By Robert Waggoner © 2016 All Rights Reserved
Intentionally and unintentionally throughout the day, you shift the focus of your awareness. Moving from waking to sleeping and back again provides powerful evidence for a significant shift in awareness. Similarly, transitioning from waking to deep meditating offers an intentional shift in focus and awareness. Even during a boring conversation, you may notice your awareness unintentionally moving away to an inner memory that suddenly seems more captivating.
Profound shifts in focus and awareness also occur in moving from regular dreaming to lucid dreaming. Upon seeing a dinosaur and wondering how to respond, you suddenly realize, ‘Wait a second. This is a dream!’ At that moment, according to some neurophysiological research, you move to a ‘hybrid state of consciousness’ in which the ancient dreaming portion of the brain simultaneously engages portions of the cerebral cortex involved in self-reflection, awareness and decision-making.
However, did you know that from within a lucid dream, you can shift your awareness again, and enter an OBE state?
Making a Shift in Consciousness
Rarely discussed, except by experienced lucid dreamers, the concept of shifting states of awareness from lucid dreaming to an OBE seems not only possible, but can easily show the distinctive qualities of lucid dreams and the OBE state. Equally plausible is the idea of shifting from an OBE to a lucid dream, if you know how to do it. Essentially, awareness appears infinitely malleable.
I first became aware of this concept of shifting awareness while reading Jane Roberts’ book, Seth, Dreams & Projections of Consciousness (1986). There, the issue of lucid dreams (or “awake seeming dreams”) and OBEs become placed under the broader umbrella of “projections of consciousness” with lucid dreams and OBEs being singled out as two distinct forms, each having unique characteristics.
Significantly, the book suggests that a lucid dreamer may slip from the lucid dreaming form into (or out of) an OBE form without realizing it. For this reason, an explorer of consciousness has to be particularly observant and discriminating.
As I read this, I began to think about certain special lucid dreams. Somehow, the lucid dream shifted to one of considerable agility, stability and length, instead of my normal concern about maintaining my awareness and not getting re-entranced by the dream. Looking back, I realized I may have shifted from a lucid dream to the relative stability of the OBE form, and simply considered it at incredibly stable lucid dream.
Engaging the Awareness Behind the Dream
Concurrent with this new idea, in a lucid dream in 1985 I discovered the “awareness behind the dream” or a non-visible awareness which lucid dreamers could ask questions of and make requests. As I repeatedly noticed the responsive nature of this layer of Self (something which Castaneda mentions much later in his 1993 book, The Art of Dreaming, as the “dream emissary”), I managed to shift from a lucid dream to an OBE by simply requesting my intent to this larger awareness: “I want to move to the next form!”
Suddenly at that moment, my lucid dream perception ended, and I found myself consciously aware in the kitchen of our house (about 10 feet below my sleeping body), aware within an OBE. I felt stunned at this amazing shift – from lucid dream to local environment OBE – especially to see my own house (or a seemingly perfect replica) with the dawn light, infusing the outdoors.
Taking advantage of this amazing opportunity, I flew out the window with extraordinary ease and agility, through various houses and around the neighborhood. I even managed, I believe, to frighten one of the neighbors as she lay in bed. Her husband had recently passed over, and though she seemed a bit frightened to see me in the doorway, I assured her that the spirit survives physical death and my presence there showed proof. (Interestingly, later when her home was sold, I visited it during an open house and confirmed interior structural details that I noticed in this OBE.)
As a technique, this ‘requesting the assistance of the larger awareness’ seemed quite astounding. Perhaps it helped that I already felt comfortable engaging the larger awareness in lucid dreams before I tried this, and that I had a fair number of OBEs too. With that level of past experience, this specific technique seemed simple, quick, direct and most importantly, successful.
Later, when reading Carlos Castaneda’s book, The Art of Dreaming, I learned of other approaches to making this or similar transitions. The shaman don Juan suggests to Carlos that various “gates” of dreaming exist. To access the second gate, he suggests “One
Additionally, Castaneda reports that in an altered state, he receives more advice from a mysterious woman, “Then in dreaming the exercise was to dream of falling asleep a second time in the same [body] position as the dreaming had been started. She promised me extraordinary results, which she said were not possible to foretell.” (p 230) Basically, I took this to mean that I should use lucid dreaming to find myself sleeping in bed, and then adopt that same position, as I then fell asleep in the lucid dream.
As I recall, when I did this latter approach in a lucid dream, I instantly shifted awareness to another level (most similar to an OBE because of its stability and seeming objectivity) and had some interesting conversations there. Doing the former approach, I had an equally profound experience, which resulted in apparent minutes of moving through, or falling through, ‘darkness’ until finally, fascinating light and profound images were shown to me.
Aware within a dream, you have an extraordinary platform from which to explore the infinity of awareness, particularly, if you have techniques and the ability to let go of any fears or concerns. Shifting awareness can be as easy (and profound) as ‘Waking up!’
Jane Roberts, Seth, Dreams & Projections of Consciousness, (Walpole, NH: Stillpoint Publishing), 1986
Carlos Castaneda, The Art of Dreaming, (New York: Harper Collins), 1993
Robert Waggoner, Lucid Dreaming: Gateway to the Inner Self, (Needham, MA: Moment Point Press) 2009.