Tuesday, July 01, 2014

The Dreams Fight Back

I have this lucid dream ability, or maybe I used to have. The ability grew gradually since high school, but it seems I started losing it since last year.

Before I had this ability, I would wake up (or not) after a nightmare. Then I found out I could continue the dream after waking up. When I wake up, I can clearly remember the last part of the nightmare. Because I’ve woken up, I can reconsider the situation and rewrite the dream as I like. If I was chased by enemy, I can give weapon to myself just like typing a cheat code in an FPS game.

Gradually this process became more and more smooth. Suppressing waking up became not waking up at all. As soon as I feel I’m unreasonably threatened, I know it’s a dream and I can turn the table around. After several years of practice, I can enter a state like god mode in a game. Chased by enemy again? Freeze the time and fly up to the sky. From there I can reduce the number of enemy and increase the number of ally. Then I can come back to the ground and resume the game. If it’s unbalanced due to the enemy being too weak, I can pause the game and rebalance it. It’s just like balancing a custom RTS map.

I also gained the ability to wake myself up if I’m aware of being in a dream. It’s like the opposite of suppressing waking up. If I go to the bathroom for three times, no matter whether I manage to use it, I know it’s a dream. Then I can tell myself I really need to leave the dream and use the bathroom. All I need to do is trying to feel my sleeping body and open my eyelids. That’s enough to kick me out of the dream.

The ability isn’t perfect. It’s based on pattern recognition as far as I can understand. Unreasonable threat is the easier one. After that, I observed the repeating bathroom pattern and set up the rule of three for myself. However there are situations that I’m aware of being in a dream but I can’t do anything about it. One example is when I feel I really miss someone while I manage to keep contact with that person in my dream.

There was one time I recognized that person I miss doesn’t exist in real life, so it must be a dream. However I can only alter dream content but I can’t suppress feeling from the outside. It’s just like the need to use bathroom, but the result is the opposite. Instead of waking myself up after realizing it’s a dream, I chose to cling to that feeling and refuse to wake up as long as possible.

That wasn’t the weirdest case, as my dreams started to fight back and take the ability from me. Like I said, feeling being threatened can make me recognize it’s a dream. So my dreams started to steer away from that pattern. Now I stopped dreaming about I’m being chased. Instead, I dreamed about city being blown up. It’s just like immersive gaming experience. I watch unreasonable things happen, but I don’t feel getting hurt thus I don’t recognize being in a dream.

The weirdest thing is I started to use in-dream ability without realizing it’s a dream. There was a recent experience like this: I felt somewhat threatened. I closed my eyes and tried to think about me being in another location. I opened my eyes to see if I’ve been teleported to that location. I knew that I don’t have the teleportation ability all the time and I couldn’t tell when I have it. This strange understanding tricked me into not recognizing the dream, but I managed to teleport myself anyway.

In the end, I can’t tell whether the recent experience is a step forward or backward. It can be explained as a step forward. The explanation would be I can recognize and alter my dream so smoothly that I don’t consciously recognize my dream and it happens unconsciously. The opposite is also obvious: My dreams try to fight back and stay away from the pattern that I already can recognize. I don’t know which one is true, but it’s an interesting experience.