In this Episode
- [01:40] – Charlie defines lucid dreaming for listeners who may not be familiar with the term. He also talks about the strength of nightmares.
- [04:16] – We hear about Charlie’s new book, Dreaming Through Darkness, and why acceptance doesn’t mean endorsement.
- [07:09] – If you’re trying to integrate the shadow into the rest of you, what is a shadow attack?
- [10:41] – The first step toward lucid dreaming is writing down your dreams, Charlie explains, and dream interpretation is a different thing.
- [15:26] – Charlie doesn’t think that lucid dreaming is “better” than any of the other ways of getting in touch with the unconscious mind, but it goes to the deepest state of being unconscious.
- [17:53] – We hear more about Charlie’s experience with tantric meditation.
- [19:56] – What happens if you fall off the figurative “north face” as you try to take the fast track up the meditation mountain?
- [24:31] – Has Charlie tried ayahuasca? He answers, and then he and Stephan talk about how and when to use ayahuasca.
- [29:41] – Charlie talks about Sam Harris, who has interesting views on psychedelics.
- [34:56] – We go back to neuroscience, with Charlie discussing the neuroscientific aspects of lucid dreaming.
- [38:31] – Stephan talks about his experience during the 40 Years of Zen week, and relates it to lucid dreaming.
- [41:44] – How would Charlie recommend accessing more bliss through a lucid dream?
- [43:34] – Charlie addresses the myth that you’ll die in real life if you die within a dream.
- [45:52] – We hear about how to learn lucid dreaming, as well as what some of Charlie’s most common lucidity triggers are.
- [51:00] – Charlie talks about Dr. Clare Johnson, who used lucid dreaming as part of her writing process.
- [52:53] – Charlie digs deeper into the topic of ecstatic dance and other movement meditations.
- [58:08] – We hear a quick snapshot of Charlie’s newest book, Dreaming Through Darkness.
- [59:25] – How can listeners get in touch with Charlie or learn more about him?
Dreams aren’t just busy work to keep our minds occupied. While the processes of garbage collection and memory consolidation are occurring, dreams are actually a gateway to something quite powerful. Lucid dreams–even more so. If you’ve seen the movies Inception or Vanilla Sky, then I bet you’d find the idea of lucid dreaming fascinating. You are about to get blown away in this episode number 150 where we go deep into the concept of lucid dreaming with a world-class expert, Charlie Morley. He’s the bestselling author of Dreaming Through Darkness. In fact, Charlie’s written three books which has been translated into 11 languages. Charlie’s a sought-after teacher on lucid dreaming and shadow work over the last decade. He has run retreats and workshops in more than 20 countries. Charlie, it’s great to have you on the show.
Great to be here, man. Thank you.
Let’s talk about lucid dreaming. First of all, we have a lot of listeners who aren’t even familiar with that term so let’s define it for folks.
Okay. A lucid dream is a dream where you know that you’re dreaming as the dream is happening. You are in the dream, you’re aware that you’re sound asleep, that your body is sleeping in your bed, but you have woken up within the dream. It’s the awakening of the reflective consciousness within the seemingly unconscious REM dream state. This is all being scientifically verified. Whether your listeners know that, whether your listeners need that or need to know that, is perhaps beside the point because many of them listen to this and say, “Oh, I’ve had one of those dreams, where I’m in the dream and I’ve gone, ‘Oh, hey this is all a dream.’” Those who haven’t had that, maybe they’ve had a nightmare, where in the nightmare they go, “Oh, wow. This is a nightmare. I’ve got to wake up.” If we try and wake ourselves from a nightmare, we have to acknowledge that were in fact lucid in that nightmare. A nice tip actually is not to wake yourself from your nightmares. Stay in your nightmares for as long as you can.
Oh, really. Why is that?
Well, every time you wake from a nightmare, the psychological trauma that has created the nightmare just says, “Okay. See you next week.” This is why our nightmares recur so much more than our seemingly happy dreams. The more seemingly happy dreams are already integrated, they are accepted by the unconscious mind. Whereas the nightmares, we tend to reject, disown, and deny so they come back, trying to get our attention again and again.
All right. What is this integration process like? I can still remember nightmares from my early childhood that came back multiple times and haunted me. I don’t have that recurring nightmare anymore but it certainly made an impact because I can still remember it decades later.
Yeah, exactly. We know how we can almost be traumatized by nightmare itself because the impact is so strong. This is the unconscious mind shouting at us and this is what I describe nightmares are the dreams that are shouting. They’re not shouting because they want to hurt us or to torture us in any way. They’re shouting because they want our attention. It’s psychological energy that wants to be integrated. Now Carl Jung talked about inherent safety mechanism within the psychic apparatus that strives for balance within the system. When we have nightmares, when we have these shadow attacks in our dreams, it’s because the system is trying to balance itself. It’s trying to integrate. It’s trying to move towards what Jung call individuation. As so often, our attitude towards nightmares is to reject them and to try to get rid of them so we miss that really valuable process the nightmare is offering us.
Yeah. In fact, I had an episode recently with the author of the book, The Art of Fear. She was talking about, instead of trying to conquer our fears or repress them, that we should dance with them. Maybe there’s something similar along those lines about nightmares.
Absolutely. In fact, my new book which is called Dreaming Through Darkness, one of the working titles with that was Dancing With Darkness, because that’s what it’s about. When we dance with something, think of a partner dance. Sometimes, you lead them, sometimes you allow them to lead you. But to dance well with a partner, you’re both listening to the same music. You both sync to the same beat, and that’s how we dance beautifully. So, as is the same with the shadow.
So it’s beyond acceptance. It’s really embracing.
Exactly. The first step is to accept. Of course, accepting the shadow, accepting our fears, our traumas doesn’t mean endorsing them. It’s a very tricky word in English, “accept” but I can’t accept you, I cannot accept what happened to me as a child. I don’t want to accept it. People seem to think that by accepting that you’re letting the personal situation get away with it. But acceptance doesn’t mean endorsing a situation. It means acknowledging where you are as a prerequisite to compassionately engaging the situation. I often give as example of a doctor, if you’ve broken your toe, the doctor has to accept that you’ve broken your toe before they can give you the medicine and the treatment to heal the toe. If you go to a doctor and say, “Hey Doctor, I’ve broken my toe,” and the doctor says, “Oh, no I cannot accept that. Broken toes are unacceptable. Look, let’s act like it’s never happened. Let’s not mention the term ‘broken toe.’ Let’s move from here.” You’ve got a broken toe still and you need a new doctor. Your doctor is nuts. Acceptance doesn’t mean endorsing a situation. It means acknowledging where you are as a prerequisite to moving through.
So then, the embracing part, where does that then lead? If you say moving through, what is this integration or individuation look like at the end of the tunnel?
Jung described individuation as a full-cycle logical completeness. Now, he never used the term ‘awakening’ in his work, but Jung was really an undercover mystic. If you look at his book, The Red Book, he made a legal document to say The Red Book could not be released until 30 years after his death. It was his personal dream diary and in that diary, he’s seeing the sky with a total mystic in his personal life, but didn’t really talk about that so much in his professional life. When he talks about individuation, he’s talking about the integration of all archetypes within you, so the full realization of the father archetype, the mother archetype, the full integration of the shadow, allowing one to come to this full cycle logical completeness of a kind of full human potential or in the Buddhist cycle, we call full awakening.
Okay, so what are these shadow attacks then? If you’re trying to integrate the shadow into the rest of you, embrace it, and not push it down or suppress it, what’s the attack? Where is the shadow coming from and how does it surface in a negative or not helpful way?
First of all, let’s rewind and look at this term ‘the shadow.’ Jung described the shadow as anything within the mind that we have repressed, denied or disowned. He referred to it as the dark side of the human psyche. But crucially, not dark meaning bad, evil, or maligned, but dark meaning yet to be illuminated. It is the part of ourselves that we hide from others. When listeners hear this, they might say, “What do I hide from others? I hide my sexual taboos, I hide my anger, I hide my irritation, I hide my trauma, I hide my past, my fears.” But what else do we hide? We also hide our hidden talents. We hide our natural sexuality, perhaps. We hide the parts of ourselves that are too bright to show to others because we fear that if we shine too brightly or we’re too outrageous in our humanity that we might be rejected.
The shadow is, as Jung said, 90% pure gold. The shadow is not just our bad side. The shadow is the side of ourselves which we have not yet been brave enough to share with others, which will include our shame and our fear, but also our gold, our brightness, our intelligence. Perhaps listeners were, as a child told no one likes clever clocks, no one likes a smart ass. The child receives the message that they should hide their intelligence. Their intelligence will then become a shadow trait, something they hide from others. When we talk about embracing the shadow, we’re talking about not just embracing our fear and our shame, but also embracing our inner gold. In a dream, when we have a shadow attack, it is often a personification or a part of a shadow that we tried to repress, deny, or disown, perhaps a trauma, perhaps a fear, that comes into the nightmare, either in personified form or in a replay of the trauma that cause it to be buried in the shadow.
If you wonder how do I know my shadow in my dream, it’s anything that you’re repulsed by. You’ll know your shadow because you won’t want to go near it. It will either be violent, and you won’t want to go near it. It will be kind of weirdly sexual and you won’t want to go near it. It will represent the trauma so you won’t want to go near it. If it repels you, it’s your shadow. What I teach with lucid dreaming is that once you know that you’re dreaming in the dream, to move towards the places that scare you, to proactively seek out the shadow in your dream, to not only accept it, but to move into an embrace of the shadow. If you can do that, you can do very, very powerful work while you sleep.
Carl Jung kept a dream journal, The Red Book, and he presumably interpreted his dreams as well or he just journaled what he was experiencing?
Well, this is interesting. He’s one of the pioneers of dream interpretations so we assumed he may have interpreted his dreams but actually he worked with a lot of his close students to help interpret his. Marie von Franz, the world-famous post-Jungian, she actually worked with Freud to help interpret his own dreams. Freud famously said, “You can’t see your own back. You need someone to hold up a mirror to show your own back.” Actually, he did not. It’s a mistranslation. What he said was, “You can’t see your own ass and that you need someone to hold a mirror.” He would work with students to hold up that mirror so he could see his own back or his own ass and thus, interpreted his own dreams.
Would you recommend that people jump in and try to get to a lucid dreaming state or would they just start by journaling their dreams and then getting some help interpreting them?
A little bit a both. The first step towards lucid dreaming is to write down your dreams. But the interpretation of your dreams is a different thing. It’s a different practice. It’s a different tea and in Buddhism, we say, “Don’t mix your teas.” If you are interested in dream interpretation, then you can actually interpret your dreams from within in a lucid dream. You can actually go up to dream characters and ask them what do you represent? You can ask them, “What part of my psyche are you?” You can get a dream interpretation from the dream itself.
Oh, wow. That’s wild. I’ve never experienced a dream like that.
It’s super cool.
How often do you experience dreams like this, where you can go up to a character in a dream and ask for what they represent in your psyche?
Well, it depends on how many lucid dreams you want to spend doing that. Whenever you’re lucid you can do that. Just after a while, you would probably choose to do more proactive things in the dream than just interacting with the dream characters. The dream characters themselves are very small aspects of your psyche. If I’m in a dream and I see an elderly female person from China, then she is representing a very small fraction of my psyche, representative of those three elements: Chineseness, femaleness, and elderliness. What I would say is don’t actually spend too much time interacting with the dream characters.
Instead, interact with the dream itself. If you have a question to ask in your lucid dream, then the really a good idea is to call it out to the dream. I had one just a couple of weeks ago. I was feeling a bit stuck so I called out in the lucid dream, “Show me something I need to see.” And imagine asking that to your unconscious. Imagine right now if you could dialogue with your unconscious and say, “Show me what I need to see,” what would it show you? It’s not saying what I want to see, not what I would like to happen, but what do I need to see. The image that I got from the dream is very, very powerful and actually gave me a really good incentive to keep going with a project that I’m already working on with veterans. I started working with these army veterans, members of the armed forces a lot of whom have nightmares and stuff, and PTSD or complex PTSD, or even undiagnosed PTSD. I asked the dream to show me what I need to see and it gave me a very strong image saying that I should continue on this project and that this project was going to be a big one for me for the next year ahead. So we can do brilliant stuff to a lucid dream. You can really tap into this huge wellspring of wisdom you have in your unconscious mind.
That’s just mind-blowing. That’s amazing. One of my early episodes on this podcast was interviewing Bill Donius and he’s got a book all about how to tap into the right brain, the right hemisphere by non-dominant handwriting. I tried that. I know it was very illuminating, very powerful. For example, we did an exercise where we wrote down a totem animal, an animal that we resonate with just normally with your dominant hand. In this case with me and my right hand. I wrote down ‘a zebra.’ Then, he had us quiet our mind and had the intention of waking up the right hemisphere and getting the right hemisphere to weigh in on that same question. So then, I switched the pen to my other hand. I squeezed the pen in my hand, kind of a reset sort of process, and without speaking to myself—no inner dialogue or anything like that because that would be left brain, that’s where the verbal centers are—I just started writing.
I wrote ‘a humpback whale’ which is so completely different from a zebra as far as a totem animal or an animal that I resonate with. After in reflection, I was like, “Wow, this is so much more me.” A humpback whale just gets to my soul, whereas my ego is all about being different, remarkable, memorable, and everything, and the zebra resonates with my ego in that regard. But at the soul level, the humpback whale. So, while you’re describing what you can access with asking your dream characters and asking the dream itself for signs or illumination of your unconscious, it seems like it’s whole other level from what Bill Donius teaches where you can access your right hemisphere. Well, how about the 90-some percent of your brain that you have very little dialogue with, if ever, and that’s the unconscious? Pretty cool.
Yeah, you nailed it. I don’t think that lucid dreaming is better than any of the other ways that you can access the unconscious. Things like hypnosis, things like freeform writing, psychedelics, dance, meditation, all these things help us contact the unconscious mind. But I think the unique thing about the lucid dream state is that it goes to the deepest aspect of the unconscious, simply because you can’t be more unconscious than asleep. So it does bring us to those really, really deep levels. But it’s less accessible. Could we go into a lucid dream right now during this podcast? No. It’s going to be a very boring podcast, very silent. But we could start doing some of those other things. In fact, if we’re both psychedelics, it will probably be a very interesting podcast. Lucid dreaming is less accessible than these other modalities, but it is very, very deep. It is the next level of dance.
Have you done psychedelics and have you done ecstatic dance and these other sorts of modalities?
I was hoping you wouldn’t ask. Yes, everything I mentioned, I’ve done. Psychedelics has been a while, actually. The last psychedelic experience I had was actually involving rattlesnake powder. I was working with a shaman called Sergio Magana in Mexico and in that tradition, you have to use an entire rattlesnake to get the correct level of poison, but if you take an entire rattlesnake that’s dead and then dry it out in the sun, and then you powder the rattlesnake, the powder contains just the right amount of poison to give you this experience, but not kill you. The shaman puts a pinch under your tongue and you’re like, “God, how big is a pinch. I hope his fingers are feeling small today. He put this pinch under your tongue and then you have this experience. It’s interesting. After about 10 minutes, you do feel it hit your bloodstream, you feel this sense of almost stinging nettles or prickliness and you think, “Okay, I haven’t died, so I’m still here.” Then you go through this chant thing and practice that he takes you through in the sun. That was actually that my last psychedelic experience. When I was 17, 18 I was doing a lot of acid, a lot of ketamine, ecstasy, all this stuff. I was a kid who was searching for something. Luckily then when I go into Tibetan Buddhism at the age of 19, I found the most psychedelic experience of them all, which is tantric meditation. But it took me a lot of psychedelic drugs to get to that space.
Wow. Tell me more about this experience in Tibetan Buddhism and tantric meditation.
First of all, I’ve used this kind of tantric, which I probably shouldn’t in any of the explanation because in the west, when you say tantric it goes straight to sex, which is really weird because we have these things in the west now, this weekends––tantric sex weekends. I think some of those can be really beneficial and I’m being kind of flippant. Some of them, I think, can be really helpful for couples and stuff, and for people with body image issues who want to harness their sexual energy. But when we say tantra in Buddhism, we mean tantra as in the tantras taught by the Buddha. The Buddha himself taught the centers and the tantras. The tantric approach to Buddhism is a transformational approach to Buddhism, which uses everything on the spiritual path. Some practices say you should avoid sex, you should avoid alcohol, you should avoid desire, you should avoid anger. Tantra says, “No, don’t avoid anything, but use them all mindfully and transform them onto the path of awakening.
Although most Buddhism is about the middle path, Tantric Buddhism is actually quite an extreme path. It asks you to look at extremes and be able to move towards them mindfully. It said to be a fast path and a very dangerous path. It’s kind of climbing up the north face of a mountain without any safety gear. You want to get there quicker than anyone else, but the majority of people will fall. You might think why are we doing that in the west? Because we’re total beginners on this spiritual path compared to the east. The reason a lot of people are doing it in the west is because we need to catch up, because we are so far behind. We need a very powerful practice for us now and Tantric Buddhism or sometimes called Mantrayāna Buddhism or Vajrayāna Buddhism is one of these fast paths to enlightenment. Apparently, God I’m not there yet. I have no idea, but I hope so.
So you’re climbing that north face?
I’m climbing the north face. I’m about two steps up, man. I’m so close to the ground, but my teacher at the top is waving at me saying, “Come on, hurry up,” and I’m like, “I’m coming.”
That’s awesome. Well, you’re two steps ahead of me for sure. That’s crazy. What happens if you fall off of that north face? Do you die? Do you end up like some sort of psychic abyss because you tried to go to the fast track up the meditation mountain?
I think it’s probably psychosis is what they’re talking about when they talk about falling. Thank God it doesn’t have to be Tantric Buddhism to find that. A lot of people when they do what is often seen as a basic form of meditation, these 10-day Vipassana retreats, they’re very big in the US and definitely Europe as well.
Yeah, silent meditation.
Yeah. These 10 days, you do 12 hours a day for 10 days in a row. You’re just watching the breath and body scan, which is a more simple type of meditation, but you’re hitting over a hundred hours of meditation. That’s going to do something. Unfortunately with those retreats, a lot of people don’t have any training. A lot of people that’s their first-ever Buddhist retreat. I’m like, “What? You went straight into a 10-day, 12 hours a day retreat? That’s nuts.” That’s like someone who’s never been to a gym, going straight to the bench press and hitting 200 kgs. over their head. I actually got quite strong views about those 10-day intensives. I think there should be a little bit more training before people are allowed to go into them. It took me about 10 years before I did my first one and I really struggled.
It’s like going into doing heavy-duty CrossFit without being at all in shape yet. You can really hurt yourself.
Exactly that. Yeah. I think some people find the metaphor of body training and mind training simplistic. But actually, it’s not simplistic. It’s one of the best metaphors I’ve seen. It’s exactly the same. We can stretch our bodies, we can stretch our minds. We can train our bodies, we can train our minds. We can strengthen our body and we can strengthen our minds. Just like those to be three different disciplines in the fitness and gym world, there are three different disciplines in our mind training world. But it is about training. If we spend two weeks and we haven’t done our jogging, haven’t been to the gym, it can take a while to get our fitness back up from scratch. Whether we’re training every single day, then we soon see our fitness levels rise. It’s exactly the same with mind training.
Same with going into some sort of intensive whether it’s for Vipassana or something like––I just did in the month of January which was 40 Years of Zen, which is one of Dave Asprey’s companies. That was a powerful, powerful week but you have to keep up with it. You can’t just stop going to the gym after that major breakthrough that you had over a 10-day or week-long period. I kind of fell out of my meditation routine, I completely fell out of it. I was supposed to be doing Neural Minder multiple times a week, preferably daily and I think I did it once. So yeah, you need to stay with it and not just get geared up for it, do it, and then, “All right that’s checked off my bucket list.”
Yeah. I’m totally with you man. I just came back from a two-week solitary retreat. It’s two weeks Vana retreats in the way you could do full solitaries. Three meals a day are brought to you alone, apart from that you don’t see anyone. No outside contact at all. I did loads of meditation two weeks. I got back a week ago. How much meditation have I done in the last week since I’ve been back? Hardly any because I tell myself, “Oh, allow yourself to relax. You’ve just done two weeks. Give yourself this time to chill out.” When, actually that’s terrible because it means it’s going to be so hard to get back into it when today I do start again. So, absolutely, it’s just like fitness, just like training, they’re the same way. It’s the ego-mind telling us, “Ah, don’t go to the gym tonight. Stay in and order a pizza.” Exactly the same thing happens with our meditation practices. Instead, it’s not staying in and ordering a pizza, it’s socializing or doing nothing or trying any of the distractions we find to not sit on the cushion.
Yeah, Netflix. Exactly, yes.
Yeah. So, I had this great episode with Chris Keane who’s the CTO at 40 Years of Zen and we really geeked out about the brain and how to condense 40 years of meditation like a Buddhist monk, like a Zen monk might do up on a mountaintop, and get that condensed into a weeklong period, how to use neural feedback, and Augmented Reset Properties or ARPS as the gateway to this. It’s a really powerful episode and listeners definitely check that one out. Let’s jump back for a second to the psychedelics, ecstatic dance, and all that other stuff that you tried. Did you try ayahuasca?
No, my wife has. About two years ago, she went to Peru and did the whole 10-day thing. It’s on my list of things to do. I think just want to save doing it until I really need it. At the moment, the practice is working. If I completely dry out the out-of-body stuff, the lucid dreaming stuff, it doesn’t work anymore, then that would be a time that I’d look at plant medicine. If I needed a really big shift, a really kind of break in my practice. But I feel it should be used as medicine. You take medicine when you’re sick. You take medicine when you need it. I just want to hold off until I feel that the time when I really need it. Maybe it will be the death of my mom or something like that or midlife crisis that I’m probably due sometime in the next 10 years. I’m kind of waiting for that rather than just taking it out of interest or recreation.
Got it. Can I ask what spurred your wife to try it?
Exactly that. She needed medicine. She was at the time of her life where she really want and require that breakthrough and she had it, I mean, it led to really two things. You could look at one that led to two years of depression or after the ayahuasca. But also you could see that it led to such a big breakthrough that the insight she had moved her into a depressive state because she wasn’t in the right place where she needed to be. If you open and if you look up at the sun and you go back to the darkroom, you can’t forget about the sun that you’ve seen. You go back to the darkroom and you’re yearning for the sun again. It is all very good going to Peru and having these amazing experiences, but if you
come back and things you’re going to be able to get on with your 9–5 job like nothing has happened? That’s going to lead to depression where your mind is going to be calling you saying, “No, what about what we learned? What did I show you? How are you trying to forget me?” Some people it can be so, so beneficial. I know four or five people who freaked out really badly on plant medicine, but I know 100 people who’d done it and have had amazing experiences. I think with anything, we get in the car, every time we get in the car we could crash. We need to take all of the precautions we can not to crash, but we could crash. Exactly the same with spiritual practice and especially with plant medicine. That there’s someone else driving the car, you need to make sure the shaman or the person who’s running the plant medicine experience really can drive, really knows what they’re doing with the vehicle.
Presumably, you should be mentally and spiritually prepared for it. You just don’t walk into it, having just finished some Twinkies and Cheetos, you’ve got to be in a receptive state, in an open state for that, right?
Yes, but does everybody go into it like that? No. It’s become an industry now. I had a friend who worked in one of these ayahuasca retreat centers. Every week they would have a change over there on a Sunday. On a Sunday they would just be changing all the sheets, cleaning everything up from the vomit, from the ceremonies before and another group was coming on Monday. It was like a conveyor belt, a tourist circuit of ayahuasca experience. Now, I don’t actually know the shaman who is running those experiences, but I know that somebody had seen that this is a conveyor belt system where you can bring in tourists for the ayahuasca experience, bring them in for a week and then bring in another the week later. Who knows, maybe they had brilliant experience, maybe the shaman was totally credible. But it seems that the organization that was creating those retreats was in it for a quick buck. There are certain times to do these things. Link with the moon cycle, link with the elemental, link with the local guardians and the spirits are saying to the shaman. If you are running these things every single week back-to-back, that makes me question the credibility of you running them.
Yeah. Like in Cabal, they teach that there are high-energy days and there are low-energy days, there are days that are spiritual gateways because of the energy of a certain death day like a very righteous, spiritual person who died on that day, so you have access to things that you don’t normally don’t have access to the rest of the year. Presumably, if you’re just treating this like a conveyor belt, you are not tapped into that kind of energy.
Yeah. All of this, this is all second-hand smoke. I haven’t done the ayahuasca experience. What I’ve done is a lot of the ceremony over the last 15 years and I know the traditions of both Tibetan Buddhism and the Toltec seeker of the ancient Mexican tradition use the dates on the calendar very, very specifically. I think if we all going to have an experience when we’re having it, and why we’re having it. I have a good reason why, but also look at actually when are we going to be having this? What is the moon doing? What are the elementals doing? Who is the shaman? Check everything because this is so delicate this stuff. This is our mind. Like your body, if you break a leg, you can put it in a cast. My God, you break part of your mind, it’s a little bit more complicated so I think we need to be really careful with this.
I agree. Personally, I’ve never done any psychedelics and I’m just very, very careful with my brain. Very careful. I have never smoked a cigarette.
Do you know Sam Harris? Have you heard of him?
Yes, I have.
Have you done a podcast with him?
No. I just listened to some of his episodes.
He has some very cool views on psychedelic. That guy is so many things. He’s a full-on kind of scientist and rational materialist. He’s also a Buddhist practitioner and jiu-jitsu practitioner but his stuff on psychedelic is very interesting. He made a point that I never forget. He said, “You get 100 people in the room and you get them to meditate for an hour. Maybe 10 of them will have an experience, 90 of them nothing will happen. If you get 100 people in a room and you give them a tad of LSD, 100 people will have an experience within an hour.” I thought, “Okay, this is very interesting.” If we want to look up the mind’s capability, psychedelics do give you a much, much quicker way to get there. But of course, there are all the side effects with psychedelics that you don’t get as much with meditation and lucid dreaming. Lucid dreaming is the ultimate psychedelic experience. You’re in your mind. You’re in a three-dimensional virtual reality simulation of your own mind. You get these moments like in The Matrix I where the baddie is eating the steak and he goes, “I know the steak isn’t real. I know it’s just my neurons firing but wow it tastes so good. You get these moments in a lucid dream where you’re like, “I know my body’s asleep in bed. I know I’m not really on a mountaintop right now, but oh my God, I can feel the snow, I can feel the air against my skin. It is the ultimate psychedelic experience. It is the mind turned inwardly, expressing its fullest dimensions to the dreamer.
Yeah. As I said, I haven’t had any kind of LSD-type experiences or anything. I haven’t done even cigarettes. But yeah, when I was in India, I did this intensive meditation retreat at Oneness University. It was led by some amazing monks and I and my wife had some incredible experiences. We did 53 minutes of non-stop chanting “I am existence, consciousness, bliss. I am existence, consciousness, bliss,” over and over again. By the end of that meditation my wife had had an out-of-body experience. She was in the body of a stray dog outside, then went into the mind of a monkey that was climbing the temple that we were in. Realizing what the monkey was thinking like he thought he was the king of the world. It just was this vivid, remarkable experience that she had, as if he had been tripped out on LSD or something. It was just by breathing and being in a receptive meditative state. It was really, really cool. I strongly endorse Oneness meditation. In fact one of my recent episodes was with one of the Oneness monks that taught us there at the Oneness campus, Doug Bentley. That’s another great episode for you, listeners.
That example of your wife is so cool because it can show what can happen if you can be bothered to chant for 53 minutes. I think, it’s just most people can’t be bothered. Most people never get to the stage where they would allow themselves to sit in as close to one point of awareness that they can chanting those holy words over and over again. It is just an easier route to try other ways in, other kinds of hacks like psychedelics. But as we give ourselves time to do it, we can have huge experiences if we allow ourselves to enter into our chemical vessel. In that case, it was a vessel. You were being led by a monk, there were certain words, it was a certain amount of minutes you did it for, you were in a certain place. Everything was set up to give your wife this huge visual experience and that was so cool to hear about.Most people never get to the stage where they would allow themselves to sit in as close to one point of awareness that they can chanting those holy words over and over again. Click To Tweet
Yeah and we kept having these different kinds of experiences over the nine days. There was this one breathing exercise, fire breathing, keep doing it over and over and over and over again, there is this chanting music playing in the background, and we were being guided through this by one of the monks. I visited these seven different realms, including the animal kingdom where before I could enter into that kingdom, I had to ask forgiveness of one of the animals that was guarding that kingdom because I’d been eating meat for much of my life. I’m vegetarian now. It was profound. I was deeply moved by that whole experience. Again, I have this gateway of guided meditation or just fire breathing or whatever. There’s incredible access to what the Cabalist refers to as the 99% reality. We’re so grounded in our 1% reality and it’s just so tiny, what we can feel, touch, taste, and smell is just a tiny, tiny little fraction of what the universe really has available to us.
Absolutely. There’s something you mentioned a few minutes ago that I regret not jumping on. You talked about how you were geeking out on neuroscience with one of your podcasts.
Yeah, Chris Keane.
Yeah, and I think it would be a shame if we didn’t take a moment to geek out on the neuroscience of lucid dreaming.
Let’s do it for sure.
When you are in a non-lucid dream state—this is a normal dream where you don’t know you’re dreaming—the prefrontal cortex is not activated. This means your sense of self, your sense of agency or sense of ‘I am having a dream’ is offline. That’s why you can dream you’re the queen of Egypt or whatever crazy dreams you have and you believe it. Last night, I was having this dream that I was really good friends with the martial artist Conor McGregor and we’re driving around his car, we’re talking about training and stuff like that. We’re really fast in his car. Because last night my prefrontal cortex wasn’t engaged, so I could allow myself to believe that I really knew Conor McGregor and I was in this friendship with him. Then I woke up. When I woke up, my prefrontal cortex became engaged again and I went, “Oh, I’m not really friends with Conor McGregor. I was dreaming I’m friends with Conor McGregor. Now in lucid dreams, something different happens. In a lucid dream, the prefrontal cortex, particularly the right dorsolateral prefrontal cortex, becomes activated within the dream state.
Now, your sense of agency or sense of ‘I am Charlie having experience’ becomes engaged. So, last night, for example, if I ever become lucid in that dream, I would have gone, “Oh, wait. I’m not really friends with Conor McGregor. Im dreaming I’m friends with Conor McGregor. I’m now in a lucid dream. I could choose to interact with Conor McGregor or just fly off and so some spiritual practice.” Now the cool thing is, scientists have found out that once the prefrontal cortex becomes reactivated within the lucid dream, neuroplasticity becomes reactivated, and so it becomes heightened as well. This means you can actually learn in your lucid dreams. There are these amazing studies, a lot of them from German universities—there’s one from Heidelberg that I was part of actually using martial artists—where they got athletes to practice their athletic discipline in their dream. They train them to lucid dream. It took about three months. Big, ensemble group like over 100 athletes. They got about 20 who could lucid dream with some ease regularly, and out of all the amazing things they could do in their lucid dreams—they could meet God, they could commune with their higher self, they can ask something important, they could do their spiritual practice—these poor guys have to do squats. They get lucid, “Oh, wow I’m dreaming,” and they have to drop squats like you do in a gym, and they have to see how many squats they can do in their lucid dream.
Then the next day, they put them in the brain scan, they get motor psychological testing, et cetera—you can find it all online, they’re in my books—and of course, they found out they can increase their ability to do squats if they practice in their lucid dream. Some of them actually led to an increase in muscle mass through this. Now, this is interesting because of course, you’re not increasing your muscle mass in the lucid dream because your not actually doing a squat. But what are you doing is increasing those neural pathways, so that the next day when you try and do squats you will find them easier, and because you find them easy you can do more, because you can do more you increase your muscle mass. This is just mind-blowing stuff. And you think, “My God, that’s what happens when you do squats in a lucid dream. Imagine what happens when you meditate in a lucid dream. Imagine what happens when you show love in a lucid dream. Wow, imagine what will happen when you fly in a lucid dream. What neural pathways you’re creating there, like the neural pathways of impossibility, being able to fly beyond your limits. It’s really, really fascinating stuff.
Wow. That reminds me when I was doing the 40 Years of Zen week in Seattle, we learned this Augmented Reset Process, these ARPs so you can go into a deep state of gratitude and forgiveness for trauma events that date back to your early childhood even. Things that were quite deeply traumatic and you reprocess them, but you do it while you are in neural feedback so that your brain can hear if you are in alpha or theta or both. You get the sound of water or the ocean telling you, “Oh, I’m in alpha or I’m in theta or not,” and your brain wants more of it. It automatically will just do what it needs to do to get more alpha or more theta or both. While that’s happening, you can do these Augmented Reset Processes and reprocess your traumas. I just wonder what it would be like to do these Augmented Reset Processes while you’re lucid dreaming.
Yeah, and very interesting that you mentioned those specific brain waves because they are the brainwaves that are most dominant. As you go to the hypnagogic state as you’re falling asleep you need the alpha in deep sleep, then once you get lucid, you’ve got alpha, theta, a little bit of delta because you’re sleeping, and also gamma which is this very high-frequency brainwave. But absolutely, that could be processing trauma in the lucid dream state that is why it’s been so useful to veterans and people who had traumatic nightmares or have been in war zones and stuff like that, but is said to be one of the most powerful ways to exactly that, to kind of reset trauma. If you think of PTSD nightmares as a stuck record, just playing the same record over and over again, the lucid dream is like lifting the needle, to allow that stuck record to play on. You kind of stop repeating the same thing again and again. I’d love to see what exactly happens to the brain, when that trauma is integrated in the lucid dream. Actually, there’s a study that I’m part of starting next month at Cardiff University in Wales, which is the first study in the UK at least, that’s using the dream yoga practices, the lucid dreaming practices, to train people who have nightmares. What they want to try and do is get that on a brain scan for the first time so you can see using a functional magnetic resonance imaging scan, what the brain does when someone integrates a trauma in a lucid dream. To be honest, I have no idea what this going to do. I have no idea what it’s going to show, but I’m super excited to see that.
Wow. That sounds incredible. You mentioned these different brainwaves. There’s delta that’s associated with sleep, then you mentioned you get a little bit of gamma. There’s one point in that weeklong 40 Years of Zen process where we tried to get more gamma and we just get little glimpses. My understanding of it is it give you access to bliss-like states. You become blissful. Too much of the gamma just overloads your apparatus, but you can definitely turn on more gamma and get more bliss. How would you recommend accessing more bliss through a lucid dream?
Well, they actually found that simply the act being lucid led the brain to move into gamma. The reason why people are waking up so often in their lucid dream is because so often, listeners will know this, you get lucid, “Oh I’m dreaming, I’m dreaming, I’m dreaming,” and you wake up because it’s so exciting, it’s so blissful, it’s such a huge rush of excitement that you wake up, and they now see that the rush of excitement is actually the brain moving into gamma. But if you can stabilize the lucid dream, then you stabilize the movement into gamma. They found specifically, it’s when people were meditating in the lucid dream. But as from a Buddhist, whenever you are lucid dreaming, it is a meditation practice. It is a form of meditation. So, meditating within a lucid dream is like meditation within meditation. It’s said to be one of the most beneficial practices that you can do. Although the Tibetans a thousand years ago had no idea that meditating in a lucid dream moved you into this kind of deep gamma, they knew that it moved you into bliss and that’s why they’re advising you to do it. My advice would be that. You get lucid in a dream, meditate within the lucid dream. My little kicker on that is don’t close your eyes. If you close your eyes in a lucid dream, you’ll often wake up, you’ll have a false awakening. Do eyes open meditation within a lucid dream and in most people, the brain will be able to gamma very, very quickly.
Cool. You don’t want to wake up prematurely because then you miss all the benefits.
Yeah, and that happens so often. That’s one of the hardest things about lucid dreaming.
That reminds me that a lot of times I would wake up in a panic in the middle of a nightmare right before I’m about the die, like falling off a cliff or something. I heard some probably myth at one point that our brain wakes us up because we could actually die if we believe it that we’re dying in the dream or something. It seems kind of nonsense when I’m repeating it, but is there any truth in that?
No, it is nonsense. You’re just going to wake up. One of the advanced practices in a Tibetan Buddhist called dream yoga, which is the term given to the practice of lucid dreaming within Tibetan Buddhism. In the practice of dreaming of an advanced practice is actually to intentionally die in the lucid dream, to explore both the fear of dying, to experience ego death, and to experience your perception of what is beyond death. What do you think happens when you die? You give yourself a little rehearsal for when it in a lucid dream, and you’re less likely to be shocked by it when it actually happens in real life.
In a lucid dream, actually death can be a very good thing to do. I’m not advising beginner lucid dreamers to kill themselves in a lucid dream at all. What I’m saying if there are some advanced lucid dreamers out there who want to explore integrating the greatest shadow of all, then they could explore what it’s like to move towards death within a lucid dream. Because of course, that’s the scariest thing for most people is death. If you can practice that in a lucid dream, you integrate one the biggest fear shadows there is.
Yeah, it reminds me a scene from Vanilla Sky where he had to jump off of a skyscraper in order to exit the dream state.
Yeah. When he calls for technical support, that’s so––in fact, I’m like, “Wow, that would be such a cool dream to get lucid.” People who have seen Vanilla Sky, the kind of archetype is already implied within them. It would be super cool to get lucid and call out technical support because what would appear? What would appear if you call for technical support in a lucid dream? I have no idea. But yeah, I love that film. I’ve seen the English one a few times and the Spanish one is actually much better, I think.
I haven’t seen the Spanish one.
It says, “Open your eyes,” it’s “whatever open your eyes” in Spanish. That’s the translation. But it’s the original Vanilla Sky.
It was a haunting movie. I liked it. It was very artistic and creative, but also it was pretty haunting for me.
Yeah, super scary right?
Yeah. How does one learn lucid dreaming? You mentioned that these people had to do squats in their lucid dreams. It took them a few months to get to that state to be able to do lucid dreaming on command. What’s that process like and how long does it take?
A lucid dream is a skill that can be learned. There’ll be some people listening to this who are natural lucid dreamers who are thinking, “Oh, what’s this dude talking about? I do this every night.” People who do natural lucid dream, because they do it so often they probably don’t actually use it to its full potential. When I meet natural lucid dreamers and I say, “Hey, what you do once you know you’re dreaming?” they say, “Oh, I just know I’m dreaming,” and I’m like, “Hey, look at all these cool benefits. You can integrate your nightmares, you can embrace your childhood shadow, you can train physically, you can do your meditation,” and they’ll, “Oh wow, I never thought of doing that.” Some people are naturals, in which case it’s about embracing the practice fully, but for other people, we can learn how to do it. We can train our minds. It’s like we can learn to meditate. We can learn to lucid dream.
The first three steps are to train the mind to remember your dreams. So if people listening and thinking, “Oh, I don’t remember my dreams,” I say, “When did you last try? When did you last go to sleep without really strong intention to remember your dreams?” If you do that tonight, you’re very likely to remember them. If the first thing you think in the morning is, “What was I dreaming all about?” You’re very likely to recall the entire dream. But most of us simply don’t do that, so the first thing is creating a habit of recalling our dreams. The second thing is to document our dreams in some way. We want to write down our dreams. The reason we’re writing them down isn’t so much to interpret the dream, but it’s to support patterns. Let’s say you have had two weeks of writing down your dreams, and after two weeks, you flip back through your dream diary and you see, “Oh wow, look. Every week I dream of my dead grandmother,” or, “Twice a week, I dream of being back at school.” You find what are called dream signs. These are things within the dream that could indicate to you that you’re dreaming.
The next time you go to sleep you say, “Okay, well if I see my grandma between now and breakfast, then I’ve got to be dreaming because she’s dead,” or, “If I’m back at school between now and breakfast, then I must be dreaming because there’s no way I’m going to be in a school environment before breakfast.” You find your patterns within a dream, then you create lucidity triggers, and then you activate the triggers within the dream. They’re the kind of first three steps. There are dozens of techniques you do. You wake up at certain times at night, do certain meditations, fall back to sleep again. Certain practices you do in the day when you continually ask yourself, “Could this be a dream?”So, you pump up the capacity for reflective awareness within the dream. Lots of Tibetan Buddhist meditations, napping where you could go to sleep in the daytime and have lucid dreams, and all those, shameless plug are in my books and online courses and stuff like that. But yeah, you can teach yourself to lucid dream.
Yeah, cool. So what are some of your most prominent lucidity triggers?
There used to be the last couple of months, they have been talking baby animals. Very specific, talking baby animals about once a week or maybe twice a week I will be dreaming about talking baby animals, which I think is probably because we were trying for a baby, me and my wife. It’s this idea of kind of these little, cute things that needed nurturing and coming into my dream. I kept on seeing that and then I fell asleep and okay, the next time I see a talking baby animal, I’m definitely going to know I’m dreaming because I haven’t encountered any talking baby animal in my life. Eventually, I was there and there’s this little panda bear and it was so cute—there were two of them and he was speaking—speaking actually like this little panda bear asking me if I was vegan. I was saying to the panda bear, “Oh, I’m not actually vegan, I’m vegetarian,” and the panda looked really sad. I was like, “Oh no, I’ve upset the panda. Now hang on. What the hell is this? I must be dreaming,” and then I became lucid. I spotted the dream sign and set the trigger, and then the trigger became engaged and I go lucid. It seems simple. It can actually be quite difficult to do, but that essentially is the process.
What happened after you became lucid, so you’re talking to the baby panda?
I don’t actually know what the dream plan was then. I do this dream planning thing. Each lucid dream I know exactly what I’m going to do in the lucid dream. You can be spontaneous if you want, but when you get into the practice, you end up going into the lucid dream with a very specific reason. When I’ve been having my drought, I would have to go in the lucid dream and ask, “Show me what I need to see.” If I’m doing certain Buddhist practice, then I try and go into lucid dream and meet the deity of the Buddhist practice that I’m doing. If I’m training for a kickboxing competition, I’ll go in a lucid dream and come to the right sparring partners and fight them basically, to practice the lucid dream, to practice martial arts. Just in that case, it’s very important to know if you’re practicing martial arts in a lucid dream doesn’t mean you go around and punch people in the dream. That’s like beating your own psychology up. What you could do is call out in the dream, “Is there anyone here who would like to train?” And then certain characters—because of course, it’s you, so a lot of my mind does want to train—will turn up and then you can spar with them. So it’s not committing violence against your mind. It’s about training with him.
Now that’s a really good point. You said that you were going through a dry spell, so you had certain lucid dreaming plans that helped you to get past that dry spell. I guess this would work with, let’s say, a writer who’s maybe creating the next great American novel and they’re not able to proceed. They’re just looking at a blank page over and over and over again everyday, for weeks on end. They could maybe use lucid dream as a way to break through that.
Exactly that. In fact, there’s a woman called Dr. Clare Johnson who has done a Ph.D. on lucid dreaming creative writing. She was a novelist and she was writing her novels in part by going to the lucid dream and asking the dream what should happen in the next chapter. Doing things like getting lucid and calling forth in the dream the characters, so she can actually speak to the characters in the book she had imagined and see how do they look, how to they walk, how do they talk, really embodying their character, so she is able to write with great descriptions of how they were. For creative problem-solving, for creative learning, lucid dreaming is incredibly powerful. Artists, musicians, sportspeople, anyone who needs to bring creativity to their workplace, lucid dreaming can be really powerful. In fact, I’ve got a talk at Deutsche Bank which is this really big foreign corporate bank association in a couple of months because they’re interested in lucid dreaming for creativity, and I’m kind of in two minds about that, do I really need teaching these bankers how to make more money through their lucid dreams, and I thought, “Well, maybe I can teach them be more compassionate through their lucid dreams so they are less likely to screw over the world in the next big banking scandal.”
Yeah. You know the expression, “Sell them what they want and then you give them what they need.”
There you go. Exactly that.
Awesome. So just to circle back for a moment to these other practices and this lucid dreaming stuff sounds really fascinating and awesome. One thing I wasn’t clear on is ecstatic dance. Have you done any of that and what is that like? Because I experienced that once in India on this Tony Robbins Platinum Partner Trip which was also a Oneness trip. We had this Oneness monk there but there is an ecstatic dance person that was like Gabrielle Roth trained person who—
Yeah, yeah. So, can you give me and our listeners a little taste of what that world is like?
Yes. I’ve been on the 5Rhythms now, not weekly but at least a couple of times a month for the last seven or eight years. Before I was doing the lucid dream stuff in my 20s, my teens and early 20s, I made my living as a manager of a breakdance group. I was deep into hip hop dance world, put on these breakdance battles and stuff like that. When I heard about 5Rhythm which was this form of dance where you follow these five rhythms of music, but there’s no choreography, and it’s not really about dancing well. It’s about dancing authentically, letting your body respond. I thought it was a bunch of crap. I thought, “Oh my God, it’s a bunch of hippy-dippy stuff, I’m going to hate it. On the first session I went in, I did hate it. I was just so self-conscious and I was trying to dance well, which makes you look even more ridiculous whenever and so I was just freaking out. I’m just hugging the edge of the room kind of not really wanting to be there. Then I realized, God, my ego is responding so badly towards this, as a sign I need to do it more. Now, if there’s any practice I do on my ego screaming to get out of the room, I’m definitely going back into that room. Because when you’re ego’s screaming to get out, there’s really a good reason to go in. I decided to go back and after a few sessions maybe six or seven sessions, I started realizing actually nobody’s watching me.
Everybody’s doing their own thing and it’s only myself who’s watching, my own self-consciousness. I thought to really release, and then I thought to really go into the practice. I stopped going with my friends that wasn’t a social experience, now when I go, I go alone. I walk in, I try not to speak to anyone, I take my shoes off, I go on the dance floor and my head I do a little Buddhist prayer of intention just like when I sit on my cushion to meditate, when I finish I do a dedication prayer just when I get up from my cushion after meditation. I really try and see it as a spiritual practice now and I think it is. I went there just for fun, but now it really is a spiritual practice. It’s 90 minutes of movement, so brilliant for your cardiovascular system, it’s brilliant for mindfulness, it’s great to see what comes up when you’re dancing, how often do you look at the sexy girl next to you, and how often you’re watching your breath. You really get to see where your mind is when you start to move because for some people sitting still on a cushion for an hour a day isn’t the best way to practice mindfulness. I think in Tibet, if you’re out in the field all day milking yaks and stuff, then it made sense when you came back from the fields to sit down for an hour. But we are not in Tibet.
We’re in a world where most of us spend all our day sitting down in front of a screen. To ask someone to spend an hour in the evening to continue sitting down and watching their breath, I think can be unskillful. For some people, movement mindfulness is one of the best forms, and dance—especially what you experience when I do 5Rhythms—is a brilliant way to do that. What I would say anyone who would say, it is a little bit even deeper, I believe in 5Rhythms there’s something called Movement Medicine, which was started by two of Gabrielle’s apprentices, Ya’Acov and Susannah Darling Khan and it’s like 5Rhythms, but without the shamanic practice and psychotherapy, and that’s even deeper. That’s called Movement Medicine. I’m a practitioner of that as well.
Oh wow. You’re quite multi-faceted. You’re quite the renaissance man. There’s also walking meditation and doing the maze-type thing where you’re meditating. What is that called?
Oh, were you looking at Mandala?
It’s not a maze. It’s something else.
Oh, yeah. What’s it called? Labyrinth.
Where you follow the lines on the floor.
Yeah. Any experience with those?
Yeah. I think that you often get them at Buddhist center actually, which is weird because to have a labyrinth to walk, the labyrinth isn’t actually found within Tibetan culture that I’ve seen. What is used is the Mandala paintings, which look a bit like a labyrinth on paper and they’re used to direct the mind through the site into a certain state where the mind is affected by looking at this certain geometrical drawing which puts the mind into a certain state. What you said there about walking meditations is interesting because Buddha himself 2500 years ago taught four main types of mindfulness. He taught sitting, he taught walking. In the west, most of us know about that, sitting meditation and walking meditation. But he also taught standing meditation and he taught lying down meditation. Of course, the lying down meditation is lucid dreaming practice. Lucid dreaming isn’t some new thing that was invented in the 80s by Stephen LaBerge.
Lucid dreaming has been around for thousands of years and actually goes way back to the time of Buddha. Buddha is quoted saying to his monks to fall asleep in a state of mindfulness. He’s telling them to fall asleep mindfully. So, yeah four types of meditation, standing, standing is you must have read on Taijiquan, you work with tai chi; you know all about standing meditation. Yet, in the west, we seem to think if we are not sitting still we’re not meditating. But actually, Buddha was very skillful. He said mindfulness is knowing what’s happening, as it’s happening, without judgment or preference to the content of what’s happening. So you could do that sitting, standing, walking, having sex, dancing, cooking. It’s about bringing mindfulness into every aspect of life, and of course, dreaming.
Yeah, and no attachment.
If possible, yeah. I’m still working on that one.
We all do, I think. So give us a super quick snapshot of your newest book, Dreaming Through Darkness.
Yes, Dreaming Through Darkness. My first two books were about lucid dreaming. The first spiritual approach to lucid dreaming and then the second one the more kind of pop-cultural approach to lucid dreaming. The third book, Dreaming Through Darkness, does have lucid dreaming practices within it, but it’s actually the first book I have ever written about shadow work. It’s specifically the practice of shadow integration from both Jungian’s psychological approach and from the Tibetan Buddhist approach. So, 80% of the practices in the new book are not about lucid dreaming practices. They are—for me as I teach them—brand new practices for waking state shadow integration. It’s about moving into radical authenticity. It’s about facing your fears and it’s about stepping into inner gold. It’s about unlocking your fullest potential because the only thing that’s stopping us moving into our fullest potential is our fear, is our shadow. So if you can remove that, we naturally manifest as we are, which is already individuated, already awakened.
Amazing. Sounds like a great book. Listeners, definitely check out all three of Charlie’s books. If our listeners wanted to work with you, Charlie, what would be the best way for them to get in touch?
Check out my website, charliemorley.com which is about all the workshops and the trips that I am running. I’ve got a couple of things in America in the summer and then a lot of stuff in Europe. Then I’ve got the online courses, seven-week online course for lucid dreaming, and a six-week online course for shadow work. So, a bit a lot of stuff. You put my name into YouTube ‘Charlie Morley Lucid Dreaming’ you’ll find lots of videos and free YouTube tutorials and stuff like that. I’m on Instagram and Facebook, and all of that, they’ll find me.
Awesome. Well, thank you so much, Charlie. Now, listeners, I really want you to take some action from this episode. There’s going to be a checklist on Get Yourself Optimized website of actions that you can take from this episode because this isn’t just about passively learning new stuff and then moving on to the next episode. It’s about applying this in your life. That’s where you’re going to get the benefit. There’s one more episode that I have to mention. Sanjay Sabnani, that was a great episode here on Get Yourself Optimized where we talked about spirituality, ayahuasca, and a lot of other cool stuff. There’s a lot for you to digest, I know, and a lot for you to actions. Please do take some time to try some lucid dreaming, or something at least from this episode. We’ll catch you on the next episode next week of Get Yourself Optimized. This is your host, Stephan Spencer, signing off.
- Charlie Morley
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- Dreaming Through Darkness
- The Art of Fear
- The Red Book
- Kristen Ulmer – previous episode
- Bill Donius – previous episode
- Chris Keane – previous episode
- Douglas Bentley – previous episode
Checklist of Actionable Takeaways
Research and gain interest in lucid dreaming to have more clarity on the meaning of my dreams.
Don’t wake myself up from nightmares. Instead, go through the dream and find out what these nightmares are trying to tell me.
Pay attention to what my subconscious is trying to tell me. Oftentimes, these neuro-linguistic messages contain answers to my present life.
Accept and embrace my shadows and realize that they aren’t necessarily dark or evil. They can also be bright parts of myself.
Don’t be ashamed to hide my own light or intelligence.
Move to the places that scare me when I am in a lucid dream. When I embrace my fears, I get to deal with trauma, stress and struggle.
Write my dreams in a dream journal to help me analyze significant sequences of my subconscious mind.
Utilize other forms or processes that tap into my subconscious mind. It can be through ecstatic dance, psychedelics, or meditation.
Train my mind and body to be in a constantly enlightened state. Just as athletes train regularly to stay in shape, my mind needs to train as well.
Grab a copy of Charlie Morley’s book, Dreaming through Darkness.
About Charlie Morley
Charlie Morley is a bestselling author and teacher of lucid dreaming & shadow work.
He was “authorized to teach” within the Kagyu school of Tibetan Buddhism by Lama Yeshe Rinpoche in 2008 and has since developed a holistic approach to dreamwork called Mindfulness of Dream & Sleep and written three books which have been translated into 11 languages.
For the past 10 years, Charlie has run retreats and workshops in more than 20 countries and continues to teach internationally.
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