Finding Your Inner Guide Through Lucid Dreaming
Lucid dreaming is an exhilarating and enlightening experience, accessible to everyone that is an essential practice of Tibetan Yoga and has been part of Toltec Shamanism for centuries. Lucid dreaming offers the practitioner a remarkable opportunity to connect directly with inner guidance.
The Yoga we practice in our waking lives is designed to bring about union of the mind and body and union of the self with All. Union can also be approached while dreaming. Just as there are yogic techniques to achieve union in our waking practice, there are also techniques to enhance our connection to all of existence within the dream state.
The experience of union in the waking state is known as enlightenment and there is a corresponding state of union in dreaming known as lucidity. Both are forms of awakening. Enlightenment is awakening from the dream of separation (maya) while awake. Lucidity is consciously awakening in the dream while still within the dream state. Enlightenment results in a blissful state and so does lucidity.
Identification is the key to both enlightenment and lucidity. If we choose to identify with our waking life egos, we separate ourselves from our connection with divinity. Then we carry this identification as separate beings into our dreaming. It is possible to awaken from this illusion of separation in both waking and dreaming.
Fundamentals of Dream Practice
- Include dream work in your spiritual practice. Create a sacred space in your bedroom that is dedicated to your dream work and create an altar beside your bed consisting of special stones, pictures, incense, music and other meaningful objects and symbols.
- Give yourself time between eating and bedtime. When you eat late at night your body utilizes more energy for digestion than on brain and mental functions such as dreaming.
- Keep a dream journal. Place the journal and/or a recorder beside your bed. Keep a small light source nearby to write down dreams while it's still dark. Record even small "dream snippets," without judging whether a dream is significant enough to write down since you might not understand the significance until later.
- Lie still for a time upon waking. The feeling you wake up with can sometimes lead you back into the content of your dreams.
- Share your dreams with a trusted person or group of people. Verbalizing your dreams can bring back the images and feelings and other people can offer you insights you might not see yourself.
Becoming aware that you are dreaming while you are in the dream is exhilarating, like being in a virtual world without the goggles and gloves, but better. You can do anything imaginable and it all feels real. The only limit to your experience is your imagination. You can fly, walk through walls, visit other planets, have sex with the partner of your choice, talk to dead relatives or do any yoga asana (floating lotus is my favorite). There are colors in the dream realm that don't exist in the physical world as well as sounds that are truly heavenly. Sex and flying are the most popular choices for lucidity, but there are other possibilities available that are perhaps more valuable. Becoming lucid is like being a kid in a candy store where everything is free, but kids grow up and so can our choices for lucidity.
Techniques To Help Attain A State Of Lucid Dreaming
- Ask yourself several times a day in your waking life, "Am I dreaming?" This establishes a pattern to help you ask the same question in your dream state.
- Set your intention for dreaming. You might begin by affirming, "I will remember my dreams tonight." This may evolve to, "I will become lucid in my dreams tonight." and eventually your intention may become, "I will meet with my Guide in dreaming tonight."
- Establish "dream keys." Choose something that you dream of frequently, such as a school or a favorite animal. When you see the school or animal in waking life, ask yourself, "Am I dreaming?" This helps establish keys or cues that can help you become lucid.
- To become aware of the process of dreaming, notice inconsistencies and impossibilities such as a clock running backwards, a phone not working, or your cat or an uncle who has passed on talking to you.
- When you believe you might be dreaming, look at your hands. You might have six fingers or, in my case, you might find eyes looking back at you in the middle of your palms. Don't be surprised at what you might see. Finding your hands gives you greater control of your dream state.
Once you find your hands you can do anything that you can imagine. Look back at your hands again if you feel you are losing your lucidity. Spinning around can also prolong lucidity.
I have found that the greatest spiritual gains from lucid dreaming come from asking for guidance. Just as we can seek and find spiritual teachers in the waking world, we can find them in dreaming as well.
The first time I intended to meet my spirit guide this remarkable dream followed:
' I entered a cave. The deeper I entered, the brighter it became. This was most unusual since caves are dark so I realized I must be dreaming. I continued walking and approached an opening. I stepped inside where there stood a very tall Asian woman in a white robe. The light emanated from her glowing aura. I recognized her as Quan Yin, the Chinese Goddess of Compassion and Mercy.
Quan Yin began speaking to me in Chinese. When I bowed my head and told her that I couldn't understand, she switched to English. She told me that she would come whenever I called on her and said she was also helping many other sincere seekers. I bowed and left the cave knowing that I had met my inner guru.'
Since that time I have had many lucid encounters with my spirit guide, the Goddess. She comes to me every time I call. She has offered me valuable advice such as "to see the Goddess in all women". She has also taken the form of dolphins and whales to show me that all forms of life are sacred.
My most memorable dream with the Goddess occurred two years ago. My intention for dreaming at that time was to ask about 2012, the end date of the Mayan Calendar.
' I was crawling on the ground, looked at my hands and realized this was a dream. I experienced the usual rush of energy and excitement, and then remembered my intent for lucidity. I called upon the Goddess and saw an attractive woman in a cream colored business suit. She smiled and said, "It's been awhile since I've seen you." I started to stutter some excuse as to why I hadn't been able to contact her.
She leaned forward and kissed my forehead at the third eye. I immediately found myself in a totally different setting, in a wedding chapel among a group of women and men wearing beautiful clothes in different shades of violet.
There was a large round pool of water in the middle of the chapel and I walked to the edge. I noticed something moving under the surface of the pool headed right towards me. I was both excited and apprehensive as it broke the surface and I found myself staring into the eyes of an amazing purple and white dolphin who communicated with me telepathically, "2012 will mark the marriage of the God and the Goddess".'
Including dream work with your Yoga practice can be of great benefit. Consider stretching your imagination and stepping through the gateway into the realm of dreams to unify your waking and dreaming life. It's an accessible phenomena available to you in your quest along the path of awakening...unless you already have made that step on your journey inward.
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John Galleher is a thirty year resident of Bisbee, Arizona, a small, creative community in the high-desert mountains of southern Arizona. He has been a vivid dreamer his whole life. Inspired by the books of Carlos Castaneda and the dream researcher, Stephen LaBerge, John has been introduced to the gateways of dreaming. He has taught classes in lucid dreaming for the past eight years and is a regular contributor to The Lucid Dream Exchange. John will be offering, 'Dream Yoga: Lucidity & Enlightenment' at the 6th Annual Bisbee Yoga Expo, February 12 - 15, 2010: bisbeeyogaexpo.com. Email: