Random Observation/Comment #197: I’m fairly strange and I invest my time into very weird hobbies, so it shouldn’t be too outrageous to hear that I have had a dream diary for 8 years. I actually started in high school just as a personal side project to see if I could control my dreams. I had some fairly wild thoughts while in my little world, and I’d always wake up thinking “holy crap that dream was awesome” and then completely forget all the details before I could tell anyone. All that lingered was the feeling of an awesome dream, while everything else just faded to the background. It was very frustrating not being able to remember something, so I did what I was taught to do in high school – I took notes. I bullet-pointed everything and then filled in the details of how the main ideas connected later. It was actually quite interesting trying to pin-point the memories and images that could have possibly contributed to the dream. The scattered thoughts just jump from one idea to another and the normal stream of consciousness makes the outrageous connections.
There was a lull in high school where I had become quite sick for a week straight. It was probably the only days I ever missed of class since I had ever started school (perfect attendance award – w00t). During this rollercoaster of high fevers and unbearable chills, I hallucinated and had these terrible nightmares. I’d always get scared staring at the corners of my bedroom because they would seem to suck me into this place filled with creepy clowns and an abundance of fire. It was during this week of bed-ridden Counter-Strike-less nightmares that I learned to escape.
These nightmares were incredibly vivid and wet-your-bed horrifying (not that I did it). Fortunately, I found a pattern that made me realize I was actually in this dream world. To prepare for this, I heightened my everyday observation skills and compared them to what I saw and felt in my dreams. It took some time, but I had discovered that my dream world operates, in effect, as a dominos of senses where each domino represents a different sense. As the plot unraveled, I could only focus on one sense at a time and it would alternate between all of these senses maybe at one second intervals. It’s as if I was blind one second and then deaf another. These emotions all become enhanced and act as a trigger to make me realize that my brain was no longer filtering and categorizing the senses separately, but rather creating them to mimic my older observations. In many cases, I felt this odd sense of déjà vu and then everything just clicked.
Everyone has a different trigger, but most people use the method, where they realize they are in a dream environment, as their main indication that they can take control and do whatever they want to manipulate the dream. The fast switch between senses works for me, but I’ve also noticed distortions in very fine details in people’s faces. It looks normal in a glance, but when you try and concentrate on certain features, they just disappear. It seems like the brain just injects the notion of a character you know into your plot, and then (since you know this person) the details are filled-in with separate memories. This is one of those vague hypotheses I’ve made that sound terribly convincing, but I have no evidence to support it. It just makes sense to me that my brain would be structured like a computer program. There must be a dream constructor somewhere that instantiates the characters, but relies on other abstract classes to describe their actions.
Anyway, before realizing these sense enhancements, I tried staring at my body parts a lot. Whenever I was dreaming, I always felt like my eyes were 5 inches above normal height. My hands looked oddly smaller and my fingers were always much longer than usual. As a spectator in the dream, you could just say “wow, that’s weird,” but if you want to take control of these dreams, you can’t be lazy about it.
Whenever I find myself realizing I’m dreaming, I always try to take off my glasses and my shirt. I think I do this because I barely notice myself wearing glasses, yet I should be able to tell the difference with them off. Once the glasses come off, I usually have partial control. Sometimes it involves changing the plot, and other times I am stuck in the plot, but I am able to make decisions. Lucid dreaming in nightmares, which is where it all started, began as a quick way to wake up. Interestingly enough, trying to open my eyelids actually opened my eyelids. I really needed to concentrate on the muscles that I use to blink every day (which is incredibly challenging), but if I try hard enough, I usually wake up.
After this whole sick-week passed, I continued to try and lucid dream. I read a lot of articles and found that it’s quite rare to have full control of the dream. There are actually experts in this field – It must be one interesting job to sleep all day. I read a study that mentioned how afternoon naps have a higher likelihood of leading to lucidity. I’ve done my own testing, and it seems like the best dreams are the ones that happen after the first alarm goes off. I sometimes set my alarm for 6AM because after turning it off, I think I’m more aware that I was just awake and lucidity follows much more easily.
On average, I fly once a week. What I love much more, though, is the Spiderman web swing, which only happens about once a month. So, if I can realize I’m dreaming and control the dream, why not just teleport and live your life in your sleep? I actually find it very difficult to transport to completely new places in dreams because thinking too hard usually causes me to wake up. In most cases, I try to cherish the moment of realizing I’m dreaming and maintain my position as a spectator as long as possible. It’s a balance between taking risks and looking for more. It’s nice to be ambitious, but it seems the harder I try, the more likely I am to wake from the dream. Maybe I should stop trying and just live it.
~See Lemons Dream Freely