Wednesday, March 24, 2010 Categorized under Lucid Dreaming

Extreme Dreaming: First Hand Reports from Lucid X-Dreamers

Extreme Dreaming: First Hand Reports from Lucid X-Dreamers

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

Panel at the International Association for the Study of Dreams (IASD) Conference 2005, Berkeley, June, 2005.

Welcome to the session on:

Extreme Dreaming: First Hand Reports from Lucid X-Dreamers

Today we have four long-term lucid dreamers discuss our decades of experience, insight, and perspective on lucid dreaming.

Besides some techniques, the panel intends to focus on interesting, unusual and thought-provoking examples. They hope to inspire and encourage beginners, as well as experienced lucid dreamers, to reach past their boundaries.

Ed Kellogg earned his Ph.D. in biochemistry from Duke University. A proficient lucid dreamer, he has a long-standing interest in the phenomenology of dreaming.

He has presented numerous papers and workshops on such topics as the lucidity continuum, lucid dream healing, and mutual dreaming. In 2002, 2003, and 2004 Ed organized and hosted  ASD’s online PsiberDreaming Conferences, and he plans another in September.

Robert Waggoner began lucid dreaming in 1975.  He co-edits and writes for The Lucid Dream Exchange, and other dream publications.  A member of IASD since 1995, he serves as Treasurer.

Lucy Gillis has been lucid dreaming for over 15 years. She co-edits, publishes, and writes for The Lucid Dream Exchange.

She has also written articles for other publications, a short book on dream interpretation, and has contributed to a book on sleep paralysis.

I call myself Beverly (Kedzierski Heart) D’Urso. A lucid dreamer most all my life, I did research on the topic in the late 1970’s and 1980’s with Dr. Stephen LaBerge at Stanford.  Numerous media specials have featured my work. I have led workshops, have over 30 dream publications, presented at ASD conferences since 1986, and have been writing a book on Lucid Dreaming/Lucid Living.

For today, we have all determined ten questions in which different panel members will speak briefly in different orders and amounts. We will then open up the session for questions, comments and discussion during the last 20 – 30 minutes.

1.  Discuss your favorite lucid dream

You can view my favorite lucid dream as a Saga that started with my First Lucid Dream called the Witches.  You can find out more about these dreams, and others, on my web site www.durso.org/beverly.

As a quick summary, when I was about five years old,  I found gruesome witches in my nightmares who would sneak out and come after me. Just as they were about to devour me,  I’d wake up.

After years of this same recurring dream, I’d find myself pleading, 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.

I would often 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.

In one dream, when I was about seven years old, 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!”

I completely faced my fear, knowing it was a dream.  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 knew I was safe in a dream.

I continued, “Take me now.  Let’s get this over with!”  I watched with amazement, as they quickly disappeared into the night.

I need to point out that 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 would later have new episodes with the witches in my dreams and discover similar witch scenarios in my waking life, some of which I talked about in my workshop at the ASD conference in 1997.

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 a similar 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 who this week turned ten years old.

In 2002, right before I needed to sell my childhood home, I spontaneously dreamed that I found the witches in it. I surrendered to them again, and they pulled me under the closet door, where they came from.  I merged with the witches and 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 which occurred on Christmas Day 2000.  At last, I felt I could sell the house, and I felt that I had healed quite a bit from my mother’s death when I finally went with the witches.

In the last dream I had of my childhood home, I flew out the picture window like a powerful witch. I discussed these dreams at the ASD conference in 2003.

My most recent attempt to work with the witches just occurred on March 7th of this year. I tried to find them in a lucid dream to help me heal a uterine mass my doctor found.

One of these dreams seems to have succeeded. and is written up in the latest issue of the LDE. I plan to demonstrate it at the Dream Ball on Tuesday night.

At this time, I also had a verified precognitive, or PSI dream, where I correctly determined the current state of my childhood home where the witches live!

If any of you remember, for my very first Dream Ball at the ASD conference in Charlottesville, VA. in 1986, I dressed as one of these witches.

So, the witches are still definitely a part of my life that I treasure, as I do all of my lucid dreams.

2.  Describe the levels of lucidity

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, nor any environment, but I have a very powerful, spiritual-like experience.

3.  Discuss false awakenings, remaining in the dream, changing dream scene, waking yourself up, etc.

With 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.

In order to go into a dream scene as a child, 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 can change the dream scene, and even how to repeat the same dream, in a similar way. Sometimes, I would change the ending of a particular dream several times. I also figured out how to stay in a dream, if I felt I was waking up. I focus on the visuals or my own emotions.

As a child, I made up ways to wake myself up from dreams, such as staring at bright street lights in the dream, whenever I wanted to end a dream. I have also tried going to sleep in the dream, which can wake me up. If I have trouble waking up, I relax and meditate through any gray or black space.

4.  How have you challenged yourself in lucid dreams?

I gave myself challenges throughout my life, first with the witches I described, but also in most of the estimated 20,000 lucid dreams of my life so far!

I often dream of loved ones who died and I also occasionally try to find them. I travel to other places and time periods or try to heal myself and others. I like to attempt mutual dreams with my students and friends, especially Ed Kellogg here. For decades, I also tried many lucid dream tasks for experiments at the Stanford Sleep Laboratory.

A great example of this type of dreaming is when I was asked to do a lucid dreaming experiment at the lab for the television show 20/20. I consider this my favorite lab dream.

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. Because I did not have a specific task that night other than signaling lucidity, 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.

I will speak about another interesting laboratory dream that demonstrated the world’s first recorded sexual orgasm during my session on Monday at 1:45 pm called the Ethics of Dream Sex.

5.  Do your lucid dreams ever seem more real that WPR?

I have had lucid dreams where they seem more real that WPR. This is difficult to explain in WPR. Sometimes, they include “seeing more,” such as simultaneously seeing the back and front side of an object. Of course, many of my lucid dreams have extremely vivid and clear visuals, sounds, and emotions.

I have also been known to do experiments in the lucid dream world, where I wake myself up, perform a task in WPR, and then go back into the same dream and ask technicians what they saw happening.

6.   Describe the unusual physics of lucid dreams

My flying dreams best illustrate the unusual physics of my dreams. I refer you to a description of these dreams in a LDE interview I did in 2003, which you can read on my web site.

Briefly, I learned to fly in different ways in my dreams. 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 also realized that it was my mind that created the telephone wires to begin with!

After decades of flying, I noticed that the only thing that could stop me was if I ignored a character in order to hurry off flying somewhere else.

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.

7.  Did you ever visit any possible parallel or probable realities in dreams?

When I was thirty-seven years old, I wanted 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 not worry about it. Eventually, I decided that if life is a dream, then my dreams would come true, and they did when I met and married my perfect mate. We have been married for almost twelve years.

8.  Talk about surrender vs control in lucid dreams or other spiritual aspects of lucid dreaming?)

Many people criticize lucid dreaming because they assume that lucid dreams must involve control. They fear losing what the dream was trying to show them.

In my lucid dreams, I feel free to go wherever my imagination takes me and I take care to balance surrender and control. By surrender, I do not mean “to give up”, but rather “to go with the flow.” I feel that I can have lucid dreams without control taking place.

Controlling my own reactions, or the action, characters, or environment in my dreams can indicate that I have reached a definite level of lucidity, but I can still have a lucid dream without control. At times, it helps to take some control of the action in the dream, for example, when I want to carry out goals.

I get power by surrendering to my lucid dreams. I may still have control of my own reactions, but not necessarily of what happens to me. For example, I am not automatically fearful when scary things happens. I can face up to them while they remain terrifying. I only need to remain conscious that I dream.

Being lucid, 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.

I like to surrender to my lucid dreams and totally experience my emotions. For example, I pass into and right through fear. I find this one of the most valuable lessons that lucid dreaming has taught me, which I can apply to my waking life, as well.

Here is an example of how, in graduate school, I solved a “writer’s block” in a lucid dream, where I used both control and surrender. In the dream, I found myself lying in bed, with my desk in the wrong place. I became lucid and headed for my computer to start writing. I found that I could not move and felt paralyzed.

Using control, 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 had become “the pit to hell.” Flames swept up, and it sounded and smelled awful! However, I felt determined to succeed.

Holding my breath, I sat down, ready to get sucked into the pit. I did not change the scene, but surrendered to it. After I woke up, within a very short time, I finished writing my Ph.D. dissertation.

I have more examples of surrender and control in my 2004 Psiberdreaming Conference paper called: Over the Waterfall and Gently Down the Stream: Surrendering to the Lucid Dream also on my web site.

9.  Have you tried to fly as high or as deep as possible with unusual results?

I’ll begin with an dream of traveling deep down into the ocean. I had a lucid dream where I was flying over a river near my childhood home, 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 a few years before this.

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.

Coincidentally, a year or so later, I ended up giving a lucid dreaming/lucid living workshop on board a sailboat in the Bahamas and a WPR dolphin actually rubbed against me while swimming.

Here’s an example of a lucid dream where I fly as high as possible. I appeared in a lucid dream with nothing physical around me, so I decided that I would fly in the direction that seemed 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.

I had a similar  experience when I tried to fly to infinity and beyond in a lucid dreaming experiment for the LDE, which you can find in a recent issue.

10.  Have you learned how to act more lucidly in your waking life?

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.  I feel that waking life may seem ‘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 always 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 I know 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 or “conscious” in my waking life.

So, 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. 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 our 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.”

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 and I need to listen.

At that exact moment I acted from the perspective of the Dreamer,  she actually started to explain how our points of view seemed related instead of opposed.

Another time, a boy 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 boyfriends. This time, 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.

You can read about these examples in my 2002 Psiberdreaming Conference paper called: From Lucid Dreaming to Lucid Living.

I believe that 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.

I could go on and on about lucid living and I hope to talk to many of you about it during the rest of this conference. I hope the everyone else will read my future book on Lucid Dreaming/Lucid Living currently called We Dream NOW.

We have to close now, but thank you from all of us for participating and pleasant X-dreaming!

Wednesday, March 24, 2010 Categorized under Ethics

The Ethics of Dream Sex

The Ethics of Dream Sex
by
Beverly (Kedzierski Heart) D’Urso, Ph.D.,
Copyright (c) 2005

Paper at the International Association for the Study of Dreams (IASD) Conference 2005, Berkeley, June, 2005.

INTRODUCTION (1 minute)
(Pass out cards)
Good morning. I will begin with a schedule for this session, starting with:

1. Ground rules
2. My dreaming background
3. My sexual dreaming experiences

4. Scenario: Consider your own ethics (the main part of this presentation)

5. My views on the scenario

6. A sample of opinions:
Against – For – Neutral

7. Audience opinions:
including discussion and cards
(about half of our time)

8. Final Questions

GROUND RULES (1 minute)

So, I’ll start with going over some ground-rules for this possibly sensitive topic of the ethics of dream sex.

During this session today, I definitely plan to be open-minded and respect each person’s rights, dignity, and integrity, as well as that of his or her opinions and dreams. I will ask and expect others to do the same.

I will forewarn the audience that unexpected issues or emotions may arise in our discussion and that mutual agreement about the degree of privacy and confidentiality are essential ingredients in creating a safe atmosphere.

By a show of hands, does everyone agree to privacy and confidentiality?

I also recognize that each person is the decision-maker as to whether or not to share his or her opinions or dreams out loud, or anonymously in writing on the cards I passed out. Does anyone need a card?

I plan to guide the audience to more fully experience, appreciate, and understand various viewpoints on this topic.

Last of all, as always, I will be honest and accurate in the communication of my own credentials and competencies.

Before we go on, I need to point out that you do not have to be a lucid dreamer or even care much about lucid dreaming to participate today. However, my main dream focus is on lucid dreaming and I will talk about it quite a bit.

MY BACKGROUND (5 minutes)

I will continue with a summary of my own background.

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/beverly for a detailed description of my Lucid Dreaming and Lucid Living.

Starting in the late 1970’s, 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 since 1986.

I have remembered, on average, six dreams per night, for most my of life. I’d say that between 2 and 10 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. Occasionally, my non-lucid dreams are bizarre, and yet I ignore this sign of being in a dream and I rationalize the experience, just as many people might do.

To me, lucid dreaming does not mean merely “clear” dreaming, or even “controlled” dreaming, necessarily,  if you were not aware that you were in a dream at the time.

Also, I personally believe in levels of lucidity, on a spectrum. I do not see lucid dreaming and non-lucid dreaming as binary states. In other words, one is not just lucid or non-lucid.

Finally, I’d say that 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 of the dream or inside the dreamer.

I can let go of fear and experience myself as more than just my body, know that anything is possible, and see everyone and everything in the dream as part of our expanded minds, our higher self, the Source, or what I call the Dreamer of life.

When lucid, I can become more “free”, have fun, accomplish goals, be “in the moment”, and maybe even experience magic!

HIGHLIGHTS OF MY SEX DREAMS (5 minutes)

GENERAL

But, now let’s get to today’s subject: Sex.

In my lucid dreams, I think of sex as a powerful bonding or integrating experience. 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.

In dreams, I have been the woman, the man, half woman/half man, divided by upper and lower body, left and right sides, and with both a penis and a vagina. This made it possible to make love physically with myself in all combinations. I have also had sex as a man with a man, a woman with a woman, and with different groups  in my dreams.

In one lucid dream, I had sex with the earth, as I flew at its edge, one leg dragging into the dirt.  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.

Often, I perform some sexual advance or action as soon as I know I am dreaming, to prove in a way that I feel unrestricted in the dream.

STANFORD SEX DREAMS

In a groundbreaking experiment at the Stanford Sleep Lab, I was hooked up to electrodes and vaginal probes. My goal was to have sex in a dream and experience and record an orgasm. I would signal with different eye movements that would be picked up by a polygraph machine.

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 made 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.

It is called “Physiological Responses to Dreamed Sexual Activity during Lucid  REM Sleep and was Presented at Asilomar Conference, Fall, 1983. This was also the time that I completed my Ph.D. in Artificial Intelligence.

I should point out that when the experimenters asked me to have an orgasm, alone in a room in waking physical reality, in order to monitor my physiology and see if it matched that of the dream orgasm, I could not do so.

In WPR, I felt much too inhibited to do the simplest sex act all by myself. I need to point this out to demonstrate that I definitely do not act in WPR as I do in my dreams.

Also, Stephen LaBerge’s first book publisher for: Exploring the World of Lucid Dreaming, still would not use my real name in these dream accounts, because of their sexual nature. Instead, I used my dancing name, Miranda.

TODAY’S SCENARIO (5 minutes)

Okay. Let’s move on to today’s scenario.

The following scenario was adopted in part from a workshop that Ed Kellogg presented at IASD’s Third Online PsiberDreaming Conference, September 2004 called “The Ethics of Dream-Psi.”

Scenario: “In a dream, you meet a good friend, half undressed and very attractive. Although both of you feel happily married to other people in physical reality, and would not have sex with each other in waking life, both you and your friend feel quite turned on by each other in the dream.  Your friend wants to have sex with you, and even begins to caress and kiss you.”

Do you have dream sex with your friend? If not, why not? Consider the following situations I created, and think of others you might find interesting:

1.    You DO NOT know that you are dreaming and your situation matches that of waking life. For example, you know you are married in the dream.

2.    You DO NOT know that you are dreaming,  but neither character has gotten married yet in the time frame of this dream, or you take on a character different from your normal self.

3.    You DO know that you are dreaming. That is, you find yourself in a lucid dream. This is the case I find most interesting.

4.    You SUSPECT that you are having a mutual dream,  or a similar dream which both of you will remember having about each other during this night.

As I said in my abstract, some dreamers, if they did not know they were dreaming, would behave as they would in waking physical reality.

Others might feel things just “happen to them” in their dreams. In other words, they feel that they don’t have a choice.

In lucid dreams, where dreamers know they are dreaming and know they are not in waking physical reality, many dreamers find sex, in general, a positive way of bonding and feel more acceptable of any kind of sex the more lucid they become.

Others actually get more conscious of the effect of their actions on other dream characters and may more often choose not to have sex the more lucid they become.

Should having sex in dreams, especially in lucid dreams, where you know you are in a dream,  have the same associations or regulations that we place on it in waking physical reality?  To many people, lucid dream reality seems a place of less fear, inhibitions, and social rules.

However, coming back to waking physical reality from a dream, people tend to redefine what sex in the dream means.

Considering these issues, would YOU have, or not have, dream sex with your friend? Please think about your answers for the next two minutes before I describe my response and we open up the discussion to those who feel comfortable sharing.

You can write out your response anonymously on one of the cards I handed out and submit it to me, if you’d like, so that I can anonymously  incorporate your response into the discussion.

To make sure we get a well-rounded set of opinions prior to our discussion, I have created a broad range of generic responses that I will share after I describe my own views.

(Wait a few minutes.)

MY VIEWS ON THE SCENARIO (5 minutes)

I’ll now continue first with my views on the scenario.

First of all I have to say, if I did not know I was dreaming, I would most likely behave as I would in waking physical reality (WPR.) Typically, this would mean that I would not have sex with my friend because I would “believe” I had a husband.

However, if, in my dream, I had not yet married and therefore believed I did not have a husband, or,

I lived an alternative life in my dream, for example, I was a small black boy in Africa (which has happened), then I could not use my husband as a reason not to have sex.

I believe that in both WPR, or in any dream reality, I would not have sex with anyone who appeared unwilling.

First, I will exclude the issue of mutual dreaming and consider only my individual morals in lucid dreams. Keep in mind that being lucid and getting more lucid means different things to different people.

However, by common assumption or definition, “knowing I am in a dream” means “knowing I am NOT in WPR.”

For me, knowing that I am not in WPR makes me feel more “free” and less bound by morals than if I thought I was in WPR.

I consider myself not really “married” to my husband in lucid dream reality (LDR) in the same social way I do when awake. I find willing sex an acceptable way of bonding in LDR. In fact, I feel more acceptable of any kind of sex the more lucid I become. By he way, I have discussed this with my husband and he’s okay with it.

Also, when I am lucid, I realize that other characters seem to demonstrate my unconscious desires and fears. As in WPR, I believe that we always see people and events through our own filter.

So, from my perspective, I do not call myself  “very” lucid if someone else in my dream does not seem lucid. Therefore, I would need to decide if my friend seemed lucid in this dream as well.

Keep in mind that when I feel most lucid, sex, as we commonly think of it, becomes undefinable because I find no “separate” bodies in my dream.

I realize that what I am about to say can sound very complex as I consider other dream character’s lucidity and mutual dreaming. If you get lost, you can refer to my web site later, where I will post this presentation.

First, I understand that I can not be certain when I label someone else’s experience as “lucid.” I can only speculate.

To me a dream character acts lucid if they demonstrate that they do know we are in a dream. For example, they might tell me before I realize it that we are in a dream or they might initiate flying.

Therefore, if I felt that my friend seemed lucid in my dream, then, by association, I would feel very lucid myself, and I would not feel inhibited about sex.

However, if my friend seemed very lucid, if he felt that he should not have sex with me, then he would be unwilling at some level, and I would not have sex with him.

Now, I will address the issue of thinking I may be having a mutual dream. If the dream character that seemed to be my friend acted connected to my friend’s mind in WPR, as I feel connected to the dreamer I might call Beverly’s mind, then I might consider the dream a mutual one between my friend and I.

So, if I thought I was having a mutual dream, that is, I seemed to dream WITH my friend and not just OF him, my friend seemed lucid, I knew that my friend felt the way I do about LDR, in other words more “free,” less bound by morals, and he was willing, then I might have sex with him. However, I would need to consider at least one more issue.

Assume that my friend and I did have sex in a dream where we both knew we were dreaming, we both knew we had spouses in WPR, and we both felt that we dreamed WITH each other. We would now both have a shared memory of that experience in WPR.

This memory would most likely feel very intense, maybe even more intense than a memory of mutual sex in WPR.

The shared memory alone would probably affect our marriages. If I really wanted to protect my marriage, then I would refuse to have the experience in any mutual reality.

If, however, I wanted to take a risk and have sex with my friend in this way, it would probably end up as one of the most intense experiences of my life.

Just imagine: it would include: extreme sex, that seems forbidden, but is not against our morals, where we both have extreme lucidity and we both remember it afterwards in the same way. This would seem really amazing to me!

However, knowing how I am often not very lucid in WPR, the experience might make me yearn for my friend. What would this do to him, me, and our families?

Now that I think about it, on some level, just speaking all this somehow seems immoral in WPR. I feel much more inhibited as I speak about it now, than I would probably feel in my dream.

Finally, I need to say that I would like to enjoy my non-mutual dream experiences without going against my morals.

However, given that I can not have absolute certainty that my dream is not mutual, just as I can not have absolute certainty that another dream character is lucid or not, I may be going against my own morals at any time.

I think I can live with this level of possible immorality, especially if no one ever convinces me, to a very great degree, that they have mutual dreams with me.

If they do not, then for all practical purposes my experiences remain private, at least in WPR.

That’s it for my thoughts.

OTHER VIEWS ON THE SCENARIO (5 minutes)

Before we open the topic up for discussion, let’s listen to some other viewpoints.  I made up these quotes, after listening to people respond to this scenario.

People who WOULD NOT have dream sex might say the following:

I’d feel that I was cheating, and this could carry over into WPR.

What happens in the dream world affects our waking life.

Another person’s dreams, or even WPR, might be  affected by our dreams.

What we do in dreams, fantasy, and imagination can affect our collective unconscious.

Even if I felt fine having sex in the dream, I would feel repulsed when I woke up.

I would not do something against my ethics in a dream where I had conscious control.

I can practice behavior that fits with my personal ethics in my lucid dreams.

The more lucid I get, the more aware I become of the effects of my actions.

When lucid, I stop letting my sexual desires direct me.

I’d need to get permission from my WPR friend and my spouse.

If I had a way to tell that the dream character was a made-up image, then I might have sex.

I fear that dream characters may be disguised.

On the other hand, people who WOULD have dream sex might say the following:

Why should WPR ethics apply in the very different reality of dreams.

Everything should be experienced in dreams.

We already control our dreams too much.

I like to follow the script of all my dreams.

I don’t want to go against the flow of my dreams.

Having dream sex might help my marriage by showing a need for change.

I might discover something new or get to know myself better.

The dream could be helping me discover my limits or my styles of intimacy.

I am responsible for myself and must respect the choices of others.

By rejecting sex, we might be restricting the very purpose of imagination which we use for preparation.

My dream characters seem imaginary, so I don’t feel restricted.

Maybe the dream character really is my spouse in disguise.

(Something to think about)

Some people may feel undecided:

I might talk to the dream character first, or maybe even talk to my friend when awake.

I could wake up and ask my spouse if our our marriage vows applied to my dreams.

I would try to determine if the character was a made-up form that just looks like my friend.

Ethics may be cultural conditioning, not applicable to dreams.

I could wake up feeling a great bonding or great guilt.

Why assume marriage is monogamous?

I cannot judge level of the lucidity of others in my dreams.

I trust the actions of my non-lucid self most of all.

The actions of my lucid self matter to me the most.

I am never myself in my dreams.

Now that we have heard all these different views I’d like to hear what YOU would do and why. Remember to keep what you hear in this room confidential. Who would like to start?

Discussion (30 minutes?)

We could go on for a long time, but we must end for today.

Final questions (3 minutes?)

We have only a few minutes for any final questions or comments if anyone has any.

All right. Time’s up.

I have a few bibliographies that include the papers I have online and which include my email and web site for those who want them and who talk to me in person afterwards.

Thank you very much for a stimulating session.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010 Categorized under Lucid Dreaming, Test

Over the Waterfall and Gently Down the Stream: Surrendering to the Lucid Dream

Over the Waterfall and Gently  Down the Stream: Surrendering to the Lucid Dream

by Beverly (Kedzierski Heart) D’Urso      Copyright (c) 2004

Presentation for the International Association for the Study of Dreams (IASD) PsiberDreaming Conference, September 2004

In my lucid dreams, I feel free to go  wherever my imagination takes me (see Appendix 1: Definitions  of Lucid Dreaming.) I take care to balance surrender and control.  By surrender I do not mean “giving up”, but rather “going with the  flow.” Controlling my own reactions, or the action, characters, or  environment in my dreams can indicate that I have reached a definite  level of lucidity, but I can still have a lucid dream without control  (see Appendix 2: Characteristics of Lucid Dreaming.) At times, it  helps to take some control of the action in the dream – for example,  when I want to carry out goals.

I gain power by surrendering to my lucid dreams.  Although I may  still control my own reactions, I do not  control what happens to  me. For example, I do not automatically feel fearful when scary things  happen. I can face up to them while they remain terrifying. I only need  to remain conscious that I 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.  For example, 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 maintaining awareness of dreaming rather than  control in my lucid dreams, I do not call my lucid dreaming  “witnessing” as such. I find myself fully “in the dream and  yet not of it,” meaning that I know while dreaming that part of my self  exists outside of the dimension of the dream. To me, witnessing  would feel like watching a movie or a play. Participating in a  lucid dream feels like acting in a play in perfect character,  having all the character’s feelings and consequences, while still  identifying myself as an actor, and possibly the producer and director  as well.

I like to surrender to my lucid dreams and totally experience my  emotions. For example, I pass into and right through fear. I find this  one of the most valuable lessons that lucid dreaming has taught me,  which I can apply to my waking life, as well.

I will now describe some lucid dream scenarios, as well as life  scenarios from my work in Lucid Living, where surrender has paid off.

In my first lucid dream at age seven, I faced up to terrifying witches  from recurring nightmares. (see Appendix 3: My Witches Dream.)  Some lucid dreamers may have first turned the witches into something  less scary before dealing with them, or merely escaped from them. I  believe that my choice of surrendering to my fear, controlling only my  reaction, and leaving the witches to do what they pleased, served as an  excellent choice for my first lucid dream. I not only ended my witch  nightmares, but learned to deal with the witches again in very powerful  ways, as I will describe later.

Since childhood, I have also learned to develop my flying skills in my  lucid dreams. These dreams taught me that surrender, rather than  control, often works best. Usually, I would find myself lucid in my  flying dreams. 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. At some point, I must have hit some telephone wires, or some  other barrier, because I fell. I soon realized that because I knew I  dreamed, I could fly right through physical objects of any kind. I had  fun flying through walls and even deep into the earth. Of course, this  took some control.

As I matured in my lucid dreaming skills, I could eliminate flying  altogether by merely imagining where I wanted to go and have the place  appear right behind me. Lately, I do what I call surrender flying.  I lean back and let an invisible force pull me upwards from my heart  area. This feels very ecstatic. It also often leads me to places of  great peace and power, which remain with me even after I wake up. Again,  I find value in surrendering to the lucid dream.

When I first began to have lucid dreams with characters who have died in  life, I remembered the value of facing my fear and surrendering to the  dream. I learned to stay in the lucid dreams that I had of my teenage  friend who had died and talk to her. It took me time to get accustomed  to hearing her voice and not waking myself up because I felt scared of  talking to a dead person. Finally, I learned to ask her questions, and  eventually, listen to her answers. I felt very relieved to connect with  her this way. Since then, I have regularly had lucid dreams of many  other people who have died in life, including both my parents.

In graduate school, I solved a “writer’s block” in a lucid dream,  where I used both control and surrender. In the dream, I found myself  lying in bed, with my desk in the wrong place. I became lucid and headed  for my computer to start writing. I found that I could not move and felt  paralyzed. Using control, 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 had become “the pit to hell.” Flames  swept up, and it sounded and smelled awful! However, I felt determined  to succeed. Holding my breath, I sat down, ready to get sucked into the  pit. I did not change the scene, but surrendered to it. After I woke up,  within a very short time, I finished writing my Ph.D. dissertation.

Another time, I tried a mutual dream experiment of trying to find  one of my students in a lucid dream. At the start of my dream that  night, I saw a neighbor, whom I knew had died, and I became lucid. In  previous dreams, I would see her and say, “You’re dead!!” and  would then immediately try to accomplish 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 need to control the  action in my dream caused me problems. So this time, I first stopped to  talk to my neighbor. Afterwards, I easily found my student in the dream  and succeeded in my part of the mutual lucid dream experiment.

Merging with other aspects of the dream demonstrates another great form  of surrender and “letting go of fear,” as well. In one lucid dream,  I found myself alone in front of a campfire. I took this as another  surrender challenge and stepped right into the center of the roaring  fire, directly experiencing any existing fear. Having fun, I decided to  try eating the flames. Interestingly enough, they tasted salty.

In another lucid dream, 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 I heard a great sound about half  way there. It sounded very extreme, yet blissful. I had merged with a  black void. Although initially I had control concerning this goal, after  a while I had to surrender to this intense experience rather than resist  it. I knew I would get overwhelmed and would wake myself up if I  didn’t. I felt very lucid for the next several days in both my  sleeping and my waking states.

In my thirties, I had a life goal of getting married and having a  family. In one lucid dream, I met up with myself at the age of  twenty-one. She felt sad leaving her college boyfriend so she could  travel and have a career. In the dream, 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 what she called my “alternate  self,” also thirty-seven years old, 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.” When I woke up and wrote down the dream, I heard an inner  voice, as if from a future self, who said, “Everything’s perfect  as it is! Surrender to the present!” I finally believed it.

I trusted I would eventually find my perfect mate at the right moment,  surrendering to the thought that if I viewed life as a dream, then my  dreams would come true. When I met my husband, I completely surrendered  to what became my most lucid life experience. I stayed in the present  moment continuously, without fear, and with total trust. I remained with  him and totally focused on him, while part of me observed our  interaction. I believed in magic, while accepting whatever happened. I  listened to him and reacted to him as truly part of myself. Married for  over eleven years, I still see him as my perfect mate.

In 1994, doctors gave my husband and I extreme odds against having a  child. I decided to work on the issue in my dreams. I looked for the  witches in a lucid dream, now thinking of them as my “creative  power.” Even though they still looked very scary, I faced my fears  directly and spontaneously brought them into my uterus. Note that I took  control by looking for them, yet surrendered by bringing them into my  body, which I had not planned. Within a year, I got pregnant with my son  Adrian, now nine years old.

My mother died on Christmas morning of the year 2000, after a sudden,  massive stroke and my life, as well as my dreams, became quite a  struggle. I really had to surrender to both at this point. I resigned to  taking my mother off life support and my dreams helped take me through  my grief.

A year and a half after my mother’s death, I needed to sell my childhood  home. I wondered if I could surrender to this task. Spontaneously, I  dreamed that I found the witches in the bedroom of my childhood home. I  surrendered to them again, and they pulled me under the closet door  where they came from. I merged with the witches and resolved the biggest  fears of my childhood. In my dreams, I feared going with the witches. In  life, I feared my mother’s death. At last, I could sell the house, and  I felt that I had healed quite a bit from my grief. In the next dream of  my childhood home, I flew out the picture window like a powerful witch!

Surrendering to my lucid dreams has often given me more power than  control. However, I still try to balance the two, as one would balance  the male and female, or yin and yang aspects of one’s self.

Appendix 1: Definitions of Lucid Dreaming

With lucid dreaming you have awareness that you dream  while asleep and dreaming. You may think of the dreamer as you,  or your physical body’s mind, although I would not say that the  brain contains the mind. In a lucid dream, I feel more present  than in a non-lucid dream, bringing my whole self into the experience. I  know that I exist as more than my dream body and can identify the source  of myself as outside of the dream or inside the dreamer.

One can also describe lucidity as what happens when a dream  character’s mind connects with the mind of the dreamer. 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, your dream character can remember goals that you 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 not known by the dream character, even in lucidity.  Therefore, we can see the value of both control, in helping direct the  dream, and surrender, in accepting the unexpected.

Appendix 2: Characteristics of Lucid Dreaming

Some people never remember their dreams, some remember them awhile after  waking up, and some remember them just after or before they awaken. Lucid dreamers “remember” the dream while the immersed within the  dream. 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” or “daydreaming”. I do not think of it as  “clear” dreaming, or even “controlled” dreaming, necessarily, if  you did not have the awareness that you dreamed at the time.

I personally believe in levels of lucidity, which fall on a  spectrum. I do not see lucid dreaming and non-lucid dreaming as binary  states. In other words, we cannot call a dreamer merely lucid or  non-lucid. I call myself partially lucid, if I merely remember to  question if I currently dream. I’d call myself definitely lucid,  if I know for sure that I dream while I dream. I consider myself very  lucid, if I can control or change things in the dream, not that I  always do. Finally, when most lucid, I often do not experience a  body, but more of a black void or a white light, where I have powerful,  spiritual-like experiences.  You can find my spectrum discussed in:  “What I ultimately learned from Lucid Dreaming is Lucid  Living” and a somewhat different spectrum, but more detailed one,  in Ed Kellogg’s paper:  The Lucidity Continuum (see References.)

Keep in mind that frequent lucid dreamers may not have much lucidity in  their dreams, while occasional lucid dreamers may have a high degree of  lucidity. Non-lucid dreamers also vary quite a bit. Some have tried to  get lucid and couldn’t. Others never heard of lucid dreaming, so they  don’t know if they could do it. Some really want to have lucid dreams  and make it a struggle. Others just don’t care about becoming lucid.

I don’t feel that lucid dreaming really takes effort, but instead,  motivation. One does not need to make lucid dreaming difficult. People  may not succeed in becoming lucid because, for example, they don’t  start with simple enough tasks to perform. They see control as so  essential, that they try to, for example, locate a departed loved one  before they even try to do something normal, such as sing a song, while  remaining lucid in their dream.

Appendix 3: My Witches Dream

At five years old, I remember having a series of recurring nightmares. I  imagined gruesome witches living in the back of my dark and scary  closet. In these dreams, I’d find myself quietly playing or just 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 would almost 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 come  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  still felt very upsetting, and I always hated going to sleep. I would  lie in bed and tell myself that the witches only come in my dreams,  while I lay safely in bed. I tried to get myself to remember this the  next time they appeared.

One hot, sticky summer night, at the age of seven, I felt especially  afraid to go to sleep. I felt sure the witches would appear in my  dreams. My mom slept that night on the living room couch, which she  often did during hot nights. We kept the front door opened to create a  breeze. So, still awake about two in the morning, I grabbed an old, dark  pink, American Indian blanket. I put the blanket on the floor close to  my mom, and I fell asleep.

Soon, I found myself back in my bedroom, unknowingly in a dream. I  noticed the closet door creaking open. Instantly, I recognized the  witches and ran 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 those  horrifying witches immediately caught up to me. Right 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  now!” Suddenly, 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 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. I woke up on the  floor next to my mom feeling elated. I knew they had left for good. I  never had the witch nightmare in this form again. However, I would later  create new episodes with the witches in my dreams and discover similar  witch scenarios in my waking life, as well (see “Witches, the  House, and Grief: Developing and Avoiding Lucid Dreaming” in References.)

References

“Illuminating Insights from Lucid Dreaming”, D’Urso, Beverly (Kedzierski  Heart), Panel at the Association for the Study of Dreams (ASD)   Conference 2004, Copenhagen, June, 2004.

“Lucid Dreaming, Lucid Living”, D’Urso, Beverly (Kedzierski  Heart), Symposium at the Association for the Study of Dreams (ASD)  Conference 2004, Copenhagen, June, 2004.

We Dream NOW, D’Urso, Beverly (Kedzierski Heart), Book  in Progress, 2003.

“Dream Speak: An Interview with Beverly (Kedzierski Heart)  D’Urso: A Lucid Dreamer – Part One, Two and Three”, The Lucid  Dream Exchange, Numbers 29, 30, and 31, 2003 – 2004.

“From Lucid Dreaming to Lucid Living”, D’Urso, Beverly (Kedzierski  Heart,) Paper at the Association for the Study of Dreams (ASD)  Second Annual Online PsiberDreaming Conference, September 21 to October  5, 2003.

“Witches, the House, and Grief: Developing and Avoiding Lucid  Dreaming”, 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.)

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

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

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

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

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

“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.)

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

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

“Lucid Dreaming”, (including D’Urso, Beverly (Kedzierski  Heart,) NBC’s Next Step, May, 1996.

“A Lucid Dreamer: Beverly (Kedzierski Heart) D’Urso”,  ABC  TV:  WLS Chicago 10 O’Clock News,  May 11, 1995.

“Lucid Dreaming and Dolphin Swimming”, Workshop, given by  Heart, Beverly (Kedzierski D’Urso),aboard a sailboat in the Bahamas,  June 1993.

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

“The Lucidity Continuum”, Kellogg III, E. W.,  Paper  presented at the Eighth Annual Conference of the Lucidity Association in  Santa Cruz, June 28, 1992. (paper available from author alef1@msn.com  )

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

Exploring the World of Lucid Dreaming,  LaBerge,  Stephen, including Kedzierski,  Beverly (Heart D’Urso,)  Ballantine Books, New York, 1990.

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

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

“Stephen LaBerge: The Doctor of Dreams”, (including Kedzierski,  Beverly (Heart D’Urso)),  LIFE,  October,  1986.

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

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

“Lucid Dreaming”, New Age Journal,    (including Kedzierski, Beverly (Heart D’Urso)), November,  1985.

Lucid Dreaming: The power of being awake and aware in your dreams,    LaBerge, Stephen, (including Kedzierski, Beverly (Heart D’Urso)), Ballantine Books,  New York, 1985.

“You can direct your dreams”, (including Kedzierski, Beverly  (Heart D’Urso)), Parade Magazine,  February ,1984.

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

“You’re dreaming, but do you know it?”, (including Kedzierski,  Beverly (Heart D’Urso)), Smithsonian,  August, 1982

“Design your own dreams”, (including Kedzierski, Beverly  (Heart D’Urso)), Omni,   March, 1982 .

“Discover  the World of Science:  Lucid Dreaming”,  (including Kedzierski, Beverly (Heart D’Urso)), Television Special,  1982.

“Two on the Town,  A Day in the Life of Beverly Kedzierski  (Heart D’Urso): Lucid Dreamer”, Television Show, 1982.
____________
Beverly (Kedxierski Heart) D’Urso, a lucid dreamer all her life, has  done research on the topic since the 1970’s with Dr. Stephen LaBerge.  She leads her own groups and workshops on Lucid Dreaming/Lucid Waking.  Numerous books, magazines, conferences, and TV specials have featured  her work, which emphasizes living life as a dream.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010 Categorized under Lucid Dreaming

Illuminating Insights from Lucid Dreaming

Illuminating Insights from Lucid Dreaming
by
D’Urso, Beverly (Kedzierski Heart)
Copyright (c) 2004

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

WHAT IS LUCID DREAMING

I will begin with some background on lucid dreaming. As you probably 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”.

MY BACKGROUND

I remember having had lucid dreams since I was seven years old and I faced up to scary witches in a recurring nightmare. I will discuss this dream briefly, in a moment. 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.

Starting in the late 1970’s, 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. Sometimes my non-lucid dreams are very bizarre and yet I ignore this sign of being in a dream and I rationalize the experience.

CHARACTERISTICS OF LUCID DREAMING

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” or “daydreaming”. It is also not just “clear” dreaming, or even “controlled” dreaming, necessarily,  if you were not aware that you were in a dream at the time.

Also, I personally believe in levels of lucidity, on a spectrum. I do not see lucid dreaming and non-lucid dreaming as binary states. In other words, one is not just lucid or non-lucid.

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 more of a black void, where I have powerful, spiritual-like experiences.
Keep in mind that frequent lucid dreamers may be not very lucid in their dreams, while occasional lucid dreamers may have a high degree of lucidity.

Non-lucid dreamers also vary quite a bit. Some have tried to get lucid and couldn’t. Others never heard of lucid dreaming so they don’t know if they could do it. Some really want to have lucid dreams and make it a struggle. Others just don’t care about becoming lucid.

I don’t feel that lucid dreaming really takes effort, and instead I feel that motivation is the key. One must not assume that lucid dreaming is difficult.

People may not succeed in becoming lucid because, for example, they don’t start with simple enough tasks to perform. They feel that control is so essential that they try to, for example, locate a departed loved one before they even try to do something normal and merely remain lucid in their dream.

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.

Because I see the dream as being created by the 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 the mind, I also experience everyone as “one”, or “made of the same substance” and all “parts of a whole.”

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 of the dream or inside the dreamer.

In this talk, I want to focus on surrendering to the lucid dream plus facing and totally experiencing one’s emotions, for example “letting go of fear.”  I believe that these are the most valuable lessons that lucid dreaming has taught me. I will also describe scenarios that led me to my current work called lucid living.

I presented a workshop on lucid living at ASD97 in Asheville and I will highlight it at the end of this presentation. Tomorrow, I will present at a symposium called lucid dreaming, lucid living at 1:15pm in room five.

THE WITCHES

Here is my story. 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 alcoholic grandfather came to live with us. It was around this time that I remember having a series of recurring “witch” nightmares.

Perhaps the witches represented my grandfather. However, I did not think of this until I was much, much older. Maybe my negative feelings of not wanting my “scary” grandfather living with us had to come up as nightmares, because I was too young to express them.

In any case, I found gruesome witches in my nightmares who would sneak out and come after me. Just as they were about to devour me,  I’d wake up.

After years of this same recurring dream, I’d find myself pleading, 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.

I would often 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.

In one dream, when I was about seven years old, 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!”

I completely faced my fear, knowing it was a dream.  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 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 need to point out that 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 would later have new episodes with the witches in my dreams and discover similar witch scenarios in my waking life.

FUN

My dreams were really fun after I faced up to those witches.  Remembering the feeling of being safe in a dream, I learned to recognize when I was asleep and dreaming most of the time.

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!”

FLYING

My flying dreams, in particular, taught me that surrender, rather than control works best. Usually, I would be lucid in my flying dreams. 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.

Walls were easy to get through. My head merged into the wall first, and then I noticed the wall moving through my body, a foot at a time. The wall felt as though it was vibrating and humming slowly, like the jiggling molecules that I imagined made up the wall.  Finally, my feet popped out the other side.

As I matured in my lucid dreaming skills, I could eliminate flying altogether by merely imagining that where I wanted to go was right behind 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. Again, I find the value of surrendering to the lucid dream.

TEENAGE YEARS

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  often dreamed of my close friend from high school, who died in a car accident, when I was nineteen.

At first, I’d see her in a dream, and we would relate as we would have when she was still alive.  One time, I remembered that she had died while I was with her in a dream. It scared me so much that I woke up.

Remembering the value of facing the fear and surrendering to the dream, 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! However, I later found that I had much more trouble letting go of fear in my dreams when my mother died, probably because we were so very close and I feared her death for so long.

STANFORD

In the late 1970s, I moved to California to finish my graduate work at Stanford University. By this time, a therapist had told me that I had a great skill and it was called lucid dreaming.

While 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.  The student said that I had to meet his friend Stephen LaBerge, who was doing his dissertation in psychophysiology on this exact subject.

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.

We wondered how what we dream in our mind affects our physical body. 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.

The experiments showed that the same parts of the brain are activated while dreaming a task, as when doing it while awake.

In one 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!”

PRECOGNITIVE DREAMS

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. My previous view of the physical world as being “solid,” and having precise rules, had turned upside down!

I thought of life being a dream and how that would explain how such things like precognitive dreams could occur. 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. in Computer Science. 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.

WRITER’S BLOCK

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.

CAREER AND GROUPS

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.

After this, I began leading my own workshops and groups. During this time period, I would sometimes give myself and my students challenges as well.

One time I tried a “mutual dream” experiment of trying to find a student in a lucid dream. The first thing that happened in my dream that night was that I saw a neighbor, whom I knew had died, and I became lucid. .

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 would have trouble completing my goal. This time, I first stopped to talk to her. Once again I saw the value of surrendering to the lucid dream.

MERGING

Merging with other aspects of the dream demonstrates another great form of surrender and letting go of fear, as well.

One time, I found myself alone in a lucid dream, in front of a campfire. I took this as another challenge and stepped right into the center of the roaring fire, directly experiencing any fear that could exist.  I was having fun and decided to try eating the flames. Interestingly enough, they tasted salty.

In another lucid dream, 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 found that I had merged with a black void.  I felt extremely lucid for the next several days in both my sleeping and my waking states.

WANTING A FAMILY

When I was thirty-seven years old, I became very anxious to find a mate, get married, and have children. In one lucid 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.

In the dream, 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 was writing down the dream, I heard an inner voice, as if from a future self,  who says, “Everything is perfect as it is! Surrender to the present” I finally believed it.

I trusted that I would find my perfect mate, when the time was right. I surrendered to the thought that if life is a dream, then my dreams would come true.

MEETING CHRIS

I met my husband, two years after this dream, 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 is a great example of how I began to act lucidly in the moment in my waking state.

I felt that I completely surrendered to the experience. 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.

HAVING A CHILD

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, I decided to work on the issue in my dreams.

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. I’ll discuss this in my presentation tomorrow.

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.”

Even though they still looked very scary, I faced my fears directly, and I brought them into my uterus. The decision to do so was spontaneous. Within a year, I got pregnant with my son, Adrian, who will be nine years old on Monday.

MOM’S DEATH

My mom, who wasn’t very well after my father died, was feeling better during the years after Adrian was born. She visited us often, and we would go to Chicago to see her, as well. Adrian and her became best friends.

In the year 2000, I had the biggest challenge of my life. Right before she was due to come out to California for the holidays, my mom 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. For her sake, I was forced to face my greatest fear ever. My mother died right at midnight, officially Christmas Day morning.

My life, as well as my dreams, was quite a struggle after this.  I really had to surrender to both at this point. In my dreams, I hated to see my mom, only to remember that she had died, which would happen when I was lucid. I decided not to have lucid dreams for awhile. I presented on this topic at ASD2003 in Berkeley.

A year and a half after my mother’s death,  I needed to sell the house I was born and raised in, and had always called home.  I wondered if I could surrender to this task?

Spontaneously, I dreamed that I found the witches in my childhood home. I surrendered to them again, 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, 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.

Soon after this, 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 our higher self, the Dreamer of life.

LUCID LIVING

This brings me to a brief summary of lucid living, which I will present tomorrow in much more detail.

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.

I decided that 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.

The assumptions that come from viewing life as a dream can be very powerful and can expand what we feel is possible in life.

I can let go of fear and experience myself as more than just my body, know that anything is possible in my life, and see everyone and everything as part of our expanded minds, our higher self, the Source, or what I call the Dreamer of 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, be “in the moment”, and maybe even experience magic in my waking life, as I have in my sleeping lucid dreams.

I believe, 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.

Finally, I’d like to say that 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; as well as 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 remains: Row, Row, Row, your boat, gently down the stream, merrily, merrily, merrily, merrily, life is but a dream!

Please come to my talk on Lucid Living  tomorrow at 1:15pm in room five.

Thank you.

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

Lucid Dreaming, Lucid Living in E-Prime

E-Prime LogoLucid Dreaming, Lucid Living  in E-Prime

by

Beverly (Kedzierski Heart) D’Urso, Ph.D. Copyright (c) 2007

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

OVERVIEW

I will start with an overview. As we discussed, lucid dreaming occurs when while asleep, you have awareness, at some level, that you are dreaming.

We typically call you the “dreamer.” To get more precise, we can think of the “dreamer” as your physical body’s mind, although  I would not say that my “brain” contains  my “mind”.

Once we understand, and hopefully have experienced, lucid dreaming and related topics, such as levels of lucidity and techniques for becoming lucid, we can discuss what I call lucid living. I need to first give you a little background on myself and my views of lucid dreaming, so you can see how I came up with the idea of lucid living.

MY BACKGROUND

I remember having had lucid dreams since about the age of seven. I faced up to scary witches in a recurring nightmare. You can see my web site: http://beverly.durso.org  for several detailed descriptions of this dream and other places where it got published.

Basically, I recognized recurring dream scenes where I begged these scary witches, who hovered over me, to  “Spare me tonight and 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 these nightmares.

Years later, I helped do research on lucid dreaming at the Stanford Sleep Laboratory. I signaled, using electrodes near my eyes, from the dream to the physical lab while 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 IASD conferences for over 20 years.

I have remembered, on average, six dreams per night, for most my of life. I’d call between 2 and 20 dreams per week lucid, to various degrees.  So, I estimate that I have had over 20,000 lucid sleeping dreams in my life so far. As you can tell, I have had many more non-lucid dreams than lucid dreams.

My dreams usually seem like what we could 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 seem very bizarre, and yet I ignore this sign of dreaming and rationalize the experience.

For the next four or five minutes, I will cover some basic issues and terminology. These apply to both lucid dreaming and lucid living.

SPONTANEITY VERSUS CONTROL

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

Keep in mind that, you can have a lucid dream without having control of the dream. Unfortunately, the media often stresses control as the main benefit of lucid dreaming.

The ability to control your own reactions, or to control the action, characters, or environment in your dreams does help indicate your level of lucidity, but you can definitely have a lucid dream 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 find it best to “surrender” to the lucid dream. I don’t use the word “surrender” to mean “give up,” but rather to mean “go with the flow.” In this case, I still have control, but of my own reactions and not of what happens to me. I do not automatically feel fearful, for example, when something scary happens.

I only need to remain conscious that I am dreaming. When conscious that I am dreaming, I think of my “physical body self” as safe in bed, so I have less fear, see more possibilities, and view my true “self” as one with the whole dream environment. With lucidity, I also 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 can experience myself fully in the dream, yet not of it, meaning that I know while dreaming that my part of my self exists outside of the dimension of the dream.

To me witnessing seems like watching a movie or a play. Dreaming seems more like acting in a play. In a lucid dream, I act in a play in perfect character, have all the character’s feelings and consequences, yet still see myself as essentially the actor, and possibly the producer and director as well.

DREAM CHARACTERS

Next, I’d like to discuss the concept of dream characters in more detail. With lucid dreaming, I feel as though I inhabit a character in my dream.  This dream character seems to exist in another dimension from my physical body, albeit a three-dimensional world that seems real.

One dream character often looks and acts like me. I sometimes call this my dream-body or dream-self.  I may experience other dream characters that look like someone I know or someone that I don’t know.

I imagine that one or more of these other characters might get inhabited by a person from what we might call waking physical reality, or even by someone who has died. In a similar way, I can perhaps inhabit a character in another person’s dream. This concept allows for what we call “mutual dreaming” and “psychopompic dreaming.”

However, I still believe that, at some level, the characters in my dream represent aspects of my mind, even if inhabited by others who, in a sense, serve as actors taking on the roles of characters in a scene.

When lucid, I realize that my dream-body does not reside in what we might call “waking physical reality,” but in what I might call my physical self’s mind, not necessarily in my brain. When I wake up, I merely change dimensions or perspectives. We can say that I take on the role of a new character, or inhabit my physical body once again.

When I find myself in a lucid dream, the dream character that I inhabit, or my dream-self, sometimes tells other dream characters that they are dreaming. Other times, a different dream character may say this to my dream-self.

When I experience a high level of lucidity,  either all the dream characters I encounter know that they currently exist in a dream, or I encounter no separate characters at all.

I consider myself “not completely lucid” when I encounter any characters in my dream that don’t believe they currently exist in a dream. I say this because I believe that if any aspects of my expanded mind do not have lucidity, then I cannot possibly call myself  completely “lucid.”

GETTING FOOLED

We can think of having lucidity as not getting fooled, or not having the “illusion” of existing in a physical reality.

If you remember any dreams, perhaps you have gotten fooled by a dream that seemed real while it took place.  You may have even said, “I can’t be dreaming, this seems too real.”  Maybe you find that you couldn’t fly as you could in other dreams. However, when you wake up, you realize that you got fooled and you really were dreaming.

We can say that lucid dreamers don’t get fooled. They know, at some level, that a dream does not have to follow physical laws. Non-lucid dreamers assume that the physical laws hold because they lack lucidity.

I believe, then, that you can not know with absolutely certainty that you are not dreaming at any time. As in the case where you got fooled, you may just not have enough lucidity to question or notice that you might be dreaming. Even after you wake up, you may not  remember that you dreamed.

CONNECTING TO THE DREAMER

We can also say that, when lucid, your dream character’s mind connects with the mind of the dreamer, or 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 your mind, 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 does not have awareness 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, the other characters, and more. Also, detaching from the dreamer would mean that I forget, at some level, that I help create the dream scene. I would then lose some level of lucidity.

To summarize, in a lucid dream, I feel more present than in a non-lucid dream, bringing my whole self into the experience. I experience myself as more than just my dream body. I know  that the source of myself also exists outside the dimension of the dream, or inside the dreamer.

I have gotten a better sense of my “source,” or what we can call “God” or our “higher power,”  through lucid dreaming, than by my metaphysical or religious training. These often seemed to infer that God existed either inside my body, or somewhere out there, 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. 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 give us power and can expand our possibilities in life.

If I look at waking life as a dream, then I can also use lucid dreaming techniques which I learned from my sleeping dream experiences, to more easily become lucid in my waking life. One of the most valuable techniques I use involves looking for unusual or recurring scenes in my life, as I do in my sleeping dreams.

When lucid in waking life, I  know  unlimited possibilities, feel safe and connected to everyone, and sometimes 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.

DEVELOPING MY IDEAS

I had the idea of lucid living many years ago. First, I had a long series of validated 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 participated in many television specials on lucid dreaming.  In one, we filmed an experiment at the Stanford sleep laboratory, to determine which part of my brain seemed most active while I sang a song in a dream.

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

This led me to teach the benefits of calling what some call “waking physical reality” a dream. I wanted to help myself and others to become more lucid in life, which I called lucid living.

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

In false awakenings, you think you wake up from a sleeping dream, for example, in your bedroom. You keep thinking this until either, you become lucid and know that you are still dreaming, or you wake up to what you might call waking physical reality.

Because I have remembered an average of six dreams almost every night of my life, I have gotten tricked many times by mistaking a dream for what we might call waking physical reality.

I convinced myself that I can easily prove I am dreaming. I only need to float, fly, or see someone whom I know has died.  Of course, not everyone would find these tasks so easy.

However, as I said earlier, I believe that we cannot 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

We now need to ask an important question. If we view life as a dream, then who serves as the the dreamer?  In other words, if we become “dream characters” in the dream of life, who do we connect to when lucid?

In my view, there exists, outside of the dimension of life, or what we sometimes call “waking physical reality,” an all-encompassing mind is dreaming the dream we call life. I call this mind the Dreamer of Life. In one sense, we can think of this Dreamer of Life as our combined and expanded mind.

We could also use terms such as our Higher Self, God, or Source in place of the term “Dreamer of Life.” I feel that we can break down this Dreamer of Life into many levels, as well, forming a type of “Tree of Life.

Sometimes, I really do feel as though I am dreaming while awake and in what some call 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 dreaming. Because of my experience in sleeping lucid dreams, I try to never assume that I am not dreaming.

We can compare the process of connecting to the Dreamer of Life in lucid living with traditional forms of prayer or meditation.  In practicing lucid living, I first stop my train of thought and imagine that I am dreaming.  I try to come from the perspective of this Dreamer of Life, or our expanded self. I 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 originate.

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 challenge myself to tackle them head on. Sometimes, in my sleeping lucid dreams,  I find myself falling faster and faster down an endless slide.  I have learned to surrender to this sensation of increasing speed.

I see a parallel to surrendering and facing our emotions in life. When I practice facing my fears in life and surrender, as I do in my sleeping lucid dreams,  I usually have positive results.

When I have strong feelings, such as sadness, grief, or 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 what one might call “unreasonable risks” or necessarily expect instant magic, as I often do in sleeping lucid dreams.  I never take dangerous actions unless I feel positive that I am dreaming, and I have proof.

In a sleeping dream, I usually figure that if I can fly, then I can jump off a cliff.  I realize, however, that I could lose lucidity, and dream that I have broken all my bones.

In any case, when I have even a small amount of lucidity 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 of our “body” as our “self.”  Similarly, in non-lucid dreams we might think of our dream-body as our “self.” Of course, we wouldn’t use term “dream body” because we wouldn’t recognize that we were dreaming.

In a non-lucid dream, we believe that if the body we currently inhabit dies, we die, because we do not have awareness of our expanded self, or the dreamer. We continue to feel this way until we wake up out of the dream.

We might think, after the fact, that we could have responded differently had we realized sooner that we were dreaming. We could have become lucid and experience ourselves as more than just our body before we “wake up” out of our dreams or in the case of lucid living, out of our lives! In lucid dreams, I have often let myself die, knowing that I exist as more that just a dream-body.

I also know that in sleeping dreams, when I dream that someone dies, I don’t necessarily expect that they have died in what we might call waking physical reality. From the perspective of the dreamer they could still be living.

I imagine that even non-lucid dreamers feel this way after they wake up.  So, I have to assume that when someone dies in my life, that they haven’t necessarily died from the perspective of the Dreamer of Life.

UNLIMITED POSSIBILITIES IN LIFE

I also believe that I 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 do not know about even in lucidity.

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

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 eventually determined one time that I was dreaming, I could fly right through the poles. I also realized that my mind may have created the telephone poles to begin with!

CONNECTEDNESS OF ALL IN LIFE

With lucid living, I experience everyone in my life as equal characters in one dream. I see us all as aspects of the Dreamer of Life.

When I have lucidity in my life, I want to understand the Dreamer of Life. I listen to others and try to see where there opinions come from, and what they can teach me, without judging them.

LUCIDITY TECHNIQUES

As I have mentioned, I have developed techniques for becoming lucid in my sleeping dreams, that I can also use in my waking life. In my main technique, I 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 occurred when I noticed recurring scenarios  during my love relationships before I got married.  With many different partners, I often found myself in an argument in a similar physical position and location.

My partner would be hovering over me looking scary and not unlike the witches from my childhood dreams.   During these arguments, many times my partner and I actually stood in the same place in my living room at the intersection of the couches that formed an L-shape.

The last time this scenario ever happened, right in the middle of the argument, I suddenly thought, “This seems like a recurring theme. What if I am dreaming?”

I immediately decided to see my partner as an aspect our expanded self, or the Dreamer of Life.  I thought about his point of view and what he had to teach me. I had less fear.  Internally, my reaction changed.  With trust and surrender, I stayed in the moment. You could say that I faced up to my partner.

Exactly as the witches did when I faced up to them, my partner froze, stopped yelling, and then turned and walked away.  It seemed as though I no longer needed to play out this drama.  I  had solved it, as I did my childhood nightmares. In my next relationship, my marriage of almost fourteen years, this scenario has not occurred.

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 a heated discussion 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, which I want to understand.” At the exact moment I had this thought,  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 immediately let go of my fear and accepted the situation, which seemed so scary only moments before.

GOALS IN LIFE

Setting goals to accomplish in my lucid dreams serves as a wonderful technique to motivate me to become lucid in a dream. However, sometimes, after getting lucid, I 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. When I do have an interesting goal, and feel that the situation calls for it, I get motivated to become and remain lucid so that I can accomplish the goal.

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 of the goal ahead of time, while awake. They also must think about how they can perform the steps from wherever they might find themselves in the dream. I have discovered  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 discovered many uses for lucid dreaming. Some of these include: psychological development, exploring new behaviors, healing, and much more. I’ve found that all of these can apply, whether we find ourselves asleep or what we call “awake.”

In my waking life, I often “go with the flow,”  but I still form goals. When I determine my goals, I strive for them to conform with the goals of the Dreamer of Life. When I have great passion in realizing my goals, I feel that I have conformed appropriately.  In my life, I have gotten through many potential blocks, while getting my Ph.D., enjoying an exciting and prosperous career, and having an excellent family life.

I took this approach when I had a goal of having a family. A series of dreams helped me see that my life was proceeding appropriately, whenever I seemed to let go of hope. I dreamed of going into my past and several possible futures to communicate with myself at various ages. I also dreamed of my future child and took actions in my sleeping lucid dreams to try to help the process.

Most importantly, I also had a belief while awake that things would work out, even if they took longer or didn’t proceed as I imagined. This belief came from trusting my concept of lucid living, or seeing life as a dream.

I acted with lucidity in my waking life when I met my husband. I noticed him across the room at a party, went up to him, and talked to him. Although much younger than me, I recognized him in some kind of deeper sense, and I felt him playing a part in my future. I would call this moment the most lucid in my life so far.

I felt that I completely surrendered to the Dreamer of Life, or our expanded self.  I stayed 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 and totally accepted whatever happened.  I listened to him, as if he truly formed part of my higher self. Married for almost fourteen years, I still view him as my perfect mate.

I also used lucid dreaming and lucid living to overcome the tremendous odds we had against bearing a child, as well. We now have a son who just turned twelve years old.

ADDITIONAL COMMENTS

Now, I would like to share 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 while asleep, or during our waking life, the more lucid we will likely become at all times. In this way, we can live the most illuminating, clear, and conscious  life as possible.

If every person viewed life as a dream in this way, I believe that the world could heal.  Even if people simply opened up to the possibility to seeing life may as a dream, the Dreamer of Life would become more lucid.

Also I feel that, if any one person consistently believed they are dreaming in life, then amazing healing of the world could take place. I have this as a goal and it motivates me to make the effort to write and present my ideas.

The Dreamer of Life needs to have more lucidity in order  for us to experience magic. We need to remain open to lucid living and look for evidence that we dream for this to happen. Then, when we see the magic, our beliefs would strengthen, and we would see ourselves as co-creators of our reality.

Like puppets, who think they act 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.

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 get manifested.

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 get heard.

One can say that while we exist in life, because life seems real, we can only call it a dream from an outside perspective, or after we die.  However, since we can know that we are dreaming while in a sleeping dream, and remain in the dream, then why can’t we also know that we are dreaming in the waking state while remaining in it.

As a sleeping lucid dreamer, I learned how to remain in a  dream, to wake up out of it, to change it, to go back into it, and to become more lucid and accomplish intricate goals while in the dream. I would like to do this, and more, in my waking dream as well.

So remember, I say we are dreaming now. View every situation in your life as a dream, experience and let go of your fears, see unlimited possibilities, including the connectedness of everything, and make your own dreams come true.

OTHER VIEWS

In conclusion, 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.  Some of 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 and SETH;

I would also add: Deepak Chopra; Wayne Dyer; Don Miguel Ruiz; The Wizard of Oz; Star Trek; The Matrix… The list goes on and on.

Let me share my favorite: “Row, Row, Row, your boat, gently down the stream, merrily, merrily, merrily, merrily, life is but a dream!”

Thank you.

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 Emotions

BOOK PROPOSAL – We are Dreaming NOW: From Lucid Dreaming to Conscious Lucid Living

Dream BookBook in Proposal

We are Dreaming NOW: From Lucid Dreaming to Conscious Lucid Living;
Includes how I made my dreams of career and family come true!
by Beverly (Kedzierski Heart) D’Urso Copyright 2003


PITCH

My story begins with an astonishing childhood gift of facing up to the witches in my nightmares,  which led me to be chosen for years of Lucid Dreaming research at the Stanford Sleep Laboratory. In lucid dreams, we “know we are dreaming while we dream.” We can control them to solve problems or carry out wild and crazy goals. After appearing in major magazines and television specials, I eventually concluded that, “Life is but a Dream,” and I used my practical philosophy, Lucid Living, which I have taught and presented for decades, to: obtain my Ph.D., including over 50 publications, advance my prosperous high-tech career in Artificial Intelligence, marry my perfect mate, bear a child in spite of overwhelming odds against it, and heal from profound grief. People relate the ideas in my book, We are Dreaming, NOW, to the work of best-selling, contemporary authors, as well ancient traditions. However, anyone can enjoy my personal, lifelong, and inspirational anecdotes, regardless of their interest in dreams. So remember, We are Dreaming, NOW!  Let go of fear, experience everything as one, know that anything is possible, and make your own dreams come true.

BIOGRAPHY

As combination mystic and scientist, I have been called the world’s most prolific “lucid dreamer.”  I developed the ability to “know I am dreaming while I dream” when I faced up to terrifying witches in my childhood dream, some forty-three years ago. In my twenties, the renown pioneer of Lucid Dreaming, Dr. Stephen Laberge, chose me as his primary subject for decades of research at the Stanford Sleep Laboratory. Numerous major magazines, such as LIFE, Smithsonian, OMNI, and Parade, television specials, books, and radio talk shows have featured my life and my dreams. Using my practical philosophy called lucid living, with a related web site, I have taught my own workshops since 1991, and have presented at conferences for decades, where authors constantly tell me “You HAVE to write a book,” and I say, “Are you dreaming now?” Working with Stanford University Professors, I completed my  Masters degree in 1980, involving Cognitive Psychology, and my Ph.D. in 1983, focussing on Artificial Intelligence. Prior to being a researcher, consultant, and a college professor, I created several startup companies, and over fifty publications, on my computer work and on my dream work. To allow for the greatest flexibility, I currently combine my writing and presenting with being a full-time wife and mother, and I contribute the wonderful balance of work and family in my life to lucid living!

SUMMARY

Would you face up to terrifying witches that were about to devour you?  I did, in a childhood dream, and years later the renown pioneer of Lucid Dreaming, Dr. Stephen Laberge, chose me as his primary subject for decades of research of at the Stanford Sleep Laboratory. In lucid dreams, we “know we are dreaming while we dream.” We can control them to solve problems, carry out goals, or just plain have fun!  Many people have experienced this “higher state of consciousness” without knowing the term. If you have ever seen someone whom you know has died, or flew over your house like a bird, and said, “This can’t be happening, I must be dreaming,” then you have had a lucid dream. If you were not lucid, you would probably act as if you were really awake, possibly justifying the situation.

I have taught people to have lucid dreams by using my own techniques, as well as using electronic devices which I helped develop through LaBerge’s work. Featured in numerous major magazines, such as LIFE, Smithsonian, OMNI, and Parade, television specials, books, and radio talk shows, people have called me the world’s most prolific lucid dreamer.

One time, I saw myself on a national television commercial, wearing a bathrobe, with electrodes all over my face, singing, “Row, Row, Row Your Boat…” This seemed bizarre, but not as astonishing as when I started to have precognitive dreams, which are dreams whose action also occurs later in the waking state. I eventually concluded that, “Life is but a Dream,”  and I created, as well as taught, what I call: Lucid Living.

I have my own web site and have presented at conferences for decades, where people relate my newest ideas to eastern religions and mystical traditions, including  A Course In Miracles, multimillion copy authors such as, Dyer, Chopra, Ruiz, and Roberts (SETH), and even modern movies similar to: The Matrix.  In my dreams, I have presented before billions of people, but when I am not lucid, I often freeze and can’t think of what to say. When I am very lucid, anyone around already knows what I have to say, and I merely surrender to my heart’s content.

In my proposed book, We Are Dreaming NOW,  I tell how Lucid Living helped me obtain my Ph.D. in Computer Science, with over 50 publications, more than half on my dream work, advance my prosperous high-tech career in Artificial Intelligence, marry my perfect mate, bear a child in spite of overwhelming odds against it, and heal from profound grief. The few existing lucid dreaming books that apply to the waking state are very philosophical or are in the complex voice of a psychologist. From my layperson’s perspective, anyone can relate to my personal, lifelong stories and insightful anecdotes, ranging from sex to death, regardless of their interest in dreams. So remember, “We Are Dreaming NOW!”  Let go of fear, experience everything as one, know that anything is possible, and make your own dreams come true.

AUDIENCE

We are Dreaming NOW takes us beyond lucid dreaming, but it is not necessary to be a lucid dreamer, or even have heard of it, to get value from We are Dreaming NOW.  However, We are Dreaming NOW will have instant appeal for people interested in dreams and lucid dreaming because they will discover new, practical uses of dreams and will see how lucid dreaming can be applied to our waking lives. They will also find out about the intriguing work done in sleep laboratories, of which there are over 70 listed on the American Sleep Association web site.

People interested in personal growth, inspiration, and the metaphysical will want to read:  We are Dreaming NOW, even if they do not care about dreams. The following five, immensely popular, books have sold multimillions of copies and include the same concepts that We are Dreaming NOW  goes into in depth.  The readers of these books will also enjoy  We are Dreaming NOW.

The Four Agreements: A Practical Guide to Personal Freedom by Don Miguel Ruiz (Amber-Allen Publishing,  November 1997)  The first words of Chapter One state, “What you are seeing and hearing right now is nothing but a dream. You are dreaming right now in this moment. You are dreaming with the brain awake.” Ruiz, therefore, agrees with the premise of Lucid Living. His book has sold 2.7 million copies in the U.S., and has been on The New York Times best seller list for over three years.

You’ll See It When You Believe It: The Way to Your Personal Transformation by Wayne W. Dyer (Quill (HarperCollins), September 2001, Copyright 1989, William Morrow and Company, Inc.) In one part of Chapter Two, Dr. Dyer encourages us to be a “waking dreamer… to understand that the rules that seem to apply only to your dreaming body can be applicable to your waking body as well.” He, therefore, also encourages Lucid Living.

The Spontaneous Fulfillment of Desire: Harnessing the Infinite Power of Coincidence by Deepak Chopra (Harmony Books, October 2003,  Crown Publishers, Inc.,  Random House, Inc.) In the last chapter of his book, Dr. Chopra describes, “The seventh and last stage of consciousness, the ultimate goal, is called unity consciousness.” He states, “When this happens, you see that the whole world is a projection of your own self.” This is the essence Lucid Living at the highest level.

The Nature of Personal Reality: Specific, Practical Techniques for Solving Everyday Problems and Enriching the Life You Know (A Seth Book) by Jane Roberts  (Amber-Allen Publishing, June 1994, Copyright 1974, Bantam Books,  Prentice Hall, Inc.) The first lines from the preface of this pivotal book say that, “Experience is the product of the mind, the spirit, conscious thoughts and feelings, and unconscious thoughts and feelings. These together form the reality that you know.” From the introduction, “Seth’s main idea is that we create our personal reality thorough our conscious beliefs…” This is corresponds to why I say: We are Dreaming NOW. People who value the SETH work will see evidence of his theories in We are Dreaming NOW. The Nature of Personal Reality has sold over 7 million copies worldwide and has been around for 30 years.

A Course In Miracles (Viking Press, March 1996, Copyright 1975,  Foundation for Inner Peace) In the Text: Chapter 18: Passing of the dream Section:  Basis of the Dream: “All your time is spent in dreaming. Your sleeping and waking dreams have different forms, that is all. Their context is the same.” Lucid Living relates to what the Course calls the “Happy Dream”. We are Dreaming NOW gives people a down-to-earth story about how A Course in Miracles can be used.

Also, people interested in Carlos Castaneda, Toltec Dreaming, Tibetan Dream Yoga, the philosophy of Non Dualism, the Senoi, Native Americans, Eastern Religions, and other Ancient Traditions will want to hear about Lucid Living.
Besides the people interested in dreams and the metaphysical, women pursuing advanced degrees and/or careers plus family, or baby boomers who are losing parents, will relate to the stories in We are Dreaming NOW.

SPECIAL MARKETING AND PROMOTION OPPORTUNITIES

I have helped people have lucid dreams and understand Lucid Living in workshops and groups since 1991, and I have over 50 publications, more than half on my dream work. Therefore, I can actively promote my book: We are Dreaming NOW.  I have my own web site and have presented at the primary dream organization, the Association for the Study of Dreams (ASD) conferences since 1985.  ASD serves its over 325 members (and hundreds more who attend the conferences) who might be scientists, psychologists, artists, writers, or people who merely pay attention to their dreams. Major magazines, such as LIFE, Smithsonian, OMNI, and Parade, television specials, books, and radio talk shows, have already taken an interest in my work.

Dream groups that exist in most cities in the country and around the world would be interested in We are Dreaming NOW.  In fact, some whole cultures live their lives based on their dreams. Every year, there are conferences on dreaming, not including conferences on sleep in general. Dozens of magazines and journals focus on dreaming, and there are over 70 sleep laboratories listed on the American Sleep Association web site.

Many dream web sites exist as well, with over 25 web sites just on lucid dreaming. Lucid Dreaming alone has many of its own publications as well including: The Lucid Dream Exchange, which has published an early version of We are Dreaming NOW.

Dr. Stephen LaBerge, whom I have worked with, heads the Lucidity Institute with hundreds of members around the world. Anyone interested in his books, products, including  his electronic dream induction devices, and seminars would want to read  We are Dreaming NOW.

Don Miguel Ruiz has a very active web site for his Toltec Tradition, has spawned over 145 groups around the country, including one also called “Lucid Living,” and has several events each month. People involved in his Toltec Dreaming would want to read  We are Dreaming NOW.

Both Dr. Dyer and Dr. Chopra have active web sites and give many presentations every month. The Chopra center would be a good place to sell copies of We are Dreaming NOW.

There are dozens of SETH web sites, SETH groups in most major cities, yearly SETH conferences, online and other SETH magazines, and even a doctoral degree program on the SETH Teachings. There are Course in Miracles study groups in most major cities. totaling over 2000, as well as yearly Course in Miracles conferences.  It has been translated into over 20 languages and has hundreds of web sites. Both A Course in Miracles and SETH enthusiasts would all be targets for selling  We are Dreaming NOW.

Women’s magazines, such as First for Women, who did an article on my life in their June 24, 1996 issue, could promote my book.  The New Age Journal also did an article on my work in November 1985 and could have a source of readers. Organizations that support people in grief, such as KARA in Palo Alto, CA could provide copies of We are Dreaming NOW, as well.

SELECTED MEDIA COVERAGE (see Publications)

Presentation at the International Association for the Study of Dreams (IASD)  PsiberDreaming Conference, September 2004.
A Documentary by Richard Hilton, September 2004.
Panel at the Association for the Study of Dreams (ASD)   Conference 2004.
<>Symposium at the ASD  Conference 2004.
Book in Progress, 2003.

The Lucid Dream Exchange Magazine, 2003 and 2004.
Paper at the ASD Conference, 2003 (Available as an audio tape).
Online PsiberDreaming Conference, 2003.
Panel at the ASD conference, 2001.
Preschool Family Newsletter, January, 2000.
Bay Area Dream Workers (BADG) Presentation, 1998.
The Dreamer and the Dreamtribe,  Documentary, 1997.
Workshop at the ASD Conference, 1997. (Available as an audio tape.)
First for Women Magazine, June 24, 1996.
Lucid Dreaming, NBC’s Next Step, 1996.
ABC TV:  WLS Chicago 10 O’Clock News, May 11, 1995.
Workshop aboard a sailboat in the Bahamas, 1992.
Paper ASD Conference, June, 1992.
LIFE Magazine, October, 1986.
Panel at the Lucid Dreaming Symposium (ASD), 1986.
Lucidity Letter Journal, December, 1985.
New Age Journal, November 1985.
Parade Magazine, February, 1984.
Poster Session at Asilomar Psychophysiology Conference (Psychophysiology Journal Paper), 1983.
Smithsonian Magazine, August, 1982
Omni Magazine, March, 1982 .
Discover the World of Science, Television Special, 1982.
Two on the Town: Television Show, 1982.

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.