Silent Lucidity

I may have had a bit of a Lucid Dream experience last night (I’ve decided to capitalize the phrase here just so as to emphasize that I view it as something especially significant).  For those unfamiliar with the term, a Lucid Dream is what occurs when you’re in the dream state, but then you actually realize that you’re dreaming, yet you manage to sort of recognize this state of affairs without then waking yourself up…and so you go right on dreaming, aware that it’s all a dream.  The extra-cool thing is that since you’re now in this mode of “dreaming while knowing that you’re dreaming,” you can even begin to exert control over yourself and your dream-world surroundings in this Lucid Dream.  With practice, it’s said that you can come to effectively control that dream-reality on a grand scale…

In a Lucid Dream, you're no longer at the mercy of the amorphous dreamscape, so much as you can become its willful architect...
In a Lucid Dream, you’re no longer at the mercy of the amorphous dreamscape, so much as you can become its willful architect…

Many people profess to have had these Lucid Dreaming experiences, and some even claim to be able to enter the Lucid Dream state at will, pretty much anytime they feel like it.  You can find books and websites on the topic, and many sources will offer techniques for improving your ability to 1) recognize that you’re dreaming while you’re dreaming, 2) succeed in not ejecting yourself from the dream-state the instant you realize that it is a dream-state, and 3) control the goings-on there in that dream-world.

Personally, my experiences with this Lucid Dreaming stuff have been pretty limited.  I’d like to claim otherwise, but who would that benefit, right?  While the concept interests me greatly, I’ve so far now only had a grand total of three (3) experiences that I believe can rightly be deemed Lucid Dreaming.  Also, in the interests of full disclosure, I need to state clearly right up front that the first two occurred not when I was deep in REM sleep in the middle of the night, but rather while I was meditating, and apparently drifting beyond “light trance” and on into “snoring and insensate.”  It could be that there are Lucid Dream purists — who am I kidding, there must be — and they would shout these instances down as not having been “true Lucid Dreaming.”  I’m okay with that — I know that they were pretty phenomenal experiences for me, especially the first one, and if my own personally held definitions vary from those of other people on some subject or other, it won’t be the first time…

But anyway, last night’s experience was different from the other two in that I wasn’t meditating when it happened.  I had, in fact, gotten into bed long after midnight, and was preparing to doze off after a bout of furious writing at the computer.  I felt like I was tired, but not yet near sleep.  My eyes were closed…but then a vision of sorts began to form.  Interestingly, it was far clearer and more detailed in its way than anything I can ever manage to produce when I’m conscious, and trying to visualize things behind my closed lids — on those latter occasions, I almost always manage to conjure the idea of the thing I’m trying to visualize, but it’s at least as conceptual in my brain as it is visual in my mind’s eye, if that makes sense.  Last night, though, what I beheld was very, very visual.

Oddly, this tableau presented itself in a sort of modified black-and-white format, except it would more properly be termed “black-and-red.”  The scene was very dark, and wherever there might be white or gray in a B&W image, here there was some shade of red.  It was like I was seeing through my closed eyelids and into the darkened bedoom beyond…except I realized almost immediately that the room I was seeing didn’t correspond spatially to the real physical room I was in.  The wall in front of me and the wall to my right were both significantly farther away from me in the black-and-red image than the actual, physical walls of the room would have been if I were to open my eyes and look at them.  Also, the angle of what I was seeing would have been accurate if I’d been sitting up somewhat from the bed…only in physical reality, I was still lying flat on my back.  On top of that…there was a figure seated before me in my “dream,” and rather close by at that, but there was no one actually sitting on the real bed in that location…

So...was I dreaming, or was I awake?  What was really there?  What wasn't really there?  Was I seeing a ghost for real, or was I seeing a ghost in a dream?  Was a ghost dreaming of me??!
So…was I dreaming, or was I awake? What was really there? What wasn’t really there? Was I seeing a ghost for real, or was I seeing a ghost in a dream? Or was I the ghost in somebody else’s dream??!

This person in my black-and-red dreamscape was close enough that I could have reached out and touched her — and while it was obvious from the get-go that she was wearing some kind of mask, it was also clear that this was indeed a female.  The vision became more and more detailed, as if it were being rendered with ever-greater resolution even as I watched.  The woman seated before me was gazing off to my left, and I had a bit more of her than strict profile to look at.  The mask she wore was some sort of thing made of hardened mud or clay, very textured and bumpy, and it had large eyeholes, such that I could see her eyes very clearly.  Despite all the red and black of the vision, I felt that her eyes were blue, even though I didn’t exactly see them as blue…

At this point, I had to state firmly to myself that yes, my actual, physical eyelids were still closed, even if it didn’t feel like they were or look like they were, and I was not, under any circumstances, to open them to double-check this — I was to take it on faith, from myself to myself, that this was so.  It was good that I issued this warning to myself, too, because I was totally on the verge of opening my eyes, and blowing the whole deal.  I had the presence of mind to then sort of mentally whisper to myself that, “Dude…this is a dream!  You’re Lucid Dreaming!”

I then also understood down to the core of myself that soon — any moment — the woman in the mask was going to turn and look at me.

I’m not sure if this realization was exactly scary — that might not be the right word.  But I knew it was definitely a momentous thing, that’s for sure.  Something about her looking me in the eyes, and me holding that eye contact, would be huge in whatever way.  So huge that I again had to caution myself not to look away, and above all, not to open my real, physical eyes, when she met my gaze with her own…

And as my resolve settled in — as I managed to steel myself for that galvanizing moment of eye contact almost upon me…the vision began to suddenly lose coherence.  I didn’t break my concentration, and I didn’t open my eyes — I was still there, still present, and still watching, observing.  It’s just that the woman, and the dream-version of the room I was in, they all began to grow diffuse.  The details faded, the resolution dissolved, and the picture began to swirl away like smoke.  I stared at the woman in the mask until the very end, until the mask was no longer a mask, and she was no longer a distinct being, or even a distinct shape, and the black-and-red image devolved into just a mass of darkness behind my lids.  The woman had never turned to fully face me, and she never looked me in the eyes after all.

Maybe it was enough that I was ready, though, in that dream-moment, for her to do so.

Anyway, while I didn’t exactly bend the events or the setting to my whim as they say a Lucid Dreamer can do, I still count it as a Lucid Dream: I was dreaming, and I was aware I was dreaming, and I went on so dreaming without rousing myself out of the dream.  It was pretty great — more of a mystical happening than I’m maybe getting across here, and I hope to have more such episodes with which to decorate these pages.

And how about you: I’d love to hear any stories any of you might have about Lucid Dream experiences…??

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