Imagine two assistants, one man and one woman, sitting on the chairs in your mental laboratory. The idea of using imaginary assistants to help de velop your intuitive faculties is not new. In 1937, Napoleon Hill, in his book Think And Get Rich explains how he had the idea of gathering together a group of illustrious personages in his imagination, in order to acquire some of their qualities for himself.
What started off as a simple exercise in autosuggestion took a strange turn. Each of his imagined personalities began to develop their own habits. Abraham Lincoln, for example, would always arrive late, and Hill sometimes had trouble preventing the others from arguing with him about his lack of punctuality!
"For the last few years, the experiment has taken a completely unexpected turn. I now consult my group of imaginary councilors whenever I am faced with a difficult problem. The results are often quite amazing."
John C. Lilly, the celebrated neurologist, who studied the human mind using various techniques, including meditation, LSD, hypnosis, Gestalt therapy and sensory deprivation, had firsthand experience of death after a couple of near-fatal accidents.
"Each time I was very close to death, each time I really thought I was going to die, two persons - I can only describe them as mentors - appeared in my mind. Now, whenever I have a difficult decision to make, these same mentors come to me and advise me what to do."
When asked if his mentors were projections of his own imagination, Lily replied, "It is possible that my guides are aspects of my own subconscious or super-conscious mind. I really don't know."
Carlos Castaneda, initiated into the mystical practices of the Hopi Indians in New Mexico, often talks about his 'allies' as he calls them. For centuries the Catholic Church has encouraged believers to pray to guardian angels and saints.
The idea of imagining two assistants, a man and a woman, originated with José Silva, and corresponds to the concept of animus and anima pro posed by Jung. In men, the anima, or feminine, intuitive, artistic part of the self, is repressed, for obvious cultural reasons (a man should not seem to be effeminate, but always appear virile and strong).
The opposite is true for women. The animus, the logical, rational, conceptual part of the mind, is repressed, because women should not appear to be too masculine.
"It is because we do not make conscious, intentional use of both aspects, considering them to be normal functions of our being, that the anima and animus tend to create personality problems. As long as the repression continues, the two aspects manifest themselves as relatively independent parts of our personality. They cannot be fully integrated as long as we continue to ignore one or the other."
Creating symbols for the animus and anima allow us to express parts of ourselves that would otherwise be repressed.
Neuro-physiology has recently added a new stone to the edifice of our understanding of the mind: it seems that our two cerebral hemispheres control very distinct types of activity. The right brain corresponds to the anima and to spatial perception, while the left brain corresponds to the animus, and controls language functions.
Robert E. Ornstein, who discovered the distinction between right and left brain functions, regrets the latent cultural conflict that exist between these two modes of thinking - the linear, logical, verbal, left brain type of thinking glorified by science and technology, as opposed to the intuitive, emotional right brain way of thinking, related to the arts, spirituality, and creativity in general. In fact, our culture has been built by persons using both logical and intuitive thought, and to say that one is better than the other is a mistake.
On the contrary, people have to balance their right and left brain functions in order to become complete human beings, just as each twenty-four hour cycle is a balance between day and night. The right brain's powers of imagination, intuition and dreaming should be taken into consideration, and not be ignored as a futile waste of time and energy, as so many people tend to do. Ornstein goes so far as to say that developing right brain functions is an essential factor for our individual and cultural survival.
I have often found myself in conversation with theosophists or spiritualists who say, "You talk about guides or assistants, but why are you hiding who they really are? Why not admit that they are guardian angels, sent from above to help you?"
I have no doubt that people who believe strongly enough in spirits will encounter them. I, on the other hand, prefer to maintain my own vision of the way things are. As John Lily said, "Everything we believe to be true is true, or at least becomes true in our mind. Of course there are certain limits that have to be determined experimentally and individually. These limits, in turn, represent new beliefs, which must eventually be transcended."
Images unfold before my eyes, as if I were watching an animated movie. The scenes are carefully drawn in very bright colors. I read the captions with amazement - the plot is clear, the dialog very lifelike.
I am dreaming, but I am lucidly aware that I am dreaming. I feel like a spectator watching my own creation. How is this possible? I draw very badly. It never occurred to me to make an animated film or write a cartoon. How can I be dreaming up this amazing spectacle?
I look at the details of the images and analyze them: absolutely incredible. Since I am the creator, I suppose I can change an image if I want to. I can change the way the story is going, can't I? I try, but in vain. The best I can do is reframe an existing image, make it larger or smaller. So what is happening? Am I really creating all this?
One night, visiting a friend and colleague, Philip Lecomte, at his country house, I began talking about my experiences with lucid dreaming.
"I started having spontaneous lucid dreams about a year ago. It was like having my very own dream laboratory. I was fascinated by the potential applications. What if I could have a lucid dream whenever I wanted to? I tried repeating positive formulations before falling asleep. "I can and will be conscious while I dream. Whenever I have a lucid dream I will feel perfectly relaxed. I can modify my dreams whenever I want."
The more I practiced, the more I realized that making a conscious effort to overcome obstacles in my dreams was changing my behavior during my waking hours, in a positive way, as if I were undergoing some form of therapy.
I became so enthusiastic I started telling everyone about my new technique, which I called LDT - Lucid Dream Therapy. I felt I had discovered something important and unique.
When I got home I noticed a book on my bookshelf entitled Dreams And How To Control Them by a fellow called Saint-Denis. It had been given to me a year before, as a birthday present. I'd never opened it.
The book was all about lucid dreaming, including its potential for therapeutic application. What I thought I had discovered turned out to be more or less common knowledge way back in 1867, when the book was written!
The book described lucid dreaming in much the same way as Carlos Castaneda, a modern day mystic, describes his method of dream control, which he learned from his Amerindian guide, Don Juan:
"This technique consists of forcing images to stay in the mind long enough to observe them carefully. To develop this ability you first have to chose an object in advance, and practice looking for it in your dreams. Don Juan suggested I use my hands as a reference - whenever I became aware I was dreaming I should look at my hands, and then at the scene before me. This would immobilize the scene long enough for me to study it. After some months I became adept at gazing at my hands while sleeping, and could thus immobilize images in my dreams. I was so fascinated I couldn't wait to get to sleep at night!"
One of my alpha seminar students wrote me the following letter:
"If I'm in good shape (not overtired or too preoccupied with some problem or other) I can program myself while I'm in the alpha state to be at least partially conscious during my dreams. I often ask myself whether I should be writing the dream down or not while it's still happening. Sometimes I interpret certain events or
images, also while they're still happening. At first, the subject of my dreams was usually connected to events that happened in my waking life, one or two days before. But after about a month of writing my dreams down and then reading them over, I began developing a new, more sophisticated understanding of their symbolism. The process of remembering and writing my dreams down became easier and easier. I remember one night when I wrote down seven consecutive dreams (my record so far!)."
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Guide to Lucid Dreaming What Will You Dream Tonight? Control your Dreams LUCID DREAMING TECHNIQUES. Imagine Being Able To Choose What You Do In Your Dream. Which would you choose? To Fly? To Be an Eagle and Fly? To Walk Through Walls? To Have Superhuman Strength? All these things and more are possible in your dreams with Lucid Dreaming