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.)


“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  )

“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.

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