I have never read any thesis from anybody why Lucid Dreams collapse if you are staring at something for more than a few seconds. I tried to ask a Dream Character once but got a gibberish answer. In a non LD you can concentrate at something for how long as needed but it seems to be a ”rule” in LD when we are conscious to wake up [after staring].
Why do you, Robert, think this is? Have you ever asked the awareness why?
In the dream state, we normally have REM — rapid eye movement. Our eyes literally move all over the place.
Decades ago, a REM researcher noticed the eye movements of a man in the sleep lab whose eyes moved left and right throughout a part of the dream. Upon waking, the researcher asked him about his dream, and discovered the man had been at a tennis match -- watching the back and forth movement of the tennis ball! So eye movement seems very common in dreaming.
But in lucid dreaming, when we decide to stare fixedly at something for more than a few seconds, this becomes un-natural or abnormal to the REM state. I believe that tension (of doing something in defiance of rapid eye movement) causes the lucid dream to collapse. When it collapses, the lucid dream ends and the uncomfortable staring gets resolved (as you wake and look around).
While a person may seem able to look at something in a non-lucid dream for a long time, I do not believe it is truly possible (because you lack the lucidity or conscious awareness to ‘stare’ fixedly). For example, in a nightmare, you may be looking at the witch — and then without realizing it, you look at her pointed nose, and her pointed shoes, and then the wart on her face. When you wake from the dream, you think, “Oh I really looked at the witch for a long time” — the actual experience is that you looked at differing aspects of the witch (so you have slight eye movements, focusing on various aspects).
Staring fixedly runs counter to a basic tendency in dreaming (i.e., REM), so this may result in the collapse of the lucid dream (as many thousands of lucid dreamers have noticed).
There’s a continuous narrative that I have been experiencing in lucid dreams for about 7 years. The narrative has progressed but it only seems to become more and more mysterious and confusing. Recently, I came across your lectures and interviews on youtube (very eager to read your book!) and the experiences you shared has brought some understanding but also invited in new questions. What happens is that I can only interact with dream figures so long as they don’t know that I am lucid, and if they do find out that I am, they will attack me in some way so to wake me up.
The strangest part, though, is that this goes for all except one. There’s this one dream figure that will actively try to prompt me into realizing I am dreaming so that they may speak to me, and at times they will seem conscious and in control of the situation even if I am not myself. In regular dreams, I will see them staring at me as though waiting for an opportunity to engage into speaking; they will often take me away from those dream figures or else act along with the dream narrative searching for a window to interact with me. After I started to watch your videos, I decided I should address directly to the larger consciousness so to ask why my dream figures aren’t collaborating except for that one, and what would they represent.
However, on my latest experience, I called out to the dream consciousness and I got no response. Now I’m wondering if it could be that this particular dream figure is the embodiment of my larger consciousness. Also, I’m wondering if there’s anything that could be done regarding the other figures. It might be worth mentioning that the aware figure is someone I know in real life but am not at all intimate with, and they seem to behave quite strangely in my presence, which leads me to wonder whether it could be that this is not a dream figure but somehow an independent consciousness. I’ve been struggling with this for quite a while and I would love to hear your thoughts on it all. If you’d have any information or advice to offer so to help me progress on this path, I would be forever grateful. Thank you for your time and your wonderful contribution.
Thanks for sharing your lucid dream experience! Hope you have a chance to read my books, since I believe it will help put things in a better context.
As I mention in my books, all dream figures are not created equal. Some seem unable to respond or comprehend or behave. While others seem very responsive, knowledgeable and self-directed (often independent of the desire or expectation of the lucid dreamer). Also, some lucid dreamers report a recurring dream figure that appears in lucid dreams.
Regarding the issue of dream figures causing trouble for you, when they realize you have become lucid -- it’s not uncommon that some people have ‘distractors’ in their lucid dreams, meaning dream figures who might distract, bother or hassle the lucid dreamer. Sometimes they try to convince you that ‘This is real!’ or get you to doubt your lucid awareness.
These distracting dream figures likely represent one’s self-doubts or concerns or something. In most cases, you can send them thoughts of love and compassion, and they will lose their energy and become smaller or less distracting — which shows you that they are ‘projected mental energy’ — since your ‘change of mind’ about them causes them to change to a different form.
If this was my experience, and I routinely noticed that one aware lucid dream figure or set of figures wished to interact with me, or actively assisted me, then I would make it a goal to do this: Ask open-ended questions of that one, such as “Who are you?” or “What do you represent?”
By doing this, you may discover that you interact with an archetype of wisdom, or inner knowing. Or perhaps, it may respond that it represents your inner self, for example. But you need to remember to stop in the lucid dream, and think, “This is my chance to find out what that aware dream figure is all about!” and then proceed to ask the open-ended questions.
Firstly, I want to thank you for writing your book, which has been instrumental in my lucid dream journey. I’m writing to you today because I had an unsettling lucid dream last night and I would be very grateful for your insight.
In the dream, I become lucid in a sort of educational institution (perhaps reflective of my applying to graduate school for next fall). There are a dozen or so professor-type characters scattered around the library-appearing room. I take the most approachable one aside and very calmly and politely explain to her that I know I am dreaming and that I would like to ask her for advice. She walks away and doesn’t return. I am informed by the other professors that she will not be coming back and that I will be put in a different cohort of students. They stare at me disparagingly – aware of what I told her. They are quite transparently annoyed with me.
Remembering the advice from your lucid dreaming book, I confidently call out to the consciousness behind the dream, “I demand that all thought-forms disappear and that you show me something meaningful.” However, none of the professors disappear and nothing happens, despite the fact that I have successfully used this technique in the past. I feel deflated. We sit in their staff breakroom, staring at each other awkwardly. “I’m just going to sit here like this for the rest of the dream, then?” I ask.
The Dean of the University-type dream figure has mercy on me and decides to show me her home. When we arrive at her front door, I try to draw a pink heart on the glass with my finger. Really, I just want to do anything that proves I still have some power. In my last few lucid dreams, I’ve flown, asked for advice from dream figures, performed miraculous acts, etc. I’m unaccustomed to being so powerless.
It doesn’t work. I can’t draw the heart on the door.
But, just as the professor is turning the knob, some color starts to spread from the center of the large, glass pane. It spreads of its own accord, eventually filling in a relief of the professor and me in the center, surrounded by a circle of the other professors intermingled with colorful butterflies. The dream ends.
What I find unsettling is that when I called out to the consciousness behind the dream, I did so with the utmost confidence. As you described in your book, sometimes worrying about falling or doubting one’s own ability to fly in a dream, for example, can affect the outcome. The dreamer might fall from the sky merely due to this negative thinking. However, in my case, I was confident in my ability and yet I was still not able to elicit the intended response. Furthermore, the dream figures seemed almost hostile – they clearly wanted to keep me from accomplishing my goals.
Ultimately, my question can me summarized as: What should one do when confronted with unhelpful dream figures and/or one’s efforts to manipulate the dream prove futile?
Thank you in advance for any insight you’re able to offer and thank you for your continued contributions to the lucid dreaming community.
Thanks for submitting your lucid dream, and your excellent questions! Because lucid dreaming seems mentally reflective (it reflects our beliefs, expectations, focus, etc.) and also mentally dynamic (when we ‘change’ our beliefs, then the lucid dream changes), I can more easily analyze a lucid dream when someone provides details of what they were doing and also ‘thinking’ while in the lucid dream. So thank you.
Relative to your question (about not receiving a response, even though you felt confident), I want to look at precisely what happened: “Remembering the advice from your lucid dreaming book, I confidently call out to the consciousness behind the dream, “I demand that all thought-forms disappear and that you show me something meaningful.” However, none of the professors disappear and nothing happens, despite the fact that I have successfully used this technique in the past. I feel deflated.”
It seems to me that you asked two vastly different ‘intents’ (e.g., 1) all thought forms must disappear, and 2) show me something meaningful) — which I mention in my second book (and probably the first too!) normally results in a lack of response or hesitation or something. As lucid dreamers discover, the ‘wording’ matters. Asking to ‘look for art’ that I can create results in a much different experience than asking to ‘look at art’ that I can create (and suddenly it appears — even though the wording differs by one word — for vs. at). In your case, you ‘ask’ for two very different things — and therefore the energy and meaning of the intent is divided, and in a sense fractured. When lucid dreamers do this, it normally results in no response or something a bit fractured.
Now it may be that your ‘intent’ of “show me something meaningful” ultimately appears in the very auspicious ending to your lucid dream… “But, just as the professor is turning the knob, some color starts to spread from the center of the large, glass pane. It spreads of its own accord, eventually filling in a relief of the professor and me in the center, surrounded by a circle of the other professors intermingled with colorful butterflies. The dream ends.”
If this was my dream, then I would find it interesting that this happens as the professor turns the knob (since it symbolizes to me that ‘opening’ to this new space of grad school results in the ‘heart’ image that you drew — becoming an image of the professor/grad school surrounded by other professors/education and colorful butterflies — which suggest the metamorphosis of butterflies and lots of positive growth for you as a grad school person leading to a profession). In a sense, when you ‘turn the knob’ (to grad school), then it will lead to growth, and ultimately personal transformation.
To me, that sounds “meaningful.”
Lucid wishes on your deeper journeys into lucid dreaming!
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