Sunday, December 23, 2018

Dream groups break for holidays

I have been leading two online dream groups for the past three months, each of which meets bi-weekly on Zoom for two hours. Until recently, most of my application of the FiveStar Method was individually, in therapy sessions. When I started leading online dream groups, it was a bit of a struggle to translate the steps of the FSM, which I had totally internalized, into a set of working principles and rules that would govern the group process. I think we all know how dream sharing uniquely activates a desire to contribute feelings and insights into the dreamer's experience, and how that can become problematic. Indeed, the principal focus of several schools of dreamwork is to protect the dreamer from invasive projections. While I think that is very important, I think the FSM largely prevents the greater excesses of member-to-member projections by focusing on process over content.

My colleague Leslie Ellis with the Professional School of Psychology has delineated two different approaches to dream work in an upcoming book that she's writing. In it, she differentiates between dream-centric and self-centric approaches. The former focus on the dream process without trying to translate its meaning into something the dreamer can immediately understand, and it preserves the mystery of the dream by not trying to arrive at interpretive conclusions. Hillman was particularly aghast over the way that self-centric dream interpretation effectively "kills" the dream image, and renders it something easily understood rather than something that beckons the self beyond it current understanding. He once said, if you interpret a snake, you kill it. 

In contrast, the dream-centric approach explores the dream process, including feelings, themes, and relational dynamics. This is the province of co-creative dream work, because it is constantly examining "what's happening" rather than "what it means." This may seem to frustrate some people, who want to know what the dream "is saying," which leads us to arrive at "equivalency statements" that identify a dream image with a waking person or counterpart. This approach reduces the dimensionality of the dream image and equates it with something already know--one thing to which the dream is allegedly referring. 

I think you can see that a self-centric approach is only interested in getting something that the self already can understand, thereby stripping the dream's richness in order to get to a simplistic "therefore..."

Back to the dream groups...I feel that both groups have done remarkable work in appreciating the dream-centric flavor of the FSM.  As the dream group leader, I am always listening for the abrupt shift from dream-centric to self centric focus. Recently, for instance, a dream group leader said something like, "This is clearly a dream about death." Something within me reacted--it's my "reductionism alarm" that goes off when something makes a "nothing-but" comment, reducing the richness of the dream to something categorical.

What seems to work to preserve the dream's sacredness is for us to reflect on the metaphors and relational dynamics that arise in dreams without drawing a direct parallel between them and the waking state. I often say, in respect for the Tibetan Buddhists who voiced this opinion a thousand years ago, the dream and the waking state are both "dreams" in which the same need for awareness and development exists. So I try to keep my dream group members from saying "x image means y waking person," and instead say, "x image and y waking person point to the same underlying qualities." This keeps the dream work from abruptly ending when the dreamer makes a bridge between the dream and the waking state. Instead of stopping and declaring victory, we pose this question, instead: Given the similarities, what do you want to do differently in relation to both? This keeps the focus on dreamer instead of a narrow agenda of acquiring something partial that one can erroneously declare as one's own.

As for practical measures, I have recently come up with some language that you can use to start each of the steps of the FSM. I have posted them on my website at http://dreamanalysistraining.com/page26/styled-39/page90.html, but here's the summary:

Sample Language for Using the FiveStar Method
The following statements and questions are designed to guide you through an effective application of the FSM when working with an individual. If you are working with a group, you would do well to give this handout to each of the members, along with the one-page summary (available on this website). That will prepare your group to use the FSM accurately and effectively

I’d like to explore a couple of dimensions of your dream before we discuss the meaning of the imagery or symbols, ok? (Get consent.)

Specifically, I want us to arrive at what’s called a process narrative, which is the story line from beginning to end of the dream without regard to any of the specific names, places, objects, etc. It’s a generic statement of what’s happening. Then I’d like for us to examine your responses over the course of the dream—where you felt, thought, chose, or reacted in some way to what was happening.
(If the dreamer is familiar with the process narrative, as him/her to formulate it. If not, you can formulate it, and then get the dreamer to ratify it, or suggest changes. If you’re working with a group, then ask someone to offer one, then get the group and dreamer to modify it until it feels accurate.)
So, what I see happening in this dream is that you (or someone) …Formulate process narrative with dreamer group and dreamer’s participation.
(example from “Julie’s dream”) You go on a journey with others, and your journey is interrupted against your will to which you assert yourself, and continue. Then it is threatened, but you are careful not to allow the threat to defeat you. Then you are temporarily delayed due to relationships with others. And finally, you reach a destination, where embark on a continuation of your journey with someone you care for, and under someone else’s direction.
Now, as for your responses in the dream, it occurs to me that when x happens, you feel/react/choose to(all responses summarized sequentially)
Let’s look at what was familiar or habitual about your responses and how they impacted the dream characters or situations… Go through them. Let’s look at what’s new or creative about your responses and how they impacted the dream characters or situations… Go through them. 
What would you like to have done differently in the dream, and what you like to do differently or continue to do in future dreams? 
Now, if necessary, conduct an analysis of the dream imagery, using dreamer-centered, non-invasive methods, such as amplification (What are your associations to…What do you like or dislike about him/her/it? What is he/she/it good for?, etc.), or Gestalt role-play. Ullman-Taylor “If this were my dream…” interactive process. Then shift back to a co-creative model by encouraging a process bridge, as opposed to a content bridge. A process bridge explores relationship parallels (e.g. The way I reacted to the black cat in my dream is similar to the way that I react to my husband), whereas imagery analysis encourages a content parallel (e.g. The black cat represents the qualities I see in my husband.)
Are you aware of any relationships or situations in your waking life exhibit similar relationship challenges? What new, creative, and appropriate responses do you want to commit to in order to apply the dream work in your waking life?


Tuesday, October 9, 2018

An Incubated OOBE with Black Light

I received a letter from a friend M. who asked me to incubate a dream about the nature of her lifelong sadness, and what to do about it. So, Julie and I did what we could. Here's what  wrote to our friend upon awakening the next morning:

Julie and I got up at 3:30 am, and meditated for about half an hour. We took galantamine before we meditated, and then I meditated further upon lying down. Julie could never get back to sleep, but she had a dream before we awoke about being in a house in India, serving pastries to the guests—which is so much like her!

The first part of my dream was not lucid, and seemed to address my own sadness. I was visiting the spiritual community with which I was associated in the 70s and 80s—the Edgar Cayce Foundation. Friends were playing and dancing, and I stopped and hugged two women I’ve known for many years. I felt reconnected with the group, and as I left, I had tears in my eyes, and thought about donating some money to the organization, and offering my services. The Board chair is an old friend, and I may contact her to ask her how I can get re-involved. I am speaking for the organization this fall, too, so there is some renewal afoot. Of course, the dream reminds me of the importance of the IASD community, as well. I often dream of being alone at a conference, feeling entirely bereft of relationships.

As I left the area, I went to look for my car, which I could not find. Then I realized I was dreaming, and thought of your question. 

I rose up into the air, and began flying north toward the headquarters building of the EC foundation. Hands supported me in my flight through the dark sky.

I came down into a building, and decided to meditate. I sat on the floor and closed my eyes. A black velveteen darkness, full of flashing light filled my vision until a scene opened. A spinning yantra lay on the floor where I sat crosslegged, and a beautiful woman in black stood before me. The yantra moved on the floor, and I seemed to move with it.

Then I was with several women in another room. I told them about your question concerning your sadness, and one of them, who was an artist/creator told me that you needed to work with “shapes of red.” She referred to some hoops that lay on the table—like dream catchers--upon which luminous red cloth was stretched across. It looked like silk, and was very bright red with irridescent features. As I looked at it, and then looked away, it would change but retained the stretched red cloth in different shapes. She said, “This will help her connect with people, and with own energy.” I was grateful, and reached out to thank her by touching her hand, but she pulled away as if to assert a more formal relationship.


Then I left the room and went looking for more guidance. At the end of the experience, I met two or three women in a kitchen and asked them for help with your question. One of them told me that you should focus on/embrace “the cuts” which were puncture wounds in your chest. She was starting to talk about how to address this issue when I felt drawn back to my body.

Saturday, September 22, 2018

Meeting the master

I had meditated at 4:30 am, and left my body after lying back down around 5:15. After being out for 30 minutes or so, and encountering numerous beings, ostensibly from another star system (a regular experience), I left them, and walked along alone. I looked up at the sky and prayed that I might receive some help in my writing and be guided or taken someplace where I would receive that help. Suddenly the clouds parted and a huge mandala began to form in the sky. It was beautiful and very ornate. Perhaps it was an ancient Indian mandala or yantra, because there did not seem to be any Buddhas in the mandala.  I was drawn up into it and as I got closer to it, I could see that it was textured rather than two-dimensional, kind of like a quilt. 

Some of the panels was actually mirror-like or metallic and others were more like silk or lustrous material, but it was exquisitely beautiful. Then it seemed that the mandala was draped over a large table or platform and I knew that it had been created by a woman. I was on the platform, on the mandala and then lowered myself onto the floor around this platform. I found myself in what appeared to be on ashram store or a place where spiritual items were sold that were associated with some spiritual tradition. There were vendors all around the periphery of a square room and I walked around greeting each of them and seeing what they had to offer. Each of the vendors was a woman, and they seemed to be overjoyed to see me. They greeted me with great compassion and joy, and it just made me feel happy, on the edge of ecstasy myself. Then someone mentioned that the Guru was coming and I turned, and he came. He stood beaming only a couple of feet away.  He was fairly young and radiant and happy and clearly pleased to see me as if I was a long lost friend or someone he expected.  He had black hair, with white hair or light on the edges of his hair. He then embraced me. 

Then he had his followers bring me an abundance of gifts of various types and they inundated me with bags and boxes full of things. He was so happy, and he would lean over to tend to the gifts. At one moment, he said, "this is for your bath," and he took something out of one of the containers and brought it to my attention and smiled and as if he was taking great care and making sure that I understood how all of the gifts could be used. Finally I asked him, “Who are you?" And he said that his name was like two names starting with s and he used the acronym s a m as if somehow Sam was a short name that described his longer names. But as usual, it’s hard to hear words distinctly in the OOBE.

Then it seemed I was coming out of that particular episode and looking around for him and didn't see him anymore and I asked somebody if a man that I was standing next to was the Guru and the man I asked said, "no, no, he's down the hallway sitting in his chair." So I walked down the hallway and there was a woman kneeling in front of him with her head bowed to the floor. Meanwhile, he sat in the chair and in a very stately, meditative pose. The woman got up and then I took my position in front of him and he said something like, “Do whatever feels comfortable for you," as if to say "you don't have to go by our traditions." Nonetheless, I bowed down and put my head to the floor and it felt very right to do that. When I stood up, I aked him, “How can I find you? Can I visit with you again?" He said, "certainly you are always welcome." And then he said, “ Come to Montreal." And then I began to come back to my body.


Sunday, June 3, 2018

More on emotion in dreaming and out of body experience

Again, thinking about Lakoff and Johnson's (Metaphors We Live By) contention that consciousness is metaphor based, and metaphors are always grounded in embodied experience--Well, obviously, people who have out of body experiences report emotions, so Lakoff might argue that consciousness is tethered to the body during the OOBE state, and once the body dies, then consciousness must subside, since there is no grounding or emotional anchor for metaphor construction. It could be, however, that whereas all feeling may have to be experienced within a state of division or tension, it doesn’t have to be a division between self and body or self and other. The division can be constructed within the self rather than between the self and the body.  If emotion is based on metaphor, which provides a phenomenal interface constructed in a state of duality, then metaphors could constructed out of a convenient division within the soul/monad itself, not between self and the physical body. The experience that renders the abstract as specific and knowable doesn’t have to be physical as much form-based. Form is the currency of the mind as much as the body: the mind doesn't need the body for that. Perhaps it is more accurate to say that there is no consciousness without division, and that division can be erected by the mind itself. We all know that, don't we?

Saturday, June 2, 2018

Emotion in Dreaming

 The question came up in my online dream group concerning emotion from the standpoint of co-creative dream theory. I think of emotion as the degree of dissonance between the dream ego/staus quo, and the emergent dream content that may consist of unresolved past memory, current new issues, or future-oriented aspects of our calling. When the dissonance is resolved, then the dream imagery dissolves into light, and the remaining feeling is ineffable, in that it does not derive from dissonance, but from the experience of union. Lakoff and Anderson make the case that dream metaphors always have an embodied component which grounds the abstract dimension. They also conclude, erronenously I believe, that there can be no consciousness truly beyond a body, since all consciousness is metaphor based, and needs an embodied experience to make it conscious. I believe that the feeling that is left once the dissonance is resolved is the nature of the type of feeling beyond the body, and once experienced, it becomes obvious that the emotion that we experience when embodied, based on dissonance, is fundamentally distinct from the feeling that we have once the dissonance is resolved. One can argue that this feeling is still based on what Wilber refers to as “subtle oneness,” which retains a subtle division between self and wholeness. But I think that anyone who has experienced light and ecstasy can say with conviction that the feeling that coiners with the experience of radiance is not related to any previous embodied experience, and is an elixir that is wholly distinct.

Monday, May 7, 2018

More Adventures Beyond the Body

A couple of recent middle-of-the-night post meditation experiences. Please contact me if you want me to mentor you in your own middle-of-the-night meditational/lucid dream practice.

I got up at 2:30 after 5 hours of sleep, and meditated and prayed. By the time I laid back down, I felt at peace, and expectant.

I wasn’t very sleepy, so used the countdown from 100, hoping I’d drift off before reaching “0”. But before I became very drowsy, the gift waves/energy activated. I was fully conscious, and was so awake I knew I could simply open my eyes, and the energy would cease. But I meditated on it, and it grew stronger and flattened out. At that point, I rolled to my left out of my body, and was free. I flew eastward threw walls, and into the sky. Then I turned upward and toward the “portal,” dropped my arms and began to accelerate into the darkness. I flew for some time, feeling especially positive and expectant. I felt that instead of passing through transitional domains, I would arrive in a planetary domain associated with some distant star system. As I flew, I felt someone’s hands supporting me from behind, grasping my legs above the knees. So I reached down, took the hands into my own, and spun around in the darkness to face the guide. Suddenly, things began to appear, and I found myself with a younger man, holding my hands, spinning around in space. Two other men were nearby, flying alongside us.

We came down into a world where there were many other people. The domain had not consolidated fully, so I looked at my hands to fixate on the image of them, and as I did, the world began to light up and become fully physicalized. I found myself with several men, who greeted me, and seemed to know that I was from another world. I told them I was from Earth, but they did not seem to recognize the name. I asked them where we were, and they said their star was 6720, but that it had other sub-specifications for the purposes of interstellar navigation. One man added that the system had an extinguished star, so I gathered that it had once been a binary star system.

I observed the men closely, noticing that they all wore similar clothing—a kilt-like garment with a light plaid or Madras-like pastel print. The waistline was far above their waist. For a shirt, they wore a tunic with a short standup collar that was open in the front.

They offered me a beverage in a bottle similar to a long-neck beer bottle with a white and golden label or covering. I wasn’t sure I could "drink" it in the out-of-body state, since I haven't been able to eat or drink anything in previous experiences (probably a mental block of sorts), but I took it and found it quite cold to the touch. I was surprised that I could presume to drink it. I spent quite a bit of time with them, and eventually finished the beverage. 

Meanwhile, there was a multi-tiered platform that I was standing on at one point. Each level —separated by a foot or so—was covered with iridescent sand, or microscopic jewels. It was a beautiful sight, but I realized that I was standing on it, and needed to get off of it, because a woman was trying to toss an object onto the levels, as if it was a game of sorts. She politely asked me to move so she could toss the object, which I did. I understood that the apparatus had been constructed by the brother of my principal guide.

As I walked around, I came upon three women who were seated, eating. I looked into the eyes of one of them, and she seemed to recognized me on a deep level. I asked her, “Are you the reason I’ve come here?” She nodded. Then she stood up and embraced me for a long time. She thrust her pelvis into me, and I could tell she was aroused. She seemed to grow taller at first, then shorter until we disengaged. She was smiling.


Finally I decided to leave the domain and, instead of simply willing myself back to my body, I flew westward into the darkness, emerging again in a landscape that appeared to be earth or earth-like. After exploring that for a while, I found it rather mundane, so I forced myself back to my sleeping body.

On another recent night, I meditated as usual around 5 AM, Julie was out of town, so I expected to be able to conduct my out of body exploration without any movement around me, unless the cats interrupted me. In my initial passage out of my body I moved around a lot to consolidate my stable identity in the other body state. And I moved into the darkness where I traveled for while meditating. I could see my hands in front of me even though there was some distortion over their size and distance from my present body. That’s been common. I thought to myself that it’s been a while. Since someone had taken my hands or feet as they used to do more often. Suddenly, I saw below me the passage of a landscape or a texture that was mostly blue. I reached down, and found that it was only a couple of feet from me seeming to be the bottom of the pool that I was passing through underwater. I looked Ahead of me and realize that I was just below the surface of about a 3 foot deep pool of clear water, and I was passing quickly through the water or above it. Suddenly I felt someone take my hand and I looked to the side and saw a woman with green hair smiling at me. I seem to recognize her from the past, and I asked her name. She told me, but I have since forgotten the name she spoke. She escorted me into a domain where there were people around and left me there for a while. I have forgotten the details of what happened there, but I do know that I moved on into the darkness again affirming that I would pass to another domain that was more meaningful and deep. After a long while of traveling in the darkness I wanted again if someone was going to guide me to the next locale. Suddenly I felt hands beneath my feet lifting me and pushing me onward. The person appears next to me as a man, and as soon as I saw his face the darkness dissipated, and I found myself in an extraordinarily beautiful, bright scene characterized by terraced gardens and people milling about happily. I was on a hillside and below me I could see white aircraft of a highly advanced technology passing quietly below me and above a valley, which was green and punctuated with buildings. The whole place, Which I believe to be a planet in another star system,was like a paradise of sorts. I spent a considerable time visiting with people, and sharing deeply. There was even one moment where I was sharing with a group of women about one of the ladies’ mothers, who had not been very nurturing to her. I spoke about my work with women who have distant or abusive mothers, and told them that the work of recovery is a very meaningful process for me, and a necessary one for them. At some point someone announced that there was an event occurring eminently, s very special auspicious event that took place in the sky, and seem to happen as a result of some higher consciousness breaking through into this world. We are still looking east, and one man advises me not to get too close as if the event could be harmful if one were to close to it. Suddenly there was a loud roar, and the shape of lightning jaggedly crossed the eastern sky, and opened a window into another world of sorts. The people around me look into it, finding layers of beauty and gifts from whomever was behind this rupture are renting of the veil between the world I was in and some other world. At some point, ask one of my posts what’s the name of this place was. She said, the Garden.

For some reason, I decided to move on, so I said goodbye to the people who embraced me lovingly with the feeling. I headed east and upward into darkness again, until I found myself escorted by another male figure. I came out into a less bright and harmonious place, where the people seemed strange the ominous. They took me aside and they prepared to give me something that look like wine into which a vial of elixir had been poured. Apparently, The liquid would permit me or require me to stay there much longer. I was a bit alarmed, but not really afraid, because I didn’t understand whether this was a good thing or not. So I decided to return my body, and I told him that I wasn’t from there and I would be able to return my own world at will. So I stretch my arms and made a strenuous effort to reconnect with my body. It was difficult at first, as it has been in other deep out of body explorations. But I was able to return to my body within a few seconds after trying.


Thursday, December 28, 2017

The Importance of a Meditative Attitude in the Out-of-Body State

Normally, I meditate every morning for 30-60 minutes, and then in the middle of the night every other day or so. But this past week, I had the flu and so I found it hard to meditate for several days. Not that I didn't try, but my physical condition kept interrupting my progress.

Finally, I felt good enough to get up at 4:00 and meditate for 30 minutes after taking galantamine. I hoped that I could resume my regular out of body adventures, which have often involved apparent journeys to other star systems. To make sure my excursions are not interrupted, I go down the hall to one of our spare bedrooms for the remainder of the night.

I have been able to have a lucid dream/OOBE just about every time if I do everything right--at least 30 minutes of meditation, a sufficiently positive state of mind, and 8 mg of galantamine taken about an hour before my first dream upon returning to bed. On many occasions, I experience a WILD--that is, a "wake-induced lucid dream" without a break in consciousness from waking to dream.

Sure enough I find myself with another man, and I point out to him that we are in a dream. He resists the idea at first, then realizes it is true. I take him by the arm and lift him off the ground to show him that we can fly, and proceed to explore the domain with him. After a while, I decide to leave him and set a course for the stars, which usually means dropping my arms to my side, and orienting myself to a certain part of the eastern sky.

But as I begin to fly upward, it becomes clear that I am losing buoyancy, and I become unable to fly or pass through barriers. Everything is becoming increasingly dense, and I am becoming heavy. The harder I try to counteract the effects of gravity, the heavier I become and the more trapped in form I feel. Suddenly, I know that I need to meditate. So I close my eyes and meditate. Immediately, a brightness fills my closed eyes, and I feel myself floating upward weightlessly. I open my eyes, and find myself with several people, including a woman whom I recognize from somewhere and from whom I feel a timeless, deep love. We continue to visit for a good while in a state of heightened awareness and luminous surroundings.

Meditation is like putting money in a bank. If your account is full, then your experience in the OOBE state will be luminous, refined, subtle and full of love and connection. But if you have been unable to keep your account "full" due to distractions or illness, then you'd be better off not leaving your body, because none of the ineffable properties available to you will manifest in your phenomenal experience. At least that's my experience.

I have heard many people talk about their own lucid dreams and OOBEs, and I've come away thinking that each of us encounters what we have built in our lives. A person who does not meditate will report rather pedestrian OOBEs that mirror the waking state with fair precision. Speaking of the after-death state, Edgar Cayce captured the self-fulfilling, self-mirroring nature of nonphysical reality by once saying, "A dead Presbyterian is a dead Presbyterian." He was saying, I believe, that death alone does not confer any particular release from what we believe, and have built in our lives. In my experience, neither does lucidity/OOBE awareness. I wrote back in the 70s that the so-called OOBE  simply mirrors the observer's own beliefs and paradigm about the world. If one tends to be a "realist," measuring life in empirical terms, then the OOBE state accommodates this believe system by mirroring the physical world, and is often identical (with some variations) to one's waking reality. Does that make the OOBE "true?" Not at all. It's just a mirror of one's paradigm, confirming it in most ways, but often revealing along the edges of the experience a reality that is far greater, and much less ego-centered. It takes meditation, or an attitude of surrender to take us beyond our own reflection in the mirror.


Monday, December 25, 2017

How to Work with Metaphors

My exploration of metaphor construction and analysis through the lens of cocreative dream theory is fairly new, but I have written a paper that I'd like to share with you, titled: Understanding and Working with Dream Metaphors from the Standpoint of Co-Creative Dream Theory. It can be found at my website:

http://dreamanalysistraining.com/offsite/offsite-9/styled-37/page87.html

Let me know what you think about it. I have a feeling that this line of inquiry will continue in my work.

Galantamine Study Results

Hi Friends,

We have just completed a pre-publication draft of our research study, titled "Exploring the Effects of Galantamine Paired with Meditation and Dream Reliving on Recalled Dreams: Toward an Integrated Protocol for Lucid Dream Induction and Nightmare Resolution." It is currently under review by a major journal, so this draft is for personal use only, and not be distributed. I think you will see that the study will probably make a big splash in the dream research community.

Check it out at http://dreamanalysistraining.com/offsite/offsite-11/styled-36/page74.html

Monday, December 4, 2017

A Dream Following a 4 am Meditation

This dream has stayed with me for a few days, and I thought it might stir something within you, too. Dreams are meant for sharing. We are one another, and the "quarries" of our lives are conjoined.

I am driving up or climbing a very steep road, and wonder how I can succeed, since it’s almost a vertical slope. As I reach the top, I’m in a large dark interior space, like a projection room above a theater. A latino man is there, and he shows me around. He feels like a wise man, a guru of sorts. He tells me that in order to help people in psychotherapy that I need to “explore the quarries.” Then I see against a far wall in the darkness, probably 100 feet away, a giant mandala that is lit up, and begins to pulse with light from the center. A woman stands beneath it, holding a white pod-like object, about three feet long, wide in the middle and pointed on both ends. I has a clear circular window in the middle through which I can see white light. She is singing a beautiful song as the light builds within the pod As the light reaches a certain intensity within the pod, she projects it outward. The only word I discern in her song is the word “river.” When I woke up, the tune was on my mind, and I thought to myself, “I’d better record this into my Iphone,” but thought I’d remember it later. Of course, I didn’t!

Friday, December 1, 2017

A Life Changing Discovery

I have studied dreams, and pursued lucid dreaming all of my life. But about 10 years ago, I began having lower back pain about 5 hours into the sleep cycle. Suddenly, I was uncomfortable and restless during the "prime time" for dreaming--from 4 hours until awakening. Consequently, my practice of early morning meditation as a catalyst for lucid dreaming suffered: It was hard to get out of bed, and it was hard to go back to sleep, as well. My lower back pain became chronic about a year ago, and I honestly thought I was going to need surgery before much longer. Then I discovered that the solution was already at hand.

Almost 40 years ago, I purchased a "Ma Roller," a back massage tool that you place on the floor and lie upon. I've used it almost nightly for years without realizing that it would become the breakthrough solution for my lower back. I don't have any commercial interest in this item, so please don't think I'm trying to sell you something. But I am so impressed with the total recovery I experienced using the roller that I thought it could work for others, too.

You might ask, why did it take me so long to realize that the Ma Roller would work? And why wasn't it working all along to prevent the lower back problem? Because I wasn't using it to its full advantage!  I got the clue about how to use it while talking to my brother-in-law, Jim Peabody, who had been to see a physical therapist, who had told him that he could treat his lower back pain by leaning backward against a kitchen table or a similar edge that would force his spine to bend backward rather than forward. I tried that, without much success, but then I thought, "Heck, the Ma Roller can do better than that." So I did what I'd been avoiding for years--lowering my lumbar area fully onto the roller, such that my hips and my shoulders were both touching the floor. It hurt like hell, and it felt like it was making it worse. That's why I'd never allowed my full weight to rest upon the roller. It just didn't feel right. But if you've ever been to a physical therapist, you'll know that they often ask you to do things that hurt, but that actually make the problem better. So I decided to suffer the pain, thinking that maybe it could make the difference.

The next day, there was a dramatic improvement! I didn't have any lower back pain through the day! So I did it again before bed (and it hurt like hell again!), and I went to bed. FOR THE FIRST TIME IN YEARS, I SLEPT FOR OVER 8 HOURS WITHOUT ANY BACK PAIN!

That was four months ago, and since then, I do the same exercise twice a day. My back pain during the day and at night has completely disappeared, and I literally feel ten years younger. Indeed, I'd thought of giving up guiding flyfishers, but now that I feel strong again, I'm planning to give it another couple of years.

If you or anyone you know has lower back pain, please share this with them.  The original Ma Roller is no longer made, but  a company called Earthlite and a few other vendors make the same design, and you can get one for $25-40 on Amazon. I bought a second one recently, just so I could loan it to family and friends. They will last 100 years, so it's the last one you'll need to buy. Of course, run this by your doctor if you have serious back problems, and everyone's different. But I am so thankful that I was willing to suffer the initial discomfort to discover a profoundly effective remedy.

Sunday, November 26, 2017

Fading Light and Sluggish Flight: Making Sense of Anomolous OOBE Features


I delivered a well-received presentation last June at the annual IASD conference in Anaheim, titled, "Fading Light and Sluggish Flight: A Two-Dimensional Model of Consciousness in Lucid Dreams and Out-of-Body Experiences." In it, I address several phenomena that occur in OOBEs that, alone, do not seem to make sense, but together convey an intriguing picture that points to facilitative and disruptive modes of awareness that impact the OOBE in dramatically different ways. In my paper/presentation, both of which can be found on my website under "Recent Events," I make the case that one can prepare oneself to exercise an optimal state of awareness during an OOBE––and fly effortlessly, move through form without resistance, keep the light sources from dimming, and commune with the light that manifests during the experience––all through meditation. I have posted the audio of my presentation, my powerpoint, and my written text. Enjoy!


Dream Groups Going Well, More Planned

I am currently hosting two online dream groups each week. About half of the participants are also seeking certification as DreamStar Dreamwork Practitioners, and getting credit toward their Practicum requirement. It's been a great experience for me working with the two groups, which are comprised of therapists, artists, lucid dream experts, and lay dream workers. It's rewarding to see how co-creative dream work deepens and facilitates a level of engagement and meaning-making that I find often lacking in content-oriented dream work methods.

Meanwhile, I private maintain my middle-of-the-night meditational practice, and achieve lucidity almost 100% of the time, spending up to two hours out of my body on some occasions. Last night, I began meditating around 4 am, went back to bed an hour later, and spent at least two hours going in and out of out-of-body experiences. At one point, I got up and went to the bathroom, and then returned to bed for another multi-chapter OOBE. The interpersonal encounters were rich and fulfilling. Indeed, I encountered two old friends in apparent soul-to-soul encounters, even though I know better than to think that they were conscious of the exchange. I've spent most of my life working out a model of dream engagement that allows for "actual" contact influenced by several other "feeds" that condition the experience according to personal and transpersonal influences. To give you an example, last night I was flying through darkness, expecting to emerge in another star system (which often happens), only to hear loud voices in the darkness that pulled me into a bedroom that I thought, at first, was my own. But it was an ex who was entertaining her two grandchildren in bed. Before I realized it was her, I asked loudly, thinking it was Julie, "Why were you were making so much noise?" The ex reacted, at first angrily at my intrusion, but then became friendly when I explained my error. We visited, and members of her family came into the room and greeted me. Of course, it was not "actual" in the ordinary sense, but I suspect that certain features of the experience drew upon objective information, and that to some extent it was a real soul-to-soul contact that was qualified and distorted by my own filters. Regardless, I emerged from the experience feeling positive and further healed of any unfinished business between us.

Thursday, September 28, 2017

New Dream Groups Beginning October

There will be two online (Zoom videoconferenced) dream groups starting in mid-October, one on Friday morning and another on Monday evening. We will have a post or two in each group, so if  you're interested, please email me at gscotspar@gmail.com. For a description of my online DreamStar groups, please see http://dreamanalysistraining.com/page2/styled-10/page3.html. I hope you will consider joining us!

Thursday, September 14, 2017

Galantamine Study Results Soon to be Published

I have been working with my colleagues Ryan Hurd (John F. Kennedy University and founder of www.dreamstudies.org and Dr. Ralph Carlson (my stats guru at UTRGV) on writing up the results of our study testing the impact of combining meditation and dream reliving (M/DR) with the ingestion of galantamine. 73 people volunteered for the ambitious eight-night study that involved getting up around 3 am and spending 40 minutes doing a variety of activities. While it would take too long to summarize the entire data, suffice to say that the integrated protocol (M/DR+galantamine) performed better overall than galantamine alone, but wasn't significantly better than galantamine alone. The two galantamine conditions (with and without meditation and dream reliving) blew away the baseline and placebo conditions on six measures--lucidity, reflectiveness (regardless of lucidity), interaction, role/status changes, constructive action, and the presence of fear/threat--showing us just how effective galantamine is.  M/DR+G was especially high on reflectiveness and fear/threat.

What was surprising is that fear/threat in dreams was higher, not lower, in the galantamine conditions. In our earlier study, based entirely on participants' recollection of their prior use of galantamine, they recalled that their dreams were lower, not higher on the presence of fear, threat and violence (we measured them separately in that study).

Our thinking is that using galantamine has a global positive impact, but that the actual content of dreams, when assessed immediately afterward, shows more fear/threat. The M/DR+G condition showed the greatest elevation of fear/threat, which makes sense in that dream reliving involves reliving a nightmare in fantasy as if one is lucid, and seeing it unfold in a more positive way. By itself, M/DR should increase nightmare content, but in a way that facilitates resolution. So the quantitive measures don't tell us the whole story, by any means. We will need to look at the specific phenomenology of the dreams to see if, indeed, the dreamers are working through the outwardly distressing dream content.

You might not know it, but all of the effective cognitive interventions for trauma resolution involve re-exposure to the original trauma or nightmare, and the reprocessing of the memory so that the level of distress is reduced. Our hope is that M/DR+G may create an optimal dream state for the re-engagement and resolution of unfinished business in general, and trauma in particular. It's an exciting research agenda, and I will be updating you as we find out more.

Visit to Another Star System?

I haven't posted in a while, but I have been continuing my personal exploration of lucid dreaming/out of body experiences. I have had to start recording them on my recorder, since some of them are too long to writ out  Here's one that was particularly memorable and in the spirit of the last posting:

I meditate and return to bed, and begin to hear the gift waves after a while. I roll out, and move up into the darkness. It takes quite a while before I see anything, but a dome of stars appears. Below me I can see a valley and lights, but the scenery is still fairly dark. Suddenly I emerge into an outdoor scene where people are singing a rousing, primitive-sounding song. It’s still fairly hard as I walk through the crowd. A man comes up to me, takes my hands to greet me, and then rubs them, saying, ‘You must be cold from your travel.’

I leave there, and fly upward into the darkness again, this time emerging in another outdoor scene, more brightly lit. People are everywhere, going about their lives. I see stores, and greenery and the scene seems quite peaceful. But I don’t feel that I’ve arrived at where I need to be. So I fly upward again, passing into darkness until I emerge in a beautiful, brightly lit world, which I understand to be another planet in another star system. A young man greets me and gives me a tour of various displays that depicts aspects of his world. Finally, I ask him if anyone has been able to solve the problem of interstellar travel, by working around the limit imposed by Einstein’s theory of relativity. He said that a race of people—the Talens—had solved the problem. He began to describe the solution mathematically, but I laughed and told him that his efforts would be futile. 


Then I asked him if he knew of earth. He paused and look thoughtful. Then he said, “Yes, but it’s very far away.” He went on the add, “Someone should be going there before long.”

Sunday, March 12, 2017

Journeys to Proxima Centauri

I’d like to share with you some OOBE experiences I have had over the past couple of years. I hadn’t put them together, but during one of them a couple of weeks ago, I was saying goodbye to a man who I was ostensibly visiting on another planet. I asked him if he knew of Earth, and he said yes, that he’d been there. I then asked him how far away it was from his star system. He said, “52 lunar circles.” When I woke up, I realized that he could have been telling me how far, in terms of light years, which meant 52 lunar cycles, or exactly four light years. I remembered reading that a possibly inhabitable planet had been discovered, so I researched it to find that Proxima B, in the star system of Proxima Centauri, is about 4 light years away. 

There were two other OOBEs from earlier—both over an hour long, and ostensibly on another planet where I spent time with various humanoid beings in an earth like environment, but I never considered the experiences literal in any way. In one, I stood on a hillside with an old woman and a boy at the end, and looked up at their sky, where I saw three suns. When it was over, I thought, “That’s got to be symbolic,” and I dismissed the literal possibilities. Then, in another very long experience in which I spent a long time with a woman and her daughter on another planet (both of whom looked human, but had a feathery-like, retractable organ above their heads that permitted them to "read me." The daughter then asked me if I would be her teacher, but I explained that I was from a different world (which she seemed to know). After saying goodbye to them, a man accompanied me to a place from which I could return to my body and planet. I asked him what it was like to live on his planet. He said, “The seasons are very stable, and the sun never sets.”

What blew my mind was finding out later from my research, that if one were to stand on the surface of Proxima B, he would see the double star of Alpha Centauri, as well as Proxima Centauri—three suns! And what’s more, astronomers believe that Proxima B always faces Proxima Centauri—it circles the star very 11 days, and (similar to our moon) has a light and dark side.

What are the chances that all of these things could be literally true of an actual star and planet? I thought you’d get a kick out of this. Stay tuned to more (apparent) excursions beyond the body!


Wednesday, January 25, 2017

Out-of-Body Journeys

I haven't written about my recent explorations of the out-of-body realms, because there is so much to write down that I don't have time to do it. Last night was a representative experience, and might be of interest to you. I awoke at 4:30 after going to bed around 11, which was the "sweet spot" for meditation in the middle of the night--4-5 hours after going to bed. I took galantamine--8 mg--and meditated for a while before drifting off. It wasn't long before I was lucid and flying low over an unfamiliar terrain. It was difficult at first to remain buoyant, and as I flew across a highway, I was too low to avoid an oncoming car. The driver stopped as I touched down and then lifted off again. I moved upward into the sky, and all imagery disappeared for a while. As I traveled through a gray emptiness, I meditated and prayed, waiting. Then, finally, the gray began to give way to vivid sky and lush terrain below me. A young man flew up to me and greeted me. He said that he was my guide. So we held hands and proceeded to fly further south. He advised me to breathe deeply in order to overcome the gravity and sluggishness. Soon we were speeding through the sky.

We came down eventually amid crowds of people, and went inside a large building. As I stood beside him, I decided to ask him his name. I said, "Who are you?" I leaned closer so I could hear his answer. He said nothing, but rather blew air in my ear, as if to say, that's a silly question. My name does not matter. I got it, and turned my attention to the people around me. I met up with a family who showed interest in me, and seemed to understand that I was from another realm. They were very warm toward me, and the daughter, who seemed around 40, felt familiar and soulfully connected with me. We spent time in a crowd who were gathered around a gourmet cook who was preparing a special meal, and who gave out samples. I was aware that I could not eat, though, so it was awkward to pretend to do so. When I said goodbye to the family, it was with some sadness, because I knew that we would probably never see each other again. The woman and I looked at each other, and bid farewell with a certain existential recognition that such meetings are fleeting and impermanent, but richly rewarding.


At some point, I was with another woman, and said, "You know, don't you, that I am not from this realm, that my body is a projection into your world." She seemed puzzled, and dazed by the disclosure, so I backed off and enjoyed the fellowship.


I came back to bed for a while, because my back was hurting. After turning over, I relaxed and soon found myself fully conscious and back in the same realm. I spent some time with another woman who introduced me to a female teacher/friend, who looked Indian, and who had a charismatic presence. She greeted me with enthusiasm, and then we parted after a brief visit. Finally, I turned to a large picture window and floated toward it. I saw the family with whom I had spent time earlier, but I did not look their way, knowing that we'd already said goodbye, and that it would hurt too much. I passed through a picture window, and floated above a crowd of people. I started to breathe deeply, and rise up into the sky, until finally I returned to my body intentionally.


In many ways, this experience was unremarkable. But I have had so many spiritual encounters in the lucid dream/out-of-body state that I am always interested in making myself available to it. One never knows when an opportunity to bless another soul, or to receive a blessing, will arise during these inexplicable, and yet natural-feeling states of awareness. They break up the tension of ordinary life, and remind me that there's much more than the latest news, the most familiar worry, or the ever-present sense of mortality.

  I've just launched a new podcast, titled DreamStar Institute Presents "Dreamwork with Dr. Scott Sparrow." My first episode i...