I have always had lucid dreams as far as I can remember.
As a child I had three reoccurring dreams based around events in my daily life.
The first was as a result of watching the evening news. Being born in the 60's, the lead news story in Australia was the Vietnam war. The rather graphic daily war images lead to a serial nightmare. The scenario was always similar, I was trapped on the front line with wave after wave of enemy troops advancing relentlessly.
I remember feeling totally powerless to stop them. Just as the advancing troops were close enough to over run me, I would become so terrifies that I'd be killed that I would stop the dream by waking up, normally crying hysterically in a pool of sweat.
The second dream involved a big black wolf. I'd say it was from my father's bedtime story telling of Little Red Riding Hood. The dream this story induced was of a large wolf chasing me around my garden. No matter how hard I tried I just could not get away from him. Just as the wolf was about to pounce I would stop the dream, waking up scared stiff.
The third dream was about the game of cricket which I played and loved. For me it was about trying to reach a milestone score in each cricket dream. The dream always ends with me being frustratingly close to the score I wanted to achieve but I could never get to it.
Not having any control over the ending of my dreams was a constant theme up until about 4 years ago.
About three years earlier I was participating in a group meditation class. Somehow we got onto the topic of dreams and the fear of dying. I clearly remember the teacher recounting a dream he had when he was young. At the time he was doing some laboring work on a demolition site. His recurring dream had him standing up high on a wall he was demolishing, he slips and falls. His automatic reaction to save himself from a nasty ending to his dream was to wake himself up just before he hits the ground.
After a few weeks of his reoccurring falling dream he built up the courage to allow himself to experience the impact he was avoiding. He lets the dream run it's full course and instead of being caught up in it he becomes the observer. When the part he was dreading confronts him he keeps dreaming, hitting the ground, to his delight nothing actually happens to him. He never has the same nightmare again. Facing his fear of dying in his dream somehow broke the cycle. He encourages us do the same if we encounter a similar dream situation.
So armed with that knowledge I was determined to give it a go next the time I consciously dreamt of a seemingly life or death scenario.
It was not until a fews years later that such a dream presented itself.
In my dream I find myself in a dark alley way surrounded by a dozen thugs. I'm struggling to stop myself from being overpowered, I'm feeling totally powerless as one assailant pulled out a pistol. I'm about to freakout when the pistol discharges, it's aimed right at my chest. I can see the bullet coming, so to regain control I was about to wake myself up, luckily I remembered to allow it to be, to surrender, as it's only a dream.
I watched the bullet enter my chest.
Instantaneously I was enveloped with a serene, intensely bright, warm white light.
All fear and the desire for control melts away.
Even as I write this today I can vividly see that pivotal dream moment. I feel the euphoric wave of emotion, I smile.
What happened next was pure bliss. I felt as light as air. I passed through to what I thought was another dimension while experiencing what could only be described as a wonderful whole body orgasm.
It was amazing.
I was no longer alone from a dualistic way of thinking, the experience had somehow created a feeling of greater depth and oneness. I felt safe and totally at peace.
The after effects inhabited my total being for days, my whole demeanor was relaxed, calm and reassured.
Ever since that night my lucid dreams have changed, I can choose their direction and outcome.
Today I also find many of my dreams give me useful insights and ideas that I can use in my day to day life.
If I go to bed with an unresolved issued I find that it then becomes the main theme of my dreaming that night. So as my dream cycle progresses so does the eventual solution. I awake the next morning with some great ideas.
I find the process works best after a good 8 hours of sleep.
Since facing death in my dream 4 years ago I am definitely more predisposed to an overriding positive attitude. I also trust and happily act on my initial instincts more often.
My wife and I once experimented with inducing lucid dreaming by putting the fresh leaves of the Mugwort plant under our pillow. I had read that the leaves could facilitate mystical and magnifying effects on lucid dreams.
The lucid dreams we both had were so strong and vivid that it did not actually allow a refreshing night's sleep. As a result we have not tried Mugwort again and I am more than content to let my dreams unfold naturally.