At a hotel in a tropical jungle, I stand on my balcony watching wild animals frolic and play. Then, out of the semi darkness, I see a huge tiger face looming right in front of me – how can this be possible? I’m right up on the third floor; it’s impossible for a tiger to float suspended in mid-air, right? I understand that I am dreaming. This is a magnificent dream tiger, and it has come to visit me!
Its huge head is inches from my body, I can see each one of its whiskers and the glow of its wise amber eyes. I know it means me no harm. It’s as if it wants to offer me its power, strength, and protection. It wants to be my friend. Laughing in delight, I find myself floating up into the air. My beautiful dream tiger levitates with me and I get the strong feeling that we have known each other forever; it’s like meeting part of my own soul. Together we turn slow somersaults high above the jungle as the stars begin to come out one by one.
Some of the most spine-tingling encounters I’ve had in lucid dreams involve animals. I’ve danced with elephants, lived in the jungle with a Bengal tiger, turned into a dolphin, discovered a baby bird napping on my bedside table, met the mother of all lizards in a luminous bardo zone, encountered a frozen stallion made of champagne, and had an ecstatic lucid kundalini awakening with a green serpent. Many of my dream animals are recurring figures in my dreams and they take on the role of guides, showing me when I need to pay attention to things in my life.
Some dream figures simply aren’t too bright; they can lack awareness and seem puppet-like. Others seem super-conscious – we get a little shock when we look into their eyes because they are so present and alert. These are the best ones to go to with our questions. This next practice shows the four main levels of awareness of dream figures that I’ve come up with. There will be other levels for sure, and every dreamer is different, so you may like to customise these “types” as you explore more deeply.
Practice #52: How Conscious Are Your Dream Figures?
Would you wander out onto the high street and ask a random stranger: “Where is my life going?” or: “Should I split up with my girlfriend?” True – for some, this sort of exchange can and does happen after pub closing time, but don’t we at least look people in the eye and exchange a few words first? In lucid dreams there’s sometimes the sense that we’ll wake up imminently, so we stress out, trying to squeeze in our goal. But when we become adept at stabilising the dream, we can chill out more.
This guide is to help you to find the best dream person to spill out your heart to, while remembering one vital thing about lucid dreaming: Since the lucid dream itself hums with awareness, directing a question to the dream itself can be just as beneficial, if not more so, than seeking out a dream figure to ask. In many cases, the dream figure can be seen as a kind of prop – we’re used to talking to people in waking life, so we feel the need to find an image of a person to talk to in a lucid dream, to make it seem “real” for us. But we could just as easily direct our question to the underlying, thrumming awareness that lucid dream imagery emerges from.
Whenever you ask lucid dream figures a question about your life situation, your future, the nature of reality, or any other pressing question you may have (“What are next week’s lottery numbers?” “Will I get laid this weekend?”), be alert for nonsensical or insanely cryptic responses, but it’s best never to dismiss anything in the dream, as sometimes we only understand the message (if there is one) once we’ve woken up.
No matter who we ask, remember that just asking aloud – asking the dream itself – is really effective, because the lucid dream is conscious. Responses may manifest through a voice booming out from nowhere, or a stream of imagery showing us a particular sequence of events, or the appearance of a person or image. We might suddenly be awash with a strong emotion, or experience a flood of insight.
When we ask profound questions in a lucid dream, such as “What happens after we die?” Or: “What is the meaning of life?” what often happens is that we get swept up by an invisible wind and transported at top speed into a vast sparkling lucid void, or we are pulled downward into a spiralling black hole. Don’t be afraid if this happens! Just hold onto your hat and go with that wind, because this sort of response from the lucid dream often ends in incredibly blissful states where we receive knowledge and experience pure interconnected oneness (more on that exciting state of affairs in chapter nine).
[Excerpt from the new release The Art of Lucid Dreaming by Clare R. Johnson, PhD. © 2020 by Clare R. Johnson, PhD. Used by permission from Llewellyn Worldwide, Ltd., www.Llewellyn.com.] Clare is the creator of www.DeepLucidDreaming.com where she shares advice on lucid dreams and nightmares.
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