I haven’t been lucid dreaming for a while now, at least a few months. In the past, I’ve found that I could become lucid quite regularly if I followed a routine of going to sleep relatively early (before 11pm), then waking up around 4am, then again at 5.30am and finally 7am.
This routine worked very well for me, and I could become lucid quite often while following it.
However, for all sorts of interesting reasons, I almost never follow that routine, and almost never go to bed before at least 2am.
This past week has been a good example. After a staff member family tragedy, I ended up I on the night shift packing boxes at work. I got to bed about 8am. My Coursera course routine has been to do nothing until the just before the deadline day (about 5.30am Monday morning). As the course has progressed, the readings have taken me longer, so I’ve worked right until the deadline the past few Sundays.
And then, there’s the odd stay up till seven just because I’m in the zone, full of energy and getting lots done.
Going to bed before 11 is like most people considering going to bed at 5pm – rather unlikely to happen.
Usually, after seeing too many sunrises in a row, I tend to crash, and have an early night, before slowly drifting later and later again. But now, for the first time since the mindfulness of dream and sleep retreat about 18 months ago, I’ve made three days in a row of going to sleep early, around midnight or before, and getting lots of sleep. The first two days I had extremely vivid, almost but not-quite lucid dreams. And today, the third day, I became lucid again.
The main inspiration for my lucidity has been my son. He began by telling me about his lucid dreams, which was my first realisation that such a thing existed. Quite often, he’s been the trigger in my dreams as well. Playing with him, chasing him down corridors, his form changing around every turn. Or simply when he’s been staying with me. So it’s fitting that yesterday was his birthday, and after a fun but exhausting day with him, I had another early night.
In the dream, I was at my parents house (another common dream motif). I tried to switch on a light, and it didn’t work. As a force of habit, I did a reality check, the easiest being a hand check. I obviously didn’t do a very good hand check because I didn’t realise I was dreaming, but I decided to leap into the air and start flying anyway, and to my complete shock I took off.
So it seems I have a new, more reliable, reality check – flying. Expect to see me hopping down the street from now on, trying to take off.
In almost all of my previous lucid dreams, I have known I was dreaming without doing a reality check. Either something strange has happened, or I’ve simply got the sense that it was a dream. Only once before have I done a reality check and been stunned to realise I was dreaming. Now I realise that perhaps my hand checks haven’t been working, although I don’t recall any failed hand checks after working up. My hand changes have always been subtle, a wrinkle hear, a marking there, rather than the dramatic missing finger or branch growing out some people report.
In this lucid dream I finally managed to do so tai chi and chi kung. After the inevitable blissful soaring through the sky, ended by breaking through a thin cloud, a wish I realise I had while driving in the day, I decided to meditate. Before really getting started, I decide to do tai chi instead.
This has never worked before. Either I haven’t found a spot in my dream where I could do tai chi – my first attempt saw me going on a mission to find a field across a strange city, each field being either covered in rocks or steeply sloped, and when I finally found a suitable field, waking up immediately.
I have only managed once to even attempt tai chi, but it was hopeless, with me staggering and falling about, utterly unbalanced.
Once again, my mind put obstacles in my way. There is a field near my parents house, and I ran there. My “usual spot” on the field was taken by a parked car. I have no usual spot, I’ve never done tai chi on that field. There was dog shit on the field, broken glass. But finally I found a spot, and could so start practising. I started with an eight section brocade, and as I bent my knees and lowered my body, I found myself in water, with only my mouth and hands above water. Somehow this wasn’t much of an obstacle, and I managed to carry on. When I got to the exercise of rotating the waist as far left and right as possible, I found I could keep going indefinitely, and I seemed to stop only to keep the exercise realistic, as I thought that turning around five times is not how the exercise is supposed to be done.
There were more obstacles, a child playing and falling into the water next to me, but I managed a reasonable session before waking up.
I’ve just tried the routine now, and realised that I’d mixed up two routines, the eight section brocade and the seven stars of dipper.
Sadly, I can’t twist around indefinitely either.