Scott Hardie | February 12, 2002
After my dream last night, I can report personal experience that what they say about light levels in lucid dreaming is true.

I'm certainly not an expert on lucid dreaming (in which you mentally control almost every aspect of your dream, like it's a daydream). I've never done it to my recollection. I've heard a variety of methods for activating lucid dreaming, most recently from the movie "Waking Life," which talked about light levels. According to that film, one of the few things that you cannot change in a lucid dream is the level of light in a room. In fact, light level is such a constant factor that one of the triggers that activates lucid dreaming is when a dreamer realizes that the lights can't be changed, such as when s/he flicks a light switch and nothing happens. Do that, and if nothing happens, you're probably in a dream. Try to control it. (For the record, the other signal mentioned in "Waking Life" is fine print. You can't read any text in a dream unless it's very large, so make a point of always trying to read fine print, everywhere you go. Sooner or later you'll encounter it in a dream and thus realize it's a dream.)

So last night, as one part of a very long and complicated dream, I encountered this phenomenon. For some reason I dreamed that I was in a large bedroom in a tower of some kind on a rainy, stormy night, and some of my friends were staying the night in that room. Kelly and Jackie slept in one bed, Matt and Jesse slept in another bed, and so on, maybe ten people total. After they all went to bed, I was to stay up a little longer to write something or do something, then go to bed myself. I did whatever it was I was going to do, then tried to turn off the lights. There were 8-10 lamps in the room, and I walked around, turning them all off. However, when I got to the final lamp, I clicked it off, and noticed that another light across the room was still on. When I turned that off, I again noticed that another light in the room was still on. This repeated a few more times, always with the light level in the room staying the same, no matter how many times I turned off the final lamp. Eventually I realized that it was some kind of magical spell and I needed Dumbledore's help to fix it and the dream morphed into the "Harry Potter" sequel, but I don't know what the fuck that was all about. All I know is that I experienced fixed light levels, and when I woke up at the end of this very long dream and realized what happened, I was overjoyed to personally discover that what "Waking Life" said was true. It was almost like discovering that something supernatural is true. Wow.

Now all I've got to do is recognize this phenomenon while asleep and not awake, and then I'll be all set. :-)


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