Hypnosis, the Subconscious, and Lucid Dreaming
I often marvel at just how fuzzy the subconscious mind seems to be. I notice my subconscious mind the most when I'm about to go to sleep or when I wake up in the middle of the night and then go back to sleep. It's not unusual for me to begin to see rather weird random imagery (phantasmagoria) right before I drop off to sleep. Images that seem to come out of nowhere and don't seem connected to anything. This usually occurs after my conscious mind has pretty much stopped being active and I move into that rare state where my conscious, thinking mind has shut down but I'm still aware and conscious. It usually only lasts for several seconds or on and off again for about a minute before I drop off. Another instance of being aware within our subconscious is lucid dreaming.
Many years ago I experimented with lucid dreaming and out of body experiences. I had read several books on the subjects and decided to use hypnosis before I went to sleep at night to help induce lucid dreams. I would read over my short little script before I went to sleep (I'd also include the subject I wanted my lucid dream to be about). I'd often explore past lives.
The lucid dreams would occur in two ways. Sometimes I would become aware that I was sleeping. I would then roll out of bed (not my physical body, of course) and be on all fours on the carpet. I could feel the carpet and I'd also feel a great sense of excitement that I was about to begin an exciting journey. I'd get up and head towards the window at the east side of our bedroom. Our bedroom was a large attic bedroom and the windows on each end were quite small. But when I'd get to the east side window, the window would suddenly become quite large and I could open the window and jump out and begin to fly. And before I'd know it, I was flying into a past life scene. Extremely trippy stuff.
The second way in which I would begin a lucid dream is more typical of a lucid dream. I would wake up in the middle of the night, and before I dropped off back to sleep, I'd repeat to myself several times, "I am awake in the dream." I'd repeat the phrase perhaps four or six times and then I'd try to keep my awareness intact as I dropped off. And as I slipped into a dream state, I would maintain my conscious awareness.
Lucid states don't generally last a long time, though I've had a few lucid dreams that have lasted quite a while. There are a few things I've learned through my lucid dreaming I'd like to share. I used to use some tricks I'd read about to keep a dream scene going when I felt it was about to dissipate. But a friend of mine once suggested that rather than trying to control the dream, which I was apt to do, I should simply try to witness the dream without become emotionally involved or attached. I tried it and the results were spectacular.
Normally in a lucid dream, the colors are very vivid and objects have a tangible feel to them. When I would simply "witness" the lucid dream, the scenes would last much longer than normal and the colors were even more vivid than usual.
One side effect that eventually caused me to quit my lucid dreaming experiences was the lack of rest I got. When you're lucid dreaming, your conscious mind isn't getting the rest it usually does during sleep. I'd often be quite tired during those days after spending time the previous night lucid dreaming.
So why am I talking about phantasmagoria and lucid dreaming on a hypnosis site? Because to experience or become aware of the transitional state--as happens when you experience phantasmagoria and lucid dreaming--between waking and sleeping can give you a better understanding of the state of mind you're trying to achieve for hypnosis. A state of mind in which you are extremely relaxed; your thinking mind is taking a little vacation; your mind is highly focused on the subject at hand--and yet, you are extraordinarily aware.
If you have an interest in experiencing lucid dreaming, Rebecca Turner over at World of Lucid Dreaming, has created a product, Lucid Dreaming Fasttrack, to help you experience lucid dreaming.
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