Beverly (Kedzierski Heart) D’Urso, Ph.D.
September 30, 2013
A lucid dreamer all her life, Beverly has presented at conferences and workshops for four decades. She researched lucid dreaming with Dr. Stephen LaBerge at Stanford University while completing her MS degree, involving Cognitive Psychology, and her PhD., focussing on Artificial Intelligence. Before her careers as a researcher, consultant, college instructor, and speaker/writer, she created several start-up companies. Beverly has published over seventy papers, and many books and documentaries have featured her work. She currently serves as a member of the Diamond Approach Ridhwan School and Seminary of A. H. Almaas and maintains the websites:
http://durso.org/beverly/ and http://wedreamnow.info/
In ten words or less how would you define/creatively encapsulate what lucid dreaming is/can be?
Lucidity expands one’s sense of self and potential in life
At what point in your life did you discover this practice, and how did its implications affect your life, both waking and dreaming?
I first ‘knew I dreamed while dreaming’ at the age of seven when I surrendered to a recurring nightmare. At age twenty-five, I discovered that people call this lucid dreaming. I served as the main subject for lucid dreaming research at Stanford University during the 1980s. Since then, I have presented on what I call Lucid Living, which means to live life as a lucid dream. Lucid living serves as a type of spiritual self-actualization. It has allowed me to understand my connection with everyone, including what some call God, to know unlimited potential in life, and to live with less fear.
Do you think there exists a direct correlation between lucid dreaming and stimulating one’s creativity?
Lucid dreaming stimulates creativity directly. I can play in my own three-dimensional world and try out anything imaginable.
Can lucid dreams be used to heal the human body?
I practice ‘healing’ in lucid dreams all the time because I learned from my laboratory research and my own experience that what I happens in my dreams, especially my lucid dreams, affects my physical body.
Have you heard about the NovaDreamer, developed by the Lucidity Institute, a mask meant to light up during REM sleep and cue the dreamer that he or she is dreaming? If so what are your thoughts on this?
I helped create the original NovaDreamer as well the Lucidity Institute that sold them. I have had profound lucid dreams using it, although I naturally have lucid dreams on a regular basis since childhood. The NovaDreamer acts a a cue to ask: “Am I dreaming right now?” Even without any induction device, if I ask this question often enough, I will naturally ask it in a dream. Then, if I have enough awareness or presence when I ask it, I will know that I am dreaming in the moment.
Is there the potential for lucid dreaming to become dangerous for someone?
Non-lucid dreamers think that they are not dreaming when they are dreaming. Lucid dreamers know when they are dreaming. I experience many levels of lucidity. With only partial lucidity, I have occasionally felt frustrated, but not nearly as much as I have from non-lucid dreams. I often advise others, “If you want to jump off a cliff, try floating first!”
Tell me briefly about one of the most interesting lucid dreams you have had or heard about, or one of the most interesting things you have discovered about lucid dreaming.
I discovered that lucid dreaming acts as a metaphor for spiritual self-realization in the waking state.
My First Lucid Dream
I dreamed of gruesome witches who would sneak out of my closet and come after me. Just before they would devour me, I’d wake up. After years of this recurring dream, I’d find myself pleading with the witches hovering over me, “Please, spare me tonight. You can have me in tomorrow night’s dream!” At that point, they’d stop their attack and I’d wake up.
I would often lie in bed and tell myself that the witches only came in my dreams. I tried to get myself to remember this the next time they appeared. In one dream, at the age of seven, 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 I must be dreaming right now!”
I completely faced my fear, knowing I was dreaming. I looked the witches, who still looked very scary, straight in the eye and said, “What do you want?” They gave me a disgusting look, but I felt safe in my dream, and I continued, “Take me now. Let’s get this over with!” I watched with amazement, as they quickly disappeared into the night.
Some lucid dreamers may have turned the witches into something less scary. I believe that my choice of surrendering to my fear and controlling only my reaction served as an excellent choice for my first lucid dream.
I never had the witch nightmare in this form again. However, I later had new episodes with the witches in my dreams, using them as my creative power. I learned to surrender to similar witch scenarios in my waking life, and much later, I understood that my original nightmare likely resulted from an accident I had at eighteen months.
I will give you the list of my top ten sleep state lucid dreams:
Beverly D’Urso’s “Top 10″ Lucid Dreaming Experiences
1. I met myself at a much younger age and she told me that, “Everything is perfect as it is!” and I finally believed it.
2. I got my childhood nightmare ‘witches,’ now seen as my creative power, to help me get pregnant.
3. I walked inside my uterus while pregnant and found twins, later verified by ultrasound.
4. I overcame writer’s block by writing my Ph.D. proposal and soon finished my degree.
5. I gave a ‘healing’ to a friend’s child and he got better.
6. I nursed my ‘baby-self’ when I felt sad when my mom had to stay in the hospital.
7. I made love to the guru, whose ashram I escaped from out of fear.
8. I introduced my husband to my deceased father, who had died before my husband and I met.
9. I intentionally looked for the contents of target pictures and won first place in a number of dream contests.
10. I flew to ‘infinity and beyond’ using a mathematical method that I didn’t know about.
What advice would you give to someone who is interested in beginning to practice lucid dreaming?
Don’t ever assume that you are not dreaming. Record your dreams and discuss them. Pick a simple task that you can try in a lucid dream. Look for clues, such as meeting someone whom you remember has ‘died’ or feeling yourself floating in air. Ask yourself often, “Am I dreaming right now?” Remain open to the possibility without acting upon it until you know for sure that you are dreaming.
What are the biggest benefits of lucid dreaming, and do you think the practice can help people who deal with depression or night terrors?
As my first lucid dream demonstrates, lucid dreaming can definitely help with nightmares or night terrors. You can have amazing adventures. Most important of all, you can experience a world where anything can happen, where you have no fear, and where you understand that you and all others represent aspects of your truer self. Then, you can take it to the next level and experience your waking state this way as well.