I used to have the same recurring dream, over and over.
It took place underwater, and I was being chased by a shark. In the dream, I would struggle to run away from the shark (nevermind that I could somehow “run” while in water).
The shark kept getting closer and closer, and my legs felt like they were trapped in molasses.
I knew the end was inevitable.
And just before the shark would get me, I’d wake up.
Sweating. Heart racing. Wide awake.
I’d then lie there for a long time trying to fall back asleep.
This dream would recur periodically for years.
And then one night, everything changed.
Same dream, same scenario, same me trapped in molasses. But then I had a shocking revelation.
I was dreaming.
Of course I was dreaming, but this time I knew I was dreaming. I was still asleep, yet I knew I was dreaming.
The “I” that knew was separate from the “I” that was experiencing the dream.
I turned back around to look at the threatening shark. And in that moment the shark knew that I knew it was a dream. The shark and I had something of a connection – an understanding that we both now shared – that the whole thing was all made up.
The shark sort of shook his head, turned around, and swam away.
I never had that dream again.
Lucid dreaming is the term used to describe the experience of being in a dream yet knowing you are dreaming. When you know it’s a dream, all the drama and significance melts away. For me, I was no longer terrified by the shark. In fact, the whole thing seemed rather silly – both to me and the shark.
And lucid dreaming is the holy grail of our waking dreams.
We think everything we experience in the world is very real, very dramatic, and seriously consequential.
All we need to do is look at any of our fears, anxieties, or hopes to see how much significance and “reality” we place on the world and what we call “my life”.
Yet all the great teachings of every sage and enlightened being point to the exact same truth – it’s all made up. An illusion. A dream.
And like a sleeping dream at night, when we can experience a lucid waking dream, all the drama of the world melts away. The things that felt so significant and weighty and consequential lose all their power.
We experience a lightness and a peace that truly surpass all understanding.
These moments don’t often last long – particularly because we allow our ego to jump right in and convince us otherwise.
But the more we practice an awareness of the waking dream, the more lucid we can become. And the more joy – and less pain – we experience.
Join me in Monday’s class where we’ll explore the concept of lucid waking dreaming and how we can practice such an awareness. I look forward to seeing you then.