When dreaming, one enters a state of consciousness in which the whole scenario is subtle, flowing and flexible. Here, your own thoughts, ideas and emotions can shape the energy of the mind into symbolic images and forms.
With the right training, you can also learn to consciously enter and control your own dreams. These are called lucid dreams. And having the same characteristics as all dreams, would also be fluid and open to incoming impressions.
Working within the dimension of your dreams is an extremely important exercise, even more so than imagery, as it requires a very high level of consciousness, intention and will–power and also introduces you to the idea of being able to change your perception of reality. During this kind of dream-work you are actually directly engaging your subconscious mind and with practice, can learn to merge it with your normal consciousness. This bridging of the gap between subconscious and conscious processes opens the path for the inflow of consciousness from your higher self. Lucid dreams are very powerful in this way, in that they can bring you closer to your true spiritual self and the ultimate reality of the Divine Mind.
You may recall from previous articles that your subconscious mind and body responds to a recreated situation (imagery) in the same way as it would to a real-life situation. This applies to dreaming as well. The difference is now that you are actually able to control the dream and shift and change the images and the entire scenario to suit yourself. And as with imagery, can set up situations which can result in self-development and growth.
When planning to work with lucid dreaming, the idea is to prepare your mind beforehand for a number of days by practicing a degree of self-discipline. By programming your mind with affirmations and intentions, your subconscious mind will hopefully, after a few days, present you with a moment or two during a dream when you partially wake up and realise that you are dreaming. During that time, you have about a second to open a doorway by making a conscious statement of intent and a decision to enter and control the dream. This ability comes gradually and in stages. Initially you will only have a very low level of awareness and for very brief periods, but with persistence, the skill can be improved.
I have formulated a step-by-step exercise for you to apply in order to begin lucid dreaming. It is best to attempt this immediately after waking in the morning or during a light sleep such as an afternoon snooze or nap, as it is more difficult to cultivate moments of awareness during deep sleep, when one has had a heavy meal, or is exhausted.
A step-by-step process
- Begin a period of preparation in which you use affirmations and intentions to communicate your readiness to engage in lucid dreaming, to your subconscious mind which acts as an inner guardian for your dream-consciousness
- Set intentions to note very specific visual cues in your dreams which will lead to moments of awareness. For example, use the statement ‘When I see my hands (in my dream) I will realise that I am dreaming' (Casteneda,1993)
- Attempt to cultivate brief moments of partial awareness during your dreaming into which you can introduce a conscious thought. For example, ‘Hey, I'm dreaming', ‘I am aware' or ‘I can do something'
- Act immediately on this one thought by initiating some action in your dream, no matter how small or insignificant. For example, if you are dreaming you are walking along the road and have a brief moment of awareness, consciously stop and touch something
- Try to find the consciousness to create a more powerful thought such as ‘I am dreaming' and then consciously participate in the ongoing drama for a longer period of time
- The ideal is to eventually take control of the dream and be able to completely restructure its activities as a means of self-empowerment. For example, introducing and opening a door which represents access to a higher level of consciousness
- Over time this will radically increase your will-power and intention as well as introducing you to new dimensions of consciousness
- You will find that you soon begin to lose control of the dream as your energy wanes.
In this case, it is advisable to end the dream by consciously setting the intention to wake up.
Controlling the dream
As I said, once you have achieved a measure of awareness, glance around in the dream for opportunities to alter the scene in some way. You will see how the scene shifts with each new decision or intention as you begin to exercise real choices, with each change bringing about a heightened consciousness and increased feelings of confidence. However, as your consciousness increases, the dream will become more real and you may experience powerful emotions.
As this is actually an exercise in consciousness, the images will all be symbolic in some way. For example, when interacting with archetypal figures in the dream, their strength and power will usually be suggested by their attributes such as height and build. In this regard, it may be useful to consult the sections on symbolism and dream-recall in my previous book ‘Multi-Dimensional Thinking' (Kima Global, 2007).
At this level of mental functioning, where you have advanced your consciousness to the point of having some control over your dreams, a lucid dream can offer some real opportunities for growth, such using the power of your intention to change the scene or to de-construct the dream altogether, leaving you only with an interplay of light and colour.
However, it requires huge amounts of effort to initiate major shifts to your dream-perception and you will soon begin to notice how your consciousness and clarity decreases as your energy becomes depleted and the scene returns to normal once again. It can therefore also be a useful exercise for increasing your psychic energy.
Once you have attained a certain level of conscious awareness in your lucid dream, it becomes an open visual field and you will be able to interact fully with your subconscious and even with spirit guides and angelic beings of light which are also able to enter your dream.
I wish you all the best with your exercise of lucid dreaming. You will find that it opens an exciting and important area of your mind for development.
By Jimmy Henderson - www.jimmyhendersonbooks.com