Wednesday, June 29, 2011
I know this is a common phenomenon, which many people have experienced. But it gave me an idea for an experiment: What would happen if one were to listen to an entire audiobook while asleep? How would it affect one's dreams? How much of the content of the book would it be possible absorb? In what ways would the content of the book be distorted by one's dreaming mind?
To perform this experiment you'd first find an audiobook you think you'd enjoy, but that you've never actually read. It could be fiction, non-fiction, or even poetry. You'd arrange to have the book turn on automatically at times when you're likely to be dreaming. If you happen to wake up while it's on, you'd turn it off immediately to ensure that you didn't hear any of it while awake. You'd repeat this process every night until you've "read" the entire book. You might even "read" the book more than once. During this period you'd keep a dream journal. After "reading" the complete book while asleep, you'd read it again while awake and compare it with your dream journal to see how much information you absorbed from the book while asleep.
This might even provide a means of attaining lucidity. Your dreaming mind might begin to associate the contents of the audiobook with dreaming, which might make you realize you're dreaming. "Reading" an audiobook on lucid dreaming might be a particularly good induction method. In the past I've tried using short audio clips that repeat statements such as "You are dreaming" to induce lucidity, but have never gotten it to work. That could be because the brain tends to filter out repetitive stimuli. An audiobook wouldn't suffer from this drawback.
If this idea becomes popular, it might result in a new form of literature: books intended to be read by sleeping people. I wonder what writing styles would be most effective for that purpose.
Saturday, March 5, 2011
It's a website that publishes secrets voluntarily revealed by people:
According to the article, "Warren had the idea for PostSecret in a lucid dream and started it as an art project...." It has gotten to be really popular and has led to the publication of 4 books.
It made me wonder how many other people have come up with original ideas in lucid dreams. Can the state of consciousness experienced during lucid dreams be more creative than normal waking consciousness? Have you ever tried (successfully or not) to generate an idea in a lucid dream? Maybe an idea for a song, an art project, a book, an invention, a business, etc. How would one go about using lucid dreams to generate ideas? Or is it something that just has to happen on it's own and can't be forced? It might work to simply ask a dream character or the dream itself for an idea. Or you could try thinking about what you're looking for during the dream and see if any ideas occur to you. Say you're trying to get an idea for a new musical composition. You could just start humming or singing during a lucid dream and see what happens.
Thursday, November 18, 2010
But the question is, why does that work? Does anyone know?
Thursday, November 4, 2010
Wednesday, October 27, 2010
Wednesday, October 13, 2010
DrT: I think the tree model is interesting and can be interpreted in two possible ways. Let's take the first, which I am not a fan of. There is a theory which falls out of quantum and other theoretical aspects of the physics world, that human consciousness collapses wave functions and literally causes a forking off or "copy" of the universe. The two universes start out identical with the exception of one specific difference in the outcome of some event. That's the concept. Some people refer to this as the multiverse theory. I don't know if that jives sufficiently with my intuition. But there are those who believe that dreamers effectively project into a different universe or quantum thread. One that is rooted to their own at some prior point in time. So in that case, the dreamspace would certainly be physical. Dream characters would be real, etc. They would exist independent from our minds. My main trepidation surrounding this theory is the basic question of why dream characters are often times buffoons. Did the forking negatively impact their intelligence. ;) That's why I see that as a hard theory to swallow.
My personal view (and it's largely conjecture of course) is that dreams are in fact a true projection of your mind and hence dream characters are projections as well. But this does not mean that the dreamspace lacks physicality, or that force and information transfer between ones WRS and dreamspace are impossible.
Here's the thing though. My experience tends to suggest that the overlap (linkage) between the dreamspace and one's WRS is impacted by certain attributes: psychoactives (e.g., African Dream Root), how close the dreamspace is to WRS in terms of different properties and spatial characteristics, and so forth. I think one needs to be careful about being too 4-D in their thinking here. If the dreamspace is nearly orthogonal to our WRS, then time has little to no meaning in the dreamspace. I have realized uncanny predictions of future events in my dreams, examples way beyond reasonable chance. These personal experiences tend to suggest that time as we understand it has no analogue in one's dreamspace. It's not measurable or meaningful in any sense. There is simply little to no time dependency.
I'll wrap it up with a discussion of Robert Monroe's big picture opinion here. He felt that one's experiences out of body were the defining factor and sufficient proof to influence their personal opinions on what it all means. He saw it as a very personal experience. I couldn't agree more. Now Monroe believed that additional investigations into OBE "proved" to him that there are true physical planes and characters independent of his mind. He believed this because he had sufficient personal experience to convince him of such. I am agnostic on that point. Perhaps I have not advanced enough in a spiritual sense to be introduced to those phenomenon yet. With that said, I did have a rather uncanny series of dreams that culminated in what could be interpreted as guidance and a literal meeting from Monroe and/or an entity in his "I-there" cluster. So who knows? I think there is so much to unravel here.
DK: Yes, that does seem possible. Dreams may be a combination of elements created by our own minds and elements independent of our minds. Our experience of waking reality is similar, in a way, since it is influenced by what is actually "out there" (i.e., independent of us) as well as by the nature of our senses and our state of mind. I like what you said about proving things to oneself. Before things can be proven to others, they first have to be proven to oneself. When it comes to an exploration of dreamspace, it seems much easier to prove things to oneself than to others, since no once else can have direct experience of one's own dreams.
Now, maybe we should move on to some other topics. Could you give us some general tips on becoming lucid? What induction methods work best for you? And what are some common mistakes people make?
DrT: This is a frustrating point, this issue of common mistakes. I am a big believer in the fact that different techniques work for different people. We are all wired a little different. Sure, there are some which seem generally more productive. But the biggest mistake I see is newbies jumping from technique to technique, without a fair shake at each. They try constant reality checks for a few days, they jump to WILDs (way too advanced for a newbie anyway), they read about finger-induced lucid dreams (FILDs) and think it's the greatest concept since sliced bread, etc.
Here's the thing. A person's neurotransmitter balance during sleep plays a huge role in their ability to become lucid. But that aside. I always suggest that newbies simply take their time and read the classics. Read EWOLD, start out with dream sign categorization and constant reality checks, etc... These approaches are pretty time proven and if implemented correctly will work for many. WBTB is a great strategy because it will positively impact AcH levels and that can only help. But take your time with each. Give each one a fair shake before proceeding to the next.
MM has some top notch tutorials on a number of excellent techniques. Give them a read. Maybe one particular author or method really resonates with your personal experiences and you will want to dig into to that one first. But dig in for a month or two before concluding that it's wonderful or just not effective. It takes time to draw a valid conclusion, especially at first.
For me, I seem to have a reasonable propensity for lucid dreaming in general. So even a WBTB with affirmations that I will become lucid are generally enough to do the trick. I don't do constant reality check, etc... One way or another I bias my mind's ability to become lucid (WBTB, perhaps some supplements, perhaps CES), I review my goals and intentions, and then I return to sleep. I succeed more often than not.But finally, there is the issue of the LDS approach. I strongly suggest that a newbie dig into natural techniques first. Without a good theoretical foundation and perhaps some modest number of lucids under one's belt, LDS probably won't make a difference. But if after 6-12 months, you feel you know a lot about lucid dreaming but have only had a handful, then by all means the LDS approach might make a lot of sense. It's a very individual decision. There are many techniques of course. The galantamine/choline mix at WBTB seems to be the most robust of the bunch. I would start there.
DK: How would you describe what is so amazing about LDs (and OBEs) to someone who has never experienced them?
DrT: I usually start out with a few analogies. Virtual reality. The holodeck on the Starship Enterprise. I get them thinking about the concept and the "what ifs"? I then usually explain that it is not particularly well known in our culture, but that those types of experiences are quite possible in their dreams, provided that they can become aware.
But ultimately what's amazing about lucid dreaming is the intrapersonal nature of the experience. That is really what I try to get across. I might ask them "what would you do in a virtual reality space that has none of physical, legal or social rules we are usually constrained by"? This catches most off guard of course. They usually need a few ideas. I throw the obvious things on the table. Flying, sexual fantasy, visiting childhood locations, etc... Suddenly, this gets people thinking. But invariably, I come back to the original point. What would THEY do with the experience. There's really no right or wrong. With experience, almost anything is possible. With a little more experience, the lucid dream scenarios exceed your ability to conceive them. You begin to let the dreamspace itself define the possibilities. This is where I try to leave it. Open ended and full of possibilities.
DK: Could you describe one or two of your favorite LDs (or OBEs) that you've had?
DrT: Let me describe two, as each jumps out at me for very different reasons. My first lucid after retraining was an extraordinary experience. I found myself driving along a road to my house from many years ago. The road takes an uphill angle and I begin to approach a cliff. For some reason I do not panic and it seems all quite reasonable. As I go over the cliff, the car continues its uphill trajectory and the car slowly vanishes, leaving only my body traversing the sky. I fly over a field with many beautiful wildflowers when it hits me all at once. Dreaming! I must be dreaming. The first thought was how real it all felt. How colorful it was, how textured, the feeling of the air hitting my face. As I looked up I approached a shimmering anomaly in the sky. It was deep blue inside, brownish on the outside and more or less rectangular in shape. I approached the anomaly (not really under my own force mind you) and was sucked into it. Within a moment I was transported to a scene that was thousands of years old, hovering over the great pyramids in pristine form. I slowly descended and approached an opening in the bottom of one of the pyramids. I entered a dark cave and continued forward for a few dozen yards before waking.
The other profound experience worth relaying here started with a non-lucid dream. I was close to finishing the trilogy by Robert Monroe and was struck by the countless similarities between his experiences and my own. In a non-lucid dream, Monroe visits my house but outright ignores my direct attempt to greet him. He and a small team of colleagues plants a satellite dish on my garage. Upon waking, it seemed to me that this could be used as a communication tool in subsequent dreams. In my next lucid dreams, I try to conjure Monroe. Instead, I get a totem pole with a bear (first lucid), and then a white rabbit statue (second lucid). Awake, I pondered the significance of the bear and totem pole symbolism. The bear seems to be consistent with my personality and a good candidate for a dream guide per American Indian folklore. In my next lucid, I try to conjure the bear. I succeed. I ask its name (per a suggestion from a native American friend in real life). It does not respond. I decide to announce that I will call it "Little Brown One". Little Brown One proceeds to teach me a lesson: That I must work more synergistically with my dreamspace. Not overpower it. In a subsequent lucid dream I conjure Little Brown One again by name. It appears. Finally, I finish the trilogy reading chapters 16 and 17, where Monroe converges on his theories. His dream guide turns out to be himself in a different physical incarnation. When Monroe meets a gate keeper of the force driving our reality, this gate keeper calls Monroe "Little One".
OK. Hopefully that condensed description and its chronology is clear. Upon reflection, it seems quite obvious that Monroe had entered my dreamspace for the sole purpose of creating a puzzle that allowed me to find a dream guide. The guide turns out to be him (or is it me, or is it both?). This revelation aligned perfectly with the timing of my finishing his written works. I simply cannot imagine how this is nothing more than a "coincidence". There it is, the "c" word again. Regardless, I consider this to be my most profound lucid dream experience to date.
DK: Before wrapping things up, could you talk a little bit about where you'd like to go from here? What experiences would you like to have in your LD's and OBE's that you haven't yet had? And what are some of the experiments you'd like perform to further test your hypotheses regarding the nature of dreams?
DrT: Hopefully I've described some of my past experiences in sufficient detail that neither answer will be a surprise. In terms of "experiences", I would like to dig deeper into this notion of dream guides and what they mean to me. My anecdotes about Monroe's experiences and my "Little Brown One" story are incredibly interesting to me. There are so many places to go. If you look at patterns in PSI phenomenon, one obvious one is that telepathy is most likely to be realized among people with a close emotional connections. Well who is closer to you, than you? By this I mean to imply that information transfer to yourself is an interesting thing to explore. This can take the form of a time shifted message. Or if you're familiar with Monroe's work and his idea of an I-there cluster, it could take the form of a message or guidance from another member of your cluster. I do believe that these types of message transfers are very real possibilities. To be honest, I believe that a good deal of my guidance and motivation has been received by these mechanisms in subtle and at times not so subtle ways. I want to continue to explore this in a very intuitive sense. If my intuition senses that specific message passing experiments might be interesting, that's what I'll pursue. If my intuition and dream experiences lead me down a path of leveraging my dreamspace to communicate with and receive ideas from various dream guides, I'll pursue that. I realize it sounds very open ended. But going back to a previous point, I feel I've realized some extraordinary experiences to date. I didn't over think any of these. They unfolded of their own accord. I just followed a bread crumb trail, if you will. If indeed a bread crumb trail is being set-up, who is laying the path? And why? Now those are interesting questions.As far as my hypothesis on dreamspace physicality and so forth, I plan to pursue the obvious first. As discussed previously, I want to try to nail down a more definitive dreamspace to waking reality space experiment and result. That is the proverbial holy grail. But how to do this? Without a sufficiently developed set of theories, it boils down to reasonable trial and error. I do have some interesting preliminary results and conjectures about what might be going on. I think there are really only two major possibilities. These need to be explored and new experiments developed. Going back to the previous paragraph, it is not unreasonable to think that I can tap into my dreamspace for some of the answers. Presenting some general querries to dream characters or my dreamspace in general are places to start. I've learned to trust the wisdom behind this approach.
DK: I've really enjoyed this interview, DrTechnical. Thanks for taking the time to do this. I look forward to hearing more about your research and experiences in the near future.
Wednesday, October 6, 2010
DrT: Great question. One I would have answered in one part until you suggested the other way of doing this. So it becomes a two parter. Well conceptually, I'm looking for insights outside of my usual clear-minded wakeful beta state. I'm sure the motive is obvious. What I tend to explore are different dissociative states. Now that can mean pychoactively driven, but it does not have to be. For example, I might have a question on my mind before a meditation session. Using binaural beats, I can obtain a very deep dissociative state and leverage that state for idea generation or insights. Sometimes the hypnagogic imagery itself can yield usable ideas. If you follow PSI research, experiments that leverage the Ganzfeld effect are also creating a strong dissociative state. Going back to a previous point I made, attenuating our usual wakeful mental filters does seem to allow PSI info to flow into our awareness more effectively. So yes, I have used these states to ponder scenarios and design experiments, quite literally.
But there is arguably a deeper level to dive into as well. You mentioned it yourself. Using the dreamspace to answer questions. I hadn't even pondered that point until I read the works of Waggoner and Monroe. Concentrating on Waggoner, the concept is simple. State a specific question out loud to your dreamspace and see what you get back. Now it's literally a question to your dreamspace, not a dream character. So don't expect a literal answer. Expect a visual and symbolic answer of some kind. But it does work.
Monroe's case is even more interesting and seems to parallel my own experiences. Monroe firmly believed that he had "helpers" guiding his path. Certainly in my case, I have been involved in scenarios where my dreamspace seemed to prod me in a particular direction to facilitate an experiment, or laid down certain clues which were helpful in driving at a result. Sometimes the clues were immediate. At other times I had to unravel a larger and more complex set of clues and experiences. So yes, it seems very reasonable to me that one's dreamspace can be leveraged to obtain insights of all kinds. It is more powerful than we can imagine and as we've already discussed, it does not seem to be constrained by space and time as we know it.
DK: I'd like to hear more about CES (cranial electro-stimulation). What is it and how does it work? I think pj mentioned that you're patenting it. Are you thinking of making it available as a product?
DrT: The CES idea started out as an odd compulsion I had. I had read on the subject and it just seemed like a great tool for exploring unique brain states in general. When I eventually bought a generic CES device, I leveraged one of my special dissociative states to ponder its usage. I arrived at a theory and a few things to try. Suffice it to say that CES is a pretty old technology. It involves the application of a low-level biphasic micro current across the brain, typically via electrodes clipped to the ear lobes. It is well known and understood for certain medical applications (e.g. depression relief, etc ...). But it remained unexplored in terms of dream lucidity. I formulated a number of theories as to how it might be leveraged and honed in on a successful protocol and signal pretty quick. After all, awareness does have certain electrochemical signatures and it seems reasonable to think that awareness can be enhanced or regressed with the right approach and CES signal. Now the technique itself really involves a dual approach. The signal affects a brain state that is known to have a relation to PSI and precognition, which in and of itself is interesting. But it's useless for immediate lucid dream induction without the right timing and usage strategy (overall approach). I've probably used it about 80 times now with only a handful of misses. It is pretty clear that it is not stimulating the nicotinic receptors, which is perhaps it's main value added. It's another tool to use in lieu of AcH impacting supplements (or in combination with) to add to the effect. I was able to procure some additional devices and we're doing some trials over at MM. There is a questionnaire and sign up for anyone interesting in partaking. Results have been favorable by and large.
Yes, I applied for a US patent on the technology, but chose not to publish it. Quite frankly, I didn't want a scenario like the one Laberge has right now. In 2004, he published his patent on LDS usage, only to have everyone else read it, productize it and exploit his ideas. His patent hasn't issued yet and he hasn't collected a dime as far as I know. It's too bad how that works. So for now, the CES patent application is getting soak time, I'm collecting more data and user experience and we'll see where this all leads.
DK: I can't wait to try your CES method! I've read in some of your material on MM that, unlike many supplement-based induction methods, it can be used as often as desired without building up a tolerance. That coupled with its high reliability means that it should be considered a major advance in lucid-dream induction techniques. You're smart not to divulge the details at this point.
Now, I'd like to get back to the topic of PSI phenomena. Can you describe some of the experiments you've been conducting in this area?
DrT: The first structured experiment I designed and explored was the Zener card experiment. It went through a few iterations based on trial and error which were effectively documented in real time over the better portion of a year. The details are documented in the user accessible General Deep Dreaming folder on MM. But I can succinctly describe it here.
I constructed three Zener cards (Star, Cross, Squigly Lines). I would get up for WBTB, randomize the cards and place them face down on the kitchen countertop. I would be squinting during this process to insure that I was not picking up on any unique aspects of the blank side that I might identify subconsciously. I would then induce an OBE. Once out of body I would flip a random dream card, note the image, and carry on with some other task. I would purposely leave the dream card flipped over to insure no other odd phenomenon was going on (like sleep walking, which would be easy to identify at the last step here ...). When I woke, I would confirm that all three WRS cards were still face down and would map the dream image to the closest actual Zener card symbol. I would make a decision and flip the real card to see if I got a match or not.
In summary, with three cards one would expect a hit probability of 1/3. By the final phase of this experiment, I had learned how to perform better and learned that FA based experimental events should be discarded as unusable. The remaining 27 events contained 18 hits. Now the statistical relevance of this is not necessarily clear until you do the analysis. I've got a pretty strong background in probability theory and did a little analysis. I even wrote a little C code and included it in the thread. The result is that the odds of 18/27 hits is only 3 in 10,000. The odds of 18 or more hits out of 27 is about 4 in 10,000. That is pretty statistically relevant. Proof of anything? No. Again, it's statistical inference. But interesting indeed.
DK: At this point in my life I'm agnostic about PSI phenomena. Yet I have to admit that those are impressive statistics! Makes me want to try it myself. Guess I'd first have to learn how to have OBE's. I know you've done other types of dream-related PSI experiments. Could you talk a little bit about that?
DrT: The Zener card experiment gave me certain insights and allowed me to identify various generalizations. One day it dawned on me that if info can flow from WRS into the dreamspace, then maybe it can flow the other way as well? It may sound silly and so be it. But the issue of force transfer into our space reminds me a great deal of the basic ghost hunting problem. Now I'm sure that a lot of what goes on during those TV shows is fabricated and overly dramatized. But let's look at the concept and tools. EM meters. Ion detectors. Voice recorders for EVP (electronic voice phenomena). By and large, devices that measure subtle changes in fundamental force meaningful to our 4-D world.
So what if we flipped the Zener card experiment around quite literally. Leave out some device that detects a change in force. Train a video camera on it. Induce an OBE and try to perturb the "dream device". Wake, review the video and see what we get?
Suffice it to say that I took the most obvious possible approach on this one. What I got is not what I expected. But I appear to have gotten something. I've been able to repeat this 6 times now. I also have two other possible manifestations or evidence of physical changes in target items. Going back to the initial 6 hits, it's very hard to model the likelihood of what I observed relative to chance. But the observations showed a monotonic relationship to the level of interaction with the dream device (better dream interaction yielded more profound WRS measurements) and in several cases showed a cadence consistent with what was implemented in my dreamspace. Modeling the likelihood becomes a little academic. But if I were to do this, I can assure you that the odds against chance are significantly smaller than the 3 in 10,000 odds I realized in the Zener card experiments. So coming full circle, I restate the question I posed earlier. At what point do we conclude something interesting is going on? If you multiply out the odds against chance of the Zener card and Dreamspace to WRS force transfer experiments, the results are probably much less than a million to one.
So where to go from here? I have turned my attention to trying to design and reproduce a more decisive force transfer experiment. That is my focus at present. It's a work in progress. But I will state a prediction. There is indeed something being uncovered here. Maybe I'll be the guy to do it. Maybe someone else will. But if open-minded, talented researchers who are adept at the OBE dig into this one, the likelihood of proving such an interaction moves from a possibility to something that approaches a certainty. There is something going on here and it ties into a much larger picture of how our universe operates.
DK: I had a follow-up question on your PSI experiments. It's really interesting that you found that you couldn't obtain information on the Zener cards during false awakenings, but you could get information during OBEs. Any idea why this would be the case? At the very least, it seems to lend credence to the theory that an OBE is not just a type of lucid dream.
DrT: I think there are a few interesting points here. Let me try to decouple them. First, the philosophy going into my dream PSI experiments was that I would attempt to model the process in some mathematical or graphical sense. Collect data, tweek the model and see where it all leads. Maybe there would be multiple iterations of this process. This type of approach is pretty common in science and engineering research. So there is a big picture I'm after here. Now, the sheer number of trials I have done is not phenomenally high, so maybe the data would level off differently with more trials. But yes, it seems like false awakenings produce a useless dreamspace, as far as this type of PSI experiment is concerned. But why?
If you are open to the theory that perhaps the dreamspace is a projection into higher dimensional space, then the next conjecture falls out pretty naturally. Transitions from WRS into your dreamspace set-up hyperdimensional links or dependencies between those spaces. False awakenings do not manifest directly from your WRS. Hence they would not "link" or bleed into WRS in any sense. That is what it seems to suggest to me.
But then there is this whole notion of LD vs. OBE. It's too bad that there are so many different views on this basic question. But in general, I think most agree that OBE's are direct transitions into your dreamspace which leave you in a scene similar to the one you left upon falling asleep. I have done enough reading on Tibetan dream yoga to appreciate their basic framework for dreaming. In their model, a karmic thead is generated based on some action in one's WRS. You hold onto this thread until something in your present thoughts and actions causes it to bubble up, and later that evening the mind creates a dream based on that thread. I like this overall framework, but as an engineer I tend to cast this into a picture that I can relate to:
In this picture, I represent this process in terms of a tree model. Your "real world thread" is in bold. Branch-offs from this thread are points where negative or positive karmic threads are generated and deviate from the "real world thread". You can imagine residual branch-offs from here, based on actions in dreams and so forth (you can spawn a karmic thread from within a dream as well). But the basic point here is that when a thread is instantiated due to some residue from the previous day, your mind probably tries to extrapolate where to go with the story. It has a root scenario but lacks a direction. The story left off months or years ago. You have had real world experiences since then. In attempting to project where to place the residual story line, the mind gets confused and can do a poor job of creating a logical extension. Hence the weird and unpredictable actions and scenarios that may unfold. Conversely, if you spawn a dream based on a karmic thread very close to your real world thread, you would project a scene very similar to the one you just left. There is less to extrapolate, less to fill in.
So coming full circle, it's been my experience that two conditions need to be in place to optimize these PSI related experiments. One, the scene cannot be FA based. Two, one needs to project a scene into their dreamspace that matches the real world scene as closely as possible. I suppose these conditions seem natural given that all of my experiments involve pulling or pushing info to real world items that were left out for that very purpose. Furthermore, I see the relationship between LD's vs. OBE's to be more about "distance" between the real world thread and the root of the karmic thread driving the dream. If these threads are close in a euclidean distance sense, I label the resulting conscious dream as an OBE. If they are far apart, the resultant dreamspace lends itself to being a lucid dream. This model seems to be a little more interesting to me from a repeatable PSI experiment perspective.
[To read more of this interview, click here.]
Friday, October 1, 2010
Dream Koan: By way of introduction, could you say a little about your background and how you got interested in lucid dreaming?
DrTechnical: Most certainly, and thanks for having me. I've always been fascinated by dreams. There were a number of nighttime experiences I had as a young child which were at times interesting and at other times quite scary. For example, I remember that every once in a while I would get this weird head and neck vibration thing going on. It was often in the middle of the night. I didn't understand it at the time of course. But I now recognize it as the vibrational state leading to a wake initiated lucid dream (WILD). The experience was complicated by the fact that my WILDs typically have me transition to my dreamspace such that it's a replica of my waking reality space (WRS). Almost like a false awakening (FA). So in short, I never picked up on the fact that I was dreaming, and simply put my head down for some more sleep. On the scary side, I remember waking once and having the clown on the wall start talking to me. I freaked and called my parents in. I now recognize this as nothing more than a FA with a sufficiently quick dreamspace to WRS transition that I simply got confused. I wish I had some of my present day knowledge and perspective on dreams way back then. There was so much I missed out on.
As a young adult, I took an interest in dream interpretation. I always had good recall and this was the typical area that people focused on at the time. I read a number of books including the classic one by Sigmund Freud. At around this time, I had a few off the cuff lucid dreams. I was sufficiently educated on the subject of dreaming to know what they were. Of course I was fascinated. In an effort to reproduce the phenomenon more often, I honed in on Laberge's work and read "EWOLD" [Exploring the World of Lucid Dreaming]. I tried the common approaches of dream sign categorization, constant reality checks and the like. It earned me a few lucids but progress was slow. I eventually lost interest.
About 4 years ago, I had taken an interest in brainwave entrainment via binaural beats. The hynagogic imagery associated with a good theta wave session reminded me of lucid dreaming. I did a little internet searching on "lucid dreaming" and found plenty of great info on the subject. Dreamviews was in full force. Great strides were made in lucid dream supplement (LDS) theory. There were several commercially available dream masks. It seemed like I had what I needed to dig back in. Now my background is very technical. I'm an electrical engineer by education and profession, so of course I like my electronic toys. So mental techniques supported by some experiments with dream masks led to my initial successes. Because the brain is nothing more than a several pound electro chemical device, I viewed the LDS approach as a logical and interesting next step. I had wonderful success with a number of common supps, and I was off and running.
DK: Wow! I already have so many questions I hardly know where to begin. You mentioned feeling vibrations at the beginning of some of your WILDs. It reminds me of a strong vibration I once felt during a lucid dream. Do you have any theories regarding what could cause such sensations? Also, could you explain how brainwave entrainment via binaural beats works? You said that it can induce hypnagogic imagery. If used while asleep, can it also induce lucid dreaming? What mental techniques were you using with the dream mask? Some form of meditation? What supplements did you initially have the most success with?
DrT: Lots of questions here. Let me take a stab at changing up the order a bit so the chronology makes sense and we'll take it from there.
As I mentioned earlier, the mental methods that are central to EWOLD had yielded modest results. When I reimmersed myself into lucid dreaming I immediately bought a dream mask. Now these devices have their pros and cons. They really are a bit cumbersome and difficult to sleep with. Sleeping on one's side is even more difficult. But they do work to a reasonable degree. I had learned enough about REM (rapid eye movement) phases to convince myself that applying a dream mask at wake back to bed (WBTB) made the most sense. This yielded two important self discoveries. One, when the lights on the mask went off, it typically forced a FA. My propensity to have these was a good find. I got much better at using the reality test button and learned to negotiate the FA process in general. I also came to realize that after a dream mask and FA based lucid, I would take off the mask, resume sleep and often have another lucid dream immediately thereafter. A little reading on the subject of WBTB and neurotransmitter balance convinced me that my overall logical processes were being positively impacted by the sleep disruption. In other words, WBTB was allowing my acetylcholine (AcH) levels to rise and positively impacting the likelihood of lucidity. I further realized that plain old WBTB after about 5 hours of sleep was a great option for me. All I would do is review my goal to note impossible things in general, and made a mental note to do reality checks upon waking to catch the FA's.
I also continued my meditation practice along with the help of binaural beats. There is a great deal that can be discussed here, and I recently wrote a tutorial on the subject over at MM. [Note from editor: You must be an MM member to read the tutorial, but it's free to sign up.] In short though, I sort of rediscovered what was already pretty well known (see Tibetan Dream Yoga, Hemi-Sync and Robert Monroe, etc ...). Meditation is a great lucid aid and binaural beats have some interesting effects on the brain. Now appreciate that meditation has a positive but indirect effect on lucid dreaming. Basically, it tends to enhance focus. One of the fundamental reasons that we aren't lucid all the time, is that our logical processes are attenuated and there is a collective defocusing of our mental faculties in the dream state. Now binaural beats at theta and alpha frequencies have two uses as I see it. By entraining the brain to these brainstates, we can practice focus and awareness in an electro-chemical state quite similar to that of the dream state. Furthermore, we can learn to better negotiate hynagogic imagery (HI). This can potentially help with WILDs, for people inclined to have WILDs via HI techniques. In summary though, I have been unable to leverage binaural beats to directly induce lucidity. More powerful entrainment techniques such as cranial electro-stimulation (CES) have relative advantages there. I'm sure we'll get to that later.
As far as LDS theory is concerned, my success with WBTB had already demonstrated that AcH plays a huge role in my ability to get lucid. I immersed myself in Yuschak's outstanding book on the subject and focused my personal trials on the galantamine/choline mix. As you are no doubt aware, that combo has the dual effect of helping to keep AcH alive (effectively increasing its half life) while helping to enhance AcH production. The combined effect has a very profound net result. Suddenly, I was reintroduced to that phenomenon I experienced as a child. I was able to easily maintain awareness during wakeful to REM transitions characterized by powerful head/neck vibrations. The often cited "waves of electricity up and down the body" vibrations were realized only occasionally. What was most interesting here was that I started to differentiate between lucid dreaming and out of body experiences (OBE). I felt these direct transitions via the vibrational state were the latter, and the overall experience was sufficiently different from traditional lucid dreaming to warrant its own categorization and approach.
Now, onto vibrations. It's hard to dig into this subject and my personal theories without some background. But I will say upfront that I have yet to hear a sufficiently convincing theory and/or explaination as to what these are precisely. Countless people have experienced the effect. But they remain a mystery as best I can tell.
Now I am not a theoretical physicist. I say that upfront. But there are a number of conjectures and theories in that space that I find very interesting. I think we'll get into what I call the convergence problem a little later. For now, let's keep it a little scientific. There are several interesting results that fall out of theoretical and quantum physics as I understand it. One is the belief that there are upwards of 26 dimensions in our universe. Now we are intimately familiar with our usual four (three spatial dimensions plus time). Well, where are the missing 22? I wouldn't be the first person to suggest that maybe, just maybe, the dreamspace has physicality in some sense. Now, let's look at quantum physics. Again, we'll keep it very high level. But it is well accepted that human observation and consciousness has an effect on quantum particle superposition state. Going back to the dream world, isn't it interesting that it behaves sort of like a macroscopic quantum reality? That is to say that mental energy is the force creating the "physical" realities of the dreamspace. Finally, there is a conjecture that falls out of this notion of multi-dimensional space. Without loss of generality, let's call our 4 dimensions lower dimensional space (LDiS) and the remaining 22 dimensions higher dimensional space (HDS). It is theorized that points in LDis and HDS can be linked hyperdimensionally. In other words, these points are not truly orthogonal but rather bleed into each other. If that were true, then a force meaningful in one space could traverse into the other space and manifest as a change in fundamental force meaningful to that space.
Now, what does this have to do with vibrations? If one assumes that one's dreamspace is a projection into HDS, then it would stand to reason that it may be possible to transfer force from HDS into LDiS and vice versa. Now in LDiS there are four fundamental forces. Electromagnetic (EM), gravity and weak/strong nuclear. I think we're all in general agreement that mental energy IS the force meaningful to the dreamspace. What if the OBE creates a scenario in which a hyperdimensional link were set-up between these two nearly orthogonal spaces (LDiS/HDS)? Mental energy or consciousness traverses up the ladder (since that is the force meaningful to the dreamspace). EM force traverses down the ladder and into one's physical body in LDiS. Multi-dimensional conservation of energy is maintained, the universe remains balanced and mother nature is satisfied. Now the force in question is probably doing nothing more than tickling some element of the brain and creating the perception of powerful vibrations. Yes, this is a complex theory. One which would need further corroboration (another possible topic for later). But be careful on the application of Occam's Razor. I've seen it fail. Especially true when we dig into some of these larger mysteries, such as extracting verifiable info from lucid dreams, PSI phenomenon in general and the like.
DK: I'd like to hear more about your hypothesis that the dreamspace is a projection into the higher dimensions of physical reality. If that turns out to be true, what would be the implications? Would it mean we might be able to alter physical reality from within our dreams? Could we alter, or perceive, physical reality at locations distant from our physical bodies in space or time (past and/or future)? What experiments could be done, or have been done, to provide evidence for or against this hypothesis?
DrT: There are many places to go with that question, John. Let's try to pick it apart one piece at a time. First, let's consider the fact that we really need a model of some kind to make progress. Perhaps we should start with a few observations. History is rife with examples of telepathy and clairvoyance via dreams. A related topic of course would be remote viewing via various altered states of consciousness. If you do a little searching on these topics you won't need to look far. From my own personal perspective, I have experienced uncanny predictions of future scenes, events and outcomes via my dreams. Non-lucid ones in general. I most recently documented a dream on September 26th in my MM dream journal which appears like it will come to fruition later this week. Now, perhaps I am being too literal, or too 4 dimensional? But these phenomenon seem to imply that the dreamspace provides a conduit for information at the very least. One which is not bound by time as we know it. So at very least it's a channel, as we understand the concept. The basic argument that seems popular is that our dreaming mind is not filtering out PSI noise as effectively as our waking mind and this PSI info can in fact permeate our dreams. In my own experience, certain natural psychoactive substances such as silene capensis can be used with favorable effect here as well.
But then there is this whole question of altering physical reality. Let's turn away from my thoughts and perspective and turn our attention to a higher profile dreamer. In Robert Waggoner's book Lucid Dreaming, he cites a number of cases of apparent healing via the dream state. That is actually a much more challenging and profound example than anything I've tried to pick off. Certainly I applaud his courage for taking a rather risky topic and developing the potential concept. Now if the examples cited in his book had a dreamer focusing healing energy on themselves or another in a dream and it had an apparent physical effect, what does that mean? Well, if it's real, we couple this with the information conduit observations and can only conclude a true physical dreamspace link into WRS (waking reality space). The challenge with this type of experiment of course is how to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that the healing was accelerated for the reasons proposed.
The challenge of "proving" an otherwise poorly understood physical phenomenon and effect is the fundamental problem in all PSI research. PSI research invariably relies on repeated experiments and statistical inference to draw conclusions. But even when the odds against chance for some experiment are a billion to one, all that's been accomplished is a strong inference. Not proof. But when these inferences are made again and again, tallying up independent trials yielding a billion to one, or a trillion to one, a quadrillion to one odds ... what then? At what point are we forced to acknowledge the fact that something is going on?
The basic theory I propose, of the dreamspace being a projection into one or more orthogonal dimensions seems to provide an acceptable model. It would not be bound by space and time as we know it. It can link into our 4-D world and information/force would be able to flow in a bidirectional manner. In other words, information could flow into the dreamspace from arbitrary points in space time. Force could traverse from this HDS into our physical world as well. As I mentioned earlier, there is theoretical justification for this concept.
It may seem like I'm digressing. But I want to introduce the whole convergence concept, then perhaps we can circle back to some experiments I've run and what they seem to imply.
The convergence problem as I define it, is one of pulling together various disciplines and results in order to achieve a more complete picture and understanding of our world. We can look at concepts of life after death, reincarnation and the impermanence of the "soul". We can look at Eastern concepts, especially those arising from Tibetan Dream Yoga such as the Six Realms model (and its uncanny similarity to the multidimensional model I allude to). We can look at quantum physics and string/M-theory. We can review the perspective and results of many of the great Western thinkers in dreamwork, those predominantly from the field of psychology. We can review PSI research. We can look to Shamanism and the use of altered state of consciousness to glean insight into the meaning of life and the universe around us. So I ask you, who's got it right?
Well if we're being pragmatic, I think the answer is most likely to be that there is some truth, wisdom and insight to be absorbed from each of these genres. But doesn't that mean what is really required here is someone who can cherry pick some of the relevant portions of each, extrapolate and project? Create a model, gather data, tweek the model and converge to a measurable result? Well, who is engaged in that effort? Would one of the necessary requirements be to have a natural propensity to operate out of body, if indeed that is the ultimate tool to pull this all together?
That is the convergence problem as I define it. Now in my humble opinion the person who has come closest to this thus far would probably be Robert Monroe. But even he lamented on the fact that dreamspace-to-WRS communication was something he was only able to measure anecdotally, not objectively. Of course Monroe's personal production of insights has also been sorely missed for the last 15 years. Well ... at least in a literal sense.
So where to go from here? The first observation I offer is that insight is going to be a multi-tiered challenge in and of itself. One needs to have enough knowledge of these different genres to be influenced by but not overwhelmed by each. The other crucial step in my opinion is a reliable method of using PSI to chase PSI. Doesn't that seem intuitive? Why chase PSI via purely scientific methods for example. Isn't that like swatting a fly with a baseball bat? It might work, but it doesn't seem like the right tool. Science doesn't always have the answer. Sometimes it needs a little help. Open your proverbial history books and do a little digging. Tesla and Edison were both prolific inventors. They were also both essentially mystics. What were they tapping into precisely?
In my experience, I've been able to use a particular altered state of consciousness to develop three specific sets of ideas,experiments and results. I've been able to prove to myself the relationship between PSI and this state of awareness. It's pointed me in the right direction time and time again without any real analysis or effort on my part. This is the sort of mechanism and approach that seems to stand the best chance. This coupled with exploration of the out of body state. These are my personal tools of choice.
[To read more of this interview, click here.]
Tuesday, September 28, 2010
He e-mailed back with some interesting questions about the nature of lucid dreaming. Here are his questions and my answers:
E: That's pretty interesting. The first thing that came to mind for me is Second Life, because flying is the only way to get from island to island.
J: It is somewhat analogous to a virtual world such as 2nd Life, though there are also important differences. For one thing, in 2nd Life you know that the other beings in the world are being controlled by real people. In a lucid dream, that's not the case. All the people you encounter are actually creations of your own mind.
E: But as far as I know there's collision detection and you can't "phase" through things.
J: Right. The default setting in my lucid dreams is for "collision detection" to be enabled. It's not always possible to phase through things. I had no trouble doing it that time. It was the first time I'd tried it. Next time I try it, it might not work. You never know. In most cases if you believe you'll be able to do something in an lucid dream, you will be able to do it. But when you have doubts about being able to do it, you usually won't be able to do it. A bit like the psychological aspect of sports.
E: I don't entirely understand this lucid dream concept. You say that you "did things" like the hand-looking, etc., but my conception of lucid dreaming is that you are sort of conscious of things much as you're conscious while awake, and can say "well here I am, what's there to do in Spokane? Hmm, I'll go skiing and then after hit the Viking [a local bar]". And then you do it in a very conscious way.
J: Yes, you definitely are conscious in much the same way that you're conscious when awake, though the state of your brain is not quite the same, because you actually are dreaming. You definitely choose to do things in a lucid dream. Of course, one could argue that you also choose to do things in regular (non-lucid) dreams. The primary difference is that in a lucid dream you know it's just a dream, so you feel free to do pretty much whatever you feel like doing, without any significant consequences. In a non-lucid dream you believe the dream world you're interacting with is the real world, from which it follows that you also believe there can be serious adverse consequences for choosing to do certain things. Some would argue that there could also be serious adverse consequences to doing certain things in a lucid dream. For example, if you were to murder a dream character in a lucid dream, I suppose it's possible that it could have an adverse emotional impact. But as long as you don't do things like that, there are no serious consequences. I'm not even sure the consequences of murdering a dream character would be very serious, though I don't think I'd ever do that.
E: What you seem to be saying is that your "avatar" in the dream did sort of pre-programmed operations, without you specifically doing them with the same "awake" feeling that you'd feel if you were not dreaming.
J: They're definitely not pre-programmed operations. You choose to do whatever you do in a lucid dream at the time you do it, pretty much as in waking life. The only sense in which your actions might be said to be pre-programmed is that you can choose to do things that you previously had made a decision to do. For example, before going to bed you might say to yourself, "I'd like to try phasing through walls if I have a lucid dream tonight." Then when you have a lucid dream, you might remember having decided to do that and choose to do it. But that's also how it is in waking life. You might decide in the morning that you're going to go out for a beer that evening. When evening rolls around, you'll probably choose to go out for a beer because you remember you had made plans to do so earlier in the day. But you're always free to change your mind and do something else. It's the same way with lucid dreams. Even though you had made earlier plans to, for example, phase through walls during your lucid dream, you can always choose to do something completely different once you're in the lucid dream.
E: Maybe I'm just not getting the lucid dream concept. I think of it as feeling just like reality, with you fully conscious in a first-person way. But maybe it's different.
J: It can be a lot like reality in certain ways, but it's not the same as reality. For one thing, you're aware of the fact that it really isn't reality. Another difference is that, since you're in a virtual world of your own creation, you can often significantly alter the nature of that world. For example, you may be able to phase through walls, fly, teleport, create objects out of thin air, make objects disappear, etc. On the other hand, often you can't do what you try to do. Sometimes you can't do much of anything at all. I've had lucid dreams in which I couldn't even move. As for consciousness, you are by definition conscious of the fact that you're dreaming. But you're not conscious in exactly the same way as when awake. Your brain state is different. The degree of consciousness is variable. Sometimes you're just barely aware that you're dreaming, but can't think anywhere near as clearly as when awake. Other times, you can think almost as clearly as when awake.
Friday, September 24, 2010
I took 8 mg of G (Galantamind) before going to bed a little before midnight. I tried to WILD (wake-initiated lucid dream), but fell asleep quickly and don't recall any dreams until waking up around 3:30 am. I took 4 mg more of G, then went back to bed and had this lucid dream:
In this long, complicated dream I observe various everyday events in the life of a black singer/songwriter, or events that occur in his neighborhood. I forget many parts of the dream, due to its length. For much of the dream it seems as though I'm either watching a movie about the guy or floating in the air as an invisible observer. At other times I'm actually participating in the dream scene in some way, but as a stranger on the periphery of the guy's life. He was famous at one time, with many big Motown hits, but now his career is pretty much over. [He's not an actual person as far as I know IWL (in waking life).] He lives in a small house with his wife in a run-down part of the inner city. I'm watching them at home in the evening while they're entertaining some visitors, including some children. At one point he plays a recording of himself singing a beautiful love song he wrote. [I think it was a song that is currently popular and that I like a lot IWL, but now that the dream is over I can't remember what it was.] He mentions to some of his visitors that besides being about love, the song has a hidden meaning relating to drug addiction. I think it was meth addiction, specifically. Later, I'm in an inner-city political campaign office. They have posters in a glass display case explaining the politics of different counties in different states. For example, the poster for one particular county says something like "Don't bother asking these people for donations, because very few of them support our candidate." In another scene I'm with my mother-in-law in an indoor shopping mall. She asks me about a dinner we're supposed to be having in a few days in a nearby downtown bus station. She wants to know who will be there. I tell her I'm not sure, but maybe my friend F. Eventually, I'm walking around the neighborhood on a bright, sunny day. The area is completely abandoned. There are no people or vehicles to be seen anywhere. On the corner across the street I see a chalky-white single-story art-deco building. It looks like it might have been a diner, soda fountain, or drug store in the 30's or 40's. It's in poor condition and seems to be abandoned. Its architectural style is similar to that of the house pictured at the bottom of this link. The name of the business that was formerly at that location is painted in large, faded black letters across the front of the building above the windows. [Unfortunately, I don't remember what the name was.] As I cross the street walking towards the building, I suddenly become lucid for no apparent reason (as is usual for me). I immediately remember that one of my lucid-dream goals is to look at my hands. I hold them up in front of me. They look like my normal hands, except that they're slightly smaller and are sparkly, like the vampires from Twilight when they're in the sun. [I'm not really a fan, but know a lot about Twilight, due to having teenage daughters. ;) ] I also notice that I'm wearing a long-sleeved shirt with some kind of pattern on it (maybe plaid). I then remember that another of my goals is to cover my eyes with my hands. I put my hands over my eyes for a second and see nothing but blackness. When I remove my hands, everything looks the same, except that I'm now looking at the ground and see a lot of detail, such as weeds growing out of cracks in the sidewalk. Another of my goals is to get better at flying, so I jump into the air and begin flying rapidly down the middle of the street past the art deco building. I pass between two large shiny black office buildings. There's a two-story-high pedestrian bridge connecting the two buildings. I try to fly over it, but don't gain altitude fast enough. I'm moving really fast, so I decide to phase right through the walls of the bridge. Upon impact I close my eyes and immediately open them. I see that I've phased into the bridge, and am hurtling toward the opposite wall. Upon impact with that wall I close my eyes again and phase through it to the outside of the bridge. I decide to use the same technique to phase into the office building on my right. I pass through its exterior wall and end up in a darkened hallway. No one is around. I phase through an interior wall and find myself in a large brightly-lit restroom with showers. The restroom appears to be functional, but outdated and a little bit run-down. I phase through another wall and end up in a similar restroom. At this point, I wake up. I don't see any hypnopompic imagery, which is kind of unusual for my lucid dreams.
It probably wasn't necessary to take the extra 4 mg of G at 3:30. I don't want to take more than is needed, so I don't build up a tolerance. I probably shouldn't have taken any when I first went to bed and then taken the 8 mg when I woke up at 3:30. I really should try taking G with caffeine sometime, which I mentioned I wanted to try in another Mortal Mist post.
This dream must have been influenced quite a bit by an amazing movie I saw last night. It's a documentary about cantors (Jewish religious singers) visiting Poland to perform and explore their roots. It's interesting that my sleeping brain changed cantors into a Motown singer/songwriter.
I probably dreamed about my mother-in-law because she is visiting us now. But we haven't had dinner in any bus stations, nor are we planning on doing so. Maybe we should, to see what it would be like.
I'm always amazed by the contrast between the content of my dreams before and after becoming lucid, as exemplified by this dream. After becoming lucid I usually become extremely goal-oriented and probably miss a lot of important aspects of the dream. There's nothing wrong with achieving goals, but when I get better at inducing lucids I'd like to try a less goal-oriented approach in which I simply let the dream unfold, while maintaining awareness that it is a dream. So, I have a long-term goal of being less goal-oriented. ;)
My hands may have looked smaller than normal in this dream due to a recent conversation I had on Mortal Mist. That same thread also discusses closing one's eyes, covering one's eyes, and phasing through objects.
I achieved the following goals in this lucid dream:
1. Looking at my hands. This was the the first time I was actually able to see them during an LD. It was the second time I remembered to try looking at them.
2. Covering my eyes with my hands. This was the first time I've tried that.
3. Improving my flying ability.
4. Closing my eyes and then reopening them. This was the first time I've tried that and I was able to do it five times.
5. Phasing through solid objects. This was the first time I've tried that and I was able to do it five times.