As a child, when a nightmare would wake me from sleep, I couldn’t easily shake it. In fact, if I tried to fall back asleep, it was as if I was right back in the nightmare exactly where I’d left off. So, without coaching from anyone, I decided to start changing my dreams. I began shifting the subject of my dreams after I’d had a nightmare. For instance, if I awoke because I’d been dreaming that I was being chased by a monster, I would focus on something else when I laid my head back down on the pillow. I would envision rainbows, sunshine, swing-sets, my family, puppies, kittens — you know the stuff 8-year-old happiness is made of, and it worked.
I was able to consciously turn my nightmares into something more desirable for my subconscious. Eventually, I started to do this before I even went to sleep. I was able to control my sleep experiences through focused attention. If only I’d known how significant that was as a child. Then again, if I did, I wouldn’t have been as present. I started keeping a dream journal as a teen, when I became interested in dream interpretation. As an adult, however, the self-interpretation of the symbolism in my dreams is much more fascinating. If you don’t have one already, start a dream journal. Write down your dreams as soon as you wake from them, even if it’s in the middle of the night. And, every so often read your journal from cover to cover. It’s an amazing story about your own consciousness.
I’ve been using this subtle practice of lucid dreaming for more than three decades. As an adult, it’s helped me to stave off the pre-sleep, anxious mind-activity that often resulted in insomnia. A kind of self-hypnosis, I’ve directed my attention inward and tapped into experiences in which I realized true joy. Sometimes, before I drift off into sleep, I’ll bring my attention to the mantra my yoga teacher gave me for meditation. Before I know it, the worries of the day are gone, and I’m off into a deep sleepitation.
Last night, I began to write this post, and decided to finish it this morning before posting, in case I’d had a particularly unique experience to share. Well, I did, but not in my dreams. Just when I’ve put the idea of a collective consciousness in my, well, unconscious, the universe sends a sign that brings me back to the present. This morning, as I was drinking my tea and reading through the WordPress Freshly Pressed, I came upon an amazing non-coincidence — blog post from Beta Nerd. The post, Get Lucid… Get Incepted…, is a “How to” guide (if you will) on lucid dreaming. Check out the post here.
Dreams speak to us, from us, about us. Do you speak to you through your dreams?
– Your Charmed Yogi
Photo: Childhood Dream by Deviantart