Oneironautics refers to the ability to travel within a dream while remaining conscious of the experience. Such a person is called a lucid dreamer or “oneironaut”. In essence, a lucid dream is just one in which the dreamer is aware of dreaming. More importantly, they might even be able to exert some degree of control over the dream’s characters, narrative, and/or environment. The earliest known references to lucid dreaming in the West are found in ancient Greek texts. However, Indians and Tibetans have practiced yogic dreaming for much longer in the East. Traditional Tibetan Bon priests have been able to realize that they are dreaming and then take control of them for millennia. They even diligently developed a number of time-honored techniques to help usher in the field of oneironautics. According to their ancient animistic teachings, dreams all come from your own personal experiences, either from a past life or in the present life. This has also been confirmed and reaffirmed by the scientific community in contemporary society.
Now, obviously, to understand what lucid dreams are, one must first know what a dream is. This is a bit of a challenge in and of itself. To begin with, in the most technical sense, in the domain of internalized metaphysical space, dreams are the result of an altered state of consciousness that certain complex organisms experience during periods of sleep. Meanwhile, in the externalized domain of physical space, firing patterns originating in the pons with the ascendancy of acetylcholine helps to facilitate this. The process affects the soul and body differently, such that the psychological function of dreams is to facilitate the classification of events and the consolidation of experiences in the seven-dimensional immortal soul. Meanwhile, the physiological function of dreams is to provide an organism with periodic stimulation sufficient enough to develop and preserve biological pathways in a three-dimensional mortal body. Of course, these descriptions only just barely scratch the surface. The depths of our dreams are seemingly infinite.
As part of this, although an animal’s brain continues to function in some form or another throughout the entire process of sleep, the dreaming soul of an animal is much more active during periods of rapid eye movement (REM) than that of non-rapid eye movement (NREM). In humans, REM sleep occupies about 1/5 of the sleep cycle, while the rest is NREM. The thing is that some mammals don’t dream at all. For instance, like other uni-hemisphere sleepers, dolphins have to sleep with one eye open, and one eye closed. Otherwise, they wouldn’t go to the surface to get air and inevitably drown to death. As such, the resting half of their brain doesn’t enable cetaceans to have dreams. Meanwhile, seals don’t enter REM-sleep while underwater, but they do on land. So, seals can sleep to dream, but whales can’t. As part of this, the REM stages of sleep are rarely less than 10 minutes long and may last for an hour or more. About 60 to 80 minutes after first falling asleep, the brain’s activity begins to increase. This is the moment when a body will often jerk and a soul will experience a feeling of falling along with hypnagogia as the soul internalizes into metaphysical space. This is the point when most oneironauts begin to transition into their dreams, often with the use of self-hypnosis.
To really break it down for you, in the interior enfolded dimensions of the soul, a sleeper drifts from deep Stage IV (NREM 1) sleep to Stage III (NREM 2), Stage II (NREM 3) and Stage I (REM), at which point rapid eye movements begin in the body. So, in NREM awareness shifts from attending to objects in physical space to that of subjects in metaphysical space. Thus, the external world gets left behind and the soul becomes fully internalized during REM. At that point, the intangible soul fully dissociates from the tangible body. After about ten minutes in REM, the soul drifts back up through the four stages. This process is then repeated about every 90 minutes, but as sleep progresses the REM periods lengthen and the NREM periods shorten. In addition to this, there are several physiological changes that tend to occur during REM sleep, such as a change in body temperature, an increase in oxygen consumption, and a variable heart rhythm. Meanwhile, from the psychological point of view, NREM sleep is essentially conceptual, while REM dreams are far more perceptual. This has all been meticulously studied by countless different sleep specialists throughout prehistory and history, thus giving rise to the doctrines of dreaming.
In regards to this, although there are primary functions of dreaming, there are specific roles that certain dreams fulfill while others do not. In some cases, the content of a dream is reflective of the dreamer’s cognitive stage of development in life. In essence, many dreams serve as an extension of one’s conscious daily concerns, and these episodes may or may not indicate the specific desires that guide an individual’s waking behavior, being an uncensored combination of personal motivations and conceptions. There is even a threat simulator feature within the complex metaphysics of the soul that can generate terrifying nightmares. Along with occasionally being scary, dreams are critical to an individual’s wellbeing in general. The proportion of NREM to REM dreams alone can have significant impacts on the metaphysical integrity of a soul. For instance, there are those who have endogenous depression and don’t enter NREM. Instead, they go straight to REM, and then they end up staying in that condition for too long. There are also people who have sustained parietal lobe damage or who have had a stroke, which can then no longer enter NREM or REM. Instead, they are forced awake every time they reach that particular point of sleep. This leads to a total inability to fully internalize into metaphysical space.
This is terribly important because dream states are critical to maintaining one’s physiological and psychological health. For one thing, dreams can help provide inspiration through an increase in creativity by way of heightened imagination. Dreams have inspired Nobel laureates and visionary artists alike. Along with this, yet another purpose of dreams is simply to process information. According to the continuity principle, there is considerable congruence between what we dream about and our preoccupations in waking life, so dreamers often encounter the same content in the context of their dreams, throughout the span of a lifetime regardless of how they live their life. Granted, based on the ratio of testosterone to estrogen within a person’s body, their soul will likely experience more gender-specific dreams. That is to say, men tend to dream about things like weapons and violence, while women dream about their daily life both at home and in the workplace. Then, in regards to sexual content, women often have dreams about people they know whereas men have a tendency to dream about invented characters. This kind of molecular modulation of the soul can even result from eating different kinds of food before going to bed. As part of this, the body uses cortisol to induce waking states and melatonin to induce sleeping states.
Ultimately, there is almost no end to what dreams can do for us, some people even have precognitive experiences when they are asleep. This is because the objective perspective of time only includes the present, but the subjective perspective also includes the past and future. So, in NREM scenario testing the soul often reenacts the events of the day and rehearses for the future by redoing everything that went wrong until it turns out right, through simple replays of the past. Then, in REM dreams precognition becomes possible. For everyone who isn’t a psychic, dreams are just the way in which new memories are formed and old problems are solved. Typically speaking dreams are nothing more than the way that sleeping souls make sense of everything they encounter. As most people know, this is rather different from waking consciousness. That’s why things can seem so very strange when we look back on what we just experienced. Regardless, the point is that dreams are useful because they give us insights into things that we would never have otherwise. This is made even more beneficial with lucidity because not only can you talk to the characters in your dreams, you can also speak to the narrator which is far more aware of the meanings of things. That disembodied voice is the best way to discover what your dreams really represent. Communicating with it is critical.
This is why most people need to train themselves to be better dreamers. Fortunately, there are a number of time-honored techniques that have helped millions of people realize when they are dreaming. Then, most people have to learn to not get excited when they become lucid because it will wake them up from the dream. To get started properly, the best thing to do is to start keeping a dream journal right away. This is easy you just write down anything and everything you can remember upon awakening from a dream. This is essential. Without a dream journal, no one can master lucidity or any other dream technique for that matter. Record keeping is the most important aspect of all spiritual training because it’s the only way to chart progress. Plus, it is impossible to analyze your dreams without notes. With that being said, it’s also really important to understand that there are many different ways to trigger a lucid dream. As I mentioned earlier, this is usually done in the hypnogogic transitional phase as one is drifting into sleep. One might repeat a simple statement to themselves, such as “I’ll realize I’m dreaming”, or “when I see my hands I’ll know I’m dreaming”, or anything else of the sort. The latter of these is especially useful because it allows for a reality check. That is to say, in a dream when you look at your hands, then look away, and back again, they will have changed in appearance. So, the cue would help you become lucid and to verify that you are definitely dreaming. Another great test is to flip a light switch off and on to see if anything happens. If not, you are probably dreaming. Either way, once you know that you’re dreaming then you could fly away, become a princess, have an orgy, or do whatever it is you most desire.
The thing is that this isn’t just about wish fulfillment, not by a long shot. Just because the laws of physics and society are repealed in our dreams it doesn’t mean we should just go around doing whatever we want. In spite of being nonsensical on occasion, dreams are very serious events. That’s why the ancient physician Galen of Pergamon used lucid dreams as a form of therapy. You see, the fact is that people can use their dreams to put an end to nightmares or even cure themselves of phobias. For instance, I’m scared of heights, but I used to be much more terrified of being up high than I am now. You see, the times that I have flown in my dreams have helped to minimize my reaction to heights. This can be applied to anything. Someone who is arachnophobic can introduce spiders into their dreams. With enough dedication and determination, one could get to the point that they are literally covered in spiders during a dream. This would severely desensitize the person to spiders in general, thus making someone far less fearful in their presence. This kind of exposure therapy can be very helpful to a lot of people, but it’s also important for someone to have a therapist to work with as well, preferably a cognitive-behavioral therapist. One might even need to consult a past-life regressionist, as many phobias originate from previous injuries or fatalities.
Along with this, dreams can be used creatively. This is what I currently find most fascinating about lucid dreams. The dream world can be quite inspiring, even presenting you with a muse. This can be any real or imagined figure that you desire. Thus, while dreaming, an artist can work uninhibitedly with new techniques and mediums, consciously seek ideas for paintings or stories, and sidestep their inner critic, among many other things. Just as one example of what I mean, a musician might ask to hear the best song that they could ever play. Then, having heard the song they could actually learn to play it on their own while they are awake. This technique works especially well for visual artists because heightened visual perception is characteristic of lucid dreams. As such, the degree of realism and the amount of conscious attention contributes to the staying power of an image. Thus, a dreamer can carry the memory of it to their canvas or clay and convert it into a physical work of art. This is true for all you writers out there as well. LaBerge and Rheingold put it best:
“Go fishing with Hemingway or Hesse and talk about that novel you’ve always wanted to write.”
Think about it, a third of your life is spent sleeping, and during part of that time, you dream. The question is, are you going to be lucid or not? There is just so much untapped potential in the dream world, and we would all do well to switch from observation to participation when it comes to interacting with our dreams. The soul is something that we all need to study more of as devoted psychonauts and this includes being an oneironaut. Simply put, we exist so the cosmos can be aware of itself and part of our duty in that regard is to explore our dreams. In this way, many oneironauts are on the front lines doing God’s work. These spiritual warriors are an essential part of the world in which we live, and more importantly, there can never be too many of them. Each and every one of us should work in service of the divine as much as possible, and this includes exploring our dreams. So, if you don’t already keep a dream journal, then go out and get yourself one right away. Again, I can’t emphasize enough how important record-keeping really is. Then, once you have everything you need, delve deep into the uncharted terrain of your own personal metaphysical space and learn how to make use of it in every way possible. Just remember, if you want to make it happen, then you have to be willing to do whatever it takes. That means you need to do reality checks while you are awake, especially anytime something unusual happens. This will condition you to notice when you are dreaming, and when you are not. Again, just do whatever it takes. Everyone is different so not every technique will work for everyone. If need be, wake yourself up every three hours, then write down everything…eventually, you will gain control.