This account is the shadow of a shadow of the experience, of course, but perhaps it will give an idea of how it was. These programs are always a blend of the techniques and exercises, the interaction with the trainers and other participants, and the group energy that builds when people spend time in a common endeavor. I know of nothing like it.
Lucid Dreaming intensive, April 12-18, 2014
The proof of the pudding is in the eating. We’ll learn the value of this course (one way or the other) by how it changes or doesn’t change our lives – or rather, how we use it or don’t use it. But here is my interim record of how it went from the inside.
Omitted here (mostly) are the stimulating conversations at mealtimes, the jokes, the personal stories, the addressing of each other’s puzzlements that took place here as in all TMI programs. Omitted are our enjoyment of the warm Sunday and Monday, and our dis-enjoyment of the rapid cooling that began Tuesday and persisted into Thursday. Omitted are the chats by the snack counter, and the endlessly available coffee, tea, and fruit juice, and the meals prepared by others and cleaned up by others, that freed so much energy to do the things we were there to do. Omitted, too, is the healing work participants did for each other. All these things contribute to making TMI programs so warm as memories, but you can’t go repeating it all the time. Just be aware that it is the vital and (usually) unmentioned background to everything else. My notes unfortunately do not include the jokes and the general fooling around that always accompanies not only the gathering of participants but the light-hearted approach of the trainers:
Day Minus One — Friday, April 11, 2014
The Division of Perceptual Studies (DOPS), Ian Stevenson’s old group, officially part of the University of Virginia, has its offices in Charlottesville. For several years, DOPS researcher Ross Dunseath, working with Frank Applin doing the computer coding, has been refining the hardware and software necessary to attempt to acquire scientifically verifiable evidence of PK. For the past three years, since moving into town, I have been acting as experimental subject (lab rat).
Last year, we arranged that Dirk and I show up on the Friday before the experimental TMI program testing the new version of their SAM technology. Ross and Frank put a special skull cap on Dirk’s head, wired it up, and recorded an EEG as he tried for an hour or so to influence crystals and other substances inside a sealed container. After Dirk’s trial, they wired me up and did the same thing. When we returned from the program a week later, they did it all again. They seemed to see value in this, so when it was certain that Dirk and I were going to do the Lucid Dreaming Intensive course, we arranged to do the same thing again this year.
I picked Dirk up at the airport Friday morning (he had caught a red-eye from Portland the night before), and after lunch we went over and spent a couple of pleasant hours at the DOPS lab, having our brain waves measured for posterity.
Day Zero — Saturday, April 12, 2014
Down 29 to TMI. (I wonder how many times we have made that trip?) We get there early in the afternoon, and there is that long in-between time when you don’t yet know who-all you will be dealing with. We know Luigi Sciambarella from the previous year’s SAM program, and of the 16 other participants I know five (including Dirk). Before supper, a nice moment when Cathy, one of the kitchen staff, remembered me as a long-time customer at the Lovingston Café, in the years when Rita Warren and I would have supper there every Saturday night.
After supper we gathered in the cabin across the driveway from the house and the annex, and we picked someone to interview so we could introduce each other. When Ginna Colburn was introduced as having been part of Hampton Roads Publishing Company, it was so gratifying to see people’s warm reaction. Hampton Roads is loved and missed. When you are on the inside of an enterprise, you tend to see the difficulties more than the accomplishments. It’s nice to be reminded that it was worthwhile. Life is good, and always was.
Our trainers (well, facilitators, but they will always be trainers to me, just as exercises will always be tapes) were Luigi Sciambarella and Thomas Hasenberger. In their initial briefing, they gave us ways to think of our relationship to dreams, and some practical tips on how to not lose them upon awakening. Later, at my request Luigi categorized each day’s theme, which I include here after the date.
Day one – Sunday, April 13, 2014
Relaxation, stress reduction, and getting heart centred
Our morning briefing, like nearly all the pre-exercise briefings, is held in the cabin. We all sit in a long horseshoe-shaped circle whose open end is the video screen flanked by Luigi and Thomas.
In the first exercise, I find myself walking along a path of some kind. As I look down, I notice cracks in the pavement, which becomes a road, and then I am driving. As I start to make a left-hand turn, I suddenly remember (startling myself) that I need to look right first. It is at that point that I realize I am dreaming. Other things follow, which I forgot. I find the exercise very satisfying. The images came unbidden, the relaxation was deep, and the symbol we were to create suggested itself.
We debrief in the white carpet room that had been Bob and Nancy Monroe’s dining room. And that becomes our pattern, with occasional exceptions: briefing in the cabin, the exercise itself in our CHEC units, and debrief in the white-carpet room.
The second exercise had us create another symbol for later use, and instructed us to choose or construct an affirmation for our work. I decided on “I will lucid dream tonight, and whenever I want to, and when my higher self wants me to.” But when I say that, Luigi says that it’s important that we don’t surrender part of our power by saying “when the higher self wants me to.” This becomes part of a free-ranging discussion which makes it clear to me, after a while, that I and the participants are seeing Lucid Dreaming as a useful technique we can apply, while Luigi and Thomas are looking at it as one aspect of what might be called Lucid Living. From the participants’ point of view, it was, “why would I always want to do the work required?” From where Thomas and Luigi sit, it is, “why would you ever want to be less lucid than you can be?” This difference in viewpoint bears thinking about.
And then to lunch, and after lunch, a little reading. After the long break, we meet in the cabin to prepare for another exercise. (I am deliberately keeping this account vague, lest in :over-specifying I make it more difficult for others to come to the program naïve, which is highly desirable.) in this exercise, I got three visuals that didn’t particularly make sense at the time. But I held on to them, trying to remember then, and at some point asked myself, casually, “I wonder that that meant,” and suddenly got the meaning of the three symbols. What is interesting is that I was getting spontaneous visions and scenarios and was able to follow them or watch without having to clutch at them to hold them, or to shoo them away so they wouldn’t interfere.
The fourth exercise, I didn’t bring anything back from, and was not sure much had even happened. But, they had said not to cling to it, so no worries. The fifth exercise, same thing. But I’ve done to many programs to worry about the exercises where it seems that nothing happened.
At 11 p.m. I wrote, “Going to bed – what, again? – and we’ll see what kind of a night we have.”
Day Two — Monday, April 14, 2014
Lucid Dreaming induction techniques (1) wake induced methods
I awaken to a generalized sense of well-being. I woke up before they switched from the overnight sleep-cycle background to the morning music. Saw it was only 6:30 or so, so knew I had only a while before I’d have to get up. I lay, not sleeping but not in any accustomed normal place. I applied my Inner Healing Resources symbol to my lower back, that often gets sore when I spend too much time lying down, and it helped. One thing I did remember clearly was that, in the early morning, something had explained something to me that seemed perfectly clear, and whoever was explaining it told me “it isn’t necessary to remember this in waking life,” and in fact when I awoke I couldn’t remember it.
And there was this one strange thing. I was lying in bed fully awake, and decided to get up, I reached up, flipped the light switch – and nothing happened. Flipped it down, up again, nothing. Then on the third time, it worked normally. Interesting but I don’t know what if anything it means. When I was up and out of the unit I tried again and it worked normally, as indeed it did for the rest of the week. A preview of coming attractions, perhaps. I don’t see how it could have been a false awakening, as there was no seam between the second and third attempts, but I don’t know how to explain it.
A brief chat with the guys upstairs:
So – if I may, guys, what do I need to remember?
Nothing special. Just, remember as you go along. Whatever you need to deal with will present itself.
Como Siempre. That’s how it works. And some people go with it, some obstruct it, some go from one to the other. And none of these reactions are capable of deranging the universe either, of course.
I really can see how I need and use my solitude.
Well, that realization is a valid function of society too, is it not?
Worthwhile if only as an interruption. And so, on to the day. Interesting that I have come across two manuscripts without any effort. But Bob [Friedman] did say the product is never the problem.
So, to the cabin to start the day.
Part of the sixth exercise involved picking an entry method into the altered state. They suggested maybe walking down stairs. I tried that, but the stairs were flooded and muddy, and I had to pick my way with care, then it leveled off and I was walking across the field. Then, I tried to climb down Huayna Picchu [in Peru], thought no, climb up, and then something else happened. Fragments remain: I was a condor, soaring. Then I was me again and some woman came from the right hand side and offered me what looked like a box of pencils or colored pencils. She was standing, I sitting, so I couldn’t really see what it was, and couldn’t move so as to see them. That wasn’t the only scenario, but it is the one I recall. What struck me chiefly was that the thing to remember is that my everyday reality is much like this. But how can I express it? it isn’t so much what I was experiencing, as that I am used to this and have been experiencing it for some time. These scenarios play, and sometimes I’m in them and sometimes I’m just seeing them.
In debrief, I told Luigi it feels so far like my life all the time.
The seventh exercise suggested a new way to separate from the body, and it worked very well. I didn’t remember much afterwards, but I had the feeling that that wasn’t necessarily a bad thing. This was the first time I’ve ever experienced someone tasting something in a scenario!
After lunch, Scooter came to see us to talk about the upcoming eclipse, the existing grand cross in the skies, and other things. Everyone was glad to see her, and she seemed glad to see us having a good time.
I don’t have any notes from the briefing for the eighth or ninth exercises. In the eighth, I got involved with a lot of vehicle-oriented scenarios. In the ninth, I went back to experience various important points in my life, letting them choose themselves rather than trying to choose them. And I went to the end of this life in the most probable timeline, perhaps a dozen years from now. But of course there is no certainty. There are many futures to choose from.
I won’t discuss what happened in exercise ten save to say that – to my surprise – it involved a retrieval. That wasn’t supposed to be on the agenda, but as usual my idea of the agenda and life’s differ somewhat.
Day Three– , April 15, 2014
Lucid Dreaming induction techniques (2) dream induced methods
Did I have dreams? I’m pretty sure I did, but I don’t remember them. Someone – at breakfast? – said that the point of Jason and the Golden Fleece was not for the gold in the fleece, but for the fleece itself, which would give precognitive dreams.
The day’s first exercise involved us meeting our Dream Helper, and my helper turned out to be the unicorn, the same symbol for my higher self that came to me in 1987. A great wave of gratitude and affection toward it, and a long ride after we had done what we went out for. Glad to see him. There was some sequence involving my taking a bunch of people in a van – must have been at least seven of them. Getting them into the van was as much the point of it as driving wherever we went. This connected with something earlier, but I don’t remember what.
After lunch (and a trip down to Nancy Penn Center) the exercise was to return to a previous dream and interact with it, which I did successfully.
The remaining exercises involved specific techniques which I think Luigi and Thomas would just as soon keep to themselves until the program is fully developed. So that doesn’t give me much to say about another pretty full day.
Day Four — Wednesday
Wednesday, April 16, 2014
I felt good, if lazy, in the morning. Briefing for one of the morning exercises featured this great visual:: Paintbrush Warrior, by Mark Henson (which you can find by googling)
Note from debrief: “Evil is the willingness to bring harm to others for our own desires.”
After the long break: Meeting and Accepting Death. Looking at ourselves after our life is over. This was a terrific and moving exercise.
- Detaching from addictions, attachment, etc. I visualized them as hanging from threads, then visualized it all together (rather than trying to deal with things one by one) as the kind of long underwear people got sewed into for the winter on the frontier. I got myself cut out of it (and wound up in a hospital gown).
- Viewing our shortcomings, etc. Heavy regrets, then acceptance. I could have done better or worse. Transformed energy. Then someone plunked down a game in a cardboard box. I thought it was checkers, but it turned out to be – Chutes and Ladders.
- Meeting yourself, looking in your eyes. Eyes of comradeship and compassion. Three people, oddly, a woman, behind her a man, behind him a larger being, mostly a shadow.
- A very satisfying exercise, that many people found moving, I think.
But no notes on the remaining two exercises of the day.
Day Five– Thursday, April 17, 2014
I thought I hadn’t been dreaming, but as I lay in bed I realized that I had been dreaming that a tabloid-sized newspaper was being passed around, and although it was being passed around because it had a story on the lucid dreaming class (I think) it also had a story about Hampton Roads, and people kept asking me about it. One said he or she had always had the impression that nobody was in charge, and I said, joking. “unfortunately, that was true.” Meanwhile I was fighting (in real life, here) with my right ear filling, a headache, other things.
So, the last full day, applications, that would be a pretty important day, if it worked. I made a note to myself to make a list of tips and practices by pulling them from my notes and memories, to use as a crib sheet. I notice that I am not very imaginative in my use of new techniques. Just by overhearing (so to speak) in debrief, I see how other people use things and adapt them. But it is as if I still have within me that very conventional set of aspects – and come to think of it, of course I must. Where would they go? So it is a matter of marrying them to other more creative aspects.
After breakfast, an exercise in Creative Problem Solving. Then one on healing within the dream, and on creating New Past, New Present, New Future.
Then lunch and our last long break and our next-to-last exercise, in which I clicked out and had a nice nap. On the other hand, the last exercise worked very well. Picking up on Thomas’ story about cloning himself and sending the clones off to do this or that, I tried it, sent clones off to research the article I have to write for New Dawn magazine, asking for the structure and where I would find the materials for each part of it. Then I turned my attention to researching the history book I am currently writing, sending a clone to rewrite what I had written for the 20th century, and others to research the 18th and 19th centuries. Then I realized I could use one to figure out a path for the book: Finding the right publisher, using YouTube for publicity purposes, etc. And by the time I had done all that, I returned to find the New Dawn article laid out in five sections (plus an intro and a conclusion). Amazing.
I have no notes from debrief, nor from supper nor from our last gathering (which – Dirk and I realized later – didn’t include a closing circle, as the first night hadn’t included an opening circle!) The only thing I see marked in my journal is a note to visit the Lucid Dreaming Intensive facebook page.
Day Plus-One Friday, April 18, 2014
So. Breakfast, some last conversations, Dirk does a little more healing work, and we are off to Charlottesville. We revisit DOPS in the early afternoon, and are tested again. I am getting lots of hits, this time, but the interesting thing is that I keep slipping off into scenarios strong enough to amount to a dream. As far as I know, however, I didn’t have any false awakening. (I’d sure hate to have to recreate this record!)
Let me give Carl Jung the last word, in this quote from Psychology and Western Religion (page 18):
“We can now see that it was nothing less than the dilemma as to whether something we think about is a mere thought or a reality, or at least capable of becoming real. And this … is a problem of the first order, and no whit less important than the moral problems inescapably connected with it.”