Loving the Dream Space

Everything, dreaming and all, has got a soul in it, or else it’s worth nothing, and we don’t care a bit about it… If I were only a dream, you would not have been able to love me so.” –  George MacDonald

Ever since I stopped attempting to will myself through the dream space and began treating it as an all-powerful and loving Person, to Whom I address my lucid intents as hopeful requests, I have been richly rewarded.

I have been lucid dreaming for five years and have learned that it is sometimes possible, with varying degrees of success, to change, or creatively modify, a dream scene, to “fast travel” or to “teleport” to other dream scenes, and receive answers to my questions. I have also learned that it is a mistake to simply assume the dream space is obeying me with no will of its own. I think that on this point, most lucid dreamers can agree, but they are divided into primarily three camps:

Those who believe thinking and feeling are confined to our physical brain, and necessarily deny the dream’s autonomy, regarding it merely as part of their own personality and subconscious.

Those who believe that consciousness rather than matter is fundamental and are open to the concept of the dream space being autonomous, at least in certain respects.

Those who, like me, believe a Supreme Being created our minds and everything else.

I feel that my lucid dreams have been a way of developing an exciting, profoundly stimulating relationship between my soul and its Divine Artist, God.

A dream ceases… as we wake. But it does not become a nonentity. It is a real dream: and it may also be instructive. A stage set is not a real wood or drawing room: it is a real stage set, and may be a good one. (In fact, we should never ask of anything “Is it real?,” for everything is real. The proper question is “A real what?”)…The objects around me, and my idea of “me,” will deceive if taken at their face value. But they are momentous if taken as the end products of divine activities. Thus and not otherwise, the creation of matter and the creation of mind meet one another and the circuit is closed. – C.S. Lewis

Our religious beliefs, or lack thereof, notwithstanding, the fact is that we cannot always do whatever we want to in a lucid dream, or completely control it, no matter how lucid we feel/think ourselves to be, or how experienced we are with employing various methods, old and new, for achieving our intents.

In my view, our lucid dreaming minds are like children in kindergarten, and the dream space is the Teacher who, for example, we might order to immediately give us a chocolate ice cream cone. If judging the time and situation appropriate, the Teacher may metaphorically smile upon us, and appear to obey our command, but in truth, it is the Teacher—actively engaged in a relationship with us—who makes the decision to gratify our desires, or not.

My first lucid dreams were full of childish fun as I flew over the earth before diving down into magnificently detailed landscapes and cities while feeling joyfully invulnerable. But as I grew older, more knowledgeable and practiced, I began to understand that the dream space really seems to determine how best to interact with me in order to help me learn and grow in the most rewarding way possible.

I now have ample reason to believe the dream space cares about us, and for us, very personally, with exquisite, patient intimacy, and for that reason—and for other reasons we can no more fathom than a toddler can attain a PhD in quantum physics—I think there are rules in the dream space which appear to be limits to us but are actually there for our protection, rules which can change and evolve in proportion to how we mature as persons and, by extension, dreamers.

My experience, and the experience of some lucid dreamers I have spoken to, indicates that a humble, loving, hopeful and faithful attitude continues to bear remarkable fruit, enriching our dreams in ways we ourselves would never have imagined.

What Shakespeare’s Juliet says to Romeo as they embrace on the balcony outside her bedroom very much expresses how I have come to feel about my lucid dreams, and the loving Presence within them Who came courting me in the dark, with transcendent rather than tragic results:

And yet I wish but for the thing I have.
My bounty is as boundless as the sea,
My love as deep. The more I give to thee,
The more I have, for both are infinite.

Published in the Lucid Dreaming Experience, Vol. 4, No. 4, March 2016

Paris and Forgiveness

Three days after the terrorist attacks in Paris, I had two lucid dreams. I copy them from my Dream Journal, including my thoughts before bed, and my interpretation of the dreams:

Before bed, I prayed to be able to forgive our enemies, for in truth I do not feel hatred for the attackers, I pity them. I have heard the stories told by those who escaped about how all they thought of was their loved ones, and how they heard others dying and trapped telling each other how much they loved each other. Terrorists do not know what love is, but hating them will not take back their terrible actions. Our souls are all in God’s hands, and it is for Him to judge and dispense justice. I must pity people who are so deluded, so tormented, so possessed by the evil that is in all of us, and which strives to control us. Pope Francis said that to kill in the name of God is blasphemy. Perhaps those who choose to believe in such a hateful God have already damned themselves. But Christ tells us to love our enemies, so I pray for their souls.

Lucid Dream #1:

Don’t know how I become semi-lucid as I get up. Arthur is sprawled on his back asleep to my left in this clear white space. Facing a wall that is a mirror, I begin tap dancing with my white shoes. I am tapping out a specific rhythm, one I somehow know, and which means something. I alternate between looking down at my white heels, and over at my reflection. I am holding a gun in my right hand, which is strange, but also makes sense; it is part of this mysterious choreography. But so is eventually throwing the gun away. I try to do so, with a wide forceful sweep of my arm directing it toward the dark windows on my right, but when I feel I might also go flying with it, I retract the gesture. I try again, and this time succeed in tossing the gun through the glass panes with a measured strength.

Becoming lucid, I walk over to the windows, and step through them slowly, head first, and as I do so, I hear a quiet, roaring-buzzing sound that is almost musical. Outside at night, I am pulled up into the sky as I slip back into hypnagogic imagery. Hoping to fall completely asleep again, and re-enter a lucid dream, I study the countenances of Middle Eastern-looking men being formed from—smoothly sculpted by—the flowing darkness, their skin the color of ancient stone statues, their eyes closed. This goes on for a few moments before I wake.

Lucid Dream #2:

I have left the place where I was, ostensibly on my way to the rendezvous I set up, but something is going wrong. I am in some sort of small vehicle with a man who is being shot at, attacked in some fiery way. It is dark out; all I remember is the color red, and the faintly luminous outline of his form so close to mine. I am not afraid as I wonder what is attacking our vehicle, and realize it is unlikely I can escape the violence. Indeed, as I seem to exit the “car” I feel myself being hit by the bullets and/or fire, and there is nothing to do but accept that I will die; I feel myself disintegrating like a character in a video game, which will soon go black… But I become lucid, and walk away from the line of fire. I open my arms, which feel like great invisible wings, and rise up into the sky. Below me, I distinctly make out partially bombed out concrete buildings stretching out across a relatively flat landscape. I lose the dream.

I see the dance I was doing in my white shoes as the proper steps to take as a Christian when it comes to forgiving, but also punishing, my enemies. The important thing is not to hate them, which is what I feel like doing, hence the gun I was holding. My violent reaction, the gesture I made holding the gun, threatened to take all of me with it. I had to restrain myself, and get rid of the gun in a gesture of self control. This dream seems a visual representation of the passages from CS Lewis’ Mere Christianity which I just so happened to hear today in the process of listening to the audio book, synchronicity at its most profound.

In my second lucid, I was in the same vehicle as a man under attack, who was consumed by flames. I feel he represents those souls who commit murder, especially indiscriminate mass murder in the name of God—they are destroying themselves, condemning themselves to hell unless they repent. I was in the place of the victims when I knew I would die, but I was not afraid, for I fully believe in a loving God. 

I am listening to Mere Christianity by CS Lewis, and what he says resonates very strongly with me, for this is perhaps the hardest thing to do in the face of brutal attacks like the one in Paris:

“It is laid down in the Christian rule, ‘Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself.’ Because in Christian morals, ‘thy neighbor’ includes ‘thy enemy’, … we come upon the terrible duty of forgiving our enemies…

“Christian teachers… would say, hate the sin but not the sinner. For a long time I used to think this a silly, straw-splitting distinction: how could you hate what a man did and not hate the man? But years later it occurred to me that there was one man to whom I had been doing this all my life—namely myself. However much I might dislike my own cowardice or conceit or greed, I went on loving myself. There had never been the slightest difficulty about it… Just because I loved myself, I was sorry to find that I was the sort of man who did those things. Consequently, Christianity does not want us to reduce by one atom the hatred we feel for cruelty and treachery. We ought to hate them… But it does want us to hate them in the same way in which we hate things in ourselves: being sorry that the man should have done such things, and hoping, if it is anyway possible, that somehow, sometime, somewhere he can be cured and made human again.

“Now a step further. Does loving your enemy mean not punishing him? No, for loving myself does not mean that I ought not to subject myself to punishment… The idea of the knight—the Christian in arms for the defense of a good cause—is one of the great Christian ideas… (But) even as we kill and punish we must try to feel about the enemy as we feel about ourselves—to wish that he were not bad, to hope that he may, in this world or another, be cured: in fact, to wish his good. That is what is meant in the Bible by loving him: wishing his good, not feeling fond of him nor saying he is nice when he is not. I admit that this means loving people who have nothing lovable about them.” – CS Lewis, Mere Christianity