The Afterglow of Letting Go: Beginning, Transforming and Healing Relationships in Lucid Dreams

Letting go of control in lucid dreams has helped me to begin a beautiful friendship, guide a lover relationship through a healthy transformation and facilitate healing between my conscious and unconscious self.

In the world of lucid dreaming, where one gains the power to have everything and do anything, letting go of control seems to be a contradiction. It can take years to master this power, so why would anyone want to give it up? I remember when I first started to lucid dream around ten years ago, I flew around wildly, indulging in all sorts of sensual pleasures, mostly having sex. I had absolutely no respect for my dream characters and no communication beyond, "Too bad, bud, after all, it's MY dream!" In fact, a fellow student in a lucid dreaming study group I was participating in at the time kidded me that my mug shot was up on a bulletin board in the Dream Post Office! Since sowing my W.I.L.D. oats (Willful Instruction of Lucid Dreaming), I have learned better communication with my dream characters and with my unconscious self. Being conscious 24 hours a day not only can be very draining and counterproductive but misleading since your unconscious really has the ultimate control, anyway. Then, on February 3, 1987, early in the morning, I had the following lucid dream which I consider to be a milestone in my Dream Journey:

The Afterglow of Letting Go

I am having an ordinary dream when suddenly I realize that my room is peculiarly different and that I must be dreaming. This jolt of lucidity excites me so much that my dream thoughts and desires became scattered and fragmented. I do not know what to do with my lucidity and become frustrated and anxious. Then I recall something I read in Lucid Dreaming, something I had been thinking about right before going to sleep: that giving up control is a healthy reaction in a lucid dream. So, I think, "I'll just go where the dream takes me and deal with adventures as they happen." Suddenly I begin floating upwards, then rushing backwards at a tremendous speed. The sensation is utterly magnificent! I pass through treetops in the early Spring, able to see and feel each lovely, green leaf in exquisite detail. The clarity is intensely beyond anything I have ever experienced in waking life. I feel delighted and at peace.

When I awoke, the joyous glow from the dream was still with me. I rolled out of bed and into the cafe across the street. There I spied a sad, young man to whom I felt powerfully drawn. This young man and I have since developed a beautiful friendship, a special connection which I attribute to the afterglow of letting go in a lucid dream.

So, the very act of letting go, regardless of whether the context is related to the waking life situation that one wants to change, creates an aura of positive energy that enables one to deal more easily, almost magically, with the happenstances of life.

However, one of the most powerful lucid dreams I ever had was an example of rehearsing in the dream what I wished to accomplish in waking life, in this case, letting go of a failed romantic relationship. I had been involved with D. for 9 months. She ended the relationship, but for me, it was not over. I continued to call her and she continued to reject me. I just couldn't accept the fact that we'd never see one another again because something deep inside of me just knew that we were fated to be friends. Yet, whenever I called her and chatted about my life, she would offer no information about herself, answering questions with the bare minimum. All my friends advised me to forget about her, but I just couldn't give up. Then one night, on impulse, I called her at 11pm and asked her to accompany me on a walk to North Beach. To my surprise, she accepted. San Francisco was at its romantic best: full moon, balmy, sweet air, thick, rich fog rolling in from another plane. As usual, my neediness and desire for D. were blaring more loudly than the foghorns. But, for a few minutes, D. was not her usual aloof self. She talked about a case of child abuse that deeply disturbed her. For an instant, I saw her sobbing, but realized that this was a psychic seeing, not a physical reality. I put my arm around her and experienced another psychic flash of her crying in my arms. Yet she was not showing me any kind of affection at all. I risked giving her a hug and for one eternal moment, I knew we were connected and that she knew, too, in spite of all the external evidence to the contrary. Furthermore, I knew that I would have an incredible lucid dream that night. There was no need to practice the M.I.L.D. technique nor do reality checks. I didn't have the dream. The dream had me!

Even in a Dream One Must Let Go

D. is lingering around my apartment and made it apparent that she intends to spend the night. My sisters are also there. D. begins touching and kissing me; I am very excited and start making sounds of pleasure. She "shushes" me so I wouldn't wake up my sisters. Then, I realize I am dreaming and my sisters fade from the scene. I hold D. in my arms, replacing the sexual energy with a deep feeling of intimacy, an incredibly comforting closeness. I say, "How I've fantasized doing this with you. Just holding you." Then, I want to fly and explain to D. about lucid dreaming. She is skeptical at first and for a moment even I wonder if I am really dreaming; part of me resists the heartbreaking reality that our renewed relationship is "just a dream". I bust out the window glass, grab D's hand and jump out, almost expecting to fall and die but then a jolt of awareness reinforces my lucidity and flying is glorious. > For the next portion of the dream, we keep landing and taking off slowly and low to the ground. D. wants to learn to fly on her own power and is still too timid to take great leaps. I treat her as an independent entity and let her go at her own pace. I do, however, share my expertise, showing her that we do not have to fly around trees but can go right through them and experience each and every leaf in exquisite, vibrating detail. We make love in the sky as we soar and I experience my first lucid dream orgasm. Then, I begin to explain to D. that this is my dream and suddenly, upon seeing her puzzled expression, I get this clear and real feeling that she is not simply a character in my dream but actually the dream body of the flesh and blood D. We go on to have many more adventures which have faded from my memory. But then my elation turns into sadness when I realize that I will wake up soon. I take hold of D.'s hand, determined to enjoy the moments while they last without trying to control them. I try to explain, the techniques of "spinning" to her in case she really is the dream body of D. so that she can go on dreaming when I wake up if she so desires. Then D. begins to fade, to metamorphosize. Eventually, she becomes another character altogether and chastises me for still seeing her as D. I am heartbroken and start to lose lucidity. I consider "spinning" and trying to get D. to reappear. Instead I wake up weeping, tears spill out of my waking eyes and I am chanting: "Even in a dream, one must let go; even in a dream, one must let go."

After one call, I stopped calling her... not out of any disciplined struggle but just naturally. A few months later, she called me and wanted to get together. I told her my dream and for the first time since we had broken up, she opened up-shared the past two years of her life with me, revealed that she had another lover. It was the beginning of a beautiful friendship, once again attributed to the process of letting go in a lucid dream.

In healing the relationship between my conscious and unconscious self, a very special kind of friendship, I've not only had to learn to let go IN lucid dreams but to let go OF lucid dreams entirely! In October of 1991, after recognizing my first dream-disguised memory, I began using dreams to facilitate my healing from childhood sexual abuse. At first, my conscious self, desperate to remember everything and remember it RIGHT NOW, threw me like a battering ram against the castle walls of my unconscious. Every night I attempted to lucid dream and to command my unconscious to conjure up the details of my abuse. I often succeeded, except the lucidity was mostly low-grade: fading in and out, riddled with disturbing false awakenings and the strange, frustrating phenomenon of merely dreaming I was having a lucid dream without actually achieving lucidity. The following dream, in which I managed to attain a fairly high level of lucidity, clearly demonstrated the need to relinquish control:

...I rush around, everything is chaotic. I find myself in a walled garden. with graves that I have visited before in another lucid dream. I feel peace for a moment, then am obsessed and feverish about remembering who my victimizer was when I was a child. I kneel down in the dirt-I can vividly feel and smell the dirt-and go through the motions of oral copulation, trying to conjure up a penis and yelling over and over again, "Who was it? Who am I having sex with?" I am trying too hard. I cannot make anyone appear. There is only the feel of dirt in between my fingernails and the smell of earth in my nostrils. I wake up exhausted and terrified.

So now I am letting go of this desperate need to lucid dream about my abuse and am trusting my unconscious self to reveal its secrets in its own time and own way, whether that be through lucid dreams, non-lucid dreams, memory flashes, etc. I still program the intent to remember and to heal into my pre-sleep consciousness but not as frequently and forcefully as before. On March 16, I was rewarded with a long and grand lucid dream, most of which I will summarize here:

...go back to sleep. No intent but stay lucid for a long time. I fly and breathe in the most wondrous Springtime air and sing at the top of my lungs and send energy through my bad knee as I run around a track, my dream body ecstatic. Then I try to conjure up a man to have sex with. I am only able to create a child, then see, that the child is me. I look exactly like I do in one of my baby photos when I am one year old. At first I am terrified, then I remember an intent I had planted in my mind while awake. I hold "myself" in my arms and say, "I know what happened to you. You're safe now. I'll protect you." I rock myself and feel at peace...

Although I still have a long way to go in my healing and in learning about creating and maintaining intimate relationships, I feel blessed by the help I am receiving through my dreams.∞