As mentioned, meditation is a simple practice, usually performed by sitting in a quiet room or outdoor setting, at a time when we are reasonably sure we will not be disturbed. Most people find it easier to meditate with their eyes closed, so that their attention is directed inwards. All we need to do at this point is focus the mind on something, such as:
- following or counting one’s breath
- a meaningful word or phrase
- visualisation of a peaceful place
In our case, the purpose of meditation is threefold:
- Silencing our mind and inner dialogue so as to disconnect from the outer world
- Loosening our reducing valve and increasing our inner awareness so that we may increase the chances of having a lucid dream
As J. Alexander suggests in his books on the topic, starting with two-minute sessions at a time is an excellent way of approaching a new habit (or resuming it) because two minutes is such a short time that we would really have no excuse to avoid it. Even a person in deep grief, who may suffer from concentration problems, cannot be put off by this exercise. Once we feel confident about the practice and realise how beneficial it can be, we may find ourselves naturally extending the session if we so desire.
There are three ideal times to use meditation in order to plan our dreams and then enter a lucid dream directly from our waking state:
- Just before going to bed.
This is usually a time when we are probably too tired to enter a lucid dream directly. However, meditation will help us fall asleep and will grant us the opportunity to plan our lucid dream visitation for later on.
- After 5 or 6 hours of sleep.
At this stage, our body will be refreshed enough for our mind to easily enter a lucid dream. This is the best time to resume our evening meditation and use it to observe the fleeting visual, auditory and perceptual sequences that we usually experience during the stage known as the hypnagogic state, which takes us directly from wakefulness to sleep – in other words, from a state in which we are mostly aware of physical reality to one where we are asleep, disconnected from most of the stimuli of the physical world and have access to the finer dimensions known as astral plane and spirit world.
With exercise, we will find that we can extend the hypnagogic stage and, sooner or later, we will be able to hold on to this twilight state of awareness and actually enter a dream in which we are aware of dreaming with no interruption in our waking consciousness.
- Upon waking up in the morning if we have no urgent engagements.
At weekends or on days in which we have no pressing commitments, we may count on an added bonus. Our mind will be even more refreshed and relaxed and we will have extra time to train.
All the above suggestions also apply to out-of-body experiences (or OBEs). Indeed, during a lucid dream our mind is aware enough to actively seek greater awareness and reach a stage called ‘mind awake – body asleep’: in this state our physical body is disconnected from the physical world but our mind is in a state of daytime wakefulness. The only difference between lucid dreaming and a full-blown OBE depends on the degree of ‘mind wakefulness’ we reach while asleep: the greater our awareness, the more solid and tangible the experience, as well as our recall upon waking up.
One last piece of advice: take a few minutes to write down your dream or OBE memories as soon as you wake up, before your reducing valve shuts down and you are back to waking-time consciousness.