Archive for the “Lucid Dreaming” Category

Wednesday, March 17, 2010 Categorized under Lucid Dreaming, Lucid Living

Lucid Dreaming, Lucid Living

Lucid Dreaming, Lucid Living

by

Beverly (Kedzierski Heart) D’Urso, Ph.D. Copyright (c) 2004

Symposium at the Association for the Study of Dreams (ASD)  Conference 2004, Copenhagen, June, 2004.

LUCID DREAMING/LUCID LIVING OVERVIEW

In order to talk about lucid living, I need to give you a little background on how I view lucid dreaming. As you know, lucid dreaming is when you are asleep and aware, at some level, that you are dreaming.

We typically call you the dreamer and say you are lucid. The dreamer  can also be thought of as your physical body’s mind, although  I would not say that my “mind” is contained in my “brain”.

I have covered topics such as levels of lucidity and techniques for becoming lucid in other presentations and I will highlight a few of these later in this talk. For today, I want to focus on what I call lucid living.

When I view my waking life as a dream, a dream in which I know I am dreaming, to various degrees, of course, I call this lucid living. Waking life may feel ‘real’ and unlike a ‘dream,’ merely because I lack lucidity, just as non-lucid dreams can feel like physical reality, until I become lucid.

I try to view life as an “actual dream” and not to merely use lucid living as a therapy or philosophy. The assumptions that come from viewing life as a dream can be very powerful and can expand what we feel is possible in life.

If I look at waking life as a dream, then I can also use lucid dreaming techniques that I learned from my sleeping dream experiences, to more easily become lucid in my waking life.

When lucid in waking life, I can become more “free”, know that anything is possible,  feel  connected to everyone, and maybe even experience magic in my waking life, as I have in my sleeping lucid dreams. Next, I want to tell you how I came up with my ideas and what they imply.

I remember having had lucid dreams since I was seven years old and I faced up to scary witches in a recurring nightmare. You can see my web site:    durso.org    for a detailed description of this dream and a list of places that it has been published.

Basically, I recognized recurring dream scenes where I was begging these scary witches who hovered over me to  “Spare me tonight. Take me in tomorrow night’s dream.” Because they only came when I was dreaming, one time, while they hovered over me, I faced up to them and they flew away ending my nightmares.

Years later, I helped do research on lucid dreaming at the Stanford Sleep Laboratory. I was able to signal from the dream to the physical lab while being definitely asleep and dreaming.  I also led workshops and taught others how to have lucid dreams, and I have given presentations on the topic at ASD conferences for almost 20 years.

I have remembered, on average, six dreams per night, for most my of life. I’d say that between 2 and 20 dreams per week were lucid, to various degrees.  So, I’d estimate that I have had over 20,000 lucid sleeping dreams in my life so far.

My dreams usually seem like what we call waking physical reality  until I become lucid,  although I often know that I am dreaming from the start of the dream.  I believe in levels of lucidity, on a spectrum from slightly to extremely lucid. Sometimes my non-lucid dreams are very bizarre and yet I ignore this sign of being in a dream and rationalize the experience.

For the next four or five minutes, I will cover some basic issues and terminology that I also mentioned in my presentation yesterday. These apply to both lucid dreaming and lucid living.

CONTROL VERSUS SURRENDER

In my lucid dreams, I feel free to go wherever my imagination takes me, and I take care to balance spontaneity and control.

Notice that you can be lucid without any kind of control taking place.  Being able to control your own reactions or the action, characters, or environment in your dreams can be an indicator of how lucid you are, but you can still be lucid without control. However, at times, it helps to take control of the action in the dream, for example, when you want to carry out goals.

I have learned that often it is best to surrender to the lucid dream. In this case, I still have control, but of my own reactions and not of what happens to me. I am not automatically fearful, for example, when something scary happens.

I only need to remain conscious that I am in a dream. This allows me to have less fear, to see more possibilities, and to see myself as one with the whole dream environment. With lucidity, I have more choices. In other words, I don’t need to change a monster. I can look it in the eye without fear and find out what it wants.

Although I focus on awareness rather than control in my lucid dreams, I do not call my lucid dreaming witnessing. I feel that I can be fully in the dream yet not of it, meaning that I know while dreaming that my part of my self can be found outside of the dimension of the dream.

To me witnessing would be like watching a movie or a play. Being in a dream is like being in the play. Being in a lucid dream is like being in a play in perfect character, having all the character’s feelings and consequences, while still knowing that you are essentially the actor, and possibly the producer and director as well.

DREAM CHARACTERS

With lucid dreaming, I feel that it is important that you know you’re taking on the roll of a dream character in your dream.  This dream character seems to exist in another dimension from your physical body, albeit a three-dimensional world that may seem  real, while you, the dreamer, are safe in bed.

One dream character often looks and acts like you, but it may not. We sometimes call this our dream body or dream self.  You may have other dream characters that look like someone you know or someone that you don’t know.

When lucid, you realize that your dream body is not in physical reality, but in your physical self’s mind. When you wake up, you change dimensions or perspectives.

When I am in a lucid dream, the dream character that I incorporate sometimes tells other dream characters that they are in a dream. Other times they might be the ones to tell my character.

When I am very lucid, either all the dream characters I find know that they are in a dream, or there are no characters at all.  I consider myself not completely lucid when there are any other characters in my dream that don’t believe they are in a dream.

BEING FOOLED

If you remember any dreams, perhaps you have been fooled by a dream that seemed real while it was happening.  You may have even said, “This can’t be a dream, it’s too real.”  Maybe you notice that you can’t fly as you may have been able to do in dreams. However, if at one point you wake up, you would then realize that you had been fooled and it really was a dream.

Remember, lucid dreamers are the ones who know that the dream is not a solid physical reality, which is precisely what non-lucid dreamers usually assume because they are not lucid.

We can say, then, that you can not be absolutely certain that you are not dreaming at any time, because as in the case where you were fooled, you may just not be lucid enough to question or notice that you might be dreaming until you wake up.  Even then, you may not even remember that you have a dreamed.

CONNECTING TO THE DREAMER

Another way to describe lucidity is to say that your dream character’s mind connects with the mind of the dreamer. We can also say that the mind of the dream character has expanded. The dream character can now remember and act upon the goals, memory, and thoughts of the dreamer.

For example, the dream character can remember goals that you, the dreamer, may have set up to do in the dream before you went to sleep.  The dream character and the dreamer can then co-create the dream, although the dreamer may still have intentions that the dream character is not aware of, even in lucidity.

As a lucid dream character, I do not detach myself from the dream environment, but rather I see myself as equivalent to the environment and more. Also, detaching from the dreamer would be similar to forgetting that I am, at some level, creating the dream scene. I would then lose some level of lucidity.

To summarize, in a lucid dream I am more present than in a non-lucid dream, bringing my whole self into the experience. I know that I am more than my dream body and that the Source of myself is outside the dimension of the dream or inside the dreamer.

To me, this is much more clear than how I perceived my religious, as well as metaphysical, training to say that God was either inside my body or somewhere up in the sky.

LUCID LIVING

With this background, I now feel that I can talk about what I call lucid living,  or looking at life as a dream.  I had the idea of lucid living many years ago, after many things happened to me personally.  First, I had a series of precognitive dreams in 1982 that made me question the solidness of time and space or what we call physical reality.

About the same time, I’ll was doing many television specials on lucid dreaming.  In one, we were filming an experiment  at the Stanford sleep laboratory, which was to determine which part of my brain was active while I sang a song in a dream.

On a commercial for the national television special, which played over and over again for weeks, I was on the screen in my bathrobe with electrodes all over my face practicing the song, “Row, row, row your  … life is but a dream.”  I watched myself and thought, maybe life is a dream and I am just not lucid enough to know it for sure.”

This let me to teach the benefits of assuming that one is in a dream while in waking physical reality and becoming more lucid, which I called lucid living.

At first, I  had a lot of trouble convincing others, and myself at times, that when awake we can still be in a dream. False awakening dreams helped me practice deciding if I was dreaming, even when I thought I was awake.

False awakenings are dreams where you think you wake up, for example, in your bedroom. You remain there until you either, you become lucid and can tell it’s another dream, or you really wake up, so to speak.

Because I remember an average of six dreams almost every night of my life, I have been tricked many times into believing a dream was waking physical reality.

I convinced myself that I can easily prove I am in a dream.  All I need to do is float or fly or see someone whom I know has died.  Of course, these tasks may not be so easy for everyone.

However, as I said earlier, I believe it is impossible to prove that we are not dreaming.  Therefore, why not assume that we are always dreaming,  look at what that implies, and use lucid dreaming techniques to become the more lucid in our waking lives.

THE DREAMER OF LIFE

The main question is:  If life is a dream, then who is the dreamer?  If life is a dream, then you and I are equivalent to the dream characters in sleeping dreams.  So who is it that we can connect to?

Well, I assume that there exists, outside of the dimension of life, or waking physical reality, an all-encompassing mind that is having this dream we call life.  I will call this dreamer the Dreamer of Life. In one sense, I think of it as our expanded minds or our expanded self.

I have found difficulties in using the terms such as, Higher Self, God, or Source in place of the Dreamer of Life, but you can use them if it makes you feel more comfortable. Also, I acknowledge that the Dreamer of Life can be broken down into many levels as well.

Sometimes, I really do feel as though I am dreaming while awake and in waking physical reality.  At these times, I feel connected to the Dreamer of Life. I even notice many synchronicities in my life occurring during these times.  However, I often get caught up in my life and forget that I might be in a dream. Because of my experience in sleeping lucid dreams, I try to never assume that I am not dreaming.

The process of connecting to the Dreamer of Life is similar to the traditional forms of prayer or meditation.  With lucid living, I first stop my train of thought and imagine that I am in a dream.  I try to come from the perspective of this Dreamer of Life, or our expanded self, see others as aspects of it, trust it, and surrender to its wishes.

EXPERIENCING EMOTIONS AND FACING FEARS

In my sleeping dreams, I have found power in surrendering and fully experiencing my emotions.  For example, I have brought the scary witches into my body and I have gone with them to the place where they come from.

When I find situations in my sleeping lucid dreams that seem impossible or terrifying, such as jumping into fire or merging with a black void, I do so.  Lately, in my sleeping lucid dreams,  I have found myself falling faster and faster down an endless slide.  I have learned to surrender to this sensation of increasing speed.

I believe there is a parallel to surrendering and facing our emotions in life. I have often practiced facing my fears in life and surrendering, as I do in my sleeping lucid dreams.  I usually discover that my life improves.

When I have strong feelings, such as sadness, grief, fear, I do not necessarily have to express them outwardly in reaction. I can surrender to them deep within myself, and try not to push aside or hold back my feelings.

LESS FEAR IN LIFE

By calling life a dream, I do not mean to imply that in my life, I take unreasonable risks or expect instant magic, as I often do in sleeping lucid dreams.  I never take dangerous actions unless I am positive I am dreaming and I have proof.

In any case, when I am even a little lucid in my life, I feel safer because I believe that I am more than just my individual body and personality.

In waking life we may have the habit of thinking that our body is our “self.”  Similarly, in non-lucid dreams we might think that our dream body is our “self.” Of course, we wouldn’t use term “dream body” because we wouldn’t recognize that we were dreaming.

We may believe that if the body we “are currently associating with” dies, we die, because we are not aware of our expanded self, or the dreamer. We continue to feel this way until we wake up out of the dream.

We think, after the fact, that we could have responded differently had we realized that we’d dreamed. Why not become lucid and notice that we are more than just our body before we “wake up” out of our dreams or out of our lives?

I know that in sleeping dreams, when I dream of someone who dies, I don’t necessarily expect that they have died in physical reality.  So I have to assume that when someone dies in my life, that they haven’t necessarily died in the reality of the Dreamer of Life.

ANYTHING IS POSSIBLE IN LIFE

I also believe in the ability to co-create my reality with the Dreamer of Life. As in sleeping dreams, I recognize that the Dreamer of Life may have intentions that I am not aware of even in lucidity.

Whenever I feel myself in a dream, I really believe that anything can happen, even in mysterious or even magical ways. I can experience the joy of making things happen more often in my waking state, by learning to become lucid in waking life and set upon accomplishing tasks with a new outlook that anything is possible.

At the very least, I can probably gain an understanding of how I may block myself and try again, knowing I have endless possibilities.

An example, from an early stage of my sleeping lucid dream development, illustrates this point. In my dream, I could not fly to my destination because I  kept hitting telephone poles.

When I decided that “this is my dream,” I was able to fly right through the poles. I also realized that it was my physical self’s mind that created the telephone poles to begin with!

WE ARE ALL ONE IN LIFE

I experience everyone in my life as equal characters in one dream or all aspects of the Dreamer of Life.

When I am lucid in my waking state, I want to understand the Dreamer of Life. I listen to others and try to see where there opinions come from and what they are teaching me without judging them.

TECHNIQUES

As I have mentioned, I have developed techniques for becoming lucid, or being aware that I am dreaming, in my sleeping dreams that I can also use in my waking life. The main technique I use is to look for unusual or impossible situations or recurring scenarios.

RECURRING SCENARIOS IN LIFE

A great example of using a lucidity technique in my waking life is when I noticed recurring scenarios  during my relationships before I was married.  I often found myself in an argument with my partner.

When I thought about the specific times this happened, I noticed that with several different partners I would be in a similar position during the arguments.

My partner would be hovering over me looking scary and not unlike the witches.   Sometimes this would happen when we were in the same physical location in my living room where the couches formed an L-shape.

The last time this scenario ever happened, I was right in the middle of the argument when I suddenly thought, “This is a recurring theme. What if this is a dream?”

I immediately saw my partner as an aspect our expanded self, or the Dreamer of Life.  I thought about where he was coming from and what he had to teach me. I had less fear.  Internally, my reaction changed.  With trust and surrender, I stayed in the moment.

Exactly as the witches did when I faced up to them, my partner froze, stopped yelling, and then turned and walked away.  It was as if I no longer needed to play out this drama.  I  had solved it, as I did my childhood nightmares.

By the way, my childhood nightmares took place in the same physical location each time also, at the bottom of the back porch stairs of my childhood home.

I used this method that I just described in many other situations. Once, during an argument with my cousin in the waking state, I suddenly stopped to think, “If I look at this as a dream right now, then my cousin actually expresses a part of our expanded self, or the Dreamer of Life, that I want to understand.  At that exact moment,  she actually started to explain how our points of view seemed related instead of opposed.

Another time, while in a hospital, a doctor merely said something that reminded me of a dream and I was able to let go of my fear and accept the situation.

GOALS IN LIFE

One of the best techniques I have used for motivating me to become lucid is to set goals to accomplish in my dream.  Sometimes, I become lucid and decide not to change the direction of the dream, in order to carry out a goal. In this case, I go with the flow of the dream. However, when I do have an interesting goal, I get motivated to become and remain lucid.

In my lucid dreaming classes, I suggest that my students start with a simple goal to accomplish in their lucid dream. I ask them to decide the first steps ahead of time while awake that they can carry out from wherever they might find themselves. I find that a goal of “becoming lucid” does not work as well as a goal of doing something fun in the limitless world of dreams. We must remember this in life!

Throughout my life, I have found there are many uses for lucid dreaming. Some of these include: psychological development, trying new behaviors, healing, and much more. I’ve found that all of these can apply, whether we find ourselves asleep or awake.

In my waking life, I often “go with the flow”  and still set up goals. When I determine my goals, I try to be in line with the Dreamer of Life, which seems to be the case when I have great passion in realizing my goals.  I have gotten through many potential blocks in getting my Ph.D. and having an exciting and prosperous career.

FAMILY

This is especially apparent when I decided I wanted a family.  A series of dreams helped me see that things were exactly as they should be whenever I seemed to let go of hope.

However, I also had a belief while awake that things would work out, even if they took longer or didn’t proceed as I imagined.

An example of how I acted with lucidity in my waking life is when I met my husband by noticing him across the room at a party, going up to him, and talking to him.  I had an extremely strong sense that he would be in my future, even though he turned out to be much younger than me. This was probably the most lucid moment in my life so far.

I felt that I completely surrendered to the Dreamer of Life, or our expanded self.  I was in the present moment continuously, without fear, and with total trust. I remained with him and totally focussed on him, while part of me observed our interaction.

I believed in magic, while been totally accepting whatever happened.  I was able to listen to him, as if he were truly part of myself. We have been married for over ten years and I still feel that he is my perfect mate.

I also used lucid dreaming and lucid living to overcome the tremendous odds I had against being able to bear a child, as well. We now have an son who will be nine years old on Monday.

ADDITIONAL COMMENTS

I have a few final comments on lucid living. I believe lucid living can have a profound effect on all our lives. Of course, as in our sleeping dreams, we can easily go on automatic and lose lucidity.

However, the more we practice lucid dreaming skills, whether when asleep or during our waking life, the more likely we will become lucid at all times and live the most illuminating, clear, and conscious  life as possible.

I have decided that one way for the world to heal is for every person to view life as a dream in this way.  Even if they were simply to be open to the possibility that life may be a dream, the Dreamer of Life would become more lucid.

An alternate way for the world to heal is for any one person to continuously believe they are in a dream. That is my goal and why I’m taking the time and effort to write and present these ideas.

The Dreamer of Life needs to be more lucid in order to get us to perform magic and prove that life is a dream.  When we respond more strongly as if we are in a dream, the Dreamer of Life will be more lucid. We will then see ourselves more as co-creators of our reality.

Like puppets, who act as though they are separate from the puppeteer, we often feel disconnected. Using the puppet analogy, we can begin to identify more with the puppeteer, or the Dreamer of life, realizing that is who really makes everything happen.

As in sleeping dreams, the dreamer can only speak through a dream character. When a dream character connects to the dreamer in lucidity, and the dream character doesn’t get in the way, the dreamer’s goals and thoughts can be heard or seen.

The Dreamer of Life, our Higher Self, or our Source needs us, its dream characters, to connect to it so it can speak through us and be heard.

One can say that while we are in life it is real and argue that we can call it a dream only from an outside perspective or after we die.  However, if it is possible to know that you dream in sleeping dreams while you dream and remain in the dream, then we can also know that we dream in the waking state while remaining in it.

As a sleeping lucid dreamer, I learned to remain in my  dreams, to wake up out of them, to change them, to go back into them, to become more lucid, and to accomplish intricate goals within them.  I would like to do this, and more, in my waking state as well.

Finally, I have discovered that ancient traditions and religions, as well as modern best-selling authors, movies, and songs talk about concepts similar to lucid living.  These include the Hindus and Maya; the Buddhists and Connectedness; the Christians and Resurrection; The Course of Miracles and the Happy Dream.

Plus: Jane Roberts with SETH; Deepak Chopra; Wayne Dyer; Don Miguel Ruiz; The Wizard of Oz; Star Trek; The Matrix… the list goes on and on.

My favorite is: Row, Row, Row, your boat, gently down the stream, merrily, merrily, merrily, merrily, life is but a dream

So remember, we are dreaming now. View every situation you find yourself in as a dream, experience and let go of your fears, know that anything is possible, see the oneness of everyone, and make your own dreams come true.

Thank you.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010 Categorized under Lucid Dreaming, Lucid Living

AN INTERVIEW WITH BEVERLY D’URSO

Man and Woman talkLucid Dream Exchange (LDE):  DREAMSPEAK

Part One, Two and Three”, The Lucid  Dream Exchange, Numbers 29, 30, and 31, 2003 – 2004.

AN INTERVIEW WITH BEVERLY D’URSO: A LUCID DREAMER (Also appears in Electric Dreams)

(c) Beverly D’Urso 2003

Questions by Robert Waggoner

Beverly D’Urso (formerly Beverly Kedzierski, and also Bev Heart)
is an incredible lucid dreamer. She served as Stephen LaBerge’s
main lucid dream research subject in the early years of his
research work, and helped provide key insights into lucid
dreaming. Interviewed by magazines, national and local television,
and other media, Beverly has promoted a greater understanding of
lucid dreaming and “lucid living.” The LDE is pleased to provide a
multi-issue interview of this fascinating lucid dreamer.

ROBERT: Beverly, thanks for doing an interview with the LDE. Since
you play a pivotal part in the development of lucid dreaming, tell
us how your interest in dreaming began.

BEVERLY: I grew up in a small suburb of Chicago, the only child of
a lower- middle class family. I was very close to my parents. When
I was about five years old, my grandfather came to live with us.
It was around this time that I remember having a series of
recurring nightmares.

I imagined gruesome witches living in the back of my dark and
scary closet. In my dreams, I’d be quietly playing or lying in
bed. Without notice, the witches would sneak out and come after
me. I’d scream and run through the house, making it to the back
porch and sometimes down the back stairs, but never any further.
I’d fall on the cement at the bottom of the stairs, spread eagle
on my back, and just as they were about to devour me, I’d wake up.
In an icy sweat, breathing fast, I’d be terrified of going to
sleep again. For a few weeks, the witches would leave me alone,
but, when I least expected it, they’d be back. After years of this
same recurring dream, I’d find myself pleading, as I lie on the
cement with the witches hovering over me, “Please, spare me
tonight. You can have me in tomorrow’s night’s dream!” At that
point, they’d stop their attack and I’d wake up. However, the
dream was still very upsetting, and I always hated going to sleep.
I would lie in bed and tell myself that the witches only came in
my dreams, while I was safe in bed. I tried to get myself to
remember this the next time they appeared.

ROBERT: So, recurring nightmares led you to realize that witches
only came in dreams. When did you consciously realize this in the
dream state and become lucid?

BEVERLY: One hot, sticky summer night, when I was seven, I was
especially afraid of going to sleep. I was sure the witches would
appear in my dreams that night. My mom was sleeping on the living
room couch, which she often did when it was so hot. The front door
was opened to create a breeze. So, still being awake about two in
the morning, I grabbed an old, dark pink, American Indian blanket.
I put the blanket on the floor next to the couch to be close to my
mom, and I fell asleep.

Soon, I found myself back in my bedroom, unknowingly in a dream,
and noticed the closet door creaking open. I knew at once it was
the witches, and I began to run for my life. I barely made it
through the kitchen. As I raced across the porch and down the
stairs, I tripped as usual and immediately those horrifying
witches caught up to me. The instant before I started to plead
with them, the thought flashed through my mind, “If I ask them to
take me in tomorrow night’s dream, then this must be a dream!”
Instantly, my fear dissolved. I looked the witches straight in the
eye and said, “What do you want?” They gave me a disgusting look,
but I knew I was safe in a dream, and I continued, “Take me now.
Let’s get this over with!” I watched with amazement, as they
quickly disappeared into the night. I woke up on the floor next to
my mom feeling elated. I knew they were gone. I never had the
witch nightmare in this form again! I would later have new
episodes with the witches in my dreams and discover similar witch
scenarios in my waking life.

ROBERT: Did that initial lucid dream realization change your
outlook on dreaming? How so?

BEVERLY: My dreams were really fun after that night. Remembering
the feeling of facing the witches, I learned to recognize when I
was asleep and dreaming. Safe in the dream, I would do things I’d
never do when awake! Being a very obedient student during the
daytime, I would dream of being in class jumping wildly and
carefree all over the tops of the school desks. Whatever I
desired, was possible. Whatever I thought, would occur. I felt
ecstatic. I could face other fears, heal or nurture myself
emotionally, resolve conflicts or blocks, have adventures, help
others, or just have fun. I could fly, visit places, people, or
time periods, and generally “do the impossible!”

I made up ways to wake myself up from dreams, such as staring at
bright streetlights in the dream, whenever I wanted to end a
dream. Oftentimes, I would lay in bed imagining myself doing
backward summersaults and float right into my dream, without ever
losing consciousness, as I fell asleep. I figured out how to stay
in a dream, if I felt I was waking up, how to change the dream
scene, and even how to repeat the same dream!

ROBERT: What other things did you learn to do in your early lucid
dreaming?

BEVERLY: I learned to fly in my dreams, as well. Usually, I would
be lucid. I started out flying like a little bird, having to flap
my wings to stay up. This could take much effort. As I grew up, I
discovered that I could fly like superman, soaring effortlessly
through the air, arms first. At some point, I must have hit some
telephone wires or some other barrier because I fell. I soon
realized that because it was my dream, I could fly right through
physical objects of any kind. I had fun flying through walls and
even deep into the earth. As I matured in my lucid dreaming
skills, I could eliminate flying by merely imagining that where I
wanted to go was right behind me. This soon got boring, and I went
back to flying for the simple pleasure it brought me. However,
lately, I have been doing what I call “surrender flying.’” I lean
back, and I let an invisible force pull me upwards from my heart
area. This is a very ecstatic sensation, and it often leads me to
places of great peace and power, which remain with me even after I
wake up.

ROBERT: My earliest lucid awareness came when I was 10 or 11 years
old, and saw dinosaurs in the public library in my dream and
announced that this must be a dream. Besides the witches, what
else helped you realize that you were dreaming?

BEVERLY: Often, in dreams, I would often find myself in front of
my childhood home. At times, there were changes to the structure
of the house. Other times the house changed in impossible ways.
Sometimes, people other than my parents were living there. In the
dream, I’d often get confused and scared. However, the more I
thought about it while awake, the more I realized that I only saw
the house this way when I was in a dream. So, I told myself, the
next time I’m in front of my childhood home, I will check for
these changes. If I see them, I will know that I am dreaming. From
then on, seeing my childhood home was often a clue for me to
become lucid in my dreams. Once I became lucid in this manner, I
could pursue any other goals that I might have for that night.

ROBERT: What I find amazing is that you were so young. Did your
lucid dreaming make you feel unusual, or did you feel special?

BEVERLY: My lucid dreaming experiences continued throughout my
teenage years. However, I never knew the term “lucid dreaming.” I
thought that everyone dreamed this way every night. I guess I
liked the experiences, so I thought about them at night, in bed,
before I went to sleep. I suspected that I was dreaming whenever I
would have problems in a dream, for example, when all my teeth
would start to fall out, when my contacts would grow or multiply,
or when I would find myself on shooting elevators or on bridges
that were too steep to drive on.

I often dreamed of my close friend from high school, named Denise,
She died in a car accident, when I was nineteen. At first, I’d see
her, and we would continue as we would have when she was still
alive. One time, I remembered that she had died. It scared me so
much that I woke up. Afterwards, I learned to stay in the dream
and talk to her. It took me time to get accustomed to hearing her
voice, but I was finally able to ask her questions, and,
eventually, listen to her answers. I felt very relieved to connect
with her this way. It helped me
deal more easily with my father in my dreams after he died, in
1992. By then, I was an expert!

ROBERT: What other types of lucid dream experiences surprised you
back then?

BEVERLY: I would sometimes end a dream, think I woke up, yet find
myself in another dream. These are called “false awakenings.”
Sometimes, I would ‘wake up’ ten or twenty times in a row, but
usually the time it took me to realize that I was still dreaming
shortened exponentially. For example, I would realize I was still
dreaming when I left the house for the day in a dream. The next
time, in a similar dream, I would recognize I was still dreaming
earlier, when I was in the shower, and so on. Finally, I would
still be in bed, waking up, when I’d realize I was still in a
dream. I have gotten better at recognizing false awakenings
through the years.

ROBERT: So how did it happen that you met Stephen LaBerge?

BEVERLY: In the late 1970s, I moved to California to finish my
graduate work in computer science at Stanford University. Soon
after I arrived, I went to see a dream expert to find out if I
could learn to dream less often. I thought that waking up too
often with dreams was disturbing my sleep. The expert asked me to
describe some of my common dreams. When I did, she told me that my
dreams were called “lucid dreams.” She said lucid dreaming was a
valuable skill that people were trying to learn. I was very
surprised! I only saw her once, but many years later she showed up
at a presentation I was giving on my lucid dreaming experiences. I
decided that if I were going to remember so many dreams anyway, at
least many of them were lucid!

At the time, I was finishing a master’s project with a Stanford
Cognitive Psychology professor. I told one of his other students
that I was a lucid dreamer. He said that I had to meet his friend
Stephen LaBerge, who was doing his dissertation on this exact
subject.

After Stephen and I were introduced at an initial meeting, we
discovered that we both did similar things in our lucid dreams. He
asked me to try some things at home and report back to him. When
he asked me to try spinning in a dream and see what happened, I
already knew the answer. My somersault dreams were like spinning
backwards. I used them to get into new dream scenes. Steven also
found that spinning in his dreams created new scenes, as well. He
attributed it to something in the inner ear that affected a
certain part of the brain.

ROBERT: Obviously you both shared similar interests in lucid
awareness. Did that lead to being a research subject?

BEVERLY: Stephen invited me to participate in some experiments at
the Stanford Sleep Laboratory. I ended up sleeping at the lab and
doing experiments about once a month for many years. I also did
many experiments for publicity, such as television or magazine
specials. I succeeded every time I was in the lab, except one time
early on when the technical equipment failed.

Before I came along, Stephen had used himself as the subject to
show that one could be definitely in the sleeping state and signal
the beginning of a predetermined task from a dream. He wondered
how what we dream in our mind affects our physical body. For
example, if we dream that we breathe slowly, does our physical
breathing slow down? Although we can not, for example, cause our
hearts to stop beating in a dream, in general, the activity of our
dream bodies can be recognized as happening in our physical
bodies, as well.

ROBERT: So how did the research begin with you as the subject?

BEVERLY: In the lab, I would signal from a dream, and my signals
would be picked up by EEG machines in the lab via electrodes on my
body. During this process, my brain waves, and other body
functions, were also being monitored. They showed that I was
unequivocally in the sleep state, particularly REM sleep, while I
was signaling.

The first time Stephen signaled in the lab, he squeezed his arm
muscles in Morse code for his initials. When I tried squeezing my
arm muscles in an experiment, the signal was not strong enough to
register, so we decided on using a new signal. We used eye
movements, because eye movement is not as inhibited as other body
movements during sleep. I would move my dream eyes back and forth
in the dream and the left-right movements, from my physical eyes
in bed, connected to electrodes, would appear in the lab on the
polygraph machine. I used a double left-right left-right movement
to show that I knew I was dreaming. I would use a similar movement
to signal that I was about to begin a task in a dream. I
eventually decided to use to series of these, or four left- right
signals, to say that I was waking up, or about to wake myself up.

ROBERT: What other lucid dream research did you do in those early
years?

BEVERLY: After I demonstrated that I could have lucid dreams at
will, every time I was in the laboratory, I did many other
experiments that used the signals. After signaling that I knew I
was dreaming and in a dream, I would signal that I was about to
begin a predetermined task. One time, we decided I would sing a
song, which should have activated a certain area of my brain,
which was also being monitored by electrodes. It did. Another
time, I did a more mathematical task of counting from one to ten,
which should have activated a different area of my brain, just as
it would while awake. The experiments showed that the same parts
of the brain were activated while dreaming a task, as when doing
it while awake.

ROBERT: Did you ever have problems as a lucid dreamer on these
research nights?

BEVERLY: One time, I was in the lab doing an experiment for
*Smithsonian Magazine*. My task was to get lucid, and then clap my
dream hands to determine if an electrode on my physical ear would
register the dream sound. In the dream, I signaled lucidity, but I
couldn’t clap my hands. A buoyancy compensatory had unexpectedly
expanded around me, and I couldn’t get both hands to meet. I had
recently learned to scuba dive. A buoyancy compensatory is a
device used for floating that expands around the center of the
body. The part that the reporters didn’t realize was that just as
I was going to sleep, Stephen had whispered to me that maybe I
could solve the ancient Zen koan of “the sound of one hand
clapping.” I believe that the reason my subconscious couldn’t get
my hands to clap was because then I wouldn’t be making the sound
of “one” hand clapping.

During another lab experiment, my eye movements were being
monitored, as usual. In a lucid dream, before I moved my eyes, I
explained what I was going to do to the dream character that
represented my friend Tim. He said, “Oh, you mean you move your
eyes back and forth like this?” He then moved his eyes in this
manner. After I signaled and woke up, we noticed that there were
two eye signals recorded. Tim’s eyes moving in the dream must have
affected my physical eyes. This made me wonder if all dream
characters are really aspects of the dreamer as well.

ROBERT: It seems that the lucid dream research focused mostly on
physiological correlations between dream experience and waking
experience, rather than, say, the psychological meaning of dream
characters, etc. Is that the case?

BEVERLY: We did many more experiments in the lab through the
years. I tried estimating time in a dream and while wake. The
estimates turned out to be very similar. We believed that time
sometimes seems different in dreams because dreams often work the
way movies do. When scenes end in movies, often new activity from
a later period begins immediately. In other experiments, I
followed patterns with my dream eyes. For example, in a dream, I
would watch my finger make an infinity sign about two feet wide in
front of my face, and we’d compare it to my physical eyes
following this same pattern while awake. Oddly enough, I would
often do these experiments after working all day on my Ph.D., and
performing all evening with my professional belly dance troupe.
Talk about working 24 hours a day!

In another ground-breaking experiment, I was in the Stanford Sleep
Lab, hooked up to electrodes and vaginal probes. My goal was to
have sex in a dream and experience an orgasm. I dreamed that I
flew across Stanford campus and saw a group of tourists walking
down below. I swooped down and tapped one dream guy, wearing a
blue suit, on the shoulder. He responded right there on the
walkway. We make love, and I signaled the onset of sex, the
orgasm, and when I was about to wake up. We later published this
experiment in the *Journal of Psychophysiology* as the first
recorded female orgasm in a dream.

ROBERT: Did dream lab work affect your normal lucid dreaming?

BEVERLY: During this time period, while at home in my bedroom, I
found myself in a dream. Dream scientists asked me to go to sleep
in a chair. They wanted to study me. By falling asleep in a dream
chair, I actually woke up, and I wrote down the dream. I went back
to sleep, and I found myself in the same dream chair with the
dream scientists. I asked them what they observed while they saw
me sleeping, while I had actually woke up and recorded the dream.
They said I was almost paralyzed, except that my eyes were moving
quickly back and forth, left and right. Was my waking life a dream
to these dream scientists? I began to use the process of falling
asleep in a dream as a way to wake up.
ROBERT: So what about your lucid dreams in the lab? Were they
affected by the laboratory setting?
BEVERLY: In the laboratory, I learned to wait until early morning
hours to even try to have a lucid dream. After eight hours of
sleep, it would be easier for me to become lucid. We found this to
be true for most people. For example, I would say, “I will do the
experiment at 7:30 a.m.” I picked this time because it was before
the office personnel would come in and begin to make noises.

Picking a time, also made it easier for the media people. Instead
of watching my brain waves all night, they could rest, and know
exactly when to watch me perform live. I normally woke up after
most REM periods, about every hour and a half. When I would wake
up between six and seven a.m., I would then focus on my lucid
dreaming task. This process is how we came up with the technique
called “MILD,” or Mnemonic induction of lucid dreams.

In my laboratory dreams, I would often find myself in a lab
setting, similar to the one in which I was sleeping. In my dreams,
I would often joke with the dream characters who represented the
lab technicians or the media people. Sometimes, I would fly over
their heads for fun. I would always remember to signal at the
point when I knew I was dreaming, and at the beginning and ending
of any of my tasks.

Robert: Was it odd having news media attention about lucid
dreaming?”

Beverly: Once, I was asked to do a lucid dreaming experiment at
the lab for the television show 20/20. While being hooked up to
electrodes used to verify my sleeping brain waves, I sat next to
Hugh Downs, the host of the show. I had known him from television
since I was a child. He wanted to try his luck at becoming lucid
in his dreams that night. I became lucid easily that night,
finding myself in a bed that looked like the one in the lab where
I had fallen asleep. I got the idea to head towards Oakland, and
maybe make it to a scheduled Grateful Dead concert. I got half way
there, when I remembered that I was being filmed for a national
television show. One of my goals was to bring Hugh Downs flying. I
turned around midair and quickly flew back to the Stanford Sleep
Lab. I looked for what I thought would be the wall of Hugh’s room.
I nudged him on the side and said, “Hugh, wake up! I have come to
take you flying.” He seemed very sleepy, so I took his hand, and I
gently pulled him out of bed. We got to the coliseum just as the
Grateful Dead were playing on stage. Because we were like ghosts,
it was easy to merely float right over the band, in fact, directly
over the lead guitar player, Jerry Garcia’s, head. We had the best
location in the place, and the music sounded especially clear and
vibrant. The next morning, I asked Hugh if he remembered any
dreams. Unfortunately, he didn’t, but he seemed very pleased when
I told him mine. The reporters interviewed me, but as far as I
know the segment was never shown.

ROBERT: Sexual desires seem fairly common in my lucid dreams and
in most other lucid dreamers’. What this the case in your
experience as well?

BEVERLY: In my lucid dreams, I have had sex with dream characters
who represent men, women, old people, young people, strangers,
relatives, as well as people of various races and classes. I have
been the woman, the man, half woman/half man, both split from
waist, and with both a penis and a vagina. I have been a man with
a man, a woman with a woman, an old man with young girls, with
groups and alone. I have made love physically with myself in all
combinations. I can barely think of some sexual situation that I
have not experienced. These dreams are all very enjoyable and
everyone is always totally accepting.

I would sometimes give myself challenges while not in the lab, as
well. In one very powerful lucid dream, I felt very sure of myself
and decided to have sex with the next dream person who came down
the street. I did so, right in the middle of the road, with no
inhibitions. I gave myself a suggestion to remain lucid afterwards
and it worked. However, I now found myself alone, in front of a
campfire. I took this as another challenge and stepped right into
the center of the roaring fire. I was having fun and decided to
try eating the flames. Interestingly enough, they tasted salty.
Next, I appeared with nothing physical around me, so I decided
that I would fly up and merge with the sun. I sped upwards like
superman, accelerating rapidly until, about half way there, I
heard a great sound. It was very intense, and yet blissful. I felt
extremely lucid for the next several days in both my waking and
sleeping states.

ROBERT: Any final thoughts about experiments or experiences in the
lab with Stephen LaBerge?

BEVERLY: During one lucid dreaming experiment at the lab, Stephen
LaBerge asked me to try healing my stiff neck in a dream by
rubbing my hands and directing the energy to my neck. I tried this
in a dream, and I found sparks coming from my hands. The sparks
set my hair on fire, and I spend the dream trying to put the fire
out. Even I wasn’t always completely lucid!

In another lab experiment for a television special, I had to sing
the song, “Row, row, row your boat…. life is but a dream.” The
week that the show was to air, they used a clip of me singing this
song with electrodes all over my face, wearing my blue robe, for a
commercial. It was shown several times a day that week. A few
times, when I turned on the television, the commercial was playing
and I saw myself saying, “Life is but a dream!” It was a very
strange experience indeed! I decided it must be some kind of
message from the universe, and I better pay attention. I was
formulating the ideas that would eventually become what I now
call, “lucid living!”

ROBERT: Beverly, because you have so many great lucid dream
experiences, we plan to continue this interview for the next LDE -
and maybe even the one after that! Would you care to leave us with
one of your favorite lucid dreams from this period?

BEVERLY: This next dream serves as a good description of how our
thoughts can create reality. I was in a lucid dream and I met a
lovely fairy teacher who told me that she would give me the gift
of seeing my thoughts manifest instantly in front of me. I found
myself driving on a road around a large lake. I thought how nice
it would be to be in a boat on the water. Instantly, I was sitting
in a boat looking up at the road I had just been on. I was amazed.
I must have imagined being in town next. In front of me on a dusty
road, I saw a mysterious man walking towards me. He put his hand
in his pocket. I thought, “What if he pulls a knife on me?” Sure
enough, I noticed the blade. I was terrified, but just as quickly
I tried to picture him merely scratching his leg. I was relieved
when he did. Still, I was afraid that I would think more negative
thoughts, and I wanted this all to stop. Yet, I didn’t know how to
do so. Finally, I decided to think of my bedroom and myself
asleep. Sure enough, I woke up, and I felt that I had learned a
great deal about how our mental states can affect our experiences.

Robert: So Beverly, you have been lucid dreaming regularly since
you were a child, and helped Stephen LaBerge scientifically prove
the existence of lucid dreaming as his main research subject.  But
did your time in lucid dreaming affect your other dreams, or were
they everyday, normal dreams?

Beverly: In 1982, after becoming extremely proficient in lucid
dreaming,I spontaneously began having precognitive dreams. These
are dreams of things that happen later in the waking state. For
me, these dreams usually had great detail, were very emotional,
and the waking scenario would occur within a few days of the
dream. However, my precognitive dreams usually have not been
lucid. I was sure that they were not due merely to coincidence. I
even described the events, in detail, to others, who were later
present during the waking scenario. My previous view of the
physical world as being “solid,” and having precise rules, had
turned upside down!

Robert: How did you respond to having your world view altered by
your lucid and precognitive dreaming?

Beverly: These experiences caused me to explore other psychic
phenomenon. I began reading books, such as Jane Robert’s “Seth”
work. I needed to make sense of what was happening to me. Again, I
thought of life being a dream. It would explain how such things
like precognitive dreams could occur.
Maybe, I needed to become more lucid in life in order to really
see it as a dream. My dreams often seemed as real as physical
reality, sometimes more so.  The more I thought of the
implications of life being a dream, the more it made sense. We
could all be dream characters in a dream we call life. Was there a
Dreamer dreaming us all? However, during this time, I was still a
scientist trying to finish my Ph.D. I did not want to be
distracted by these ideas so much, that I never finished my
degree. I decided to put them off for awhile.

Robert: That’s understandable.  So how did the dissertation go?
Beverly: In my waking state, I was having trouble writing my
doctoral dissertation.  I decided to try writing it in my dreams
first. In one dream, I found myself lying in bed. The desk in the
room was in the wrong place, so I realized that I was dreaming. I
headed for my computer, to start writing.  I found that I could
not move. I was paralyzed. I told myself, “This is my dream, and I
can do what I want!” I slowly made it to the desk. I looked down,
and I saw that the chair seat was an opening for “the pit to
hell.”  Flames swept up, and it sounded and smelled awful!  I was,
however, determined to succeed. Holding my breath, I sat down,
ready to be sucked into the pit.  Instead, I woke up, and within a
very short time, I finished writing my dissertation in the area of
artificial intelligence.

Robert: That’s a great story.  I recall being at an Association
for theStudy of Dreams’ presentation, where one of the speakers
admitted that his realistic dream of fighting the devil occurred
when he was undergoing the oral and written defense of his
doctoral dissertation!  So what happened after you finished your
dissertation?

Beverly: I finished my Ph.D. in 1983 and my career really took
off!  I was very involved in starting up businesses and traveling
around the world.  In 1987, I took a short break from this
computer science work to help Stephen LaBerge form the Lucidity
Institute.

By this time, we had been experimenting for awhile with lucid
dreaming induction techniques to help others more easily become
lucid in their dreams.  At first, we tried to send clues to the
dream world by using smells and sounds.  In one experiment, I
tape-recorded my own voice saying, “I am dreaming, now!” A
technician would play the tape when I was in REM sleep, making it
gradually louder. However, as soon as the sound became loud enough
for me to hear in the dream, it would wake me up.  This was when
we decided to send light to the dream, instead. Light could be
more easily incorporated into the dream and used as a clue to
induce a lucid dream, for someone trained to look for the
flashinglight in their dream.

Robert: So, forgiving my pun, you and Stephen saw the light.  How
did that work?

Beverly: We developed a mask that people could wear to sleep at
night, which could recognize REM eye movements.  If a person was
in REM sleep, it would then flash a light, which would get
incorporated into the dream. If users were trained to look for the
light, they could learn to question whether or not the light was
from the mask, and, more importantly, question whether or not they
were dreaming. The light might appear as flashing stoplights in
street scenes, or as lightning flashing in the sky.  Many versions
of this dream mask eventually got developed, including the Dream
Light and the Nova Dreamer.

I created the first business plan to market this lucidity
induction device.  I also helped Stephen give lucid dreaming
workshops.  In 1990, I decided to lead my own personal groups and
workshops on lucid dreaming, which soon became lucid
dreaming/lucid living.

Robert: Interesting.  When you started out on your own leading
lucid dream workshops, did you feel like you had your own unique
vision of lucid dreaming?

Beverly: Sharing a little of my introduction to lucid dreaming
will clarify how I look at things. When we become “lucid” in our
sleeping dreams, we become aware that we dream while we dream.
Some people never remember their dreams, some remember them after
they have been awake for a while, and some remember them just
after or before they awaken. Lucid dreamers remember they dream
while the dream takes place. They do not necessarily analyze the
dream, or look for symbols, but directly and consciously
experience the dream, shortening the time it takes to realize they
dream.

To me, lucid dreaming does not mean merely “visualizing”,
“daydreaming”, “clear” dreaming, or even “controlled” dreaming,
necessarily. Also, I personally believe in levels of lucidity, as
a spectrum. I would say I am partially lucid, if I just remember
to question if I am dreaming.  I’d call myself definitely lucid,
if I know I am dreaming for sure. I consider myself very lucid, if
I can control or change things in the dream, not that I always do.
Finally, when I am most lucid, I often do not experience a body,
but I have a very powerful, spiritual-like experience.

In a lucid dream, I feel free to do whatever I please, have fun,
experiment, solve problems, accomplish goals, and go wherever my
imagination takes me, taking care to balance spontaneity and
control. I have learned that sometimes it is better to surrender
to the dream. Other times, it helps to take control, change
things, or carry out goals.

I have remembered, on average, half a dozen dreams per night, for
most of my life. I’d say that between 2 and 20 dreams per week
were lucid, to various degrees.  So, I’d say a good estimate of
how many lucid dreams I have had would be 20,000. Unfortunately, I
am not a very good recorder of dreams, nor I have organized my
dream reports very well. I have, however, kept track of the ones I
consider most valuable.

Robert: A thousand here, a thousand there- at that point, who’s
counting?  No, that’s incredible.  So how have you used your lucid
dreaming knowledge and skills in your presentations and workshops?

Beverly: Here are a few examples of how I worked with my students
in my groups. I would often ask my students to choose a goal for a
lucid dream.  One student told me he’d like to bike around the
world.  I told him to start simple. He first had to become lucid,
remember the task, stay in the dream, and find a bike to ride.  He
accomplished this in several months.  Finally, one day he reported
that he had ridden his bike through Russia in his dreams. Shortly
after this, he told me that he could no longer attend my group. He
was quitting his job, selling his house, and taking five years off
to bike around the world!

Another time, a friend I had just met asked me to dream for him.
I dreamed I was in a theater and was watching a movie that he is
in. Later, I told him the story, and I discovered that I had
dreamed his life, including things he never told anyone.

Once, I told a friend’s eight year old nephew about lucid
dreaming. I helped him practice lucid dream induction techniques
while awake.  I asked him what he’d like to do in a dream.  He
said he’d like to meet a president of the United States.  In a few
days, he called me to tell me that he had a lucid dream. He didn’t
find Washington or Lincoln, but he did meet up with the artist,
Leonardo da Vinci. He said that it was okay, because da Vinci was
famous too. I asked him what happened. He told me that he asked da
Vinci if da Vinci knew that he was in the encyclopedia.  Then he
showed da Vinci some of his own artwork.  The boy was very happy
with his lucid dream, and very pleased with himself.

Robert: Did listening to your students’ lucid experiences and
challenges inspire you to try out new things in your own lucid
dreams?

Beverly: Yes, sometimes I would decide ahead of time to meet up
with people in my dreams.  I have succeeded in dreaming of the
people, but none have ever told me that they had the same dream.
That would be called a “mutual dream.”  It is easier for me to
attempt a mutual dream when I am lucid, because I can stop and
remember my goal. I have an easier time making it happen, as well.

I often try to accomplish tasks for my students so we can discuss
issues that arise, and also to see if we could have a mutual
dream. Here is a dream I had when trying to have a mutual dream
with a student named Sharon.

I found myself in front of my childhood home and noticed that it
looked strange. The door wasn’t in the right place and the house
was situated improperly on the block. This happens often in my
dreams, so at that moment I became lucid. I knew I was dreaming
and I remembered that I had a goal for this dream. However, I saw
a neighbor, who I knew had died, and I first stopped to talk to
her.  In previous dreams, I would see her and say, “You are dead!”
and try to get on with my goal. She would get upset and say, “I’m
here now, so talk to me!” Unless I did, I learned that I would
have trouble completing my goal.

My goal for the dream was to meet Sharon in the Bahamas.
Immediately, I began to fly like superman heading south, because I
was in the Chicago area at the time.  It was dark, and I had a
long way to go. By this time in my lucid dreaming experience, I
could fly through electric wires that were in my way, but now I
had another idea. I could make myself miniature, go into the wire
as electricity itself, and get there very quickly. So I got tiny
and popped into the nearest wire, which appeared like a large
tunnel once I was inside. I was whisked very fast, shooting
headfirst down the line, until I abruptly popped out the end of
the wire. As my normal self again, I was somewhere at the southern
tip of the United States, at the ocean’s edge, where the electric
lines stopped.

I realized I didn’t have much time left, and I decided to travel
the rest of the way underwater, doing a kind of superman
swim/flying. I soon got distracted by the lovely underwater life
and the joy of moving so fast, while breathing the water. I
finally made it to a lovely beach in the Bahamas. I asked a guy,
who was serving drinks to the sunbathers, if there was a
restaurant nearby. This was the place where Sharon and I agreed we
would try to meet. He pointed down the beach, and I walked to a
resort type building, and then through a long hall. I was about to
ask the host if Sharon was waiting for me, when I saw “her”
sitting on a bench. She didn’t look like she was expecting me, so
I said, “Don’t you remember that you said you wanted to dream of
going to the Bahamas, and I said I’d meet you in a lucid dream of
my own? Well, this is it. We are dreaming now.”

I was thinking that this dream girl was “Sharon,” a dream-body who
was connected to Sharon, who was probably asleep in bed in
Mountain View, California. If I had seen her as a projection of
myself, I may have decided not to talk to her, believing that she
wasn’t connected in any way to the physical Sharon. In this case,
I said to her, “Well, I’ll tell you a secret, and we’ll see if you
remember it when I see you in our group next week.” I whispered a
secret in her ear, and soon afterwards I woke up.

Robert: So what happened after this lucid dream?  Did she call you
in waking reality or have any memory of the dream?

Beverly: When Sharon came to my lucid dreaming group that Sunday
night, she had forgotten the goal and had never dreamed of me, nor
the Bahamas. I am still waiting, as I am with others, for her to
report a related dream or for her to tell me the secret!

Around this time, I had a dream where I was riding my bike down
the street of my childhood home. I became lucid and started flying
into the air. I was flying over the nearby river, when a cartoon
figure of a dolphin floated in front of me.  The dolphin danced
around, and then asked me if I’d like to go on an adventure. After
putting out its fin for me to hold onto, it proceeded to pull me
down into the ocean, which was now where the river had previously
been. Something similar had happened to me, with a whale shark, in
the waking state, while I was scuba diving. The dolphin and I
traveled deeper and deeper, faster and faster. I felt both
ecstatic and somewhat dizzy, almost as though the experience were
too intense.  I woke up, however, feeling fantastic; very
peaceful, yet energized.

Robert: That’s great.  Did you have any more experiences with
dolphins in dreams or waking life?

Beverly: A few years later, I noticed an ad from a man who took
people on dolphin expeditions. I contacted him, and we eventually
did a joint lucid dreaming/dolphin swimming workshop on a sailboat
in the Bahamas.  On this trip, while I was in the crystal clear
water of the open sea, one of the dolphins rubbed up to me.
Underwater, its color and shape looked remarkably similar to the
dolphin of my dreams.

Robert: So what other lucid dreaming stories come to mind?

Beverly: When I was thirty-seven years old, I became very anxious
to find a mate, get married, and have children. During the
Christmas holidays, while visiting my parents, I had the following
dream.  I met up with myself at the age of twenty-one, who was sad
because she was about to leave her college boyfriend, so she could
travel and have a career.  I told my twenty-one year old self that
I had done those things. I said that I now wanted a husband and
children.  She introduced me to my alternative self, who was also
37, and who had married my college boyfriend. They had three
children, and now she wanted to divorce him. My twenty-one year
old self and I decided that everything was as it should be.
Finally, I woke up. As I am writing down the dream, I hear an
inner voice, as if from a future self, who says, “Everything is
perfect as it is!” I finally believed it. I trusted that I would
find my perfect mate, when the time was right. I didn’t need to
worry about it. I decided that if life is a dream, then my dreams
would come true. I imagined that anything was possible, even after
I read a Newsweek article, which said that a woman was more likely
to die from terrorists, than to get married after forty! I did,
however, prepare my life for my future family by buying a house,
getting a dog, which was supposed to be good with kids, and taking
a job as a college teacher, which I thought would work well with
being a mom. I met my husband two years after this dream.

Robert: It’s interesting in that story how your conversation in
the lucid dream leads to a strong conviction that “Everything is
perfect as it is!” and following that revelation, you move ahead
and buy a house and prepare for your future family. That is one
thing that many casual lucid dreamers fail to see – how a lucid
dream experience can be as powerful or more powerful than many
significant waking experiences. Have you ever used waking reality
to practice becoming lucid?

Beverly: In my groups, we would practice becoming lucid while
awake. I would give my students exercises, such as, questioning if
they are dreaming, several times a day. For example, I asked them
to check if they were dreaming every time they washed their hands
during the day. I jokingly said, “If your hand falls off, you are
most definitely in a dream!”  Around this time, I was also helping
my mother with her dreams of my dad after he died, in 1992.  She
was having recurring dreams of my dad, who would appear next to
her bed.  She would fear that he was here to take her to heaven.
I told my mom, “If you see dad, remember that he died, and
therefore you must be dreaming!”  A few days after I gave my group
the hand exercise, she was able to get lucid in her recurring
dream.  My mother remembered that my father had died, and she knew
she was dreaming. She was even able to take his hand, and his hand
fell off.She did not know about the exercise when she reported the
dream to me the next morning.

Robert: Beautiful.  Did trying to become lucid while awake lead to
any revelations?

Beverly: Yes, I saw how powerful it could be to become lucid in
waking life.
I met my husband, Chris, six months after my father died. It was
the most lucid day I have ever experienced.  We were at a party,
and I saw him from across the room. I knew that he was my future.
It was love at first sight.
I was able to stay in the moment, without fear, and with total
trust.  I believed in magic, while been totally accepting whatever
happened.  I was able to listen to him, as if he were truly part
of myself.

I was very sorry, however, that he never got to meet my father,
when I had the next dream. I was in my childhood home, where my
mom still lived, and I saw my dad on the couch. I remembered that
he died, and that I must be dreaming.  I went to sit next to him
and told him that I loved him. I asked him why, lately, he hadn’t
appeared as often in my dreams.  He said that he was helping me
from under the bridge. I’m not sure what he meant, but I was happy
to hear his voice and feel him close. Next, I embraced him, and
after we hugged, I looked back into his eyes. He had turned into
my husband, whom I so much wanted my dad to meet.  I soon awakened
and felt as though they had finally met, at some level.

Chris and I were married in less than a year after we met. We knew
that we wanted to have a child.  After much medical help to get
pregnant, I decided to work on the issue in my dreams.

I decided to dream of our future baby. I would ask questions of
the baby in the dream such as, “When are you coming?” I would also
try to determine what year it was in the dream.  Sometimes the
baby would have messages.

Robert: It’s fascinating how you seem to work on “the future” to
some degree in your lucid dreams.  Maybe it is not the future, so
much as your hopes for the future.  Did you have many other lucid
dreams of trying to influence the future?

Beverly: One time, in waking reality, I was back in my childhood
home, alone for the first time. My mom was ill, and in the
hospital. My Dad had died over two years ago. I was afraid, crying
in my bed. I fell asleep. Spontaneously, without trying to
influence the future, I had a type of nurturing dream involving
the future. I became lucid in my dream, when I noticed that the
baby, from my baby picture on the wall, was coming out of the
picture.  I walked over to myself as a baby, just in time to take
the baby in my arms. As I held her, I saw my face in hers, and I
pulled her to my chest. I could see her lips sucking at my breast,
and I felt very fulfilled. I slowly awakened, and I felt my own
lips moving, as well.  I was deeply nurtured. A year later I
nursed my own child in that very bed!

Before my son, Adrian, was born, however, I also had some
interactions with my childhood witches. My witch dreams went
through many transformations during my life. In 1960, I faced up
to the scary witches from my recurring nightmares. In the 1970’s,
I looked for the witches of my childhood in a dream, and they
appeared as harmless, little old ladies. In the 1980’s, I noticed
that the witch drama appeared in my waking life as well. In 1994,
doctors gave me terrible odds against having a child. So, I looked
for the witches in a lucid dream, thinking of them as my “creative
power,” and I brought them into my uterus. Within a year, I got
pregnant with my son, Adrian.

Adrian was born during the 1995 Association for the Study of
Dreams Conference (ASD95). This was three years after I presented
the paper at ASD92 called, “What I Learned from Lucid Dreaming is
Lucid Living.” I brought him to the ASD96 conference. He also came
to the ASD97 conference, where I gave a workshop called, “Living
Life as a Lucid Dream.” Adrian turned two on the day of the dream
ball.

Robert: In a way, it seems that your lucid dreaming skills allowed
you to use that beautiful symbol of witches as creative power for
your own ends.  In a sense, you claimed the power of the shadow.

Robert: How did your lucid dreaming develop after the birth of
your son?

Beverly: My mom was feeling better during the years after my son
Adrian was born. She visited us often, and we would go to Chicago
to see her, as well. Adrian and she became best friends. In the
year 2000, I had the biggest challenge of my life. Adrian had
started kindergarten. I talked to my mom on the phone almost every
day. She was still living in my childhood home, near Chicago. Six
days before her planned trip to visit us in California for the
holidays, she drove a friend to lunch. That night she told her
neighbor that she was feeling good. I had a dream that night,
which I shared with Chris and Adrian during breakfast. In the
dream, I went to help a woman I loved, who was hanging on her
house by her fingertips. Soon, I was hanging by my fingertips, as
well. Chris told us that he dreamed we were going on a trip, and I
was quickly getting ready.

That morning, in Chicago, my mother didn’t answer her door, so her
neighbor came in. She found my mom on the floor, next to her bed,
unconscious. The doctors called me to say that my mom had had a
sudden, massive stroke, and all four quadrants of her brain were
instantly destroyed. She would only exist in a vegetative state. I
needed to take her off life-support, as she requested in her
living will. Chris, Adrian, and I flew to Chicago immediately.
Needless to say, the next twelve days before Christmas were a very
difficult and emotional time.

Robert: I remember the year before my father passed away, I had a
number of lucid and apparently precognitive dreams giving me
information – but on one level, nothing can prepare you for it.
How did you deal with this?

Beverly: First, I needed to give the okay to remove her
ventilator. Everyone thought that she would die at this point. The
night before this was scheduled, I had a dream that my husband and
I were at the edge of the beach. A tidal wave was coming. In the
distance, we saw angels flying toward us in a “V” formation. We
thought the tidal wave would demolish us, but instead, the angels
flew right over our heads and protected us. This dream told me
that I would be able to survive this ordeal. Coincidentally, the
ventilator was removed at the exact time that her plane to
California was scheduled to take off. However, she still lived,
and we had more decisions to make. Do we give her an IV? Is
glucose considered food? We did not want to prolong her life in
this state. One time, I stayed up all night with her in the
hospital. When I finally did go to bed, I had a dream of her. She
said to me, “Get some sleep, I’ll take care of the body.”

Finally, it was Christmas Eve. My mom and I had been together
almost every year of my life at midnight Mass on Christmas Eve, in
my hometown church. Christmas Eve was her favorite day of the
year. She always said, “If we are ever lost, let’s meet on this
night at our church, in our regular seats”. My mother died right
at midnight, officially Christmas Day morning.

After her funeral, I stayed alone in my childhood home for another
few weeks, to go through fifty years of stuff that had been
collected. I made the decision to rent out the house.

Robert: That must have been an extremely difficult and emotional
time. Did dreaming help, or was that painful too?

Beverly: My life, as well as my dreams, was quite a struggle after
this. In my dreams, I hated to see my mom, only to remember that
she had died, which would happen when I was lucid. This was too
much to handle. I didn’t want to be reminded, once again, in the
sleep state, that my mother had died. It was enough to deal with
it while awake. I decided not to have lucid dreams for a while. I
had a strong intent and a physical need for this to happen. I did
have regular, non-lucid dreams of her.

At each stage of my grief, these non-lucid dreams of my mother
evolved. First, I dreamed of her and I doing our usual activities.
I could have enjoyed these dreams, if I didn’t have to feel such
shock when I woke up and remembered that she had indeed died.
Next, I started dreaming that my mother did not die after all.
Then, I had dreams in which she had died, but mysteriously came
back to life. I didn’t question this in the dreams.

I had many dreams of my childhood home during this time, as well.
I did not get lucid, even with great clues, such as when house was
changed in impossible ways. Things were very bizarre. Other people
were living there, as was now the case with the renters, in
reality. I felt angry and confused.

I went to grief therapy for over a year. Using peer counseling and
group sharing, I demonstrated more and more acceptance of my
mother’s death. Little by little, I took the knowledge of her
death into my dreams and began to explain it to other dream
characters. Finally, after explaining my mother’s death to my
“father” in a dream, I was able to interact with my “mother,” and
actually discuss her death. At this point, I had a significant
degree of lucidity, and my dreams felt more comfortable, and
sometimes enlightening.

Robert: I recall that a month after my father’s death, I became
lucid and insisted on seeing my father. Amazingly, the dream
characters told me that “no, it is too soon”. So instead, I had a
fascinating conversation with them. After that my dream characters
in lucid dreams were quite supportive and caring, and I did go on
to have lucid conversations with my deceased father. How did your
lucid dreaming progress?

Beverly: In the spring of the year 2002, a year and a half after
my mother’s death, the lease was up on my childhood home. I needed
to sell the house. But could I? Spontaneously, I dreamed that I
found the witches in my childhood home. I surrendered to them, and
they pulled me under the closet door, where they came from. I
merged with the witches. The biggest fears of my childhood were
resolved. In my dreams, my fear was to go with the witches. In
life, my fear was my mother’s death. At last, I could sell the
house easily, and I felt that I had healed quite a bit. In the
last dream I had of my childhood home, I flew out the picture
window like a powerful witch.

After this, I would bring my mother into my dreams. We would
embrace and I’d say, “I love you and I miss you, mom.” Sometimes,
in my dreams, I am still convincing her that she really died. This
tells me that some level of grief still exists. One time, in a
dream, I said to my mom, “You are safe now, you are in heaven!” I
heard the message for myself, as I see my mother as part of my
higher self, the Dreamer of life. I presented my grief dreams in a
paper at ASD2003 called, “Witches, the House, and Grief:
Developing and Avoiding Lucid Dreaming.” I was now in a place to
get on with discussing my work on “lucid living!”

Robert: Yes, please tell us about lucid living.

Beverly: Before I discuss lucid living, I need to define a few
more terms. When discussing a non-lucid dream while awake, I refer
to my dream self as “me” or “I,” (as in: “I was flying”) and I
refer to my physical self (or part of my physical self’s “mind”)
as the one who creates the dream, whom I call the dreamer. By
definition then, I can not call my dream self the dreamer,
although I recognize that some people do. Note, that I do not feel
my physical self’s brain contains my physical self’s mind. I also
assume that a “mind” is not physical. In a lucid dream, although I
also refer to my dream self as “I”, I can sense my connection to
the dreamer, and I feel like a “larger, expanded self.” Sometimes
I even feel connected to what I’ll later describe as the “Dreamer
of life.”

Robert: So in a regular dream, you consider the dream creator as
apart from the dream actor. But in a lucid dream, you are aware
that the dream creator is also a portion of the dream actor, and
in that sense, the awareness is expanded. Right?

Beverly: Yes, but I’d clarify that in a regular, non-lucid dream,
from the “perspective” of the dream actor, the dream creator seems
to be separate or actually never even considered.

Although I usually say that my dream exists in my physical self’s
mind, it usually feels as though my dream self, whom you have
called the dream actor, and my physical self exist in separate
dimensions, and when I “wake up”, I change dimensions (or
perspectives.) Most importantly, when I become lucid, I feel that
my thoughts definitely do not come from my dream self’s mind or
brain, but from my physical self’s mind. For example, my dream
self will often have a different life, history, motivations, and
goals than my physical self.

So, to summarize, in a lucid dream I usually experience myself in
a 3-dimensional, vivid world that I believe my physical self’s
mind has created. Therefore, I feel safe because I feel I exist in
my physical self’s mind and not in physical reality (where my
physical body resides). Because I see the dream as being created
by my physical self’s mind, I also know that anything I (the
dreamer) can imagine can happen. By believing that everyone and
everything around me in the dream, including my dream self and
other dream characters, exists in my physical self’s mind, I
experience everyone as “one”, or “made of the same substance” and
all “parts of a whole.”

Robert: Okay, I think I am following you. How does this relate to
lucid living?

Beverly: When I view my waking life as a dream, a dream in which I
know I am dreaming (to various degrees, of course), I call this
lucid living. Waking life may feel ‘real’ and unlike a ‘dream,’
merely because I lack lucidity, just as non-lucid dreams can feel
like physical reality, until I become lucid. I try to view life as
an “actual dream” and not to merely use lucid living as a therapy
or philosophy. The assumptions that come from viewing life as a
dream can be very powerful and can expand what we feel is possible
in life.

If I look at waking life as a dream, then I can also use lucid
dreaming techniques that I learned from my sleeping dream
experiences, to more easily become lucid in my waking life. When
lucid in waking life, I can become more “free”, have fun,
accomplish goals, feel connected, and maybe even experience magic
in my waking life, as I have in my sleeping lucid dreams.

Robert: So you try to transpose the lessons and experiences of
achieving results in lucid dreaming, to the world of waking
reality. In so doing, you have used this knowledge and perception
to support your experience of lucid living.

Beverly: In lucid living, I think of our physical selves as dream
selves in a dream called “waking life.” I also imagine a Dreamer
who is dreaming our lives. Note the capital “D” to distinguish
from the use of dreamer as part of a physical self’s mind.
Sometimes, I view this Dreamer as some “Being” asleep in a bed in
another dimension. Other times, I view the Dreamer as a
nonphysical “God” or an all-encompassing, collective “Mind.” I
guess there could be levels of Dreamers as well.

Either way, when I am lucid in waking life, I sense a connection
to this Dreamer, whom I sometimes call my Higher-Self. I begin to
respond to things from the perspective of this Dreamer. As in a
lucid sleeping dream, I feel “safe,” I believe in “limitless
possibilities”, and I see everyone in waking life as “one” or
“parts of a whole.”

Robert: So how do you suggest one go about achieving this state,
and living waking life lucidly?

Beverly: Throughout my life, I have developed techniques for
becoming lucid in my sleeping dreams, and I have found there are
many uses for lucid dreaming. Some of these uses include:
psychological development, trying new behaviors, healing, and
more. I’ve found that all of my techniques, below, can apply,
whether we find ourselves asleep or awake, i.e., in sleeping
dreams or in waking life.

To become lucid in my sleeping dreams, or in my waking life, I
often look for unusual or impossible situations. In my sleeping
dreams, I will often see someone who has died and that will clue
me that I am dreaming. At times, in my waking life, especially
during tense situations, I look for the unusual and wonder if I am
dreaming. Without knowing for sure, I begin to find more evidence,
my reactions turn powerful, and I began to relax.
Robert: In other words, you use odd actions or events as a notice
to step back from the event and become more broadly aware, just as
we all do in lucid dreams. This is opposed to regular dreams or
regular waking life, where, unaware, we let ourselves get more
drawn into the odd or fearful event. In lucid living, you act like
your lucid dreaming self, right?

Beverly: Yes, sometimes I “act as if,” or pretend I am dreaming. I
often ask myself, or others, if I am dreaming. I also make sure to
“test” if I am dreaming. An example of a test is when I try to
float. If I do float, I know I am dreaming for sure, and I become
lucid. I have not floated in my waking life, but I do not rule it
out as an impossibility. I have become more open, for example, to
stories of yogis levitating.

Another valuable technique is to review recurring dreams and
nightmares and practice imagining myself having new reactions. I
have learned to modify my reaction to a monster in a recurring
sleep-state nightmare. I have also changed my response to friends
at key times in waking life. The key involves viewing the monster
as part of my physical self’s mind, in the case of the nightmare.
In the waking life situation, I view my friends as part of my
Higher-Self, or the Dreamer of life.

When trying to become lucid in my sleeping dreams, and in my
waking life, I find it valuable to get myself motivated. For
example, I can teach or take a class on lucid dreaming or lucid
living. It helps to record, share, and visualize my sleeping
dreams and my waking life situations. I especially like to do
exercises to help me become lucid in both sleeping dreams, and in
waking life.

Robert: Could you tell us about a possible exercise to become more
lucid in either state?

Beverly: Here is an example of an exercise. I stop and I ask
myself if I could be dreaming several times a day, perhaps every
time I wash my hands, or climb down steps, or do some activity
that doesn’t happen too often or too seldom. What I practice while
awake, I eventually find myself doing in my sleeping dreams, so
this technique helps me become lucid both in my waking and
sleeping states.

One of the most valuable tools I have used for motivating me to
become lucid in sleeping dreams involves setting goals. Sometimes,
I become lucid and decide not to change the direction of my dream,
in order to carry out a goal. In this case, I go with the flow of
the dream. However, when I do have an interesting goal, I get
motivated to become and remain lucid. In my lucid dreaming
classes, I suggest that my students start with a simple goal to
accomplish in their lucid dream. I ask them to decide the first
steps that they can accomplish from wherever they might find
themselves, and I tell them to decide this ahead of time, while
awake. I find that a goal of “becoming lucid” does not work as
well as a goal of doing something fun in the limitless world of
dreams. This applies to waking life as well.

As a sleeping lucid dreamer, I learned to remain in my dreams, to
wake up out of them, to change them, to go back into them, to
become more lucid, and to accomplish intricate goals within them.
I would like to do this in my waking state as well.

Robert: Well that sounds like something anyone could try. But what
about lucid living?

Beverly: There are aspects of lucid dreaming that apply to lucid
living and can help us live our lives more fully. In waking life,
we may identify our physical bodies with our selves. The same
thought occurs in non-lucid dreams, where we identify our dream
bodies with our selves. We may believe that if our dream body
dies, we die. We feel this way because we are not aware of our
physical self in non-lucid dreams. We continue to feel this way
until we wake up out of the dream and discover that the dream
happened in our “mind” and not in “reality”. We think, after the
fact that we could have responded differently had we realized that
we’d dreamed.

Of course, even in sleeping lucid dreams, we might not, for
example, jump off a cliff, if we didn’t feel positive that we were
dreaming, and that we could, for example, merely fly away. We
might just continue to dream that we had a very bad accident.

In general, after waking up from dreams, we don’t think that our
dream bodies have ‘died,’ but understand that we have merely
switched focus. Will we someday wake up out of our lives and
merely change focus as well?

Our goal, then, in lucid living, involves learning to respond
differently, at times, and with less fear in our waking lives. We
do not need to wait until ‘after the fact’ to realize that we
could have responded more fully and with more freedom in our
lives. Instead, we can ‘wake up within our waking life!’

Robert: It’s interesting in lucid dreaming, and perhaps this goes
for lucid living as well, that a broader awareness leads to the
realization of a new type of relationship with the so-called
reality around you. In turn, the aware person begins to act in
that so-called reality in a new way. In lucid living, are one’s
actions different?

Beverly: Yes. For example, lucid dreamers have experienced the
amazing feeling of having an exciting goal for a dream and making
it happen. We can experience the joy of making things happen more
often in our waking state, by learning to become lucid in waking
life and set upon accomplishing tasks with a new outlook that
anything is possible. At the very least, we can probably gain an
understanding of how we may block our selves and try again,
knowing we have endless possibilities.

An example, from an early stage of my sleeping lucid dream
development, illustrates this point. In my dream, I could not fly
to my destination because I kept hitting telephone poles. When I
decided that “this is my dream,” I was able to fly right through
the poles. I also realized that it was my physical self’s mind
that created the telephone poles to begin with!

When we increase our lucidity in waking life, we can also feel a
sense of oneness with everyone and everything. We can live as if
our Higher-Self does indeed “create our own reality.” We can
experience an altered state of consciousness, and at the extreme,
we can have what one might call “mystical experiences.”

Robert: Okay, but even in some of our lucid dreams, we become
frustrated – we can’t fly very well, or the dream characters won’t
do what we want them to do. What about those cases?

Beverly: In lucid dreams, I try to remember that all the dream
characters make up parts of my dreamer’s mind. Similarly, the next
time we find ourselves in an undesirable situation in our waking
life, we can take action with the belief that other people make up
parts of our Higher-Self, the Dreamer.

This can help us to stop and listen to what others have to say,
not because we have been taught to, but because we want to
understand the Dreamer. Like puppets who act as though they are
separate and disconnected, we often feel disconnected. Using the
puppet analogy, we can begin to identify more with the puppeteer,
realizing that it is the puppeteer who makes everything happen.

Robert: Well, I’m not too happy with the word, “puppet”, but I do
get the point that the creator of the dream/waking reality is also
involved, consciously or not, with the creations in that
dream/waking reality. So there is a connection there, if we are
lucid enough to wake up to it. Do you have examples of lucid
living that would demonstrate your point?

Beverly: Remember, the true puppet has no more or less powers than
the puppeteer. In essence they are “one and the same!”

Here are a few examples of how I have become lucid in my waking
life. Once, during an argument with my cousin in the waking state,
I suddenly stopped to think, “If I look at this as a dream right
now, then my cousin actually expresses a part of the Dreamer (my
Higher-Self.) At that exact moment, I acted from the perspective
of the Dreamer, and she actually started to explain how our points
of view seemed related instead of opposed.

Another time, a friend, in the waking state, was yelling and
hovering over me like the witches from my sleeping dreams. I
noticed the similarities to the witch nightmares, and I saw this
as a pattern in my life. The situation actually happened in the
same physical place in my house with different people. I faced up
to my friend like I faced up to the witches, without fear, but
with acceptance, and my friend suddenly stopped, walked away, and
the pattern in my life ended, in the same way my witch nightmares
ceased.

My marriage, my child, my degrees, my career, and my amazing
adventures, too numerous to mention, are all examples of how lucid
living has assisted me in having such an incredible and diverse
life.
Robert: For many of us longtime lucid dreamers, we have similar
stories. But do you think these ideas can be accepted by someone
new to lucid dreaming?

Beverly: In my experience as a lucid dreaming teacher, my students
found it easier to become lucid in their sleeping dreams, once
they understood the concept and believed it possible. When they
began to question whether or not they dreamed and looked for
evidence, they often noticed something unusual and became lucid.
Once they had experienced results, they no longer had to believe,
they knew they could become lucid. We can do the same with lucid
living.

Perhaps people would accept psychic phenomena, or synchronicities
in waking life, more readily if they viewed waking life as a
dream. Viewing life as a dream, gave me a foundation for
understanding how I could possibly have had my first amazing,
precognitive dreams. Psychic phenomena could also serve as clues
for becoming lucid in waking life.

Robert: You know, I have often thought that in life, we simply
live our assumptions. In lucid dreams, you begin to see that idea
in an immediate sense. When you change your expectations in a
lucid dream, the dream changes to accommodate the changes. It
seems the same thing happens in waking life.
Beverly: Yes, I believe lucid living can have a profound effect on
all our lives. Of course, as in our sleeping dreams, we can easily
go on automatic and lose lucidity. However, the more we practice
lucid dreaming skills, whether when asleep or during our waking
life, the more likely we will become lucid at all times. By
practicing lucid living, we strive to live the most illuminating,
clear, and conscious waking life as possible.

We can also obtain a greater understanding of what spiritual
practices, great writers, movies, fairy tales, and songs have been
telling us for ages:

Hindu Maya: Waking life is an illusion; Buddhist: Philosophy of
Connectedness; Christianity: Resurrection after death; The Course
of Miracles: Live the Happy Dream; The Wizard of Oz: There’s no
place like home; Shakespeare: All the world’s a stage; Star Trek:
Holodeck;
The Matrix: The world has been pulled over your eyes to blind you
to the truth.

The list goes on and on. My favorite is: Row, Row, Row, your boat,
gently down the stream, merrily, merrily, merrily, merrily, life
is but a dream.

Robert: Beverly, thanks for your sage advice and insights. Life is
but a dream.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010 Categorized under Lucid Dreaming, Lucid Living

From Lucid Dreaming to Lucid Living

Sweet dreamsFrom Lucid Dreaming to Lucid Living
Beverly (Kedzierski Heart) D’Urso, Ph.D.   Copyright (c) 2003

Workshop at the International Association for the Study of Dreams (IASD) PsiberDreaming  Conference September, 2003.

This paper explores the use of lucid dreaming techniques and implications in our waking life. Lucid dreaming simply means being “aware that we dream while we dream.”  Appendix 1 includes an expanded definition of lucid dreaming.  As in sleeping lucid dreams, we can learn to awaken in our lives, to live with less fear, to experience the joy of success, and to feel a sense of oneness with everyone and everything in our waking life.

I have been a lucid dreamer continuously since childhood. In my first lucid dream at age seven, I faced up to a scary witch during a recurring nightmare (see Reference 12.) Since then, I remember about half a dozen dreams per night, and I usually become lucid, to various degrees, several times a week. Numerous books, magazines, conferences, and TV specials have featured my work, originally with Dr. Stephen LaBerge at Stanford University (see References 1 – 26.) I have led  lucid dreaming/lucid living workshops and groups for years. (see my web site:  www.durso.org )

DREAM SELF and PHYSICAL SELF

When discussing a non-lucid dream while awake, I refer to my dream self as “me” or “I,” (as in: “I was flying”)  and I refer to my physical self (or part of my physical self’s “mind”) as the one who creates the dream, whom I call the dreamer. By definition then, I can not call my dream self  the dreamer, although I recognize that some people do. Note, that I do not feel my physical self’s brain contains my physical self’s mind. I also assume that a “mind” is not physical. In a lucid dream, although I also refer to my dream self as “I”, I can sense my connection to the dreamer, and I feel like a “larger, expanded self.”  Sometimes I even feel connected to what I’ll later describe as the “Dreamer of life.”

Who do you feel creates your dreams?

How would you define the “dreamer?”

Although I usually say that my dream exists in my physical self’s mind, it usually feels as though my dream and my physical self exist in separate dimensions, and when I “wake up”, I  change dimensions (or perspectives.) Most importantly, when I become lucid, I feel that my thoughts definitely do not come from my dream self’s mind or brain, but from my physical self’s mind. For example, my dream self will often have a different life, history, motivations, and goals than my physical self.

So, to summarize, in a lucid dream I usually experience myself  in a 3-dimensional, vivid world that I believe my physical self’s mind has created. Therefore, I  feel safe because I feel I exist in my physical self’s mind and not in physical reality (where my physical body resides). Because I see the dream as being created by my physical self’s mind, I also know that anything I (the dreamer) can imagine can happen. By believing that everyone and everything around me in the dream, including my dream self and other dream characters, exists in my physical self’s mind, I experience everyone as “one”, or “made of the same substance” and all “parts of a whole.”

What assumptions do you make when you become lucid in sleeping dreams?

In a lucid dream, I feel free to do whatever I please, have fun, experiment, solve problems, accomplish goals, and go wherever my imagination takes me, taking care to balance spontaneity and control. I have learned that sometimes it is better to surrender to the dream and other times it helps to take control, change things, or carry out goals.

LUCID LIVING

When I view my waking life as a dream, a dream in which I know I am dreaming (to various degrees, of course), I call this lucid living. Waking life may feel ‘real’ and unlike a ‘dream,’ merely because I lack lucidity, just as non-lucid dreams can feel like physical reality, until I become lucid. I try to view life as an “actual dream” and not to merely use lucid living as a therapy or philosophy. The assumptions that come from viewing life as a dream can be very powerful and can expand what we feel is possible in life.

If I look at waking life as a dream, then I can also use lucid dreaming techniques, that I learned from my sleeping dream experiences, to more easily become lucid in my waking life. Appendix 2 contains techniques for becoming lucid in sleeping dreams and in waking life.  When lucid in waking life, I can become more “free”, have fun, accomplish goals, feel connected, and maybe even experience magic in my waking life, as I have in my sleeping lucid dreams.

In lucid living, I think of our physical selves as dream selves in a dream called “waking life.” I also imagine a Dreamer who is dreaming our lives. Note the capital “D” to distinguish from the use of dreamer as part of a physical self’s mind.  Sometimes, I view this Dreamer  as some “Being” asleep in a bed in another dimension. Other times, I  view the Dreamer as a nonphysical “God” or an all-encompassing “Mind”.

Either way, when I am lucid in waking life, I sense a connection to this Dreamer, whom I sometimes call my  Higher-Self. I begin to respond to things from the perspective of this Dreamer. As in a lucid sleeping dream, I feel “safe,” I  believe in “limitless possibilities”, and I see everyone in waking life as “one” or “parts of a whole.”

Do think there could be a Dreamer of Life?

LESSONS FROM LUCID DREAMING

Less Fear

There are aspects of lucid dreaming that apply to lucid living and can help us live our lives more fully. In waking life, we may identify our physical bodies with our selves.  The same thought occurs in non-lucid dreams, where we identify our dream bodies with our selves. We may believe that if our dream body dies, we die. We feel this way because we are not aware of our physical self  in non-lucid dreams. We continue to feel this way until we wake up out of the dream and discover that the dream happened in our “mind” and not in “reality”. We think, after the fact, that we could have responded differently had we realized that we’d dreamed.

Of course, even in sleeping lucid dreams, we might not, for example, jump off a cliff, if we didn’t feel positive that we were dreaming, and that we could, for example, merely fly away. We might just continue to dream that we had a very bad accident.

In general, after waking up from dreams, we don’t think that our dream bodies have ‘died,’ but understand that we have merely switched focus. Will we someday wake up out of our lives and merely change focus as well?

Have you thought of death as an awakening?

Our goal, then, in lucid living, involves learning to respond differently, at times, and with less fear in our waking lives. We do not need to wait until ‘after the fact’ to realize that we could have responded more fully and with more freedom in our lives. Instead, we can ‘wake up within our waking life!’

Anything can happen

Lucid dreamers have experienced the amazing feeling of having an exciting goal for a dream and making it happen. We can experience the joy of making things happen more often in our waking state, by learning to become lucid in waking life and set upon accomplishing tasks with a new outlook that anything is possible. At the very least, we can probably gain an understanding of how we may block our selves and try again, knowing we have endless possibilities.

An example, from an early stage of my sleeping lucid dream development, illustrates this point. In my dream, I could not fly to my destination because I  kept hitting telephone poles. When I decided that “this is my dream,” I was able to fly right through the poles. I also realized that it was my  physical self’s mind that created the telephone poles to begin with!

We are all one

When we increase our lucidity in waking life, we can also feel a sense of oneness with everyone and everything. We can live as if our Higher-Self does indeed “create our own reality.” We can experience an altered state of consciousness, and at the extreme, we can have what one might call “mystical experiences.”

The next time we find ourselves in an undesirable situation in our waking life, we can take action with the belief that other people make up parts of our Higher-Self, the Dreamer. This can help us to stop and listen to what others have to say, not because we have been taught to, but because we want to understand the Dreamer. Like puppets who act as though they are separate and disconnected, we often feel disconnected. Using the puppet analogy, we can begin to identify more with the puppeteer, realizing that it is the puppeteer who makes everything happen.

Here are a few examples of how I have become lucid in my waking life. Once, during an argument with my cousin, I suddenly stopped to think, “If I look at this as a dream right now, then my cousin actually expresses a part of the Dreamer (my Higher-Self.) At that exact moment, I acted from the perspective of the Dreamer, and she actually started to explain how our points of view seemed related instead of opposed.

Another time, a friend was yelling and hovering over me like the witches from my sleeping dreams. I noticed the similarities to the witch nightmares, and I saw this as a pattern in my life. The situation actually happened in the same physical place in my house with different people. I faced up to my friend, like I faced up to the witches, and my friend suddenly stopped, walked away, and the pattern in my life ended, in the same way my witch nightmares ceased. I’ve dreamed of the witches in many more powerful ways, but that is another presentation (see Reference 1.)

My marriage, my child, my degrees, my career, and my amazing adventures, too numerous to mention, are all examples of how lucid living has assisted me in having such an incredible and diverse life.

In my experience as a lucid dreaming teacher, my students found it easier to become lucid in their sleeping dreams, once they understood the concept and believed it possible. When they began to question whether or not they dreamed and looked for evidence, they often noticed something unusual and became lucid.  Once they had experienced results, they no longer had to believe, they knew they could become lucid.  We can do the same with lucid living.

Perhaps people would accept psychic phenomena, or synchronicities in waking life, more readily if they viewed waking life as a dream. Viewing life as a dream, gave me a foundation for understanding how I could possibly have had my first amazing, precognitive dreams. Psychic phenomena could also serve as clues for becoming lucid in waking life.

I believe lucid living can have a profound effect on all our lives. Of course, as in our sleeping dreams, we can easily go on automatic and lose lucidity. However, the more we practice lucid dreaming skills, whether when asleep or during our waking life, the more likely we will become lucid at all times. By practicing lucid living, we strive to live the most illuminating, clear, and conscious waking life as possible.

We can also obtain a greater understanding of what spiritual practices, great writers, movies, fairy tales, and songs have been telling us for ages.

Hindu Maya:                             Waking life is an illusion;

Buddhist:                                  Philosophy of Connectedness;

Christianity:                               Resurrection after death;

The Course of Miracles:            Live the Happy Dream;

The Wizard of Oz:                    There’s no place like home;

Shakespeare:                             All the world’s a stage and (we are) merely players;

Star Trek:                                 The Holodeck;

The Matrix:                              The world has been pulled over  your eyes to blind you to the truth.

The list goes on and on. My favorite is: Row, Row, Row, your boat, gently down the stream, merrily, merrily, merrily, merrily, life is but a dream!

REFERENCES

1. Witches, the House, and Grief: Developing and Avoiding Lucid Dreaming, D’Urso, Beverly, Paper at the Association for the Study of Dreams (ASD)  Conference 2003, Berkeley, CA, June, 2003 (Available as an audio tape from ASD.)

2. Lessons in Lucidity:  Explorations in Lucid Dreaming,  Waggoner, R., Webb, C., and D’Urso, B., Panel at the Association for the Study of Dreams (ASD)  conference, Santa Cruz, CA , July 12, 2001.

3. Hidden Assets, Bryant, Mark,  [Chapter 3: Reality and Lucid Dreamers(Beverly D'Urso], New Leaders Press,1998.

4. Living Life as a Lucid Dream,  D’Urso, Beverly, Bay Area Dream Workers (BADG) Presentation, Palo Alto, CA , March 21,1998.

5. The Dreamer and the Dreamtribe, Halonen, Arto, (writer and director), Documentary [includes Beverly D'Urso], A  Mandrake Productions/Art Films Production, 1997.

6. Living Life as a Lucid Dream,  D’Urso, Beverly, Workshop presented at the Conference 1997, Asheville, NC., June, 18, 1997 (Available as an audio tape from ASD.)

7. Lucid Dreaming Meeting, hosted by:  D’Urso, Beverly,  Association for the Study of Dreams (ASD) Conference 1996, Berkeley , CA, July,1996.

8. I learned to use my dreams to improve my life, about D’Urso, Beverly, First for Women Magazine,Volume 8, Issue 26, June 24,1996.

9. Lucid Dreaming, NBC’s   Next Step,  May 1996.

10. A Lucid Dreamer: Beverly D’Urso, ABC TV:  WLS Chicago 10 O’Clock News,  May 11,1995.

11. What I ultimately learned from Lucid Dreaming is Lucid Living,  Heart (D’Urso), Beverly Kedzierski, Presented at the Association for the Study of Dreams  (ASD)  Conference, Santa Cruz, CA ,  June, 1992.

12. Facing the Witches,  Heart (D’Urso), Beverly, Autobiography Paper, February, 1992.

13. Exploring the World of Lucid Dreaming,  LaBerge, Stephen, Ballantine Books, New York, 1990.

14. Dream Life, Wake Life, The Human Condition through Dreams, Globus, Gordon, Page 60  [Kedzierski (D'Urso) , Beverly],State University of New York Press, Albany New York, 1987.

15. The Three Pound Universe, Hooper, Judith and Teresi, Dick, Chapter 11 -  Chuang-tzu and the Butterfly: Dreams and Reality  [Kedzierski (D'Urso) , Beverly],  Jeremy  P. Tarcher, Inc., 1986.

16. Stephen LaBerge: The Doctor of Dreams, LIFE,  October,  1986.

17. Personal Exploration of Lucid Dreaming,  Kedzierski (D’Urso), Beverly, Lucidity Letter,  Proceedings from the Lucid Dreaming Symposium  (ASD 1986 Panel), Volume 5,  Number 1, June, 1986.

18. The Representation of Death in my Dreams, Kedzierski (D’Urso), Beverly, Lucidity Letter,  Dream Lucidity and Death,  Volume 4  Number 2,  December, 1985.

19. Lucid Dreaming, New Age Journal,   November,  1985.

20. Lucid Dreaming: the power of being awake and aware in your dreams,   LaBerge, Stephen, Ballantine Books,  New York, 1985.

21. You can direct your dreams, Parade,  February ,1984.

22. Physiological Responses to Dreamed Sexual Activity during Lucid REM Sleep,  LaBerge, S.P. , Greenleaf, W. , and Kedzierski (D’Urso), Beverly, Psychophysiology,  20(1983): 454-55, Presented at Asilomar Conference, Fall, 1983.

23. You’re dreaming, but do you know it?, Smithsonian,  August, 1982

24. Design your own dreams, Omni,   March,  1982 .

25. Discover  the World of Science,  Lucid Dreaming : Television Special, 1982.

26. Two on the Town,  A Day in the Life of Beverly: Lucid Dreamer, Television Show, 1982.

APPENDIX     1

LUCID DREAMING

When we become “lucid” in our sleeping dreams, we become aware that we dream while we dream. Some people never remember their dreams, some remember them after they have been awake for a while, and some remember them just after or before they awaken. Lucid dreamers remember they dream while the dream  takes place. They do not necessarily analyze the dream, or look for symbols, but directly and consciously experience the dream, shortening the time it takes to realize they dream.

To me, lucid dreaming does not mean merely “visualizing”, “daydreaming”, “clear” dreaming, or even “controlled” dreaming, necessarily. Also, I personally believe in levels of lucidity. I would say I am partially lucid if I just remember to question if I am dreaming.  I’d call myself  definitely lucid, if I knew I was dreaming for sure. I consider myself very lucid, if I can control or change things in the dream, not that I always do.  Finally, when  I am most lucid, I often do not experience a body, but I have a very powerful, spiritual-like experience.

APPENDIX     2

LUCIDITY TECHNIQUES

Throughout my life, I have developed techniques for becoming lucid in my sleeping dreams, and I have found there are many uses for lucid dreaming. Some of these include: psychological development, trying new behaviors, healing, and more. I’ve found that all of these can apply, whether we find ourselves asleep or awake, i.e., in sleeping dreams or in waking life.

To become lucid in my sleeping dreams, or in my waking life, I often look for unusual or impossible situations. In my sleeping dreams, I will often see someone who has died and that will clue me that I am dreaming. At times, in my waking life, especially during tense situations, I look for the unusual and wonder if I am dreaming. Without knowing for sure, I begin to find more evidence, my reactions turn powerful, and I  began to relax.

Sometimes, I “act as if,” or “pretend,” I am dreaming. I often ask myself, or others, if I am dreaming. I also make sure to “test” if I am dreaming. An example of a test is when I try to float. If I do float, I know I am dreaming for sure, and I become lucid. I have not floated in my waking life, but I do not rule it out as an impossibility. I have become more open, for example, to stories of yogis levitating.

Another valuable technique is to review recurring dreams and nightmares and practice imagining myself having new reactions.  I have learned to modify my reaction to a monster in a recurring sleep-state nightmare.  I have also changed my response to friends at key times in waking life. (see some examples below.) The key involves viewing the monster as part of my physical self’s mind, in the case of the nightmare. In the waking life situation, I view my friends as part of my Higher-Self, or the Dreamer of life.

When trying to become lucid in my sleeping dreams, and in my waking life, I find it valuable to get myself motivated. For example, I can teach or take a class on lucid dreaming or lucid living. It helps to record, share, and visualize my sleeping dreams and my waking life situations.  I especially like to do exercises to help me become lucid in both sleeping dreams, and in waking life.

An example of an exercise follows.  I stop and I ask myself if I could be dreaming, several times a day, perhaps every time I wash my hands, or climb down steps, or do some activity that doesn’t happen too often or too seldom. What I practice while awake, I eventually find myself doing in my sleeping dreams, so this technique helps me become lucid both in my waking and sleeping states.

One of the most valuable tools I have used for motivating me to become lucid in sleeping dreams involves setting goals.  Sometimes, I become lucid and decide not to change the direction of the, in order to carry out a goal. In this case, I go with the flow of the dream. However, when I do have an interesting goal, I get motivated to become and remain lucid. In my lucid dreaming classes, I suggest that my students start with a simple goal to accomplish in their lucid dream. I ask them to decide the first steps that they can accomplish from wherever they might find themselves, and I tell them to do this ahead of time, while awake. I find that a goal of “becoming lucid” does not work as well as a goal of doing something fun in the limitless world of dreams.

As a sleeping lucid dreamer, I learned to remain in my  dreams, to wake up out of them, to change them, to go back into them, to become more lucid, and to accomplish intricate goals within them.  I would like to do this in my waking state as well.

APPENDIX  3

What levels of lucidity have you experienced?

Do you feel a change in where your thoughts come from when you become lucid in sleeping dreams?

How do you feel about control  in lucid dreams?

What benefits do you find in lucid dreaming?

Do you have techniques for inducing lucidity?

What kind of goals do you set for when you become lucid?

How have you dealt with ways you block yourself in dreams where you are not fully lucid?

What can you take from this presentation and apply in your life following the conference?

Wednesday, March 17, 2010 Categorized under Healing, Lucid Dreaming

Witches, the House, and Grief: Developing and Avoiding Lucid Dreaming

Witch House“Witches, the House, and Grief: Developing and Avoiding Lucid  Dreaming”
by
D’Urso, Beverly (Kedzierski Heart)

Paper at the Association  for the Study of Dreams (ASD)  Conference 2003, Berkeley,  CA, June, 2003  (Available as an audio tape from ASD at http://www.asdreams.org/subidxcontapes.htm )

Summary

I discuss how I used my childhood recurring nightmares to develop lucidity, and how these dreams changed after a period of intense grief, when I initially decided to avoid lucid dreaming. My “grief dreams”, with various levels of lucidity, demonstrate how my grief evolved in stages from denial to acceptance

Abstract

This paper focusses on my lifelong development of ‘lucid dreaming’ (knowing that you dream while dreaming) and its role during a period of intense grief, in which my recurring dreams evolved. As a young child, I had recurring nightmares of scary ‘witches’ coming from the closet of my childhood home. I learned to dream lucidly and face up to these witches, after reminding myself that they only came in dreams.

These witch dreams have gone through many transformations during my life. In the 70’s, I looked for the witches of my childhood in a dream and they appeared as harmless little old ladies. In the 80’s, I thought of them as my ‘creative power’ and began to lead lucid dreaming workshops and groups. I noticed that the witch drama appeared in my waking life as well. In 1994, doctors gave me terrible odds against having a child. So, I looked for the witches in a lucid dream and brought them into my uterus. Within a year, I got pregnant with my son.

I also had recurring dreams of my childhood home. In these dreams, my parents no longer lived there or something seemed ‘out of place.’ For a long time, I hated these dreams. Eventually, I learned to use them as ‘clues’ to get lucid. Once lucid, I could face other fears, heal myself emotionally or just have fun, I would fly, visit places, people, or time periods, and generally ‘do the impossible.’ Most of my life, I have had several dreams a night, with various degrees of lucidity.

At eighteen, my best friend died. For years, I practiced using lucidity to relate to ‘her’ in my dreams. By the time my father died in 1992, I had perfected my skills, Seeing ‘him’ in a dream, and knowing that he died, would cause me to get lucid and interact with ‘him’ in ways I could no longer do in my waking life.

In 2000, I had the biggest challenge of my life when my mother had a sudden, massive stroke and never regained consciousness. I had to make the decision to take her off life support. She died on Christmas morning. During her hospital coma, I used all of my dreams to support her, as well as myself.

In the following months, seeing ‘her’ in a dream, with the knowledge that she had died, which I have when lucid, caused me pain. I didn’t want to remember that she died. I preferred simple dreams of her acting alive, while I remained in denial of her death. Therefore, I decided I didn’t want lucid dreams for a while.

At each stage of my grief, these non-lucid dreams of my mother evolved. First, I dreamed of her and I doing our usual activities. I could have enjoyed these dreams if I didn’t have to feel such shock when I woke up and remembered that she had indeed died. Next, I started dreaming that my mother did not die after all. Then, I had dreams in which she had died, but mysteriously came back to life. I didn’t question this in the dreams. Little by little, I took the knowledge of her death into my dreams and began to explain it to other dream characters. Finally, after explaining my mother’s death to my ‘father’ in a dream, I was able to interact with my ‘mother’ and actually discuss her death. At this point, I had a significant degree of lucidity, and my dreams felt more comfortable and sometimes enlightening.

My ‘house’ dreams got very disturbing during my grief period while I did not dream lucidly, and while renters actually lived in my childhood home. However, by the time I finally decided to sell the house, I could comfortably visit it in semi-lucid dreams. The week the house sale closed, I had a lucid dream where the witches found me. I surrendered to them and felt integrated, as they drew ‘me’ under the bedroom closet door where they originated. Currently, I continue my quest to live my life, as well as my dreams, as lucidly as possible.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010 Categorized under Basic, Emotions, Lucid Dreaming

A Mom/Child Dialog on ‘Lucid Dreaming’

“A Mom/Child Dialog on ‘Lucid Dreaming”
by
D’Urso, Beverly (Kedzierski  Heart,)
Article in the Preschool Family Newsletter, Palo Alto, CA., January, 2000.

Child: Mom? What happens when we sleep?

Mom: Often, we dream.

Child: What is dreaming?

Mom: When we dream, we make up a world that seems real while we are in it. When we wake up, we realize that this world existed only in our mind.

Child: Yes, I remember that last night I dreamed I was flying over some beautiful mountains!

Mom: In the dream, did you realize that you don’t normally fly? For example, did you say, “If I am flying, then this is a dream!”

Child: Gee, I never thought of that.

Mom: You never see monsters in your normal day either. So, next time you see one, why not tell yourself “this must be a dream”?

Child: If I knew I was dreaming, I wouldn’t have to be afraid. I could zap the monster with magic forces!

Mom: Yes. Also, if you were not sure that you were dreaming you could just leave. But, if you knew for sure you were dreaming, you could look the monster in the eye and say, “I am not afraid because this a dream.” You could ask the ‘monster’, “What do you want?”

Child: What can I do if I don’t usually realize that I am dreaming, while I’m dreaming? Can I learn to do this?

Mom: Yes, We call this “lucid dreaming.” You could practice lucid dreaming by asking yourself the question over and over during the day or night, “Am I dreaming now?”. If you get into this habit of asking, you will probably ask the question when you are dreaming. If you can look for ‘clues’ that you are dreaming, you will most likely find some. For example, a clue might be: ‘discovering a real elephant in your bathtub!’ If you see something strange like that, you could then do a ‘test’ to make sure you are in a dream. Often, I try to float off the ground and when I can float, then I know that I am dreaming. When I know for sure that I am dreaming, I can do anything I want. I might ‘fly like a bird to the moon!’ Often, I look for people I never see anymore, like my friend who died. I talk to them in my dreams and it can feel very real.

Child: What if I got so excited knowing that I was dreaming, that I woke up immediately?

Mom: Well, you could remember to stay calm and remain very still in the dream, as soon as you knew you were dreaming. You could stare at something near to you for awhile. That works for me sometimes. Let me ask you something. Do you believe that you are dreaming right now?

Child: What do you mean?

Mom: Well, most people don’t usually think they are dreaming, even in their ‘regular nighttime, sleeping dreams.’ Their dreams probably seem very real while they are happening, or the dreams are weird, but not viewed as ‘dreams.’ In other words, we often dream of people and places we recognize. Even when we dream of strange things, we tend to justify them. Usually, only after we wake up, do we realize that we should have known our experience was only a dream. Remember, when we recognize that we are dreaming while we are still dreaming, we call this ‘lucid dreaming.’

Child: I have done that. Is it special? Does everyone do it?

Mom: Lucid dreaming means merely that we are ‘aware’ that we are in a dream. The dream can be weird, normal, clear or fuzzy. We don’t have to study the meaning of the dream to be lucid. We just need to realize that it is a dream before we wake up. Some people dream and never remember that they dreamed. Most people dream and remember that they dreamed only after they wake up. If they don’t tell someone the dream or write it down right away, they forget it. People who remember the dream even earlier, that is, before they come out of the dream, are called ‘lucid dreamers’. Not everyone has ‘lucid dreams’, and usually not that often. However, lucid dreamers can have lots of fun with their dreams. What kind of things can you think of to do if you knew you were completely safe in a dream and could make anything happen?

Child: Wow, let me think about that!

Mom: I will tell you one more thing for now. I believe that life itself is a dream, but that we are not always lucid enough to realize it. I believe that ‘one mind’ is dreaming us all, just as when we go to sleep, our ‘mind’ dreams of all kinds of people and places. In ‘nighttime, sleeping dreams’, after we wake up, we usually believe that all of the people and places we dreamed of were in our ‘mind.’ If we become, ‘lucid in life’, we don’t have to wait to ‘wake up’ to discover that life is a dream. We realize that everyone we know, including our own bodies, and everything we see is part of one ‘dreaming mind’. We experience our lives as being created by the imagination of this ‘one mind’, of which we are part. Thereby, we might also realize, that ‘anything is possible’ in our lives! When we feel the connection to this ‘one mind’, we no longer live in fear. We know that our bodies are not all that we are.

There are many more ideas on ‘lucid dreaming’ and ‘lucid living’. Would you like to know more?

Child: I sure would.

Mom: Ok. You can contact Beverly D’Urso, beverly@durso.org

Wednesday, March 17, 2010 Categorized under Lucid Dreaming, Lucid Living

Living Life as a Lucid Dream

Living Life
“Living Life as a Lucid Dream
D’Urso,  Beverly (Kedzierski  Heart), Workshop presented at the Association for the Study of  Dreams (ASD) Conference 1997, Asheville, NC., June, 18, 1997
(Available as an audio tape from ASD at http://www.asdreams.org/subidxcontapes.htm )

Summary of Living Life as a Lucid Dream

This workshop explores the use of lucid dreaming techniques and implications in our waking life. As in sleeping lucid dreams, we will learn to ‘awaken in our lives’, to live with less fear, to experience the joy of success, and to feel a sense of oneness with everyone and everything.

Abstract

This workshop explores the use of lucid dreaming techniques and implications in our waking life. When we are lucid in our sleeping dreams, we are ‘aware that we are dreaming’. This means that we experience ourselves in a 3-dimensional, vivid world where we know that we are safe, that anything is possible, and that everyone and everything around us is just part the dreamer’s mind. We are free to do whatever we please, have fun, experiment, and go wherever our imagination takes us.

In this workshop, we will examine the possibility that life as we know it may itself be a dream. Life may seem ‘real’ and unlike a ‘dream’ merely because we are not lucid enough. If we look at life this way, then we can use lucid dreaming techniques from our sleeping dreams to become more lucid in our lives, solving problems and accomplishing goals along the way.

Lucid dreamers realize that becoming lucid, with all the associated benefits, can be learned with motivation and techniques. A discussion of the techniques and implications of lucid dreaming can lead to new approaches to life’s issues and goals. In this workshop, we will learn to use awareness techniques during the day to help us become lucid in both our sleeping dreams and in our waking life.

One technique that my students have used for years to become lucid, is to look for unusual or specific situations in their day and ask whether or not they are dreaming. Another technique lucid dreamers use is to review reoccurring dreams and nightmares and practice imagining themselves having new reactions. This is how I had the first lucid dream that I remember at the age of seven.

We will learn to look for unusual or recurring situations in our life and choose to respond in new ways. This can benefit our lives tremendously. Lucid dreamers have brainstormed for hours about different ways to respond to monsters in their dreams. We will learn to do the same, for example, about quarrels we have over and over again with people we love. We must first look at the life situation the way we look at a dream when we know we are dreaming. In other words, we must first become lucid. There are also ways lucid dreamers can learn to remain in dreams, wake up out of dreams, change dreams, become more lucid, and learn to accomplish intricate goals within their dreams. We will explore how we can do so in our lives as well.

Lucid dreamers often report that they feel safe when they know they are dreaming. In this workshop, we will learn to respond with less fear in our lives. In sleeping lucid dreams, we act as if we are more than just our dream bodies. In life, our bodies often feel as if they ‘are who we are’. The same is true in non-lucid dreams. When we are not lucid, we believe that death is inevitable and that our dream body is ‘all we are’; that is, until we wake up out of the dream and discover that the dream was all in our mind. We think, after the fact, that we could have responded differently, that it was only a dream. After waking up, we don’t think that our dream bodies ‘died’. We see that we have merely switched focus. Could this be true of life? Of course, even in sleeping dreams we would not, for example, jump off a cliff if we weren’t positive that we were in a dream and that we could, for example, merely fly away. Our goal, then, is to learn to respond differently at times, and with less fear, in our lives. We do not need to wait until ‘after the fact’ to realize that we could have responded with more love in our lives. Instead, we can ‘wake up within our life’!

Lucid dreamers have experienced the amazing feeling to have an exciting goal and made it happen! We can experience the joy of success more often in our waking state by learning to become lucid in life and set upon accomplishing a task with a new outlook. At the very least, we can probably gain an understanding of how we may be blocking our selves and try again.

When we are lucid in life, we can enjoy our selves more by feeling a sense of oneness with everyone and everything. Then next time we find ourself in an undesirable situation in our life, we can take action with the belief that other people are parts of ourself, or that we are all in the mind of the dreamer of life! This can help us to stop and listen to what others have to say, not because we have been told to, but because we want to understand our whole, true self. For example, once during an argument with my cousin, I suddenly stopped to think, “If this is a dream, then my cousin is expressing a part of my own mind.” Miraculously, at that exact moment, she started to explain how our points of view were related instead of opposed.

For many lucid dreamers, it was easier to become lucid once they heard about the idea; that is, once they believed that it was possible to ‘know that they were dreaming while dreaming’. When they questioned that they might be dreaming and looked for evidence, they were more likely to see the evidence and became lucid. When they experienced results, they became great believers. We can do the same with lucid living.

This workshop may have a profound effect on our lives. Of course, as in our sleeping dreams, it is very easy to go on automatic and lose lucidity. However, the more we practice being lucid, whether at night or during the day, the more likely we will be lucid at all times. By living life lucidly, we strive to live the most illuminating, clear, and enjoyable life possible, being: ‘in the flow’. We can also obtain a greater understanding of what religions, and even fairy tales, have been telling us for ages. Lucid living can give us an experience of being connected to, or even part of, that greater ‘Dreamer of us all’.

Tuesday, March 9, 2010 Categorized under Emotions, Healing, Lucid Dreaming

Facing the Witches

Beverly’s Autobiography Class Paper

Beverly Heart
AutoB 60B
Ditto
February 9, 1992
Facing the Witches

When I was five or six years old,  gruesome witches lived in the back of my dark and scary closet.  I’d be quietly playing, and without notice, they would sneak out and come after me.  I’d scream and run through the house, making it to the back porch, and sometimes down the back stairs, but never any further.  I’d fall on the cement at the bottom of the stairs, spread eagle on my back, and just as they were about to devour me,  I’d wake up.  In an icy sweat, breathing fast, I’d be terrified of going to sleep again.  For a few weeks, the witches would leave me alone, but, when I least expected it, they’d be back.  After years of this same recurring dream, I’d find myself pleading, as I lay on the cement with the witches hovering over me, “Please, spare me tonight.  You can have me in tomorrow’s night’s dream!”  At that point, they’d stop their attack and I’d wake up.  However, the dream was still very upsetting, and I always hated going to sleep, especially if I ate anything close to bedtime.  My uncle once told me that my dreams were scary because I ate my Mom’s donuts late at night!

One hot, sticky summer night, when I was seven, I was especially afraid of going to sleep. I hadn’t been able to resist having one of my mom’s fresh, warm donuts, and I was sure the witches would appear in my dreams that night.  My mom was sleeping on the living room couch, which she often did when it was so hot.  The front door could be opened to create a breeze. That was before the days of air conditioning.   So, still being awake about 2am, I grabbed an old, dark pink, american indian blanket and put it on the floor next to the couch to be close to my mom, and I fell asleep.  Soon, I found myself back in my bedroom and noticed the closet door creaking open.  I knew at once it was them, and I began to run for my life.  I barely made it through the kitchen.  As I raced across the porch and down the stairs, I tripped as usual and immediately those horrifying witches caught up to me. The instant before I started to plead with them, the thought flashed through my mind, “If I ask them to take me in tomorrow night’s dream, then this  must be a dream!”  Instantly, my fear dissolved.  I looked the witches straight in the eye and said, “What do you want?”  They gave me a disgusting look, but I knew I was safe in a dream, and I continued, “Take me now.  Let’s get this over with!”  I watched with amazement, as they quickly disappeared into the night.  I woke up feeling elated.  I knew they were gone.  I never dreamed about witches again.

My dreams were really fun after that night.  Remembering the feeling of facing the witches, I learned to recognize when I was asleep and dreaming.  Safe in the dream, I would do things I’d never do when awake!  Being a very obedient student during the daytime, I would dream of being in class jumping wildly and carefree all over the tops of the school desks.  Whatever I desired, was possible.  Whatever I thought, would occur.  I made up ways to wake myself up by staring at street lights whenever I wanted to end a dream. Oftentimes, I would lay in bed imagining myself doing backward summersaults and float right into my dream without ever losing consciousness.  I even learned to fly in my dreams, first, by flapping my arms like the wings of a bird, and later, by extending my arms like superman and just gliding threw the air.  I stopped flying when I devised a way to merely turn around and just “be” wherever I desired:  a beach, Chicago, or even another planet!   However, I missed the sensation of flying, and soon went back to gliding effortlessly through the air, but now an invisible force pulls me to unknown, and sometimes undescribable, destinations.

I’ve had many other adventures in my dreams.  Sometimes, I’d visit and talk with my friend, Denise, who died when I was eighteen.  Once, I went back in time to the year 1974 and met myself at the age of twenty-one to tell my younger self that “everything is fine.”  I solved my writer’s block so I could finish my PhD and even let myself die to see what would happen. I’ve walked on the moon, merged with the sun, and have been a star in outer space.

It’s been 30 years since that night I first discovered lucid dreaming. I didn’t know it was called that until 1980, when I met and began working with a scientist at Stanford on dream research.  My dreams have since been featured in many books, major magazines, and television specials. Recently, I changed my career from working with computers to teaching lucid dream groups and workshops.  I’ve also used my lucid dream experiences while asleep, to view life as a dream and become lucid while awake.  When I’m really lucid, I have no fears and no unmet desires.  I just “am.”  I realize that I am the dreamer and everyone and everything is a part of my mind, including those mysterious,  and well disguised witches.

Tuesday, March 9, 2010 Categorized under Emotions, Ethics, Healing, Lucid Dreaming, Lucid Living, Precognition, Spirituality

Welcome

This begins my new website!