After trying for over a week to have a lucid dream, I finally succeeded…
Typically I have a lucid dream once or twice a month without trying. If I want to have a dream in which I know that I’m dreaming, I usually achieve my goal after a night or two of setting my intention in that direction.
In this case, the frustration of not succeeding helped to make the night of lucidity all the more instructive.
Here’s what happened:
After a few nights of vivid, clear, but not technically lucid dreaming, I decided to pick up a book on the subject to strengthen my intentions. One of the things the authors wrote, and that I say again and again in the dream classes I teach, is that everything in the dream is an aspect of yourself. Nothing new there. But thinking about this in terms of lucid dreaming was interesting to me, because I and other lucid dreamers, including the authors of the book I was reading, experience other characters and locations in their dreams as autonomous and objective in nature. For example, multiple lucid dreamers might discover the same physical location in a dream, unlike anything any of them have visited in waking life. Likewise, dream characters in lucid scenarios often assert their autonomy, displaying opinions and desires that are separate from the dreamer’s.
So, I fell asleep thinking about this conundrum. If everything in the lucid dream is an aspect of myself, what does that say about those autonomous-seeming characters? How can they be so clearly ruled by a separate set of desires, thoughts, and ideas, and still be part of me?
After sleeping for about six hours I woke and re-set my intentions hoping to capitalize on the next and longest REM cycle of the night. I had a cold and woke at about 5:30 in the morning feeling sicker than when I’d gone to sleep. Feeling defeated and discouraged I re-set my intention to not only have a lucid dream, but to have a healing lucid dream as well.
Lucid at last!
Sure enough, when I fell back into sleep, I became lucid. I managed to remember my intention, when in the dream, standing in my kitchen I realized I was dreaming. First I did some floating, flying and shape-shifting. then I stood still and gathered up a ball of energy to symbolize and focus my question: “What one thing will support my healing right now?” I directed my question to the wisest teachers I could think of. Pema Chodron and Swami Vishnudevananda’s images and names came to me, and I immediately received a response. “Self Love!” they said as if in unison.
The beauty of the dream was that they didn’t just say to words, they demonstrated them … on me. I was immediately swept up into an embrace of love swirling around my heart. The feeling was simultaneously so tender and strong that I was moved to tears and filled with happiness. “Of course!” I said in response. “Thank you.”
When I woke I basked in the glow from the night’s dreams. Then, as always, when I look at a dream, I asked myself, “What was the ‘News’ from the dream?”
Truth is, I’ve been on a self-growth, self-improvement, and healing path since I was a pre-teen reading Ann Landers’ columns in Newsday and taking personality quizzes in Seventeen Magazine. I went on to become a devotee of Louise Hay, Pema Chodron, Belleruth Naparstek, Byron Katie, and numerous other self-help teachers. So yes, I know (as you do, too) that Self-Love is the foundation for any healing. No news there.
What was new, however, was being wrapped in the intensified feeling of pure self-love. This was an unconditional embrace of acceptance and goodness beyond anything I’ve felt awake. This alone was extraordinary.
But there’s more. The question I went into sleep with returned to me in the morning as I pondered the dream.
If everything in the dream is part of me, and yet autonomous, then to love myself, I need to love everything in the dream, whether it’s a direct projection of my mind or something I perceive as separate.
Then I realized that the same is true awake. Philosophers tell us we are all connected. Again, as a yoga practitioner, Reiki Practitioner, meditator and dream teacher, none of this is news either. But when someone says something I deem to be stupid or behaves in a way I think is ridiculous, I have trouble accepting that this person, too, is a part of me—and I’m certainly not inclined to love them.
Enter the dream’s newsflash: It is no different to accept the seemingly contradictory facts that everyone and everything in the lucid dream is part of myself—even the parts that seem wholly independent; than it is to accept that everyone and everything on this planet is part of me.
And so, to love myself I need to love everyone and everything. I need to love. Period. There is no other way to truly love “my” Self.
Yes, yes, I know, that is much easier said than done. And just as with the practice of lucid dreaming, I know I will miss the mark more often than I achieve it. But it’s good to know what I’m aiming for.
And it’s good to remember that while I sleep dreams teach directly to the heart to reinforce the lessons I read in a book awake and understand only in my head.