Dienstag, 31. Juli 2012

Lucid Dreamer

A few days ago I had a little fun with the GIMP and created a lucid dreaming logo. If you like it you may use it for any purpose. 

Donnerstag, 26. Juli 2012

The WILD - Inducing Hypnagogic Imagery

Is it possible to induce or to intensify hypnagogic imagery?


There are some variations of the WILD technique which require the ability to see and to quietly observe hypnagogic images. If you are able to watch them with a calm mind you may conciously enter a dream.
Some dreamers have almost no problem entering hypnagogia, other dreamers need a few hours of practice.
I want to list some tips that worked well for me.

Optimizing the WBTB

If you are a beginner at lucid dreaming it will be a good advice to start your WILD attempts early in the morning after a short time of being awake (WBTB) instead of WILDing in the evening.
After a few hours of sleep your REM phases increase in length and your dreams get more vivid. It also becomes easier to trick your brain entering the REM sleep directly instead of having a phase of deep sleep first. 

So you leave the bed after 4 to 6 hours of sleep and remain awake for 20 to 90 minutes. After that period you go to bed again and try to consciously enter a dream.
Ideally you will be able to see or feel hypnagogic effects quite quickly. If not there is a lot of potential for optimizing your WBTB. If you have trouble falling asleep again you may shorten the period of being awake as well as the time of your core sleep.
If you fall asleep to quickly you may prolong your core sleep or the time of being awake. 
After a short period of experimenting with the WBTB you will have found the optimal combination for hypnagogic imagery and entering the dream.

Stretching and Yawning

After a while of excessive stretching and yawning your body will be wonderfully relaxed.
To induce yawning for some people it is sufficient just to think about yawning and they can get started.
If you have problems starting to yawn making chewing motion with your jaws while inhaling through your nose may help. On the exhale you may continue chewing and start humming a tone.
You may amplify this process and start stretching, writhing and lolling. After 5 to 10 minutes you will be as relaxed as a sleeping baby.

Sex

There is a relaxed, slightly tired and joyous state of mind after having sex. In this state I regularly have very intense hypnagogic imagery.
Robert Bruce writes in 'Astral Dynamics' about a technique of inducing OOBEs called 'remote eye projection' which resembles the WILD technique.
One of the best times to attempt a remote-eye projection is after a lengthy period of lovemaking, when a couple finds them selves deeply relaxed, maybe even exhausted, but still awake enough to be talking together in the early hours of the morning, when everything is quiet and there are no distractions.
Kundalini Meditation

When I experimented with Osho's Kundalini Meditation at younger age I accidentally had a WILD.
This meditation consists of tree different phases of each 15 minutes. In phase one you shake your body quickly, in phase two you jump and dance and explode. After this exhausting phase of katharsis you just sit down and feel your body.
Sitting there I saw pictures rising before my closed eyes which became more and more intense. I simultaneously became very tired and so I lay down and finally I started dreaming and realized after about 10 seconds that I am dreaming.

Impressive movies and experiences


Souce: Wikipedia
Visually stunning experiences or movies give me quite vivid hypnagogic pictures the following evening e.g. walking the whole day around Berlin's sights or hiking in the forest.

After watching the movie 'The Cell' at the cinema I had tons of hypnagogic imagery the following two or three nights.
The plot of the movie is quite interesting: A female psychotherapist has the possibility of entering their clients' subconscious mind with the aid of a certain device. There she can find a solution for their problems.
After a girl was kidnapped she has to enter the kidnapper's mind to find the place where the girl is locked.
Their client's subconscious consists of very surreal but impressive landscapes.
After going to sleep I saw similar pictures which appeared before my closed eyes and watched them while drifting into sleep.

Mantras und Visualization

If you practice mantra meditation or a form of internal images when you are tired there may appear very interesting effects.
What kind internal images you use does not matter. If you have not tried this before you may start creating geometric structures with your eyes closed. Maybe you can start with a green triangle or the Tibetan 'A' you see on the right. 
A different way is watching a random object quite intensively for a short time like 20 seconds and after that closing your eyes. You will see a afterimage for a few seconds. With a short period of practice you will be able to sustain this picture for as long as you want. 
If you do this when you are tired the internal pictures will start to get a life of their own which indicates that you start dreaming.


Internal images do not have to be visual. Robert Bruce developed a system of tactile imaging which he calls NEW Energy Ways.

To recite mantras or any affirmation helps you keeping a part of your mind awake while you are falling asleep.
You may start using an affirmation as 'I will realize that I am dreaming' or a classical mantra as 'Om Mani Padme Hum'.

Siehe auch:
Astral Dynamics at Amazon.com
Energy Work by Robert Bruce bei Amazon.com

Montag, 23. Juli 2012

Lucid Aids: Isolated Soy Protein

There are many articles and advertisements for so-called lucid aids and dreaming aids in the internet. I have tested a few so far. Some were quite useless or even counter-productive.
What has worked best for me so far is isolated soy protein.

This product caught my attention when there was a thread about it in the german lucid dreamers community Klartraumforum.de.

Isolated soy protein is full of amino acids which are precursors for diverse neurotransmitters.
I use one special brand of protein shakes: US-2 Xten Pro by US product line. This protein powder consists of pure protein with more or less no carbohydrates. I have tried several other powders by other brands so far (e.g. body attack) but I didn't like the taste and the consistency of the other powders so I stick to my brand.

Soy protein shakes have several advantages in comparison to common protein shakes based on casein, the milk protein:
Primary soy protein is absorbed much more quickly than casein, which remains a long time in the stomach.
A further advantage is the low carbohydrate content of the powder. Protein gives your brain REM sleep whereas carbohydrates open the blood brain barrier for Tryptophane, which makes you fall asleep quickly but facilitates deep non-REM-sleep.

When do I have to drink it?
According to my experience the optimal effect takes part after 4 to 5 hours after consuming. Ideal is drinking about 30 g during a short WBTB after 3 to 4 hours sleep.
I also had good results having a shake before bedtime. But you should not spend much time awake after having the shake as the big amount of some amino acids e.g. tyrosine will give you energy and you may have trouble falling asleep. Waiting to long may also delay your long REM phases to a time when the effect of the protein shake is already over.

See also:
Matcha: Green Tea
US Product Line Soja-Protein-Isolat at Amazon.de

Montag, 16. Juli 2012

Matcha - green tea for lucid dreamers

In read recently in the biggest German lucid dreaming community about the positive effects of a special green tea, the Matcha. The tea is drunk before bedtime or during a WBTB and is said to cause vivid dreams with an increased level of lucidity.
 
Matcha Tea Powder (source: Wikipedia)
Also Sleepwarrior.com reports about many positive effects of regularly drinking matcha tea. He tells about preventive effects against Alzheimer disease and cancer as well as improving the quality of ones skin. But he reports drinking his Matcha tea every morning. Apparently he has not read about the lucid dreaming effects of his favourite tea...
But he offers a lot of interesting recipes, e.g. Matcha ice cream, Matcha smoothies and Matcha milk shakes.

What makes Matcha special in comparison to other green teas: You get Matcha as powder which is consumed completely. And the special way of producing this special tea enables to ingest 137 times more of the healthy substances than casual green tea.

You can buy the Matcha in well-assorted tea shops or at Amazon.com. If you try to buy Matcha in badly-assorted tea shops, the clerks may look strangely at you, as if you are not able to pronounce Bancha correctly.  

If you buy cheap Matcha, it sometimes tastes like fish. I heard it's because in Japan it is not allowed to use artificial fertilizer for the Matcha tea plants. So the farmes use fish flour, which causes the strange taste.

Active agents:

Green Tea contains Teanine and Epigallocatechingallate (ECGC) which are interesting for lucid dreamers. Teanine increases the portion of alpha waves in the human brain and ECGC causes many of the good health effects of the green tea.


Preparation and Consumption

You should drink your green tea before bedtime or during your WBTB. One cup with 1/4 to 1/2 tea spoon should suffice.

Something that does not work:

One night I made a test what will happen if I dramatically increase the dosage of the green tea powder.  The more the merrier was not exactly true in this case.
I think I took 5 tea spoons of tea powder and 1 liter of water, lemon juice and ice cubes.

The following night I didn't have as intended tons of lucid dreams. Instead of this I spent the whole night in a semi-asleep state with a lot of stomach-ache the following day. 

Siehe auch:
Matcha tea at Amazon.com

Dienstag, 10. Juli 2012

Lucid Dreaming FAQ: Is Lucid dreaming dangerous?

Good question...

If you consider something as dangerous is of course a matter of definition.
In a certain way everything in this world is dangerous: Driving a car, travelling by train, leaving the house...

Maybe we should ask:
What's the most dangerous thing that might happen when you are trying lucid dreaming?
And how many people actually experience it?

I was searching literature about this topic and I found some information about this topic. Paul Tholey writes in his very readable book 'Schöpferisch Träumen' (which has unfortunately not been published in English) as follows:

  • As a guide of lucid dreaming groups with students and interested volunteers he accompanied a lot of people having lucid dreams. None of them had long lasting problems. Also the lucid dreamers known from history (e.g. Ann Faraday) got benefits from learning lucid dreaming. The dreamers became more courageous, creative and got interesting insights into their own psyche.
  • Usually lucid dreams go together with very pleasant feelings.

    Sometimes dreamers have unpleasant experiences in lucid as well as in nonlucid dreams. But according to my own experience the most unpleasant thing in a lucid dream is hearing facts about myself which I simply don't want to hear.
    Becoming lucid in a nightmare usually turns the experience from a frightening to an interesting and joyful one. Paul Tholey reports about a dreamer who dreamt being chased by a tiger. After becoming lucid he decided to face the beast and finally it transformed into his father. 
     
  • Spontaneous lucid dreamers experience the fact of knowing that they are dreaming as a feeling of being locked into a state, not knowing how to get out.
    But if you know about the phenomenon of being aware that you are dreaming, there is no need to worry about not waking up any more:
    Lucid dreams at beginners level take part at the REM-state which is limited in time. After 10 to 40 minutes REM-sleep is over and the dreamer either wakes up or enters a state of deep sleep.

    Experienced lucid dreamers probably developed their own methods for waking up. But most probably they don't want to.
Some sources claim that entering the lucid dream from the waking state (WILD) furthers experiencing the sleep paralysis.
Sleep paralysis is a state of half sleeping, being half awake in which your body is sleeping and paralysed and your mind is fully awake, sometimes starting to dream.

People who experience this state with no knowledge about it feel fear and start to panic, which even stabilizes this state. 
According to some non-representative polls in Germany's biggest lucid dreamers community (Klartraumforum.de) the opposite of this claim might be true:

Lucid dreaming doesn't further unintentional sleep paralysis but makes it less likely to occur.
First: Knowing about the nature of sleep paralysis makes it appear less threatening. Most dreamers who struggled with sleep paralysis had less problems after learning lucid dreaming. 

See also:
Schöpferisch Träumen by Paul Tholey (German Edition) at Amazon.com