Update: The TRUTH about Lucid Dreaming

Some time ago, I wrote about my experiments with lucid dreaming that expanded into sort of a hyper-sensory capability that allows me to visualize in my mind’s eye, my surroundings including things that I cannot see.  The essay on that got a little carried away and in the tradition of this blog, I enhanced the story to the point that it was pretty crazy.  I can really do lucid dreaming and I can control my dreams and I do have problems with controlling the thoughts of my subconscious mind.  All that is true.  The part that talked about the hyper sensory capabilities, the X-ray vision and the reading other people’s dreams…well that was all part of a lucid dream that I created for myself.  It felt very real when I was dreaming it and I could recall almost every detail of the dream so it was fresh in my thoughts as I wrote that essay.  I enjoyed the idea so much that I selected that dream several times and kept adding to it each time.  Anyway, I just wanted you to know that I wrote that one for fun but I do keep using the lucid dreaming techniques and still enjoy creating my own dreams. 

One part of that other essay that I dreamed up but have actually begun to take more seriously is the mix of my own memories and my lucid dreaming.  I have always had a good memory for details.  In school, I could read fairly fast and then recall most of what I read even months later.  It really helped on tests.  Since I have five degrees and over 450 college credits, you can see that I used that technique often and with good effect. Now I am experimenting with recalling old memories and reconstructing the surroundings at the time of the memory.  In my earlier essay, I mentioned my camping trip with my Dad when I was 12.  Using my lucid dreaming, I can proactively recreate that trip and the environment.  It sometimes gets a little confusing as to what I am creating out of imagination and what I actually remember from the event but I see that as sort of extrapolation between known data points.   

I usually begin with a completely static scene – like a painting on a canvas.  Everything is still, even the water in the stream.  I “walk” around the scene and fill in the unknowns like what color were the tent and the sleeping bags and what kind of trees were nearby.  After I get it just so, I press, “play” and let the scene unfold as I remember it.  When I get to a part I don’t remember, I stop and fill it in.  For instance, I remember setting up camp and then I remember being in a canoe fishing.  I don’t remember where we got the canoe or how we got out on the lake – so I create that part.  The creation process is partly trying to dig deep into my memories and partly just imagination to make up what probably happened.  The whole process is like creating a movie by combining a bunch of scenes together to make a whole story. On one trip, I swung off a 30-foot high cliff on a big thick rope.  As I was out over the water, I lost my grip and fell into the lake.  It was a long drop and I belly flopped.  It knocked the wind out of me and I could not breathe and nearly passed out.  My Dad pulled me out and helped me recover.  I have replayed that scene several times.  I found that I could play it in slow motion.  Since this is a dream based on a memory, I can do just about anything I want.  I then would move around the scene and see how it happened, in great detail.  This was informative and I tried it with a number of other memories – like my motorcycle-bus accident, my time in Viet Nam and while I was a cop.  It has given me a whole new appreciation for those events. 

Since I discovered that I could slow down what I have seen, I decided to conduct a few experiments.  I scanned a book by turning the pages as fast as I could and still look at every page.  Then in my dream, I recalled that memory and slowed it down.  I found that I could, in fact, re-read the book because my eyes had indeed captured the text and images of the book even if my mind had not absorbed the content of the text.  Now in my dream, I could look over my shoulder and read the page.  When I was done with the page, I would advance the scene until the next page was visible.  In this way, I read the book in my dreams.  It really did work. I decided to try to learn a skill this way.  I found a book on how to sculpt clay into statues and busts of people.  I have never done that before so I quick-scanned the pages and then dreamed that I was reading it slowly and was learning it.  In my dream, I then sculpted a beautiful clay statue of Zeus.  I was amazed that in my dream, I was able to apply all the skills of the book without having to actually read the book.  When I woke up, could not wait to try to recreate the Zeus statue.  I setup all the clay and tool and went to work and create a statue that might have been mistaken as a mix between a duck and a camel.  It was an utter disaster.  There was no skill there at all.  It was all in my dream and in my imagination.  I had not learned anything from the quick-scan of the book because I had not actually learned or read anything other than looking at the pictures.  This experiment showed me that I have to be careful when I mix dreaming with memories to avoid creating false memories and wishful thinking. 

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