Back in 2001, the brilliant avant-garde film director, Richard Linklater, explored our dreaming life in a novel way using colorized film in Waking Life. His film opens in a dream state that looks strangely like real life, only very cartoonish.
Each vivid, fully engaging scene drifts into yet another scene where you are forced to conclude that you are still witnessing a dream. You keep waiting to wake up. But in this film, that never happens.
The characters do everything they normally do in actual life, even though things are a bit incongruous, such as clouds merging into fully recognizable shapes. In this dreamscape, you have a feeling of openness, of infinite possibility. At the end, you find yourself slowly lifted up into the sky, reminded that this is all a dream.
Is it possible this could be true?
Vivid dreams are any dream where the clarity, contrast and definition approach real life, where it is difficult to tell that you aren’t already in a waking state. You can experience erotic bliss, enlightenment or a revelation. You can do things you couldn’t imagine in real life, such as fly without a glider, balloon or airplane.
Vivid dreams can be lucid, where you are in the dream, aware that you are dreaming, with conscious choice.
You can remember, concentrate and focus, as well as observe yourself, others and your environment. You even remember your waking life. Yet, when you actually do awaken into the “real world,” the dream world disappears.
Early in my life, I had a hard time remembering my dreams, which I thought were mostly black and white. In the years since, I became conscious of color and could feel powerful emotions. I was able to dream a certain sequence, get up and go to the bathroom, and then return to bed, close my eyes, and perfectly resume where I left off. I even found that I could read books I had never even picked up with great precision and accuracy.
We can hardly overestimate the power of dreams to impact our life. Most of humanity’s spiritual traditions derive from dreams, and they provide a powerful clue to the nature of the afterlife. Particularly vivid dreams can be cherished for years and impact your entire view of life. This is especially true when it comes to spiritual revelations.
In my case, I dreamt that I saw the great director, Stephen Spielberg, shooting a set where the triumphant Christ has just returned to hand out roses to everyone, their bodies arising with the flip of his fingertip. This dream held great meaning for me, even though I wasn’t sure exactly how it had come about.
We spend one-third of our lives sleeping, the equivalent of 30 years for an adult, and six years in a dream state.
Imagine if you could consciously play without limitations for six straight years. You could work out every problem and master every skill, including athletics, public speaking and playing a musical instrument. The amazing thing is that thousands of us around the world are starting to systematically come to life in our dreams.
In the 40 years since Stephen LaBerge of Stanford University did his Ph.D. in lucid dreaming, and the Dalai Lama began to have a major impact on popular culture around the world, lucid dreaming has become a hot topic with countless books, videos and classes on the subject. A great amount of experimentation has been done, and a treasure trove of tricks and techniques have been gathered.
Vivid dreams start with a journal that you keep by your bed, and an intention to remember your dreams. You begin to record them as soon as you wake up, even if in the middle of the night, and then go back to sleep. Gradually, over time, you begin to remember more dreams, and some start to become vivid.
You pay attention to your sleep cycle, which goes from shallow to deep sleep, and then back again to shallow sleep. Our vivid dreams generally occur in light sleep with REM (rapid eye movements). You can set your alarm as much as two hours early. For yogis, the hours between 3:00 AM and 5:00 AM are often the best times for advanced realization, and even revelations.
The subconscious mind works with images to talk to your conscious mind, directing you toward things to which you need to give attention. For example, moving from the top floor to the bottom floor of a house can refer to different parts of you needing to hear one another, such as your head hearing your heart.
Your dreams may be advising you to slow down from a frenetic pace, or take a new direction in your life. Should you marry a certain person or take a graduate course or apply for a new job? Without a meditation practice, we are often too busy to effectively listen to ourselves. Dreams, even nightmares, will eventually erupt to force us to listen.
Oftentimes, our dreams will accurately predict the future. One needs only think of the famed Jeannie Dixon who begged President Kennedy not to go to Dallas the day he was assassinated. Our dreams may also encourage us, giving us spiritual inspiration in the face of major obstacles in our life, such as an unexpected trip to the hospital.
The practice of lucid dreaming is most helpful in learning to deal with nightmares. In a lucid dream course, you can learn in a waking state to give yourself subconscious signals to remind yourself that you are in a sleeping state. For example, if you can put your hands through walls, as we can do in VR devices, you are most definitely within a dream.
You can start a meditation practice to complement your dream life, and thus better cope with nightmares. Dreams often come to us as dynamic expressions of unresolved aspects of our lives. When we resolve the issue, the nightmares go away.
Sometimes the weird dreams are spiritual messages from beyond inviting you to engage with your Higher Self. This can be one of the greatest opportunities of your life.
For example, the patriarch Jacob, father of ancient Israel, fell asleep on a rock in a wilderness and dreamt of a ladder going right up to heaven, with angels ascending and descending. When Jacob woke up, he anointed the rock with oil and called it a sacred place. This was a turning point in his life where he finally got reconciled with his brother and began to prosper exponentially.
Gurus speak of the “Three Worlds,” sleeping, dreaming and waking, and then speak of a fourth world, Turiya, or the Fourth State. In each state, you awaken from another dream. From the waking state, you awaken to your true Self, Being / Consciousness / Bliss. This life is thus seen as a series of intermittent dreams.
The Tibetan monks embraced lucid dreaming as a form of yoga. The better they got at living their dreams, the better prepared they were to enter Bardo, or the realm between one life and the next. They disciplined themselves to prepare for the ultimate awakening within The Clear Light, merging with Whom and What we call “God.”
The more conscious we become through meditation and lucid dreams, the more comfortable we are with the promise of eternal life. Every form of death or separation is but an interval between one expression of our divinity and the next. Why just meditate? Why not also lucid dream?
Andrew Holecek is a true pioneer in lucid dreaming, having studied several years with the Dalai Lama, and deeply immersed himself in Tibet’s most advanced practices. Andrew integrates the latest cutting-edge research into neuroscience with ancient yogic techniques in a fresh, contemporary approach.
Andrew offers an online course, Dream Sculpting: Mastering the Art of Lucid Dreams, where he starts you, along with dozens of other students, from the beginning, building a foundation, and then introducing both daytime and night-time techniques of dream induction, along with the most advanced tips and tricks.
Andrew guarantees that every student will make progress within 30 days, or you get your money back, no questions asked. In addition, you are introduced to a whole community in which to share experiences. Andrew makes this all available via video and audio sessions, along with reference material and practical, progressive exercises.
I will bet that you have always wanted to treat yourself to something special like this. Perhaps you dreamt of being an astronaut as a child. Why not be a psychonaut, and explore the inner dimension of your Self?
Once you find yourself at home in this world, you will realize that you are infinitely richer than you ever imagined you could be.