A scene at the docks in New York City, New York, New York, circa 1920. (Photo by Underwood & Underwood/Underwood Archives/Getty Images)
As regular readers know, I’ve been trying to astrally project for years now — with full consciousness and control — but haven’t had much success – at least not the way most of the literature describes these “trips.”
I have, however, had lucid dreams most of my life. When I’m in the midst of such a dream, I can direct the action and/or rewind anything I don’t like and change the scenario. These dreams can go on, literally, for hours.
Sleep scientists say dreams don’t really last that long – you only THINK they do — but in my case I know that’s not true. I have frequently awakened in the middle of one, checked the time, gone back to sleep, and continued with the same dream. From time to time, I’ll wake up from a vivid dream well before dawn, go to the bathroom, crawl back into bed, and pick up where I left off (as long as I don’t turn on the lights and wake myself up too much). I might still be in the same dream when I wake up at 9 or 10 in the morning. However, these types of dreams rarely have an emotional aspect to them. There’s a level of detachment. It’s as if I’m directing/writing a play or film.
For example, last week I had one of those long, detailed mega-dreams. In it, I’d been kidnapped by a couple of white nationalists. [I consume wayyyyy too much news!] The leader was just about to hit me, but I used my best Eriksonian hypnosis techniques to convince him that his problem was not with me, but rather with his own inability to express his emotions. If he only had the emotional vocabulary (and I could help him with that) his life would be much happier. [in other words, he would no longer have to live the life of a hateful, violent incel.] I have to say, my induction techniques were spot on. They may well have worked in real life.
Eventually, we got into a long personal conversation and he softened up and became less threatening. He mentioned that although he didn’t like Jews in general, he did like Howard Stern and listened to his radio show all the time. [I know he isn’t doing radio anymore. It was a dream.] I mentioned that I’d gone to camp and college with Howard [true]. My captor told me if I could get him on his show, he would set me free and renounce his white supremacy.
I explained that I had not seen Howie [as we used to call him] in nearly 45 years and in any case, we’d never been friends; we’d been on the periphery of the same crowd and knew lots of people in common. [i.e.I almost lost my virginity to his freshman year roommate. Dodged a bullet on that!] I didn’t even know how to get a hold of him. But White Supremacist Guy was not taking no for an answer. Finally, I figured that if I sent an email to someone at his radio station, they might pass it on to him if they saw that it was both personal and urgent. So, I composed a long letter with lots of references to/updates on mutual friends/acquaintances [the letter was all very lucid and true. I could not have written a better one had I been awake.] I explained the situation clearly, and mentioned that together we might just be able to turn this guy around, and maybe he, in turn, would turn others around. I was fairly certain if he saw the email, he would respond. Alas, I awakened before he got back to me.
All in all, the dream must have lasted about three hours. Now, I would consider that a lucid dream because I was able to come out of it and go back into it, and while in it, I could think logically and solve problems successfully.
That’s how my lucid dreams usually went. And then, a couple of weeks ago, I experienced a totally different kind of lucid dream which is much more fun!
I found myself standing on a pier along the water in dream version of NYC. It looked the way Manhattan did maybe a hundred years ago, with wooden warehouses along the docks that were right up against the river. I stood on a pier with a warehouse behind me. Looking into the harbor, I could see islands with what seemed to be old castles on them. [In fact, there actually IS an island in the Hudson with an old “castle” — Bannerman Castle – but it’s up near Peekskill, about an hour north of the city.]
Although I was definitely dreaming, there was a sense of almost hyper-reality as if I were awake, even though it was somewhat surreal. Everything was sharp and clear, with no fuzziness around the edges. I could turn in any direction and look around, and the details, even far into the distance, were readily apparent, as in real life. The experience was somewhat like virtual reality — awake within a different existence.
As I stood on the dock, looking out onto harbor, and I was suddenly filled with the most joyous realization that, hey, I am dreaming and that I’m AWARE that I’m dreaming; fully asleep and yet completely conscious. I was euphoric realizing that I had control, a sense of free will within the dream. The feeling of being aware and “conscious” within the dream was thrilling, as if I’d discovered the secret entrance to a time tunnel or intergalactic worm hole.
I walked to the edge of the wooden dock and thought, OK…here I go. I stepped off but rather than falling into the water, I took off into the air, flying easily, gracefully, over to one of the castles. Inside, there was a theater with a play going on which I watched from beginning to end. It was fantastic! After the curtain, the playwright/director walked onto the stage to a standing ovation. I thought to myself, “that was a great play! If I write it down, and try to publish it, it wouldn’t be plagiarism since it was in my dream, which means technically, I wrote it.” Unfortunately, upon awakening, I could not recall a single thing about it.
After that experience, I couldn’t wait to do it again! I started again to use the lucid dreaming binaural beats (found on YouTube). It took another few days to have another one.
Rather than just hoping for something to happen, I tried an experiment. I imagined myself relaxing in a comfortable lounge chair at the end of the dock, from where I’d previously launched. I focused on relaxation, keeping my mind clear, and allowed the dream to pull me back into it. To my amazement, this worked. Once again, I found myself in that same joyous state of consciousness within a dream.
The scenario was similar, but this time, I was in a row boat on a large lake, again with castles all around the shoreline. Being in control, I was able to direct the boat just by thinking where I wanted to go.
I arrived at one of the castles and went inside. What a disappointment! Turned out, they were better at a distance. Most had been turned into cheap tourist hotels which hadn’t been renovated since the 1950s or 60s. They were decorated with cheesy, functional Eastern European-style furnishings. It was a place for working families to spend a few weeks.
The only person I saw was a little boy in the lobby. I stopped to play with him, [as is my habit when I meet children in real life.] I asked him if he knew the song, “The Wheels on the Bus”. He did, so we sang it together, making up some silly lyrics of our own.
And then it was over.
Now I can’t wait to go to sleep at night. It’s pretty sad that my unconscious mind in a dream state is having more fun than my waking self.
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