I’m new here. And new to Andrew’s work, but not to lucid dreaming. Although I haven’t devoured the book yet, you seem to be a nice community and I though of asking: To which extent should you pursue night practices if having lucid dream diminishes the quality of sleep?
I love the practices but I always find myself quitting after a while because I lose the quality of my sleep and messes up my cycles… Any ideas on how to go around this?
Great question because the quest for lucidity may indeed affect sleep quality in so many ways. I’ve experienced a few myself, but for me, getting a good night’s sleep was the reason I started looking into lucid dreaming and dream yoga in the first place. I have/had frequent insomnia for years, often work-related, so when I heard about Dream Yoga, as taught by Andrew Holececk, I took a course online and was introduced to so many of the methods he offers for attaining lucidity, particularly in the daytime.
For the last few years my goals have been (not necessarily in this order) 1. To get a good night’s sleep, and 2. To remember my dreams, and 3. To get lucid in dreams and work with my mind in that state. Where the quest for lucidity interfered with my sleep mainly appeared when using a supplement such as Galantamine either too early or too late in the sleep cycle. I’ve since learned how to time this and other supplements, and which ones seem to work better than others.
For me, any dream I can remember can teach me something, so I try not to put pressure on myself and refrain from comparing my experiences to others who have different biographies, goals and practices. Just a few thoughts, hope this helps.
If the practices are fucking with your sleep you got to stop. I wish you had been a little more descriptive in the OP on what practices you are currently doing, and how they are messing with your sleep. Because its possible that there may be alternative practices you can do:
I do not do the Wake Back To Bed LD practice, because alarm clocks will often keep me up when I have been startled awake. Not sure if this is the problem that you are having.
It would help to know more about your circumstances. You came to the right place to try to find a solution. Andrew does a Q&A tomorrow, you can submit your questions and problems there before hand by clicking the link on the homepage. You can also ask him live if you can attend the time it is scheduled. Very convenient either way!
Good luck, looking forward to hearing more, and hoping you are able to find a good solution!
That is the order of importance for me. Quality sleep. Remembrance. And Mind growth. And 4. Helping others (i believe the more internal work you do on yourself, the more of an asset you are to the community at large, and the more you are able to help others with their problems.
How advanced are your meditation practices?
How often do you meditate and typically for how long?
What techniques do you use when meditating?
Not sure if you have heard this before, but Andrew says it a lot:
The more you meditate, the more Lucid Dreams you will have.
Thank you Barry, NightHawk and Khyung Mar for your kind answers!
Well, I accidentally got into this. I used to have a lot of weird and very real experiences (good and bad) during my childhood and teenage hood. Besides being a night walker, I thought everybody would live the same, I thought nobody talks about it.I remember lucid dreams as far as the cradle.
Then when I was 17, LSD happened. I had an experience so intense in my consciousness that my day and night awareness completely melted for a few days. It was very uncomfortable, lived as a horrible thing because it was like a nightmare from a 70s tvshow, even when my body and mind would sleep, I wouldn’t. I thought I was simply crazy, as nobody I talked to (even psychologists) could relate the least with any of my experiences.
But then I’ve found shamanism, and that’s what got me into consciously waking up in dreams. It took me some months of practice to start having lucid dreams almost every night. For a young person, that was the most exciting adventure ever. I could write books about what happened to me in those days.
It all went out of hand. I’m also an artist and all the processes mixed up. I went into insomnia,panic attacks, anxiety disorders and…I would say the worst time in my life probably.
I immediately cancelled all lucid dreaming practices, because again, dreams and waking state started melting in a way that would prevent me from being a normal person and function in society.
So I learned that lucid dreaming was amplifying my unconscious, and as I had many unresolved primary feelings, when I had a bad day, then I would surely would live the most realistic nightmares that I can possibly conceive.
Then, after a couple of years of trying to be normal and re learn how to sleep normally again, I realized that I had to put away my lucid dreaming practice until my unconscious mind would be decently clean of stress?/karma?/Unwholesome-tendencies?
Now is 20 years back. 20 years of daily meditation and cleaning my mind I feel I’m ready to approach the practice more diligently. In this years, I had spontaneous times where naturally lucid dreaming would happen, and I am pretty comfortable being lucid in a dream. But I made a clear intent on NOT to be interested in the practice otherwise I start having them every night.
I’m meditating consistently for 20 years now, and I don’t think I even need a technique. With a bit of practice I feel I can close my eyes and go to a lucid dream. If I do that in the beginning of the night, I would have a small one right away, then I would fall asleep for a few hours and later I would have 2 or 3 lucid dreams in the last section of the night.
BUT I won’t open pandora’s box until I know I can get proper rest while doing the practices. That’s why I’m single- pointedly interested in the aspect of rest while practicing. I would thank if any of you could direct me to any information on the subject of resting.
That is really impressive my friend, you truely have a gift from God!
I am very jealous.
I have only had a few dreams of lucidity in my life, non of them were done on demand.
Andrew speaks of this in his personnal experience as well. I will try to find the direct quote for you and post it here. Very cool that the two of you share this very powerful gift.
You should write about these experiences, before you forget them. I agree with you, I believe these gifts are signs of Shamans and of Healers around the world.
You seem very self aware, and very insightful. I would agree with you 100%, that what happens in the waking life will almost always carry over into the dream world in one way or another.
But I think you may not have noticed at the time, or perhaps even now, that those nightmares, and nasty or uneasy dreams, are always trying to communicate a message to you. Either from the subconscious, or from the Source/God.
Like I said I am no expert on this subject. But I do believe that if you enter the Dream world with the intent on doing Dream Yoga, and working with the subconscious to better yourself, I believe that the outcome will be a greater peace of mind in the waking state. I hope also it will lead to more restful and deep sleep, but I can not garuntee that. I kind of think of it as having a clean organized house free of clutter, gives most people peace of mind, I think the same can be said about the brain and mind.
However, Andrew often warns in his videos, this path is not for the faint of heart, the spiritual path is the path of the Warrior, if you choose to walk it fully you will have to eventually confront your fears, and angers, worries, insecurities, etc, etc, etc. Not the most fun thing to do in the world. But I believe when that karmic cleansing is completed the mind and soul is left in a place of deep unshakable peace.
Check out Andrews Webinar videos, he has 9 stages of dream yoga, 1-7 are posted in the webinar section. Not sure how advanced you were able to take your dreams, but watching those might give you some insights on how deep the rabbit hole goes.
@Ritzzo On a practical hands-on approach: why don’t you just simply opt for a WBTB practice?
I mean, if you decide before you go to sleep that you want to dream lucidly, then set your alarm clock to 6 hours (my current preference) and have a good nights sleep. Then do the WBTB routine and have a LD.
If you opt not to practice that night, just don’t do WBTB.
If you couple this with WBTB, then you should be able to steer it as you like.
Here is the link to the article by Andrew, its really cool to see just how similar some of your experiences were, I truly believe you both have very powerful gifts from God (and you can use them to help a lot of people!):
"I’m often asked what got me into dream yoga? For me, the journey into these incredible nighttime practices started nearly forty years ago and I have been exploring them ever since. Some of the most remarkable experiences I’ve ever had occurred in my dreams. In my early twenties one such experience would change my life — and send me deep into the dark.
Harsh Realities of a Prison and a Hospital
I had just completed an exhausting five-year double-degree undergraduate program in music and biology, and I took a year off before going to graduate school. I spent the first half of this year working in a maximum-security federal prison. My job was to supervise inmate construction crews: motley gangs of killers, rapists, extortionists, and thieves. It was a gritty introduction to the shadow side of life. As I befriended these tough guys I saw that their crimes for the most part were just surface expressions; I came to see these men as people who were just like me but who had lost their way.
For the second half of that year I worked as a surgical orderly. My job was to prep patients for surgery, deliver them to the operating room, and later take them into the recovery room. It involved intimate care and led to stark discoveries about the harsh realities of illness and death. Because I was thinking about going to medical school, I became the teacher’s pet to a number of surgeons. They allowed me to watch countless operations and ask endless questions. It was a marvelous opportunity to learn about life and death. As a young man, I experienced these two jobs as a sobering introduction to the human condition.
Started Spiritual Seeking
During this year I was also becoming interested in the ideas associated with the burgeoning New Age movement. I had started a practice of Transcendental Meditation ™ two years earlier and was getting involved with other spiritual practices. TM showed me that there were dimensions of reality deeper than my external world, a surface world that was slapping me in the face with these two job experiences.
I was also reading a great deal, things like The Seth Material, Edgar Cayce, pop psychology, and quirky books about dreams. The juxtaposition of heavenly spiritual experiences and hellish introductions into psychological, social, and physical disease shook me to the core. How could I reconcile my blissful spiritual states with the gritty reality presented by the prison and the hospital?
About six months into this year I started having dreams that seemed to foreshadow something. These recurrent dreams, which increased in frequency, generated an ineffable sense of anticipation. I knew something was about to happen. One day, while deeply contemplating one of my New Age books, my mind suddenly broke open. In an instant I was flooded with insights and visions of an entirely new world. It was as if a huge spiritual hammer slammed down on top of my skull and split me apart. Words defy me even decades later.
This new world was a kaleidoscope of electrifying perceptions, like having eyelids peeled back on eyes I never knew I had. I felt awake for the very first time, jolted from the slumber that had been my life. I remained in this ecstatic state for two weeks, convinced that this is what it meant to be spiritually reborn, or mystically awakened.
Two aspects of the experience stood out, one related to the night and the other to the day, both of which were connected to dreams.
The first was that my dream life exploded. I had dozens of powerful dreams, many of which were lucid (which means I realized I was dreaming while still remaining in the dream), while others were prophetic. Many of these dreams were hyper-real, more intense and real than waking experience. I started a dream diary and within those two weeks had filled several notebooks. It was as if my deepest unconscious mind erupted and a volcano of dreams burst forth. Some of those dreams still guide my life today.
The second aspect was that my daytime experience became very dreamlike. My world had become fluid, illusory, and groundless. I saw everything as a transparent symbol. When I walked along the shore of Lake Michigan near my house, the waves were teaching me about the rising and falling of thoughts in my mind. When the sun broke through the clouds, it was a teaching about the awakened mind shining through the gaps between my thoughts. A rainbow was showing me the transient and ephemeral nature of things.
Everywhere I looked it was as if the world was sending me a message. I was treading a fine line between metanoia and paranoia (that is, deriving spiritual meaning from my world, versus imputing excessive meaning upon it). In addition to my burgeoning dream diary, I also filled several notebooks with insights delivered during the day. I was thrust into a dazzling and highly surreal experience. It’s impossible to convey the impact of these miraculous weeks, which remain the most transformative of my life.
Awake or Asleep?
Because my daytime experience was becoming more dreamlike, and my nighttime dreams were become more real (clear and stable), it got to the point where I had a hard time determining if I was awake or asleep. There were times when my dreams felt super-real and waking experience became the dream. These previously separate worlds were mixing together.
This was entertaining at first but became progressively disconcerting. An experience that started out so fresh became frightening. Where was my solid and secure world? I was losing my grip on reality. Instead of asking myself, “Is this enlightenment?” I began to panic and ask, “Is this madness?” My thrill in being spiritually awake was replaced with my fear of being insane.
I felt that if I went to a therapist I would probably be medicated, or even institutionalized. The contemplative psychiatrist R. D. Laing said,
“Attempts to wake before our time are often punished, especially by those who love us most. Because they, bless them, are asleep. They think anyone who wakes up, or who, still asleep realizes that what is taken to be real is a ‘dream’ is going crazy.”
In a desperate attempt to reestablish some sense of ground, and therefore sanity, I shut the experience down. I jumped into my Volkswagen Beetle, drove to Colorado, and joined my buddies to drink and ski my way back to sanity.
Within a week of intense distraction my sense of a stable world began to rebuild. I don’t know if it was the beer, my rowdy friends, or spending so much time in nature, but I breathed a massive sigh of relief as that unworldly two-week experience faded and I regained my sense of reality.
 R. D. Laing, The Politics of the Family (New York: Pantheon, 1971), p. 82."
Hi Night Hawk!
Sorry for my late reply. I had an incredible busy week. The busiest in the year so far. But I was looking forward to see if someone replied.
Thank you so much for your kind words. Are very helpful actually. I see you are a very reasonable and grounded person. I’m jealous too
I started reading the book “Dreams of Light” and it is landing nicely. I’ve been waiting for the right time to retake this training and thanks to Andrew, I think it has come, I’m very excited and looking forward, as you were pointing, to learn from every experience.
Thank you so much for being there, looking forward to get to know you better!
Thank you for your answer.
Well, it is more like opening Pndora’s box. Once my dreaming gets stimulated there is no way back. I start having the lucid dreams spontaneously without trying just because there is some emotional energy waking up. And it used to be a lot. But thanks to Andrews books, and also feeling that there is more people here that understand the path, I’m probably giving it a chance now.
I actually wake up always, every night, a few times naturally. I even drink every time (I’m a singer). That may be one reason why I’m so inclined to have lucid dreams involuntarily.
Sounds to me that you tend to tune in naturally to the karmic traces of the preceeding day during dream but do not have the stability/centeredness to deal with the dream visions, even if you are lucid during dream?
Are you practicing (daytime) shamata/vipashyana yet? And if yes, maybe consider adjusting your practice?
Since day- and nighttime practice are interconnected (i.e. a two-way street) I think it would be beneficial to practice daily to watch the contents of your mind from the stable/safe vantage point of a shamata/vipashyana practice in order to learn how to see those visions without immediately being “sucked up” by the emotions/reactions to them.
This naturally carries into night time practice. After all, the consciousness state of the vantage point in lucid dreaming when watching LDs unfolding is closely related to the consciousness state of Vipashyana.
As always, I recommend B. Alan Wallace “The Attention Revolution” on shamata and vipashyana.
Hi KhyungMar! Sorry for my late reply, I was away for a few weeks.
I think you are totally right about the karmic traces, for some reason I may be sensitive to it. I hope it turns into a strength at some point
What do you mean by adjusting the practice? In which way would you do it?
I love Allan’s work! He personally recommended me a coach that I worked with for a while to sharpen my Shamatha practice…ironically things turned more Dzogchen in the end.
I’m slowly opening the door to my night time practice, but without trying really. I don’t want to give it too much emphasis. So I stay half lucid, just observing the dream at the moment until I collect the guts and sharpness (and understanding) to do the practice.
Finding Andrew’s teachings is just a perfect match for me. It’s resonating very deeply. I’m focusing right now in illusory form practice and enjoying every second of it.
I really appreciate your feedback. Looking forward to know more about your practice
sounded to me that you manage to be lucid but if the dreams are dealing with strong emotions, you are sometimes having difficulties to remain as a stable, relaxed, observing spectator.
Whichever qualities are missing, these are the ones to practice and develop more stronger.
In “The Attention Revolution” B.Alan Wallace describes the different stages of Shamata and also different methods of focus, which develop different qualities of attention: relaxation, stability and vividness.
Usually vividness builds on stability and stability builds firstly on relaxation, but perhaps in your case the vividness is there without the developed qualities of relaxation and stability.
I would try for some consecutive days to focus on a relaxation and stability practice, using for example the burmese method described in his book, in order to develop and strenghen a stable and relaxed attention.
With a stable and relaxed attention, it will be much easier to not be sucked in when viewing the dream vision unfold.
After being more stable, one can then also change the focus of shamata meditation from e.g. burmese method to the content of the mind, basically lucidly viewing the daydream unfold, without losing lucidity.
Thanks again for your answer and for caring. You are right in terms of stability, that would be definitely very helpful. Nevertheless, I feel inclined to use the more typical Tibetan approach with visualizations, which I think fit more the goals of my practice at the moment. But you are very right on that, thank you!
On a side note, I’m starting my night practice after many years, and things are working very well. Over the years, my practice on Yoga Nidra, Shamata, and others are paying of. My live is way more stable now, so I start feeling confident that this time is gonna be a more enriching experience.
I am not a successful lucid dreamer after about 6 months of practice. Only lately have I see an increase in daytime lucidity and dream recall. Most of my dreams lately seem like pure mind rubbish, but I suppose this in itself is instructive. It seems to me that most dreams result when some bit of content churning in the well breaks the surface and gets grabbed by attention, and from there the story gets going. The same process is going on during the day when the mind is drifting.
On the sleep question, I awaken every 90 minutes approximately. I suppose I didn’t realize this may be really unusual. I have been this way for 20 years, and it started when I adopted a raw vegan diet. It’s high in fluid, so I am off loading it all through the night in sync with my sleep cycles. I am pretty militant about getting 9 hours in bed to compensate for the waking. It seems to be beneficial for dream recall though. Lately I am remembering from each cycle throughout the night. Sorry if I am hijacking your thread.
Not sure if this is so unusual. I remember Ed, the Sleep Doctor mentioning that we go through such sleep cycles and we often awaken and go back to sleep without even realizing that. If sleep is an issue, why not speak with Ed during one of the second Wednesday of the Month “Ask the Sleep Doctor” webinars? He’s excellent at going through the various elements that make up sleep and what may be preventing you or me or any one from a successful night’s sleep.
Diet and age may be playing a part in your circumstances. I’ve been a vegetarian for about 30 years and have only had any real success with lucid dreaming when taking supplements such as Galantamine, which seems to assist recall and lucidity more frequently than if not taken.
I’ve tried a few things to aid in dream recall, teas, melatonin and galatamine. Mugwort and another tea I tried did nothing. Melatonin and galantamine were about the same and worked fairly well. The thing that worked best was potato starch, which I never see mentioned in dream circles. I only know of it from the resistant starch diet.
Lately I am recalling as well without using anything. I also think I prefer waking frequently. It seems to me it means more opportunity to observe, especially while not having success entering sleep more lucidly, which is what I have been trying to do.