Sunday, 17 June 2012

WILD (Wake Initiated/Induced Lucid Dreaming)

The Wake Initiated/Induced Lucid (aka WILD) is often referred to as the most powerful method of inducing lucid dreaming known to mankind. Firstly, it allows the dreamer to have a conscious dream at will and secondly, it produces the most vivid form of lucid dream as there is no lapse in consciousness. For this latter reason, the technique has also been referred to as Mind Awake/Body Asleep technique as the dreamer enters lucidity directly from a waking state. This is a method used by out-of-body explorers (this is not my particular area of practice, I have never intentionally tried to induce an OBE, although I have experienced what is described below in the section on the OBE Exit method) and depending on subtle differences in induction, can lead to either OBE or lucid dreaming. 

The modern WILD technique originates from practices used in Tibetan Buddhism which have been used for thousands of years and is known as the art of Dream Yoga. Buddhists use Dream Yoga as one pathway to enlightenment, but the technique need not be restricted to those following a religious practice. Rather, it is a natural, instinctive way of accessing the unconscious mind and anecdotal evidence suggests many children figure out and develop this technique on their own, as a simple method of falling asleep. Prior to my dream practices and research, I developed a simplified and instinctive version of the WILD technique – relaxing whilst imagining a dream environment. I now use the WILD technique as part of my usual WBTB (Wake Back to Bed technique) which begins with lucid dream supplements, meditation and MILD (mnemonic technique) at the point of falling asleep; then waking naturally after a period of delta sleep (see below) and using WILD to re-enter a dream state. Although many of the dreams I have following successful indication using these methods, it is rare that I have an actual lucid dream, although I have noticed the presence of various lucid dream triggers in induced dreams. 

The best time to initiate a WILD dream is following 4 – 5 hours of deep (delta) sleep when the body is at its most relaxed and rejuvenated and REM cycles are at their longest – resulting in the most vivid forms of dream. A deep sleeper should set their alarm approximately 2 – 3 hours earlier than usual, whilst light sleepers should practice the WILD technique when they naturally wake during the night. Another alternative would be to practice the WILD technique when tired during the day and taking an afternoon nap, when the brain will immediately catch up on lost REM sleep (for example if you deprived yourself of sufficient REM sleep the previous night)

Physical & mental relaxation
Think about how you fall asleep each night – what your body and mind feel like as you are on the brink of sleep. You will replicate this process with one significant difference – as your body falls asleep, your mind will stay awake. Your body should be very relaxed, with your muscles loosened. Lie in a comfortable position – the one which you naturally fall asleep in – and keep yourself still. Empty your mind (this technique can be learned in meditation or normal yoga lessons) and gaze into the blackness of your eyelids. If thoughts pop up, observe them but don’t interact with them – try and free your mind from intrusive thoughts. If you find this difficult, try binaural beats (a form of brain entrainment) to automatically induce this state.

Hypnagogic state
Lead your mind into the sleepy half-dream state of hynagogia. Sometimes when waking during the night you will already be in this state. Your body will be soft and relaxed and mind drifting back into the dream world without any effort from yourself – make use of this opportunity when it next occurs. If you are attempting the WILD technique ‘cold’ i.e. from a waking state, you will need to undertake physical and mental relaxation for at least 10 minutes before entering a hynagogic state.

Once in the hynagogic state, you will see colours and patterns which will enter your field of vision. Observe the hynagogic phenomena and go ‘deeper’, allowing the visions to hypnotise you and draw your attention away from the external, ‘waking’ world. The internal dream will start to evolve now. Let your body relax even further and sink into the bed, keeping absolutely still and imagining numbness is taking over your body (when I do this I feel incredibly peaceful, but my body feels cold and tingly and often I feel my eyelids uncontrollably flickering – which indicates an REM state halfway between sleep and dreaming. I feel ‘heavy’ also, but I have a lot of practice in relaxing muscles and often experience this sensation when doing ordinary yoga relaxation methods). Silence your ‘inner monologue’ of thoughts if they start to intrude. Some people experience hynagogic sounds – echoes of voices and other sounds in your mind, and when this happens you should relax and enjoy the experience. 

Creating a dream scene
At this point you need to judge whether you feel sufficiently relaxed or ready to enter sleep. If not, stay within the hynagogic state for longer. However, if you feel the dream state occurring and you feel sufficiently detached from the real waking world then you are ready to start the launch sequence of your (lucid) dream. Once you are experienced in the WILD technique you will come to know the signals which precede a WILD technique induced dream.

The Visualisation Method – if you have vivid dreams you should begin to visualise a vivid dream scene in as much intricate detail as is possible. Place yourself directly in the dream scene and explore your surroundings in a calm, peaceful manner, taking in the information and sensations. You may wish to create the audio sounds of your dream or a particular dream activity – select your strongest sense to fully engage your mind in what feels like a vivid form of day-dreaming. Some people will be able to use multiple senses simultaneously. Keep reminding yourself that you are dreaming – this is helpful for staying lucid during your dream. Let your mind absorb the half-dream state and allow yourself to fall asleep, losing all awareness of your physical body. You will sense that you are no longer lying asleep in your bed, but waking into a dream world. It is very difficult to describe the visualisation of a dream scene – due to the highly subjective, internally-generated experience and possession of insufficient language to communicate other levels of perceived ‘realness’. I use my ‘mind’s eye’ to recall imaginary visual stimulus – such as a building from a previous dream or a face seen in a dream. The main human senses and sub-senses which may be used in this process include: Visual (Seeing); Auditory (Hearing); Tactile (Touching); Olfactory (Smelling); Gustatory (Tasting); Equilibrioception (Balance); Proprioception (Joint Movement); Kinesthesia (Acceleration); Thermoception (Temperature); and Nociception (Pain). Any of these sensory mechanisms can be employed in the visualisation method of the WILD technique. 

The OBE Exit – sometimes you will be so immersed in the hynagogic meditation state that your body falls asleep before your mind has a change to properly create a dream scene. Your awareness is restricted to your physical reality – except you are dreaming and you are lying in bed in your dream. The lack of transition is why so many people conclude that this is an Out of Body Experience – it literally feels you are still asleep, lying in bed with the ability to float out of your body. 

You should try to recognise the subtle transition from waking to dreaming which is often virtually seamless. You may hold on to an awareness of your sleeping body which is now subject to REM atonia (sleep paralysis) and feel as if your limbs are numb or the blanket is weighing heavily on your body. Relax and embrace this feeling. You may experience vibrations or a buzzing sound which feels like an electrical pulse in your head – this is a noisy distraction which simply signals that you are on the brink of conscious dreaming and is nothing to be concerned about. If you become panicked or convince yourself that you are having a genuine Out of Body Experience you may well accidentally invite other ‘beings’ (when this happens to me, I have frightening hallucinations of deformed or disfigured faces in my bedroom) which may be negative or positive depending on your projected thoughts and beliefs about the experience. If this happens, you are dreaming and remain in control of your actions and those of your dream characters, although it may take time to learn how to use this understanding in your actual dreams. 

Embrace your dream and ‘leave’ your body. Your room/environment will look incredibility realistic as it will be triggered by waking memories and the place where you feel asleep. This experience will be very confusing at first – it will feel as if you have simply woken up. Perform a reality check at this point, or else you run the risk of just lapsing back into a proper sleep and waste the opportunity to maintain lucid.

Enter the lucid dream
The final step is to fully submerge your awareness in the lucid dream – and stabilise the dream to prevent yourself from accidentally waking. If you used the visualisation method, keep exploring the dream with all your senses. Remind yourself that you are dreaming and perform reality checks. You will know you are dreaming as the whole scene will appear in three dimensions and like a real environment you can inhabit. You will have little or no awareness of your physical, sleeping body; your bed or the real, waking world. If you used the OBE Exit method you will need to free your dream body from the distant sense of your physical body which is lying asleep in bed – one of the quirks of the OBE Exit method, possibly caused by the confusion of the conscious brain switching from waking reality to the lucid dream state, while the perceived surroundings remain unchanged. You may be able to climb out of bed normally, but if the sensation of sleep paralysis remains with you it may be difficult, or even impossible, to move your limbs freely. Try sinking or floating out of your body instead – using a kinetic motion to free yourself from your body. Alternatively, relax and visualise a new dream scene, using your most powerful sense to engage yourself. It should be much easier to create and visualise a dream from here and ‘teleport’ instantly.

Learning and perfecting the WILD technique requites time and considerable awareness of the optimum state. However, once you are in the Mind Awake/Body Asleep state, the actual dream creation is deceptively easy – make this your nightly meditation ritual as even a failed WILD technique attempt is good meditation/visualisation practice.


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