A couple of things prompted me to write about dreamwalking again, after quite a number of years. I believe the last time might have been the essay for PsiPog back in 2002 (http://www.psipog.net/art-dreamwalking.html).
One of these is a recent article on the BBC about lucid dreaming (http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/magazine-18277074). Apparently, this has become a semi-popular hobby. It’s sufficiently mainstream that the BBC was even able to define it correctly, even while acknowledging that the term is often used to refer to dreaming that is consciously controlled by the dreamer. Strictly speaking, “lucid” dreaming refers to any situation in which the dreamer is aware that he or she is dreaming.
The second thing was my recent purchase, reading, and review of Michelle Belanger’s Psychic Energy Codex (http://psc-online.org/wp/2012/06/book-review-the-psychic-energy-codex/). More precisely, the second thing was “reading reviews of Ms. Belanger’s other books on Amazon.com, after reading her Psychic Energy Codex.” Apparently, she has a book about dreamwalking, and was unaware that it had been written about before the publication of her book. (https://www.amazon.com/review/R1Z0H1XTDIN5CD/) Google searches can be tricky things. This is particularly true of specialized topics with an assortment of names, each of which is only used in a few groups or subcultures. Dreamwalking is not always called “dreamwalking” and sometimes the word “dreamwalking” may refer to something else, such as certain approaches used for assisting the dying (http://www.crimsoncircle.com/Facilitators/tabid/1296/Default.aspx). A quick Google-search will bring up entries that imply or state that dreamwalking is simply taking control of a lucid dream. You’ll also see dreamwalking described as “shared dreaming”, “mutual dreaming,” and “dream telepathy.” The Amazon review above hints that Shamans do this sort of thing, but I do not know enough about Shamanic practice to comment.
To be clear, lucid dreaming and dreamwalking (at least in the context we are discussing…) are not the same things.
As mentioned earlier, “lucid dreaming” is simply being aware that you are dreaming, while you are dreaming. Generally speaking, the term implies the kind of dreaming that happens while you’re asleep. I suppose that, in theory, it could – perhaps even should – also refer to daydreaming (presuming you’re aware of doing it) and some kinds of hypnotic hallucinations.
Dreamwalking involves entering someone else’s dream. You might or might not be dreaming when you do it. In some communities, “dreamwalking” also refers to something similar to astral projection. Here again, you might or might not be asleep (or sort-of asleep) at the time.
So, you can dreamwalk while lucid dreaming. However, you can dreamwalk without lucid dreaming, and dream lucidly without dreamwalking. So far so froody?
Lucid dreaming is not particularly difficult, especially if you use some of the simple self-hypnotic techniquies. For example, shortly before going to sleep, do one of the breathing exercises that quiet your mind, or progressive relaxation, or something of that nature. Then, calmly and firmly tell yourself that you’ll become aware that you’re dreaming during one of your dreams that night. Repeat the instruction a few times, and then let your mind wander off to other matters or go to sleep. Simple, ne?
Some of you might be wondering what “progressive relaxation” is.
Progressive relaxation is a method of artificially inducing some of the symptoms of of relaxation in order to cause the mind to become calm and focused. Edmund Jacobson is credited with inventing the method (Wikipedia is my friend, especially when the article cites its data… http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Progressive_muscle_relaxation). It’s sort of like hypnosis in reverse. It is very simple, and is useful for folks who find it difficult to relax their bodies.
Ideally, lie down on your back. Tense up your toes, hold the tension for a moment, and then release the deliberate tension. Repeat this for your feet, then your calves, your thighs, and so on up your body until you tense up your face and scalp, hold, and release. Expect the procedure to take anything from ten to thirty minutes. Do it a second or third time if you feel like it.
As for breathing exercises…
Some of you have read Quantum Touch (http://psc-online.org/wp/2011/12/book-review-quantum-touch/). The breathing exercises for QT are pretty much the opposite of those used to calm your mind. Dragon-Breathing is not what we’re going for here. By contrast, this is where holding the breath between the inhalation and the exhalation is useful. A nice basic rhythm is four counts in, hold for two, four counts out, hold for two, and repeat.
So…calm the mind, give your subconscious some nice, clear instructions, go to sleep and see what happens. For some people, it works on the first try. For others, it takes a few days of trying before it works. Don’t worry about it, either way. Have fun with it.
There are actually CDs and alarm-clock-like devices on the market to help people to do lucid dreaming. I haven’t tried these, myself, but they might be worth a look.
What about dreamwalking?
If you want to, you can dreamwalk in or from a lucid dream. Once you are sure you know you are dreaming (Chew on that one, Philosopher-dudes!), simply head off toward the person you’re looking for, and approach him or her in his or her dream. Of course, if s/he isn’t asleep, you may run into problems. Anyway, your dream-self has several travel options: walk, fly, teleport, ride a horse, take a ride on a flying carpet, sail a cloudship…whatever tickles your fancy. If you are one of the “dreamwalking is like astral projection” people, try checking out other places, in addition to meeting up with your buddies.
In some ways, dreamwalking is the psychic equivalent of online games such as Second Life or various chat-enabled MMOs.
Dreamwalking from a waking state is what I wrote about at Pog. Just gather your consciousness into a little ball in your tummy, and throw it clear of your body like a cat hacking up a fur-ball. Once you’re clear of your body, you can go to your destination by “flying”, walking, or swimming through what may look like thick fog.
Visualization can help with the navigation, by the way. Imagining that you’re using mapquest.ca or Google maps or the electronic navigator thing in your car can make it easier to get where you want to go. Try a few practice runs on the website of either of the first two to get a clear idea for the visualization.
Or, try the old-fashioned method, and use a map or globe.
Merely concentrating on some aspect or aspects of your target can work well, too.
As with most psychic and psionic activities, intention seems to be the key. The intention must be clear and focussed, but exactly how you make it so is unimportant.
You might be wondering what lucid dreaming and dreamwalking are good for, other than being an intellectual curiosity. For one thing, they can be pretty cool entertainment. Dreams might not be logical or coherent, but they can be every bit as fun as a summer “blockbuster” movie. If you take control of the dream, it can be even better. Taking control of your dreams can be handy for dealing with nightmares. Shared dreams – whether or not all parties are technically dreaming – can be cheaper and more convenient than videoconferencing. Also, more senses than just vision and sound can be involved. I’ll leave the obvious implications of that to your imagination.