Thoughts on Lucid Dreaming

Notes from the paranormal thriller DREAMWEAVERS

by Kerry Alan Denney aka The Reality Bender

coming from Juju Mojo Publications August 4, 2015

Lucid dream: a dream in which a person is aware that he or she is dreaming. In a lucid dream, the dreamer has a greater chance to exert some degree of control over their participation within the dream or be able to manipulate their imaginary experiences in their dream environment.

Is lucid dreaming real? Very much so. In fact, the human species has been engaged in pursuing, studying, and perfecting the techniques of lucid dreaming for thousands of years. And we’re just now starting to get a handle on it as we delve deeper into the study of the subconscious mind. Historical texts are laden with the products of fantastic dreams. Who knows what we’ll dream up next?

With microchip technology, we’ve made a thousand angels dance on the head of a pin—or on the point of a needle, to be more historically accurate. Medical research is producing new cures for diseases every day, and will hopefully continue to do so. We’ve recently dived in to the amazing field of nanotechnology, and who knows where that will lead us next? Scientists, quantum physicists, and astronomers have just recently discovered dark matter and dark energy. Even the vacuum of space between the stars and planets apparently has a life of its own. Every new day makes another dream come true.

                                             Dream World by spraycan2

                                             Dream World by spraycan2

Can I prove lucid dreaming is real? A better question would be: Can anyone prove dreaming is real, or that dreams are anything more than figments of our incredible imaginations? As my male protagonist Travis Colt mentions in Dreamweavers, no one can prove that love and happiness are real, and by extension, no one can prove that faith, trust, mercy, and hope are real. They are not tangible, physical forces that can be accurately measured by anything within our scope. We can point to examples of their manifestation and application in the so-called “real world” that we all subjectively agree upon, but we cannot prove they exist. Yet so many of us believe so fervently in their existence that we unequivocally place—indulge me here—our faith and trust in them. I can’t prove the existence of any of the above-mentioned forces, but I most assuredly believe in them all. They are what makes us human, and separates us from savage animals.

                                             Dream by taenaron

                                             Dream by taenaron

According to modern beliefs that may be no more than popular misconception, The Book of Revelations—often known simply as Revelation or The Apocalypse—in the Holy Bible was written by the Apostle John. And that entire final book of the Bible comes from... you got it: a dream, or series of dreams. Although we can’t prove who wrote it or from where it originated—many scholars and historians have desperately tried, without anything more than squabbling and disagreement as the final result—one fact is clear: The book that finishes the Bible was inspired by dreams. The concept begs another intriguing question: How else could so many “dream facts” and incidents be remembered so clearly if the dreams were not lucid, and easily recalled by the conscious mind? Either that, or it’s the demented ravings of a warped mind. Whichever it is, I hope none of it ever comes true.

                                                   Apocalypse by Jarka A.

                                                   Apocalypse by Jarka A.

The methodology, practice, and implementation of the techniques used to achieve a state of lucid dreaming—actually causing a crossover between the conscious and subconscious mind—mentioned in Dreamweavers is factually accurate, and easily researchable. Additionally, what my fictional character Dr. Paula Steiner says about WILDs (Wake-initiated Lucid Dreams, in which the dreamer goes from a normal waking state directly into a dream state with no apparent lapse in consciousness), DILDs (Dream-initiated Lucid Dreams, which starts out as a normal dream and the dreamer eventually determines they’re dreaming), and MILDs (Mnemonic-initiated Lucid Dreams, in which the dreamer intentionally asserts in advance that they will have a lucid dream) is well-known modern accrued knowledge about the numerous studies of dreams and lucid dreaming, and is just as easily researched as well as applied. 

I heartily encourage all my readers to find out the facts and sift between the myths for yourselves, and make up your own minds about how much of it is true, and how much of it is fantasy. After all, fantasy is merely nothing more than the projection of our imaginations into the fabric of what we perceive as “reality,” is it not?

 

                                              Caravan by Salvadore Dali

                                              Caravan by Salvadore Dali

Have I had lucid dreams, and if so, did I have them deliberately? Oh yes, I most certainly have. In fact, during the researching and writing of Dreamweavers, I became quite adept at the practice. The most common and effective way of achieving a lucid dreaming state, as noted in the novel, is to make a determined, persistent, and eventually unconscious habit of asking yourself during every single moment of your awareness “Am I dreaming now? Now? How about now?” until it becomes so indelibly ingrained into your everyday existence that you no longer think about it consciously, but rather make it a mantra that forces you to examine every facet of what you perceive as “existence” so that—in those oh-so-brief moments when you are actually dreaming—the question intrudes into your every thought, and voila! You inevitably start asking yourself if you’re dreaming within your dreams, and you do one of three things, as mentioned in Dreamweavers: You wake up, your mind takes you into another distinctly different dream in which you lose track of your conscious awareness that you are dreaming, or you remain in the current dream and learn how to manipulate and control your dream environment, your very dreamscape.

 

                                     Condo Dreamscape by funkwood  

                                     Condo Dreamscape by funkwood

 

Modern studies of lucid dreaming have proven that the best way to control your dreams and therefore your dream environment is to look at your hands and feet in your dream, which Dr. Steiner also specifies in the novel. Think about it: How often, in your dreams, have you seen your own hands and feet, or for that matter, any portion of your own body? The recognition and acceptance of your physical self while dreaming compels the conscious part of your “dreaming” (aka subconscious) mind to, in effect, “wake up” and recognize what we so often do not recognize in our dreams: the existence and awareness of our self, or better yet, our physical acknowledgement of our existence in what we all perceive—and commonly agree on—as the physical “real world.”

                                                Cliffs of Moher, Ireland

                                                Cliffs of Moher, Ireland

I believe it’s important to mention, at this point in our exploration of the dream-world (and everything our subconscious minds can imagine), that achieving a constant ability to maintain a lucid dreaming state while we sleep requires such a vigorous, strict, rigorous, persistent, and demanding self-discipline that many who try to examine the phenomenon will inevitably fall by the wayside. As my lead female protagonist Toni Fontaine mentions in the novel, we are so effectively caught up in the material world that any expectations that a metaphysical world beyond this one may exist often become a secondary consideration, a flight of fancy, a pursuit by those who have chosen to peruse an imaginary world that so many of us believe we don’t have the time to examine. But we never have time for anything nowadays; for the things that matter to us, we must make the time.

                                                                Serenity

                                                                Serenity

As mentioned in Dreamweavers, I can hardly begin to stress how liberating and empowering the ability to control your subconscious mind is. In the blissful moments that I have repeatedly achieved a lucid dreaming state, I have woken up to a new day in which I truly believed I could conquer and achieve anything, even beyond—pardon the cliché—my wildest dreams. And what could possibly be so horrifyingly terrible about such an inspiring feeling of self-confidence? 

Many modern psychiatrists and psychologists still consider the notion unachievable, a preposterous fantasy, and as Dr. Steiner thinks to herself in the novel, they have accordingly labeled the study and implementation of lucid dreaming as “voodoo psychiatry.” Who is to say who’s right? Is it the people who want us to keep coming back over and over to pay them enormous sums of money to help us solve our problems and fight our personal demons in the so-called “real world,” or the dreamers, schemers, philosophers, and daring intrepid explorers who have the courage to ask “What lies beyond this world we perceive as real, and how can we utilize our awareness of it in a positive way to influence our lives and our problems so that we can learn to rise above every imaginable obstacle that impedes our progress in achieving our goals... or better yet, in making our dreams come true?”

I suspect you are asking yourself the same question now, if you’ve dared to come this far in our mutual exploration of what we consider real and what we label as fantasy. My kudos and a huge “bravo” to you for your courage, my friends. We are the intrepid explorers.

   The Eagle Nebula’s Pillars of Creation – from the Hubble Telescope

   The Eagle Nebula’s Pillars of Creation – from the Hubble Telescope

Can anyone alive today manifest their dreams into reality, as my antagonist Nick Buchanan does in Dreamweavers? I sincerely hope not. We would all be screwed, because unfortunately mankind is rife with those who would happily crush those whom they believe oppose them in order to make their own twisted dreams come true. Maybe one day, if we’re lucky and vigilant, that selfish madness in our species will die the gruesome death it so richly deserves to die.

Is the human race as a species evolving? I certainly hope so. We’ve come so far, yet have such a long way to go. I hope we find the right answers, and implement them, and that we do so together. It’s really the only way we have even a chance—or a hope—of surviving the ravages of time, the beastliness of narcissism, and the folly of hubris.

                              The Harrowing of Hell – Hieronymus Bosch

                              The Harrowing of Hell – Hieronymus Bosch

My best advice to those of you who dare to dream the Big Dream, as I have dreamt so often and will continue to do so until I keel over for the final time and take that magical journey into the great beyond, is to make sure the good guys win in the end. Whatever your religious or spiritual beliefs, teach your children this awareness of the world that lies outside the grasp of our five physical senses, and trust in them to determine for themselves how they should respond to it. We are the genetic product of our ancestors, and haven’t completely screwed up everything yet, have we? We still have much hope. Many of us have faith in ourselves, and we should have it in our progeny as well. They are the future architects and carpenters of the world we’re building, and hoping to cause to flourish.

Bring happiness to others, and consequently to yourselves and to those whom you treasure. Share love, without exception and without reservation. Be kind to strangers; a simple smile and a kind word will open doors as well as hearts. Find the difference between good and evil, propagate the former, and fight the latter.

Thank you for joining me on this fantastic journey into the endlessly fascinating human mind, heart, and spirit. I wish you all the very best of discoveries in your adventures, and hope that all your wildest, most heartfelt dreams come true. If we’re lucky and persistent, and if we persevere against all opposition, we shall one day meet each other in those dreams, and it will be a most happy and auspicious day. 

Be true to yourself and to those whom you cherish, and may grace, kindness, hope, love, faith, mercy, compassion, and trust follow and find you all your days in this reality and every imaginable reality beyond it.

Kerry Alan Denney

May 2015

Author Bio:

Colleagues and readers have dubbed Kerry Alan Denney The Reality Bender. The multiple award-winning author of the post-apocalyptic sci-fi/ horror thriller Jagannath (Permuted Press, February 2015) and the paranormal thriller Soulsnatcher (Juju Mojo Publications, April 2014) as well as six more novels and numerous published short stories, Kerry blends elements of the supernatural, paranormal, sci-fi, fantasy, and horror in his work: speculative fiction at its wildest and craziest. With joy, malicious glee, and a touch of madness, he writes reality-bending thrillers, even when the voices don’t compel him to. His protagonists are his children, and he loves them as dearly as he despises his antagonists... even when he has to kill them. 

On March 31, 2015, Soulsnatcher won 2nd Place as 2014 Book of the Year in The Drunken Druid’s International Book Award competition. 

Kerry lives near Stone Mountain, Georgia with his Golden retriever Holly Jolly, a professional Therapy Dog, where he is currently trying his best to remain rooted in this dimension and writing his next supernatural thriller... and deciding which characters to kill in it.

For more information, please visit his author website at http://www.kerrydenney.com/