Lucid Dreaming For Dummies: A Step-By-Step Guide
Lucid dreams are dreams where the dreamer is at least semi-conscious, if not fully in control, of the fact that they are dreaming. The states of lucidity manifest on a spectrum of awareness and control, all rooted in and defined by the final frontiers of our consciousness. Some are created intentionally, others arrive unexpectedly. Their purpose is not always clear. The sort of lucid dreaming we will be diving into here simply puts your conscious mind in direct and sentient contact with your subconscious – and perhaps beyond – in order to open a channel of direct communication between your ego and, well, the infinite. It’s hard to know how far down – or up – the rabbit hole really goes…until we try and try again.
Edgar Cayce was an advocate of sleeping meditation. Often cited as the father of all things ‘New Age’, Cayce was known for using his sleeping mind to divine answers concerning just about everything: from the mundane to the medical, to the geopolitical and agricultural. We won’t be continuing the debate about his or their legitimacy, here.
The draw of the technique presented here is in its simplicity. Anyone can do it. And, you need only read this one article to get started. Where you go from here will be up to you…and, perhaps your subconscious. Again, the guiding principle of this sleep meditation is to manifest a lucid connection to the subconscious, and whatever realm(s) it extends into. And, the key to opening that door is to keep your conscious mind focused as it falls asleep. And, it is (seriously) a LOT easier than it sounds. First of all, we’ll start with a basic sleep meditation which has proven time and time again to be ‘a keeper’. (It works great for children, and adults, who have trouble winding down at night, just in general, too).
Guide to sleep meditation for lucid dreaming
1) Start with your pinkie toes on each foot…Put ALL of your attention and focus into these two little toes…If your mind wanders, don’t get frustrated – getting frustrated will just release stress hormones like cortisol which can keep you awake…If you get distracted, no matter for how long, just calmly keep placing your attention back on your little toes. Allow yourself to feel all of the tension these tiny little digits absorb through the course of a normal day attached to a bipedal human animal. Your attention should remain on these two toes for an extra-long moment, putting all of your attention inside them and allowing it to displace all of the tension built up in them. By taking extra time with these first toes, you’ll also be priming your mind for the next steps.
2) Go toward the next two toes, inward from your smallest toes. Repeat the process. Put all of your mental focus into them, continually and gently bring it back again if it strays. And always, allow yourself to really feel the tremendous amount of stress they absorb and hold. Facilitate its release.
3) Repeat this again and again with the middle toes, and then with each subsequent toe until all of them, including the big toes, are fully relaxed. This practice is also very grounding in general; so, you may have felt some energy or tension flow from your legs or upper body and release through your toes.
4) Now, slowly…and, I mean…slowly…bring this same intensely focused but relaxed attention into the rest of your foot. Linger in particular areas such as the balls of your feet where you would stand on tip-toes, the arch of your feet, the top of your feet, and your ankles. Take your time. They’re not going anywhere unless you make them; you are in charge.
5) Eventually, you will bring this focused attention up your calves; make sure to cover all the bases – the front, the back, the sides, the insides. And by this time, unless you really hit the afternoon coffee – you will probably start to feel a deep relaxation if you are not already sleepy.
6) Continue up the body as needed; again, always continue as slowly and as focused as you can muster…So by now, you get the gist of it enough to take it from here: the hips, the belly, the lower back, the abdomen, the chest…as far as you have to go…lingering longer on any areas holding tension.
7) When you do finally start to feel yourself drifting off to sleep…take this focused attention you have intentionally cultivated up to this point, as you were putting your body to sleep, and, start to merely observe.
8) Your eyes should definitely be closed at this point…relaxed and comfortably closed. Now, without trying to force anything (which can be tempting) allow any and all colors, shapes, sounds, and images to float into your consciousness – with your conscious mind acting as a consistently neutral observer – as your body drifts off to sleep.
9) Your subconscious will sometimes start communicating to you in symbols or symbolism…Remember what it shows you…And, if the symbols don’t make sense to you immediately, this can actually be a really good sign. When you don’t recognize the symbolism of an image or image sequence immediately while in this state, there is probably a better chance that it is truly coming from your subconscious or beyond. You can think of it as assurance that your conscious mind isn’t just messing with you (as it can do) and trying to force a vision of what you want to see, rather than what you need to see. Many times what you see will only make sense after some degree of reflection, afterward.
10) The first few times you move through this process, when you get to the point of observing those initial patterns or images, try to identify them enough so you could describe them out loud if you had to (you don’t). And once you’ve received the imagery, follow up almost immediately by snapping your conscious mind and body back into a wakeful state, and bringing the communications and symbolism with you. It is here that you will often have your ‘aha’ moment about a vision, symbol, or communication which may not have made sense at first blush…Be sure, your subconscious ‘speaks your language’; and, it knows your own personal metaphors – even if it’s not immediately evident to you what they mean.
At this point, it may be prudent to write what you saw or felt in a journal if you feel inspired to…Or, it may be better to just sit with the visions and/ or communications which were revealed, and really take some time to fully unpack them from your subconscious to your conscious mind. You’ll often find you’ve been given a token of profound guidance on an issue you have been stuck on or struggling with. Sometimes you may even get a premonition or guidance about another person in your life. Whatever comes, no matter how trivial or crude the imagery may seem at first, sit with it for as long as you can. And, get used to the decoding process.
Once you’ve practiced this routine enough, you can start pushing the boundaries a little further. Trust your instincts; you don’t want to blunder head first into buried trauma but your subconscious probably has protections set up around any such deeper issues; follow your intuition.
If it feels right, maybe let yourself go a little deeper into the images, scenes, or symbolism which emerge, as your conscious mind’s ability to navigate this inner threshold grows stronger and stronger with practice. As it’s agility is strengthened, you can go deeper and deeper. Your conscious mind learns to serve as both an observer and a rope. It will lead you into the depths of your psyche (wherever that goes) and assist you in pulling yourself back out like a rope when you’re ready. You’ll know when. It may be once you’ve gathered enough information about an issue you were seeking clarity on; or, you may have received visual cues which seemed super random that you will want to decode while they are still fresh.
With practice, you will be able to enter into deeper and more prolonged lucid dreaming states; and, these can take a variety of forms…They may come as a montage of different symbols and imagery which your brain must put together like a jigsaw puzzle…They may take the shape of an entire narrative, a metaphorical story.
The journey towards fully lucid dreaming may happen for some people very quickly, and for others, it may take more practice. And, that’s okay…of course! This is definitely not something you will achieve by pushing yourself; it’s not a race. It is, however, a different kind of discipline. Pushing yourself will only make it harder. It will make it harder to fall into that receptive yet lucid state to begin with, and harder not to suppress any communications from your subconscious via desires and projections from your ego mind which can distort or supplant the real treasures which await you.
Sometimes a message or imagery will automatically click with you; and, you will immediately understand why you were given access to it at that moment of time and why. Some messages may remain elusive for days, even weeks, and even beyond…before their inherent value manifests in your waking life.
If you do still feel very confused about an image or scenario you observed, go ahead and do some browsing either on the internet or in some dream interpretation books if you have access. Look up the ‘dream meaning’ of certain imagery, symbols, and/ or situations. You don’t have to take everything you see as gospel but sometimes reading about archetypal dream symbolism will help you achieve that ‘aha’ moment when everything clicks…Well, maybe not everything…but what you need…for now…
Until next time!
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