Lucid Dreams and OBE's
by Diane Linsley
Most people have heard of lucid dreams and OBE's (out-of-body
experiences), or they have some limited experience with them, but
they dismiss them as something weird that just happened. They
don't know that you can actually train yourself to lucid dream,
which is a valuable practice for personal growth.
My Experience with OBE's
I started having spontaneous OBE's a few years ago. 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'd 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, and I started freaking out. I didn't know that 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 that 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 where when I felt myself floating out of my body against my will. That was terrifying because 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 dreaming, 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 their 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 remember 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 friends and 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 they became some of my best 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 that I can remember these dreams.
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 that seems so real. I always 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 OBE's
OBE's are amazing, but it takes lots of practice to develop the self-control required to consciously leave your body and have a successful experience. Robert Bruce has developed many techniques, some of which I have tried. His books are listed below.
The easiest way for me to get into the right state of mind is to meditate before bed. Falling asleep while meditating often results in a lucid dream or OBE. I practice meditating again if I wake up during the night. I no longer dread episodes of insomnia because they are an opportunity to meditate or practice OBE techniques.
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 - like there was a presence overseeing my training. This made me a little nervous, but more determined to succeed. I believe that there is a higher intelligence guiding me.
Dreamwork and OBE's
I agree with Hal and Sidra Stone, who 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."
Hal and Sidra recommend dreamwork as a way to integrate shadow material. I have found all types of dreams to be valuable. The main difference is that in lucid dreams and OBE's, we face the shadow with more conscious awareness. The shadow can be dealt with right there in the dream, instead of waiting until we wake up to analyze and deal with it.
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.
Meditating before going to sleep has been shown to increase the chances of having a lucid dream. Here's a guided mindfulness meditation.
Lucid Dreaming and OBE Resources
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