Lucid Dream Experiments
As odd as it may sound, I’m into lucid dreaming. For those who don’t know, lucid dreaming is when you become aware that you are dreaming. A number of things can occur when you become lucid: at first, you usually wake up fairly quickly after becoming lucid (which is your mind’s natural reaction). But with practice and discipline, you can actually stay inside of the dream, and proceed to explore it. The possibilities are literally endless; you are, after all, within your mind, and your imagination is truly the limit. There are a lot of sources availble online if you are interested in lucid dreaming, such as the popular Dreamviews site.
One of the ways to become lucid is to look for what’s referred to as a dream sign, which is something that will clue you in to that fact that you’re dreaming (because your mind is funny and attempts to “fool” you into believing that all the bizarre characteristics of your dream are normal). The dream sign I’ve most often used is with reading, and more specifically a digital clock. Because dreaming and reading are handled by opposite sides of your brain, letters do not have any kind of permanence in your dream. For example, I will look at a clock in my dream and it might say “4:15”. If I look away and look back at the clock, it will read gibberish. This is my “dream sign” and I become lucid at this point.
I have had an interest in lucid dreaming since I was a teenager but did not seriously delve into it until 2004. While I do not lucid dream as much as I would like (I have enough trouble sleeping as it is), those moments that I do attain lucidity are simply a joy. It never ceases to amaze me when I am lucid dreaming and I reach out to touch a wall or a piece of furniture, and it feels as real as when I am awake. I always reach out and touch a piece of the world around me when I dream; in a strange way, I feel like it “grounds” me into the reality of the dream and allows me to remain there. Over the years I have usually explored the dream, venturing into whatever nooks and crannies my mind has conjured up, and occasionally I manipulate the environment around me.
During a recent lucid dream, I decided to try a couple of experiments. I had always read that looking into a mirror or watching television in a dream would produce unusual results. So I went into a room that had a mirror, and I walked right up to it. In the mirror I saw myself as would be expected. I tried things like changing my expression, raising my eyebrows, and other things, but my reflection always stayed the same. I had this look on my face that was not so much serious as vaguely lifeless; cold eyes staring back in the same position, never once wavering or smiling. In my dream reflection I saw a still-life, and I wondered what it meant.
Soon I left that room and went into another, and there was a television set. I turned it on, and (of all things) a music video came on. It was of a woman sitting in the back of a convertable with the top down, and she was singing some pop tune that I didn’t know. The music was blaring in my dream and I was watching this video where they were just driving down the road, in the same aimless way featured in most music videos. What was interesting was that, as I was watching the television, I felt my head almost involuntarily turning away from the screen. I had to actually force myself to keep watching the action on the TV, as my head kept wanting to turn away, as if some part of my mind no longer wanted me to watch. I puzzled at this and eventually left the room, and woke up soon after.
After those dreams I was left wondering about some of the meaning. Why did my reflection look the way it did? Why did part of me want to turn away from watching some innocuous music video? For the latter I wonder if my mind was trying adjust for having to generate music and television “video” continuously. I’ll never really know the answers I suppose, but that’s half the fun of lucid dreaming: trying to figure out what those dreams reveal about you. In the end, I suppose the exploration is the important thing, anyway.