I didn’t expect to be writing this so soon, but after just two weeks, I had my first lucid dream through Andrew Holocek’s lucid Dream Sculpting course. I have, however, had one lucid dream before five years ago, but wasn’t able to again until now.
I’m not even halfway through and I’ve already learnt an incredible amount about lucid dreaming techniques from both eastern and western cultures (most of which was completely new to me), the science of sleep (not the film for those who’ve seen it), and how to access parts of my mind that previously weren’t accessible. I’ve written quite a lot, so feel free to scroll to the parts that you’re most interested in.
It’s strange to think that when I was in Rishikesh, India where I was doing my yoga teacher training for three months, I thought it would be the perfect opportunity to also learn to lucid dream regularly. I was eating healthy vegetarian food (not that this is a necessity for lucid dreaming, practising yoga for four hours a day and doing all my reality checks. I tried really hard!
But for pretty much the whole time I was there, I struggled to even recall my dreams. My dream journal from that time pretty much has ‘I didn’t remember my dreams tonight’ scribbled on loads of the pages. The few dreams I did remember were just emotionless repeats of the previous day.
The last few weeks, however, have been a completely different story. I’ve remembered at least two dreams vividly each night; I feel more present in waking life; and I had my first lucid dream of the course which I really wasn’t expecting to have so soon.
If you are interested, I’ll be describing the dream further on in this article and what I learnt from it. For now though, I want to talk about why this is so important to me, and why bother to learn lucid dreaming at all.
Why lucid dreaming matters to me
Yes, I want to be able to fly, time travel, experience the sensation of going through solid objects and do anything I can imagine in my mind that isn’t possible in waking life. But I also want to really push the boundaries of consciousness, improve my waking life and make lucid dreaming something I do regularly.
Whilst doing the course, I’ve realised how much lucid dreaming can actually be used for. Sure, you can have fun, but potentially, you could completely transform your waking life too, which is something that never occurred to me before.
Far too often I think we separate what happens in our dreams and what we do during the day, or we just don’t give sleep the respect it deserves. We close our eyes, write off most of the night, and roll out of bed in the morning. It really doesn’t have to be this way though!
I’m naming just a few things here, but I feel the potential of lucid dreaming really is limitless and the only constriction is your own mind.
Other than having fun, what else can lucid dreaming be used for?
- Getting in touch with your higher self and finding answers to problems you’ve been unable to solve in waking life. For example, chemist Friedrich August Kekulé discovered the structure of the Benzine molecule in a dream.
- Finding out profound truths about the world and universe.
- Using your dreaming time to accelerate your learning in an activity, sport or instrument you love playing in waking life.
If you’re interested, the Journal of Sports Sciences recently published a study that provides evidence for the fact that skills practised in waking life can be enhanced in lucid dreams. The brain can’t tell the difference between when you practise something in your waking state and when you practise in a dream. Is this not incredible? You can read the full study here:
You can also potentially, according to dream researcher Patricia Garfield Ph.D, use lucid dreams on an even deeper and more personal level.
By deliberately changing elements in your dream life, you can learn to confront many of your problems at their origin—in your own mind, rather than years later in the therapist’s office. — Patricia Garfield
My lucid dreaming story
One dream that puts you in contact with yourself can change your entire life. — Andrew Holocek.
Before I had my lucid dream, I set the intention that I wanted to find out some great truths about life and the world.
Because of this, I was expecting to meet a wise old philosopher and have a profound 4am conversations in a victorian library, lit with candles, sipping tea from an oversized mug, sitting by a large window overlooking a starry sky with a full moon…enough with the descriptions. I was basically after a ‘Waking Life’ moment (if you haven’t seen this film and you’re into lucid dreams, watch it).
Instead, I found myself in Scarborough — a quaint English seaside town, near to where I grew up, that looked more like a fishing village in northern Norway. Before I describe my dream, my entrance into it is worth mentioning.
I was in a regular dream which consisted of being in this incredibly bright minimalist room with white lights glaring at me from all angles. And then suddenly, I felt myself flying forwards through one of the walls (It didn’t hurt), and then moving at such an intense but exhilarating speed, I knew instantly that I was about to have a lucid dream.
I then found myself flying at what felt like lightning speed through this tunnel. It wasn’t scary at all — but probably one of the greatest feelings of excitement and anticipation ever. If you’re familiar with the film Lucy, it was a bit like the time travel scene. There’s a short clip here, which is worth watching whether you’ve seen the film or not, but I’m still going to write…
*** LUCY FILM SPOILER ALERT ***
After my flying adventure, I found myself in the Scarborough countryside in the garden of a very traditional English pub. Colours were incredibly vivid and I felt so lucky to have entered into this magical realm created by my own imagination, yet it felt more ‘real’ than waking life.
Dreaming is an act of pure imagination, attesting in all men a creative power, which if it were available in waking, would make every man a Dante or Shakespeare. — H.F. Hedge
What I’m about to describe is now going to sound really ordinary, yet how I felt inside and what I experienced in the dream was completely different.
I’m not an ‘enlightened person’ and I’m not sure in waking life I’ve ever met anyone enlightened.
In my lucid dream, however, all the dream characters were enlightened. And they weren’t old wise meditating monks with beards and orange robes — they were regular people, going about their daily everyday lives, but with complete attentiveness, mindfulness and peace. I felt bliss all around me, yet this was the so called normal state of being in my dream.
So, back to being in the Scarborough pub garden — I met the landlady of the pub who showed me a level of compassion and kindness I’ve never felt from a stranger in waking life, but maybe that’s because I’m not as good at reading people’s emotional states in waking life.
In my dream, I felt I could absorb what my dream characters felt, as if this was just an extra sense I had that was perfectly normal, yet not fully developed in me in my daytime existence.
I compared this to my observation of people in my waking life and I really was experiencing a completely new world, yet from a surface level it was quite ordinary, which might explain why I haven’t met anyone enlightened in my waking life, because maybe unless you are yourself, there’s no way of recognising it in others.
The landlady of the pub garden I was in showed me so much kindness and compassion I almost felt tearful that a stranger who knew nothing about me could be so kind. It’s not what happened exactly — but more about how I felt around her — which is something I’ll remember forever, despite the fact it was just a dream. Her eyes seemed to go right through me and for a moment I thought, ‘she knows I’m lucid dreaming’.
Clearly my dream self looked a bit bedraggled from flying so fast through the tunnel or maybe she was just sensing what my inner state was really like. Who knows. Outwardly I was in a t-shirt and she kindly offered me a jumper because it was autumn in my dream and cold by the coast.
As I left the pub garden, I looked back to write down the name of the pub so I could send the landlady a thank you card. But, staying true to lucid dreaming rules, when I looked back, the writing and letters changed shape. I pulled some paper out of my bag anyway, thinking if I wrote something down I would have evidence of where I’d been in the night when I woke up, which I then planned to Google to find the exact address.
Have you heard of the Danish word Hygge? There isn’t a comparable English word, but it means something like feeling enjoyment from small pleasures such as sipping hot chocolate with a friend when it’s snowing outside, reading a book by candlelight, or just walking in nature and feeling like you’re exactly where you need to be in this moment.
So, in my lucid dream I felt Hygge, if this is the right context to use the word in. I walked peacefully and I observed the world around me. I saw people completely happy with their lives, not because of what they owned, or their status, but because they were just ‘being’.
Some people were painting the sides of boat parts, others walked along the coast with their dogs, some were just working at the jobs they do every day — and I felt what all of them felt inside and it was such an incredible feeling of compassion, kindness and complete contentment with life’s simple pleasures.
It actually made me feel a bit guilty. I’ve spent most of my 20’s trying to escape everyday life, dissing the mundanity of it and chasing adventures instead. While all this is fine, this dream was a wake up call, telling me that while happiness can be found anywhere, true, real long lasting contented happiness can only be found in the fluid moments of everyday life. It’s a fact I’ve never really wanted to face, because I want to see meaning in everything. I’ve often struggled to just let things be.
I’ve still got almost a month left of Dream Sculpting, so I can’t wait to learn more and continue having lucid dreams. I’ve written loads already, yet I still feel there’s so much more to say. My mind after just several weeks has really been blown in the best possible way.
As I skim through some of my notes from my Dream Sculpting workbooks to see if there’s anything vital I’ve missed out, I see how each little nugget of information I’ve written could be expanded into an article or possibly a book in itself — this is how vast the lucid dreaming world is.
Usually when you read about lucid dreaming online — in my case anyway — you’re introduced mainly to the western techniques such as the WILD or MILD methods and all the daytime reality checks such as looking at your hand and asking yourself ‘Am I dreaming?’
Andrew’s extensive science background and his years spent studying these Buddhist and dreaming practices in India, Tibet and Nepal, makes for an incredibly well thought out, mind blowing course.
Dream Sculpting has not only delved deep into ancient eastern dream yoga practices, but also provides the latest science on the subject — bridging these two worlds in a way that’s rare to find.
There’s a whole universe you’ve been sitting on and we’re going to bring that universe into your conscious awareness. — Andrew Holocek
Finally, I am a Dream Sculpting affiliate. This means that if you join the course though my site I will make a commission which will go towards doing future yoga teacher trainings and courses.
or enrol in a free online lucid dreaming masterclass here