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    Thread: WILD Session 1: Mental Prep Part A

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      WILD Session 1: Mental Prep Part A

      Though it is the most difficult aspect of WILD (and LD’ing in general) to master, mental prep is by far the most important step toward success. In a sense, lucid dreaming is nothing more than a state of mind, and that state -- constant waking consciousness, regardless of physical conditions -- is manifest most clearly in the practice of WILD. So the primary step in learning WILD is that of preparing your mind with the fundamentals (self-awareness, memory, expectation) so that when you lie down and do your thing, you will know that that thing is happening and that you can participate and really enjoy it.

      Because of that mental prep merits discussion in at least two of our sessions: first here in terms of building self-awareness, and later in terms of visualization, setting intention, and keeping memory turned on. Discussion of expectation will happen often later, especially in the Physical Sensations and Organizing an Entry sessions. Also, if during the course of the class I get feedback that indicates still more discussion about mental prep needs to be done then don’t worry; I’ll go there.

      But first:

      Self-Awareness

      The root of WILD is that you are able to maintain waking awareness while your physical body drops into sleep mode around you. Though the concept is simple, and seems to make sense, the act of doing it can be very difficult. This is because your entire nature is geared toward abandoning waking consciousness in the name of sleep. A powerful tool for confounding nature and staying awake while falling asleep is self-awareness.

      Self-awareness is nothing more than knowing that you exist, that your existence effects everything and everyone around you, and is effected by everything and everyone around you. Seems like a no-brainer, I know, but most people -- hell, almost all people -- don't so much as consider this concept, much less make it a part of their daily life. Self-awareness rarely happens in waking life because it is much easier to wander through existence unaware of your place in it (as long as there’s food, friends, and video games, who cares, right? Right.). Yet if you were to master self-awareness, WILD’ing would be easy; literally second nature. It’s that simple. DILD and MILD, for that matter, would be easy as well. So would things like getting along with your loved ones, and coping with the challenges of waking life. That is the power of self-awareness.

      How do you develop self-awareness? There are many ways, and we’ll likely talk about others during upcoming conversations, but the exercise I’ll offer today is simple introduction to the practice, sort of a Reverse Reality Check (RRC):

      Here’s what to do: At random intervals during the day – at least once an hour but no more than three times in that hour – stop what you’re doing and wonder. Just hold still for a second and remember where you were a few minutes ago, imagine where you’ll be in a few minutes, and know that everything you’re doing right now has an effect on everything and everyone around you, and everything and everyone around you has an effect on you – even if you don’t realize it.

      The important part here is to think deeply about your place in all the stuff that’s whirling around you at any given time, and to really think about what all that whirling is doing to you, and what you might be doing to the whirling. During waking life, you might find yourself very often assuming that there’s not much whirling about at all or that there’s not much of an exchange of effect going on. There always is, whether you can feel it or not. Think about the fact that there is an exchange of atoms between your feet and the floor you’re treading: in a sense you’re changing reality itself, if ever so slightly, just by standing there! It is therefore extremely important to take a moment and remember that you exist, and your existence matters – even if you don’t think it does. [Edit: Your focus during this questioning period should be on your interaction with your local reality -- things/people your presence has influenced, are influencing, and will influence, or things/people that have/will do the same to you. You should avoid getting too metaphysical or galactic, as that atoms example above might imply. For example, perhaps you were just sitting on the couch in your living room 5 minutes ago, doing nothing... sounds like nothing to wonder about, unless you think about the dent you left in the couch, how it will still be warm for the next person in the room, how your comfortable situation on the couch caused you to ignore an important phone call from your boyfriend; the list can go on and on, if you look).]

      You don’t have to recite all those questions every time; that would be annoying, and the process of reciting all that might diminish the effect. Basically you should put it all into a single quick thought that means something to you, and allows wonder to linger after you’ve resumed moving through your waking day. It will be difficult at first, but with practice you won’t be using words at all when you pause, as the questions will have become second nature. Be very careful that the questions never lose their wonder, though. If they become rote -- just a bunch of words you say whenever your iPhone app goes off -- then you will have lost the point of doing the exercise because you will not be acknowledging your self.

      If you successfully add this exercise to your waking life, you may already be well on the way to successfully WILD’ing. Indeed, if you can master this exercise, meaning that you can truly realize the presence and importance of your existence at any given time, then holding on to your awareness while falling asleep will be a snap. This might not make sense to you right now, but that’s okay. The way humans are currently wired, it is not supposed to make sense. Just do the exercise above, or something similar, and learn to make self-awareness a part of your waking life.

      Here’s the really good part: when you are in (or approaching) your dreaming world, the exercise you’re practicing will translate into something altogether different. This is because when you’re dreaming, you’ll know, for sure, that everything around you is caused by you, and that it is all entirely a reality of your own invention. This new perspective will open doors to creativity and exploration, and allow you to pay attention to things in the dream world that you may never have known existed…Oh, and if all those folks who say so are correct, you will also be much more able to recognize with certainty that there’s someone or something in your dream that probably should not be there.

      There are of course other methods for building self-awareness, among them meditation and All Day Awareness (ADA).

      Meditation is always an excellent tool for awareness, but it can be difficult to master and, in my opinion, tends to build goals unto itself that might obscure or supersede your LD targets. That is of course my opinion, and serious practitioners of advanced meditation have regularly begged to differ with excellent arguments. So, if you are already a proficient meditator, and see an easy conversion of the Reverse RC I described above into a meditation routine or mantra, then go for it! Also, if you are interested in exploring meditation as it directly relates to LD’ing, then I suggest you sign up for Sivason’s Dream Yoga class, if you haven’t already. Sivason has a real handle on this stuff, and I believe his class and method are both excellent for learning Dream Yoga and for WILD, which is in truth just a form or reflection of Dream Yoga.

      I was originally going to suggest that you do ADA, and that is certainly a good thing to do regardless, but after some thought I had misgivings. My problem with ADA is that its practice tends to diminish the “self” as it amplifies the power of environment. With ADA you spend all your time observing and noting everything around you, but you take little notice of your self, and your interaction with everything. Think about it: Animals, especially prey, practice ADA by nature. A fish or a mouse is a master of ADA: if they’re not paying attention to everything all the time, they could wind up being someone’s dinner. But I wouldn’t consider either a candidate for lucid dreaming anytime soon, because all that awareness is driven by instinct rather than sentience. Sure, they can pay lots of attention and have true mastery of the input from their environs, but they have no idea they’re doing it, or that they’re even involved.

      So, though ADA is a handy exercise for strengthening your sense of place in reality, it does little to define your interaction with reality, an understanding of which is critical in dreams, when reality is you. Perhaps if you can add a letter to ADA and make it ADSA -- All Day Self-Awareness, then it not only would it make sense, but then you would largely be doing the reverse RC I described above.
      Again, if you are already successfully practicing ADA, or wish to add it to your waking life experience, don’t stop because of my words. ADA is an extremely valuable mental tool, and can serve as a foundation for self-awareness. But as I understand ADA, it simply isn’t focused directly on the tools we need to LD. If you think I’m wrong about this, feel free to explain why in the Q&A section -- maybe I missed something!

      I’m rambling already. Time to wrap up, I think…

      Okay, so the first lesson was a bit on the dry side... I guess that’s because I chose to begin with the most vague aspect of all this, even if mental prep is the most important. It will be more fun later when we get into the nuts and bolts of WILD, but for now I hope you’ll bear with me and truly attempt to build, or at least consider, your self-awareness. As I said, I will be going back to this throughout the course, and I’ll be delighted to answer more specific questions in the accompanying Q&A thread (assuming I remembered to add it!). For now, though, look to adapting the exercises I noted above, and if you’d like further reading on what I’ve got to say about this, then look at my Lucid Dreaming Fundamentals thread, as it covers in greater detail what I’m trying to say today.

      Also, if you have any questions or comments please use the Q&A thread…Thanks!

      Homework

      Your homework assignment this week is to work on the reverse RC I described above, and try to incorporate at least one moment of real self-reflection into every hour of your waking life. Do this well, and the rest is easy!


      See you next Tuesday, when we talk about when to WILD….
      Last edited by Sageous; 10-14-2016 at 08:07 PM.

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