Sunday, January 23, 2011

Are You Sure This Is A Dream: Checking to Make Sure You're Down the Rabbit Hole

All too often, the dream feels so real that you can’t tell that you’re really dreaming. That can be rather problematic, and instead of jumping out a window to see if you can fly, or shooting a senator to see whether the crowd attacks you or applauds you, use dream signs to verify that you’re dreaming... or not dreaming.

For the practiced dreamer, simple dream signs won’t work, but as you grow more practiced, you will find your own ways to tell whether you are dreaming or not. These in here are recommended for beginners.

Clock and Wristwatches
If you’re wearing a wristwatch right now as you read this, take a quick look at it, turn away, then glance back. I hope you’re awake right now (or I’m really impressed) and the watch should show standard movement. The time will have progressed a few seconds, but other than that, the two sights should be very similar.

In the dream, however, this will not always be the case. Very often, your watch will change between digital and analog, the time may change drastically or be running in reverse, the face may be blank altogether, or you may find that you’re not wearing a watch at all. There are many more variations to this, and they also work for wall clocks and other timepieces.

For those who have seen The Matrix, you have nothing to fear: the worst thing that could happen is you might wake up. In dreams, mirrors are unlikely to reflect the world back at you reversed. More likely they will show the world facing forward, or something else entirely. Sometimes, mirrors are actually windows or doors into other worlds.

Go ahead and touch the mirror. Do you see yourself in the mirror doing the same thing? Does the surface of the mirror feel solid?

Lights and Light Switches
Such a simple concept: in the waking world, flip the switch and something turns on. Flip it again and it turns off. For beginning dreams, more often than not nothing happens when you throw a light switch. Sometimes, a light will come on but it won’t go back out.

Try blowing on the light-bulb. If it goes out, you’re definitely dreaming (or in the middle of a magic trick). Move your hand close to the bulb. If it’s an incandescent, your hand should feel its warmth without touching it. If not, you’re likely dreaming (but don’t actually touch the bulb just in case you’re not).

Flight and Gravity
I’m not going to recommend that you try jumping off a cliff or out your bedroom window. Rather, I’m going to recommend you abstain from any such activities until you’re certain you’re dreaming. Instead, stand still and try willing yourself upward off the ground. Wave your arms or jump if that helps. Be mindful of how far off the ground you rise, and how long it takes you to return to the ground, if you drift down at all.

In the (paraphrased) words of Douglas Adams, flying is simply throwing yourself at the ground and missing. Stand up on your bed. Lean backwards. As long as there is nothing on your bed, even awake you should be able to fall backwards without injuring yourself. Miss. Miss the bed, miss the mattress, miss hitting the ground. Tell yourself you’re going to miss hitting the ground. If you do miss the ground, you’re definitely dreaming (or on drugs, which usually amounts to the same thing).

There are many more dream signs out there, some unique to yourself and some of these above may not even work for you. As you become accustomed to being aware that you’re dreaming, you will find those that work best for you.

However, before you go looking for loaded dice or tops that never stop spinning, remember that there is a difference between totems and dream signs, and totems are no use to you in lucid dreams.