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    Thread: WILD Session 3: Notes About the Noise

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      WILD Session 3: Notes About the Noise

      This week’s session is the most difficult for me, both because you guys probably “know” more about it than I do, and because I am obliged to try to convince you in a couple of paragraphs that the “noise” experienced on the waking path to sleep, including Hypnagogic Imagery, Sleep Paralysis, and Vibrations, have very little importance to successful WILDs -- indeed, they are at best just mileposts to watch for as you make your dive to the dream, and at worst (and very commonly) major distractions that can nullify your WILD attempt. Either of those things makes me very disinterested in talking about the noise. But, given the pedestal the noise, Sleep Paralysis in particular, has been placed upon by LD’ers these days, I guess I’ll have to say something. So here we go:

      First, some (extremely) basic facts:

      Hypnagogic Imagery (HI): As you are first falling asleep, and occasionally during semi-conscious moments between late REM cycles, you are in a state of mixed drowsy wakefulness and light sleep, and you will experience vivid, brief dreamlets called HI. That’s it; there’s nothing more to it.

      Sleep Paralysis (SP): In brief, SP is your waking consciousness noticing REM Atonia, which, according to DV, is “The shutting down of neurotransmitters in the motor system, preventing a sleeping person from acting out their dreams. Often confused with Sleep Paralysis, REM Atonia only occurs during the REM phase of sleep, and happens every night for people without any REM disorders.” In other words, SP is simply your awareness of an action your body takes every night to prevent your sleeping body from acting out events unfolding in your dreams. That’s it; there’s nothing more to it.

      Vibrations et al: I lump the rest of the popular stuff into a “vibrations et al” category because physical sensations you encounter can vary dramatically from person to person, be they vibrations, sounds, twitches, tingling, flashes of light, or other random sparks of sensation. Most of this is variation of HI, some is a brief hyper-sensation of physical activity like breathing, muscle activity, or pulse, and some may simply be your taking notice of stray neurons firing as your body prepares itself for sleep and REM. That’s it; there’s nothing more to it.

      Now, why these things are/are not important to WILD:

      HI can be used as a tool for starting LD’s, because you may be able to draw upon the schemata those brief images represent to “build” the dream into which you’re heading, which we’ll be talking about later, and which I will not recommend because using HI like that can cause a loss of lucidity. (Schemata, BTW are the mental blocks from which you build your reality, and we’ll talk more about that later as well).

      HI is also a handy marker for you to note as you are falling asleep, because it reminds you about where you are headed, acting as a sort of reinforcement device to hold your focus on self-awareness during the WILD -- in other words, you can note the pretty colors or listen to strange voices and say to yourself, “almost there,” which is good because HI tends to occur right when you are about to give up on the whole holding still bit. Again, more later.

      HI is not spirits talking to you, cosmic energy, messages from your unconscious, or any of the other things noted here and elsewhere by breathless dreamers who encounter HI unprepared. It is simply random images that are produced as your body settles into sleep and REM mode.

      SP can also be used as a tool for WILD, particularly in DEILD form, where it is more often noticed, because it gives you an opportunity to metaphorically “step out” of your “paralyzed” sleeping body and into your dream body and the dream itself. I’m not a big fan of this technique either, because that sort of metaphor is a mite too close to an astral projection (AP) or Out of Body Experience (OBE) image, and there is an excellent chance that a dreamer will get caught up in a “Hey, I’m doing AP!” moment and lose lucidity to the excitement of doing something “supernatural.” In other words, it’s a major distraction with little reward because you are very likely going to dream you’re in AP or OBE, and not really be there (before anyone objects to this or begs to clarify: don’t worry, I’m not dismissing or promoting AP or OBE here; I am simply stating that if you have done all your prep work for a LD and suddenly “find yourself” in AP or OBE, you’ll likely lapse into a dream because those were not the states for which you prepared).

      SP is a fairly weak milepost for classic WILD, because you generally do not sense it during the WILD dive. This is because SP occurs after you’re in REM and have settled into a dream state, so if you are in SP, then you are also already in your dream, and have already left your body behind. On the rare occasions SP does happen during WILD, it tends to be a major distraction because you have to fight off the primal terror (meaning you can’t do much about the fear because it is buried deep in your genetic memory) that comes with discovering that you are unable to move. So, ironically, you really don’t want to encounter true SP during classic WILD. On the other hand, if SP lingers after REM, you might have an easier time doing DEILD because you are literally holding still upon waking, and might be very interested in getting back into the dream to leave the SP behind. Again, there will be more on all this later.

      SP is not a mystical or unusual event by any measure because REM Atonia happens naturally every time you are in REM -- it must occur, or else we’d all be flailing about in our beds, or sleepwalking, or shouting, or … well, you get it. That you are consciously aware of it because it remained switched on a bit too long or switched on early does not make it special, unless you consider your ability to defy nature and notice it something special -- which is a pretty cool thing, I suppose.

      SP is also not a goal in WILD. Let me repeat that: SP is not a goal in WILD. One more time for the back rows: SP is not a goal in WILD! You should never, ever, be trying to “achieve SP” if your ultimate goal is lucid dreaming. To do so is to elevate a normal condition of sleep to a point where it is all you pay attention to, and then, invariably, your chances of LD’ing will fade behind the empty excitement of SP. Again, if you’re attempting AP or OBE, then SP is important (though it also shouldn’t be made too important in those disciplines, either), but we’re not talking about AP or OBE here.

      It is critical for WILD that you understand that SP is not dangerous: it is not an invasion by monsters, or your body failing you, or a break from reality, or any of the other things noted on the forums by breathless dreamers who encounter SP unprepared. It is just a natural bodily function that you happen to notice because you possess waking awareness at a time when nature never intended you to be awake. So if you ever encounter SP (I rarely do) just relax, acknowledge it, and move on!

      Most of the time SP isn’t really even SP: People who are talking about their experiences in SP are really talking about their experiences in NREM sleep, which can include the vibrations, sensory deprivation, and other assorted bells and whistles associated with SP these days. This is sort of a shame, because consciously navigating NREM sleep is an adventure unto itself (and, BTW, the place the Tibetan sleep yogis like to visit), and to belittle it by calling it SP is to miss out on an otherwise good thing.

      Vibrations et al are, well, just noise. Period. Any psychic/cosmic/astrophysical explanations or deep meaning you might attach to them might sound good in the dream journal or on websites, but in the end those Vibrations et al are simply your witnessing of bodily events to which you are not naturally privy. I’m not sure that I can honestly attach value to Vibrations et al in the context of WILD, because they truthfully are nothing more than a distraction, especially if you’re the sort who chooses to attach meaning to them. At best they are another mile-marker, and I think that if you see them as such then you will find yourself more able to allow them to come and go as they will without interfering with your effort to hold onto your awareness.

      So that is the extent to which I think the “noise” need be discussed. That’s it; there’s nothing more to it.

      Full disclosure: I have had well over a thousand successful WILD’s in my life, and, though more than half were in DEILD form, I am personally very familiar with the physical process. Most of what I say here is based on this, though I did go to the books (mostly LaBerge's EWOLD) for the facts section. So yes, I could be wrong about the (non)importance of “the noise,” but my experience tells me otherwise. Also, I spent a couple of years a decade ago moderating the Lucidity Institute’s forum, which was rich with accomplished and very knowledgeable dreamers, and there was minimal discussion of the noise. The current focus on it, I think, is the result of years of misinformation and wishful thinking.

      Homework: There is just one small assignment this week. I ask that you think about what I wrote this week, and decide for yourself if you would be comfortable doing WILD’s if none of the noise occurred at all. That may sound silly, but I want you to be sure that you’re doing WILD for the right reason – to enter LD’s virtually on demand – and not for some other reason founded on the popular excitement attached to the noise. If you discover you might be more interested in the noise than you thought, or that the noise is more important than I’m saying here, bring it up on the Q & A and we’ll discuss it.

      Next week: Mental Prep part 2, Forming the Dream.
      Last edited by Sageous; 11-12-2014 at 08:28 PM.

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