Thursday, August 23, 2007

Lucid Dreaming Out Of Paradigm

Richard May headshot by Richard May

The following dream segment occurred after listening to an interview with a South African (originally Jewish) physician who has been initiated into African shamanism, which he now combines with his practice of allopathic medicine. I was having some unmemorable ordinary dream, when suddenly I found myself tightly surrounded by solid substance of some sort, as if encased in cement. I was momentarily surprised and quite annoyed, but then realized within the dream that I was dreaming and was then able to escape. At the point of self-awareness of one’s dreaming condition within the dream, it had become by definition a lucid dream.

In my dream I interpreted my condition of being encased in solid matter as meaning that I was having an OBE (out of body experience). Allegedly when people have OBEs in the dream state (I mean if such phenomena actually occur), they often travel in their “dream body” downward through the bed and floor, rather than float above their bodies over the bed. Hence, apparently I incorporated my “knowledge” of this into my dream of an OBE.

water walking

I see no reason to believe that I had a genuine OBE, if such OBEs even actually are possible. Apparently I had a lucid dream, which was also an ordinary wish-fulfillment dream, focused upon the possibility of having an OBE while sleeping.

I don’t think I've created my “dream body” yet, as the Dalai Lama calls it. Creation of one’s “dream body” is supposedly necessary before one’s consciousness can leave one’s body during sleep. Do you then go to the gym in your dream body to work out?

In Tibetan Buddhism lucid dreaming is considered to be the beginning of the formation of one’s dream body. Now if only I could learn to become lucid in the ordinary so-called waking state.

One morning I looked down towards my bed and was very startled to see a guy lying on my bed asleep. An estimated fraction of a second later I realized to my relief that I was the guy asleep on my bed. As if to verify my location or presence I looked in a mirror adjacent to where I was standing and saw myself or my image smiling slightly in recognition. Then I either awakened or the dream immediately ended. The mirror actually exists in that location in the consensual spacetime world.

At first after awakening I was sure I understood the dream as "just a non-lucid dream that I had a lucid dream." I was asleep and dreamed that I was asleep and while asleep in my dream, experienced a lucid dream within my ordinary non-lucid dream, i.e., a dream in which I realized that I was asleep and dreaming. The more I analyzed it the less certain I became about it. Had I literally dreamed a dream within a dream, a meta-dream in which the second order dream was a lucid dream? This is the only dream I can recall having in which there were two copies of me, not counting the image of me in the dream mirror.

I've had ordinary lucid dreams in which by definition the dreamer is aware that he is dreaming, while remaining asleep. In one I was being pursued and felt in danger. Suddenly, although still asleep, I realized I was only dreaming. The ‘I’ within the dream thought that this experience is only a dream, so you can easily escape the danger by just flying away! Upon awakening I distinctly remembered having thought within my dream that I wasn't sure that I really could fly away, because the scenery of hills, grass, trees and sky around me looked so real. But I simply leaped into the air and once aloft effortlessly flew away. Even while flying I remember thinking, " … but the world looked so real, as if I were awake."

But in all previous lucid dreams or "out of paradigm experiences" there was only one dream copy of me and I‘ve never before looked down to see myself lying asleep and dreaming upon the bed, and then had the ‘awake’ copy of me in the dream verify its identity in a dream mirror, corresponding in location perfectly to a real mirror.

This is an unembellished description of my experience as I remember it. Apparently even my dreams are convoluted sometimes. Perhaps I experienced a so-called “out of body experience”, an OOBE, while asleep. But maybe I only dreamed that I had an OOBE. As Chuong-Tzu wrote, "Am I a butterfly dreaming that I'm a man or a man dreaming that I'm a butterfly?"


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