|Wake-initiated lucid dream induction involves retaining consciousness during the switch from waking to sleeping, and its converse. While within a dream, keeping my dream eyes closed long enough sends me, upon reopening them, either to a new scene or back to "base," the approximate duplicate of my own bedroom. Deliberately sending myself there from another scene; returning to a sense of lying there while losing hold of a dream; falsely awakening; or reaching it from the other direction by detecting it while falling asleep -- all these are essentially the self-same condition: the lucid protodream or, if you will, OBE.
The disjunctive sensation of forming a second, mental body seems to be an awareness of one kind of transition into sleep, one in which the dream generation process focuses on touch. Hypnagogic imagery hallmarks a different kind of transition, focusing on the sense of sight. Dreaming also begins sometimes with pseudo sound, with auditory hallucinations of voices or music. While such sleep-onset dreamlets generally feature more instability than fully developed lucids, if one observes them patiently, refraining from strenuous efforts at control, they can soon lead into fully developed lucids. Perhaps the hallucinations, whichever sense they emulate, arise in NREM sleep which then naturally changes to REM.
While sometimes my OBEs begin after retaining awareness through to sleep, with a dream body slowly generated, at other times I find myself fully functional in my duplicate bedroom or other scene with little perceptible transition. In the latter case I may, however, on awakening recall a brief dreamlet having preceded the incident.
During the crossover to sleep, I first decide on a plan of action for a lucid dream, and visualize myself "waking" in the replica of my room and carrying out this plan. Next I mentally recite a song, or count, so I know, by any faltering, to repress whatever logical, verbal thinking has broken my concentration on an undercurrent of random fragments of sound and color, which at first will seem like thoughts and phosphenes then start to externalize as hallucinated voices and images. I may then pay attention to either the voices, resulting in a narrative; the images, resulting in a hypnagogic reverie; or else my somatic sensations, resulting in illusions of motion.
Eventually a selected fragment will start to include the other senses, engendering a dream. Or I will notice, at one of these jerks to awareness after faltering, that I no longer perceive the actual bedroom. I may already have a functional dream body, but if not, patience will produce one in one of several ways. I may lie there and wait; imagine leaving the room until I start to perceive the location I would have been in had I actually left; or encourage the sensation of light, duplicate limbs gradually separating from their immobile originals -- the change in body image so often misinterpreted as astral departure. The three elements of vision, hearing and mobility may accrue to the dream body in any order.
Hypnagogic hallucinations may be the best mode to start with for retaining awareness into sleep. With the auditory mode one runs a much higher chance of drifting into mundane sleep, probably because in a drowsy state our verbal thought commingles too easily with the randomly generated pseudo sounds. The motion mode can get weird, with lots of floating, sinking and twirling. I do not recommend extensive forced experimentation along these lines, because of the risk of sleep disruption.
|This is an edited version of an article that originally appeared in The Dream Explorer in 1992.|
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