Update on 1/19/19: My memoir, Angels in the OR: What Dying Taught Me About Healing, Survival, and Transformation, can be pre-ordered now. It is a #1 new release in several categories. I would love it if you helped me make near-death experiences more mainstream. I also have a section in this book about learning to lucid dream while in my body cast after my accident and near-death experience.
Dream Control: Dream control is certainly possible. I discovered the “hand technique” popularized by Carlos Castaneda as I recovered from a major accident which required a year of physical recovery. Castaneda suggests looking at your hand each night before bed. The first time I willed myself to have a lucid dream I stared at my hand for about ten to fifteen minutes before bed, making my hand the mental anchor. I told myself repeatedly that if I saw my hand in my dream, I would realize I was dreaming and be able to control the dream at that point. I would not let the reality of the dream change into anything I didn’t want it to turn into.
I’m sure there are many different suggestions about how to have a lucid dream and even different interpretations of Castaneda’s book The Art of Dreaming, but using my hand as a mental anchor worked for me. It took a full month of practice before I was able to have a lucid dream. I had a lot of downtime after the accident, so I can imagine it might take longer for other people with more stress in their lives. Also, I had experienced a near-death experience during my surgery and that might have made it easier for me to be successful with dream control.
Success with the Technique: After a month of practice, I had a dream where I had a date with a guy who drove a red Ferrari. The guy said something arrogant, and I’ve never cared much for flashy, red cars. I got out of the car and slammed the door. In the process, I slammed my hand in the car door. My hand hurt, and I looked down and stared at my throbbing, painful hand. In that moment in the dream, I clearly saw my mental anchor. I began lucid dreaming at this point.
I smiled, relishing the control, and immediately healed my hand. Then, I waved happily to the man standing by his car in confusion. I wished him better luck with the next date, and then I shot up into the sky like a superhero with a mission to eradicate all human pain and suffering. Flying felt amazing, just like it had when my spirit left my body during surgery and flew through the walls of the hospital and out over the night sky in Austin.
In the dream, the world was bright with sunlight, and I flew in large, relaxed circles above the ground, looking down at our beautiful world and feeling wide expansive freedom as if I were an eagle. From this vantage point, I thought about how most people on earth desire love and money, so my mission started by giving everyone gold, as a symbol of abundance and being aware of their own spiritual light.
What Do We Really Want to Give Ourselves and Others?: As I flew around the world in this amazing dream, I looked down and saw that I could make everyone feel more light-filled and joyful. I also wanted to make certain that no one on earth felt hungry, lacked shelter, or felt physical pain. I spread love and ecstasy into all the hearts and souls on the planet. Those who desired a companion, a community, a great love found these connections, but they loved themselves all the more, knowing that our journey is sometimes a solitary one. Most things and people leave us in one form or another, so I gave everyone love and strength to be their own spirit guide, to love themselves deeply and to guide themselves home, flying free of all chains of the material.
After bringing peace and contentment to the planet, I still had time in the dream, and I considered what I wanted for myself on a hedonistic, pleasure-seeking level. I decided to make love with four different men that night—Johnny Depp, Antonio Banderas, Andy Garcia, and Matthew McConaughey. Though fun, I thought true love would be a better experience, and imagined what it would feel like to love someone deeply and for a long while. I imagined a happy, blissful romance and loving companion. I sped through time and saw our deaths, and then sped back in time.
After experiencing true love, I continued with hedonistic pleasures and ate a big portion of a thickly frosted wedding cake in a castle at a young, happy couple’s fancy, festive wedding. Then, I thought about what would make for a perfect ending to a wildly fantastic dream and decided that I wanted to feel what it felt like to be a great, brilliant composer.
As I flew through the pink clouds of sunrise, I imagined that I wrote every note of Mozart’s Magic Flute, deeply pleased with what it must’ve felt like to be a musical genius with the ability to create such happy, joyful sounds. At the end of the dream, I flew into the light of the divine which manifested itself as the sunrise over mountains. I sent more love to everyone on the planet, telling them they were o.k. and everything would be fine. I believed this for myself as well.
Lucid Dreaming Now: When I lucid dream or participate in dream yoga now, I work on smaller scenarios and usually continue to enjoy what it feels like to be like a bird in flight. Not just a bird exactly, but a bird with powers of manifestation. I’m not sure why I always prefer to fly in dreams, but flight makes me feel freer in the morning. I envy birds and their view of our world. I think a lot of problems look much smaller from a high vantage point.
Maybe Nelly Furtado’s song, “I’m like a bird, I’ll only fly away” has been an anthem of mine for a while. I’m trying to learn to fly away in my dreams and keep my feet firmly planted on earth during the day. Maybe when they say, “She’s/He’s a free spirit,” they mean this person can fly in his or her dreams. Maybe I want to teach the world to fly and never drink coke.
I hope everyone gets to fly like an eagle at least once in their dreams.
Peace to all.