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by RMS
Art by Henri Rousseau
Lucidity and Expectation

Even as there are varieties of non-lucid dreams, there are varieties of lucid dreams.  Lucidity, by the general definition, requires only that one knows that one is dreaming while one is dreaming and that one feels one has a choice whether to go along with the dream as is or to alter the course of the dream via dream control.  Some lucid  dreams are long; some are short.  Some are relatively mundane; others have exotic settings and feature "magical" actions of the dreamer or dream  characters.  Some are highly controlled; some are not.  Some too are quite ordinary; others feature language, imagery, or experiences which many define as being  "religious" or "spiritual."  In some, the dreamer develops dual or multiple forms or levels of awareness.

We know that the content of a lucid dream is largely (if not completely) a result of suggestion and the hopes, fears, and expectations of the dreamer.  Nonetheless, the most spectacular, the most unusual, the most exotic, the most "spiritual," the most "high" lucid dreams generally occur only rarely.  A dreamer obviously doesn't easily  forget such a dream,  but what should the dreamer do?

All too often I have seen a lucid dream enthusiast go away disappointed that the next lucid dream doesn't offer a yet more spectacular, "spiritual," or unusual experience.  I have seen in some a kind of nostalgia for a particular lucid dream experience of the past.  The dreamer will recount that one lucid dream over and over, even though most of his/her audience have heard it at least once.  Current lucid dreams are largely ignored as being dull, "no good," too ordinary, or whatever.

What is wrong  with this attitude?  Besides boring  others, the poor dreamer now expects and demands only one type of lucid dream -- nothing  else is "good" enough.  The dreamer is ignoring very valuable current material because the package is not fine enough.  I feel this is a mistake.  We can learn from all our lucid dreams, if understanding rather than entertainment is our goal. In fact, although I would never put down the "high" lucid dreams that some have upon occasion or during particular periods of their lives, I feel that such dreams sometimes can have a debilitating effect as well as a positive effect, if the dreamer expects to have the same dream (or "better") over and over and is unable to benefit from current lucid experiences due to his/her expectation and greed.

Consider, the sun is everywhere,  and we are dependent on it for our earthly lives,  but we'll be blinded if we look at it without proper safeguards or preparations.  And also, for many purposes, a lamp is sufficient and perhaps even more useful.
What Separates in an OBE?

In most (if not all) of the OBE experiences of the one body or two body type, and even in some false awakenings, there is an experience  of a "separation."  Something is "separating" from something else.  There is minimal language (at least in English) to describe this experience.  What little there is is generally what is available through popular  metaphysics, so people who have read a few (or many) metaphysical texts generally fall back upon that known  language, loaded though it is with various connotations in accordance with which metaphysical system is most admired.  People often talk about an astral body separating from a physical  body.  I personally prefer less loaded but perhaps more accurate  language.  I see the separation as being that of the dream image of the body separating from the image of the sleep-paralyzed physical body lying in bed.  Sometimes the separation is easy to make; sometimes, difficult.  Sometimes it occurs instantaneously. Once it has  occurred, as in  other dreams, we are free to travel in our own inner land.
Lucidity Tips

Excepting those who have the fortune to learn lucid dreaming as a child and to work with it throughout adolescence, most of us have to put some effort into having lucid dreams.  What can be of assistance to us in our quest?  Here are a few tips:

1) Mental preparation is very important -- such things as reality testing, MILD, lucidity affirmations, imagining what you might do in the next lucid dream, and the like.

2) Combine  that with  at least  one of the known aids  to lucid dreaming.  The two major ones are the NovaDreamer® and variations of the napping technique.

3) While mental preparation is necessary, don't make it into a chore.  Remember that habitualization can occur with  excessive reality testing, MILD, use of the NovaDreamer etc., so use such techniques with discretion, not every day.

4) Select one (or more) nights a week (or month) when you feel especially motivated to have a lucid dream and don't have to worry about possible  sleep loss.  Engage in mental preparation during the day, in the evening, and if you awaken in the night. Then, to add to the chance of having  a lucid dream, use your NovaDreamer -- or stay awake  for an hour after you have slept five or six and then return to sleep.

I think, if one follows this format, that one's chances of having a lucid dream are likely to increase.  Good luck and lucid dreams!
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