Be The Hero of Your Own Life.
Of course, with lucid dreaming you can achieve supernatural abilities in the simulated environment, but don't underestimate what you can do in the real world.
Time is limited. That thing you always wanted to do...get to it now.
There are as many philosophies about living as there are sentient creatures. Even considering the largest religions, each member has their unique take on what the meaning of all this stuff really is. If anyone says life is easy, they are probably trying to sell you something. Guard your wallet. The truth is, everything is always moving, always changing. Being lucid means having a clear idea of where you are, where you've been, and where you are going. (It also helps to realize that this is all a simulation ;)
The human mind - whether resulting from brain activity, or something much weirder like in The Matrix movies - possesses heightened abilities that most of us, most of the time, do not activate. Some people are drawn to experimenting with their mind: stretching it, bending it, accelerating it, transforming its operations. We are seeing a new generation of body-hackers and mind-hackers, terms borrowed from the digital realms. The body and mind can be viewed as the hardware and software of an organic machine, and this machine can be trained and induced to perform amazing feats. Now that we can share information with anyone, everyone, instantaneously, experiments and results can be compared. This is the acceleration of realizing our human potential. Superstitions will not be able to compete with testable, repeatable, falsifiable experiments. We are all waking up together.
Lucid dreaming teaches us that it takes a calm effort to maintain vigilance amidst an always changing, only partially predictable, occasionally hostile-to-our-intentions, Universe. It is a balancing act. The Buddhists talk about the Middle Path, maintaining equanimity of emotion by not over- nor under-indulging. Moderation. Even moderation in moderation; sometimes it may be appropriate to push or pull with all you got. But usually, it is best to lean into a situation, test things out in there. If all is well, scale up.
This is your trip. Some things really haven't been done before, so no one can tell you how to do those things. But more often, previous explorers have left for you hints, if not fully detailed maps. Whatever it is you want to do or find yourself in a position where you have to do something that you would not necessarily choose if you had your way, treat life's game like this: you are still alive. One day that will be over. But today, you are still alive! What are you going to do about it? Identify your passion (or at least interest), and learn from the experts how to chase your passion and goals and squeeze every last drop of fulfillment out of them as you can. And share what you learn. This is the big secret, eventually: We work as hard as we can so that we may be blessed with enough bounty (of information, of finances, whatever) to share this with humanity.
Of course, we need more than a plan. We need to take action. In order to take action, we need the energy and the motivation to put one foot in front of the other. Low energy can make an extrovert feel shy, a genius feel dull, a potentially successful and inspired you feel trapped in your own life. Energy needs to be coupled with organized objectives and means to accomplish these, otherwise we would just be bouncing off the walls! Still, increasing your available energy reserves is of paramount importance when it comes to going after your gold. To this end - abundant energy surging through you - you need to eat smart, sleep smart, exercise smart, work smart, play smart, and think smart. While you are building up your body's ability to work/play better, make sure you plan to work (get a clear idea on how you will win, and for that matter, get clear on what success looks like to you). Then work your plan! Procrastination can take on a lot of momentum, meaning, it takes on a life of its own and is hard to stop (or get yourself going). Yes, it takes effort to move. But once you get a new habit started, your good practices begin to take on their own momentum. First, we make our habits. Then, our habits make us. Think about that.
I'm still learning, you're still learning. The journey isn't over until it's over. As I get older, I feel an increasing drive to share those things I have learned - sometimes resistantly or hard-won - and put on the face of a teacher. And as one my senseis told me so many years ago: "The best way to learn is through teaching." When we have to express our knowledge to groups, we have to really take inventory of our information and organze in a way so that it will be interesting and accessible, and hopefully useful in the minds of others. I have taught in the classroom, but students in school are sometimes only interested in a passing grade - they may need to earn a unit/credit to move on to the next semester, but they may not really be engaged with the material; a teacher can make a subject as dynamic and engaging as they are capable, but it is up to the student to decide for them-self how much attention they are willing to put in. Now with internet, anyone can share their secrets and life-hacks, and millions of people (potentially billions) can access these lessons, often for free. Putting together information for The Lucid Dream Site forces me to constantly re-assess my knowledge-base and think about the best ways to share what I know, in a multi-media format. And I strongly believe that if you are interested in lucid dreaming, you are probably also passionate about what I call "lucid living" - making each day a new opportunity for becoming more. More grounded. More loving. More energetic. More involved with your evolution and the progression of humanity. More awake. More rested. More fulfilled and then - more hungry. More passionate, and more balanced with more equanimity. We want to focus on our goals and ambitions more, and on our fears and our baggage less. I know a few things about lucid living, and below are links to some broad areas on upgrading personal performance from my perspective:
One of the things I like to do - when I am not doing any dream-work - is to follow a ritual first thing in the morning, like this:
Listening to audio programming, whether informative podcasts or "hypnotic conditioning," is a great investment in my opinion. I like to do it when I don't feel like I need it. When it would be easy to say "I don't need all of this repetitive positive-feedback." Because you need that momentum when your will is being tested in the marketplace (Reality) and there is no time for easy listening.
Here's a sample from the YouTubes...I dare you to meditate to this video for a few minutes:
A Few Leads For Living A Lucid Lifestyle
Motivation isn't enough...but without motivation we cannot get started. Worse yet, we cannot follow through without the drive to do so when the world puts up resistance to our will. The first book that really got me fired up was Awaken The Giant Within: How to take immediate control of your mental, emotional, physical & financial destiny, by Anthony Robbins. When I first bought this book, back when that was a thing, I had already read Tony's Unlimited Power, and I grew up seeing his infomercials. Tony is a six-and-a-half-foot-tall giant of a guy, looked like superman when younger, and had indefatigable energy. Rather convincing to hear him talk. First, my main quip with one of Tony's main messages: "if anyone else can do it, you are also a human, so you can do it." I don't think we should ignore genetic predispositions, and it may help to have a grip on reality when picking your goals. I, for instance, could never had made it to the NBA. But besides that, Tony spewed out a lot of wisdom, some of which really got me going. Much of the Robbins approach drew from Neuro-Linguistic Programming, a now largely debunked form of therapy and self-help, but the way he arranged and gave his presentation was powerful for the listeners/readers/followers. It was for me.
So hint-one should be something like: Be thirsty for knowledge. If you don't seek, how will you find? Read good books (read reviews first to save time). Watch How To videos. Talk with people who know more than you do about things you want to know more about. Go out of your way to talk to these people. Inspiration and passion can be contagious.
When I read Awaken The Giant Within for the first time, I was also taking a much needed break from smoking cannabis. And I was working-out and taking supplements that increased my production of anabolic hormones. (I do not discuss these supplements here, even though they may be useful for lucid dream induction, because I believe they are dangerous, although they are legal.) Tony's book was getting me more amped and optimistic about the future than I had maybe ever been up to that point. With the REM rebound from abstaining from smoking, and generally going through changes in my life right then, the perfect storm was created whereby I had my first spontaneous lucid dream. I wasn't trying to induce a lucid dream, but I was long aware of the potential for people to do so. Long story short, Awaken The Giant Within is a good book to read if you want to "wake up" from your sleepy life. Where Robbins' work was strong on big-picture stuff, it was necessarily too large in scope to get into the nitty-gritty details.
You could run away from your worries. You could do nothing and stand-still frozen. You could even jump into and against the waves. Or, you could lean into the conflicts in your life and begin to deal with issues in a gentle-yet-solid, forward-moving direction. This is especially suited to social conflicts...
How Much Schooling Do You Need?
In our highly specialized economy and micro-amnesia islands of group isolation, split into ever-finer niches, we all feel the need for concentrated learning. And often-times, especially in the past, knowledge is/was guarded and only dispensed to a select few. For a fee. In come schools, universities, clubs, secret-societies, licenses, degrees. Just make sure you understand what you are paying for, how much it will cost you in the end, and whether you really want to go through the whole traditional process. I believe that student-loan debt is a major crises of our times. In all my schooling, I only had a few teachers who gave me real value. It is because of them and mostly due to my own diligence and work that I got anything out of higher education. What was I paying for? I could have bought another house.
Well, it's like this: If you want to be a traditional medical doctor, you need to go to school for that. If you want to be able to prescribe pharmaceuticals to your patients, legally, you have to go through the system. All I'm saying is, "be careful!" There is a heck of a lot of available, free information out there these days. How you pursue knowledge and then apply it is up to you, and the rules are constantly being re-written today.
Now that the internet is an integral and ordinary part of life, a previously unthinkable amount of information is being passed around. And quickly. Adventurous souls are using their own bodies and minds as experimental workshops and passing the results on to the world-stage in real-time. A couple of starting points for many of us who are interested in the idea of running life at optimal efficiency include:
Tony Robbins is the pre-eminent "self-help" guru of the modern age. I remember watching his infomercials when I was a kid and he was a young man - this superman-looking giant telling us we have "Unlimited Power." I don't agree with his early message that "if anyone can do it, YOU can do it by copying them!" After all, we are not all built the same; Tony grew into a giant of a man, physically, because a tumor was pressing on the growth-hormone button in his brain. But I do agree that we are all far more powerful than we realize...we don't even know what we can build or do or be (especially together).
In my early 20's I read Unlimited Power and then, while reading Tony's Awaken the Giant Within I had my first lucid dream (the book is not directly about this topic, of course). I am not among those who made a billion dollars and credit much of their success to Tony's influence and help...but those people are out there, and thousands more millionaires and just plain-'ole thousandaires who feel like they have more control over their destiny post-Tony.
The message is basically get very specific and clear on where you are - take a detailed inventory - and create a plan to get to where you want to go and work it. To get from point A to B requires a trick or two. Leveraging. Modeling. Compounding. The basics should always be your foundation.
Not everyone is a fan. Someone once described what Tony teaches as "how to con your family out of money." Well, I suppose you could apply some of the principles Robbins teaches for that. But what I remember reading, over and over, was more like: If you want to be rich, serve as much quality as you can to as many people as you can; over-deliver on your promises; money is just a tool in life but real wealth is in our relationships...things like that.
Lucid Life Reading List Eclectic Essentials
The books mentioned below helped me to develop a good cognitive foundation. How to eat. How to exercise. How to frame your thoughts and experiences. How to set yourself up for success. How to stay interested in being the best you you can be. And, how to not take anything too hard; stay in flow.
Flow, by Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi, is about the science of "getting in the zone," which comes down to being totally immersed in an activity. The flow state of mind is one of complete engagement, so that there is no distinction between "you" and what you are doing. Think of a race car driver at work, or any athlete at the top of their game, or YOU whenever you got so lost in work/play that no distracting thoughts could compete for your attention. Flow is like what we call being in Zen Mind, fully present, tacked onto task. You ever hiked in a beautiful forest, you probably have experienced the flow state.
Think and Grow Rich is Napoleon Hill's masterpiece, outlining a practical plan for creating true wealth, starting from the inception of a single idea. The book is old now, but it has not become irrelevant. Every person looking to start from the bottom and work their way to the top should read this book.
"Surely You're Joking, Mr. Feynman!" is a collection of stories from Richard Feynman's life. Feynman was a leading physicist of the 20th century, but his personality and curiosity were timeless. Very funny and enlightening read, plus, there is a great chapter on Feynman's experiment with what we would call lucid dreaming - something that should not be overlooked by lucid dreamers.
Prometheus Rising and Cosmic Trigger are valuable artifacts left to us by the late, great Robert Anton Wilson. RAW, as he was sometimes nicknamed, was a very colorful character; friends with Timothy Leary, an article writer for Playboy magazine, a psychedelics enthusiast, a conspiracy theory prankster, and so much more. These two books helped me develop the highly skeptical cognition that all scientists and layperson researchers should adopt. He was always trying to get this point across: "I Do not believe in anything!" Trust me, skepticism doesn't make life duller. Quite the opposite occurs when you stop accepting silly superstitions.
Awaken the Giant Within by Anthony Robbins is something of a bible to my generation of self- improvers. This book was directly involved in my first lucid dream. Find out why for yourself by reading it.
The 4-Hour Workweek by Tim Ferriss is a more recent manifesto on how to purposefully create a life which financially runs on auto-pilot, while affording you the time to pursue your true dreams. we cannot all be Timothy Ferris, but we can all learn a thing or two from him about purposeful life-designing.
Frogs into Princes and ReFraming are both by the originators of Neuro-linguistic Programming (NLP), Bandler and Grinder. What these guys did was make popular the idea of modeling the behavior of people who are already masters at what you are trying to become or do. Although NLP is part quackery, it is not without some useful insights, and these books started a lot of momentum for many people.
The 4-Hour Body, another title from Tim Ferris, gives very specific advice for a range of body-hacking techniques. A thick book, it has something for almost everyone when it comes to changing your physical appearance or abilities.
Nourishing Traditions, by Sally Fallon, is the cornerstone for my knowledge on nutrition. Maybe veganism and vegetarianism are OK for some people (doubt it, in the long term), but this cookbook and collection of factoids is based on what was most likely the eating practices of our ancestors, the very traditions which allowed humans to thrive amidst stronger, faster, and less thoughtful predators for thousands of years. The ideas in this book originated largely with Weston A. Price - someone you should get to know about.
Dragon Spirit - How to Self-Market Your Dream, by Ron Rubin and Stuart Avery Gold, is a fiery breath of motivation for entrepreneurs told by the head officers of The Republic of Tea - a high-end tea company. A fun read.
You can see my brief book-report on this one here.