How Lucid Dreaming Applies to Waking Life. ~ Kristen Coyle

Via elephant journal
on Mar 9, 2013
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Time Jumper

“By acting a certain way while dreaming, one can cause psychosomatic changes in one’s being…”
~ Carlos Castaneda, The Art of Dreaming

I first read The Art of Dreaming years ago.

I was amazed to learn that I had effortlessly been lucid dreaming for many years, so much so that I thought the lucid dream experiences I was having were normal experiences that everyone had every night. It started as foreseeing crime events, or dreaming of a person and later on ending up meeting that person in waking life; then, I read about the Four Gates of Dreaming as described in The Art of Dreaming. The first gate is very simple: “Stabilization of the dreaming body—arrived at when one perceives one’s hands in a dream.”

Painted by Delia Galhotra - People Body Parts Photos on PixotoIn lucid dreaming, Toltec shamanism guides us to train ourselves to become aware that we are dreaming by looking at our hands. As soon as we are capable of looking at our hands in the dream state, often we will instantly become aware that we are in a dream. Those who develop this skill are eventually also able to control the course of the dream, or at very least, wake oneself up out of a dream that isn’t going in a nice direction.

After years of practicing this technique—sometimes successfully—I would be able to see my hands and guide myself into very mystical realms. Other times, to no avail, the chitta vrittas (the modifications of the mind stuff; mental chatter), like a hurricane, would sweep me into complex, inescapable realms that are surely real…until I wake up of course.

Just look at your hands when you’re dreaming. Simple, right?

The idea is that if we become aware of our hands in our dream, we step out of the dream and witness it happening from a very powerful awareness, like watching a movie. To me, this idea is strikingly similar to what the ancient yogis asked us to do with realizing that everything around us is maya, or illusion. We are all viewing life through our own lens. It is through awareness of this that we can step out of the maya that binds us to one set reality and begin to understand that our reality is a direct reflection of what is going on within us. Along with this, one begins to realize how moldable reality is, and consciously co-creates reality through intention followed through with right action.

“If you can have control over the thought forms and change them as you want, you are not bound by the outside world. There’s nothing wrong with the world. You can make it a heaven or a hell according to your approach. That is why the entire Yoga is based on chitta vritti nirodhah (“The restraint of the modifications of the mind stuff is Yoga.” Sutra 2:1). If you control your mind, you have controlled everything. Then there is nothing in this world to bind you.”
~ Sri Swami Satchidananda, The Yoga Sutras of Patanjali

I have realized that looking at my hands in dreaming and calling awareness to witnessing the dream movie play out is very applicable in waking life as well. Pause, look at your hands, and become aware.

You are the eternal witness.

Everything that spins around you is the maya—the dream stuff—of real life.

Imagine if we all took a moment (or several) each day, to pause; to wake up from the dream; to look at our hands; to realize this divine place within that is eternally witnessing, still, in Nature. When we step into that place of stillness, it becomes more effortless to honestly examine our actions, words and thoughts, as well as our relationships with ourselves and others. By shedding the light of awareness on our conscious or unconscious intentions, allowing ourselves to pause and “look at our hands” (this practice works literally or figuratively), breathe, and become aware, we will more effortlessly obtain clarity in the direction our life is headed.

Be fully aware that what you think is what you live. Be willing to call yourself to awareness and examine these patterns. What needs to be released? Lean deeper into it; examine it like a lover. Nourish it. Eventually, with the light of awareness, it will dissipate until it is so far from you that not one thought arises about it again. The result is a subtle (or not so subtle sometimes!) shift in reality as we know it.

A dear friend of mine says, “Every disappointment is a blessing.” It’s up to us to create alchemy with our life circumstances. The more aware we are of ourselves and our conditioning, the more we can step out of the movie and infuse our lives with intention towards manifesting what nourishes us.

Here’s an affirmation: “I willingly and lovingly create my reality.”

Kristen BioKristen Coyle is a yogini at heart. 10 years into her yoga practice, she feels as if she has just scratched the surface of this incredible path. She is an E-RYT 500, Licensed Massage Therapist and Reiki Practitioner. She is deeply inspired by Yogi Sri Dharma Mittra and travels to study with him whenever possible. When she is not on the mat, you can catch her at the local hot spring, travelling to some exotic island (she currently lives in St. Lucia), or cooking gourmet vegan food for her loved ones. It is her highest honor to be able to share these teachings and this is a path she is dedicated to for a lifetime.

“Inhale like it is the first breath you have ever taken, and exhale as if it is the last breath you will ever take.” Infinite Gratitude! You can contact Kristen via e-mail or facebook.


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Ed: K. Macku/Kate Bartolotta


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5 Responses to “How Lucid Dreaming Applies to Waking Life. ~ Kristen Coyle”

  1. ecw says:

    Much gratitude to you for sharing your words and experiences on this topic~ I really enjoyed reading. This winter I painted a piece about my personal path of lucid dreaming/lucid living. I had not yet seen your article, and I feel your insights taking my thoughts and practice even deeper. I hope its ok, I'd like to add a link to your article on my facebook art page…onelove*!

  2. morganktaylor says:


    I recently published a post comparing inception and lucid dreaming. Where lucid dreaming is different is that you are in fact asleep, but are in a state where you are very much able to control what happens in your dreams.

    You can check it out at:

    Let me know what you think!


  3. KristenCoyle says:

    Thank you for your comment! Yes please do link it to your page. Blessings!

  4. KristenCoyle says:

    Aloha Morgan, I just read your article. I find it very thought provoking and have also had experiences where I "dream together" with a family member that is very psychically connected to me. Thank you for sharing.

  5. Lauren says:

    ​I have a very close friend… so close that many people think we are Lesbians. In fact, we are not, but we're closer than most people will ever be to another individual in their lifetime. That isn't me bragging. That's the reality of the situation. It isn't to detract from the friendships of others… but anyhow, we have shared many dreams. And we write them down .We took it as coincidence at first, but now it is harder to see it as coincidence when it has happened repeatedly. We now live about 140 miles away from each other. Out of the 8 years we've known one another, we have lived with each other for about 5 years, and the last 3 years we have been literally states away from each other. Varying distances.

    She and I have dreams on occasion that share the same focal point, but it wont be a "moral of the story" type focal point in the dream. It will be a random thing that sticks out in our dream. We end up telling each other about them, to find out that the other one of us has had the same, strikingly similar experience in their dream, or one common denominator that cannot be explained or a reasoning accounted for.

    ​One example was January of 2014. My friend Sierra and I were having a conversation over the phone. The night before, I had a repetitive dream that a brilliant blue goats eye was watching me. I woke up from it repeatedly. It was terrifying. I had the most awful feeling that night… it's very hard to describe how empty and hollow I felt. I dreamed it repeatedly. The goats eye was crystal clear blue. Brilliant and beautiful. But frightening nonetheless.

    ​The next day, she was telling me of her dream. She dreamed that the two of us were driving down a dark road, surrounded by trees on either side. In the distance, we saw two brilliant blue eyes staring at us from the bushes, she said. We stopped the truck, got out, and walked over to discover that it was a cat hiding in the bushes. Will crystal clear blue eyes. It watched us, refusing to move. According to her, we got back in the truck, and continued down the road.

    ​Things like this have happened repeatedly. It happened again last night. The common denominator in our set of dreams was this time men who attempted to hurt us. In my dream, a man wearing a hoodie, and three of his friends chased me. It was getting dark and I was on the side of town where everything was closing up. It was turning dusk, and they began following me, with dark intent. They smiled, akin to demonic predators. My cell phone was dead and there were no stores open to run inside for safety. They began running after me, so I ran as hard as I could, having difficulty keeping my flats on. I don't remember what happened after this point.

    Last night, Sierra had a similar dream. She dreamed something much like I dreamed, man in the hoodie included, and his friends with him, also. Her dream was somewhat more graphic than mine, so I will not share this particular aspect. But out dream shared the same group of men with vulgar intentions, and the same guy in the hoodie, with the same evil smiles.

    We want to learn how to control our dreams so that we can actively share dreams. Any tips would be greatly appreciated!