Why You’re Not Lucid Dreaming On A Regular Basis

By Jamie Alexander

I’ve got a good idea why you can’t become lucid, or at least not regularly.

You might not believe the same thing as me and that’s OK, but I’d love to know what you think of my hypothesis.

The reason it’s only a guess is because who can really know for sure why some people find lucid dreaming easier than others?

I’ve been trying to explain this for so long, but I just couldn’t get the words out. I know I find it hard to understand what someone is trying to say if they can’t communicate it correctly.

That’s why I’ve decided to draw pictures even though I’m the worst artist in the world.

Random bouts of awareness

Have you ever eaten a Mars Bar when you’ve been hungover after a rough night on the town?

I have, once, and it was the single greatest Mars Bar I’ve ever tasted in my life. I’ve tried many times to capture the taste in my mouth again, but due to not wanting to eat Mars Bars all the time I have failed.

The reason I’m telling you is because I don’t think I’ve told anyone before, but it also relates to today’s article about awareness.

Why does awareness matter?

Without awareness you can’t become lucid. It makes sense, right? To become lucid you need to become aware, but without awareness you won’t be lucid.

Someone who finds lucid dreaming difficult

Some people think they can’t become lucid because there is something wrong with them, but there is nothing wrong with anyone. They just haven’t built up much awareness during their lifetime. They then come along and decide to give lucid dreaming a shot.

Average Joe Awareness

Can you see how high Average Joe needs to jump if he wants to become lucid? He really needs something huge to help him get up there. It’s why some people can’t become lucid for months and even when they can it’s once in a blue moon.

Someone who has a decent amount of lucid dreams

These people have a higher level of awareness. For some reason they have improved their awareness over the course of their lifetime and it’s sitting at a level higher than Joe.

Medium Awareness

When these people want to jump into lucidity they have a much shorter distance to travel. That’s why lucidity is a little bit easier for them. They can’t become lucid all the time, but they are lucid a lot more than Joe.

Someone who has regular lucid dreams

Now we get into the really interesting stuff. When these people were born they were the same as you, but they have trained to increase their awareness. It doesn’t really matter how they did it because the only thing that matters is how high their level of awareness is. They only need to stretch up to become lucid.

High Awareness

If they are determined to have a lucid dream they will have a much better chance of becoming lucid because their awareness is so high. They hardly need anything to make the jump and their awareness will automatically switch on a lot.

Then you have monks

Monks reach Nirvana when they are lucid 100% of the time. That means they are fully aware when they are awake, dreaming, and sleeping. They actually do lucid dream, but they call it dream yoga.

Experienced monks have such a high level of awareness that they can pass into dream and sleep without even losing consciousness. I don’t know if they are fully conscious 100% of their life, but I doubt they’d have trouble becoming lucid if they wanted to.

You have a problem

The easiest and best way to increase your awareness can be found in a state of consciousness which lies behind a locked door. The only way you can open that door is by switching off your stupid inner-voice that keeps popping up in your head.

That voice stops your mind from being at ease. It makes your mind work in overdrive. You need to change this and the quickest way is by meditating, but for anyone who is skeptical of meditation I’d like to try explaining it in a different way because most people have the wrong impression of it.

You need to focus your attention on something specific. When you focus your attention on something specific you can’t hear the inner-voice and it disappears. That’s essentially what meditation is and not sitting cross-legged repeating a mantra.

I’m going to make it easy for you, I hope, because I’m going to share some techniques I’ve used over the last 18 months while practicing it. I’m not going to speak about focusing on your breath/nostrils or focusing on the back of your head because they have been covered.

My easy meditation techniques

For all these techniques I’m going to assume you’re already lying down with your eyes closed. But don’t do it until you first read what the techniques are.

Playing with a football

Focusing on something perfectly still is hard, so this technique is the exact opposite. First you have to imagine a ball. It can be a football, soccer ball, tennis ball, or whatever PG rated ball you can think of.

I’ll use a soccer ball since I’m Scottish. When I was younger we used to play this game called ‘keepy upy.’ If I translated it into English it would mean ‘keeping the ball up.’ So we would keep kicking it up and count how many times we could do it before the ball touched the ground.

When you’re lying down with your eyes closed you would just imagine you were kicking the ball trying to keep it off the ground. You can look into the back of your eyelids and imagine seeing the ball coming up and down. You can even kick it high in the air and look into the sky (don’t move your head) to watch it coming down then kick it up again.

The basic idea is to totally immerse yourself in something to stop you from listening to the inner-voice. I used this technique the first time I really fell into a deep trance where my body melted away. I think it took me about 45 minutes of kicking the ball up and waiting the trance out, so it does take time.

Playing with a cube

This time there is a cube in your hand, but you can see it when looking at the back of your eyelids. Feel each side of the cube with your imaginary hands and really try to imagine you can feel it in your real hands.

What does the surface feel like? I bet it’s super smooth. “Oh wait, what’s that?” You’ve just felt the other side and this time it’s covered in carpet. Really feel the texture in your hands and also in your mind. Turn it around again and this time it’s bumpy. Run your hands over the bumps and really try to feel your fingers going up and down.

Now give it a knock. Can you hear what it sounds like? Start playing the drums with it and make up a beat. Now turn it around and hit it again. Can you hear a different sound? Throw it up in the air like the football and carefully watch it until it lands in your hands.

You’re basically just playing around using your imagination and your senses until you are concentrating 100% on the cube and the inner-voice eventually disappears.

Investigating a candle flame

This is another one you can imagine looking at with either your eyes, or your third eye. There’s a candle flame in front of you and it’s burning brightly. At first you’re only watching it from a distance. Move in closer and you will notice the flame flickering.

Try moving your finger close to it so you can feel the heat, but not too close because you don’t want to burn yourself. Take your finger and move it back and forward through the flame and watch really closely as it follows your finger then reverts back to normal.

Make up your own

These are merely techniques I’ve used in the past and think are effective, but at the end of the day there’s nothing stopping you from experimenting on your own. There is a very good reason why this is important and it’s not because the techniques won’t work for you.

The only reason I know this works is because I lay down and didn’t stop trying until I seen results. You are more than capable of finding your own path. I was able to find my own path because I did it on my own without anyone telling me what to do. I didn’t have a choice.

The difference between me and you is that you’re reading this article, so you’ve read what to do and how to do it. To make it easier on yourself you might just follow my advice to the letter. You can’t do that because you won’t grow.

It will stop you from experimenting and finding an even better way than I’ve found. I’m depending on you to find a better way of doing it and telling me about it. Maybe you can write an article for Lucid Ability and share it with us all. The point is: it’s all about exploring your own consciousness, but using my techniques to get you started.

If you follow my script to the letter we’ll all be at the same level and nobody will grow. You have the power to find an amazing way to become super aware, but you need to experiment. Don’t care about how long it takes you because I was trying for months.

You have total freedom to try doing things that are more effective for your body and mind.

Taking it further than ever before

You’re in the trance state and your inner-voice is switched off. So what? What do you do now? I’ve found a way to mimic a lucid dream in real life that means you won’t need to try and become lucid. It will just happen spontaneously.

Mimicking a lucid dream in real life

I’ve been trying to think of ways to best explain why my lucid trance technique is so effective and I tried something on Reddit that seemed to work, so I’m going to explain it here.

Inside a lucid dream you are fully aware + you manipulate things with your mind.

Inside a lucid trance you are fully aware + you manipulate things with your mind.

You can read about the lucid trance in more detail here, but you’re essentially using a meditative technique to get yourself into a trance state (when the inner-voice is gone) then you manipulate your senses using your mind. Things like:

Imagining you’re moving up and down on the waves

Imagining you’re swinging back and forth on a hammock

Imagining you’re spinning around in circles

I say imagining you are doing those things because that’s how you initially trick your senses, but you actually do physically feel like you’re doing all three of those things while in a trance, once you get it right which takes a little time.

After the lucid trance

You should be doing the lucid trance before bed because I’ve found that makes you have more spontaneous lucid dreams without trying. After you’ve finished you can do what you want, but your most important job for the night is done.

You can go to bed and give yourself lucid affirmations, and you can also visualize the dream before falling asleep. I suppose there is no harm in doing as much as you can, but I’ve personally found it’s not essential. That doesn’t mean it won’t help speed up your results.

This will kill your chances

You won’t have much success without being really motivated to become lucid. You won’t have much success if you tell yourself you can’t do it. Never stop thinking about lucidity and let it engulf your mind.

When you’re trying to get into the trance state you can’t think about anything apart from the technique you’re performing, but once you’re in the trance state you can think without coming out of it. This means you are free to explore your mind and think about lucid dreaming as much as possible.

But this will kill them even more

It took me a long time to feel like I was in a trance because my mind hated me. I eventually succeeded because I stuck it out. You will succeed to, I guarantee it. We can all reach higher states of consciousness. It just takes time.

Don’t think about reaching the trance state. Know you will succeed, but don’t have any expectations. Don’t care about results. If you analyze everything while trying to reach the trance state it will end in disappointment. No expectations!

The only thing you need to think about is getting a little better each day. You do really need to wait it out. You might start feeling strange sensations after 20 minutes, or if you’re like me it might be 45 minutes. You need to stick with it and keep lying their focusing on something until it works, and it eventually will even if it takes you weeks.

If you want to test whether you’re in the trance state or not, check out the article about meditating lying down and you can use one of the techniques to try and manipulate your senses.

Now go forth and attempt to meditate as much as possible. Do it when you have any time to spare. When you do get into the trance state you can start practicing the lucid trance.


                                      Meditation Demystified

                                                              By Daniel Kelley



There are as many forms of meditation as there are states and stages of consciousness.

And yet heated debates rage on as practitioners of the myriad styles of meditation vie for the position of what constitutes the true meditative state. This can be rather confusing for people who are approaching the subject of meditation for the first time, and it's the purpose of this humble essay to unravel that confusion.

First, it has to be understood that meditation, when done for the purpose of evolving consciousness (not all meditations are done for that purpose), is an attempt to train states of awareness to become enduring traits of awareness. When a state has been sufficiently mastered to the point where it becomes a stable stage of psychological growth, we say that that state has now become a trait of consciousness. This is not unlike training a four-year old child to have good manners.  Parents will often arrange play-dates for their children as an initiation rite into the social conventions of etiquette, with hopes that this training in social interaction will become an enduring trait of the child's personality. In much the same way, a meditator might train Loving-Compassion meditation in order to promote the possibility of converting the state of compassion into the trait of compassion for all sentient beings. Or perhaps he will train Mindfulness meditation in order to gain a more accurate picture of himself. In this way he can behave more authentically, and being "true to himself" will become an enduring trait of his consciousness.

Now, this training of states into traits has a big thorny flaw in it which has been a source of colossal  misunderstanding among the various schools of meditation. Particularly the Krishnamurti school and other "nondual" traditions become very indignant whenever someone points out that meditation is largely a training in cognition, which is largely (if not totally) a material process occurring within the brain. Their gripe is more with the word "training" than with the word "meditation".  Not only that, but there are also disputes between schools of meditation not limited to the Nondual party over which of their approaches is better suited to attain what each of them claims is true enlightenment. For example, the Causal school of meditation, which aims to undercut the very source of the "I" thought, insists that only absolute emptiness is real, and therefore the aim of all true meditation is to push inward to the formless Source of all being where positively nothing is arising in consciousness.

Listen to these words of Sri Ramana Maharshi:

"If it isn't present in deep dreamless sleep, then it isn't real."

These words of the Vedantic sage contain a riddle. Absolutely nothing is present during deep dreamless sleep, usually not even the dreamer himself!

But much of this acrimony is due to a basic misunderstanding. For what defines meditation at one stage may be at variance with what constitutes meditation at another stage. Just because two or more things are different doesn't necessarily  mean that one is right and the other is wrong. Enthusiasts of the Nondual school take umbrage at any brand of meditation that requires a method to attain higher stages of consciousness, and I have heard and experienced both justifiable and incredulous reasons for this.

Says Krishnamurti:

"A mind that approaches truth with a preconceived idea (intention), will see only according to its own distortion."

What Krishnamurti is saying here, technically speaking, is this:

Apprehending the totality of the truth of who and what you are takes tremendous energy. That is, all of your energy must be present in order to pierce that illusory veil which separates you from yourself and others. This can't be accomplished if you are scattering your energy by meditating using a forced method as methods require the usage of energy.

True enough. But...

The primary reason that Nondualists reject any and all methods of meditation stems, on the one hand, from an erroneous assumption that meditation must be employed as a means of evolving one's consciousness, otherwise it's not true meditation. But there are many reasons why people meditate, and spiritual development is only one of them! But the Nondualists recognize that any attempt by the ego to transcend itself is a movement in and of that which it is trying to transcend. In other words, you can't transcend the ego by using the ego. Any and all attempts to do so will only serve to strengthen the ego. And they're right!

So where do they go wrong?

To get to the bottom of this colossal misunderstanding we have to analyze the etymology of two very significant words:


To "educate" implies cultivating a potential that is already present within oneself, whereas to "instruct" implies that you are adding something that is absent within oneself. In the former case, you aren't being false when you undertake a discipline for the sake of refining a capacity already present within you. In the latter case, however, it's an exercise in futility. After all, you can't draw blood from a stone.

This can be put another way:

Any attempt to get to point B (which doesn't exist) by escaping point A (which does exist), is neurotic unless point B already exists somewhere else. In much the same way, you can't become compassionate by practicing compassion unless the potential for compassion is already present within you, though dormant it may be. And if you try to practice compassion while being rooted in cruelty then you'll split yourself into two parts, which is the exact opposite of non-duality. So!--say the Non-Dualists--the only way to enter "true" meditation is to remain 100% with the fact of what you are. And the simple fact, according to them, is that not only are you one with everything arising within your psyche, but you are also one with everything and everyone in the universe. Therefore, according to the Nondualists, not only are methods of meditation wrong, they are also redundant, because you can't build a bridge over two things that aren't truly separate to begin with.

And yet the objections of the Nondualists, valid as they may be, are not the direct experience of many meditators. Oneness with all things is not the "fact of what we are," according to the direct experience of most of us, and to say that the observer and the observed are one in the act of knowing does nothing to change this. Even a good number of Nondualists understand  nonduality only as an abstraction, or at best, as a vague intuitive feeling without any transformative teeth. What's worse is that many nondual enthusiasts and gurus are merely projecting their own narcissism upon the cosmos and bolster it by using nondual jargon. I might decide to go for a jog, say. After about thirty minutes I feel an endorphin rush and look out upon a beautiful sunset. Suddenly the entire universe is vibrating with my euphoria and all of nature seems to be dancing with me in an eternity of ineffable glory.


Except the universe isn't vibrating with my euphoria, is it? For at the very same time that I'm having this marvelous experience of oneness with the universe there is a child starving to death in Africa who feels the universe to be a very hostile place. Indeed, the only part of the universe that's vibrating with my euphoria is the part of the cosmos called “me”, and I'm projecting this ecstasy all over those parts of the universe within my very limited field of perception. When I'm enjoying a full-body orgasm, the farthest star isn't cumming with me, poetic as that may be. That isn't to say that all nondual states/stages are projections of the psyche. Perhaps some of them aren't; I don't know, but it's undeniable that many of them are just that.

                                                                        Part One

                                                               (What Is Meditation?)

There are many methods of meditation. Each of them has it's own purpose and there is truly no final opposition between any of them. Of course, some meditations are so compatible that they can and often are used in conjunction, while others address a specific level of the bodymind and are used separately. But this discreet usage doesn't mean that there's enmity between one form of meditation and the others. It simply means that each state or stage of consciousness has a meditation best suited to access it.

•Some of the purposes of various forms of meditation are:

•For fun and enjoyment.

•To lower blood-pressure.

•To relieve symptoms of depression.

•To further self-development past the "conventional" stage.

•To improve the quality of sleep.

•To deepen the sexual experience.

•To increase storage and circulation of life force (Qi).

•To discover the possible immortality of the soul.


•To train concentrative ability.

•To induce out of body experience (astral projection).

....and much, much more.

As you can see, meditation covers a wide spectrum of experience (and non-experience) not limited to the so-called expansion of consciousness. So what, then, do the myriad forms of meditation have in common? What, for example, do Yoga, Tantra, Mindfulness, Vedanta, Tai Chi, and Big Mind Meditation have in common?

Attend any workshop or seminar, or open any book about meditation, and  you'll immediately notice two things. One, there is a strong focus on the transformative power of the present moment. And two, there is an equally strong focus on the value of retraining the faculty of attention to access this transformative power. It's important to know that meditations that focus on prayer, visualization of deities and forms, the harmony of nature (panenhenic nature mysticism), and so on, aren't meditation per se, but rather, contemplation. Of course, there are contemplative methods that end in a meditative state. Contemplation is more akin to subtler levels of thinking whereas meditation is concerned with subtler levels of being.

This begs the question:

What exactly is the "present moment"? This may seem a silly question, but a deeper investigation into the Now will reveal just how slippery the answer to this question can be. Because if what we mean by Now is the entirety of the cosmos arising moment to moment, than we obviously can't be fully aware of the Now. Conversely, if what we mean by the present is a heightened focus on whatever task is at hand, then we're excluding the deeper layers of consciousness from our definition of the Now and are therefore not living in the Now at all. So we must be very clear about what we mean by "the present moment". Because each method (and non-method) of meditation takes different states and stages as its focal point, what qualifies as the Now is different for each method. But to be clear, each method is addressing the present moment as it appears to cognition. After all, all experiences are first and foremost a perception. And this includes the so-called perception of "non-perception". In fact, it can safely be said that all forms of meditation endeavor to be aware of the objects of cognition from the  deeper and more profound fathoms of the subject. That is to say, awareness of the present moment can not only be sharpened but deepened as well. So deep can it go, in fact, that some forms of meditation attempt to focus this sharpened gaze, not on any particular object, but upon the subject himself.

                                                                      Part Two

                                                          (Chasing the Ego's Tail)

In what is called "mindfulness meditation", the Doer is there but he isn't doing anything per se. He is absolutely present, consciously and subconsciously, but he isn't doing anything. He is just collecting energy, insight, access to deeper layers of the onion we call Being. Mindfulness meditation is paradoxical in that it's both active and passive at the same time. There is a state of meditation called "formless meditation" in which the Doer is entirely absent (if not outright avoided), but we aren't concerned with that just yet. Different forms of meditation serve different purposes, and all of them start with the Doer, that is, the ego. So don't be fooled by clever arguments about whether or not this or that brand of meditation is in "service of the ego" which, to many meditators, is the Devil himself. Nothing could be further from the truth, as we shall presently see. For even the non-dual  epiphany often begins with a profound investigation into the dichotomies of Knower versus Known and Self versus Other:

"Just as one uses a match to ignite a fire, and then throws that match into the fire to be consumed once the blaze  is lit, so too is the ego consumed in the fire of self-inquiry, by inquiring deeply into the question 'Who am I?”

-Sri Ramana Maharshi

The realization that all things are one rarely dawns in consciousness without first having been ushered in by a long and arduous investigation into the apparent separateness of Self and Other. This doesn't mean that such an investigation is 100% necessary in all cases, but in most cases it certainly is. But if this is so; If the non-dual revelation, which is arguably the most elevated stage of human consciousness, is typically the Holy Grail at the end of lifetimes of preparing oneself, how is it that so many people have experienced glimpses of it seemingly by doing nothing at all?Well, firstly, the keyword in that question is "glimpses". A glimpse of Mount Everest's peak  isn't the same thing as actually climbing to it and building your home there. The second keyword in that question is "seemingly". Most, but not all, non-dual experiences occur as a consequence of personal growth, genetic predisposition, environmental provocateurs, or just good ole' fashioned hard work. Add to this the vast amount of data which suggests  that the Non-Dual revelation itself appears to evolve through stages and you can begin to see the immensity of this issue.

But we are here to simplify things, yes?

When someone experiences a spontaneous sense of "oneness" with the object (s) of his or her awareness, we call this a "peak-experience". There is a temporary flash or timeless sensation of having merged with the object (s) of cognition. This mind-blowing epiphany usually leaves the individual exactly where it finds him, only now with the tedious job of having to somehow integrate the experience into every day awareness. This often occurs in experimentation with powerful psychedelics such as DMT, LSD, MDMA, Mushrooms, Hawaiian Babyaby Woodrose Seeds, Morning Glory Seeds, etc. Or else during a powerful experience of falling in love with someone. Mothers often experience feelings of oneness while breastfeeding. And the annals of poetry are replete with the exalted ramblings of a thousand and one "nature mystics" (e.g., Thoreau, Whitman). Indeed, there are many situations which can act as springboards to the non-dual STATE of consciousness. But access to the nondual stage doesn't come so cheap.

Perhaps a few examples will help to illustrate the difference between acquiring the stage of nonduality versus merely glimpsing it via the non-dual state:

In the preface to this article, I gave an example of how the experience of nonduality can oftentimes be no more than one's narcissistic projection upon the screen of Environment. I would like to point out that, just because the experience of oneness is tainted by an egocentric reflex, that doesn't mean that the experience is false. It's merely shallow. As I've said, the non-dual revelation appears to evolve through increasing levels of complexity. Provided the person's brain is capable of housing a nondual experience, the peak-experience will inevitably be interpreted through and by the level of growth embodied by the person to whom it's happening. If I've only evolved to a point where my ego is all-important, then I'll interpret non-duality (and any state of awareness for that matter) in an egocentric fashion. But if I've evolved to a stage where I feel an affinity for people, perspectives, and life-forms other than my own, than obviously a powerful experience of oneness with the cosmos will take on quite a different meaning for me! It's worth mentioning here that even some of the more rarified experiences of non-duality still maintain the individuality of the person to whom they're happening. One's own subjectivity is still felt, only it is felt to be a self among other selves thriving under a shared canopy of primordial intelligence which renders all isolation anathema. Sometimes this merging is experienced by two or more people. Sometimes it's experienced while making love. It often happens during group meditations, religious revivals, or simply while going for a hike in the woods. It's even happened to hunters while staring at an animal through the scope of a rifle! But no matter how, where, or by what method it occurs, all forms of meditation aim to rediscover the ultimate unity between the subject and object (s) of awareness. And a complete yoga would, of course, include all available states and stages of awareness in its curriculum.

So what exactly are the stages of awareness? And how do they differ from states of awareness? We've already learned that the primary aim of developmental meditation is the converting of states to traits of consciousness. What we haven't yet outlined are the states and stages themselves, how and why they are invoked during meditation, and what meditative disciplines aim at which of these developmental milestones. The reason I spent the greater portion of this brief essay outlining the nondual states and stages of consciousness is that I want to impress upon you the fact that many of the realms of cognition explored by meditators already exist within and around you largely as pre-given structures of consciousness etched into the human bodymind as the consequence of countless aeons of evolution. And many of the newer structures are still being developed and co-created by meditative pioneers like yourself. Therefore, most states of meditation, and many peak-experiences of higher stages, are accessed by learning the knack of attuning one's bodymind to them. As you've probably already guessed, the methods of meditation are simply exercises in learning the knack of accessing these realms with full and uninterrupted awareness. For once you've gone from merely accessing these realms to embodying them as stable adaptations of your being, you will no longer require any method of meditation  because you ARE meditation! And enlightenment is, as Adidam Samraj once said, always already the case.

When it comes to the various levels of consciousness, there has been no model more ubiquitous than that of the Perennial Philosophy. Spanning across multiple cultures, philosophical systems, religions, psychologies, ontologies, epistemologies, phenomenologies, and developmental hierarchies, the Perennial Philosophy has served as the core model of the cartography of the human psyche for millennia. Examples of the Perennial Philosophy can be found in Kabbalah, Taoism, Christianity, Hinduism, Psychology, Buddhism, Paganism, and more.. In a nutshell, the model of reality presented by the Perennial Philosophy is a nested hierarchy ranging from matter, to body, to mind, to soul, to spirit, with each senior level transcending and including its junior (s). Sometimes it's presented in something called "four bodies" theory. In this model of the human bodymind, it's said that we each have four bodies, one for each level of consciousness. These are the gross, subtle, causal, and nondual bodies, respectively. Although these bodies represent a unique physiology (as it were) with their own respective elements,  it's important to understand that, much like a rainbow,

they grade and shade into each other in many important ways and can't finally be separated. The gross body consists of the physical organism and its corresponding material environment. The subtle body deals with the mental, etheric, astral, and higher emotional faculties and their corresponding environments. The causal body is the formless root of the ego itself; the very essence of the  "I" before it even arises. And the non-dual body? Well,  to answer that requires going a little deeper into states and traits of consciousness.


Part Three

                                                    (The United States of a Miracle)

Everybody wakes, dreams, and sleeps. Those are the three primary states available to all of us, and they are in many important ways already traits of consciousness because we have consistent  access to all three of them to some degree. But what if we could deepen our access to these three states? That is to say, what if we could be more awake and alert in the wake-a-day world, without the use of caffeine and other stimulants? Would we then be able to enjoy access to higher and intelligent thought?  What if we could remain alert in dreams? Would we be able to control what dreams we have during sleep? Could we thereby impregnate our subconscious minds with positive affirmations of success, health,  confidence, and joy? Perhaps out-of-body-experience (OOBE) would then become a real possibility for us? And what if we could enter dreaming and deep dreamless sleep with full consciousness? This state being before and beyond the arising of thought, name, and form, how would continuous access to it change the way we look at the world? How might it change the way we look at ourselves?

Generally speaking, the Gross body is  associated with the waking state. We are in this body when we go to the gym, when we go to work, when we go to a restaurant, or when we drive a car (hopefully!) The Subtle body is sometimes divided into three separate bodies, or else into three distinct functions of the subtle body (i. e., Etheric, Astral, and Mental), and is associated with the dreaming state. The Causal body is the very root of our consciousness and is associated with dreamless sleep, coma, and formless meditation. For the sake of convenience, we'll treat them as one body..

We're functioning as the subtle body whenever we dream, daydream, get lost in thought, and so on. When we can see and read the subtle energy fields around people and objects (aura). Whenever we exercise a psychic ability we are using the subtle body. Astral projection is a well known function of the subtle body. And the Qi meridian system is a map of the etheric part of the subtle body (bioelectricity).

As I noted above, the Causal body is associated with the state of deep dreamless sleep. We're functioning as this body whenever we do any type of formless meditation which aims at deeper and more profound states of absorption. In many respects, the Causal body represents the furthest reaches of the subtle body. Whenever we hear or read references to "the Source," that is one name for the Causal realm, which is the environment navigated by the Causal body. The goal of all Causal-realm meditations is, of course, to remain totally aware while in this state of being.

Finally, we come to the nondual experience. To understand just what is the nondual experience, you have first to understand something called "the continuity of consciousness". Imagine for a moment that you've become capable of maintaining alertness in all three states of being. What would be revealed to you should you train an unwavering attention in the waking, dreaming, and dreamless sleep states? All other considerations aside, the one thing that would be revealed to you is that you're separate from all three of those states. Put simply, that would be the fact of your immediate experience, 100%. Since you're the ever-attentive navigator of those realms, and since you now hold them in a wider, more  unitive and conscious embrace, you're clearly the experiencer and those states the experienced.

Perhaps after a considerable time you'll begin to intuit that the these three states of waking, dreaming, and deep dreamless sleep are one with their respective bodies, and these three bodies are one with their respective realms. In other words, by training these three broad states and bodies you are simultaneously creating a dual vibration between those states and stages with which they resonate. Another way to put this is to say that the Now, at least for you anyway, contains conscious and subconscious elements. Not only that, but you can now sense on some profound, ungraspable, and indescribable level, the immensity of the great unconscious. Indeed, looking at the world from that vantage point may well appear like one united whole.

Maybe not. But what if?


                                                     (Bringing It All Together)

Everybody meditates for a reason. And yet one of the basic tenets of almost every form of meditation is that, in order to begin, you must banish the goal-oriented mind. But the tricky part of that rule is how to do this not-doing in such a way that doesn't steer the body and mind toward the very state of tension that meditation seeks to avoid.

As I mentioned before, meditation is a knack. And once you truly grasp the insight that you can't do meditation, but rather, you have to be meditation, then the various meditative disciplines reveal their commonalities. For example, for some people, the simple realization that one can't quiet the brain through an act of will suffices to halt the wayward mind. But for others, this insight does nothing for them. For cases such a these, methods have been developed which focus the mind on a single point. This point can be an image, thought, sensation, idea, word or phrase, or what have you. But the basic requirement is that no other thoughts or sensations are allowed to intrude. Once the mind is fixated on this point unwaveringly for a time the object is removed, and with it the chain of discursive thought and the ego's identification with it. Such methods are simply contemplative tools; props to trick the mind to enter a state it otherwise couldn't access directly.  But the primary aim is to get past the Doer, past the self-contraction that keeps you tethered to the post of dualistic thought, so that you might gain access to deeper and more profound levels of being and/or relationship.

Of course, the ideal meditation is one that you can carry into any situation.. After all, any revelation that ends when you roll up your yoga mat can't be very useful in everyday life. This is just one of the reasons why many sages have insisted that contemplative  prayer, yoga, and other stationary forms of mental gymnastics, are no more than mental masturbation. And they have a good point there, though I'd argue that this depends on the meditator. When non-portable forms of meditation  are used as supplements to an integral lifestyle imbued with all the dynamics of authentic relationship, then the meditation mat simply becomes just another opportunity to take a deeper look at a particular part of that life and the individual living it. In my opinion, there are ultimately only two forms of meditation: one that confronts the mind and one that avoids it entirely.

Both have their inevitable pitfalls. The only way to avoid those pitfalls is to use both methods simultaneously, like two wings of a bird. In this way you can enjoy better health, joy, inspiration, and a childlike sense of wonder, while at the same time growing and discovering unending possibilities in this thing called relationship. And you can begin this exciting adventure by learning to be simple. Simply start with what, where, and who you are. Watch these things, do not flinch, and perhaps one day a miracle will happen:

You will find that there never was anything that needed to be done and nobody there to do them.


Teatime in the Garden of Gethsemane

(The Significance of Suffering on the Mystical Path)

By Daniel Kelley

The most prevalent feature of all things is suffering. Prophets and sages of all times and places have almost unanimously agreed upon this one thing, typically differing only in their approach to the problem. Christ preached that suffering was the first grace. Buddha called it the first noble truth. And Sri Ramana Maharshi said that all things not present in deep sleep are not only sources of suffering, but that they are not really real at all! It's hard to top that one.

But what about the good things in life? Aren't there beautiful things in life too? I mean there are puppies, birthday parties, and apple pie, yes? Well, yes, but there is also disease, death, and poison sumac. Not only that, there are dentists too! And once you've analyzed it ad naseum, once you've ceased escaping from the fact, you are astonished to find that the amenities of life are like small islands of smiles in a vast ocean of tears.

No one feels the truth of this as much as does the spiritual adept. In fact, if you look into the lives of saints, sages, and shamans the world over you will find that they all have faced the annihilation of their ego via the disintegration of all that they hold dear. It seems almost mandatory that when one comes into the orbit of that which exists beyond the world of time, if I may be allowed to put it that way, one is then forced to leave behind all that belongs to that world. It is the price of admittance, or so it seems. And this is hell, make no mistake, because you are the world and the world is you. All that you love, cherish, fear, hope for, define yourself by, enjoy, reject, marry, and divorce: it all exists as the world, as your world. So when those things begin to lose their savor, that is, when they reveal their transient and disappointing nature, the adept is forced---and oftentimes he is forced---to make a choice. He must decide whether he wants to remain fixated on worldliness or else abrogate his attachment to the world altogether. And herein lies the problem: there comes a point from which you cannot safely turn back to embrace the world without involving yourself in some serious complications. You have seen its dissatisfying nature. At the same time, however, you do not yet know if there is a beyond that is any better, or for that matter if there is a beyond at all. So the adept wavers between the two, between the world and the abyss that separates him from his Higher Self (a dirty term!). And it is precisely this gap between the world and the Self that creates the ultimate suffering of the soul.

One of my favorite poems, AHA!, written by Aleister Crowley, describes this spiritual Terror better than anything else I have ever read.

"Easy to say. To abandon all,

All must be first loved and possessed.

Nor thou nor I have burst the thrall.

All---as I offered half in jest,

Skeptic---was torn from me.

Not without pain! THEY slew my child,

Dragged my wife down to infamy,

Loathlier than death, drove to the wild

My tortured body, stripped me of

Wealth, health, youth, beauty, ardour, love.

Thou hast abandoned all? Then try

A speck of dust in the eye!"

The point is clear enough. One becomes dissatisfied with the world, subsequently strives to transcend the world while keeping one foot within it, and then suffers tremendous agony as the Beyond exerts a pull and exacts a toll quite outside the aspirant's capacity to oblige.

Now I am not saying that it always happens the way it is described in AHA! It is not a rule that everyone embarking on a spiritual path must suffer the agony of the saints. I do, however, maintain that a certain degree of crucifixion---in the metaphorical sense---is required for total Liberation for the very reason that the spiritual "seeker" is composed of the very world-stuff he is being forced to surrender. So when that worldliness begins to fall away, it is quite like death. And just as no two people die in the same way, e.g., some die suddenly and some die slowly, so too does the spiritual death differ in its flavor and tone.

Jesus, when in the garden of Gethsemane, was experiencing exactly this egoic death:

"And he took with him Peter and the two sons of Zebedee, and began to be sorrowful and very heavy. Then sayeth he unto them, My soul is exceedingly sorrowful, even unto death: tarry ye here, and watch with me. And he went a little further, and fell on his face, and prayed, saying, O my Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from me: nevertheless, not as I will, but as thou wilt."

I could multiply examples like this ad infinitum, but I trust you get the point. And though it may sound blasphemous to Christians when they hear that such comparisons are being made, more open-minded thinkers might understand that all of us, whether we are avatars or just average, are equal in suffering and death despite the idiosyncrasies of death-style. But I can tell you from my own experience that there is a vast difference between a suffering that exists as the opposite of peace and a suffering that goes beyond both pain and pleasure. That isn't to say that there is nothing significant in the suffering of, say, a single parent working three jobs to support a child, or what have you, only that there is a vast difference between the existential anguish of the world-transcending soul and the anguish of the world-oriented soul. The former often has everything she loves stripped away despite herself whereas the latter suffers because of the very effort to maintain that which she has already got. The former agony is inevitable whereas with the latter agony there is hope.

So hopelessness vs. hope: the dichotomy creates an ocean of difference between how suffering is negotiated within the bodymind. If you know that the suffering you're enduring is building toward some future relief then you can endure it with a grace that might be quite beyond you should you see no light at the end of that torturous tunnel, an insight that brings to a feverish pitch one's existential self-awareness. One can all too painfully feel the contracted coil of the fractured ego against the onslaught of an encroaching world, and it feels like there is nothing one can do to insulate oneself from it.

Why does this terrible fate seem to befall so many seekers-after-truth? I personally have come to the conclusion that it happens, not as some sort of punishment from on high, but because of the burning away of karma (another dirty word), which is to say, one has come into the orbit of what I call the "event-horizon" of enlightenment---to borrow a term from astronomy---that separates duality from nonduality, involution from evolution, nunc stans from nunc fluens. When this happens, one is literally straddling the realms of the personal and the transpersonal. And it is exactly that state of schizophrenia that creates so much suffering, or so I maintain. One is torn between the realm of dukkha (suffering), on the one hand, and the realm of nirvana (enlightenment), on the other. The problem is, however, that you cannot have both; you are either in the world of grasping and avoiding or you are in the world of release and equanimity, until the nondual reckoning.

As for myself, I began to notice that whenever I gave in to social pressure to "get with the program," as it were, I suffered: not because of the responsibilities per se but because of the inevitable stripping away of all that I vowed to work toward. Sometimes it did feel like I was being tested by the Powers that Be; but regardless what the source of purgation is (other than myself, of course) it became clear to me that to grasp anything in this world is to accept it's eventual demise. I do not apply this uncanny feature of the Path to everyone, but it is unarguably one of the better-known landmarks on Liberation Street.

From AHA!:

"Black pit of all insanity!

The adept must make his way to thee!

This is the end of all our pain,

The dissolution of the brain!

For lo! in this no mortar sticks;

Down comes the house---a hail of bricks!

The sense of all I hear is drowned;

Tap, tap, isolated sound,

Patters, clatters, batters, chatters,

Tap, tap, tap, and nothing matters!

Senseless hallucinations roll

Across the curtain on the soul.

Each ripple on the river seems

The madness of a maniac's dreams!"

Sri Rajneesh (Osho), in Autobiography of a Spiritually Incorrect Mystic, gives us his own experience of the "event-horizon":

"For one year I was in such a state that it was almost impossible to know what was happening. For one year continuously it was even difficult to keep myself alive. Just to keep myself alive was a very difficult thing---because all appetite disappeared."

He elaborates elsewhere:

"And I had to keep myself close to myself. I would not talk to anybody because everything had become so inconsistent that even to formulate one sentence was difficult. In the middle of a sentence I would forget what I was saying. In the middle of the road I would forget where I was going. I made it a point not to talk, not to say anything, because to say anything was to say that I was mad."

Summary: The more I become acclimatized to the formless state I am increasingly convinced that true happiness is a product of timelessness meeting time from a place beyond grasping and avoiding. Food tastes better when you are not attached to taste, when you are eating because you are hungry and not because you are sad. Sex feels better when you are not doing it as a duty, as a habit, as a concession to marital law. Work is less tiring when you do it for its own sake and not because you are competing with your neighbor. Money is more enjoyable when you have enough to spoil the ones you love, and not yourself exclusively. Heartbreak is far more poignant when you focus not on the pain but on the love that remains despite the loss of your beloved. Death is less frightening when you die daily, from moment to moment. Life is vibrant against the backdrop of death. Life is lucid against the backdrop of death. Life is prayerful against the backdrop of death. On the cross, at Golgotha, when the spear pierces the side of a dying Jesus, does not the crimson blood glisten like rubies on the forehead of the dawning Christ? Rubies, one and all!

You suffer, yes, so that you may learn how not to suffer. But you suffer also that you may come to know your sibling in every stranger. So that you might see in a child's eyes the promise of a blessed tomorrow. She (the child) too shall suffer. She too shall choose water over wine and then beg that the cup be taken from her. But on that day of the Passion; on that night of deliverance; when the sun is darkened and the temple veil is torn asunder, you shall be with her to help her bear her cross. And exactly then, at the final hour, when even God forsakes her, you shall be with her. Yes, you and all those that took up their crosses before you; all shall be present at that hour. And the voices of all who have suffered yesterday, and the voices of all who suffer today, and the voices of all who shall suffer tomorrow, will raise up their voices in a single sigh, saying: "It is finished".


Oneironauts and Astral Projectors

(Angels Without Wings)

By Daniel Kelley

With all of the hype surrounding Lucid Dreaming and Astral Projection nowadays, it's only natural to find a great deal of disagreement between enthusiasts of the movement. By far the most pandemic of these disagreements is found in the Astral/Lucid debate. For the sake of theater, let's call this spectacle Team Astral vs. Team Lucid.

Team Lucid believes that Astral Projection is just a synonym for Lucid Dreaming. To these folks, what was hitherto regarded as the soul leaving the physical body to ride the waves of the seven Aethers has presently been scientifically proven to be Lucid Dreaming in the form of Dream Control. Team Astral, on the other hand, thinks that Team Lucid is only half right. Lucid Dreaming, while similar to Astral, isn't the same thing at all. Rather, Lucid Dreaming is itself merely the Astral Body navigating the Etheric Plane.

So who's right?

First, let's stop for a moment and acknowledged the elephant in the room, shall we? What's really going on here? I mean, what's this fight really all about? Is it really necessary to go into the historicity of the terms “Astral” or “Etheric” or even “Dream” for that matter? Do we really need to split hairs over this or can we grab ahold of Occam's Razor and cut right to the heart of the matter?

The worm at the heart of the apple. The source of this feud between Team Astral and Team Lucid is really a feud between science and mysticism, between Existentialism and Metaphysics. If you're in doubt go ahead and tell a member of Team Astral that his or her recent conversation with the Archangel Gabriel was really just a Lucid Dream, the interpretation of which might revolve around learning how to play the trumpet.

Yeah, you might want to run, or risk being strangled by a Silver Cord!

Conversely, try to tell a member of Team Lucid that you've personally experienced Astral Projection and that you even verified the things you witnessed while “out of body”. The verdict will come hard and swift that all you really experienced was a Lucid Dream in which your subconscious showed you something you already saw but forgot; and if that explanation doesn't work then your experience will be chalked up to coincidence.

The reason for this opposition is found in that most recognizable hallmark of Postmodernity:

The war between scientific reductionism, on the one hand, and spiritual elevationism on the other.

You see, you can't tell Team Astral that their experiences aren't proof of life after death anymore than you can tell Team Lucid that their experiences are just mental masturbation. Telling Team Astral that why they do is just a dream is to basically strip all wonder and meaning from what they do. Similarly, telling Team Lucid that they're just doing a neat little cognitive trick that will be erased by the Grim Reaper is to alienate them completely.

Personally, I take an Integral approach to the whole thing. I don't think that there's any real disparity between Astral Projection and Lucid Dreaming. In fact, I think that they're too related to be at war. Astral Projection is probably just Lucid Dreaming plus.

That “plus” is very important.

Now it may be that this “plus” doesn't necessarily make Astral Projection more important than Lucid Dreaming. It may be that Lucid Dreaming is more fundamental and Astral Projection is more significant, in much the same way as an acorn is fundamental to an Oak Tree. To be honest, I don't know! Hopefully someday I will know so that I can share it with others. What I can tell you is that I regularly experience Lucid Dreaming and I've experienced Astral Projection a few times too. What I've learned is that they're both two aspects of the same phenomenon, much like how jogging isn't unrelated to walking, even if they do look a little different.

I don't see any antipathy between interpreting a Lucid Dream in terms of neurotransmitters or in terms of archetypal manifestations. They're both important facets of the experience! This is also why I don't use the term “Oeironaut” to describe all aspects of a Conscious Sleeper. I prefer the term “Veiler”. I find that this term fits Lucid Dreaming, Astral Projection, Pellucid Dreaming, Meditation, and other psychic gifts without favoring any particular aspect. In my opinion, we need an Integral approach to Conscious Sleep, one which respects each manifestation of Conscious Sleep without reducing or elevating either of them to fit our own personal or cultural bias.

Let's face it:

Being a Veiler is spiritual, scientific, artistic, poetic, sexy, meaningful, exhilarating, terrifying, enlightening, hedonistic, and the entire spectrum of emotion and wonder. After all, that's what life is all about.

That's what being a Veiler is all about!


Progressive Relaxation and Mobile Mental Focus (MMF) for the Cultivation of Pellucid Dreaming

By Daniel A. Kelley

There are countless methods for entering the sleep cycle with full awareness. Most, however, are aimed exclusively at Lucid Dreaming. Few techniques taught today target fundamental skill called Pellucid Sleep (or Translucid Sleep). In my system, called Subliminal Cognition Training (SCT)™, I qualify three stages of Lucidity and four stages of Pellucidity. Generally speaking, these represent stages of conscious immersion into the sleep cycle. Readers unfamiliar with Pellucidity should be made aware that many forms of meditation actually fall under this heading.

What is Pellucidity?

Unlike Lucidity, which is simply awareness that one is dreaming plus emotional reaction and involvement to and with the dream narrative, Pellucidity is a detached witnessing not only of dreams (REM) but of the entire sleep cycle, including dreamless sleep (NREM).

The following technique is an exerpt from my latest book, Behind the Veil: the Complete Guide to Conscious Sleep. It's designed to transition your body into sleep-paralysis comfortably which, if you've ever experienced it, you'll appreciate this aspect! Also, the technique is designed to keep your mind alert via a mechanism which I call Mobile Mental Focus (MMF). Because dreams are, in one sense, a nightly surrogate for the daily activity of your bodymind, by keeping you awareness moving through specific zones in and around your body, you fulfill this function and thereby trick your brain to avoid the unconscious dreaming process.

Phase One

To begin, simply close your eyes and relax into your sleeping posture. You should be lying on your back, preferably on a Memory Foam wedge so that your upper body is on a forty-five degree incline. If not, the traditional supine posture is fine. Practitioners of Hatha Yoga will immediately recognize the following posture as the Savasana posture which typically concludes a yoga routine. Indeed, I learned the present exercise back in the year 1999 from a Yogi named Dr. John Mumford (Swami Anandakapila Saraswati), and I learned Pellucid Sleep as a byproduct of the practice.

Your palms are facing up and your legs are at least twelve inches apart. This is important in that it aids in the sensory withdrawal required for the following technique. Also, I'd like to point out that the surface upon which you practice this posture is extremely important, to your health first and foremost, but also to your level of comfort. In this exercise, you'll be learning how to completely surrender your body to gravity, and therefore your mattress should be customized fit to the needs of your physical structure so that you can fully and comfortably let go of physical tension. I originally learned this practice on a carpeted floor, but through years of wear-and-tear from my job and martial arts, my body responds best when I practice on a good mattress. It's true, however, that a firmer surface is better for this exercise because it assists in the melting sensation you'll be cultivating in this exercise. Lastly, be sure to adjust the climate of the room so that there's good ventilation and it's not too cold or hot. Remember that your body temperature drops as you fall asleep, so having a blanket covering your midriff is a good idea.

With these requirements met, lay there for a few moments and simply relax. Feel the temperature of your mattress becoming warmer as it absorbs your body heat and feel the weight of your body against the bed and pillow. Notice especially which areas feel heavier, lighter, warmer, and cooler than others. Enjoy this moment of tactile awareness and wholeheartedly embrace the Now and all that it contains.

Now become aware of your natural breathing rhythm and with each exhalation feel your body becoming extremely heavy and sinking into the bed. As always, breathe through your nose.Imagine that the bed is almost rising up to meet your body as it melts downward and into the mattress. The melting sensation should begin at your extremities and end at your core. Do this four or five times before moving to the next step.

Don't fall asleep!

Now we're going to take it a step further and remove any lingering restless energy in your muscles. To this end we'll employ a popular biofeedback technique which utilizes a tense-hold-release mechanism. As you'll soon see, this is a powerful method for deepening the true relaxation of the muscles.

Start by becoming aware of your right arm. Try to gently feel into its structure--the skin, blood, temperature, muscle, bone--, and then, on your next natural inhalation of breath, gently extend your arm downward as if reaching for your foot, make a tight fist and extend the contraction up the forearm, ending at the shoulder. At the same time, raise your arm a few inches off of the bed. Hold this contraction for roughly five seconds. Then, upon exhalation, let your arm go completely limp and flop back down onto the mattress. It's important that you allow your arm to go completely limp, as if it's dead. Don't make any adjustments, no matter how subtle or minute. Just let it lay there as though lifeless. Now repeat the same sequence with your left arm. Note any sensations you feel in your arms. Is there heat? Cold? Tingling? Etc.

Now follow the same procedure, only this time with your legs. Starting with your right leg, inhale slowly while gently extending your leg downward, flexing your foot backward so that your toes are pointing toward your head, and extend this contraction upward to your knee and finally to your hip. Once the contraction reaches your hip, raise your leg a few inches off of the mattress, hold the contraction for a few seconds, and then exhale naturally while allowing your leg to flop back onto the bed as if lifeless.

Repeat the same procedure with your left leg. Note any sensations that you feel in your legs.

Next, upon inhalation, gently press the back of your head into the mattress (or pillow), hold for a few seconds, exhale and release. Note any sensations in your head, neck, and upper back, and allow these areas to remain motionless and relaxed.

Now bring your attention to your core. Inhale while pressing your lower back into the mattress by gently contracting the muscles of your abdomen, much like doing a subtle “crunch” sit-up. Then, upon exhalation, allow these muscles to go limp and remain relaxed and motionless.

Lastly, mentally scan your entire body for any trace of tension or pain. With each exhalation, feel these areas open and relax downward into the mattress. Feel your whole body surrender to gravity completely. What you're aiming for is a slight extension of your extremities coupled with extreme relaxation of your muscles, ligaments, and joints.

Phase Two

First, perform the first part of this technique until you feel sufficiently relaxed. Then, proceeed through the Sixteen Marmasthanani as follows:

FEET: Inhale naturally while squeezing your toes together as if making a fist with your feet. Hold this contraction for a few seconds and then exhale and release, feeling with each successive exhalation that your feet, ankles, and Achilles tendons, are melting into the mattress. Spend at least three minutes doing this before moving on to the next zone.

SHINS: Now become aware of your shins and, upon inhalation, flex your toes back toward your knees, hold the contraction for a moment, exhale and release. Feel your shins melt downward with each exhalation. Take a moment to fully relax this area before continuing on.

CALVES: Bringing your awareness now to your calves, inhale naturally and flex your calves by pointing your toes forward. Hold for a moment, exhale and release, while cultivating a heavy melting sensation in both of your calves and Achilles tendons.

KNEES: Now bring your awareness to your knees. Inhale while pressing the backs of your knees into the mattress, hold, exhale and release, allowing your knees to completely surrender to gravity. Feel into the kneecap as well as the joint itself to open and relax these areas.

THIGHS: Now feel into your inner thighs all the way to the groin area. Inhale and tense this zone by pointing the toes of both feet at each other while simultaneously imagining that you're squeezing a large beach ball between your thighs. Hold, exhale, and release downward.

SOLAR PLEXUS: Although this zone centers primarily on the Solar Plexus, you're actually going to include in this the lower abdomen, buttocks, groin, and hips. First, bring your awareness to your Solar Plexus (three finger-widths above your belly button). Upon exhalation this time, withdraw your abdomen as if trying to touch your navel to the back of your lower spine, then allow the inhalation to happen naturally while squeezing the muscles of your buttocks together. Hold, exhale, release and relax. Try to feel all of these areas open and relax downward with each exhalation.

CHEST: Moving now to the chest, inhale completely while fully expanding your chest like a balloon. Hold, exhale, release and relax. Really try to feel into your lungs and diaphragm and surrender them to gravity. Try to avoid being overly conscious of your heart as this may lead too much Qi to it and cause palpitations.

SPINE: Now become aware of your spine, including the musculature, vertebrae, and the spinal cord itself. Inhaling from your abdomen, feel the lumbar region of your spine gently press down into the mattress. Hold, release and relax. Extend this relaxed heaviness to include your spine and entire back as you cultivate a melting sensation with each exhalation.

HANDS: Moving your attention now to your hands, inhale while clenching your hands into fists. Hold, exhale, release and relax your hands and wrists, surrendering them to gravity with each natural exhalation.

FOREARMS: Bringing your attention to your forearms (wrist to elbow), inhale while opening your hands and extending your fingers as much as possible. Hold, exhale, release and relax.

UPPER ARMS: Now move to your upper arms (elbow to shoulder). Inhale while pressing your elbows into the mattress. Hold for a moment, exhale, release and relax.

THROAT: Moving how to your throat, inhale while pressing your chin downward toward your throat. Hold, exhale, release and relax. Feel your neck, throat, larynx, and vocal chords, melt downward with gravity.

JAW: Now bring your attention to your jaw, including your teeth, tongue, gums, and jaw muscles. Inhale while pressing your tongue firmly against the roof of your mouth. Hold, exhale, release and relax.

EYES: Moving on to the eyes, inhale while firmly squeezing your eyes shut and scrunching your face muscles. Hold, exhale, release and relax. Feel your eye and face muscles melt downward with gravity. The sensation in this zone is typically very pleasant, as we hold much tension in this area throughout the day.

BACK OF HEAD: Now bring your attention to the back of your head. Inhale while pressing the back of your head against the mattress or pillow. Hold, exhale, release and relax.

SCALP: Bringing your attention to your scalp, inhale while raising your eyebrows. If you can also draw your ears back slightly, do that also. Hold, exhale, release and relax.

Phase Three

At a certain point during this exercise, you'll begin to notice a few things. Foremost among them is the growing tension between your conscious control and the approaching sleep cycle. This tension is important. It's literally the Yang and Yin of Conscious Sleep! It's important because this Yang (awake)/Yin (asleep) dynamic created energy. This coming together of two opposing forces creates a third force. I refer to this Yin/Yang lovechild as “Eros-X”, and its skillful application can result in many different experiences and psychic skills, such as Lucid Dreaming, Remote Viewing, and Astral Projection, to name a few.

The key to unlocking the secret of the above technique lies in the transition into sleep-paralysis. Once the body goes numb, it's crucial that you know a method for the circulation of Etheric force. The one which I've gotten the most mileage out of is called Small Cyclic Heaven (in Taoism) and Microcosmic Orbit (in Yoga). As you've probably already guessed, this is simply Mobile Mental Focus applied to the Etheric rather than Gross (physical) body. Because your physical body is asleep, you must still keep your awareness moving otherwise you'll fall into unconscious sleep.

At this point your body should be completely asleep but your mind alert.

As this state deepens, slowly begin Microcosmic Orbit and jettison the Internal Dialogue. Begin the circulation the same way you would while sitting, starting at the Lower Dantian and sweeping down past the groin and the tailbone, up the spine and around the head, and back down the front of the body to complete one rotation. Try your best to synchronize the Etheric circulation with the natural rhythm of your breathing, inhaling down the front of your body and exhaling up your spine, around the back of your head, and ending at the point where the tip of your tongue touches the upper palate of your mouth.

Once you've circulated in the Microcosmic Orbit a few times, you're then going to expand the circulation to include your lower body as well. Beginning at the tip of your tongue, inhale Etheric energy down the entire length of the front of your body, sweeping down your torso, past your groin, down the front of your legs, and ending at the soles of your feet. From there, begin your exhale and sweep the energy up the back of your legs, past your tailbone and up your spine, around the back of your head and over the top, down your face and ending at the tip of your tongue to complete another rotation. Continue circulating in this way, feeling the energy circulating close to your body at first but then expanding further and further away from your physical form with each rotation.



Salvia Divinorum and the Astral Planes

(My Experience with the Entheogen)

By Daniel Kelley

I'm no stranger to psychedelics. By the time I reached adolescence, I'd already experimented frequently with LSD, Psilocybin, and LSA. This wasn't a recreational entertainment for me but a means by which to reconnect with the mysterious events of my childhood. Plagued by night-terrors, visions, and spontaneous Lucid Dreams and Astral Projection exit-symptoms, my early childhood was nothing short of a crash course in Shamanic crisis. By the time I was fifteen years old, I was ready to try anything that promised to bring clarity these experiences.

That's when I met LSD…

My initial experiences with LSD taught me my first lesson in Dream Control. Through it, I was taught many original and creative techniques for training what I call the “Dissociative Reflex”. Generally speaking, the latter is a cognitive mechanism by which the clandestine regions of one's psyche are projected onto objective perception. In other words, what appears “out there” is really “in you”. The very word “psychedelic” means “mind enhancing” and is a direct reference to the dissociative reflex. The only difference is that the chemically induced psychedelic experience tends to take one by storm and happens so abruptly that one is apt to lose all sense of where “in here” begins and “out there” ends! On the other hand, gradually training this skill presents one with bite-sized morsels far easier to digest than the oversized feast offered by entheogens and the like.

Still, psychedelics have their place in Subliminal Cognition Training™.

Recently, I decided to give myself over to Salvia Divinorum for the brief fifteen minutes of her spell. The following account is a description of my experience. The strength of the herb used was 40X. This is half the potency of full-strength Salvia. From past experience with other psychedelics, I knew better than to overestimate myself, so I began with 10X and slowly worked my way up to 40X. Perhaps one day I'll gather the courage to attempt the 100X, but today was not that day!

Here's how it went down:

I packed a water bong, lit the herb, and inhaled deeply. Holding my breath for a slow count of ten seconds, I laid down on my bed with my head facing magnetic North and my feet South. I closed my eyes and waited. Then, suddenly:


The first thing that I felt was the Qi meridians in my arms, legs, and head, pull downward into the bed as if gravity had suddenly increased in strength dramatically. I noted a similar effect with the 10X that I tried one month before today. I was in a seated meditation posture when the Salvia kicked in and felt as if all the weight of the stars was pressing down on me. The same was happening now, only this time I lost all awareness of my physical body. I should point out that I'm no stranger to this sensation as I experience it most nights as sleep-paralysis during my transition into Conscious Sleep. Only this was sudden and almost violent. I won't say that it was unpleasant, but just sudden and without warning.

The next five minutes or so were educational, to say the least! The next thing I remember was feeling an almost total loss of identity, of “me” as I've come to know myself. To be sure, I was there as an awareness but not as Daniel Kelley. This state is notoriously difficult to convey with words, but I'll try:

My egoic consciousness was shown to exist almost as an allowance, although whom or what was allowing it was unclear. Self-identity appeared analogous to a fish being placed into a small fishbowl. The fish may have originally lived in a large pond, but now it's main environment in a medium-sized glass bowl with little figurines placed inside of it. Small plastic seaweed ornaments, sand, and perhaps another fish or two, plus these blurry and towering figures looming outside the enclosure. After some time has elapsed, the fish loses all recollection of the pond of his birth, and the life of the little fishbowl is all that he knows. But then suddenly one of those giants outside of his small home reach in and scoop him out and unexpectedly throw him back into the large pond for a few moments, pick him back up, and place him once again into the fishbowl.

That was my experience of Salvia 40X!

Next, a strange taste filled my mouth and I became aware of an orange substance or force or substance/force filling every cell of my being. I intuitively knew this to be “consciousness on Earth”. I don't know how I knew this, but I knew it with as much certainty as I know my own name. At the same time, I became aware that this substance/force was incredibly heavy, and that I was inadvertently pushing up against it with unbearable desperation. I became simultaneously aware of the presence of other beings doing the same thing. It was horrible! It was was like a massive garden of souls trying to push like flowers through the unrelenting topsoil of this orange substance/force. Every we tried to scream out, this mesh-like orange grid of Earth-consciousness would fill the mouths of our souls and drown our voices out in the loudest silence I've ever heard.

It was like cosmic quicksand.

At the same time, Salvia seemed to be trying to teach me something. Every now and then, she'd pull my consciousness back down and I'd be Daniel Kelley again, lying on his bed in Hyde Park NY. Then, just as I'd be about to reorient myself, she'd block out all memory of my life as Daniel Kelley, and I was back to pushing upward against that ocre roof of Earth-consciousness. Then something profound happened:

I became aware of two humanoid figures looking down upon this garden of souls that I'd somehow found myself in. I couldn't make out any of their features, but I somehow knew them to be two humanoid beings, both male, a father and his son. I also had the painful knowing that their world was the real one and that everything about my world and my life is a lie. I was a fish taken out of his pond, placed into a fishbowl, and I came to believe that the fishbowl was all I ever knew.

As soon as this recognition set in, I began to push even harder upward, trying desperately to free myself from the quicksand of the lower Astral Plane (which I now know it was). I then heard the younger being say,

“Can't we just lift him out?”

The elder one responded,

“He sure is trying very hard! But no, he has to remain where he is.”

The next thing I knew, I was back on my bed. The sleep-paralysis and heaviness had begun to wear off and I was Daniel Kelley again.

So what did I learn?

Well, the most striking feature of the experience was just how easily and quickly our human consciousness can forget an entire life story. If reincarnation is real, then I can now see how easy it can be to have amnesia of the soul. Consciousness can still exist on another level and yet completely forget the story it used to tell itself about itself. I already had experience of this insight well before the Salvia Divinorum, but this plant seemed to want to drive the point home. It's message was an experiential encounter that famous quote by William James:

“Our normal consciousness, waking consciousness as it's called, is but one special type of consciousness. Whilst all about it, parted from it by the filmiest of screens, lie other potential forms of consciousness. We might live our entire lives ignorant of them, but apply the required stimulus and at a touch they're present in all of their completeness.”

I would recommend Salvia to anyone brave enough to make an excursion to the Astral Planes. My only admonition is that you surrender to the process and let your ego dissolve. Don't worry, YOU will come back:

Whether you want to or not.

I'll leave you with this poem I wrote:

"Eternity Blinks"

Since the dawn of the world,

In the garden of murals,

Lives the serpent of time,

Spinning yarn for the girls.

He's the fathomless void,

He's the pleasure enjoyed,

She's the flame that remains,

When the past is destroyed.

Is she weak?

Is he strong?

Is she right?

Is he wrong?

He's the ancient of days,

She's the goddess of song.

In the dark,

In the day,

In the burning away,

Every face in the crowd,

Every cloud turning grey.

In the wake of the sound,

When it quakes underground,

You'll see drones pounding stone,

Every day, every town.

Is it they?

Is it he?

Is is us?

Is it she?

Is it God we should blame?

Is our will really free?

It's the plight of the girl,

Guarding life like a pearl,

To give birth to the light,

In the night of the world.


Meditation and Conscious Sleep

(Their Similarities and Variations)

By Daniel A. Kelley

The word “meditation” has got to be the worst translation of the Sanskrit word, “Dhyana”, ever coined. To meditate implies that one is pondering something. The very etymology of the word “meditate” pertains to measurement and evaluation. The word “Dhyana”, on the other hand, means nothing of the sort, and Dhyana is what true meditation is all about. Unfortunately, the word meditation has become the official word in the Western world used to describe this topic. Therefore, I'll be using it in this and future articles.

What is Dhyana? What is meant by this original Sanskrit word?

There exists no satisfactory translation of Dhyana from the Sanskrit to European tongues, but a noble attempt at such might be: ALONENESS and SOLITARY REFLECTION.

Now, this isn't the aloneness of feeling lonely or alienated. Neither is this the reflection of analytical thought. Rather, the aloneness of Dhyana isn't unlike a seed lying deep in the soil of the Earth, sensing it's own potential. In one sense, the seed is totally alone. Hermetically sealed and isolated, a seed is the very essence of solitude, and yet the entire story of the cosmos dwells within her. The seed is literally pregnant with potential and life. Sure, there may not be even a thought present to keep her company, but that seed is present and pregnant with Eternity.

THAT is Dhyana! THAT is meditation!

But you may ask:

Isn't meditation the same as concentration?

There are some forms of meditation that utilize concentration as a prerequisite. The Yogic practice of Dharana Yantra, Trataka, and Suriya Shabda, are prime examples of this. However, it must be understood that these methods don't represent true meditation. Rather, they're meditation primers, as it were. Much like hypnosis, methods of concentration serve the same function for focusing the wayward mind as giving a banana to a restless monkey. After a certain amount of practice, the expert simply discards these methods and accesses Dhyana directly.

It's also important to understand that meditation isn't the same as contemplation. The latter could very aptly be called meditation upon form, whereas the latter is an absorptive state in which all form has ceased. Forms that do arise are promptly ignored and regarded as illusions with no substance. Dreams, and nothing more.

Which brings me to the heart of this article…

I've been a Lucid Dreamer since the age of nine. My initial experiences were terrifying and even traumatic. My well-meaning but uneducated family made matters worse by interpreting my experiences through the sordid lens of Church theology. After all, it's one thing to be told that you're having night-terrors, quite another to be told that God and the Devil are in a Tug-of-War match with your soul! Needless to say, I eventually spent the remainder of my adolescence in foster homes. While in one sense this was horrific, it did free me from the bonds of Christianity and a reductionist psychiatric approach. Finally I was able to pursue alternative approaches to my experiences, and I did just that. I studied everything I could get my hands on about the topics of night-terrors, sleep-paralysis, astral projection, lucid dreaming, etc. At the same time, I began a targeted meditation practice. Among the disciplines that I committed myself to were Vigyan Bhairav Tantra, Zen, Raja Yoga, Hermetics, Milam Tibetan Dream Yoga, Vedanta, and Krishnamurti, until I found a way to synthesize it all under Xi'an Taoism some twenty or so years later. Add to this my growing romance with the Integral approach and eventually there arose the desire to share what I've learned. So I developed my own system called Subliminal Cognition Training (SCT)™, and set myself to the task of writing books, conducting workshops, and publishing articles.

Here's one of the things I've discovered along the way:

Many forms of meditation actually fall under the heading of “Conscious Sleep”.

While this may seem obvious to some people, you'd be surprised at the number of people that take this connection for granted. Many teachers and writers on the subject of Lucid Dreaming can't see this connection at all, which I've always found strange. Just take the Yogic practice of Yoga Nidra, to give but one example. Loosely translated, Yoga Nidra means “Psychic Sleep” and implies a body that is asleep but a mind that is awake. My first introduction to Pellucid Dreaming was through this very practice. Pellucid Dreaming is like Lucid Dreaming but differs from it in one very important way.

In Pellucid Dreaming, one is fully aware of the dreaming mind but rests in the pure detached Witness of all that arises. The body is fast asleep but a tiny flame of awareness burns at the center of the sleep cycle. Sound familiar? It should.

That's Dhyana! That's meditation!

As a matter of fact, most forms of meditation can be identified by which part of the sleep cycle they target. For example, the Zen meditation called “Shikantaza” (just sitting) targets the NREM phase of sleep. So-called Guided Meditations focus on the REM phase of sleep. The Yogic absorption meditations that aim at Nirvikalpa Samadhi (formless absorption) target deep REM and NREM stages of sleep.

And so on…. 

Then there's the Taoist meditations which consciously enter the sleep cycle as a means of redressing the balance of Yin and Yang in the Etheric Body (Qi meridians). The practices of Small Circulation, Embryonic Breathing, Grand Circulation, Shen Breathing, and Xi Sui Jing, are all employed as a means for opening the Heaven Eye (third eye) and achieving Astral Travel.

For this reason, I often suggest to my students that they train Lucidity and Pellucidity while sitting up or reclining on a 45° angle with the assistance of a Memory Foam wedge. This keeps the mind semi-lucid while the body sleeps. In my system of Subliminal Cognition Training™, I offer the 120-Days-Curriculum for cultivating Vivid Dreaming, Lucid Dreaming, Pellucid Dreaming, and Astral Projection. I ground this training in meditative skill, the Three Bodies approach (Gross, Subtle, Causal), and an Integral model.

See my book, Behind the Veil: the Complete Guide to Conscious Sleep, for more details.


Kama Indigo's Near Death Experience

People have been asking me to share my NDE. So here it is. In 1995 I had three trips to A&E with collapsed lungs. One left, two right (lungs). I was diagnosed with large blisters on my lungs and was told I could die if I did not have corrective surgery to remove the affected parts of my lungs and 'glue' the lungs to the chest wall to prevent further collapses. In February 1996 I went into hospital for what was to be the first operation to fix my left lung which had the most blisters.

I remember having a strange feeling before the operation, more than just the usual apprehension before a surgical procedure ( I had had two operations before in childhood) and as someone who often worried and thought about death it was on my mind that something may happen during surgery. During the operation my heart stopped beating and I was gone for 20 minutes. What happened during that 20 minutes changed my life forever and is with me now every present day.

When my heart stopped beating I suddenly woke up. I was in the operating theatre and could see the surgeons and nurses working on my body from above. The theatre was surrounded by what I can only describe as a white luminous mist or fog. From the bottom end of the theatre (looking the way the table pointed) from the mist came a beautiful woman with long dark hair who looked to be in her late 20's, and had the most amazing radiance, like light was coming out of her. She wore long flowing white robes. She beckoned me to go to her with an outstretched hand which I went to her and took, and she turned and entered the mist taking me with her.I don't know how long we were in the mist for, but it didn't seem very long before we emerged into a path in a forest of what appeared to me to be very old trees.

The path through the forest was made of the greenest grass I have ever seen, and there were flowers of colours of which I am unable to describe, but they like the woman seemed to have light shining through them. I was thinking 'what is going on', and no sooner had I thought this than the woman spoke telling me not to worry, that everything will become clear shortly. It's hard trying to explain my experience in terms of time like we experience it here on earth, it was not the same there. I remember being amazed by the colours and light emanating from everything around me and didn't notice that we had entered a clearing in the forest.

I could see a large oval table in the centre of the clearing at which were seated 11 people with one empty seat in the middle at the side nearest to me. I need to say at this point that I have been blessed in life with a photographic memory, and can recall things I have seen with great detail. I hardly ever take photographs of anything because I can recall everything I have seen with perfect detail.

My lady motioned me to take the empty seat and all at the table bid me welcome. All the people at the table we wearing robes, and all had light around them, and coming from them. Although I didn't 'know' any of them they all felt very familiar, and they emanated such a warmth and well, just love. I felt very calm and peaceful. I was told that I had died, and could still return to earth and my body if I chose, but I would need to have a review of my life to examine if I had completed what I had chosen to experience. A screen appeared above the table and began to play my life from birth. I remember the first part of my life life playing very fast, then when I got into my teenage years and my life experiences got more intense the playback was stopped by people around the table and we looked at my experiences from the different perspectives of the people involved.

As I was watching the review I could feel all the emotions felt not only by myself but by the other people involved. When I had caused pain or being loving to others I felt it, I felt how it was for them on the receiving end of my actions and words. I was asked many questions by the people at the table about different points in my life, many about the times when I felt the most fear and had given into those fears.

At the end of the review and much discussion I was asked if I felt I had accomplished what I had set out for my life on earth this time, and though I was not sure of exactly what I had set out for my life I knew that I had more still to do and wanted to return to complete my life. The others agreed, and I was told that after returning part of my completion would be to live and share a more spiritual understanding of life.

At the conclusion of the review my lady who had come to get me from the operating theatre came once again and took me by the hand through the woods. This time in a different direction from the one we had come to the clearing, and we quickly came upon the mist. She didn't take me through the mist, just told me to enter, and bade me farewell. If anyone has watched the Lord of The Rings films, she looked like one of the elves from the film, very ethereal and shining.

After re-entering the mist the next thing I knew was waking up in Intensive care with a nurse close to the bed. I told the nurse 'I have just had the most amazing experience, you have to write it down for me, I don't want to forget'. The nurse simply wrote that I had had a dream during surgery on my notes and walked away.

I know now after researching NDE's that the brain cannot create new memories when the heart is stopped, so those of us who have experience heart failure should not have been able to remember anything during that time. I definitely did and from the moment I awoke after my NDE have dedicated my life to searching for the truth of our existence, why we are here, and what is our true nature. The quest continues, and I believe I have more than I ever hoped to find, mainly thanks to my NDE. For a reason I have yet to uncover having died has turned me into a lucid dreamer, and also given me some out of body experiences. I get many answers now in my sleep or out of body, but always still searching for the truth of why we are here.

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