Lucid Dreams and OBE's
by Diane Linsley
Lucid dreaming is one of the most effective spiritual practices I have
ever done. If I could only choose one thing to do, this would be it.
There are various degrees of lucid dreaming ranging from dreams
in which you are vaguely aware that you are dreaming to fully lucid
My First Experiences with OBE's
I started having spontaneous OBE's in my early forties. Sometimes
I would find myself wandering around the house in the dark, trying
to turn on the lights and thinking that the electricity had gone out
because the light switches didn't work. Then I would go back to bed,
hoping the electricity would come back on by morning. I didn't
realize that the lights didn't work because I was out of my body,
and you can't turn on a physical light without a physical hand.
One time, I ended up in the living room, sitting on the couch. I was afraid of the dark, so I started to freak out. I didn't know I was out of my body, and I didn't know how to go back (the secret is to say, "Take me back to my body.") I thought I was having a vivid nightmare. So I screamed and cried until the OBE ended by itself.
Most of my spontaneous OBE's were not that dramatic. Sometimes I just rolled out of bed and fell on the floor. Other times, I kicked off the covers. But when I woke up, I was still in the same position as when I went to sleep.
The scariest episodes were when I felt myself floating out of my body against my will. I thought I was dying or being controlled by an unseen power. Eventually, I began to wonder if I had a brain tumor or some other dreadful disease. So I researched sleep disorders on the internet. I learned about sleep cycles, lucid dreams, sleep paralysis and OBE's. That was the answer! I bought a large stack of books, the best of which are listed at the bottom of this article.
The Facts About OBE's
Knowledge is power. I learned that I was entering a new stage of spiritual development and that lucid dreaming was a side effect of increasing my awareness through meditation. The awareness that I was developing in my waking life was spilling over into my dreaming life. I learned that everyone has OBE's, but most people don't remember them because they are unable to bring conscious awareness into the stages of sleep. Waldo Vieira says, "Separations from the body are experienced every day by men and women during natural sleep. Having lucid memories of extraphysical occurrences remains the most difficult, yet surmountable problem."
He also states that "projection is a capacity inherent in everyone. It is a reality accessible to anyone with some degree of discipline. The ability to control the projection of the consciousness depends on one's ability to control their own thoughts, judgments, wishes, emotions, motivations and affinities."
In a national survey, 20% of Americans recalled having at least one OBE in their lifetime. But those who are able to consciously project their awareness outside of the body and control the experience are rare. A conscious projector has to train himself to remain lucid during the OBE, control his emotional impulses, and recall the experience after he returns to his body.
More OBE Experiences
During my most memorable OBE's, I have spoken to spirit guides, who gave me life-changing advice. I've visited with deceased relatives. I've met people who seemed absolutely real (not like normal dream characters). They later appeared in waking life (they were real people!), and we became friends.
I'm convinced that we communicate with other people through the collective unconscious while we are sleeping, whether we remember it or not. I've worked to increase my awareness so I can remember what I learn in the dream state in order to make changes in my waking life.
With increased awareness, even normal dreams become more complex, detailed and beautiful. My dreams are often vividly realistic, involving all of my senses. I often dream in full cinematic color with original background music - just like a movie. I'm amazed that my unconscious mind can create something so realistic. I look forward to my nightly adventures.
The conscious mind is only 5% of the whole mind. The other 95% is unconscious. The unconscious mind is largely overlooked, denied, and even feared by people when they don't understand it. If you want to know your unconscious mind, look to your dreams.
Techniques for Inducing Lucid Dreams
One way to prepare for a lucid dream is to meditate before bed or at naptime. Chakra balancing is also helpful. If I wake up during the night, I meditate again. I no longer dread episodes of insomnia because they are opportunities to practice lucid dream induction techniques.
One technique involves asking yourself periodically throughout the day, "Am I dreaming?" Then look at your hands. If you see 10 fingers very clearly, then you are awake. Once this becomes a habit, you will start doing it in your sleep. When you look at your hands in a dream, they will appear differently, and you will know that you are dreaming.
You can find more induction techniques in the books at the end of this article.
Full lucidity requires a great deal of self-control. Before I started having fully lucid dreams and OBE's,
I experienced a long series of semi-lucid dreams that seemed to be testing my ability to control my emotions. These dreams gradually increased my awareness until I could maintain control of my thoughts and emotions during the dream state.
Some researchers call these types of dreams "simulations." It felt like I was being trained, and there was a presence overseeing my training. This made me a little nervous, but more determined to succeed.
In one lucid dream, I communicated directly with the invisible dream guide and asked him questions about the structure of the dream. He told me that this particular dream was a simulation designed to raise my vibration and help me develop more awareness about the effects of my choices.
The self-control that you develop through lucid dream practice translates into greater self-control in your waking life. How would your life change if you had more awareness and self-discipline?
Dreamwork for Positive Change
Speaking of the intelligence that oversees our dreams, Drs. Hal and Sidra Stone say, "We feel the purposive nature of this intelligence, we know that it wants something from us, and that it is moving us in an entirely new direction.... This intelligence wishes us to become all that we can be.... It wants us to claim our full humanity." Dreamwork is a way to integrate shadow material. All types of dreams are valuable, including the non-lucid ones. The main difference is that in lucid dreams, we face the shadow with conscious awareness. The shadow can be dealt with right there in the dream, instead of waiting until we wake up to analyze it.
Andrew Holecek says that lucid dreaming has been shown to be more effective than psychotherapy for creating permanent, positive change in one's life.
Waldo Vieira says that a fully conscious OBE "is one event able to provoke modification of scientific, moral and religious points of view, and has deep, far-reaching effects on anyone's knowledge, opinions, education, customs and beliefs.... Generations of teachings are humbled, centuries of civilization are reduced to dust in the mind of the projector, and mountains of prejudice lose their meaning. Through personal experimentation, one dismisses all tiresome arguments. The result is peaceful certainty."
Like other OBE explorers, I have an insatiable curiosity to understand myself and the universe. I'm not satisfied to wait passively for other people to tell me what to believe. I want personal experience, not mere ideas and concepts. I'm a true explorer.
Lucid Dream and OBE Resources
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