A bit of background: When Stephen LaBerge wanted to study consciousness at Stanford in the late 70’s, no one was all that interested in committing to his dissertation team. He garnered support from Karl Pribram, of Holographic Mind Theory fame, and settled on the topic of lucid dreaming–that is, proving in the laboratory that one can become conscious in dream time. Since then he has gone on to provide not only empirical evidence of lucid dreaming, but he has become the foremost authority on the subject.
Yesterday he took the stage here in Dana Point to share some of his research and wisdom. His dark suit accentuated his California tan and flyaway gray hair. He paced the stage, obviously thrilled to talk about the topic he’s studied for thirty years, and his small frame seemed to bounce around with enthusiastic energy.
“We do not experience reality,” he said, “but our interpretation of reality.” That is, we do not experience the world, but our mental model of the world. And everyone’s mental model is unique.
“Dreaming is perception unconstrained by sensory input. Perception is dreaming constrained by sensory input.” Think on that one a few minutes.
He mentioned that in near-death experiences, there often occurs a notable disturbance in the temporal lobe. The same type of disturbance has been reported in lucid dream studies. As near death experiences have been known to open doors to different layers of consciousness, the potential then, for awakened consciousness is heightened with the practice of lucid dreaming.
Although I have had lucid dreams in the past, they have not come from conscious intention. Last night I was able to recognize that I was dreaming while in dream time, but I woke up so soon afterward that I did not have time to try anything extraordinary. My goal is to fly after I have “woken up” within the dream. As LaBerge noted, it’s easier to recognize dreams when something is truly extraordinary–an event or context that wouldn’t exist in waking life. In his book, Exploring the World of Lucid Dreaming, he catagorizes different types of dream signs which have been helpful in recognizing when I am dreaming.