Lucid Dreaming Interview

Tips For The Beginner

I: Hi everyone, I’m here with Gary Parker – How are you doing Gary?

GP: I’m doing great, how are you?

I: I’m doing well. Thanks for being on the show, I’m glad to have you here; I’m sure everyone else here is happy that you came on.
We’re here today talking about lucid dreaming; what is lucid dreaming and what are the benefits of it? I know a lot of people here on the show know what lucid dreaming is, but for everyone else who’s not here – can you tell us what is lucid dreaming exactly? I think it’s new for a lot of people.

GP: Great question. Lucid dreaming is the ability to realize you’re dreaming while you’re in your dream. Put in another way; you’re becoming consciously aware in your dream, and this can give you the ability to change scenery, fly, live out your fantasies, speak with your subconscious through communicating with dream characters and a whole lot more.  Overall, it’s a really great way for self-improvement and gives people the opportunity to have exciting adventures. You can even solve troubling problems while you’re sleeping. Some experienced lucid dreamers, including myself, have actually studied for tests in college and high school.  Solving problems through lucid dreaming and even regular dreams is very common amongst lucid dreamers.  Some people do this without even becoming lucid. It’s just a lot easier to do it when you are consciously aware that you’re dreaming because you can actually pose that question to your subconscious or unconscious mind, which has an extraordinary ability to work out things that we would otherwise not be able to work out.

I: Wow, that’s really cool. I didn’t know that, it’s pretty awesome. I was talking to you backstage before we came out here a little bit about lucid dreaming and asked you about how you got involved with it. Especially the way that you started, it’s not something that one at that age knows a lot about. Can you tell everyone here about how you got involved with lucid dreaming?

GP: I actually got involved with lucid dreaming without even knowing that it was lucid dreaming. Back then it wasn’t even really widely publicized. Stephen LaBerge who is a world-renowned scientist, was the only one that Barnes and Noble and the other bookstores had. He had published a book “Exploring the World of Lucid Dreaming” which I later got my hands on. To answer your question, I actually started lucid dreaming naturally. It was through a very unfortunate event. When I was eight, my brother was shot and killed in a hunting accident. Of course at that age, it causes a large strain on a child. I started having nightmares probably a few weeks after his death. I’m not talking about occasional nightmares they were recurring nightmares. They essentially plagued my entire dream life. It got so bad that I would try and convince my mother that I was sick and try to get out of school the next day. I was also extremely afraid to go to sleep. I would try and sleep next to my parents every night just because the nightmares were terrible and I wanted some comfort. Even to this day, I can actually recall most of the nightmares that I had.
Eventually, after two years of having nightmares every night, and when I say every night I mean that very rarely was there a night that I didn’t have nightmares, I started noticing that I was able to wake myself up from sleep right before I was hurt or killed or chased by monsters and all sorts of other stuff – I could wake myself up before they got to me! Of course this led to me not getting much sleep, which is why I’d try to get out of school the next day. My parents didn’t know I wasn’t sleeping but they knew I had nightmares and they brushed it off like many other parents, saying things like “It was just a dream” “They can’t hurt you” and just set it aside. However, it has serious, effects on people when they have recurring nightmares or night tremors – which is something similar to nightmares but it’s a little worse.
After realizing I was able to wake myself up right before my nightmares morphed into something terrible, I began to have a little more confidence about going to sleep. There were some nights where I would wake up 30 or 40 consecutive times. Even after waking up all these times the nightmare would pick up right where it left off. It was a terrible feeling but at least I had some sort of control of the dream. This ability to wake up was what later allowed me to become lucid in my dreams. I remember the first lucid dream I had, and just briefly;

I was on the back street of my childhood home and it was just me. You could see these demons, and one of them was the leader, and he was pretty common in my dreams, and they’d start chasing me. So I’d naturally start running, and they’d start gaining on me and right before they got to me, I realized I was dreaming and even said- I’m dreaming! This made me stop running and turn around to face these dark figures that were always trying to kill me. I just looked at them and decided that you’re not going to chase me anymore; you’re not going terrorize me anymore! Of course I didn’t say it in those words because I was 10 years old. I just visualized the ninja turtles and I had two swords show up on my back.

I: That is awesome!

GP: Yeah I know it is. It worked into my dreams. Two swords appeared on my back, and I just pulled out a sword and chopped the leaders head off. I know it sounds a little extreme, but what would you do?

I: I would have done the same thing

GP: I think a lot of people would. After I did that, all the other ‘followers’ of this thing just ran away, I was super excited that somehow I knew I was dreaming. I turned around and started running, I put my hand out like I was superman, and I just started flying! It was the most exhilarating experience that I had ever had. After that night, I didn’t have nightmares anymore – they were completely gone. Since the age of 10 until now, I’ve probably had three or four nightmares and they were not nearly as bad as the others. From that moment forward, I started having lucid dreams almost on a nightly basis. I didn’t share them with anyone because I thought they would probably think I was nuts.
It wasn’t until I was around 16 that I felt comfortable sharing it and even then it was with just one person. There was an older guy who lived in the neighborhood; he was in his senior year in high school and he started telling me about this thing that he was trying to do, and I later found out that he was talking about lucid dreaming in his class. He was trying to have lucid dreams and couldn’t figure out how to have them. I thought “Awesome! So that’s what it is” and I told him about my experiences and it felt great just to get that off my chest, because I hadn’t been able to share it with anyone. He actually was the one who told me about Stephen LaBerge’s book, and that’s when I went and bought that book.  It’s worth mentioning that he was pretty discouraged that I have been a lucid dreamer since I was 10.

I: Very cool. It seems like having the skill to control your dreams has a lot of benefits. Including eliminating nightmares. I guess you didn’t have to make those excuses to get out of school anymore!
I know you explained a little bit earlier about the benefits of lucid dreaming, could you give us some more insight on what you could use lucid dreaming for?

GP: One of the biggest things that people use lucid dreaming for is escapism- living a more exciting life. Especially now, in our society today, we don’t have enough time in a day to do the things that we need to do, and that cuts out vacation, short sabbaticals, or just going somewhere different. Your life just becomes so mundane.  Lucid dreaming gives these people the freedom to break away from a boring life and live out wild fantasies and travel wherever they want on a weekly basis!

There is just a level of excitement, of adventure, and exploring the unknown that is made available by lucid dreaming that you would never be able to experience in this life. The closest we come to flying for example aside from those guys that wear the bat suits, is flying in an airplane. But in a lucid dream, you can actually fly without a plane or bat suit. You can fly like Superman! It’s one of the most exciting things I’ve ever done in lucid dreams and I do it all the time. As soon as I become lucid, for the longest time I would just fly. I just love it that much! It’s amazing to be able to fly over mountains, over the ocean, and into the stars.

If you’ve ever been to the Grand Canyon, or seen pictures of the Grand Canyon, you have stored that visual imagery in your subconscious mind. You might try and remember consciously what the Grand Canyon looked like, but it’s not as clear. In a lucid dream, it’s like you’re back at the Grand Canyon, looking into it. So when you’re flying over, it’s literally like flying over the Grand Canyon.

You can even fly into space, of course in the physical world you can’t do that, but in a lucid dream you can. Anything is possible in the dream world, when you are lucid. It’s like your own virtual reality. It simulates all the same senses that you experience in the real world; smell, taste, pleasure, and vision – which in lucid dreams is much more vivid. The skies are brighter and the stars have all types of different colors that you haven’t seen before. The landscapes are extremely beautiful and literally breathtaking.
You for instance, you’re a guy, you start lucid dreaming and one of the first things you’re going to want to do is fly.

You actually told me before we came on that you had a few, 2 or 3 lucid dreams and that’s what you did. You flew- or at least tried, like most guys do when they first start out.

Currently I’m pushing the limits of communicating with dream characters. There are a lot of things from my childhood that I have yet to work out and speaking with dream characters has allowed me to begin the healing process and settle deeply troubling issues. Carl Young believed that regular dreams are embedded with symbolism and is the way your subconscious tries to communicate with our conscious self. When you’re able to communicate with them when you’re aware, you can grasp what your subconscious is trying to tell you. You can use lucid dreaming for almost anything; If you’re an athlete you can use it to visualize the competition that is going to take place the next day, If you’re a song writer you can be inspired by different lyrics – It’s like an ocean of creativity.

I: Very cool, very cool. By the way, my lucid dream, I had an encounter with Halle Berry, and I’ll just leave it at that.

GP: That’s great!

I: Like you were saying earlier, lucid dreaming is kind of new, or it has been around for a while but it’s gaining popularity now. I think one of the reasons is a movie that came out not too long ago called Inception. Actors included Leonardo DiCaprio and it was a great movie that made a decent amount of money. Can you tell us a little bit more about how that movie relates to lucid dreaming? It was a lot about that with dreams, and going into dreams. Is that possible? The movie also brought up that when you’re dreaming, time slows down. Can you give us more insight on that?

GP: I owe a lot of gratitude to movies like Inception and The Matrix. I love The Matrix, and I did like Inception, but I think it’s done some harm to lucid dreaming. Because people started thinking that it’s scary to be trapped inside a dream, or a dream within a dream, or having to be hooked up to machines. It’s Hollywood, they went wild with it.
I would equate Inception with false awakenings. You’re not really going into a dream within a dream, but there is something called false awakening and that can be scary to some people. Not everybody has them though.  I have had maybe one the entire time I have been lucid dreaming. The important thing I would like people to know is that the lucid dream world in Inception is not an accurate representation of what lucid dreaming really is.

I: Is it true that when you go to sleep time slows down?

GP: No, absolutely not. Dr. LaBerge has actually done studies on that – the time that you perceive in the dream is the same as real time in the real world. It’s almost identical. He accomplished that by studying experienced lucid dreamers using rapid eye movement, which is called REM sleep. It’s a deep state of sleep where lucid dreaming usually occurs. It’s the optimal time to have lucid dreams, and they occur about every 90 minutes, after the onset of sleep. So if you go to sleep at 11pm, at 12:30 you should be entering your first REM cycle. These REM cycles actually get longer as the night progresses. You can work that into having lucid dreams almost at will.

I: Cool. You have been talking about lucid dreaming and all those cool things you can do as far as curing nightmares, problem solving, if you’re an athlete you can train for an event or see the outcome of it… etc
Is it hard to lucid dream? What are some of the common obstacles that people face when trying to lucid dream?

GP: I wouldn’t really say it’s hard, but it does take a little bit of work. The main things that you can do to start developing the ability to have lucid dreams are to use something called reality checks, and keep a dream journal. A lot of people get turned off from lucid dreaming because you’ve got to record your dreams. What they’re thinking is “Well I don’t have time to record lucid dreams. I’ve got to do this and that.” This brings us to the beginning of the interview; people don’t have the time. What they don’t know is that you don’t have to record your entire dream. You just have to record key components of the dream. It can take 3-5 minutes to record those, and that is absolutely essential in developing your ability to have lucid dreams. I have read a few books and some articles where people were suggesting that you don’t need to keep a dream journal or a dream log. Their reasoning was that it would be better to just think about the dream all day. But that’s a bit hard to do and that’s the whole purpose of having a dream log; so you don’t forget.

How are you going to think about the dream all day when you can’t even remember the dream or you forget essential parts of the dream? If somebody says that you don’t have to keep a dream log or dream journal; that’s absurd. You do. But it does not require a lot of time, and it’s very easy. You can use the voice recorder on your smart phone to record your dream and that cuts the time in half.  As long as it’s recorded somehow, someway, it doesn’t matter. It just needs to be recorded.

The other key thing is reality checks. My reality check is my watch, I’ll check my watch 8 or 10 times a day. It’s something that’s really easy. If you have a watch that’s great, I’ll tell you another one after this that you can do. Just throughout the day, check your watch, look at the time, and really concentrate on the time. Don’t just look at it and then turn away just like that. Look at it for a few seconds then turn away, look at it again, and if it changes, then obviously that’s a sign that you’re dreaming. If it stays the same, then it’s the real world, no surprise. If you do it a third time, you can be a 100% sure that you’re not dreaming. If only done twice you can be around 75% sure that you’re dreaming or not dreaming depending on if it changes or not. The idea isn’t that you’re checking to see if you’re in the waking world or the real world. The idea behind it is when you get into the habit of doing something like that, when you go to sleep and start dreaming, you’re going to do that same thing and that will signal your conscious self that you’re dreaming.

Let’s say that I’m in a dream , and I happen to look at my watch, or I put my hand out in front of me and I see my watch. That’s a cue to me in my dream that I need to check the time, or I need to look at it. Then when you look at it, and turn away, and look at it again and notice that it changed a little bit – then you know that you’re dreaming. That’s when you take control of the dream and really do whatever you want.
The other reality check that you can do, which I sometimes find myself doing because I always have books, is I look at the text, and blink for two or three seconds, and then look at the text again. In a dream the text will be scrambled, it won’t be the same. That’s another sign that you’re dreaming and you can start doing that every day; three or four times a day.

I: That’s a good one because nowadays everyone is texting, so if you don’t want to be seen you can just look at it like you’re doing a text.

GP: Yeah, most people have a habit of checking their phones so that’s actually a great idea. I really don’t text, but maybe I will start doing that.

I: What are some other effective techniques and strategies that someone can do too start having lucid dreams? Is there anything else that people can do?

GP: Those are the biggest ones. There are several other things you can do that will help you have lucid dreams, but those are the fundamentals of lucid dreaming. You need to get a handle on of those before you can really do anything else.
Meditation is a big one and I meditate a lot. When someone consistently meditates they are much more likely to be able to pull off the Ferrari of Lucid Dreams- The Wake Induced Lucid Dream (WILD). A WILD is when you can fall asleep and enter the dream world without a lapse in consciousness.  You essentially slip into the dream fully conscious.

I: I was also speaking with you about dreaming and what happens. I did a little bit of lucid dreaming and what happens a lot is I find myself waking when I know it’s a lucid dream. I start to panic, and I wake up. Is that something that’s common? Is it something you can help? Are there some techniques or strategies you can do to stay lucid when you realize you’re going lucid, and not panic and just wake up?

GP: Yeah, that’s actually very, very common. Especially people that are just starting out lucid dreaming and don’t really have any experience. The reason that happens is that you’re realizing that you are asleep in your dream which creates a level of excitement that is very difficult to control. That excitement is what wakes you up.

The next time you find yourself waking up:

-Rub your hands together

-Spin like a kid.  Look up and spin your body around a few times.

Both of these will stimulate your brain and ground you back in the lucid dream.

The spinning thing is really interesting because you actually see the scenes transition in dreams. Dreams are obviously unpredictable and that doesn’t entirely change when in a lucid dream. You do have a level of control over the scenery but there’s only a certain extent of control you have with the scenes changing. I’ve been lucid dreaming for 20 years now, and if I see the scenes changing I will begin to wake up and need to re-ground myself using the same techniques I just told you about.

Let’s say the dream was transitioning from a suburban area to Arizona. If I am actually looking at that when it’s happening, it can stimulate your brain to the point where it wakes you up. It’s like information overload; you can’t really look at that straight on. If you spin, or turn around, which is what I do often, and let it transition, then turn back around, you’re in the other scene, or the other landscape and you’re still asleep.

I: Ok, very cool, lots of good stuff here. I know there are a lot of people that see lucid dreaming as a kind of demonic or cult cultural type of practice, and there are a lot of people thinking that way. Is there any justification to that? Or is it just people being weird and paranoid so to speak? I know it’s like that with a lot of religious people and Christians.

GP: A lot of people believed that Ezekiel and others, including Paul and John, had what they considered lucid dreams. All through scripture they focused on dreams, and there are quotes about dreams in the Bible. So it’s not a new age skill or phenomenon, or cultural – there are people all around the world that have lucid dreams. And it’s certainly not demonic. I really don’t know where they get that from, apart from that throughout history, people demonize things that they just don’t understand. I think that’s the underlying issue with all this talk about “You’re not supposed to change your dreams” or “You’re not supposed to do this or that” or “That’s evil.” It’s just that they don’t understand it. If they took the time to understand it and research it, and even have one, they would understand.
I can guarantee you that the same people that speak negatively about lucid dreaming, if they have one, just one, lucid dream, they would no longer criticize lucid dreaming or question that it’s evil or whatever they say. It’s definitely not cultural, or a religious cult or anything like that. We were created with the ability to dream. They still do not know why we dream, other than that stage four sleep is where our body repairs itself. However, that doesn’t explain REM sleep where most lucid dreaming occurs.

I: I’m getting a little short on time here and I’m sure that everybody would like to know more information about lucid dreaming and about you.  Where can they go to get this information?

GP: I created a blog dedicated entirely to the beginner and intermediate lucid dreamer. I’m focusing just on them because I want to help others on their lucid dreaming endeavors and living a more fulfilling life. I know there’s a need for that, and I know that there are a lot of people out there that are either interested in lucid dreaming or would benefit from it. My website is

I: Great, That’s awesome.
Gary, we appreciate having you here today, I learned a lot, I’m sure everyone else here learned a lot. I got to check my watch now to see if I’m dreaming or awake. Okay, good, good, I’m still awake.

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