Tell us about your early dream life? When did you first learn about lucid dreaming?
The very first time I lucid dreamed was about 40 years ago and was really quite by chance, and which was actually in the nature of a false awakening so I really didn't know what was happening until after I woke up for real and realised what had occurred.
I'd gone to bed as normal the night before and, as far as I was concerned, had slept the entire night and woke up just as the doorbell rang. Someone else in the house answered the door and I heard excited voices and squeals of delight, because a girl who'd been staying at the house who'd been missing for several days had finally turned up. We were all very glad to see she was safe and sound and were flocking around her asking her questions as to where she'd been and everything. And it was while this was happening that I suddenly began to feel a little strange and slightly dizzy. As the sensation increased I also noticed some purple and white zigzagging streaks that appeared right on the periphery of my vision.
This was rather disconcerting to say the least, and so I gently shook my head a couple of times to try and make it stop but it only got worse! These purple and white stripes becoming more and more pronounced until that was all I could see. At which point I could then feel myself falling backwards as if in slow motion and logically thought that this is what fainting must be like. Half expecting to feel myself hitting the floor what happened next though was really quite surprising, because the very next thing I knew I was sitting up in bed again just exactly like the first time?? Yikes!
Immediately realising what had just happened, I was stunned for a few moments while still trying to take this all in. The nature of that first awakening being so convincingly real that for weeks afterwards I wasn't quite sure it might just happen again at any moment! And this was my first ever introduction to even the possibility of lucid dreaming.
Did you have immediate success with lucid dreaming, or did it take a while?
My next encounter was maybe even as much as 15 years later. I hadn't been trying to lucid dream or anything and wouldn't have even known where to begin if I did. But one night I went to bed as usual and was kind of just lying there getting comfortable and ready to drift off, when suddenly I seemed to be hanging upside down in a net with my head touching my feet only to then find myself sitting up on the side of my bed with the lights on dressed in only my shorts and a t-shirt! Fascinated to realise what was happening I looked around the room, which as far as I could tell was my bedroom albeit everything had a kind of surreal feeling to it all. Everything twinkled slightly as though with its own inner light. It was beautiful! Added to which I was fully aware that I was actually somehow dreaming! This was amazing! I quickly decided that the thing to do was to get dressed and go out and wander around outside, to which end I attempted to pull on my jeans only for some reason my legs wouldn't go into them. There didn't appear to be any obstruction, but some seemingly invisible barrier just wouldn't allow me to get my legs into them. It was while I was trying to force my legs into them that it slowly dawned on me that I was maybe actually trying to dress my sleeping body and the reason my legs wouldn't go into my jeans was because there was a duvet in the way. The realisation of which gave me a jolt in that I then had visions of myself perhaps sleep walking around outside in the street completely unaware of the passing traffic! Deciding then and there that it's probably best to stay home and just explore the room I was in instead, <smile...>
Being totally new to all this I didn't have a clue really what to do or to try next, and after walking around the room a few times I had the idea to maybe then try and create something in the dream completely from my imagination to see if it would materialise. I stared at my hand and tried to visualise a plain glass tumbler, which to my surprise began to actually appear albeit only in ghostly form. The outlines of it were there alright but it wasn't solid and its solidity was what I wanted. I concentrated a little harder and for sure it became a little more solid and defined but was still basically only a ghostly shifting form in my hand. I didn't know what to do, something was lacking, but some intuition suggested that I had to pour some 'emotion' (or something) into it? To which end I somehow generated a feeling somewhat like you feel in an elevator when it first starts up and I whooshed this ghostly tumbler with it. The result of which was pronounced in that I'd seemingly used too much feeling because this nebulous tumbler suddenly solidified in my hand while expanding to 4 or 5 times its size and literally flew out of my hand and right across the room where it was now standing on the floor maybe two feet high and some ten inches wide, shocking me to pieces!! I could see it standing there in the corner looking solid enough, as solid as anything else in the room albeit all distorted down one side as though having been melted from a great heat. I was fully intent on going over to inspect it only at that very moment I woke up back in bed in the dark still under the duvet.
What happened next?
After that last experience I became really quite intrigued about lucid dreaming but didn't actually know how to repeat the experience, I didn't have a clue! No matter what or how I tried nothing worked and it was again a number of years before I came across a series of books that talked about looking for one's hands in a dream as an express method of deliberately inducing a lucid dream. I tried this for quite some time with nothing ever coming of it. Months went by intoning and intending to lucid dream on a nightly basis only nothing ever happened! Nothing I did or tried seemed to work. How frustrating!
What was it about lucid dreaming that you found interesting?
At the time, and being totally unable to make it happen again, all I really had to go on was the 'idea' of lucid dreaming and the kinds of things I might try to experiment with the next time it happened. I thought about it often and planned the kinds of things I might try, plus also read everything I could get my hands on in the meantime but all to no avail, nothing seemed to work no matter how much or how hard I tried. Nightly I lay down intoning out loud until I fell asleep that: "I want to lucid dream! I want to lucid dream!” Fully expecting it to happen only it never did. How disappointing! 18 months farther down the line I still had nothing to show for it and even began to lose interest...
What eventually happened?
The breakthrough for me came shortly after getting a last ditch idea of perhaps giving myself the command to wake up later in a dream at a somewhat deeper level. The idea being that perhaps my subconscious mind might hear the command more clearly if I was already in a somewhat slightly altered state of awareness to begin with. And as such I began to experiment with trying to fall half asleep before intoning the command to wake up later in a dream. This too unfortunately didn't work out either and nothing ever came of it except that sometimes, just before actually drifting off, I would notice all these very slight colours, dots and streaks appearing behind my closed eyes... The more I stared at them the more pronounced they became, especially if I kept my eyes perfectly still, stared straight ahead and let these colourful patterns move and shift around by themselves. It wasn't much but was still interesting enough to keep me going for several nights just to see what it was and if anything else came of it.
Anyway, one night I was watching all this going on when a small, plus seemingly 3-dimensional, image appeared, a perfectly clear round flat circle marked with cubes that seemed to have some depth to them, and it was while I was examining this quite sharp image that I felt myself rushing forward and the next thing I knew I was suddenly standing in a fully lucid dream! Added to which I hadn't even fallen asleep yet!! Yikes! It didn't last very long but I'd definitely been in a dream and fully aware of it. Fascinating! When I managed to repeat the experience verbatim the very next night, I realised I was onto something really quite different here. Nowhere had I read about anything like this! And it was at this point that I then began to write everything down - the better to study it.
Did lucid dreaming seem to have rules? Or did it seem random and chaotic?
At that time I'd never even heard of 'Waking-Induced Lucid Dreaming' (WILD) so was doubly intrigued when someone mentioned that they thought it might be some kind of a trance-state, or possibly even something called a WILD. And it was while I researched these 'WILDs' that I came to understand that what had happened to me was indeed what Stephen Laberge had termed WILDs. The more I read about them the more obvious it became that this was indeed what they were! Undeniably so! A lucid dreaming state that one can quite deliberately enter into while still actually fully wide awake! How utterly amazing and correct!
The rules for which were all fairly simple and straightforward, in that all anyone basically has to do in order to initiate them is to find these images (which I later discovered were called hypnagogia), examine their details for a moment, and this alone then triggered a WILD virtually almost every time! The more I practiced the easier it became until I could effectively breeze through the initial steps of relaxing my body enough to see these hypnagogia, quickly attempt to examine some of their details, and whoosh off I'd go almost every time! Wow!
Succinctly stated, what seems the advantages to the WILD approach?
WILDs are indeed revolutionary! Being able to initiate them on demand probably being the biggest plus most useful bonus of the lot. I mean, why gamble on getting a DILD when you can bet on a sure thing every time with WILDs? Good question huh... That, and the fact there's no interruption to one's waking stream of consciousness when transitioning into them. Add to this the 100% lucidity that WILDs always engender by default and people are surely onto a winner! So much so that I haven't even tried to DILD again ever since!
From your experience, what miscellaneous factors help to increase the likelihood of success for the WILD approach?
IMHO, it's best to learn to WILD at normal bedtimes to start, thus mastering the ‘how to get in the zone’ bit via relaxing first, and then, once you’ve had your first WILD, branching out from there to just about any time of the day or night you wish! And this because everyone gets a daily opportunity to learn them at bedtime without fail, something which is only really required at first in order to start WILDing and which takes around 2 weeks of steady work to achieve. After which, it’s then up to you how often or not you go WILD.
Some people report finding WILDs difficult. What tends to cause problems with having WILD success? What are the blocks, the snags, etc.?
I guess what really surprises me is just how easy it actually is to learn to WILD. There's so little to it that it's almost a joke! There's been several methods offered to WILD in the past, all of which were rather off-putting to say the least, including things like having to put up with sleep paralysis (SP) and disturbing vibrations, not to mention an almost horror-show of dark shadows and scary encounters that quite often goes hand-in-hand with SP.
Then there was the wake-back-to-bed approach (WBTB) of setting alarms to wake people up in the middle of the night so they could make an attempt that way etc. No wonder then WILDs had gained a somewhat bad rep of being somehow difficult and only for masters. Thankfully, there's a better way involving only the hypnagogia alone as an entry point wherein there's never any SP, vibrations, scary monsters or anything like that to have to contend with. Use just the hypnagogia alone to enter into a WILD and there's really nothing more simple, straightforward, reliable and hassle free.
How do you suggest a curious lucid dreamer proceed?
It's really very simple, almost ridiculously so: First understand in advance the three stages (or increments in awareness) involved and then put them into practice one by one over the course of 14 days or so in total in order to achieve your very first WILD.
1. Over the course of a week you learn to relax your body just enough to start seeing the hypnagogia, which is actually the hardest part of the whole thing in that you have to learn to recognise just what's enough relaxation to accomplish this without falling asleep.
2. Once you start seeing the hypnagogia, just stare straight ahead without moving your eyes and these hypnagogia gradually increase in complexity until actual images start appearing.
3. Once these images begin to gain some finer details to them you then have two choices: Either keep gazing at them in the same manner while enjoying the sometimes incredible movie shows involved, or, when you're ready, start making attempts to ‘examine’ some of those finer details in the images that pass by and through the area you’re gazing steadily at. This last being what ultimately triggers the WILD when one time those same images pull (or zoom) you right into a fully fledged lucid dreaming situation, and that's it! Job Done! A basically completely new technique that’s very reliable and trouble free!
How do people learn more about your work?
WILDs appears to be something that anyone can do with very little effort, and if one day everybody develops their ability to WILD on demand, it’s reasonable to assume our society will then change for the better in order to accommodate our ability to be more in harmony with Nature and the rest of the Universe.
The work thus ultimately involves nothing less than a remaking of our humanity, of rescuing ourselves from a state of ignorance, darkness and material despair.
To this end there's a whole series of completely free animated short videos on Youtube based on my book that was published in March of 2016. They're exactly the same as the book chapter for chapter albeit a bit shorter and anyone can definitely learn how to WILD from them. And then there's the book itself, which is a bit more personal and detailed and that also considers some of the philosophical ideas based on the implications of doing them, if anybody wants that, but which is really only now the reference material behind the whole technique which was published as a formal lay-paper on the subject. There's also the WILDs & WILDing Facebook Group which is currently still the first and only active group for WILDs out there. An open public forum which people aren’t required to join in order to read all the info gathered on there unless they wish to post and ask questions as well.
The WILDs & WILDing Facebook group:
Full Youtube playlist for the videos:
For paperbacks & Kindle/ebooks:
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