Lucid Dreaming with Sandra Orellana Sears
Tell us about your understanding of what happens when we dream.
I have always considered the dream state to be an extension of waking consciousness. What is unique about dreaming is that the subconscious mind runs the show, while our analyzer recedes effortlessly out of the way. Dreams connect us with all layers of consciousness, memory, and creativity without the constant stream of ego-driven thoughts most of us experience in the awakened realm. When your body sleeps, the astral body becomes active and *travels* through the infinite landscapes of the unconscious. There are no rules on the astral plane, so forget about linear time, logic, and the laws of physics…anything goes in your dreams!
Why is dreaming important? How does it nurture and inspire our creativity?
There is a reason we “sleep on” certain ideas or conundrums – the process of dreaming will often provide the insight and integration we need to find clarity or discover a creative, non-linear solution to the puzzle.
Dreams are one way we synthesize the information, emotions and phenomena we absorb while we are awake. This consolidation process can be physically rejuvenating, emotionally detoxifying, and creatively inspiring. Dreams can reveal the blueprints of personal symbols, mythology, and archetypes that can deeply influence and catalyze our creative lives. Make time to dream and discover what awaits you on the astral plane.
What is lucid dreaming?
Put simply, lucid dreaming is when we become consciously aware in our dreams. We can think of conscious awareness in our sleep as a form of meditation that expands beyond our awakened mind. It’s really the same principle. We meditate to awaken to our lives, and we practice lucid dreaming to awaken in our dreams. Lucid dreaming is the bridge that allows our dream state to become an extension of waking consciousness. It primes us for greater self-awareness. One of my teachers explains the practice this way: “Go to sleep to WAKE UP!”.
Can you offer 3-5 tips to encourage lucid dreaming? And how can a dream journal best be incorporated into a nightly routine?
I love this question! I really believe lucid dreaming is a natural capacity we all have, but that we’ve lost connection with. I find that bringing even the slightest bit of awareness to the possibility of lucid dreaming begins to hone the muscle of consciousness required to experience it on our own. Here are my tips:
- The easiest one is reading about lucid dreaming right before bed. There is tons of material out there - even this interview will do. The key is planting seeds in your consciousness right before you transition to dream state. No need to overthink it – trust that your subconscious mind will unlock the doors of lucid dreaming and show you the way.
- Develop a pre-bedtime ritual for deep, restful sleep. Our most vivid dreams happen during the rapid eye movement (REM) stage of sleep, so you want to set yourself up for some high quality shut-eye. I recommend aromatherapy, meditation, salt baths and journaling for winding down and regulating the nervous system before heading to bed.
- For many people, the last thoughts before going to bed may influence your dreams (and recall). Using affirmations to encourage lucid dreams can have a powerful effect. Try saying or thinking these affirmations right before bed or as you fall asleep: I am a lucid dreamer * Next time I’m dreaming, I will remember I’m dreaming * I will have a lucid dream tonight * I’m dreaming now *
- Similarly, intentionally seeking answers and guidance in our dreams can open the pathway to lucid dreaming. Sometimes it’s as simple as asking for a solution to a particular challenge you are facing. Before you go to bed, ask to be shown guidance or the prescription required to solve your personal quandary.
- Last tip is called “reality check.” Pick three habitual movements you repeat throughout the day – for example, washing your hands, opening a door, and checking your watch. Whenever you perform any these actions, ask yourself “Am I dreaming?” Make a habit of it. Try for ten reality checks per day. Eventually, you will repeat one of these actions in a dream and, out of habit, ask yourself if you are dreaming and realize that in fact YOU ARE. This aha moment is so satisfying and will start to happen more frequently with practice.
During this collective time of quarantine people are reporting more intense dreams. Why do you think this is?
Many of my clients have been reporting scary, apocalyptic dreams! I don’t blame them. The shelter-in-place order has triggered all of us in different ways, but I think we can all agree it has significantly increased stress and anxiety levels in our daily lives. We’re all processing individual and collective trauma, which can show up in our dreamscapes as an invitation to integrate what needs to be healed. In this moment, death and illness are pervasive in the collective consciousness, so I’m not surprised people are observing some turbulence and agitation in their dreams. I would encourage everyone to practice non-judgment and simply be curious about what is surfacing in your dreams. Ask yourself what your subconscious is revealing to you that needs loving attention and care?
What are some tricks for doing our own dream interpretation at home? And are there 5 symbols you think are especially meaningful right now?
I always say TRUST YOUR INTUITION. There are endless layers to our own personal mythology. We have to engage with our dreams to extract the wisdom presented to us and develop a relationship with our unconscious mind. Try journaling about your dreams, meditating in the morning (when you are closest to dream state), and work on developing a lucid dreaming practice. These are all ways we can enrich our consciousness and hone our ability to interpret dreams.
Here are a few symbols that frequently show up and may be useful:
- House/home: the self and inner psyche
- Flying: control, freedom and personal power
- Birth or death: beginning/end of cycle and transformation
- Water: the unconscious mind
- Nudity: revealing your true nature/self
Happy dreaming to all our creative friends!