Sunday, May 16, 2010

~Lucid Dreaming~

"To die, to sleep; To sleep, perchance to dream. Ay, there's the rub:
For in that sleep of death what dreams may come"
~ Hamlet, William Shakespeare

I always thought that dreaming was nothing more than living on a different scale of consciousness for a time. As a child I adored lucid dreaming, it made me feel powerful, I had the ability, even if just for a short time, to know two levels of consciousness at the same time. I felt like a sorceress with magical powers.

In sleep, mental consciousness continues on, only in a more subtle way. Every so often you have that amazing feeling in a dream, the overwhelming feeling of having a real flesh and bone body. Most of us can't remember dreams , we can't recall the moments we fall asleep nor the moments we awaken. Lucid dreaming is the ability to know that you are dreaming without waking yourself up from the dream.

Tibetans believe that nurturing the ability to know the precise moment in which we fall into sleep and the awaken, as well as knowing the in-between state for what it truly is, will help us very much at the time of death. When you fall asleep to dream or fall into the "sleep" that is death, you are entering a bardo, an empty space that exists between moments of time. Whether you're dreaming or going through the stages of death, you are existing in the "in-between". As you're waking up from a good nights sleep or awaking into a new life as a reincarnated being, you have just left the bardo. Sleep is a way of preparing for death. Life as a mirror image of death.

For the last six months or so I've been asking myself the same question over and over again throughout the day, "How do I know that I'm awake right now"? I can always think of experiments to perform in order to test myself. I ask myself this question because a good friend of mine told me that if I ask myself this questing enough times and over a long enough period of time, I will someday discover the key to lucid dreaming.

I never understood as a child why it was that I was so obsessed with lucid dreaming, I think I might understand now. I want to know death and be ready when it comes. Even thought I was unaware of what I was doing, I was preparing myself.

Last night I remember asking myself the question, " How do I know that I'm awake?" and you know what? I didn't have an answer and I knew that I was dreaming.