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Saturday, July 10, 2004

My First Lucid Dream Success (and More Success is Coming!)

I had my first successful lucid dream this morning after more than a week of trying, and the indications are it is only the beginning of a journey deep into the expanses of my inner world! This was my first glimpse, and I am astounded at the possibilities which await me! For the past week or so I have been thinking a lot about lucid dreams and how to induce them, and have done some related exercises, like continually checking the time on my phone to see if the numbers stayed the same, or asking myself if I was awake or asleep, wherever I was, even while teaching in a cafe or something. These are said to be good techniques for inducing lucid dreaming but I hadn't had any success so far, and to be honest I was starting to lose hope. Then early this morning, lying in my crib in Shitaya (下谷), lucidity came, seemingly out of the blue... I woke up in a dream! Now, it was not what you would call complete lucidity, I must confess -- I'd consider it 20 per cent lucidity. But it was a start, and I am sure it heralds the beginning of more spectacular nocturnal adventuring! Not that I sleep that much in the night, of course, but you get my drift... I will be lucid dreaming.

What is the first thing you would do if you started lucid dreaming? I chose to take a shower.
Anyway, what happened is this: I was in some kind of dream when I became self-aware, aware that I was in a dream. But only hazily aware -- 20 per cent aware, as I claimed above. I mean, I thought I was awake in the dream, I knew I was in a dream, but I wasn't in full conscious control of my decisions. For example, the first thing I did after attaining "lucidity" was to take a shower -- what the fuck was that about? Of all the things I could have done -- gone flying, had sex with supermodels, traipsed along the Great Wall of China -- I decided to take a shower. Still, there was something painstakingly attentive and apprehensive about my movements in the dream as I climbed the wooden steps of my Tokyo house to collect my towel, hung up in its usual spot in my tatami-floored room, and then tiptoe back down to the grotty bathroom; there was something totally willful and realistic in that: I felt like a newborn taking his first steps in a scary world, and I was frightened of fucking things up. But anyway, there is no way I could say I was completely lucid, because why would I want to take a fucking shower in my dream if I was lucid and in control? That wasn't a conscious decision, it was subconscious... and it probably meant something in a dream symbol kind of way, a Jungian/Freudian kind of way. According to an article I read tonight on A Fool's Guide to Lucid Dreaming there are differing layers of lucidity (and it would seem that I am currently on one of the lower levels if this is true):
One way to look at rationality in dreams is to classify different levels of lucidity. At the highest level, the dreamer would not only be aware of dreaming, but also possess complete understanding of the implications of this knowledge, and would behave in accordance with that understanding on all levels from thought to action. The lowest, minimal level of lucidity would be realization of dreaming, but without understanding how dreaming is different from waking, and without acting on the lucidity at all, mistaking events, characters and consequences with those from waking life. Yet, degrees of rationality vary from moment to moment in dreams, so that one wishing to use a scale of levels of lucidity would have to rate each decision, action, or response of the dreamer independently. Averaging the lucidity levels in a dream might be a way of establishing a lucidity "score" for the dream. All of this is for future research to decide.
I agree with that: this is just the beginning, I am just at the beginning, and I have a lot of my own research to conduct. I kind of believe that we live smeared on the interface of two worlds, one outer, the other inner. When you look at the night sky you can see the immensity of the outer universe laid out in front of you; I imagine there exists a similarly sized immensity inside our head. The subconscious is one of our new frontiers, and lucid dreaming is the tool which might help unlock this vast innerverse of potential. According to the The Lucid Dream Exchange:
Lucid dreaming is simply a better and more probing tool from which to understand and comprehend the true immensity of the dreaming process. Given the resources, lucid dreaming would show that dreaming involves even more than symbolic restatements of inner issues, wish fulfillments and emotional conflicts, etc. Given the resources, I feel lucid dreaming would show actual mental processes in the unconscious and aspects of the deeper identity upon which our puny awareness rides. Given the resources, I feel lucid dreaming would rework our understanding of the psyche and the collective aspects of the unconscious with which it communicates.
The truth, I believe, is not just out there; it is in HERE! And today I took my first glimpse. There are plenty more glimpses to come.

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