Taking control of your dreams while sleeping

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By Caroline Miller
Write Away Blog
Portland author of Heart Land & Gothic Spring

The other day, I shared an article with a friend who is interested in lucid dreaming: the ability to take over our dreams and create adventures while we are asleep. According to recent research, people who manage lucid dreaming best are those who play video games. (“5 Mind-Bending Facts About Dreams” by Jennie Bryner, “Yahoo News,” 4/28/12)

I’ve managed lucid dreams a few times even though I don’t play video games. The trick is to notice a detail in a dream that contradicts reality. The anomaly triggers an understanding that I’m in a lucid dream and free to soar above the clouds.

I don’t work at the skill as I prefer not to control my dreams. I use them to invite communication with my unconscious. Sometimes I’m treated to wonderful stories, as in the case of “Marie Eau-Claire,” the novelette I published in the May issue of “The Colored Lens.”

Collaborating with my dreams may sound eerie, but I consider it an important device for unlocking impressions lost to my conscious mind. I never write from a plot outline and when I begin, I seldom know how the story will end. Only when I read the finished copy do I begin to see themes or symbols put there by the unconscious. I call it Ouija boarding — a hunt for images I’ve been collecting over the years.

A conscious mind remembers only fragments of its experiences. The rest sinks below the surface of memory. If I had to side with only one psychologist’s view of the psyche, I’d side with Jung’s. The unconscious is the mystical portion of the brain. Left unfettered, it provides dreams that can lead to wondrous, secret rooms.