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Meditation and Lucidity

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thewolfdream
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Meditation and Lucidity
PostPosted: Wed 07 Dec, 2011  Reply with quote

I think this topic deserves its own sticky. Let me explain.

I have been reading LD4all since I was 15. Back then, the internet was just starting to boom (the year 2000) and I was absorbing everything I could about everything. I'd never heard of an LD until I randomly had one. When I searched the subject (this was back before the days of one-million hits for each random search) I found Pasquale's humble page. Thanks Pasquale! I owe a lot of my early experience with LD's and spirituality to the information I found on your pages and especially, in this forum.

For many years, I dedicated a portion of my waking time to practicing habits that would induce LDs. Reality checks, dream journals, MILDs, WILDs and all the other currently talked about techniques. Eventually, I stumbled on to one of my favorite books on the topic and one of my favorite spiritual guides, Tenzin Rinpoche's The Tibetan Yogas of Dream and Sleep. I think I found the recommendation on this forum and, likewise, I highly recommend it to anyone interested in Buddhism and LDs.

Anyway, I stumbled variously in and out of LDs, never achieving any regularity. By the time I got to college, I let my practice slip and when I graduated, I experienced the longest time since having my first LD, of not having any real clarity in dreams and I definitely did not have an LD for about three years.

I graduated in 2008 and the last three years have been tough on me (I swear this is pertinent and comes full circle.) I traveled until I was broke, moved back in with my parents and struggled like hell to get a job. My ideas about the world were not positive and I was not happy. Of course, happiness is subjective and while my environment was generally positive, I lacked the clarity needed to see where I wanted to go and how I wanted to get there. So I started back with my Buddhist practices, many of them learned from Tibetan Yogas of Dream and Sleep. Eventually, my daily practice brought the clarity I sought. I regained direction in my life, recovered my ability to provide for a situation that made me happy and presto-wammo! I LDed again (recently) for the first time in years (I posted my experience in the Flying guide thread under the LD adventures forum.)

Meditation brings clarity to those who practice it. To those who practice it regularly, it brings a feeling of confidence in decision-making and a closer connection to the elusive present that all the guru's tell us we need to be in. I find that my dreams are clearer as a direct result of this practice. They are more vivid, I inhabit a stronger sense of self in the dreamworld and when I awake, the dreams stay fresher in my mind - I can remember without having written them down 5 dreams in the last 2 days.

Without meaning to, I removed my desire to become Lucid (in clarity and in control of my dream) and I became lucid rather by my desire to see the highest well-being for myself. Don't get me wrong: meditation is a discipline just as the techniques required to attain lucidity discussed on this website. But because the goal of mediation is not dream lucidity so much as lucidity of the present moment, I have managed to overcome that particularly prickly paradox of doing lucidity practice without consciously wanting it so much.

For the record, I have no intention of ever going back to the practice of dream lucidity. There's just not enough time in the day. Rather, what I'm suggesting is that through a more general use of meditative discipline, one can achieve a similarly parallel practice to lucidity in dreams. I also mention this because in my travels I met one of those rare, gifted people who LD almost every single night, sometimes multiple times in a night. We talked a long time (we met randomly right before sharing a 10-hour bus ride from southern Chile to the northern Patagonia region in Argentina.) Anyway, this guy was a fervent meditator, practicing consistently everyday. From our discussion, I got the sense that he did not directly practice dream lucidity and yet still managed to attain it every single night.

I feel like meditation is not often discussed enough when talking about dream lucidity, and since this website helped guide me, I now offer my guidance to those who seek guidance. Meditation is an incredible discipline that positively benefits the waking reality but now as I'm discovering, has incredible benefits for the dream world as well.

I open up the discussion to those of you who experience LDs almost effortlessly; or for those of you who are practitioners of meditation to discuss your practice and how it effects your perception of the dream reality.



Current LD goal(s): to increase clarity and remembrance
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mattias
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PostPosted: Wed 07 Dec, 2011  Reply with quote

great post! I've tried to meditate for a while, but I always have trouble getting into it and making it a habit. Even if I do enjoy it and know of the benefits. I remember realizing how my DR and lucidity odds/quality was much better after I'd meditated before bed! But for some reason that's not enough to remind me to really try every night. I also lack focus and direction in life tounge2

Lately, the times I've remembered to try to meditate, my mind just wanders too much, I mean so much that out of 60 minutes I probably spend 10 actually trying to clear my mind and the other 50 just lost in random useless thoughts!

Funny thing is I also realized that if I meditated just for meditation's sake, it influenced my dreams more positively than if I meditated with the intention to get better at LD'ing. The paradox you mentioned.

Even so, I really would like to get into meditation, I KNOW it's the key to mastering lucid dreaming (the best LD'ers I've talked to or read about meditate frequently). I just don't have the discipline sadblauw The only times I've gotting the tiniest bit motivated/disciplined to meditate, I'd meditate before sleep, lying in bed, listening to theta binaural beats, which seem to really help me focus.

I've had a stressful 6 months so it's been hard to be able to focus and not just want to fall asleep. But now I'm on vacations and I'm hoping I can get something done!

So, how do you practice meditation? Focus on breathing? clear your mind? being aware of everything around you? sitting down or lying down? Any help would be apreciated as deep down I'd really like to meditate more!


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thewolfdream
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My practice
PostPosted: Thu 08 Dec, 2011  Reply with quote

I find the best time to meditate is in the morning. I get out of bed, take a pee and then I sit on my floor on one of the pillows thrown there from the night before. Before eating...It's hard to concentrate with food in the stomach...

I sit comfortably, which for me is cross-legged, back straight, neck tilted slightly downward, spine straight. I stare at a spot on the ground about 3 or 4 feet in front of me (today there was a nice ray of light where I was looking smile ) The eyes and shoulders should be relaxed. I tend to stretch out a little while I sit there and take 1 or 2 slow, deep breaths to further relax.

Then, a good zazen (literally translated as, "just sit") practice of counting my breaths, one in, two out, three in, four out, etc...I go to ten and start over. The goal is to focus on your body's natural rhythm of breathing. Notice how your body takes naturally, slow, relaxed breaths without you conscious effort. Count one in, two out...If you lose count, start over from one. Keep bringing your focus to your breath and don't get frustrated when thoughts steal your attention - this is natural and it takes effort to learn a disciplined mind!

After counting to ten a few times, (each morning is different, just do what feels right) I close my eyes and start a new meditation. This meditation (which unfortunately doesn't have a cool name like zazen) is more directed at bringing the focus from the breath to your thoughts. Just like with breaths, the goal is to bring your attention to the natural flow of thoughts from your mind. When you realize you're having a thought, imagine it floating by on a cloud, or a conveyor belt and try and see the space in between one thought and the next. As you pay attention to thoughts going by, notice how they start to come slower with longer spaces between them. If a thought interrupts this space , (don't be frustrated the world is a chaotic place and your mind is just trying to keep up) simply imagine it floating by.

Listen to your thoughts, don't judge them. Which ones keep recurring? Keep trying to see each thought as having a distinguishable beginning and end. In that way you become familiar with the odd spaces of peace in between them. That is it!

Start slow, maybe 5 minutes a day. But bring a concerted effort to those 5 minutes. Trust me, it gets easier and easier until you hardly notice time going by at all. After a couple weeks, try 8 minutes, then 10 minutes. It's not a race, accept your limitations and have faith. Meditation has been helping people think more clearly and live more in the present for thousands of years.



Current LD goal(s): to increase clarity and remembrance
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TheChris
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PostPosted: Thu 08 Dec, 2011  Reply with quote

Yes.
In February of this year, I stumbled across a topic here on LD4all, which contained this link:

Mindfulness in plain English

Because I was generally interested in the topic of meditation, I started to read the whole thing. It was one of the Moments (same as when I stumbled across LD4all grin )
in which I realized:
This is one of the things I want to do. One of the things that I HAVE to do.
(As mentioned: same for Lucid Dreaming...)
Its something that truly made sense to me, so I told myself:
"You will do this. Its awesome, its maybe the only way to understand yourself and the world around you, its maybe a way to master your life. What would possibly make more sense to do?"

This is something that happened to me several times before:
When i discovered
- Ninjutsu
- Parkour
and Lucid Dreaming.
Guess what things I still do: Its Ninjutsu, Parkour, Lucid Dreaming and Meditation

So I started to practice, everyday. I started with about 15 min, then gradually sat down longer (right today, i did about 40 min, it really depends on the day, sometimes longer or shorter). I printed the book to paper to read it again. I did not really meditated EVERYday, but missed only a small percentage. Because I´m really convinced about it, I am protected from getting off the track too much.

What I can say is:
-I´m still convinced about it and it was just a tiny amount of the beginning until today.

- Meditation helped me to structure my evenings. They were like this:
Training and stuff -> Computer games, internet, games -> "oh no its after midnight!" -> browse LD4all a little -> too less sleep -> bad dream recall, no progress in LDing grrr
But by meditating every day and the will to tidy things up, its now more like:
Training and stuff -> meditate -> eat, and chill at compy -> do some LDstuff, read LD4all -> go to bed with a good feeling and enough time ( at least more often grin )

- Because I am still a beginner in meditating, There is only little I have archived yet of what is still to come , but I can tell that it really benefits lucid dreaming by clearing your mind and because you develop the ability to be aware of what occurs in the present moment. I think you can compare this to lucid living / having a lucid mindset, and i feel that this is (one of) the King-ways to LDing. However, I just started to walk that way. I´m looking forward to the things to come :D

So, I can totally agree with thewolfdream and it strengthens my good feeling about this way. Thanks!
Happy dreaming to all of you flying


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mattias
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PostPosted: Thu 08 Dec, 2011  Reply with quote

Ah, I remember doing that! Paying attention to the spaces between thoughts. That was pretty cool and really helped. I did indeed realize they started getting longer and longer.

I'll give the zazen a try tonight too, for some reason I always forget (or end up not doing for whatever reason) simply focusing on my breath. Another thing is I usually feel unconfortable sitting. My back and neck start hurting... that's why I've tried more lying down. I should also maybe try shorter sessions every day, I might feel like it demands less effort that way tounge1 I should also try to go to bed a bit earlier so I don't get so tired lach1

anyway, thanks. I'll report back!

EDIT: So, I did meditate a bit last night before sleep and it was ok. My DR was better than what it's been these days, I had a couple lucid moments and I woke in a better mood than the one I was in yesterday tounge2


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Kirbypowered
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PostPosted: Sun 11 Dec, 2011  Reply with quote

I can definitely agree that there's a connection between meditation and dreaming. When I first started on my quest for lucidity, meditation just came along naturally and I always found my recall to be wonderful, but always had trouble becoming lucid. Now that I think on it, this may be related to how I mainly meditated with the goal of dreaming lucidly.

Anyway, once my life became a bit more busy with school and I lacked time to meditate (though really, I could have always made time), I found that my recall became very poor. No matter how much I tried, it stayed only sub-par. Just recently, I've picked up the practice of meditation again, and after a couple days of becoming interested in dreams again, my recall seems to have improved rather quickly.

I'm quite glad to see that others have found meditation to be beneficial to their dream related goals, it's nice motivation. smile



Current LD goal(s): Record dreams regularly..
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Bane
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PostPosted: Mon 12 Dec, 2011  Reply with quote

I agree that it helps a lot! I started meditating and getting into some Buddhism this last summer. I eventually got to where I would meditate about 30 minutes to an hour everyday and it was great. My dreams were really clear and I was becoming lucid easier than I usually do. Once college started up again I started lacking the time sadly sadblauw and my lucid dreaming has suffered some because of it.
I am trying to start again though and I am really glad I found this thread, it will help keep me motivated smile I will probably check out that book it sounds really interesting.


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Mew151
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PostPosted: Tue 13 Dec, 2011  Reply with quote

I used to meditate every day before bed, but then school started and I stopped.

Hmm... I'll start it again tonight.



Current LD goal(s): Get a real LD; Shoot fireworks out of my hands; Become top idol

Link to My DJ: www.ld4all.com
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glypheye
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PostPosted: Tue 13 Dec, 2011  Reply with quote

I love meditation. It brings lucidity...without question. Brings it right into the daily dream of waking consciousness! It brings a quality of consciousness that is absolutely unparalleled, in my experience....crystalline. My great wish...my great endeavor...is to bring that quality of consciousness into every moment of my life, as much as I can. And if it improves my night time dreaming as well (and I know it will ^^ )....well!!


Current LD goal(s): Stay on the leading abstract edge
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mattias
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PostPosted: Thu 15 Dec, 2011  Reply with quote

Last night I got a bit carried away and ended up maditating for around 40 minutes. I had pretty good and vivid recall and 3-4 lucid moments! tounge2

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Leijona
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PostPosted: Tue 21 Feb, 2012  Reply with quote

I'm fascinated by meditation but never took it really seriously. Since last week, I try my best to meditate at least five minutes before going to sleep (I know, sounds like nothing, but it's already hard enough for me).

I have a little problem though...What exactly should I do with whatever crosses my mind? I tried to observe it passively and even to get carefully involved in it. This worked great until I almost fall asleep. I tried to "let it float by on a cloud", also imagining a waterfall which washes the thoughts away worked great one time. But I somehow think that this is too...abrupt, it doesn't feel right. Maybe I'm just not doing it right.

Almost every time I meditate I have a random song stuck in my head. Anyone else has this problem, and what do you do? Or do you just try to not pay attention to it?



Current LD goal(s): visit an abandoned place
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mattias
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PostPosted: Wed 22 Feb, 2012  Reply with quote

Leijona wrote:
Almost every time I meditate I have a random song stuck in my head. Anyone else has this problem, and what do you do? Or do you just try to not pay attention to it?


I've had that many times overspannen and it's hard to get rid of it lol I just try to relax and focus on my body and senses, but sometimes it just pops back tounge2

about the random thoughts, I think you're doing alright. It might just be a matter of practice. When a thought appears, look at it as if saying "I see you and you're a thought", because as soon as you see it as a thought it kind of loses its power over you and fades on it's own. You can even let it develop a bit.... I also feel it's abrupt to just "shut up!" and force it to go away. I don't think that's the idea, anyway. The idea is to become and remain aware, so if a thought appears, that's cool and natural, but be aware of it as being a thought. Obviously, easier said than done grin And, just like 5 minutes of meditation is great (I say do as much as you feel comfortable with. I even think too much is worse than too little, as too much will end up stressing you and boring you, making you not want to meditate anymore), if you "catch" 1 out of, say, 5 thoughts, that's great. Practice should make you get better.

And btw, this is my opinion based on what I've read and my own experiences. I'm far from a master meditator


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Yesac5678
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PostPosted: Sat 25 Feb, 2012  Reply with quote

I know that its suppose to be completely silent when you meditate but I've found that turning on some Pink Floyd and then following my normal meditation techniques is what helps me the most. Only problem is that sometimes I do catch myself focusing on the song more than my thoughts, but if I get my thoughts flowing in rhythm with the song then it goes so much easier for me.


Current LD goal(s): Continue to have very high quality lucid dreams.
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autumnsphere
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PostPosted: Sat 25 Feb, 2012  Reply with quote

Oooh I like this topic. Meditation (<mod>Editted.</mod>) are the reason I turned to LD. It's just that while meditating you realise life is a dream, and I think dreams have been given to us TO LEARN. To learn how to cope with the dream that we call life. Some sort of a playground.

It teaches you a lot about real life, for example:

1. when you are lucid, there is no fear => totally works in real life
2. every thought becomes real in a matter of seconds => well, not so evident in real life but i think it's true
3. you have to trust the dream, if you keep trying to get somewhere or achieve something very specific (like getting laid, hehe), you'll probably end up losing your lucidity. it's the same with life - you have to trust life and know that everything's always on track.

Leijona wrote:
Almost every time I meditate I have a random song stuck in my head. Anyone else has this problem, and what do you do? Or do you just try to not pay attention to it?


All the time! I think the whole point in meditating is not to STOP thoughts, random images or sounds but to learn to let go of them, transcend them, not hold onto them. Whatever you resist, persists. So just don't pay attention and go deeper. smile

<mod>Posts edited together. mattias</mod>



Current LD goal(s): remaining lucid
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autumnsphere
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PostPosted: Sat 25 Feb, 2012  Reply with quote

Leijona wrote:
Almost every time I meditate I have a random song stuck in my head. Anyone else has this problem, and what do you do? Or do you just try to not pay attention to it?


All the time! I think the whole point in meditating is not to STOP thoughts, random images or sounds but to learn to let go of them, transcend them, not hold onto them. Whatever you resist, persists. So just don't pay attention and go deeper. smile



Current LD goal(s): remaining lucid
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