Here is the introduction to Andrew’s forthcoming book, “The Lucid Dreaming Workbook: A Step-By-Step Guide to Mastering Your Dream Life.”
Welcome to a unique form of night school. Lucid dreaming, which is knowing that you’re dreaming while remaining in the dream, offers a form of higher education that is unparalleled in its potential. We spend about two hours every night dreaming, or around 720 hours a year. In the course of an average life, that amounts to some six years. Think about how much you could learn if you had those extra years. It’s almost like adding years to your life.
If you’re not interested in secondary education, and just want to have more fun in your dreams, then welcome to a truly exclusive nightclub. Lucid dreaming, like any form of technology, is neutral. You can do with it what you want. As the following pages reveal, you can use lucid dreaming to fulfill your wildest fantasies. In a lucid dream you become the writer, producer, director, and main actor in an Academy Award winning production of your own mind. You can have dream sex, race along the French Riviera in a Ferrari, or rip through the Grand Canyon in a fighter jet. Mind becomes reality in a lucid dream, so the only limitation is your imagination.
I have been practicing this art of dreaming for over forty years, covering the entire spectrum of possibilities. In my early years, I enjoyed the absolute freedom of these special dreams. I looked forward to my dreams the way most people look forward to a night in Las Vegas. And because it was all happening in the privacy of my own mind, what happened in “Vegas” stayed in Vegas.
But one can only run riot for so long, so after a few months I wanted to see if there was more to lucid dreaming than mere entertainment. Instead of indulging my dreams, I started to work with them. It was like adding a fun nightshift, inserting extra hours where I could learn about myself using the medium of my dreams, and do things I didn’t have time for during the day.
The revolutionary discovery of this deeper level of lucid dreaming is that what happens in “Vegas” no longer stays in Vegas. In other words, the insights I was gleaning from my lucid dreams were starting to transform my days. I was bringing my rich dream experiences home from school. Valuable information began to flow in both directions, informing and eventually transforming both states. Scientists call this “bi-directionality,” which is like opening a two-way street between the nighttime and daytime mind, and it’s a central theme of our journey. At this deeper level of lucid dreaming, Vegas was replaced with “Vanderbilt,” or a place of higher learning.
I eventually discovered that lucid dreaming could also be used for spiritual transformation. This is like graduate school or theological seminary, which may not be for everybody. But for those interested in “waking up” in the spiritual sense, lucid dreaming can develop into dream yoga, an ancient spiritual practice that uses the medium of our dreams to explore the nature of mind and reality. This is when Vanderbilt is replaced with the “Vatican,” or a place for spiritual practice, and where lucid dreaming leads to enlightenment.
Over many years of nightly practice, I have learned what works and what doesn’t in the world of lucid dreaming. If there’s a mistake, I’ve made it. If there’s a dead end, I’ve run into it. But because of my determination, and unwavering conviction in the power of this practice, I’ve had countless lucid dreams and can virtually induce them at will. I’m no different than you. If I can do it, anybody can.
Lucidity in a flash
The good news about lucid dreaming is that it just takes one flash of recognition and you’re “in.” In the blink of an eye, something clicks and you suddenly realize “This is just a dream!” A non-lucid dream instantly transforms into a lucid one. You may have spent your entire life in the “dark,” lost in non-lucidity, and then the very next night it happens. It’s like being in a cave that’s been smothered in darkness for eons. With one flick of a match you can remove a billion years of darkness.
Keeping the light on is a different story. That takes sustained practice. Those who have lucid dreams regularly are those who work at it. Just like any discipline, you will get out of lucid dreaming what you put into it. If you dabble at it you’ll get dabbling results. If you put your heart into it you’ll get dazzling results. I’ve put my life into it, and continue to have life-changing results.
How to Use This Book
For many years, I’ve also been blessed with the opportunity to teach lucid dreaming seminars around the world. Through trial-and-error, and the feedback of myriads of students, I have learned what works and what doesn’t when it comes to teaching others. I’ve learned from the successes and failures of thousands of students, and in the following pages I’ll share every tip and trick. As a dedicated student of science, and a lifelong practitioner of meditation, I’ll bring together modern knowledge from the West with ancient wisdom from the East to give you a full-spectrum approach to lucidity.
The live seminars work, so this book follows their successful format. Each chapter presents the necessary information. Then we’ll work to digest the material with guided exercises and meditations. Finally, there will be discussion, commonly asked questions and answers. The most important part of this book are the exercises and meditations. This is where you’ll take the information from your head and bring it into your heart, and eventually into your world.
Writing your experiences down in the spaces provided will help you track your progress, and inspire you to go further. I encourage you to fully engage in the guided exercises. You will get out of them what you put into them.
The Power of Questions
In the spirit of Socrates, questions are often more important than answers. Like a gifted attorney who skillfully leads their witness with pointed questions, the right queries can lead to insight. The most transformative discoveries are made when you connect the dots, when you come upon insights on your own. Instead of being spoon-fed information, you learn to feed yourself. Those “Aha” moments are the ones that change you. When the inner light comes on and you utter in amazement, “Now I see!”, that flash of insight is what you’ll remember because you saw it for yourself. The exercises, contemplations, and meditations that are seeded by questions in the pages ahead are designed to spark that flash.
A non-lucid dream is a “dark” dream, the usual dream when you don’t see that you’re dreaming. You’re dreaming in the dark, stumbling around and losing your way. A lucid dream is a “lit” dream, a dream when you can see that you’re dreaming. Now you’re dreaming in the light, taking control and finding your way. The insights cultivated with the following exercises are designed to offer that light.
Journaling is critical to success in the world of lucid dreaming. Keeping a journal means you’re putting your money where your mouth is, and taking your dreams seriously. We’ll be using journaling (in the spaces provided throughout the book) in two principal ways: first, for recording your dreams; second, for working with the exercises in this book. Keep this workbook at your bedside for ready access in recording your dreams. With a little practice you can learn to write in the dark. You can also purchase pens that have a soft light within them. When you click the pen, a light comes on.
I don’t usually recommend audio recording your dreams for several reasons. First, you don’t want electronic devices by your bed (it’s part of the good sleep hygiene we’ll discuss later). Second, talking into the device tends to pull you rapidly out of the dream and into waking reality, so you’ll forget the dream quickly. Third, even if you whisper, you’ll eventually irritate your sleeping partner. But we’re all different. If voice recordings work for you, trust that feeling and just do it.
When you’re writing down a dream, date the dream and title it. This will help you track your dreams, keep a record of dream themes, help you monitor recurrent dreams, and assist in tracking your progress.
For journaling to work you have to be honest. Dreams are truth-tellers, and being true to your dreams by writing them down accurately is important. This is why many psychologists include dream work in their therapy. Dreams can reveal deeper truth, your job is to record it. Don’t edit what you experience.
Dream journals are also intimate portraits of your inner landscape. Like any private encounter they are for your eyes only. If you have a sleeping partner, or other family members who might see your journal, ask them to respect your privacy. You have to feel free to express yourself in the pages ahead, which in itself can be healing. Worrying about who might see your truth might keep you from expressing it.
Exercise: In the space below, write down your aspirations for this book. Why did you buy it? What do you hope to get out of lucid dreaming?
Is there part of you that’s anxious, intimidated, or even fearful of lucid dreaming? If so, why do you feel this way? What are you concerned about?
By recording a baseline of hopes and fears, expectations and aspirations, you can see how this changes as you go through the book.
Whether it’s to “Vegas, Vanderbilt, or the Vatican,” lucid dreaming can take you to dazzling destinations where you can be entertained, educated, or transformed beyond your wildest dreams – or at least within them. Life is short. Time is so precious. By learning how to wake up in your dreams you can wake up to your life. You can travel to the most exotic inner destinations, and bring back a treasure trove of insights to benefit yourself and others.
Let’s get started.