Enter the REAL METAVERSE
What if I told you I was cobweb-swinging off skyscrapers like Spiderman yesterday? What would you do if you could dodge bullets and fly at max speed like Neo?
Maybe you'd say “yeah, done that”. But... What if you could do it whenever, however?
First of all, understand being awake is overrated. I consider myself guilty of believing that sleeping is a waste of time.
“8 hours a day? Are you kidding me? With all the stuff I gotta do!” “Sleeping is for the rich, I need to work.” “One-third of our whole lives spent lying down on a comfy cushion, no sir! I sleep 4 hours a day, 5 at the most.” “I am industrious, I am relentless, I am successful. I ain't no bum!”
Well... Truth be told, this mindset is a perfect recipe for disaster.
We live in an era where the line between man and machine has become exponentially finer over the years. We need a constant reminder of the tiny spark that gives us life. Ironically, one of the best ways to do that is by recharging, just like machines.
What happens when we don't charge our smartphones? Exactly what would happen to us if we don't sleep; except we'd go nuts before that. The only other difference is that our smartphone seems to work as good at 50% battery as it does at 100%, and we humans malfunction as our energy decreases. However, we do need to plug our minds into the matrix of energy. So... where exactly does this energy come from and how do we optimize the charge? Are we using the best quality cable and adapter, or, since we don't see a percentage bar in our brain, are we using a bad generic one just because we think it charges all the same?
If sleeping is the action of plugging in the charger, dreams are the electric current that recharges our batteries in the form of images and experiences in our heads. So not only do we need to have optimal sleep to keep our brain and body in good shape, but our dreams should also be special to propel our mental and physical activity beyond our known limits.
Everything we see in our civilization, from the simple insignificant bolt to the majestic space rocket, was first conceived in someone's mind. Everything begins in our brains; don't we owe some attention to the manner we treat them?
Sometimes, especially under the current stream events, we feel drifting and nothing seems worthy of more efforts; we plumet down a spiral of automatized actions. Only by understanding our functioning as a living organism, we can trace back meaning and purpose. Time has come for mankind to return to basics; a single peek into oneself could make a huge world transformation. We can do ANYTHING, at least oneirically, if we sleep smart, by lucid dreaming.
Secondly, the light is overrated -sorry, not sorry, Edison/Tesla lovers-. I am particularly familiar with having a luminous artifact over my head at least half of the night too.
Speaking of bright objects, isn't the smartphone just another light bulb barged into our eyes during day and night; first thing in the morning and last thing before going to bed?
You see, our wise physiological conformation -divinely envisaged- is designed so we excel during the day, and sleep tight and dream sound when is dark; therefore develop our skills and capacities to the fullest once again while awake. But in our stubborn underestimation of sleeping and vain attempts for achieving commodity, we disrupt natural circadian rhythm and thus, our essential mental and metabolic processes. The more light we are exposed to, the less melatonin our pineal gland produces. The less melatonin our pineal gland produces, the more atrophied it seems. Perhaps that's why in the past many scientists thought this gland was a bit useless.
But why is the so-called 'seat of the soul' (Descartes, 1649), 'the third eye' (The Vedas, 1500-1000 BCE; Madame Blavatsky 19th century), 'the mind's eye' (15th century), the pineal gland, so important?
Well, I don't know. I mean, maybe because as photoreceptor and hormone secretory it's believed that it is responsible for our mind's imagery, nothing less. Whether we are asleep or awake, the power of picturing something in our mind, imagination and creativity, rely upon our mental health. If we don't guard the gates of this intangible treasure, every aspect of what makes us the most unique living creature on Earth is undermined to the point where machines could outsmart us. In summary, artificial brightness might actually be taking away your own brightness. You'd be stunned by the number of people nowadays who have difficulties even closing their eyes and visualizing a red apple. Ever heard someone asking: “What would I do without my smartphone?” ... Yeah, not so amusing now, huh?
When we lie down and turn ourselves off, the switch is tapped within the mind: the conscious mind submerges in a well-deserved rest, and the unconscious takes over; that other half of the mind that appears so incomprehensible and abstract that we tend to believe it just plays dirty tricks in our heads. This exchange of hierarchies unleashes a series of metabolic processes that procure the peaceful healing of our body while the mind takes off to follow the white rabbit and into Wonderland.
What most people don't seem to realize is that, unlike Alice, we have the superpower of deciding what does or what doesn't this dimension shows. In our dreams, we are not Alice, we are not Lewis Carrol; we are God. The problem is that we aren't blatantly told like Jim Carrey was in Bruce Almighty. Most of the time we are unaware; witnessing the projection of our unconscious, victims of whatever twisted mental fart comes up to the scene that night.
Having a lucid dream, on the other hand, is realizing we are in control. In some sense, you could say it's like the mind's awakening within a dream: the conscious waking up in the unconscious world. A paradox, yet the most effective way of intercommunication between the two halves of our thoughts-maker.
There is no such thing as coincidence, especially when so many think that the unconscious mind is the link to the divine. It was while asleep that beloved personalities such as Salvador Dalí, Nikola Tesla, Carl G. Jung, Edgar A. Poe, Stephen King, Robert L. Stevenson, Mary Shelley, James Cameron, Christopher Nolan, and an uncountable list of inventors, artists, and scientists started developing many of their most incredible works. They were and are all avid lucid dreamers.
Like anything worth in this life, assuming control of your dreams is no easy task. Practice makes perfect. Most people try it once or twice and since it doesn't go along with the culture of instant gratification, they drop it like the Gym after January. So if one wants to become the master of its own (sur-)reality, here is a comprehensible guide of recommendations to adhere to. I dare you to do them at least for three months. I am no expert whatsoever and yet, I can guarantee that if you got the will, you will be astonished by the results.
1. Get in the proper, positive mindset.
Embody positivity. This one should be the first step for every single goal you are determined to accomplish. The main reason one gets overwhelmed by negativity is that we begin to think the world is messed up; so if you want to try lucid dreaming as a sort of escapism, hold back! This will work against you backfiring in diverse ways we'll discuss further on.
Negative thoughts and attitudes can only lead you to failure because you've given up already without even trying. To be successful one has to believe one can be! Reject your negative thoughts and get away from negative influences. Easier said than done, I know. You want some practical advice: Clean the house, meditate and write a journal. That will help you get rid of most of the maliciousness in your heart trash.
2. Don't overlook your designated time for sleeping.
You can't lucid dream if you don't dream, and you can't dream if you don't sleep. Resting is valuable, so take your time. Try to rearrange your sleeping patterns by natural methods: regulate anxiety, eat healthy, work out, take natural melatonin, etc. Go see your doctor if you are an insomniac or if you have any other sleeping disorders.
3. Stay away from any source of light when is time to sleep.
Turn off the phone, use night mode, deactivate notifications; do whatever it takes but don't look at it if you don't have to. Light is for the daytime.
4. Use binaural beats.
Some frequencies of sound perceived separately from different ears can induce a trance state by imitating the frequencies in your brain when asleep. Maybe you have to use your phone (and earbuds) for this one, but there are enough resources online for you to download them and play them with the screen OFF; so, do your homework and see what type of beats get you the best results.
5. Write a dream memorandum.
Have a journal where you will write down the dreams you manage to remember every morning when you wake up. Think about these dreams at least 3 times a day.
6. Perform reality tests.
Perform frequent tests throughout the day to verify that you are not dreaming. Some of these tests, among many others, can be:
- Ask yourself if you are dreaming right now or not. Only formulating the question is not enough, you also have to think and concentrate on the possibility of dreaming.
- Try to put your finger through a hand.
- Read a text or a clock, look away, and back again to see if the text or time has changed.
- Try to levitate.
- Check if the dampers work as they should.
If the reality check is abnormal, it means that a dream has been entered. (Pinching yourself is not a good test since in dreams it is also possible to experience pain).
7. Practice suggestion, visualization, and programming.
When lying down, before sleeping, think that when you dream, you will become aware of the dream. Visualize yourself becoming aware in a dream or recall some previous pleasant dream and mentally say, "Now I am going to sleep, and when I dream I will become aware of my dream and control it at will."
8. Take advantage of lying awake as late as possible and sleep interruption.
Having achieved a regular sleeping cycle, try to sleep as late as possible to induce drowsiness and set an alarm clock to sleep for 4 to 5 hours. Upon waking up after the time described, carry out activities that are related to dreams (such as reading your dreams written in the notebook and performing the reality checks) until you achieve a state of torpor and tiredness, and then lie down to perform step 9.
9. Try hypnagogic attention.
When lying down, close your eyes, try not to move, relax and try to stay awake even if the dream is irresistible. And when doing this, it is important to pay close attention to the thoughts and phenomena that happen, however incoherent they may be, and wait to enter into lucid dreaming . There may also be some hypnagogic hallucinations that are normal in that state. When performing this technique, always keep step 7 in mind.
*Alternatively, there are a few over-the-counter plant-based supplements that could benefit your lucid dreaming attempts (always remember that everyone is different and you'd need to speak to your physician before taking anything), which contain substances like Hupericine A and Alpha GPC, that promote the chemical scenario desired in your brain for what have been studied that occurs while someone lucid-dreams.
*If, once you have regained consciousness in a dream, you feel that it is diminishing and that, in turn, you are losing control of the dream, rub your dream hands vigorously until you achieve consciousness again, it can also be useful to run or spin around.
Now that we've covered the bright side of being in the dark and lucid dreaming, I am compelled to talk about the dark side of experimenting with the unconscious. Scary and disturbing images are a true risk when your mind is not in a good state. Similar to what happens when you ingest recreational drugs, bad trips may be around the corner especially if you are a newbie or if you are not able to maintain an overall positive mindset. But worry not, although you could feel a vivid sensation of falling off a cliff there is no record of anybody dying from experimenting with lucid dreaming. Here is the creepy stuff that could happen while trying this:
1. Sleep paralysis.
When I was a little kid I was abducted by aliens and stalked by Frankenstein's creature.
This is a state of consciousness in which the body does not respond to the will, that is, it is paralyzed. While the mind is awake, the body is asleep. This is a natural mechanism of REM sleep, which prevents the body from moving when we dream to avoid accidents. This state can be accompanied by hallucinations, especially of an auditory type such as voices, laughter, buzzing, and other unpleasant sensations; a situation that can terrify those who experience it.
It is also known as "old hag" (or my favorite: “se le subió el muerto”, which means “the dead climbed on top”), since sometimes the visual hallucinations experienced are manifested in the form of hostile presences or entities that are placed above us causing a feeling of oppression on the chest, and sometimes, making it difficult to breathe. In ancient times these 'evil entities' were known as incubus and succubus, demons that sexually attacked and raped dreamers at night. Currently, sleep paralysis is associated with one of the cultural causes underlying the phenomenon of alien abductions.
It is likely that by performing the ninth step instead of entering a lucid dream, you will experience sleep paralysis. In this case, it is important not to be frightened since the paralysis, although it can be somewhat unpleasant, is not dangerous and can mean the beginning of lucid dreaming if in immobility you try to move little by little until you achieve the feeling that you have separated from the body to move at will.
2. False awakening.
Christopher Nolan's movie 'Inception' portrays this phenomenon.
It happens when adequate sleep control is not achieved, in which you dream that you have woken up. If the person enters a lucid state, he often believes that he is no longer dreaming, can leave his room, and do other things until he observes some abnormality indicating he is still dreaming. This is often a problem in the art of lucid dreaming because it usually causes the person to lose consciousness in the dream. It can also cause frustration or fear of not being able to wake up.
3. Lucid nightmares.
You can escape from the killer, but you can't escape your subconscious.
One can say that lucid dreaming is not being in total control, but merely realizing that you are dreaming. So dominating your dreams in their entirety could be called 'astral traveling' or 'astral projection', but I am not going down that way for now. The truth is that if you lose control of your dream while knowing you are dreaming, generally due to a negative mindset, you will have the worst nightmare ever. Some say it's like being the protagonist of a horror movie with the feeling that everything is real even though you know it's not.
Don't panic, try regaining control. Get in a spot where you feel safe, draw a circle of magical protection around you where you know nothing can harm you. Imagine a door behind your back. Turn around and see the door, visualize a pretty and safe place you want to go like Disneyland or the World of Raining Chocolate. Enter the door. You will likely be there.
An effective method for awakening from unpleasant dreams or sleep paralysis is deep, rapid, and continuous breathing; inhaling and exhaling forcefully so that the brain receives the oxygen it needs to wake up.
Blinking your eyes quickly can also help, although this method is not as effective.
In conclusion, if you feel that this convoluted world is battered with insanity and demoralization, where all fronts scatter a collective human spirit already so biased into considering that our conscious life, civilization, and the material -the narrative determined by external factors, or what happens when we are awake- are the only things that matter; you need to acknowledge something: Dreaming might be all in your head, but is indeed part of nature and reality. One-third of your entire life. A divine gift. The way you can create your own narrative.
Do you know what a person who is unplugged from reality is called? A psychopath. The more unbalanced you are between the two sides of your mind, the closer you are to being one. Both extremes are further away from reality.
So, reconnect with your essence. Rewire to what makes you human, what separates you from machines. If you happen to get ahold of your subconscious and control it, you will find it much easier to do the same with your consciousness. Instead of letting both roam like aimless, dangerous automatons.