At long last it is time to put everything together. Yes, when you get to it, you’ll see that this week’s homework assignment is to attempt to enter the dreaming without ever losing waking consciousness… I hope that still sounds familiar at this point! Before we get there, though, let’s do a quick review of the tools we should now have available to help clear a path to WILD:

Mental Prep: We have built up our self-awareness –- by far the most powerful tool for lucid dreaming in the chest –- with a steady practice of Reverse-Reality Checks. At this point wondering about the significance of our presence in, and interaction with, our surroundings is second nature –- or at least reasonably constant by habit. Plus we’ve learned to stir intention, expectation, and schema into a soup rich with potential dreams once we are “in.” So mentally we may be ready for the big-picture event that is a WILD. Also, not so incidentally, we have generated much innate expectation just by participating in this class and, come time, intent should be much easier to set for the very same reason!

Timing: We have learned about when to attempt WILD -- for instance never at bedtime, but definitely as late in your sleep cycle as your schedule and nature will allow. We have learned the basics of Wake-Back-To-Bed, and understand why it is an important part of WILD. We’ve found our optimal personal time for WBTB. We also know now that WILD is a thing that needs to be attempted only when there is flexibility at both ends of the sleep spectrum (i.e., never attempt WILD an hour before you must be up for work or school). So now we’ve got the timing thing down.

Ignore the Noise: We have come to understand that the physical sensations that accompany the natural course of falling asleep -- “Sleep Paralysis,” Hypnagogic Imagery, vibrations et al -- are nothing more than “noise” that nature has included in the course of physically falling asleep that you normally would not notice. We know now that that noise should be regarded as mileposts marking physical progress, and nothing more. Above all, we have finally come to understand that SP is not to be feared or venerated by any measure, just noticed…at least I hope we finally understand that (SP is a stubborn subject).

Mantra: We have looked into ourselves and found a word or phrase that we feel might best guide us through the WILD process. We know that, for WILD, a mantra is not a magical or religious incantation, and should not be “supplied” to us by an “authority” like a guru or website. It is just a simple word or phrase that means something to us personally. We know that repetition of our mantra during WILD will keep us focused and, through its personal significance, help us to navigate the often twisty and bumpy path that is WILD.

So that’s it then. We've got it all in our heads and under our metaphysical belts: mental prep, timing, mantra, general attitude for success … Wait. What is missing here? There must be something else … Oh yeah, the whole “lie down, hold still, and wait (LDHSW)” portion of our journey!

I gave this bit a lot of thought (I swear!), and finally decided that I would leave specific front-end process of relaxing and beginning to fall asleep up to you. Seriously. You are each in charge of picking the LDHSW that best suits your interests, abilities, and nature.

No, I’m not copping out; at least I’m pretty sure I’m not! Rather, I am acknowledging that somewhere in the eighteen bazillion tutorials and advisory threads out there waits the process that best suits your interests, physical status, and ability. I’d wager that you all have sampled or reviewed much of this stuff; hell, you likely know more about LDHSW techniques than I do! In truth, if you possess the tools of this course, any of the LDHSW methods will work just fine. In other words, the LDHSW portion of the WILD journey is by far the least important, yet, oddly, the most extensively covered.

If you possess a strong sense of self-awareness, you know when you’re going to WILD, and you’ve got a mantra to repeat during the attempt, any or all of the popular methods for WILD will work for you, simply because the LDHSW portion of WILD just doesn’t matter that much. So pick whatever you want to do for this bit -- if you have the rest of the tools in your belt, then it’ll be a snap! Of course, if it is not, bring it up on the Q&A thread, and we will consider some popular LDHSW methods…

So now we’ve got everything. We’re ready. What’s next? Well, doing it ought to be next, right? But there might be a chance that you are still not feeling too terribly confident, or have a feeling, based on past experience, that you are in for an hour or so of just lying there with nothing happening at all. This would not be unusual, but do what you can to temper that insecurity with the knowledge and awareness you’ve accumulated these last few weeks.

This is important, because if you expect failure to happen then it will -- in truth I cannot teach or even advise you clear of that roadblock. Confidence is in your hands: you must go into WILD with a positive mindset, or else nothing will work for you, regardless of the quality of your individual tools. And, of course, you need to maintain this confidence even if you spend a few WILD sessions just lying there until you fall asleep or get up, thoroughly frustrated, because WILD doesn’t always work (I personally still fail at it more often than I’d like to admit). But I always lie down knowing that this WILD will be successful, regardless of what happened yesterday.

So I guess that what is next, what is left, as it were, is the final ingredient for successful WILD: a positive attitude. Before you finally attempt your dive, try to be sure, to thoroughly convince yourself, beyond a shadow of a doubt, that you are ready, willing, and fully able to WILD. Like most things in life, if you truly believe that you are up to the task of completing a WILD, you will do so…and if you are confident, working the dream initiated by a successful WILD will be that much easier.

So to summarize the summary, here are the steps to take for WILD:

1. Determine the best time for your WILD, “schedule” that time, and spend a day or so looking forward to it.

2. On the night before your dive, relax, don’t drink or do drugs, and simply, quietly, irrevocably set your mind, intent, and expectations on the mission of staying awake -- holding onto your self-awareness -- while you go to sleep….this bit is important; don’t take it for granted!

3. After several hours’ sleep (you should already have determined how many), wake up; hopefully you did so naturally, but a minimally intrusive alarm or helpful spouse or family member is acceptable if unavoidable. Remain awake for less than an hour, careful to fill your mind only with dreamy thoughts -- no TV, phones, or internet! Go back to bed.

4. Do your chosen version of LDHSW, with the inclusion of your mantra -- carefully, yet without effort, repeat your mantra with every breath. Let it support you, guide you or at least give your wandering mind something to cling to while you wait for, and then endure, the passage to sleep and dream. Carefully maintain your waking awareness, your sense of self, and remember, at all times, who you are and what you are doing.

5. Mind the noise! Don’t let SP matter, skip the vibrations et al, and keep HI from turning your natural progression to sleep into some ersatz mystical experience. Note it all, and use some of it (HI in particular) to form your dream if you must (see step #6), but don’t be taken by the “noise,” it does not deserve you!

6. Form the dream. With awareness in place and the difficult bits of falling asleep behind you, allow yourself to enter the dreaming, and let the fun begin. Be sure to have a dream on tap, because your dreaming mind might not be ready for you, and might just haphazardly deposit you into your room! Form that dream from your own invented schemas, or use HI to “work” images into a particular dreamscape … you know the drill!

7. Dream; and do so with the same waking awareness that you had before you lay down.

So that’s it; there is no more. It is time. If you were able to pay heed to the rest of the course, you are fully ready to attempt -- and complete -- your WILD.

Homework: Schedule time for a WILD, and have at it! I will be setting up a new thread on which you can report your attempts and have a chance to share and discuss your results – I encourage you to use it. And of course, don’t be concerned if you’re still having troubles with your dive – I have a feeling you will not be alone!

Next week: the bit I left out: DEILD.