My new lucid dreaming practice got off to a great start last night! I read this article in Lion’s Roar before bed and, recognizing that I already had some of the preliminaries under my belt (or covers) already, I fell asleep after meditation with the refrain This is a dream fading in and out. I woke at five, way too early to get out of bed in a cold house, so I meditated again for half an hour. After that I rolled back to sleep. The next thing I knew…
I was puzzling with the Bad Dogs at a small table that I assumed was in my house. I toppled onto my side laughing hysterically at something, and how great it felt to have that long and hearty a laugh! Then I thought of Rocky dog and laughter softened into tears. I woke up and the room was unfamiliar. ‘Where am I?‘ I asked. I was at their house but of course it wasn’t, and I saw a huge patio outside the window with a dozen small cafe tables and chairs. I was the first outside, and there at the edge of the verandah was little Rocky! I called and as he ran over to me I thought It’s a dream so he won’t have any substance, but he was solid: I got to rub and squeeze and love on him. As I did, I saw him also at the edge of the verandah again, and then him again, and again, all around the patio, there were a dozen Rockys all at once.
Then he left and we sat at a table where there were three desserts at each of our place settings. A large bowl made of whipped cream and filled with a chocolate sundae caught my attention first, and partway through eating that I tried the rice pudding. Then the sundae had disappeared from the plate. Oh, that’s because this is a dream, I realized.
And so the dream went, my awareness that I was dreaming slipping in and out of the dream itself as I struggled to make my way home. First I couldn’t extricate my car from a parking space someone had blocked in, so I borrowed a scooter, but where to put Wren? So I imagined her on my lap since it was just a dream, and kept trying to adjust the handlebar height to an adult’s size. The scooter disappeared a couple of miles from home on top of a ridge, as did my phone. In the chaos of numerous other dead dogs (including Mocha, Brick, and some of the Florida catahoulas) appearing, disappearing, and romping around me, I found another phone. Despite insane difficulties with using it, I made a couple of calls to unlikely exes to ask for rescue, and here it was very helpful that I remembered it was a dream, as I could simply end one call and try another. All the calls ended after senseless smalltalk before I could make a rescue request. The last call was so frustrating that I laughed and said ‘This is just ridiculous!’ and I decided to walk the steep trail down and back up with all the dogs, and then I woke up.
It may sound like a failure of a lucid dream because I really didn’t control anything in it; but to me, it was a shining success. It’s the first time in a long time I’ve experienced that ‘knowing it’s a dream’ lucidity. I never got invested in the frustrations of the dream, resting in the subtle awareness that it was just a dream, and I let go and allowed it to play out, until I had had enough. By then the sun was peeking over the mountains, and I woke with a light heart, a smiling face, and my little dog cuddled under my arm. Maybe not for others, but for me living well at this point is all about learning how to die well, without regret, fear, or clinging. Lucid dreaming, like every other aspect of mindful living, takes practice. I’m excited for whatever opportunity my sleep tonight brings.