This past week, I attended a fantastic conference in Chicago, hosted by the International Association for the Study of Dreams (IASD). For 25 years, IASD has held annual conferences featuring many prominent authors on dreaming and lucid dreaming, as well as new scientific research, experiential discoveries, and workshops.
It is a wonderful opportunity to meet lucid dreamers of all stripes – in fact, the new lucid dreaming documentary "Wake Up: Exploring the Potential of Lucid Dreaming" was filmed at the IASD Conference in Sonoma, CA, two years ago, and shows many of the lucid dreaming authors and researchers who present at IASD conferences. Check out the documentary’s trailer at http://www.lucitopia.com/.
In that brief trailer, you meet Beverly D’Urso who participated in many early lucid dreaming scientific experiments, professor Scott Sparrow who authored Lucid Dreaming: Dawning of the Clear Light, professor and researcher Jayne Gackenbach who authored Control Your Dreams and was editor of the Lucidity Letter, professor and artist Fariba Bogzaran, novelist Clare Johnson, dream scholar, and author Kelly Bulkeley, and myself. And those are just some of the talented lucid dreamers who attend the IASD conference.
You can read about next year’s conference at www.asdreams.org/2010/. Since I am the newly elected president of IASD, I hope to see you there – and if not 2010, then perhaps 2011, when IASD hopes to host a conference in Amsterdam.
At this year’s conference, I met a talented lucid dreamer from the former Soviet Union. From our conversations, I learned that lucid dreaming has been heavily influenced by the works of Carlos Castaneda. Since I taught myself how to lucid dream after reading Castaneda’s Journey to Ixtlan (this was before lucid dreaming had been proven, no less!), I had followed Castaneda’s writings, particularly as they pertained to lucid dreaming. Lucid dreamers from the former Soviet Union appeared to be focusing strongly on these ideas of Castaneda’s and taking them even deeper.
As I mention in my book, don Juan told Carlos that “Dreaming is the gateway to infinity” (Castaneda italicized dreaming to mean lucid or conscious dreaming). Some lucid dreamers will interpret that to mean in the imagination you can do anything within your infinite imagination, while others will suggest lucid dreaming leads to innumerable other dimensions. A’la Castaneda, some lucid dreamers from the former Soviet Union are focusing on the multidimensional view of lucid dreaming.
In my book I mention that a lucid dreamer can radically shift one’s focus by announcing to the awareness behind the dream, “Take me to the next level!” or “Show me the next form!” Instantly, you will find yourself lucidly aware in an entirely new lucid dream. In my experience, you may find yourself in your current home, for example, completely lucid in a changed environment. Now imagine what lucid dreamers from the former Soviet Union are doing: they lucidly go to the next level, then lucidly go from there to another level, and then another and another! They use lucid dreaming to explore multidimensional depth. Experientially, they appear to have discovered that each successive level leads to greater lucid dream stability.
In lucid dreaming, one can focus on the seen or the unseen, the known or the unknown, the actual or the potential – if one learns to use focus. Generally speaking, we focus within the framework of our conceptual base, because we feel comfortable there. However, lucid dreaming also allows us to focus beyond our conceptual knowing. It’s then that we get a sense of don Juan’s proclamation that “Dreaming is the gateway to infinity.”