By Steven Bancarz| We have all heard of lucid dreaming before. Lucid dreaming is the act of waking up within your dream, and becoming aware that you are operating within a dream world. Everything around you becomes a little more saturated with colour and life as the realization sits in that the world around you is yours to create. You can fly, manipulate matter, and influence the behaviour of other characters in your dream.
More profound than the new abilities you have is the underlying sense of being present in a realm of dreams. Sometimes, it has almost moved me to tears while being in a lucid dream. It’s so beautiful. One of the best parts about lucid dreaming is the profound implications they can have on our experience of reality. I once had a lucid dream where it felt more real than real life. There are times where I know I am lucid within a dream, but this felt so hyper-real I couldn’t decipher between lucid dream and reality anymore.
Then I thought to myself, “If I can’t tell the difference between this and real life, how can I be so certain that ‘real life’ is not a dream also?”. A few moments after that, I found myself awake in my bedroom, hovering four feet over my body looking around my room which had now become illuminated by my astral body.
That experience taught me a lot about our experience of waking life. It also taught me to look closer into what happened in my mind leading up to my experiences of becoming lucid within a dream. What induced this lucidity? What happened in my mind as I transitioned from the dream state into lucidity?
After having many experiences with lucid dreaming, I began to get a sense of what it felt like to become lucid in waking life. To literally step outside of your story temporarily and become the watcher of your journey. Life is just a playground for spiritual evolution, and one day you will wake up and realize that you were just passing through. You will wake up from this dream, just like you wake up from your dreams each morning after being fooled into thinking that your dream was all there was to reality. In the same way your subconscious mind creates the landscape of your dreams, your soul has created the landscape of your waking-dream.
It doesn’t require a thousand hours of meditation, or for you to read every New Age book that has been printed. All it requires is that you make shifts in your consciousness, and I would like to share some very easy ways to shift away from ordinary consciousness and into lucid living. Here are 3 ways to become lucid while you are awake:
1) Stop thinking. Become the witness.
If you pay attention to what happens when you become lucid within a dream, you will notice that you literally get pulled out of your thoughts and into lucidity. You are initially trapped in this day-dreaming state of mind, not considering anything around you. And as lucidity begins to set in, your thoughts start to subside and a new level of awareness begins to arise from beyond the thought-stream.
Unfortunately, in waking life we don’t normally get yanked out of our thoughts and into transcendence out of nowhere. It requires that use our will to re-direct our attention. So right now, as you read this, I want you to stop what your doing. If you’re just passively scrolling through this, take a moment to focus. Take a deep breath right now. Inhale…now exhale.
Take the next 10-20 seconds to stop thinking. Don’t think about not thinking, just don’t think. Listen to the sounds that are happening around you. Maybe you hear the wind, or cars outside, or maybe you hear an undertone of silence. Whatever sounds you may hear, don’t think about them. Don’t judge them, comment on them, or label them. Just listen, without thinking. Now, pay attention to yourself as the listener. Who is the one that is listening? And who is the one that is AWARE of the one that is listening? There is something listening, but there is also something noticing the listening.
When it comes to dreaming, there is the dreamer (which is you who unconsciously cruises through the dream world), and then there is the awareness of the dreamer. This is where lucidity sets in. In waking life, there is the one who lives (your ego, personality, etc.), and there is the one aware of the one who lives (your soul, pure consciousness). When you take a moment to snap yourself out of autopilot mode, you will notice that the one who operates within autopilot mode is not you. It is just an aspect of you, that YOU can become aware of. Take a look around you. Really take a moment to actually see. Who is the one that is seeing right now, and who is the one that is aware you are seeing?
Don’t just hop on board with your thoughts and emotions, or even your experience of the world around you. Take a moment to notice your thoughts, emotions, or experience. Notice, and then notice that you are noticing. Feel the sense of an alert presence arise within your being as you remain still. You are now lucid living.
2) Pretend you are watching a movie
Have you ever seen the movie called waking life? If not, you should definitely watch it. It’s about a teenager who is unable to figure out if he is in a dream or in waking life, and on his journey he meets a bunch of interesting characters who let him on the secrets to life and the meaning of existence. Here is a short clip that is a must watch:
Stop being your eyes. They are just a screen. Take a moment to look through then as if you are watching a movie screen. Right now. Look around you. You’re just role playing in a movie. Everything around you is set up on purpose, and you are just a character in your own movie. The people you see, the animals, even the stars and planets are all part of one massive movie. And deep down in our souls, we all know this is just one big scene.
The next time you are in a conversation from someone, interact with them as if they are another character in this movie of yours. And pay attention to what they are saying and what it can show you about yourself and about life, because the point of THIS movie isn’t just to entertain you. It’s to develop your soul and catalyze your evolution.
You’ll notice that as soon as you switch to the internal space of treating a situation like it is a scene in a movie that you are supposed to gain wisdom from, the qualities of the world around you begin to shift as well. Something illuminates, and the people around you begin to collapse into your new energy field. Sometimes I will practice this and feel a massive space open up within me right away. When you stop believing in reality so much, it’s almost as if the universe is starts winking at you to let you know you’re on the right track.
3) Live as though you only have 60 seconds left
One time I was biking home from a forest after what I considered to be an unsuccessful meditation. I was far too distracted with my thoughts, and they were preventing me from feel free and expansive inside. After I exited the forest I stopped biking and turned back to stare at the trees, trying to shift perspectives to see which one would induce the most transcendence. I tried looking at the trees as if I was dreaming, as if they were God, as if they were an expression of me, and as if they were a product of infinite intelligence. Nothing, in that moment, created any real shift for me. Then I looked at the forest as if I only have 30 seconds left to live on earth. I look at the trees as if it was the last time I would ever get to see a tree again, and I began to cry.
One of the most humbling realizations is that impermanence is an unchanging truth. You will never get to experience this moment ever again. Everything around you will pass with time. The trees, the buildings, relationships, accomplishments. Perhaps even the universe itself. The only things that will remain are memories. Life is so so temporary. We all know how fast time seems to fly by. Whether you believe you have a soul or not, here is a truth that has literally changed the way I see life:
There will be a time in this life where you will be old and near passing. You will be reflecting on your past experiences, on how you spent your life, on all of the great times you had, and maybe even on how often you took life for granted. There will come a time in your life where you would give ANYTHING to be in this position right now. Alive, youthful, healthy. You would give your arm and a leg if you could just experience life as a 20 or 30 or 50-year-old again. Imagine yourself being on your deathbed and wishing you could go back for just 30 seconds to extract more experience from life and to fully appreciate how amazing it is. Consider this moment, right now, being your wish granted. What are you going to do with this moment?
Look at the world through the lens of impermanence and you will notice a shift inside of you right away that may knock you off your feet, as it did for me. One day, you won’t have a future. Taking even just a moment to look at the world as if these are your last 60 seconds is a surefire way to snap yourself out of daydreaming and into lucidity.
Meditation can be added to this list as well, but that goes without saying. To become lucid in this world, you don’t need to be asleep. As you need to do is recognize yourself as the dreamer, and your life as the dream. I hope that these three practices will help you do just that.