Lucid dream meditation can be healing on many levels
I always remembered having lucid dreams of flying with my late brother, Geoffrey, when we were children. He told me before he left us that he still remembered our shared flying dreams.
Little did we know that our childhood adventures in dream lucidity had served to prepare us for a rescue mission. Something we had no way of knowing would come. It took us to that point, near the end of his life, where what at first seemed like uncharted places in a mysterious landscape were instead the land we played in, between sleeping life and waking dreams.
I’ve been interested in what happens in sleep, and the mind in general, for as long as I can recall. I began to study books on analyzing dreams, lucid dream meditation and brain science as early as my preteens. I found a couple books on my father’s shelf on the mind, and later I ran across some in the health food store on Western lucid dream studies in the West. I also found one on a boyfriend’s shelf that was about Tibetan teachings on the yoga of dreaming. I was fascinated how each system saw the dream state as a means of understanding how perception works.
Flying in Our Dreams
But when my brother Geoff and I dreamed together, we were very young and ‘untaught’. We weren’t old enough to worry about analyzing dreams. We just held each others’ hands as we fell asleep. (We shared the bottom bunk of our bed, too small for sleeping on top). We told each other that we would dream together and remember to tell each other we were dreaming and could do whatever we liked. And that’s what happened.
We laughed flying through the house, up and down the basement and attic stairs, and then going through the roof to the land of dreams. We talked about how we were dreaming together in our dreams, and when the night was over, we bounced into the bed just as our rooster crowed. It was more the bouncing of the bed than the rooster that woke us. We would laugh about our dream lucidity before waking up Mom for breakfast.
We remembered what we saw, even our mother asleep in front of the TV and our dad reading. We didn’t share our experiences with the uninitiated, so we were never taught by our elders or anyone else that this dream traveling business was ‘not real’ or ‘normal’. I learned watching how Geoff was teased about ‘Timmy’, his guardian, so I never shared about mine.
We both had visits with our guardians for a long time, beyond the time that children usually are told they are not real and to ‘forget’. We shared later as adults that we still saw them and others. Geoff was a member of the local rescue team and operated the jaws of life, a machine that opened car wrecks so crews could rescue the accident victims trapped inside. He had many miraculous experiences with beings that my mother told us were angels. We just knew them as friends of our guardians who little resembled the angels she showed us in our catechism books.
Hearts in Synch Out of Time and Space
Our shared dreaming ability came back vividly during the time of my brother’s passing at age 45. He was out of town and alone on the East coast; I was on the West coast. At almost 8:00 p.m. Pacific Time, I fell to my knees and experienced sympathetic heart pain. I looked at the clock and knew this was not my heart, but a connection to someone who was in trouble.
I jumped in my car, did mantras all the way without remembering how I got home. Some very vivid lucid dream meditation was happening while I continued doing my mantras. I felt I accelerated them to the speed of light, my outer reasoning was that this would save him. But they did put me into a deep trance where I ‘met’ my brother to help him through the difficult realization that his life was ending too soon.
I knew from the moment I fell to my knees that Geoff was the one having the heart attack, though I kept denying it even as I found him in this strange land that seemed like dreaming. I learned later the authorities only found him and contacted his wife about three and a half hours after he collapsed.
At almost 11:00 p.m. Pacific time he appeared in an almost solid dream-body, like the one he and I wore when we flew as children. He just showed up in my living room as I was giving the mantras. He thanked me, and when I dazedly told him I would phone him later he laughed joking that he wouldn’t need a cell phone where he was going.
I felt okay after he disappeared and continued the mantras, a part of me dreading the phone call I knew would come. My sister phoned me an hour later, and my peaceful trance state was ripped apart by her confirmation: our brother was gone from this world.
The coroner’s report stated it was a few minutes before 11:00 p.m. Eastern time that Geoff was stricken with the heart attack and went into a coma, and almost 2:00 a.m. Eastern his time of death. Those times correlated with the Pacific time when I fell down clutching my own heart and entered a lucid dream meditation with him, and then later with the time he appeared to me in my living room in California to say goodbye. My cardiologist later confirmed that I was okay and had not suffered an attack; he offered no medical opinion on what caused this para-normal heart spasm.
Dreams are More than Archetypal Symbolism
So, do people need to learn how to travel in light bodies during lucid dream meditation? Or is it natural, nothing to be concerned with? If natural, it may be a good thing to cultivate. Maybe there will be more research to explain it or offer ways it can help us. Through these experiences I have refined a method for analyzing dreams that offers more than archetypal symbolism, using it as part of my healing process.
Tibetan lamas teach lucid dream meditation, including Geshe Tenzin Wangyal Rinpoche, who is a master of the Dzogchen meditative tradition of Tibet and has a CD set on dream yoga that I highly recommend. Dr. Stephen Laberge, who conducted research for 20 years at Stanford University, also teaches methods for becoming fully conscious in the dream state. His first book continues to be a best seller.
I advise clients to try lucid dream meditation as a form of creative self healing. Meditating on an ideal before sleep brings peaceful rest even if you don’t recall the dreams. I journal my dream recall, after telling myself while still waking that I will remember.
Do I still think about dreams of flying, lucid dream meditation, and daytime nightmares of dying coming true? If so, I smile; Geoff’s rescue had a happy ending after all. We connected again before his burial. I was on board a flight East when he began dictating his experience from the moment of the attack until the moments after the cord broke.
I smile as I also re-read my treasured books by Victorian travelers to Tibet who visited before the monasteries and so many holy people were destroyed. These authors, Nicholas Roerich, Baird T. Spalding, Alexandra David-Neel, and others, wrote spectacular tales about Tibetan lamas with yogic powers. I especially loved the stories of the lamas who trance-walked across the plateaus almost flying as they did. People saw them levitate while walking in these states.
I smile, too, remembering my own lucid dream meditations while living in the Rockies, though I tend to dismiss them now as having been induced by the altitudes. My hiking buddy and I once saw an extraordinary couple of youths on a steep climb to the Pine Creek Mountain peak. They were practically flying by, waving and calling out greetings. They wore light clothing and sandals, without hiking gear or supplies, not even water bottles. We were about halfway up from base camp; everyone else we encountered–young or old, in great condition or not–were as labored as we were by the challenge of this climb.
My friend and I were wide-eyed, too breathless from the ascent to comment. The mysterious youths continued chattering and bounding merrily uphill until they were out of range.
Trance-Dancing Elemental Lamas
I once saw mule deer who leaped down, right off sheer mountain cliffs, appearing as if flying head first. They looked like four-footed, trance-dancing elemental lamas, moon-walking off the vertical rock-face. Even though they were racing, they appeared the way blades do in a fan that seem to stop, mid-motion. They made it safely to the bottom, miles from where I peered over the edge; there they continued to race on more flat terrain.
A visitor to the area told me he saw a robed man walking very rapidly up the hill, cross the highway toward his car. Without missing a step, the mysterious man reached inside the car window and touched my visitor on the back of the neck, and continued to fly up a steep cliff behind the general store. These are rugged foothills of the wilds, sheltered under the shadow of the steep Absaroka Mountain Range formed the Eastern corridor along the high desert valley. There seemed to be no logical destination for this visiting lama, I wasn’t aware of any homes in those steep foothills.
My visitor’s reaction? He told me he felt anger at the audacity of this robed man to touch him, but marveled at his speed and flying gait. He said he jumped out of the car and gave chase but the robed man disappeared up into the foothills.
I received a letter from this visitor, telling me that as a result of that encounter, he was healed of severe chronic pain. I knew he suffered with from a head and neck injury for years. He told me that for five days after that visit he saw a large red hand print on his neck where the man touched him; he claimed it looked burned. Over those five days the mark faded, just like the old pain. He later confessed he began reading books on subjects he used to laugh at whenever he saw me read them.
Now, 20 years later and living at sea level in the vast crowded humanity, I encounter no flying youths or deer, and hear no tales of adepts who trance-walk through the area healing our tourists. I still practice my informal method of dream yoga. I also journal, not usually about the dreams but about what I plan to create, and I’m often rewarded with creative problem solving ideas. Lately I’m playing around with other techniques for remembering and working with dream lucidity. It’s partly what reminded me of all this.
Pondering The Power of Mind is a Satisfying Mystery
As I think about lucid dream meditation, sorting through memories of shared dreams of flying and realizations of the impossibility of dying, I smile. I still think the power of the mind is something worth pondering, having learned no more from all my books than I knew when I began this journey.
But mostly when I think of lucid dream meditation its with wonder, I first recall how my brother Geoff and I flew easily through the house as children, recognizing full well that we were dreaming together and recalling every detail. And, even without firm answers to age-old mysteries like ‘what and where is consciousness’, I’m so glad that my brother and I found each other one last time. I’m thankful we got to share that final adventure of a lifetime before he left to rejoin his real dream-self.