Lucid Dreaming

I generally haven't looked forward to dreaming. My dreams tend to be weird, disturbing, frightening, or just plain annoying. However, hoping not to dream is an exercise in futility. So, a few months ago, I decided to tackle the problem in a different way. I started making a habit of attempting to determine (while awake) if I was dreaming. The idea is that if I get in the habit of doing this while I am awake, I will also do it while dreaming. Hopefully, this would then allow me to take control of the dream, or at least wake myself up. I had a few minor successes (e.g. rewinding and altering a dream that had gone in a direction I didn't like), but nothing really substantial. Until now.

Last night, I had a very common type of dream: staying in a house somewhere with relatives. It was more interesting than usual; the house was built into the side of a rocky hill near the sea, with trails around it. Aside from the location, though, the dream was fairly boring, with a bit of weird mixed in. Eventually, though, I found myself in a room I had been in before, but it had changed! The room was some kind of bathroom, with a curious circular shower in the center. The second time around, the shower was still there, but there was a stove next to it! In addition, there was a portable tabletop range sitting on top of the stove. That doesn't make any sense at all! At that point, I realized I was dreaming.

So, I loudly announced that this was a dream. A nearby relative challenged my assertion by picking up a knife and suggesting that if it's really a dream, she could stab me and nothing bad would happen. I said something to the effect of "Sure, go right ahead!" So, she stabbed me in the head. Nothing of note happened. She then put down the knife and wandered off, presumably to wrestle with the horror of her existence as a figment of my imagination. I then picked up the knife and tried to push it through my hand. It didn't go through or even hurt. Yep, definitely a dream!

At this point, I decided that I wanted a more exciting dream. So, I went down to the beach, lept into the air, and flew away. I was quite happy (and a bit surprised) to see that this worked, given that I had failed to transform objects in a previous dream. My flight was a bit floaty at first (I careened into some tree branches at one point), but I eventually tightened it up and flew around for a while. It was fun.

Apparently this world I had dreamed up had some kind of evil authoritarian government, and they didn't like me flying around. So, they sent the police to stop me. Just like a fantasy/action TV show! Seriously, why do they always send the police or the military to stop the demi-god who's ruining their day? Do they really think that's going to work? Well, they sure didn't stop me. I blasted them with Dragonball Z style energy blasts from my hands. I then decided that I was going to go full-on Frieza on these idiots. In retrospect, my choice of "I'm going to deal with this like an evil alien tyrant/real estate speculator" in the face of an evil authoritarian government was pretty ironic.

I eventually found myself in a house somewhere with a relative I had encountered in the first part (who doesn't correspond to anyone in the real world) sitting in a chair. She bragged that she was going to stop me. I figured she had been collaborating with the government and had gotten some kind of super soldier treatment. I guess that other relative didn't tell her that she was in a dream and that I was the dreamer. Oh, well. So, I challenged her assertion. She reiterated, pointing her finger directly at me, saying, "I'm going to stop YOU!" So, I pointed my finger right back at her. And then fired a Frieza-style finger beam right through her chest. Yep, the whole "send the military to deal with the demi-god" thing is working out as well as always!

I then flew away, past a large pool of glowing yellow liquid, which I decided was radioactive waste. I guess in addition to being evil authoritarian bastards, they're also irresponsible. As I continued flying, I spotted a group of detectives on the ground with guns drawn. And by "detectives" I mean they looked like they came straight out of a 30's or 40's crime drama. Well, aside from the fact that they weren't human. They had the coloration and configuration of the Minions from Despicable Me and the body shape of Patrick from Spongebob Squarepants. They were clearly looking for me, but they weren't doing a very good job of it, since they were looking around on the ground, and I was up in the air. So, I grabbed one of them telekinetically, tossed him into the air, and detonated him, just like Frieza did to Krillin. "Behold my terrible power, you pathetic...whatever the hell you are!" I'm starting to think that maybe I was the bad guy in this dream, but then again, I had been content to just fly around until they sent the cops after me.

Shortly after dispatching the bizarro detective, I found myself pulling a blanket over my head, because it was cold in my bedroom and I was awake. It was about 15 minutes before my alarm goes off, so I lay there for a while in a state between wakefulness and dreaming, then got up after my alarm went off.

This experience was fascinating and shed some light on the nature of dreams. The appearance of the police without my explicit desire indicates that my conscious mind was not in full control of the direction the dream took. Yet, I could choose to enable myself to fly. Just how much can I control? Is it a matter of concentration? Maybe the dream started reasserting itself once I stopped focusing on controlling it. Maybe I could have redirected it again after the police showed up, if I had tried to. I'll have to experiment more with this in the future.

I hope to take control of a dream again but hopefully take it in a less violent direction. I'd like to go to space next time, although I'm not sure how to get there, since I have never had a dream that started in space. Can I just forcibly dream up a spaceship and fly away? What are the limits? How far can I bend the rules of "reality"? Will my knowledge of the vast distances and (relatively) low speeds involved in space travel be an impediment when trying to get into space in my dream? How far can I depart from my everyday experiences? Flying around DBZ-style is pretty far from the everyday, but I was still fairly close to the ground, not flying out into space. Can I actually conjure up items? Buildings? So far, I haven't been able to conjure up anything, but I have been able to find new things by moving around. Maybe I just have to decide that I can find the things I want somewhere and then go there instead of trying to conjure them. At the very least, I now have some hope that I can disrupt weird/disturbing/annoying dreams. I'm not so confident that I can disrupt a nightmare, but I feel like I now have a fighting chance.