.

      Have you ever had this problem, people getting mad at you because you are succeeding in lucid dreaming?

      I agree moderation applies to everything. Any unhealthy extreme is not desirable... lol Even if I wanted to focus only on lucid dreaming I couldn't because there is so much more to life.

      No never had that problem haha. I honestly believe that lucid dreaming is easy and natural so part of lucid dreaming is about that belief and self confidence. I personally believe that any method that exists is only serving as that "placebo" purpose. It simply gives you a reason to allow yourself to believe that you can lucid dream in exchange of some "techniques" practice. Basically focusin on something makes it expand... (Im aware that many will not agree with this Im simply giving my opinion lol)
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    9. #9
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      Quote Originally Posted by WanderAbout View Post
      But a more mature approach would have been to engage with her in the dream, to listen to her and try to come to terms with her.

      But I didn't want to.
      I can't blame you at all, I can't imagine what an emotional burden that must have been and how frustrating it was for your subconscious to keep beating you up with something you probably just wanted to be behind you already. I'd have been discouraged too.

      Your story actually reminds me about when I was first learning and reading about lucid dreaming; after learning about dream signs and identifying them in my dream journal, I was surprised to find that by far the most prominent one was my dad. My parents separated when I was younger, and by the time I started studying LDs it had been a couple of years since I lived with him. But the thing is at that point I wasn't dwelling on it at all, at least not consciously. I still saw him and talked on the phone with him, and I honestly thought things were fine, or at least good enough, with him. I felt that way for years before latent issues in our relationship started gradually revealing themselves, and I began to realize importance of what my dreams were showing me. It's still complicated today, but I'm in a better place with it, and I think he showed up in my dreams less once I started recognizing and dealing with those issues.

      It's honestly scary how much better your dreams seem to know you than you know yourself. They show you things you're not always ready to handle yet. Sometimes you just aren't prepared to be faced with the raw data of your mind, like anything, it takes time to come to grips with and there's nothing wrong with that. I think as long as I'm struggling with lucid dreaming, there's something else about myself I need to work on, and vice versa, lol.
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    10. #10
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      Quote Originally Posted by kellow View Post
      It's honestly scary how much better your dreams seem to know you than you know yourself. They show you things you're not always ready to handle yet. Sometimes you just aren't prepared to be faced with the raw data of your mind, like anything, it takes time to come to grips with and there's nothing wrong with that. I think as long as I'm struggling with lucid dreaming, there's something else about myself I need to work on, and vice versa, lol.
      I can't agree more.
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      Quote Originally Posted by kellow View Post
      It's honestly scary how much better your dreams seem to know you than you know yourself. They show you things you're not always ready to handle yet. Sometimes you just aren't prepared to be faced with the raw data of your mind, like anything, it takes time to come to grips with and there's nothing wrong with that. I think as long as I'm struggling with lucid dreaming, there's something else about myself I need to work on, and vice versa, lol.
      I was just listening to LaBerge's Exploring Lucid Dreaming this morning. At one point, he talks about being on the verge of lucidity, wondering if he might be in a dream -- but a friend in the dream arguing very convincingly that there was a logical explanation for everything that was going on. Well, if you assume that in some way, he created the friend, it seems to mean that part of him was actively fighting becoming lucid. Resistance, again. It really does seem that some parts of ourselves would prefer that we are fat, unhealthy, lazy, procrastinating, pick-your-bad-habit sleep walkers.
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    12. #12
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      Major life events, the death of a spouse, the very serious and upsetting chronic sickness of an adult child, world events, have thrown curveballs that derailed my practice. Also good things: falling in love again, building a new family.

      I never really left the practice entirely, even when I stopped DJing, I would almost always pay at least a little attention to my dreams (but the lucids stop without focused intent, as do the epic non-lucids).

      It turns out getting back on the bicycle is more challenging after a number of years have gone by. Getting older, the appearance of sleep and health issues, more stress, etc. makes it tougher.

      But I'm focusing in on a specific practice, as espoused in the new edition of The Tibetan Yogas of Dream and Sleep. I think it's something I can do for life. That's one of the attractions, is that it leverages the practice not only to produce vivid and lucid dreams, but also for liberation from suffering and for reaching towards enlightenment.

      I also think the fact that it's friggin' hard. As in, it takes dedication, time, attention, to make progress and maintain one's abilities. One must research, and be very good at evaluating one's progress honestly.
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    13. #13
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      Quote Originally Posted by FryingMan View Post
      One must research, and be very good at evaluating one's progress honestly.
      I have found that after a few years of pretty intensive LD practice my dreams have morphed into an experience of consciousness continuity from my waking state. There is SO much to experience and learn when I let the dream take its course and just consciously go with it.

      That change from actual practice to consciously passive involvement could be seen as stepping off the wagon, I guess. Wonder if others are experiencing that kind of change in their practice.
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      Quote Originally Posted by lenscaper View Post
      I have found that after a few years of pretty intensive LD practice my dreams have morphed into an experience of consciousness continuity from my waking state. There is SO much to experience and learn when I let the dream take its course and just consciously go with it.

      That change from actual practice to consciously passive involvement could be seen as stepping off the wagon, I guess. Wonder if others are experiencing that kind of change in their practice.
      My friend, you have *become* the wagon, and/or simply moved beyond it to the next series of higher levels .
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