• Lucid Dreaming - Dream Views

    Greetings fellow oneironauts. I'd like to thank you for taking the time to read through this guide to dream stabilization; it's been a work in progress for a few months now, but I think it's finally done. Before we begin, however, I would like to add a disclaimer that the conclusions and premises of the guide (namely concerning the formation of dreams) assume that the dreamer incurs no outside interference and are based primarily on my personal experiences and observations. Thanks again. . .

    Stabilization remains a big topic in dream control, for, without stabilization, it'd be difficult to get anything done whilst lucid. This being the case, the field is, admittedly, well-traversed; the numerous methods, developed over the years, to help achieve this feat are proof of that. Still, what's been sorely missing is a plunge into the theory dwelling beneath the turbulent waters of these seemingly random techniques. That's not to say this guide won't have practical applications (I assure you, it will), but to master stabilization it helps to have a strong grasp on how it works, and why.

    The Underlying Mechanic
    To understand stabilization, you must first understand how dreams are formed.

    Associations are the key to unlocking this mystery.

    Specifically, dreams form around the schematic associations we attribute to whatever has our attention.

    Or, put simply, your dream is like a tree. Rooted by the events that occur throughout your waking life, it grows, takes shape, continuously branching out at new junctures. In the context of a dream, those junctures, branches from the trunk, symbolize the paths your dream could follow based on where you're focused. The focus is what lets the branches and offshoots come about, but it's what you're focused on that determines the shape each of them will take.

    Put really simply: What you focus on will determine the path your dream takes.

    The crucial thing is that you recognize the importance your attention has when it comes to forming dreams. Which brings us to our next section.

    What is Dream Stabilization?
    Seems pretty straightforward, right? Well, then it shouldn't be too hard for you to come up with a solid definition (that doesn't use the word “stabilize”) right here, right now, yeah?

    Go ahead.

    I'll wait. . .

    Not as easy as it sound, is it?

    The only DV tutorial on the subject defines Dream Stabilization as “attempting to stabilize the lucid dream.”

    But what use is that, to define something with its inherent meaning? The definition above is exactly the same as saying Internet Trolling is “attempting to troll on the Internet.” It tells us nothing we didn't already know, and, so, we cannot learn from it.

    We need to go deeper.

    • Dream - “a series of mental images and emotions occurring during sleep”
    • Stabilization - “the act of stabilizing something or making it more stable”
    • Stabilize - “become stable or more stable”
    • Stable - “maintaining equilibrium”
    • Equilibrium - “balance: equality of distribution”

    I think we've got something workable here.

    Stabilization then, I propose, is the act of becoming balanced or maintaining balance.

    But how does this relate to dreams? What could possibly require balancing in “a series of mental images and emotions occurring during sleep”?

    The easy answer is: “Everything.” The conventional way of thinking about dreams leads most to believe that Dream Stabilization means facilitating those mental images and keeping those pesky emotions in check. But the true answer is more subtle than that.

    Focus and attention, foundations on which dreams, those “mental images and emotions,” are formed, constantly shifting, constantly deciding the flow, the stability, of a dream.

    So, what is Dream Stabilization, really?

    My proposition: Dream Stabilization is the act of balancing attention within a dream.

    The astute among you will ask, “Balancing attention? Between what? You've only given me one side: the dream, images and emotions.” And you're right, there is another side. But it's one that appears almost exclusively during lucid dreams.

    The Other Side
    On one side we have the dream, that's a given, but what's on the other end that's shifting our attention away from the dream?

    First, let me ask you another related question: why is it that normal dreams rarely, if ever, require stabilization?

    To answer this, think about the differences between a lucid dream and a non-lucid one. Realize, in a lucid dream, one is aware the environment around them is a dream, that one is in bed, fast asleep, while in a non-lucid one is not aware of these things.

    The difference between the two, then, is this profound realization and everything that comes with it. And what accompanies it, you ask? The ability to reason, to think logically, internal processes that require a fair bit of attention.

    And there's your answer. Thoughts, rational ideas outside the scope of your current surroundings, all shift the balance of your focus.

    Bringing it all Together
    To stabilize a lucid dream, you must create a proper balance between the dream and your conscious, thinking, self. If you pour too much of yourself into the dream, you'll lose your consciousness, your lucidity. Not enough, and the dream will fade entirely, leaving you with nothing but your thoughts as everything fades to black.

    Luckily, striking that balance is a path well-worn by the onieronauts before us.

    Common Stabilization Methods
    All Stabilization methods have one thing in common: they work to place attention on the dream world. Obviously, like all things concerning LDing, you'll be keen to experiment to see what well works for you, as some methods achieve this balancing feat better than others

    A brief list of the very basics:

    • Hand Rubbing – Good for a quick burst of tactile sensation, puts focus on the dream body.
    • Spinning – Brings your attention not only to the spinning world around you as it blurs about, but to your dream body as well.
    • Shouting for Clarity – Works on multiple levels, from hearing the sound of your own voice, to looking toward your surroundings for a change in vividness.

    And that's just start of it.

    From there comes sensory stimulation, proven time and again to be a reliable, powerful tool in redirecting attention toward the dreamworld.

    • Sight – Studying the detail in an ornate archway, the colorful shops and stalls in the marketplace, or each distinct grain of sand.
    • Sound – Noticing the wind as it blows past your ears mid-flight, the chattering of nearby DCs, or even your own voice.
    • Touch – Focusing on the texture of a nearby wall, the cool grass beneath your bare feet, or the wet water pouring from a fountain.
    • Smell – Taking in the scent of fresh baked bread or cookies, the fresh morning air, or even burning rubber.
    • Taste – Fill your mouth with amazing sensations from anything you can find, be it tasty desserts or a cheap sandal.

    All of these are sure to help placate your thoughts and turn your attentions to the dreamworld. The more of them you can engage, the better. Personally, I like taking big bites out of trees, as eating a tree evokes so many different senses at once. From the rough, intricate, crunchy bark, to the wet, leafy taste, and fresh smell, it all assaults the senses, making it impossible to ignore the dreamworld.

    Uncommon Stabilization Methods
    Beyond the conventional lies the unconventional, or methods that don't follow the standard sensory formula. Most prominent among these are raw shifts of awareness to your surroundings. *There are many ways to go about doing this, but it's something that simply needs to be experienced to be understood at all.

    Those who practice lucid living and all day awareness are more likely to be familiar with pouring attention into their surroundings. In fact, it's likely these people do this automatically whilst lucid, making traditional stabilization almost unnecessary for them. Still, there are ways to actively force focus on your surroundings. Everyone's method will be different depending on their experience with attention shifting, but I'll explain my method below so you'll have something to work with, at the very least.

    I came up with this method in particular after reading a bit of Robert Jordan's Wheel of Time series. The idea comes from the battle/meditation technique the main character is taught early on: to create a flame in his mind's eye and focus on it completely, deflecting all outside thoughts.

    I start by taking in the world around me, but not just what I can see; I use everything I can sense, making it my proverbial flame, making it all important, pouring my focus into it so that everything around me is complete and free from my conscious thoughts.

    And just like that, the dream becomes stable, whilst I retain my lucidity. What's amazing is that this process doesn't take more than a moment and can be used at almost any time; I've lost count of the number of lucids this little trick has kept me from losing.

    I hope this guide to stabilization fundamentals proved at the very least, interesting to you. If it was helpful, that's even better. =)

    If you have any questions, comments, concerns, or flames, I'll be more than happy to address them.



    Created by , 07-11-2011 at 06:58 AM
    0 Comments, 5,634 Views

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