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  1.      For lucid dreamers, the problem is not pleasure so much as aban-
  2. doning any other goal as they pursue pleasure. When a lucid dreamer
  3. habitually uses lucid dreaming only for pleasure, he or she becomes lost,
  4. blown off course. It takes considerable determination to pursue lucid
  5. dreaming past this first stage of pleasure seeking and pain avoidance.
  6. Often at this stage, the lucid dreamer may begin to imagine that lucid
  7. dreams have no meaning other than pleasure.
  8.       Such was the case with one of my nieces. We met recently at a local
  9. restaurant and, after the usual pleasantries, I asked about her dream
  10. life. She told me about various dreams she'd had, and I asked her if
  11. she was having any lucid dreams. She told me she'd had ten or fifteen
  12. of them. "But they don't mean anything," she said.
  13.       I was incredulous. "What do you do in your lucid dreams?" I asked.
  14.       She explained that when she becomes aware that she dreams, she
  15. changes things in the dream. If she sees a run-down building, she begins
  16. to fix it up lucidly until it looks nice and new. Or if she finds herself in
  17. a park without trees, she demands that nice trees appear, or sometimes
  18. moves ones from the background to the foreground.
  19.       I knew my niece had an interest in art, but designing lucid dream
  20. environments? Interesting. "So you use lucid dreams to design nicer
  21. dream settings?" I asked. She agreed with this characterization.
  22.       I suggested that if she wanted to find out whether or not lucid
  23. dreams have meaning, the next time she became lucid, she should an-
  24. nounce to the dream, "Hey dream, show me something important for
  25. me to see!"
  26.       "Just look up in the dream, and yell it out," I said. "Watch how
  27. the dream responds. Then tell me if you still think lucid dreams have
  28. no meaning."
  29.       Within the month, she experienced a big lucid dream containing
  30. lots of meaning for her and others. She titles the lucid dream, simply
  31. enough, "Meeting My Great Grandmother":
  32.       I was running from a large male lion, scared out of my mind and
  33.       screaming. A huge boulder was in the front, so I jumped behind it
  34.       and hid from the lion. I peeked up, and the lion came full force over
  35.       the boulder. I stood up, pointed my finger at him and in my deepest
  36.                                4: BEYOND FREUD'S PLEASURE PRINCIPLE        43
  37.     voice said, "Don't you dare!" Then the lion was gone. At that point,
  38.     I thought, "Wonderful, I am lucid dreaming!"
  39.          So I stood on the rock and said, "Okay dream world, I know I am
  40.     in a dream, so give me something good or maybe show me someone I
  41.     haven't seen in a long while or something." 1
  42.          Then this opening or door opened up into a long, endless
  43.     transparent-blue hall. At the far point in the hall, I saw the back of a
  44.     white-haired head, and so I walked toward it. When I stood in front
  45.     of her, I realized it was my great grandmother, DeeDee. I can't recall
  46.     everything that she said, but it went something like this. She said, "You
  47.     have good timing, Honey! I get out of purgatory tomorrow and am
  48.     headed somewhere wonderful."
  49.          She told me not to worry about her. Then she said that I should
  50.     not worry so much, and that I have many people who love me. After
  51.     a while, she said she had to leave, and I asked her if she had a mes-
  52.     sage that I could give to anyone. She said, "Tell Susan that I love her
  53.     dearly, and I will see her shortly. Tell your mom to try to be happy."
  54.     Then she said, "In fact, tell your mom to remember the old room in
  55.     the back part of my home. She'll know what I'm talking about." With
  56.     that, I kissed her and woke up.
  57.     The day following this lucid dream, my niece called, very excited.
  58. "Uncle Robert, do you remember how you told me the next time I
  59. was lucid dreaming, to just stand up and ask the dream to show me
  60. something important?"
  61.      "Sure," I said. And she began to tell me the story - even asking me
  62. to define purgatory, since she felt a bit unclear about what that meant.
  63. I smiled at that. After she finished with the lucid dream, she wondered
  64. out loud, "But what do I do now? Does this mean anything?"
  65.     I thought about the most constructive response. "Well," I said,
  66. "it may mean something, and it may mean nothing. I don't know."
  67. I paused for a moment to let that sink in. "The only way you'll ever
  68. know is if you do what the dream figure of your great grandmother
  69. suggested."
  70.      My niece struggled a bit with this idea and then asked me to explain
  71. what I meant.
  72.      "The dream figure of your great grandmother - now, I am not
  73. saying it was really her, it may be just a symbol - but the dream figure
  74. of your great grandmother asked you to give two messages. So you
  75. do it."
  76.      She asked me how. I explained that it was easy. "You pick up the
  77.  phone and call your mom. Somewhere in the conversation you tell her
  78. 44    LUCID DREAMING
  79. you had a strange dream about your great grandmother. Then, just like
  80. in the dream, you tell your mom that great grandmother wanted you
  81. to remind her of the old room in the back part of great grandmother's
  82. home. That's all you say."
  83.      For myself, personally, whenever I have dream information like
  84. this, I realize it may be purely symbolic and relate only to me. It may
  85. have nothing to do with anyone else. In that case, it may be improper
  86. or feel inappropriate to even bring it up. But if the feeling in the dream
  87. seems largely positive or upbeat, and the information comes from an
  88. intent requested in a lucid dream, my inclination is to investigate fur-
  89. ther. If I decide to tell the person about it, I always mention that this
  90. involved a dream and may be completely symbolic. In other words, I
  91. "own" the dream.
  92.      An hour later, the phone rang. It was my niece. "Uncle Robert," she
  93. said excitedly, "you won't believe what just happened." She went on to
  94. tell me that she did, indeed, call her mother and that she eventually got
  95. round to the dream. "I told her most of the dream, and then I told her
  96. what great grandmother said - to remember the old room in the back
  97. part of her house. You won't believe what happened next."
  98.      She was killing me with suspense.
  99.      "Well, she started to cry. She said that the happiest moments of
  100. her childhood occurred in that room, because great grandmother kept
  101. all these drawers full of old costumes and jewelry there. And whenever
  102. she came over with her cousins, they could all dress up and play make-
  103. believe. She said that great grandmother let them do whatever they
  104. wanted. There were no rules there." My niece stopped for a moment.
  105. "I guess those really were the happiest times in her life. I barely knew
  106. my great grandmother; I was, like, eight years old when she passed
  107. away in the nursing home. I never visited her house."
  108.      We talked some more and, as our conversations came to a close, I
  109. asked my niece one final question, "So do you still think lucid dreams
  110. have no meaning?" She laughed.
  111.      This early stage of using lucid dreams for play and pleasure seems
  112. only natural. When playing, we learn to enjoy the dream environment
  113. and discover things about it. We experience how to manipulate our-
  114. selves and dream objects while learning to maintain conscious focus. We
  115. develop spatial and movement skills while doing a lot of playful self-
  116. education. Eventually, when you realize the fantastic potential of lucid
  117. dreaming as a means to explore the unconscious, discover unknown
  118. but verifiable information, and interact with one's inner awareness,
  119.                             4: BEYOND FREUD'S PLEASURE PRINCIPLE  45
  120. you notice that the playground of lucid dreams connects to a school
  121. of higher education. There you can begin a new stage of learning and
  122. experimentation in the lucid dream state as you begin to wonder how
  123. deep the unconscious goes.
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