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I am a multimedia designer and aspiring writer from Central Illinois who dreams of bigger things. You are entering the hub of my online world. Welcome. Make yourself at home, read some stuff, click a few things, maybe check out my online portfolio. And of course, if you enjoy your stay, please subscribe.

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Monday, August 4, 2014

A different sort of "wild ride"

When I was a boy of 12 or 13 I used to read a science/pseudoscience/new age magazine called OMNI. I picked an issue up one day at Waldenbooks (remember that chain?) and instantly fell in love with it. Of course in those days I wanted to be a parapsychologist when I grew up. That was before the now-popular term "ghost hunter" came into vogue. And obviously before I understood that ghost hunting is really nothing more than a hobby at best and a swindle at worst.
David Patrick Kelly as Tommy Ray in the 1984 sci-fi thriller "Dreamscape"
Anyway, one of the articles I remember had a big impact on me back then was one concerning lucid dreaming. "You can learn to CONTROL your dreams?!" I was a huge fan of the Dennis Quaid (not to be confused with Randy) movie "Dreamscape" by that age; I can't recall if I'd seen "A Nightmare on Elm Street" yet at that point, but if not I would soon come to love it as well.

When I read this particular piece I was instantly infatuated with the idea of having a fantasy world bend to my whims each night, so I began incorporating the recommended exercises into my daily routine, each day warming my mind up for the idea that upon my nightly respite a new world would come alive to me and be under my control.

The technique I employed involved two components: weaving spontaneous reality checks throughout my everyday waking reality, and muttering affirmation-type statements to myself now and again. The idea is to make these routines such a part of your life that they become typical behavior and you will eventually we've them into your dream world, where the reality check will inevitably fail, allowing you to recognize you are indeed inside a dream, at which point you are in control of the direction your dream will take.

Lucid dreaming issue of OMNI magazine
I put my energy into these techniques and got great results. I became pretty good at it. Being a young teenager, of course, many of my lucid dreams turned sexual in nature pretty quickly. But I also flew and swam (neither of which I can do in reality), solved real-world problems that were bothering me and went on many crazy nocturnal adventures that would never be possible in the real world. Hell, some would have gotten me arrested in the real world. It was a virtual sandbox game of unlimited possibilities back when "The Legend of Zelda II" was the height of technology.

I'm not sure why I eventually quit the practice, but I did. Seems like a crazy thing to do when it's all going so swimmingly. Maybe I got lazy. I don't know. I did, though, somehow end up rejoining the ranks of the world's passive dreamers. And I was satisfied with it for decades. Somewhere along the line it became regular for me to not even remember dreaming most nights. That seems like such a waste to me. I know my brain's doing it. Why won't it at least remember where I was all night?

Last week I got the urge and decided to begin trying the techniques again. So far it's been four days, and though I have yet to experience lucidity, I have noticed that my dreams have become quite vivid and I am now remembering them every night.

I've dreamt of leaving my daughter at a mysterious "summer camp" at a compound of some sort, witnessing a violent train derailment, sacrificing myself running a bomb out of a hospital, participating in a high-stakes karaoke contest run by an evil megalomaniac, being a guest in a house that turns out to slowly reveal its sinister side as the servants and my wife fall under its spell (I particularly love the bizarre image of leeches beginning to grow out of the ceiling)... This is definitely a step in the right direction. Perhaps within another week or two I'll gain some measure of lucidity and the real fun can begin.

This is easily just as much fun as a rollercoaster but more convenient and hella cheaper. I'll keep you posted on my progress, and if it truly pays off I will let you know the simple steps I employed to make it happen. I'm not a greedy man; I'll share.