Since reading the Carlos Castaneda series of books in the early 1990s, I’ve had bouts of obsessive interest in Lucid Dreaming, but was only able to achieve limited success. I went so far as to purchase a Nova Dreamer, a mask-like device that you wear when you sleep that detects rapid eye movement and issues a series of flashes and beeps to bring you to the brink of waking. The signals can be remembered as becoming part of your dreams after waking, but the challenge is to recognize the signals as “signals” while dreaming in order to trigger lucidity.
I kept a dream journal and a pencil under my pillow for about a year and recorded my dreams the second I woke up, with my eyes still closed, to try and write during the tail end of my dreams, before the details disappeared into thin air.
I wore a watch that beeped every hour, reminding me to look at my hands and ask myself if I was dreaming. I was training myself to ask without the prompt, so that maybe I would ask myself while dreaming, and answer yes, and then realize – wholly shit, I AM dreaming.
I did find my hands (about a handful of times J ) but the effort required to hold them up and look at them was like trying to multiply two three digit numbers in your head. The next step was to pay attention to the details of my dreams long enough to spot a portal to take me to the next dream, and pay attention to the details of that dream.
The funny thing was that I was able to the paying attention to dream details fairly easily - without looking at my hands first. It wasn’t until much later that I decided to forget the whole finding my hands thing, because I was wasting time trying to do it.
I heard somewhere that Mike Gordon from Phish could lucid dream, so I wrote him a letter to ask if he had any tips. He wrote me back and told me to buy this specific book. I did, but I don’t have it anymore, and I can’t remember the name or the author (she was a girl), or why (or even if) the book was good.
The fact that all of that is true, is a pretty good indication that it was a pivotal book, because lucid dreaming is tricky like that. It’s a fun mystery – a wild goose chase whose details always seem to go missing – and then reveal themselves in the strangest of places…
The answer to this question will have to be a multi-parter – more to follow later