Monroe Institute has been kind enough to share some free meditations with us during lock-down, (which is honestly excellent because if we can't go out we might as well go in) and last night I decided to try the one I received in my most recent email. It's called Dream Sanctuary, a guided meditation developed by Luigi Sciambarella and Thomas Hasenberger for Monroe's online Introduction to Lucid Dreaming course. It's just a small taste of the incredible curriculum developed by the Monroe Institute. Their immersive programs are well worth it if you've been thinking of a consciousness expansion retreat. As the description of this brief meditation states: "Dreams are a safe way to process and release fear, stress and anxiety. They reveal personal messages and valuable insight presenting a more holistic view of reality, giving us a playful way to experience inner-healing and emotional cleansing. "
Ever since my interest developed in Astral Projection I found myself more and more able to lucid dream. As I've delved deeper I realized the two go hand in hand. While there are some differences, many believe that lucid dreams are a form of astral projection, or as William Buhlman of the Monroe Institute sometimes calls them "low powered OBEs." In terms of introspection and available insight I'm not sure there is much difference, and as with all personal experiences they vary wildly depending on who is experiencing them and for what purpose. I personally find Lucid dreams to be a bit easier to control, but I recall a few experiences where I was not sure if I was Lucid Dreaming or Astral Projecting because at times they can feel so similar. I have also often used lucid dreams to catapult myself into an Astral state. In fact I venture to say my most successful attempts at Astral travel have resulted in navigating from the dream state, despite the number of times I have tried from the waking state.
Buhlman teaches that one of the easiest methods is to "click out" which is what he describes as falling asleep very briefly before regaining control to induce an astral experience. I find this method difficult, but ultimately it is usually successful in at least reminding my dream self of my intentions and can induce some really intense experiences. Your mind comes up with ways to explain the vibrational state and sometimes you find yourself briefly dreaming of bizarre situations. For example, I once fell asleep and dreamed I was on a boat, the motor intently roaring, followed by a fast sense of immediate motion. In my dream I witness a swarm of bees buzzing and hurtling themselves toward the gas pedal of the boat. (Yes, I'm aware some of those motor boats don't have a gas pedal but rather a hand throttle or something but it was a dream, what can I say?) The sudden sense of motion startled me awake even though I had gone to sleep fully intent on experiencing astral projection my body wasn't prepared to endure such an intense jolt. That's why I prefer the method of projecting from a lucid dream.
Last night's meditation walked us through a comforting countdown. You are asked to picture numbers slowly appearing from one to ten until you are finally in your special space inside your mind that only you can go. Throughout the relaxation process I found Luigi's voice to be comforting, and I fully believed him when he assured me I was safe, and didn't need to worry about distractions from the outside world.
At first I had trouble seeing my numbers so I envisioned them in a locale. My number one appeared on a brick wall as a projection, my number two on an adjacent brick wall, my number three was made of grass and I took an aerial view of it, for four I envisioned a cloud, five appeared on the side of a hot air balloon, six as a reflection on the sea. All these things I allowed to occur and appear to me naturally. I was comforted by the motion and enjoying the scenery so I just let it unfold. If you try this meditation I would suggest allowing the numbers to appear any way you like. For instance Buhlman teaches a technique where numbers appear and disappear on a glowing orb.
By the time I get to ten I'm on an island. I realize in a previous technique from the Monroe Institute I was asked to create a bridge to a special place which for me is always an island. Seems as though my self-conscious directed me back there naturally. Then Luigi says, "Now let me tell you a bit about where we're going." I was excited that we were going somewhere as I was already somewhere! He asks us to become the architects of our own special place, designing things we want. Since I'm already on my beach I decide to stay there. I envision a sky with the view of a beautiful galaxy, but look left and it's daylight. Not too bright, not too dark, nice and warm, the best of both worlds. I turn behind me and craft a little cabana with a bar, a solitary beach chair, and a Piña Colada.
He asks us to envision a guide, a part of our inner self that can answer questions for us. This part was difficult for me as I am an over-thinker. I already know some of my guides, so I had trouble not picturing them, and perhaps I should have, but I didn't want to contribute my inner thoughts to an existent archetype so I struggled to allow a new guide to form before me. I honestly couldn't land on anything. He mentioned that your "inner voice" could be your guide, so I went with that. I've become proficient at listening to my inner voice, so this worked well for me. We were invited to ask our guide a question that would be answered immediately, but advised that if it was a difficult question to trust that it would be answered in time. My questions were answered and I was happy. He then asks us to envision a screen. Mine appears behind the cabana bar. He says to design our dream on the screen, things we want to see and do, as though we were watching. Then he asks us to step into the screen.
My intentions were to visit my island in my dream and go snorkeling. We are asked to let our selves drift to sleep holding our intentions to visit our dream. The YouTube video ends and automatically directs you to a live streaming video which was nice but unexpected. I was afraid it would suddenly cut off or jam me into some tutorial about bread baking but they'd thought ahead and I was happy for that. The result was a night of intense dreams and near lucid encounters. I recall a lot of my dreams, I would definitely say more than usual, and I did eventually make it to an island, though I did not become lucid there. In this instance I would say the amount of dream recall I experiences is a HUGE win! I'm actually really amazed I even made it to an island at all! Some of my other dreams involved anger and frustration and I'd like to explore that more since I don't normally dream about those things. I'm really looking forward to fleshing out this technique and further exploring the idea of designing my dreamscape prior to sleep. Snorkeling here I come!