Are you completely new to lucid dreaming?
Are you fortunate enough to have had a few lucid dreams throughout your life, or perhaps you are a seasoned oneironaut (i.e., a dream traveler)? In either case, you’ve probably realized that there are innumerable tricks of the trade and not just one or two aces in the hole.
If you’re reading this article, by now you’ve hopefully had a look at its predecessor, “The One Trick Every Lucid Dreamer Should Know.” If you haven’t, you ought to check it out prior to continuing, as it will help orient you. Otherwise, don’t say I didn’t warn you…
In truth, my previous article does hit on one of the most important themes that lucid dreamers will encounter, namely whether to control or surrender to the dream itself. By invoking the “Highest,” as we’ve already considered, you’re calling forth a scenario that’s inherently positive and emotionally uplifting. Not surprisingly, many lucid dreamers report spontaneous flight and ecstatic rushes of energy as they let go into the “divine” flow. Some dreamers, however, find this sort of release unnerving and others may have trouble letting go at all.
A thoughtful reader recently emailed me with a question regarding lucid flight. While she used to dream lucidly and claims that flying is “the most natural thing” for her in the dreamtime, lately she’s had a recurring dream in which “a heavier force than gravity” is relentlessly pulling her down. “I can fly,” she says, “but not fast and not high,” nor is she able to invoke lucidity and “regain control” as easily as she could in the past. And herein lies the second trick…
Most veteran lucid dreamers will readily acknowledge that there’s a lucid honeymoon—a period where not only is the experience fresh and exciting, but also somewhat effortless.¹
As we begin to gain mastery over the experience, however, it’s easy for our ego to get in the way of our psychospiritual growth. In other words, it’s as if we explore the woods, have a picnic, maybe even make love beneath the trees, but never go beyond the edge of our forest and into the wilderness—into the darkness that beckons us…
What’s holding us back—or, in this case, pulling us down—are unresolved conflicts, complicated emotions and parts of ourselves that we’ve yet to integrate into the totality of our being, of which our ego (essentially, our self-identity) is but a small part. In this sense, surrendering to the “Highest” might be thought of as the path of ascent, yet we can only fly as high as we can reach below, grow our roots, face our fears, and tap the latent energy of our unconscious. C.G. Jung called this “shadow work” and for our purposes, we’ll call it the path of descent into the murky depths of our body.²
In the case of our dreamer—who desires to be in control and fly among the stars as she’s always done—a possible remedy would be to let go into the unidentified, downward force rather than continually resisting it. Ideally, she could investigate this heaviness within the dream itself—a method suggested by the late dream researcher Paul Tholey—regardless of whether or not she’s lucid.³ In fact, it’s possible that her lucidity is being thwarted by her inability to free up the dense energy that—once liberated—will most likely give her the extra boost she needs to rise and shine.
While incubating precisely that sort of exploratory dream—perhaps by writing down her intention in her dream journal before going to sleep—is an excellent approach, an equally powerful technique is to “try on” the dream while awake during meditation, yoga nidra (i.e., deep relaxation) or psychotherapy.⁴ You can literally map your dreams onto your body—or Multidimensional Self (your interconnected, mindbodyspirit matrix, so to speak)—and allow yourself to feel all the same sensations and emotions that appear to you while asleep.
These feelings don’t go anywhere during your waking hours—they’re right where you left them and are taking a toll, only they’re beneath the surface or beyond the edge of your ego’s forest.
By braving the wilderness—that which we’ve yet to explore—we begin the process of reconnecting with the deepest parts of ourselves, expanding our horizons, illuminating our imagination, and clearing away the clouds to reveal the sun. Learning to stay with and process these repressed feelings takes practice, but the results are often profound and as you develop reciprocity between your dreams and waking life, each will unfold into greater beauty, wisdom and abundant clarity.
A word to the wise: the forces that weigh us down can be very powerful and may be difficult and even dangerous to deal with, especially if you’ve experienced physical and/or emotional trauma in the past.
As you embark on this journey inward and you feel you need help, absolutely seek out a qualified therapist, healer or trusted companion to guide and comfort you through the process. By all means honor and share your experiences, feel free to leave your comments below, and be sure to keep an eye out for the next trick. Happy trails, and may the force be with you.
¹ Hurd, R. (2013). Lucid Immersion Guidebook: A Holistic Blueprint for Lucid Dreaming. Philadelphia, PA: Dream Studies Press.
² Jung, C. G. (1974). Dreams. (G. Adler, Ed., R. Hull, Trans.). Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press.
³ Tholey, P. (1983). Techniques for Inducing and Manipulating Lucid Dreams. Perceptual and
Motor Skills, 57(1): pp.79-90.
⁴ Hamilton, N. (2014). Awakening Through Dreams: The Journey Through the Inner Landscape. London: Karnac
Author: Nick Atlas
Apprentice Editor: Brenda Davidge; Editor: Travis May
Image: Wikipedia commons