Lucidity Letter - December 1986 - Vol. 5, No. 2

Lucidity Letter

Letter from the Editor - Jayne Gackenbach



Section 1 – Healing: Speculations and Suggestions

Speculations on Healing with the Lucid Dream - Jayne Gackenbach

Healing Through Lucid Dreaming - Stephen LaBerge

Bio-Magnetic-Imaging: Implications for Healing – John Zimmerman

Section 2 – Phenomenology: Personal and Theoretical Considerations

Out-of-Body Epistemology - Thomas Metzinger  

Beyond Lucidity - A Personal Report - Ann Faraday

The Dream Lucidity Continuum - Kenneth Moss

Visual Phenomena After Sleeping or Resting - Darrell Dixon


Lucid Dreams and Migraine: A Second Investigation - Harvey Irwin

Lucid Dreaming, Witnessing Dreaming, and the Transcendental Meditation Technique: A Developmental Relationship - Jayne Gackenbach, Robert Cranson, and Charles Alexander


Letters to the Editor

Alan Worsley, Paul Tholey, Kitty Viceri, Doris Boggs

Book Reviews

Harvey Irwin's Flight of Mind.A Psychological Study of the Out-of-Body Experience – Reviewed by Susan Blackmore

Robert Monroe's Far JourneysReviewed by Roy Salley

Book Previews

Lucid Dreams: New Research on Consciousness During Sleep - Stephen LaBerge and Jayne Gackenbach

The Sun and the Shadow: My Experiment with Lucid Dreaming - Kenneth Kelzer

Chrysalis: An Anthology on Out-of-Body Experiences - Thomas Metzinger, Ernst Waelti and chapter contributors

Waking Up: Overcoming the Obstacles to Human Potential - Charles Tart

News and Notes

Lucid Dreaming Bibliographic Update

Call for Papers for Lucid Dreaming Satellite Symposium


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Letter from the Editor


Jayne Gackenbach, PhD.

Editor, Lucidity Letter


This issue marks another turning point in the evolution of Lucidity Letter. I have acquired a Macintosh Plus desk top publishing system which will allow me to edit and publish Lucidity Letter entirely on the computer and will allow the use of more sophisticated graphics in the presentation of the material. I hope you enjoy the new graphic look of Lucidity Letter as it was designed to enhance your reading pleasure.

In this issue the reader will find three sections of articles on dream lucidity and related experiences in consciousness; Healing, Phenomenology, and Research.  These are followed by Letters to the Editor, Book Reviews, and News and Notes. In this issue we are introducing a book preview section, that is summaries of books by the authors/editors which are forthcoming dealing with dream lucidity and related experiences in consciousness. 

Three articles on healing lead the issue. All are speculative pieces with the first two on lucid dreaming, one by myself and one by Stephen LaBerge, and third by John Zimmerman on Bio-Magnetic-Imaging.

The next section, titled Phenomenology, has four articles on phenomenological-theoretical approaches to dream lucidity, out-of-body-experiences and higher states of consciousness. An article by German philosopher Thomas Metzinger considers a philosophical perspective of the out-of-body-experience. This is followed by a discussion by Australian Ann Faraday of her experience with a higher state of consciousness. Then physician Kenneth Moss, of Wayne State University, offers a model of a continuum of lucid dream experiences. Finally, Darrell Dixon describes the visual phenomenology he experiences is association to sleep or rest.

The third set of articles are titled "Research" and include two empirical reports from ongoing research programs. Harvey Irwin of Australia reports further on the relationship between dream lucidity and migraine headaches. With two of my colleagues at Maharishi International University, Robert Cranson and Charles Alexander, I report on our research into the potential relationship between dream lucidity and transcendental meditation.

The Letters to the Editor section includes letters to the editor from Alan Worsley of England and Paul Tholey of West Germany. Worsley speculates about the spiritual nature of dream lucidity while Tholey reacts to and elaborates on his theory of dream lucidity.

Two books on the out-of-body experience are reviewed in this issue. Susan Blackmore of England reviews Harvey Irwin's Flight of Mind while Roy Salley of Virginia reviews Robert Monroe's Far Journeys. These reviews are followed by the new "Book Preview" section where four books are previewed. Stephen LaBerge and I summarize our forthcoming edited book, Lucid Dreams: New Research on Consciousness During Sleep, to be published by Plenum. This is followed by another book summary on dream lucidity. Kenneth Kelzer has just completed The Sun and the Shadow: My Experiment With Lucid Dreaming which will be coming out in early 1987 by the A.R.E. Press.

The next book previewed is an edited book on out-of-body-experiences from Germany, Chrysalis: An Anthology on Out-of-the-body Experiences. Editors Thomas Metzinger and Ernest Waelti as well as book contributors summarize their respective chapters. A brief preview of Charles Tart's new Waking Up closes this new section.

The last section in this issue is News and Notes and included here are over 30 additions to the lucid dream bibliography. You will also find here a call for papers for the second satellite symposium on dream lucidity and related consciousness issues to be held in conjunction with the annual meeting of the Association for the Study of Dreams in the metro-Washington, D.C. area during the first week in June, 1987. Also look in this issue for information on 1987 subscriptions, translations of articles on lucid dreams, and audiotapes of the first lucid dreaming symposium in 1985.

Lucidity Association, publisher of Lucidity Letter has received its nonprofit status from the state of Iowa and is in the process of having its application for such status reviewed by the IRS. Once this status is granted Lucidity Association hopes to launch an at home research project among other activities. Those of you interested in at home research on dream lucidity be sure to pick up a spring issue of OMNI magazine where such a project will be offered.


Jayne Gackenbach, Ph.D.

Editor, Lucidity Letter


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Articles: Healing: Speculations and Suggestions

Speculations on Healing with the Lucid Dream


Jayne Gackenbach

University of Northern Iowa


Have you ever had a dream where you knew you were dreaming while you were dreaming? This has come to be known as a lucid dream. Dream experiences of this nature are not new as references to them can be found in the Tibetan Buddhist literature as well as in early writings of western philosophers. More recent historical antecedents to the concept of the lucid dream have come from parapsychology, specifically from research and speculation about the out-of-body experience (OBE). Lucid dream researchers argue, however, that the OBE is a misinterpreted lucid dream - in other words you are having a dream and erroneously conclude you are awake.

In recent years the phenomenon of dream lucidity has been taken out of the metaphysical/philosophical realm and into the sleep laboratory. Starting with the ground breaking work of LaBerge, six independent sleep laboratories have successfully demonstrated that the lucid dream occurs during unequivocal REM sleep. The accepted technique for demonstrating the context of dream lucidity is to have the dreamer signal with a prearranged sequence of eye movements when they know they are dreaming. This "signal" is read by the sleep laboratory technician monitoring the polygraph and the dreamer is awoken. The verbal reports of these lucid dreamers have been found to concur with the polygraphic data. That is, the dreamer claims they knew they were asleep and dreaming and they signaled to the technician who correctly read the signal and woke up the dreamer.


Just what is this paradoxical experience?


Conscious while unconscious challenges our very concept of these terms. Physiologically, LaBerge and others have shown that the lucid dream seems to be a highly aroused state within the REM period. Sleep researchers know that the REM state is one of relatively high arousal as evidenced by irregular breathing and other changes in physiological arousal indicates. During the lucid dream LaBerge has shown that the dreamer is significantly more aroused than during normal REM sleep.

However, recent work on this dream makes one pause to ask, "Is it more than a dream?" As noted, the research of LaBerge and others on dream lucidity has challenged our traditional concepts of the unconscious. With the lucid dream we have an unconscious individual (sound asleep) who is at the same time conscious (knows they are dreaming).  Recent research seems to imply that although the majority of these experiences occur in REM sleep there are clearly physiological differences between lucid and nonlucid REM experiences. For instance, eye movement during ordinary dreaming rarely parallels the eye movement tracking that would go on if the eyes were following the dream events, but during the lucid dream there is a clear one to one correspondence between eye movements and the intention of the dreamer and the pattern of dream events.

Eye movements are not the only physiological system that clearly parallels the dreamers intention while lucid. Worsley and his colleagues in England as well as the LaBerge group have shown a remarkable range of changes in physiological systems that parallel the intention and/or the dreaming experience of the lucid dreamer. This has implications for healing which will be considered shortly.

A finding by Browloski in Texas sheds the most light on the notion that dream lucidity may be "more than a dream". He measured the H-reflex while in the lucid dream state. The suppression of the H-reflex is known to be a key indicate of presence of the REM state of sleep as during REM sleep we are paralyzed from the neck down so that the H-reflex is stifled. This body paralyses does not occur during any other time of the sleep cycle nor, obviously, while awake. During the lucid dream state in REM Browloski found that the H-reflex was significantly more suppressed than during nonlucid REM sleep. The implication seems to be that during the lucid state you are not moving toward deeper sleep nor are you moving toward awakening (as the significantly higher arousal signs while lucid might indicate) but rather you are moving toward "more dreaming"!

Finally, recent work by LaBerge adds another wrinkle to this already complex picture of the lucid dream. He found that eye movements while in the lucid dream were significantly more like eye movements while awake and fantasizing than like eye movements while in nonlucid dreams. So while lucid we are "more dreaming" yet we respond to this experience as though it were real!

Now that some of the physiological characteristics of the lucid dream have been considered lets turn to a brief discussion of the psychological characteristics of this dream. This question has been the focus of my research into the lucid dream. My goal has been to determine what is a "normal" lucid dream experience. I've found that dream lucidity is typically characterized by the presence of auditory phenomena such as sounds, voices and singing. This is not generally the case with the nonlucid dream experience, which is predominantly visual. There also seem to be more touching and body-orientation activities, although fewer dream characters, during lucid dreaming than during nonlucid dreaming. Not surprisingly, we have also found that while knowing you are dreaming, you tend to engage in more cognitive or thought-like activities than when you are ignorant of the true nature of your state. This is specifically manifested in the success with which lucid dreamers are able to control the content of their dreams while they are ongoing. This latter finding lie the implications for both psychological and physiological healing.


Implications for Healing: Psychological


The bulk of the work to date on the potential psychotherapeutic applications of dream lucidity has been done by Paul Tholey of West Germany. Unfortunately most of his work is, as yet, in German but enough has crossed the Atlantic to make us appreciate the potential of the lucid dream. His work is based in the theoretical assumptions of Gestalt psychology that the personality is capable of self-healing and growth. He points out:

lucid dreams have proven to be helpful. One can discern unconscious conflicts and contribute to solving them during these dreams, through the dream ego's appropriate behavior. With regard to diagnosis and therapy, conciliatory interaction with threatening dream figures seems to be of special importance (p. 2; Tholey, in press).


Tholey emphasizes the role of dream characters in helping the dreamer deal with psychological problems by giving advice or acting out dream situations.

However, Tholey's approach is predicated on the assumption of dream control while lucid. Worsley, the first person to ever signal in the sleep laboratory that he knew he was dreaming, argues that there are some limits to the extent of ones dream control. However, others have argued that limits on dream control may simply be a function of the dreamers expectations. In other words, if you think there is a limitation to what you can do there will be a limitation. But the important point is that you do have some control over the dream while lucid.

Is that control beneficial? Critics argue that if you start controlling your dreams, they are going to lose their spontaneity and you will lose a rich source of psychological self-information. But, if as Worsley has argued, you can't have complete control and such control is not entirely a function of  expectation, perhaps even while lucid there remains a "dream generator" continuing to have a significant influence on the dream. It may be that, as while awake, even though we are conscious we are still sometimes amazed at the things we say and do.

Thus there is potential through the lucid dream for the nightmare sufferer or the self explorer to learn to identify his or her experience as a dream while it is ongoing and to either wake him-or-herself up in the case of the nightmare or to change the dream in the case of the self explorer. Some clinicians suggest that you should confront nightmare imagery while it is ongoing and try to work with it while others urge you to try to make a peace offering or to share love. Yet others argue that passive, quiet, peaceful observation of the events of the dream constitutes the proper perspective.


Implications for Healing: Physiological


Working with your lucid dreams may also have implications for healing the body as well as the mind. (Editors note: See the LaBerge article for more details on these possibilities.) We know that waking imagery techniques can be used to treat, for example, cancer patients. A person will be told to image that his while blood cells are soldiers killing deadly cancer tissues. The patient is led through these guided imagery exercises while awake and then practices them on his own (see Simonton et al.'s "Getting Well Again and Achterberg's "Imagery in Healing"). Although these procedures are controversial there is some indication that they may be effective. They are especially effective, it appears, with children because their imagery is extremely vivid. As adults we generally lose the ability to become totally absorbed in our fantasies. Dream imagery continues to provide a rich source of "realistic" imaginations, for when you dream you are climbing a mountain that mountain is real in every sense of the word. You can touch it. You can smell the trees. You can see the rocks. You can fall on the side of it and feel the pain! All of our senses are convinced that it is a mountain. This sense of the "reality" of the dream mountain is not lost when you realize that it is a dream. You simply gain some control over that mountain.

It may be that we can take the same waking imagery techniques used in healing cancer patients, teach the person to have lucid dreams and apply these techniques during this much more vivid imaginal state. To my knowledge this has not been tested, but is certainly worth investigating.




Tholey, P. (in press). Review of a program of psychotherapeutic application of lucid dreaming. In J.I. Gackenbach & S. LaBerge (Eds.), Lucid dreaming: New research on consciousness during sleep. N.Y. Plenum.


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Healing Through Lucid Dreams


Stephen LaBerge

Stanford University & Saybrook Institute


According to Jaffe and Bresler (1980), “mental imagery mobilizes the latent, inner powers of the person, which have immense potential to aid in the healing process and in the promotion of health.” We believe this statement applies a fortiori to lucid dreaming, a state that possesses the most vivid imagery possible. In the following, we will survey potential applications of lucid dreaming to healing.


Health and Healing


In general terms, we conceive of health as the ability of the human being to respond adaptively to the challenges of life (cf. Dubos, 1978). Adaptive responses mean viable responses: those that do not disrupt the integrity i.e., wholeness or health of the person. This involves more than a mere homeostasis--if the life situation is sufficiently demanding, a healthy response will include personal growth and learning. Since these environmental challenges occur on all levels of the hierarchical organization of the person, from cellular to social, and we are speaking of the whole person’s responses, our concept of health is necessarily holistic.

In these terms, maladaptive responses are unhealthy ones and healing refers to any processes correcting for the disrupted integrity of the person. In this sense, any healthy response, by definition leads to improved systemic integration, and hence is a healing process.


The Natural Healing Function of Sleep and Dreams


We believe that one of the major functions served by sleep and dreams is recuperation and adaptation. Sleep, as a time of relative isolation from environmental challenges, allows the person to recover optimal health or, to repeat, the ability to respond adaptively.

The healing processes of sleep are again, holistic, taking place on all levels of the system. On the higher levels (psychological and social), these self-regulatory functions are normally accomplished during dreams. We say “normally” because due to maladaptive mental attitudes and habits, dreams do not always accomplish their functions, as can be seen in the case of nightmares. We do not view nightmares as masochistic with fulfillments, but rather as the result of unhealthy reactions. The anxiety experienced in such dreams is, in fact, an indication of the failure of the process to function effectively.

Lucidity, allowing as it does flexibility and creative response, presents a means of resolving dream conflicts and hence fosters a return to effective self-regulation. This is the basis of our approach to healing through lucid dreaming: to facilitate the person’s self-healing mechanisms by means of intentional imagery on the mental level.

The following dream illustrates the self-integrative potential of lucid dreams:


I am in the middle of a riot in the classroom. A furious mob is raging about throwing chairs and fighting. Most of them are Third World types and one of them has a hold on me--he is huge with a pock marked face and repulsive. I realize that I’m dreaming and stop struggling. I find love in my heart and look him in the eyes, and, while holding his hands, speak to him in a loving way, trusting my intuition to supply the beautiful words of acceptance that flow out of me. As I do so, he melts into me; the riot has vanished, the dream fades, and I awaken feeling wonderfully calm and “together”.


That this is a healing dream is clear on several levels. First, the initial conflict, an unhealthy condition of stress, was resolved positively. Secondly, the dreamer was able to reintegrate the ogre, a part of himself, and third, we have the direct evidence of the feeling of increased wholeness and well-being experienced upon awakening.

The use of dreams for healing was widespread in the ancient world. The sick would sleep in temples of healing, seeking dreams that would themselves cure or at least diagnose the illness and suggest a remedy. We mention dream “incubation” as a reminder that healing through lucid dreaming is a partly new and partly old idea.

Incidentally, the contrary of our thesis that positive dream imagery facilitates health, i.e., that negative dream imagery contributes to illness, has been hypothesized by Levitan (1980). He studied repetitive traumatic dreams in psychosomatic patients. These dreams typically involved injury to the body of the dreamer. Levitan suggested that “the repetitive experience of consummated trauma contributes to the malfunctioning of the physiological systems, and therefore, to the production of illness.”



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Articles: Healing: Speculations and Suggestions

Bio-Magnetic-Imaging: Healing Implications


John Zimmerman

University of Colorado


A new field of scientific investigation called bioelectromagnetics, involves the interaction of living beings with electromagnetic fields. A major area of development within it is in Bio-Magnetic-Imaging (BMI).  This is an ultrahigh technology research and development effort designed to detect and display the dynamically changing patterns of magnetic field energy surrounding a living organism.  The final display of the system will resemble a multicolored pattern of energy fields having the shape of the body being scanned.       

The investigation of human energy fields with the BMI will allow us to objectively determine whether or not this type of energy, known to surround the human being, is at all related to what some sensitive people see or feel as "the aura".  We fully anticipate that such detailed biomagnetic studies of the living human being will permit the color graphic display of the location of acupuncture meridian lines or channels of energy flow within the body not related to the nervous system.  Some speculation exists whether or not such biomagnetic images will allow the visualization of more controversial energy centers called Cakras.  A shielded room and the Bio-Magnetic-Imaging system are planned to be used to investigate the bio-magnetic correlates of alternative forms of healing such as touch therapy, acupuncture, chiropractic manipulation, rolfing, structural integration, massage, pressure point manipulation, etc.  I have been doing some preliminary investigation of the very weak magnetic fields associated with touch therapy or "laying on of hands," passing the hands over specific parts of the body while focusing the mind.  I invited trained practitioners of therapeutic touch and polarity therapy to be measured by a magnetic field sensor as they worked with clients.  When the practitioners went to work, I detected distinct changes in the electromagnetic fields around their bodies.  I replicated this four times but failed to replicate it three times.       

These signals seem to have something to do with the alpha and theta waves we've seen in the brain.  My theory is that the healers tune into their patients' electromagnetic field, then adjust their own currents to produce resonant patterns.  When the two systems have the same fundamental resonant frequency, information is exchanged between them.    

Research also planned will focus the Bio-Magnetic-Imager on normals and cancer patients to enable us to study differences in the body's energy field in health and disease.  One of the major goals of this work will be early cancer detection. 

Another potential application of this technology is to develop practical and clinically useful devices.  One device is at the prototype stage, a transthorasic heart stimulator.  Another device for controlling epilepsy has been conceptualized.  We will capitalize upon the results of research which has shown that weak alternating magnetic fields are useful in speeding the healing of broken bones.  Logical extensions of this concept could guide this work towards the creation of instrumentation to allow the fusion of severed spinal cords potentially resulting in giving paraplegics and quadriplegics a chance to regain the use of their limbs.  Further work along the same lines should ultimately result in an understanding of such fundamental biological processes as embryologic development and limb regeneration.  If you have further questions regarding the projects or the activities of BMI, please feel free to contact me at: 4200 East 9th Avenue, Box C268, Denver, Colorado 80262.


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Articles: Phenomenology: Personal and Theoretical Considerations

Out-of-Body Epistemology


Thomas Metzinger

University of Frankfurt


This is Major Tom to ground control: I'm stepping through the door and I'm floating in a most peculiar way and the stars look very different today...”  (David Bowie)


One of the most boring questions to be asked in the context of out-of- body-experiences (OBE) and lucid dreams (LD) is: "Are these experiences real?"  This question is boring, because it is undecidable and therefore meaningless from a scientific point of view.  The properties this question asks for, i.e. `reality' or, one level deeper: `objectivity', are not accessible to intersubjective verification: There is no experiment and no testing method by which we could find out if something is `real'. `Real' is a metaphysical predicate.  It does not appear in scientific sentences.

The following question which comes to mind in face of the literature on OBEs is already more interesting: "Why do all authors and researchers in this field seem to very clearly belong to one of the two camps of either separationists or reductionists and why are they fighting each other tooth and nail?" The reason for this can only be that most of us are primarily interested in psychological profit when dealing with OBEs and not in understanding.  We are looking for scientific proofs to support our intuitions or the things we have always wanted to believe.

Some are hoping to find a scientific proof for the existence of a soul or an unchangeable, imperishable core of the human being (which is nonsense, because a second or 'astral' body would, if it existed, be a conceivably bad aspirant for a component of ourselves, which were independent of time and space).  Their main motives may be the fear of death and the search for a guarantee of meaning.

Others have always known that all this is `only in the brain' - perhaps because materialism or some misunderstood rationalism plays the role of a substitute for religion in their psychological ecomony.  This idea, that thoughts, feelings and OBEs should be 'only in the brain' is, of course, nonsense too - or rather an inadmissible jump across descriptive levels with an exchange of logical subjects.  It is persons which can have feelings and OBEs - not brains!

I certainly do not want to moralize.  Nothing is wrong with dealing with OBEs and altered states of consciousness for the sole purpose of psychological profit.  However, this will rarely

further our understanding.

At this point we come to the first really interesting question. I would phrase it: ``Where does one see the actual epistemological challenge of OBEs?  What is the core of the methodological problem posed by these experiences?'' 

As we saw above it can not be the question of reality or objectivity. In trying to understand the OBE, the issue can only be one of intersubjective verification.  One of the mistakes in research on OBEs is in trying to look for intersubjectivity only on the level of normal waking consciousness, the `in-the-body' state.  The essential epistemological problem consists, to my mind, in establishing intersubjectivity on the level of the out-of-body- state. That may sound like philosophy in the bad sense of the word, but it isn't - because it has direct practical implications.  We must at last penetrate into the area of collective OBEs.  A serious and respectable science must not confine itself to only operating from waking consciousness.  It has to expand that kind of activity which is its essence - the production and testing of intersubjectively verifiable sentences - into the field of

altered states of consciousness (cf., Tart, 1972).


Models of Reality and Their Content


There is another point that looks pretty trivial from a philosophical point of view.  Not only in science do we never deal with `reality', also in our own experiencing we are never confronted with `real properties', but with what philosophers like to call `phenomenal qualities'.  On the level of experience we are only inhabiting a phenomenal body - when in the out-of-body state penetrating the walls of the neighboring house in an etheric double and watching our neighbor having a shower as well as when meeting him/her in the supermarket the next day and ...nodding to him/her. Out of a set of sensory input our brain constructs a body image which represents shape, position, weight, size and solidity of the body. In the waking state only a small portion of the overall amount of properties of our body finds its way into the self-perception of our phenomenal body. That is, we don't feel anything of the activity of our liver or our marrow, just as we are aware of the activity of our brain only on the symbolic level, but never on the signal or neuronal level.  Recently the phenomenal body life has been spoken about by Tholey (Tholey, in preparation) or and about models of it by Blackmore (Blackmore 1982; 1984; 1986; in preparation).

What many do not understand is that you have said almost nothing with the hypothesis that OBEs are just a model of reality and of our self.  On the level of our own experience we are always and only moving in mental space, no matter whether we do so by using the model "Waking State" or the model "Out-of-Body-Experience" (Attention; This does not imply idealism!) LaBerge has made this point clear: "Where 'we' are when we experience anything at all -- OBEs included -- is in mental space  (LaBerge 1985; p.220-221)."  But LaBerges claim "The mind is not merely its own

place, the mind is its only place." (loc.cit.) go a bit too far (Attention:  This implies idealism!).

The crucial point is to find out the epistemic content of the mental models of reality in question by asking: "How high is the content of intersubjectively verifiable information of the model?"  Thus the model "Dreamless Sleep" is a model without any content, the model "Non-Lucid Dream" would be a model with content but with very low or no epistemic value and the model "Waking State" would be characterized by a comparably high amount of intersubjectively verifiable information - although it still usually represents far less that 1% of the information potentially accessible to us in a given situation.

Let us fix the epistemic content of non-lucid dreams at 0 and the epistemic content of the waking state as being of the value 1. Then the reductionist's thesis is: "The epistemic content of the

model 'OBE' equals 0" whereas the separationist's thesis is: "The epistemic content of the model 'OBE' equals (at least) 1".  My personal opinion is that the epistemic content of the OBE-model

ranges somewhere between 1 and 0 and that this specific model of reality presents so many difficulties to us because, contrary to most other models we know, its content varies so much.

If one holds a psychological theory, such as Sue Blackmore's (e.g. Blackmore 1982) to be true, and claims the epistemic content of all OBEs to be zero because all input is generated internally, one finds oneself in an uncomfortable situation.  One has to categorically deny all indications of a higher epistemic content of single OBEs in the literature and must be prepared for an enormous discussion of empirical details.  It is not my aim to enter into this discussion here, but I do find it quite debatable to proceed in such a way at the present state of investigations.

The thesis that all OBEs always have an epistemic content of 1 seems just as problematical.  One classical phenomenon - the so-called "false awakening" - shows very clearly how frequently

misrepresentations occur. The phenomenology of OBEs contains enough bizarre elements (especially when looking at transition-phases into other models) to put even tough-minded separationists on the spot.

Another factor adds to the complication, a large amount of the information represented in the reality-model "OBE" does not refer to the world of the waking state, to Robert Monroes "Locale I". Of course we can try to let subjects traveling in the out-of-body-state make verifiable observations within the 'normal' world.  But when we are concerned about all those excursions into "heavenly" and "extra-terrestrial" realms – how can we verify the epistemic content of the model when only operating out of the model "Waking State" ourselves?  Thus saying that all these experiences in the other "Locales" were mere hallucinations and contained no information whatsoever would be nothing but plain ideological dogmatism.

The solution to this problem can only lie in establishing intersubjectivity on the level of the reality-model "OBE".  As mentioned above it has to be determined if these "higher planes" can be perceived by a number of people in the out-of-body-state at the same time and independently of each other. Because even if there was a proof that there is no correct representation of the 'physical' world in this model, it would not follow that its epistemic content is zero relating to the extra-terrestrial locales.  For two reasons lucid dreams become interesting at this point.

First, the practical implication from all this is that we should concentrate on the search for the trigger-mechanism of the OBE - so that scientists learn at last to consciously and deliberately

step into the mental spaces which they investigate.  At the present stage and given our specific hardware-configuration the probability of transition from the model "LD" into the model

"OBE" seems to be the highest of all models known to us.  A thorough analysis of the factors regulating transition is required.

Secondly the problem of intersubjectivity arises again.  Imagine you are having a long and stable LD during which you visit a scientific conference on altered models of reality.  When trying to explain to the scientists in the dream that none of them possess a consciousness of their own (cf., Tholey, 1985) and that they are nothing but semiautonomous software- subsystems of yourself, the dreamer, they burst out into a roar of laughter. The scientists in the dream reply that nothing of what you mentally represent within your waking-state-model is intersubjectively verifiable for them - because none of them can wake up with you. Furthermore, they would never consider the simple fact that you can obviously perform miracles in their world to be a proof for the theory that they all merely exist in your consciousness.  How could you prove to your dream colleagues (and to yourself) that there exists a model of reality called "waking state" with a considerably higher epistemic content (waking up is no proof!)?  How can you prove to yourself that you are not a semi- autonomous software-subsystem within a model of reality of quite low epistemic content right now?


Lucidity and Subjectivity


What actually do we mean by lucidity?  From a philosophical point of view it definitely is a quality of consciousness and has nothing to do with the amount of information processed (cf.,

Tart, 1985; p. 15).  We are able to process a maximum of information without becoming lucid towards a model.

I have been talking about the epistemic content of models.  In the context of that quality called "lucidity" we deal with its semantic content, with its meaning.  One has understood the meaning of a model when one says (or existentially experiences), "Oh, I am not at all 'in reality'!  This is all just a model of reality!"  In this moment on has become lucid, but there are two

types of lucidity:


  1. a)      "L1-lucidity": It consists in realizing that one is in a certain reality-model now.  In deep sleep L1-lucidity causes transition into the model "wake sleep" (the yogi's 'jagrat-sushupti').  In a dream, it causes the emergence of a stable subject capable of deliberate action.  In waking- state, it means the end of naive realism and an increase in awareness of the 'meditative' kind. During OBEs, L1-lucidity prevents our experiential contents from being transformed into the dream model and also prevents a naive interpretation of the event as "flight of the soul" etc.
  2. b)      "L2-lucidity": It consists of the realization that the perceiving subject (which became L1-lucid) is itself nothing more than a subsystem of the whole model – its self-model.  L2-lucidity can only come into being when there is a stable subject which holds itself to be real or "epistemically substantial" in a naive sense.


Two points seem interesting here.  One is the model-independence of the quality called "lucidity" while the other is understanding the meaning of L2-lucid models of reality.  If the self-models collapses realizing its own emptiness - what is represented by the new "mystical" model

(no intersubjectivity)?  Is it still a model at all?




Blackmore, S.J. (1982). Beyond the body. London: New York: Granada.


Blackmore, S.J. (1984). A psychological theory of the out-of-body-experience. Journal of Parapsychology, 48, 201-218.


Blackmore, S.J. (1986). Who am I? Changing models of reality in meditation.  In G. Claxton (Ed.), Beyond therapy. London: Wisdom.


Blackmore, S.J. (in preparation). Models of reality and the OBE: Have we  been asking the wrong questions?. In T. Metzinger & E.R. Waelti (Eds.), Chrysalis: An anthology on out-of-the-body-experiences.


Davidson, D. (1970). Mental events. In L. Foster & J.W. Swanson (Eds.), Experience and theory. Massachusetts: University of Massachusetts Press.


Irwin, H.J. (1985). Flight of mind: A Psychological study of the out-of- body-experience. Metuchen: Scarecrow Press.


LaBerge, S. (1985). Lucid dreaming. Los Angeles: J.P.Tarcher.


Metzinger, T. (1985). Neurere beitrage zur diskussion des leib-seele-problems. Frankfurt/Bern/New York.


 Tart, C. (1972). States of consciousness and state-specific sciences.  Science, 176, 1203-1210.


Tart, C. (1985). What do we mean by 'Lucidity'? Lucidity Letter, 4(2), 12-  17.


Tholey, P. (in preparation). Die entfaltung des bewuBtseins als weg zur  schopferischen freiheit - Vom Traumer zum Krieger. In T. Metzinger & E.R. Waelti (Eds.), Chrysalis: An

anthology on out-of-the-body-experiences.


 Tholoy, P. (1985). Haben traumgestalten ein bewuBtsein? Eine experimentell-phanomenologische klartraumstudie. Gestalt Theory, 7, 29-46.


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Articles: Phenomenology: Personal and Theoretical Considerations

Beyond Lucidity – A Personal Report


Ann Faraday

St Andrew’s College, University of Sidney


In the December 1985 issue of Lucidity Letter my husband John Wren-Lewis described a radical and continuing change of consciousness following an near-death experience (NDE) which gave him a new perspective for understanding dream-processes, including lucid dreaming.  In the same issue Charles Tart, Harry Hunt, George Gillespie and Michael Grosso used John's observations as a basis for discussing a number of issues which have been prominent in Lucidity Letter since its inception, such as the range of meanings which can be attached to the term 'lucidity', and possible relationships between lucid dreaming and meditation.  My purpose in writing this present note is to describe a very unusual sleep-experience of my own in October 1985 (shortly after John's article had been sent off but before I knew of the other comments) which casts new light on some of these issues.

We were staying in an old Christchurch manor during a very rushed working tour of New Zealand when I picked up Bhagwan Shree Rajneesh's The Book of the Secrets and read the chapter on 'devices for transcending dreaming 'before going to sleep one night.  In it Rajneesh suggests that the famous' self-remembering' techniques used by Gurdjieff can be adapted to achieve dream lucidity by taking a clear sense of identity into sleep.  So, as instructed, I dutifully repeated the words "I am, I am, I am..." only to wake up several hours later laughing because Rajneesh and Gurdjieff had got it all wrong; the truth was much more like "I am NOT."  I was emerging from a state of consciousness without any 'I', and experience without and experiencer - a condition that sounds like a total contradiction when described in ordinary words, yet had a reality that made 'Ann' seem like a mere figment of the imagination.

Indeed the very process of 're-entry' felt much like being dreamed into existence, as all the personal bits and pieces - hopes, fears, loves, hates, achievements, goals, opinions - were gradually re-collected, not around any central core of 'Ann,' but actually producing the entity known as Ann, who felt to be no more than a bundle of memories.  There was incredible liberation in realizing that this whole collection had no more permanent significance than a knot in a string or the inside of a clenched fist.

I feel sure this was the classic mystical 'Void' experience which was also the core of John's NDE, though I can now confirm what he and many others have said, that until it happens any efforts to conceptualize it are totally wide of the mark.  It was in no way a blissful or peak experience in any sense that I have ever understood or known, since these have always involved an 'I' who does the experiencing, even though this 'I' is imagined or felt to be bigger or better than the normal self.  The phrase 'Only one sky', which was with me on waking, made sense for the first time - not an 'I' perceiving or even merging into the Clear Sky, but Only Clear Sky.  I also realized that my efforts at spiritual growth had merely produced a firmer knot, and that my battle with ego had been mere shadow-boxing exercises against a mirage with no real existence.

While the Void-experience undeniably fulfilled Rajneesh's promise of 'transcending dreaming,' it was nothing like any lucid dream I have ever had or seen described in the literature, not even the 'Tart-style' dream with full consciousness of the body in bed etc..  In fact, I have deliberately not called it a dream because it was devoid of all those cognitive qualities in terms of which dreaming is usually defined.  George Gillespie writes of using the lucid dream state to perform a Tibetan-type meditative exercise of 'removing content' in an attempt to reach a Void-experience, but as he describes it, the very process of 'removing content' would seem to confirm the 'I' who is doing the removing and therefore to lead in absolutely the opposite direction.

So I would confirm John's conclusion, affirmed in Michael Grosso's comment, that the altered state of consciousness which mystics speak of as 'liberation' or 'awakening from the life-dream' is something qualitatively different from 'witness-consciousness' either waking or in lucid dreaming. On the mundane level of lucid dream research, I would very much agree with Charles Tart about the need for fuller discussion of terminology, since even the apparently simple statement "I knew I was dreaming" begs the question, "Just who is the 'I' knowing this?"

My reservations about the kind of 'lucid dream meditation' described by Gillespie would apply just as much to any other kind of meditation.  As Krishnamurti points out repeatedly in his writings, the very nature of meditation as an activity which I perform must confirm the 'I'.  So I would plead with Hunt, Tart and others for much more critical caution about using the term 'meditation' as if it could be simply equated with mystical awakening.  While I do not doubt that meditators may come to such awakening, I wonder very much whether this is any straight forward result of their meditative efforts, any more than the Christchurch experience was a straightforward result of the Rajneesh exercise, which was actually intended to yield dream lucidity with a firmer sense of 'I'.

This brings me to what is perhaps the most interesting conclusion to be drawn from the experience, a very encouraging one for dreamers generally, namely that in some curious way the sleeping brain or psyche seems to have 'known better' than my conscious intention.  In everything I have written about dreams, I have emphasized that the psyche can be even more creative in attempting to complete the day's unresolved problems while asleep than when awake (not at all in the very limited sense of a day residue Zeigarnick effect, Freudian wishfulfillment or Jungian compensation, as Hunt seems to think in his comment on John's article.)  And the Christchurch experience confirms this even though it wasn't exactly a dream, for it shows the sleeping psyche picking up an unrecognized presleep concern ("Who exactly is this 'I' of the 'I am' exercise?) and completing it in a way my waking mind could never have conceived.

I cannot really believe that my brief somewhat perfunctory repetition resulted directly in a transformation of consciousness, and I wonder whether Gurdjieff and Rajneesh, both trickster par excellence, ever meant it to be a centering exercise, though they knew it would have to sell itself to the ego in that guise.  Perhaps they really meant it to function as a koan, hoping that on occasion at least it would so deeply confuse the mind's self-referencing habits that they would be transcended.  Whether that was the intention or not, it certainly worked that way for me in Christchurch, possibly helped by endless discussions on the nature of the Void since John's NDE; and it has given me, as the NDE gave John, an entirely new basis both for daily living and for future work with dreams.I share the story here primarily in the hope of stimulating some of the new way of thinking about consciousness emphasized by Tart as the major need for future research in the whole field of psychology.


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Articles : Phenomenology: Personal and Theoretical Considerations

The Dream Lucidity Continuum


Kenneth Moss

Wayne State University


Dream lucidity occurs along a continuum of subjectively experienced lucidity. Lucidity can fluctuate in a dream and this can be in response to the intentions of the dreamer.  The continuum runs from varying degrees of partial lucidity to full lucidity and to possible advanced states.   

Lucidity is defined as being suffused with light and luminous.  This has been applied to subjective mental experience to imply the quality or state of having a clear mind.  One general usage of the term is in the medical mental status examination (MSE).  A patient is commonly reported as being "lucid and orientated to person, place and time." While the definitions and common usage of the term seem absolute there are some considerations that challenge this impression.  Lucidity is actually a bracket of variations. People that experience certain "altered states" often feel that they are now lucid and that their previous lucidity was in fact clouded.  The MSE type of lucidity makes no reference to this.  It refers only to the conventional range. However, it does define a general state along a continuum that leads to a feeling of full lucidity.   

The lucid dream may resemble waking consciousness but may have its own characteristics.  Comparisons should be done cautiously but may identify parallel situations.  Lucidity in waking consciousness can usually be identified my markers such as the orientation to person, place and time.  In dreams the marker of lucidity is usually the awareness that one is dreaming. The level and content of consciousness are related.  Deficiencies in cognitive functioning do not necessarily disqualify one from being lucid but may indicate a level for the particular individual.  Differences among individuals are also important.   

Many investigators have referred to degrees of lucidity and possibility of a continuum (Gillespie, 1984; Hillman, 1984; & Tart, 1985).  Worsley (1984) has reported fluctuations in lucidity due to selective attention during task performance.  Moffitt, Purcell, Hoffman, Wells, and Pigeau (1985) have described a self-reflectiveness scale.   


The Continuum


The range of the dream lucidity continuum is hypothetically infinite. Usual experience occurs within a conventional range which leads to an experience of full lucidity.  At the bottom of this range is non-lucidity.  Even generally considered non-lucid dreams may have some minor awareness and this is the beginning of partial lucidity.  At these low levels it may be weakly appreciated and the dream is essentially non-lucid.  This is experienced as a non-lucid dream phase.  As these changes become more noticeable lucidity is increased.  Within the context of an ongoing dream sequence this level of partial lucidity is experienced by the dreamer as a sublucid dream phase.  A prelucid dream phase is a sublucid phase that is being developed.  What the dreamer experiences as lucidagogic induction is attainment of the lucid dream threshold.  The dreamer's state is advanced along the continuum and is definitely consolidated, clearer and has a  strong tendency to lead to the awareness that one is dreaming.  The dreamer may still feel deficient.  This level leads to a functionally lucid dream  phase.  Although, there may be deficiencies the dreamer can usually function in a standard manner.  This would often include Tart's (1984) definition of "dream-awareness dreaming" and Gillespie's (1985) description of an "ordinary lucid dream."  Towards the upper level of partial lucidity is essentially full lucidity in which the deficits are minor.  Above this level is conventionally full lucidity in which the dreamer feels complete.  These last two levels lead to a fully lucid dream phase.  This roughly corresponds with Tart's (1985) definition of "absolute-but-conventionally-limited lucidity."  The dreamer may also experience a transformation of  lucidity beyond its conventional parameters.  This beyond conventionally full lucidity leads to a metalucid dream phase.  Tart's (1985) description of "absolute lucidity" map be an example of this.  A given lucid dream could enter at any stage along this continuum that is above the threshold.  It can then fluctuate up or down the continuum.  One can shift to a certain level without apparently experiencing the interceding phases.  An accented lucid dream phase is a state that is being developed.  The lucid dreamer can effect the level of lucidity through direct or indirect methods.   




Lucidity of the self-awareness sphere is derived from the process of  reflectiveness.  The dreamer becomes differentiated in the dream.  Significant associations are the perception of imagery information, cognitive and memory processing, volitional mentation and insight.  Lucidity precedes the knowledge of dreaming (Gillespie, 1982; Hillman, 1984).  The knowledge is a manifestation of this mental state.  It also has additional consolidating, functioning and accenting effects.  Hence, it serves both as a lucid marker and as a lucid organizer.   

Dreams that do not have this marker but do have a developed mentality are lucid variants.  In a questioned variant the dream is questioned on a basis other than it being a dream.  For instance, one dream I questioned its reality but concluded it was a film and even began to edit it.  In a reflective variant the dreamer seems to have reflective self-awareness but it does not lead to the knowledge of dreaming.  This is similar to dreams in which one has the knowledge of dreaming but feels it is unimportant and pursues a different line of investigation.  The focused attention to this knowledge naturally fluctuates and it may be forgotten without losing the process.  Also in accented lucidity simple orientation may become a minor consideration.  These explanations may also apply to the clarity variant in which the dreamer emphasizes a clearness of mentation.  Since clarity may precede knowledge there would be a transitional stage which would lead to the marker unless it was arrested or interrupted (such as by an alarm that awakens the dreamer).  This is a broken variant and could also explain many of these variants.  These variants may actually be sublucid phases in some cases.   

Paradoxical variants are those that have the marker but not the apparently required mental state.  In a baseline variant the dreamer has the marker but feels no change from the ongoing dream.  This could be a sublucid phase.  It could also be due to an accompanying small increment.  In a clouded variant the dreamer has the marker but the consciousness still appears to be clouded.  This could also be a sublucid phase.  Uncertainty in a sphere outside of self-awareness could result in perplexity.  In similar situations I have been able to attempt a developmental technique which can readily shift to full lucidity.  Hence, these variants may sometimes be a low-level functional lucidity.   




Gillespie, G. (1982). Lucidity language: A personal observation. Lucidity Letter, 1(4), 5-6. (Bound Back Issues, pp.25-26). 


Gillespie, G. (1984). Can we distinguish between lucid dreams and dreaming awareness dreams? Lucidity Letter, 3(2), 9-11. (Bound Back Issues, pp.95-97).


Gillespie, G. (1985). Comments on "Dream lucidity and near-death experiences--A personal report", by John Wren-Lewis. Lucidity Letter, 4(2), 21-24.


Hillman, D. (1984). Lucid dream consciousness: A subjective account. Dream Network Bulletin, 3(5), 1-5. 


Moffitt, A., Purcell, S., Hoffman, R., Wells, R., & Pigeau, R. (1985).  Single-mindedness and self-reflectiveness: Laboratory studies. Lucidity Letter, 4(1), 5-6. (Bound Back Issues, pp.121-122.


Tart, C. (1984). Terminology in lucid dream research. Lucidity Letter, 3(1), 4-6. (Bound Back Issues, pp.82-84). 


Tart, C. (1985). What do we mean by lucidity? Lucidity Letter, 4(2), 12-17.


Worsley, A. (1984). Lucid dream definition. Lucidity Letter, 3(2), 11-12.  (Bound Back Issues, pp.97-98).



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Articles: Phenomenology: Personal and Theoretical Considerations

Visual Phenomena after Sleeping or Resting


Darrell Dixon


I shall comment on visual phenomena after which I have noticed after I have awakened from sleep, or on occasion after just sitting and resting with my eyes closed.  I have asked a number of people if they experience similar sensations, but found only one person thought that she did.     

After having rested for a while, I can see a visual vibration.  This vibration is more pronounced in my lower peripheral vision, and is more apparent if I look at a dark surface.  It is also quite apparent with my eyes closed, as long as there is a light source in the room that produces some illumination through my closed eyelids.  The frequency of the vibration seems to be between 10 and 15 cycles per second and goes away after 5 to 10 minutes.     

I have been told that what I am seeing is probably visual noise from a 60 cycle light source.  However, I have found that I can see the vibrations with battery powered light source and also with a natural light source.     

I have personally experienced many lucid dreams.  I have also experienced what seems like out-of-body sensations.  With the out-of-body sensations, there has often been a feeling of vibration as many others have described.   It seems that the frequency of the vibration associated with the out-of-body sensations is about the same, or a little faster than the visual sensations I have experienced.     

I will quote from my notes of 7-Jan-85 concerning one striking example of the visual vibrations:     


“I awoke suddenly this morning from a dream...  Upon waking up, I felt a tingling sensation all over.  I tried to control it.  After a while, (probably no more than 10 minutes), I got up to go to the bathroom.  I decided to keep my eyes closed.  (I had not opened them since I awoke from the dream.)  I wanted to try to hang on to as much of the present state as possible.  In the bathroom, I turned on the lights even though I kept my eyes closed and was a little surprised at the vivid vibrations that I could see.  I have experienced these visual vibrations before.  This time they were apparent throughout my visual field.  It seemed that I was closely looking at a net.  The strings of the net were moving towards me and away from me.  It was as if I were so close to the net that there were only 3 or 4 strings of the net present in my field of view. There was not a sharp distinction between the strings and the background, but I believe that the strings stayed pretty well defined and did not move around horizontally or vertically.  After a couple of minutes, this flicker stopped.”     


I will also quote from my notes in describing a second but similar sensation.  I awoke at 6:07 a.m. on 3-Feb-85 from an out-of-body sensation.   It had started with just a visual flicker in my eyes but soon became a vibration over my entire body.  After various sensations, such as feeling that I was going to float, feeling that I was going to sink into the bed, and then sensations of walking around the room and performing several experiments, I awoke. 


“After I woke up, I lay in bed for a short time.  I could see the early morning light through the window.  I noticed a couple of times that something seemed to move a little in my peripheral vision.  It was as if I could see my breath.  (I wasn't dreaming, because soon I just got up and got ready for work.)  I lay there for a few minutes watching how I could breath out slowly and see my breath, or at least see a slight distortion in the air.”     


"It has been quite cold outside lately, and I thought that maybe the furnace had gone off.  I took my hands out from under the covers and it was warm in the room.  I think that I could also hear the furnace running.  I have never noticed this visual effect before."     


And then, on 5-Feb-85:     


"This morning at about 3:40 I felt the vibrations.  I couldn't see them as I have other mornings, but felt them in my cheeks just under my eyes.   There didn't seem to be much that I could do to control them."     


"The alarm clock went off at 7:00 this morning.  I checked to see if I could see the distortion from my breath again and I could.  I relaxed for the next 16 minutes, hitting the snooze button four times.  After 16 minutes, I got up to get ready for work.  I checked to see if I could still see the distortion from my breath, and I could not."     


I would be very interested in knowing if other readers of the Lucidity Letter have experienced similar visual sensations and what the cause of the sensation might be.


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Research Reports

Lucid Dreams And Migraine: A Second Investigation.


Harvey Irwin

University Of New England, Australia


In a previous study (Irwin, 1983) I established a moderately strong association between the occurrence of lucid dreams and a personal history of migraine.  That is, migraine suffers were found to be relatively prone to lucid dreaming.

That observation is of interest in our search for factors which precipitate the state of lucidity. It is possible, for example, that migraine sufferers and other people are subject on occasion to neurophysiological disturbances which are subclinical in the sense of not evoking an actual headache, but which nevertheless are sufficient for increasing cerebral activation to the relatively high level necessary to effect lucidity during a dream.  An account of at least some lucid dreams in these terms would of course require the coincidence of the posited neurophysiological disturbances with a REM phase of sleep, but there is some support for this possibility in Dexter and Riley's (1975) report of a temporal association between REM periods and the onset of nocturnal migraine attacks.

The evidence in my earlier survey was founded on respondents' acquiescence with a question about past migraine headaches, and it is feasible that some people mistakenly believed they were migraine sufferers. For example, individuals having occasional tension headaches may

self-diagnose these as migraine and thereby respond invalidly to a general questionnaire item on personal migraine history.  To explore this possibility a further survey was undertaken, with a new migraine question distinguishing between headaches diagnosed as migraine by a medical practitioner and headaches believed by the respondent to be migraine but not professionally diagnosed as such.

One hundred and forty nine Introductory Psychology students at the University of New England were given copies of the survey questionnaire by their tutors (Julie Duck, Fiona MacBride, Karen Moorhouse, Michael Noy, and Michael Parle).  These students who were studying off campus, were attending an on-campus Psychology block-teaching program.  They were generally a

few years older than typical university students, having had work experience, and coming from a broader section of the community.  Usable data were returned by 120 people, a participation rate of 81 per cent. The observed cross-tabulation between migraine history and lucid dreaming with this second study was as follows:



Lucid Dreamers

Nonlucid Dreamers

Professionally Diagnosed Migraine Suffers



Other Declared Migraine Suffers



Non-Migraine Suffers





In this sample it is clear that lucid dreaming did not vary between the two subgroups of migraine suffers: both acknowledged lucidity at comparably high levels. This suggests that the previous observation (Irwin, 1983) was not a mere artifact of erroneous self-diagnosis of migraine

headaches.  On the other hand the association here between personal history of migraine and lucid dreams, although in the predicted (positive direction, does not reach significance [x2 (2) = 1.12]

It is not immediately apparent why these results failed to confirm the relationship reported earlier.  Certainly the present data are in the expected direction, and the combined results of the two studies still are significant [x2 (3) =15.56, p<.01]  But given that the selection procedure for the present sample was more sound and the sample itself slightly larger and more representative of the general population than in the original study, the nonsignificance of the above data is a cause for concern.

The demonstration of a relationship between lucid dreams and migraine potentially has substantial implications for our understanding of the causes of lucidity, and it therefore is recommended that other researchers give some empirical scrutiny to the issue in order to assess the

validity of the initial observation.




Dexter, J.D., & Riley, T.L. 1975. Studies in nocturnal migraine. Headache, 15, 51-62.


Irwin, H.J. 1983. Migraine, out-of-body experiences, and lucid dreams. Lucidity Letter, 2(2), 2-4.


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Research Reports

Lucid Dreaming, Witnessing Dreaming, and the Transcendental Meditation Technique: A Developmental Relationship


Jayne Gackenbach, Robert Cranson and Charles Alexander

University of Iowa, Maharishi International University.


The recent growth of interest in dream lucidity, reflected in descriptive and experimental research, has led to a consideration of the theoretical and practical significance this type of dream experience might have. Whereas some researchers have suggested that lucidity offers an important phenomenological tool for the investigation of dreaming processes (LaBerge, 1985), others have emphasized the similarities between lucidity and certain types of meditative states and have suggested that they may promote psychological development in related ways (e.g., Hunt, 1985; Hunt & Ogilvie, in press).

Alexander, Boyer and Orme-Johnson (1985) have recently postulated a theoretical model placing dream lucidity as a bridge between formal operations and "post-conceptual or post-language" development.  They argue that the Maharishi Technology of the Unified field manifested by the practice of Transcendental Meditation (TM) promotes development of consciousness beyond symbolic thought.  Specifically, they say, "We speculate that lucidity as typically experienced may reflect the further developmental deembedding and generalization of higher order self-reflective thought such that it can function in some form during the dream state.  It is our impression that many if not most lucid dreams may result from activation of such functions of the intellect and ego.  Nevertheless, some lucid experiences which have been reported may be of the purely self-referral witnessing type described by vedic psychology (p. 82)".  Dream witnessing is similar to dream lucidity in that there is awareness of dreaming while dreaming.  However, there seems also to be clear conceptual differences in that witnessing the dream also involves an "unbounded awareness," which is quiet, peaceful and nonparticipative.           

In order to test this hypothesis, cognitive correlates of meditating and nonmeditating students who vary in the frequency with which they report awareness of dreaming while dreaming, in the form of lucidity and/or witnessing, were assessed.  These correlates included intelligence, creativity, absorption in imagery, and field independence.  

Results of several studies suggest that long-term practice of TM is correlated with increased fluid intelligence (Aron, Orme-Johnson, & Brubaker, 1981); creativity (MacCallum, 1977), absorption in imagery and field independence (Maharishi Technology of the Unified Field, 1984). Likewise, Snyder and Gackenbach (in press) concluded in a review of individual propensities associated with frequently experiencing dream lucidity that frequent lucid dreamers tend to be creative, especially women, and field independent.  However, they found no relationship to absorption in imagery and an increase in spatial or perceptual intelligences in women but mixed relationships for types of intelligence among men.

It is hypothesized the TM meditators who frequently experience awareness of dreaming while dreaming either as lucid dreaming or "witnessing" dreaming, will do better on all tasks than the nonmeditating, nonlucid/nonwitnessing individuals.  Furthermore, those who meditate but do not frequently experience lucidity/witnessing and those who frequently have these dream experiences but do not meditate, will fall between the above two extreme groups. 




Lower classmen at two midwestern Universities participated in the present study.  These included 97 meditating freshmen from the Maharishi International University (MIU) and 126 nonmeditating Introductory Psychology students from the University of Northern Iowa (UNI).  The latter were selected from a pool of about 800 introductory psychology students. Their selection was based on their frequency of experiencing lucidity, understanding of lucidity, and interest in meditation.  Both groups were administered the Raven's Advanced Progressive Matrices test, a nonverbal measure of fluid intelligence; Cattell's Cultural Fair Test of Intelligence; the Torrance Test of nonverbal creative thinking; the Group Embedded Figures Test of field independence; the Tellegan Test of Absorption in imagery and a simple and choice reaction time task which can be scored in terms of intra-subject variability in performance.  This latter has been found to be highly correlated with fluid intelligence as measured by other tests. 


Results and Discussion


Statistical analyses were carried out on 42 male and 57 female nonmeditators (UNI) and 32 male and 31 female meditators (MIU) who demonstrated understanding of the concept of dream lucidity.  Additionally, in the case of the UNI students only those who reported no experience with meditation but moderate to high interest in it were selected for subsequent data analyses.


Sample Characteristic Analyses 


It can be seen in Table 1 that these samples differed in several ways. Although there were no differences in the relative distribution of sex of subject and handedness, the meditators from MIU were older and had more years of education, as did their fathers, than did the UNI students.



Table 1 Meditator-nonmeditator Sample Comparisions



Non Meditator



Sex of Subject:







X2(1)=1.09, n.s.
















X2(2)=1.35, n.s.

















Dream Recall Per Week




Dream Diary Interest




Number of Years of Education




Father's Education




Mother's Education




Father's Income



t(56)=1.15, n.s.

Mother's Income



t(39)=0.49, n.s.





1A high number indicates more dreams per weeek, more interest in keeping a dream journal, and more years of education for self, father, and mother.


Interestingly, although the MIU students recalled more dreams per week they were less interested in keeping a dream journal than the UNI sample.  This is not surprising when one considers that the leader of the Transcendental Meditation (TM) movement, Maharishi Mahesh Yogi, has thus far advised his followers that they should not attend to their dreams (Alexander, C. personal communication). 

Table 2 gives the actual distribution of subjects in terms of lucidity frequency and meditation categories. 


Table 2 Verified Lucid Frequency and Meditation Experience and Interest

Lucid Frequency

Meditation Experience

No Meditation Experience



TM only

High interest

Moderate Interest

No Interest

All night







Most nite




























1+/3 months







1+/6 months




































This is based on only those subjects for whom lucidity verification was obtained.  The MIU sample was broken into TM and TM-Sidhi practitioners.  The latter represent a more advanced level of meditation.  Please note that despite the pivotal role of "witnessing" the dream (a more complex form of dream lucidity) six of the MIU students reported never having had a lucid dream.  Of these six only one said they witnessed their dreams but did not dream lucidly.  The other five reported neither experience.  Likewise, note the presence of four individuals from the UNI sample who reported continual lucidity. 

The relationship between the incidence of these two types of dreams, lucidity and witnessing, is portrayed in Table 3. 


Table 3 Lucidity Witnessing Relationship Within Samples

Variables/ Statistics



Lucidity (1) Witnessing t- value

5.36    6.96         t (55)=      -3.52,      p <,001

6.89    8.09         t (84)=           -3.83,       p <.001

Partial Cor (Dr. recall controlled) No. of Sub Level of Signif.

     .59           82           p <.001

      .41          53           p <.002

1. Low Score indicates more frequency of lucid/wit. occurance.


For both samples lucidity was reported as occurring more frequently than witnessing. Additionally, meditators reported more lucid and witnessing dreams (low score was high number) than nonmeditators.


Primary Analyses 


The major statistical analyses are summarized in Table 4. 


Table 4: Adjusted Means & F-Ratios on Reaction Time, Intelligence, Creativity & Imagery Measures as a Function of Lucidity % Meditation


Hi Lucid No Med.

Hi Lucid Medit.

Lo Lucid No Med.

Lo Lucid Medit.

No Lucid No Med.


Reaction Time:

Choice Rx Time (x)

45.127 c

337.26 a

412.99 bc

363.28 ab

508.05 d

F(4, 103)=12.46, p<.0001

Choice Rx Time (Standard Dev)

227,42 b

84.97 a

271.03 b

147.92 a

268.88 b

F(4,103)=5.70, p<.0001

Rx Time Slope (Speed Info. Processing/Load)

51.07 b

18.72 a

45.34 b

19.74 a

69.42 c

F(4,103)=12.05, p<.0001


Raven's Matrices

18.81 a

11.08 b

17.50 a

10.53 b

18.28 a

F(4,103)=28.40,  p<.0001

Cattell's Culture Fair Test

115.22 b

68.48 c

125.66 b

67.92 c

112.86 b

F(4,83)=63.43, p<.0001

Torrance Creativity:


54.57 b

70.65 a

65.04 a

71.02 a

46.76 c

F(4,101)=15.04, p<.0001

Resistance to Premature Closure

79.78 b

57.66 a

54.03 a

51.18 a

93.21 b

F(4,101)=6.69,  p<.0001

Total Creative Strengths

11.41 bc

8.89 a

9.43 ab

8.40 a

12.35 c

F(4,104)=2.96, p<.023


Group Embedded Fig

11.28 b

15.66 a

1037 b

15.40 a

10.51 b

F(4,111)=7.51, p<.0001

Tellegan's Absoprtion in Imagery

24.23 ab

25.82 a

23.45 ab

21.80 b

18.61 c

F(4,106)=8.63, p<.0001

1 Means with the same letter do not significantly differ. For all these one-way analyses self-reported dream recall frequency was the covariate while for reaction time and intelligence additional covarites of education and age were added.


Sixteen one-way analyses of covariance were computed on reaction time (simple and choice means and standard deviations, and slope), intelligence (scores on Raven's and Cattell's scales), creativity (seven subscale and total scale scores on the Torrance) and imagery (Group Embedded Figures and Tellegan's Absorption Scales).  In all cases dream recall was the covariant and for the reaction time and intelligence tests education of self and age were additional covariants.  One-way analyses of covariance were chosen because of the presence of a large number of nonlucid dreamers in the UNI sample but a very small number of nonlucids in the MIU sample (i.e., for some variables there was information on only one MIU nonlucid dreamer). Consequently, two- way analyses of covariance were not possible. Furthermore, previous research on types of lucid dreamers clearly indicates the importance of separately attending to the nonlucid dreamer (Snyder & Gackenbach, in press). 

It can be seen in Table 4 that sample differences dominated the 10 significant findings.  The meditators from MIU had better choice reaction time (mean, standard deviation, and slope), were more field independent (GEFT), and had higher elaboration scores from the Torrance Test of Nonverbal Creativity.  They also scored significantly lower than the nonmeditators on the two tests of intelligence and two of the Torrance subscales.  The intelligence findings may be due in part to the open admissions policy at MIU, UNI has academic criteria for admission, as well as the large segment of the MIU students who are not from the United States.  Relative to the UNI sample, the MIU sample is quite heterogeneous. 

Of primary interest here are the findings reflecting lucid dreamer type differences.  For only the Tellegan's Absorption in Imagery Scale did these differences weigh heavier than sample differences. Across sample, the more frequently an individual reported having lucid dreams the more they reported being absorbed in their imagery.  For all the other variables dreamer type differences were primarily accounted for by the nonlucid nonmeditators.  Specifically, they were significantly slower on the choice reaction time for task (mean) and had a higher slope inferring a slower speed of information processing per load.  However, there were no dreamer type differences in intra-subject variability (standard deviation).    For this variable the model suggested by Alexander placing dream lucidity as a developmental precursor to witnessing as manifested through the practice of TM is upheld.  That is, meditators manifested the fastest choice reaction times and speed of information processing (lowest slopes) while high and low frequency nonmeditating lucid dreamers were next followed by nonmeditating  nonlucid dreamers. 

However, the hypothesized positive relationship between choice reaction time and fluid intelligence is suspect because the UNI sample outperformed the MIU sample on the two intelligence measures. In the case of the Cattell this was mediated, although confusingly, by dreamer type.  The sample/dreamer type relationships were mixed for the creativity subscale scores.  The nonlucids had the highest creative strengths scores but the lowest elaboration scores. 

In conclusion, this study further demonstrates the importance of accounting for lucid/nonlucid dreamer type differences and has partially supported Alexander et al's (1985) model of lucidity as a stepping stone to higher states of awareness.  




Alexander, C.N., Boyer, R.W., Orme-Johnson, D.W. (1985). Distinguishing between transcendental consciousness and lucidity. Lucidity Letter, (2), 68-85.


Aron, A., Orme-Johnson, D. & Brubaker, P. (1981). The Transcendental Meditation program in the college curriculum: A 4-year longitudinal study of effects on cognitive and affective functioning. College Student Journal, (2), 140-146.


Hunt, H. (1985). A comparative psychology of lucid dreams. Lucidity Letter, (1), 1-2.


Hunt, H. & Ogilvie, R. (in press). Lucid dreams in their natural series: Phenomenological and psychophysiological findings in relation to meditative states.  In J.I. Gackenbach and S. La Berge (Eds.), Lucid dreams: New research on consciousness during sleep. N.Y.: Plenum.


La Berge, S. (1985). Lucid dreaming.  Los Angeles: Jeremy Tarcher.


Mac Callum, M.J. (1977). The transcendental meditation program and creativity.  In D.W. Orme-Johnson and J.T. Farrow (Eds.), Scientific research on the Transcendental Meditation program: Collected papers; Vol. 1, Rheinweiler, W. Germany: MERV Press.


Maharishi Technology of the Unified Field (1984). Results of scientific research on the Transcendental Meditation and TM-Sidhi Program, Fairfield, Ia: MIU Press.


Snyder, T.J. & Gackenbach, J.I. (in press). Individual differences associated with lucid dreaming. In J.I. Gackenbach and S.P. La Berge (Eds.), Lucid dreaming: New research on consciousness during sleep, N.Y.: Plenum.


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Letters to the Editor


Dear Editor,     

From what I have read about spiritual development I have the impression that lucidity during dreaming maybe a by-product of spiritual development but we don't hear about it because those who are seriously engaged in spiritual development are not too concerned with the by-products or with relating accounts of them to others.     

The frequency of my own lucid dreaming continues to decline.  This is partly because I have had to attend to other things recently such as moving house which has interfered with my routine with the result that my dream diary keeping has been rather skimpy.  I hope the real cause is not increasing age.  I seem to recall the Hervey de St Denys gradually stopped having lucid dreams over a very few years at about the age of 50.  Perhaps unless one has developed considerable lucid dreaming skills from an early age there is a tendency to slide back into non-lucid dreaming particularly if interesting developments do not maintain high interest.     

In one way this lack of spontaneous LDs and even of MILD (i.e., Mnewmonic Induction of Lucid Dreams) induced LDs is not without advantage since when I do finally try a reliable lucid dream induction machine I shall be working from a base line of near zero frequency of spontaneous LDs and low success rate with MILD which should make the findings more clear cut.     

I think that partly in consequence of this vicious circle of decline the kind of concern I have had with lucid dreams recently has changed so that while dreaming I am not thinking so much about experiments and treating the dreamscape as a laboratory but rather doing something more like living in another world and treating it as an adventure playground. Thus for instance, though it is hard to be sure, I think I operate in some dreams (which might be conventionally be classified as non-lucid) rather more as if I  know I am dreaming than I used to.

This has led me to wonder about how it is that people who for example fly in dreams but who are not lucid by the definitions we have been using - awareness of external world/signalling - actually manage to overcome the inhibition against launching themselves from high places if that is what they do.  I wonder if in some sense they are lucid in that they intuitively appreciate that it is quite safe to take such liberties, perhaps having gradually learned this from years of dreaming with increasing ability to recognize the dream state, but, since the external waking world is not relevant at the time and signalling not a meaningful possibility then naturally such considerations are ignored.     

I would compare this kind of 'skilled' dreaming to being on holiday and not thinking about work at the office at all but single mindedly pursuing some sport such as skiing or surfing which is largely nonverbal and in which the basic control has become automatic.  In dreams the medium is not snow or waves but imagery.  Depending on one's skill or lack of it one can use the medium, be part of it and have a wonderful time, or, be overwhelmed and frightened by it because one does not understand it or have confidence in one's ability to cope with it.  The fact that one is thoroughly engrossed in the activity is not regarded, in the case of skiing or surfing, as somehow invalidating it.  The lack of integration of this nonverbal 'body' activity with verbal 'cerebral' type activity and with a quite different activity context and different value system, that of say work, might help to explain why even what we might call 'para-lucid' dreams, like dreams in general, are hard for the verbal dominant waking mind to recall unless a load of dream content has already been deliberately imported into the waking state to provide a familiar framework and neurological/conceptual pathway for further imports.

This idea relates to the work I did for my unfinished Ph.D. thesis which was on abstraction processes in thinking and concept formation.  I did quite a bit of experimental work with the Vigotsky block test of concept formation.  I came more and more to believe that the scoring system was too biased in favor of the articulate subjects and thus it dismissed too readily those who could sort the blocks perfectly correctly but could not explain how.  To obtain a full score the standard test required that the subject should explain clearly the sorting principle used.  Without the correct explanation only a low score was allowed.  Many correct but unexplained performances which I observed reminded me of split brain subjects as if one part of the brain solved the problem and organized the performance but was unable to communicate it to the other verbal part.   This meant that the evidence that the problem had been solved by the formation of the correct concept never reached the tester in a form acceptable to the verbal-dominant academic elite.     

Para-lucid dreaming, as I am provisionally referring to it (as opposed, for the moment, to the perhaps less insightful pre-lucid dreaming) again raises the question of how the knowledge that one is dreaming relates to the external waking world, or more generally, to some absolute standard which is not biased in favor of one neurological/conceptual substrate for the existence of consciousness at the expense of another.  Is there more than one way in which one can be said to truly know that one is dreaming?  If there really is no reason, such as taking part in an experiment, for the dreamer to think about the waking world at all then it may be that skilled dreaming in which the dreamer is in control of the dream as a living fantasy and not being pushed around in bewilderment and fear in a sea of disjointed but convincing images, should be regarded as a genuine variety of lucid dreaming.     

I suspect that there is a largely unrecognized wide variation in the degree to which people learn to exploit their dreams and even within the dreams of individuals as they go through different levels of consciousness/arousal.   However, this fact is obscured by the deviation of dream life from waking life, its lack of presence-through-commonality which shared physical reality has, and by the consequent lack of regard for its importance.  For instance, the 'property' you use in dreams just evaporates on waking so what possible security is there in that?  I think that there is likely to be some carry over in Western culture of this kind of attitude from the survival demands of the hard physical world where it may be appropriate, for the evaluation of dreams (I have the impression that dreamers are generally regarded, outside such groups as ASD, as somehow a sissy subject).  Those of us who are perhaps more enlightened see such a carry over as not appropriate or at least presumptuous.  It devalues the activity of dreaming in the opinion of those who think of themselves as hard nosed realists before any serious evaluation can begin.  I suspect there is a parallel here with drugs, or religion or publishing or 'romance'.  Some people are so obsessed with making money, material possessions, power and so on in the, by common consent, more important waking physical world that they regard these things as something you use to exploit others rather than to promote any kind of revealing experience, spiritual development, social benefit or mutual enrichment.  I hope that by bringing to wide notice the insight into reality - that what we generally believe to be real is not so real and that what is generally believed to be not so real is more real than you might think - which I believe is to be derived from a study of lucid dreams, we can thereby achieve a more sane distribution of values and maybe save the planet from conflict between materialists.     

What I am trying to explain about para-lucid dreaming seems to relate to Charles Tart's promotion of state specific science.  Perhaps what led to Tart's idea was the feeling that somehow dreams can have a validity of their own, on their own terms which was not being recognized or taken seriously because of the equivalent of cross-cultural misunderstanding.   Though I agree with LaBerge that theorizing in the lucid dream state is unsafe, the reason for this, I believe, is not that it is necessarily unsafe (and LaBerge does say he is 'rarely' rather than never tempted to do it) but that as yet adequate verbal-type logical ability is uncommonly combined with dreaming.  However, I see no reason why the lucid dreaming skill should not be developed in the future so that more and more critical judgement can be applied to a rich repertoire of imagery control abilities.   You never know, the practice in mental gymnastics, which this seems likely to involve, might lead to a reverse transfer back to waking thought.  The instant adjustments of belief, habitually stepping back from the situation to take stock, and controlling inappropriate negative emotions, in which abilities the lucid dreamer may routinely become more proficient, could lead to genuine improvement in dealing with the physical social world.  No doubt to the surprise of self-styled macho realists who spurned dreamland as any kind of training ground for the 'real' world!     


Alan Worsley  

North Humberside, England     


Dear Editor,     

I would now like to comment briefly on 'Proceedings from Lucid Dreaming Symposium' (Lucidity Letter, June 1986).  I found all the topics discussed very interesting and would first of all like to outline my views on the induction of lucid dreams, as both Roger Ripert and Christian Bouchet reported on my combined technique.  I agree with most of what Ripert said but would like to add a few points of my own, based on my findings.  In doing so I will touch upon several epistemological thoughts.     

Regarding the problem of induction, it also emerged in our investigation that some of the people to whom the combined technique had been explained were able to have lucid dreams even though they had not practiced the method.     

On questioning the participants, we discovered that some of these people had already, on other occasions, had the notion that they were dreaming, without this awareness leading to their changing the action of the dream. If, for example, a person was pursued by a threatening dream figure, then the awareness that they were merely dreaming did not deter them from fleeing, though they were obviously less afraid than usual.  The thought did not occur to them, however, of being able to act freely (e.g., to stop and speak to the dream figure or to start flying).     

It is however this very clarity about one's own freedom of decision which first alters entirely the nature of the dream.  As I see it, it is just one of the criteria necessary, if one is to speak of 'reve lucide', 'lucid dream' or 'Klartraum'.  Because the subjects heard that it was impossible to act according to their own will, the thought 'Why, it's only a dream!' was later connected to the thought 'In that case I can do this, or that!'   Interestingly, there is very often a delay between the first and second thought (a slow connection).  Experienced lucid dreamers, on the other hand, had dreams in which they acted freely and exhibited forms of behavior which they had learned in lucid dreams, without them thinking that they were dreaming.  I have cited examples of this in various of my German articles.     

Now, however, I come to an important statement by Bouchet that for 'those who see life as a movie, a drama or game, something to be played' the question 'Am I dreaming or not?' is not a problem.  'It seems that one of the characteristics of the psychological field is a kind of serenity in the face of the diversity of life. (p. 218)' I agree with this notion and would so formulate the idea: 'a composed and lighthearted attitude towards reality and one's own self is conducive to the learning of lucid dreaming.'   (Such an attitude is, however, also an important condition for the solution of problems we encounter in our lives).  Allow me to illustrate the argument by means of a crucial experience I myself had.  At the beginning of my first semester in psychology (November of 1958) one of our professors asked the following question: 'Why is it that we do not see objects in our heads, although physiologists claim that our perception of things is due to brain processes?'  We were to give the question some thought and had to deliver a written answer by the end of the semester.  Shortly before the appointed time, I was out walking and was thinking about this question.  I stopped to take a closer look at a tree.  First of all it occurred to me that this tree could not possibly fit inside my head.  Immediately afterwards, an enormous head appeared in my imagination which encompassed the entire perceptual world, including my perceptual body.  I then also realized that my own body was represented in my brain through sensory processes.  After this it was no longer a problem for me that perceptual objects are outside the perceptual body, in the same way that physical objects are outside the physical body.  I have attempted to represent these concepts in Figure 1.  Once I had grasped the fact that the world we see is simply a phenomenal (mental) world, I developed a completely new attitude to it.  For the first time, the idea occurred to me of comparing the experienced real world with the dream world.  This included the possibility of being able to observe the dream world with the same clear consciousness as the perceptual world in waking state.  I did not investigate this idea further, however, until August of 1959.

The illustration in Figure 1 is designed to show the difference between the  phenomenal (mental) and physical process of seeing.  Whereas in the physical world the light reflected from objects falls on the retina of both eyes, in the phenomenal world, we look out of the whole forehead.  We refer to this as the 'cyclopian eye'.  The core or center of the phenomenal ego is usually experienced behind the cyclopian eye, the latter determining the origin of the egocentric spatial framework.     

As I was able to acquire a different attitude toward reality through the sketched epistemological model, I have tried in all my lectures on lucid dreaming to convey the model to my students (see also Figure 2).  In order to illustrate this, I used illusions and also recommended to my students that they go to a panorama cinema, so that they might further experience such.  Incidentally, these cinemas usually show the kind of film in which it is possible to have a flight experience similar to those of dreams.  I believe that my combined technique has been successful with my students  because:


1. I have tried to convey to them - in the manner described - a lighthearted attitude towards reality:  

2. that my lectures on lucid dreaming were not compulsory, so that only motivated students attended them: and  

3. that in telling of their lucid dreams, the students were able to motivate each other.      


In our book (Tholey, P. & Utecht, K. (early 1987). Schopferisch Traumen – der Klartraum als Lebenshilfe. Niedernhausen: Falken Verlag) we have also attempted to convey to the readers a lighthearted attitude towards reality, so that lucid dreaming may be learned without anxiety.  Naturally, our techniques should be varied according to the persons involved.    

Since in our opinion, many mental disorders stem from egocentredness which limits our perception, our thoughts, our emotions, our motivation and our behavior, being able to convey to someone a flexible and lighthearted attitude to the world and one's own person can be regarded as an important therapeutic step.  When the person then uses an induction technique, which can be varied according to the nature of the disorder, a further therapeutic effect is usually observed before the patient has his/her first lucid dream.  Once the patient has mastered the art of lucid dreaming and behaves in the appropriate manner during dreaming, then an important step toward self healing has been made.  Lucid dreaming, should finally lead to 'creative freedom' as it is referred to in Gestalt psychology (psychologie de la forme).  I believe that there is an interdependence between the ability to have lucid dreams and 'creative freedom' - in the sense of a positive feedback.  In other words, a person in possession of a certain amount of creative freedom, will have less difficulty learning lucid dreaming and someone who has mastered the technique of lucid dreaming and behaves appropriately during lucid dreaming will be able to attain greater creative freedom.     

Much more could be said about the induction of lucid dreams, especially concerning the criteria which have proven useful in identifying lucid dreams.  I have already gone into this subject in several German articles and am planning to publish an account of our findings in English.     


Paul Tholey  

West Germany     


Dear Editor,     

Having studied my own dreams for over twenty years, I have found that in my lucid dreams I don't seem to have any control over my dreams.  Furthermore, I sometimes do childish things.  For instance, in one dream, knowing I was dreaming, I was soaring through the air and swooped down upon an elderly woman drinking from a fountain in the park.  Instead of the startled reaction I had expected from her, she frowned at me and came after me, and I ran from her because I was afraid.  In another dream, knowing I was dreaming, I was soaring through the air and swooped down upon a guy going at a fast speed on his motorcycle.  It scared him so badly that he flipped over on his cycle several times before a hard landing on the ground.  I hurried to tell him that it was only my dream, but he got up and ran from me.     

In yet another dream, I was walking with my young son on the school grounds.  I was explaining to him that although he was in my dream, that he would still exist in reality when I woke up.  I told him to go on into the school building, as I was going on to see what kind of dream world my subconscious had created.


Kitty Viceri  

Portland, Oregon     


Dear Editor,     

"...a tendency for lucid dreamers to show good physical balance that involve vestibular disruption.related falling and flying dreams to lucidity significant correlation between mystical experience and physical balance and coordination..."  

I have taken those comments out of context in order to put forth a 'thought' I had while reading the results of the proceedings from the lucid dreaming symposium.     

Firstly, I have experienced floating and/or falling especially as I "fall asleep", the period of time when my awareness changes from physical/mental.  I may have a feeling/awareness of floating etc. during dreaming, but not at the same time being lucid to dreaming.  But, as you know, I may be lucid.   The fact that it occurs during both lucid and non-lucid times is important to the possibility I would like to present to you.

When "falling asleep" (why and where did that terminology come?) we pass from an awareness of our body weight on the bed, the mattress button being annoying, the cars passing, the tick of the clock, ad infinitum while at the same time we are aware of our thoughts.  At some point, we complete the task of "falling asleep" wherein we no longer are aware of our physical surroundings.  We then are aware of what is going on in our minds only, under normal circumstances.  (If a person has a pain, this surely affects the dream itself).  However, my contention is that...during this changing...what effect, if any, does the loss of awareness of the gravitational pull have on the flying, floating etc.?  Is it possible that it could be the cause of that particular feeling rather than a "vestibular" relationship?  Furthermore, what kinds of dreams did/do the astronauts have?  Are they the same as they have when under the physical influence of gravity?     


Doris Boggs  

Olympia, WA  


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Book Reviews

Harvey Irwin’s Flight of Mind: A Psychological Study of the Out-of-Body Experience


Reviewed by Susan Blackmore


Among the many recent books on the out-of-body experience (or OBE) Flight of Mind provides one of the best reviews of research findings, as well as presenting a new theory to account for them.  Irwin, an Australian psychologist, takes a primarily psychological approach and begins by redefining the OBE - as an experience in which "the center of consciousness appears to the experient to occupy temporarily a position which is spatially remote from his/her body".  Among the advantages of this helpful definition are that it assumes no theoretical position nor even that the experience has to be visual.  Of course, as Irwin makes clear, the notion of a center of consciousness is purely phenomenological and not objective. 

In the first of eight chapters Irwin compares the OBE with other phenomena such as dreams and lucid dreams, autoscopy and depersonalization, apparitions and bilocation.  Then he considers methods of research; reviewing case collections, surveys, self observations by adepts, and finally experimental investigation.  I found his treatment of the literature very thorough and his criticisms mostly apt, but the book is often badly organized and I wished for clearer sections, or summaries at the end of chapters. 

Chapter 3 deals with the phenomenology of the OBE; the major surveys and their findings concerning the content of the experience.  Irwin also tackles the thorny question of veridicality though he seemed to give almost equivalent status to unchecked claims of veridicality as to experimental tests of OB perception, when their implications and problems are quite different.  Crookall's work is dealt with thoroughly, as is the tradition of astral projection.  The evidence on the astral body and silver cord are reviewed, suggesting that the cord is not culturally universal.  Irwin then discusses psychological processes such as the state of relaxed alertness and clarity which often characterizes the experience.  This section does have a summary but I found it confusing in concentrating only on factors such as needs, expectations and imagery. 

The analysis of the circumstances of the OBE's occurrence is particularly useful in highlighting the relationship between the OBE and extremes of cortical arousal.  Here he does not mention the relevance of cortical arousal for lucid dreams, though there could well be an important connection.  He then goes on to discuss diverse methods of inducing OBEs, which is also of relevance to lucid dreams. 

Next Irwin considers the type of person who is likely to have an OBE, discussing the incidence of the experience, and giving a useful review of the survey data on the relationship with demographic characteristics, prior knowledge, and personality.  He considers physiological studies and the (generally positive) effects of having an OBE on people. 

Many theories of the OBE are outlined, including ecsomatic theories which claim that something actually leaves the body; "field theories" and more recent psychological theories.  Irwin notes the deep problems and lack of testability of ecsomatic theories, and gives useful criticisms of Siegel's physiological approach and comparisons of the OBE with birth, archetypal imagery, autoscopy and depersonalization.  He also criticizes, though perhaps less adequately, Palmer's theory.  But the book was apparently written too long ago to include any criticisms of my own psychological theory of the OBE (Blackmore, 1984). 

Irwin next reviews research suggesting that the OBE does not just spring from having a vivid imagination.  Of all the many aspects of imagery tested, only spatial skills seem to relate to having OBEs.  A major finding, to which Irwin has contributed much, is that people who have OBEs have a greater capacity for absorption in inner experience and a need for absorbing experiences. 

In the final chapter Irwin proposes his "synesthetic model of the OBE".  He argues that the basis of the OBE is a lack of attention to somaesthetic input resulting in a feeling of being disembodied.  This may reach consciousness by recoding into an image of a floating self.  Then synesthesia, or experiencing of one sensory modality as another, takes over and the basic somaesthetic image is elaborated into a full OBE with visual imagery.  I must say I found the theory a little difficult to follow and would have appreciated a concise summary of Irwin's position.  Of course the real test lies in future research but although Irwin argues that his theory is highly testable, he provides only very few concrete predictions. 

Flight of Mind is an important book for OBE research.  It seems to confirm and consolidate the recent trend away from paranormal theories and towards purely psychological ones, without denying the interest of the traditional theories. For those interested in lucid dreams it will also be useful.  There is no special section devoted to lucid dreams, but the reader will find throughout the book, useful information on lucid dreaming and imagery, OBE induction, the types of people prone to different experiences and much more besides.  Irwin has certainly provided a valuable review of the pertinent literature which will be useful to anyone researching on lucid dreams. 



Blackmore, S.J. (1984). A psychological theory of the out-of-body experience. Journal of Parapsychology, 48, 201-218.


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Book Reviews

Robert Monroe’s Far Journeys


Reviewed by Roy Salley


Far Journeys is the long awaited sequel to Robert Monroe's Journeys Out of the Body. This latter work has become an international classic in the out-of-body literature.  In Far Journeys, Monroe describes the further development of his own out-of-body experiences (OBEs) and his development of an institute to study states of consciousness.  This new work is likely to be even more widely read than his first book although, unfortunately, neither book has been, or is likely to be, widely read in current scientific circles.  The world view that Monroe presents is simply so foreign to the current scientific zeitgeist that most will view this book as a work of fantasy or kookery.  I view this book as neither.

More than anything else, Far Journeys is a road map or travel guide describing the flora and fauna one may encounter on inner exploration in consciousness.  This type of literature is not new with countless renditions found in most religious and occult schools from Swedenborg to theosophy. What is unique here is the attempt to remove the trappings of religious doctrine and mysticism and to simply describe the adventures of a man who has devoted the last quarter of a century to inner exploration.

Part I of Far Journeys describes briefly the early experimental work with sound that led to what Monroe calls the Hemi-Sync process.  This process was derived from the EEG frequency following response literature and is based on the principle that brain wave patterns will follow external auditory frequencies.  Varying both the pitch and the sound frequency introduced to each ear, Monroe claims to be able to modify states of consciousness.  He was granted a patent for this process in 1975.  Over several years experimenting with these binaural beat frequencies, Monroe found that many subjects reported the same phenomenological experiences when exposed to certain auditory patterns.

Certain combinations of these patterns appeared to help induce OBEs. Several of his "explorers" became adept OBEers and began the out-of-body search for other life forms in the solar system.  Part I describes the fruitlessness of this venture and the barrenness of the physical universe. In 1974, a breakthrough occurred when Monroe began to allow his own OBEs to be guided by aspects of consciousness other than his conscious ego; as he puts it, he "let somebody else do the driving."  For Monroe and his explorers this shift opened up a universe teeming with intelligent life that exists in nonphysical form.  Part I continues to describe the development of an institute designed to train others in this exploration. Excerpts from reports of some of the 3,000 people trained at the institute over the last ten years comprise the rest of this section.  These excerpts document the replicability of Hemi-Sync induced experiences in others.

Part II is devoted to the further development of Monroe's experiences out-of-body.  In describing his adventures, he introduces the reader to a new language (nonverbal communication) and an expansive cosmology encompassing life, death, after death experiences, nonphysical life forms, and the development of consciousness in the largest sense.  His description is captivating and congruent with many other cosmologies.

Far Journeys is written for the lay public and is not centered in controlled research data.  At present, the institute is at a data collection/case history phase of development describing phenomenological experiences across many subjects while working with Hemi-Sync technology. Hard core researchers will find little in this book to support its suppositions; in fact, the foreignness of the subject matter will find manyunable to relate to this book at all. Far Journeys, despite its lack of controlled research, is an important work.  As transpersonal psychology develops a paradigm to study inner experiences (and Ken Wilber's work is particularly promising in this regard), the rough map provided by Monroe may well prove to be a valuable touchstone.  For dream workers, the book has many regerences to the deliberate use of sleep stages for consciousness development.  A viewpoint on lucid dreaming potential is also presented significantly different from more currently accepted positions.  While many readers of this book may not accept Monroe's offer to "go interstate," those that do will find the journey well worth the effort.


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Book Previews

Lucid Dreams: New Research on Consciousness During Sleep

(Edited by Jayne Gackenbach and Stephen LaBerge; Plenum: in press)


Stephen LaBerge and Jayne Gackenbach

Stanford University, University of Northern Iowa


Among the mysteries of sleep, dreaming must surely be considered the most wonderful; then how much more so must be considered the lucid dream, in which dreamers know that they are dreaming and are in a certain sense awake, and yet are soundly asleep.

Lucid dreaming has probably been known since mankind had a word for "dream;" but it was not until the last few decades that the phenomenon gained credibility in the scientific world, and came to the awareness of the general public. A decade ago, at universities on opposite sides of the continent, we began to study lucid dreaming; our dissertations were the first research into the topic in this country. After completing our doctoral theses, we chaired a symposium on lucid dreaming at the annual meeting of the American Psychological Association.  The present book grew out of that symposium. We have divided it into three sections:  "Perspectives on Lucid Dreaming," "A New Approach to Dream Research," and "Applications and Implications."  The first section provides background from literary and personal accounts, the second delineates the new wave of lucidity research, and the third presents potential psychotherapeutic applications and theoretical implications.


Lucid Dreaming Perspectives


The significance of dreaming to both cultures and individuals is highly dependent on the assumptions of the culture in question. In this section six chapters detail the historical, anthropological, philosophical and religious foundations of lucidity in various times and places. First to be examined is the changing view of lucid dreams throughout the development of Western Culture, based on the changing view of the role and reality of dreams. This chapter, written by Stephen LaBerge, traces the perspective from which lucid dreams have been seen from the earliest pages of Western history to the mid-1960's.

In the study of the mind we often find that the East has long ago developed systems of understanding and practice in areas we in the West are just beginning to explore.  Lucid dreaming is no exception.  In the following chapter, "Lucid Dreams in Indian and Tibetan Literature,"  George Gillespie, a Sanskrit scholar at the University of Pennsylvania who spent twelve years living and working in India, cites references to lucid dreaming ranging from such classics of Indian thought as the Upanishads and Yoga Sutras to the literature of Tibetan Buddhist meditation, in which lucid dreaming has long played an important role.  Remarkably, for a thousand years Tibetan Buddhists have been practicing a form of yoga aimed at the maintainance of full waking consciousness during sleep and the control of the dream state.

The writings of Kilton Stewart resulted in many Westerners believing the Maylasian Senoi tribe had widely cultivated proficiency in dream control, and that the emphasis on dreams in their culture was somehow responsible for their peaceful way of life. Robert Dentan's chapter, "Lucidity, Sex and Horror in Senoi Dreamwork", critically casts considerable doubt on this notion.  Dentan, an anthropologist at the State University of New York at Buffalo, notes that "recent publications have made it plain that much of the 'Senoi' ethnography with which Western dreamworkers are familiar is of dubious reliability".  He points out that although the Senoi do place a high value on dreams, dream control expertise in the culture is the province of the few rather than the many.

Following these three chapters discussing cultural perspectives on lucid dreaming are three personal accounts of lucid dreaming, by individuals who have devoted considerable time and study to their lucid dreams.  For G. Scott Sparrow, a clinical psychologist and author of an influential booklet on lucid dreams in the mid-1970's, dream lucidity has always been linked to his personal spiritual search, although he has also conducted empirical research on the phenomenon.  Sparrow describes the characteristics of his lucid dreams which follow meditation, and argues (see also the chapter by Hunt and Ogilvie) for a relationship between meditation and lucidity in dreams, and also that lucid dreaming plays a role in facilitating the resolution of inner conflicts.

In "Without a Guru:  An Account of My Lucid Dreaming",  George Gillespie, describes his personal experimentation in lucid dreams and their religious-philosophical significance to him.  Gillespie provides a unique account of his experiences with conscious "dreamless sleep" that followed his study of the Upanishads in India.

The final chapter in Section I was written by Alan Worsley, the first person to signal, by means of a prearranged set of eye movements while asleep in the laboratory, that he knew he was dreaming.  As well as describing his laboratory and home experiments, he relates his childhood and adolescent experiences with lucid dreaming. Worsley has experienced a wide variety of types of lucidity; he describes sleep onset lucid dreams, imagination in dreams, and what he calls "super lucid dreams", a category of lucid dream which Worsley considers equivalent to "out-of-body experiences" (see also the Irwin and Blackmore chapters for discussions of the similarity and differences between these states).


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The Sun and Shadow: My Experiment with Lucid Dreaming (A.R.E Press, Virginia Beach, VA)


Kenneth Kelzer


Though it is difficult to assess or even summarize one's own work, I am offering this advance review for the benefit of those who are particularly interested in lucid dreaming, one of today's more exciting and promising new frontiers of consciousness and of dream studies in particular. (Editors Note: Kenneth Kelzer, MSW, works as a psychotherapist in private practice in Marin county, California.  He has worked extensively with dreams in classroom, seminar and clinical settings for over15 years.)   

This book is unique in a number of ways.  With an introduction by G. Scott Sparrow, Part I offers a lengthy and detailed autobiographical account of the author's intentional "experiment" to induce lucid dreaming and recounts an exceptional series of lucid dreams and ordinary dreams that he received over a 3 1/2 year period.  In this text the dream material alone may seem like a gold mine to serious dream students and scholars, since many of the lucid dreams recounted are extraordinary in their length, vividness, richness of symbolism and implications for cultivating one's inner life.  In addition, the author places himself on exhibit in an unusually open way, as he weaves into his personal story a great deal of the "shadow" side of his own personality and individual history.  The interplay between light and darkness, the sun and the shadow, is a theme that runs continuously throughout the book.  Drawing amply from his personal experiences in the waking state and from certain powerful experiences in the lucid dream state, the author steadily forges his central thesis and sums it up in an axiom attributed to C.G. Jung: "the brighter the sun, the darker the shadow".  In essence, this axiom means that the more a person advances into personal enlightenment, through lucid dreaming or any other means, the more will he be called upon to face and resolve the temptation to abuse personal power or expanded consciousness, and therefore the greater will be his need for vigorous self-examination and critical feedback from others.   

The author is firmly convinced that this interplay between inner light and inner darkness is one of the paradoxical and more difficult aspects of human development that is frequently avoided, sometimes even in in-depth studies of human beings, both great and ordinary, and often times in serious attempts to resolve human conflict both great and ordinary. The book reinforces Jung's commitment to wholeness as the genuine path to growth and peace, intra-personal, inter-personal and international.  It implies that a more public and open acknowledgment of our dark side (formerly known as sins, faults or human weaknesses) will lead to more solid understandings, solid relationships and eventual solid building of societal institutions.  Throughout history ordinary people have consistently demanded perfection of their leaders, and they have consistently been given the public image of perfection in return.  This unconscious contract has created or deepened the unfortunate split between the inner self and the outer public image of many of mankind's greatest teachers and leaders and subsequently contributed greatly to the sufferings and downfall of many of our most gifted fellows.  The author consequently, offers his central thesis as a psychospiritual axiom or principle for countering this age-old destructive contract based on a shallow understanding of what constitutes genuine human growth the genuine human greatness.   

If, as the author contends, "the brighter the sun, the darker the shadow" is a universal human axiom that governs our inner life, then it must be true that the greatest saints were the greatest sinners, the greatest creators could easily have become the greatest destroyers, the greatest lovers the greatest haters, and so forth.  If Jesus was the Christ, how close did he possibly come to being the anti-Christ?  If Adolf Hitler was the anti-Christ, could he also have been the Christ?  Is there a fine, inner thread that many walk through their lifetimes, a psychic tightrope that determines which way their abundant powers and capacities for leadership and creativity will eventually go?  Why in recent years, have so many "new age" leaders become cult leaders when they could have become genuine spiritual leaders instead?    In addressing these concerns the author attempts to lead the way rather then simply point the way.  He describes his experience of being unexpectedly flooded with inner light and with a possible kundalini awakening through certain powerful lucid dreams.  Then, correspondingly, he describes his subsequent battles with numerous inner demons: with inflation of the ego, inner rage, violent impulses for revenge and the reemergence of old negative traits from a deeper layer of his psyche which, post lucid dreaming, had to be worked through once again.  In spite of all this provocative intensity, however, the account is hopeful and encouraging overall.  The author also describes many specific tools and structures for the transformation of the shadow and for using one's shadow as a stimulus and creative prod toward solid, personal evolution.   

Part II of the book is devoted to theory, to a deeper understanding of and a broader definition of the lucid dream.  It offers three chapters with the titles: "Toward a Descriptive Definition of the Lucid Dream", "Understanding the Benefits of Lucid Dreaming", and "Expanding the Circle: The Availability of the Lucid Dream".  The author suggests that the basic definition of the lucid dream might currently be expanded to include the  "energy shift" that the dreamer usually feels at the onset of lucidity, and that this shift might be, in some cases, the initial arousal of the kundalini energy as it is called in exoteric, Eastern spiritual traditions.  He also offers some new theoretical concepts, perhaps appearing in print for the first time.  Chief among these is his assertion that the experience of being "in charge" in a lucid dream is quite distinct from being "in control" in a lucid dream.  He discusses this point at length, showing how the distinction is more than semantic, and calling for a general moratorium on the use of the term "dream control" because of its misleading connotations.  Above all, he applies this key distinction to human experiences in the waking state showing how it is crucial for human health and happiness and how the concept of trying to be "in control" in one's life may foster neurosis, conflict and needless struggle.  Since being "out of control" is not the answer either, this implies that another framework exists beyond the control framework.  This framework, or level of consciousness, could be called an "assertion framework" or a "being in charge framework", and he shows how the lucid dream state provides an extraordinary, psychological laboratory in which to learn how to be in charge in one's life and how to understand and resolve different kinds of human conflicts great and small.  The book also offers some meaty rebuttal to those who claim or fear that the deliberate inducement of lucid dreaming would harmfully tamper with the spontaneity of the unconscious mind and thereby exert a negative influence upon one's psychological balance.  The author presents a strong case to show that this common theoretical objection to lucid dreaming, while sounding solid in theory, is not born out in actual practice, and that achieving the lucid state does not enable the dreamer to "control" the unconscious as some critics have assumed.   

Throughout the book the author goes to great lengths to apply lucid dreaming to the waking state, and the waking state to lucid dreaming and to ordinary dreaming.  He attempts to integrate all these states of mind, viewing them as distinct threads that can nevertheless be woven together into single tapestry of a unified life.  His chapter on the availability of the lucid dream includes dream material from various students, clients and colleagues who also deliberately attempted to induce the lucid state.  These accounts and some analysis of their content show how the lucid state is probably more available to us that most people presently assume.   

As another subtheme the book also applies the principle of the "conscious ownership of the shadow" to current international relations and to world-wide disarmament.  When political leaders continue to brand the leaders of other nations as evil, as the enemy or hated adversaries, the outcome of such dark rhetoric is often war.  And when national or ethnic groups continue to view foreign nations as the embodiment of greed, lust for power, imperialism, cut-throat competition, sexual perversions, etc., this too keeps the international crucible boiling.  By implication, then, the building of a true and lasting peace between nations will have to include the willingness of ordinary people as well as their leaders to acknowledge their own darkness rather that collectively displace it or project it onto those regarded as "foreign".  The author implies that the 1980's is a time that is increasingly ripe for a bridging of the inner world and the outer world, for the application of depth psychology to international relations and big business.  Accordingly, the book is dedicated to the Founding Fathers of the American Republic as "men of vision" who sought to build a new nation-state on the highest of ideals and the highest of spiritual principles.  Just as in the 1780's when there were many who did not regard their "truths to be self-evident", so too in the 1980's there are many who do not regard the acknowledgment of one's own inner darkness as an essential prerequisite for lasting peace.  Therefore much work still lies ahead as we continue to extend all these principles into concrete forms.  Through the "conscious ownership" of one's own inner light and inner darkness, the author of this book believes that many will advance a significant step closer to a deeper understanding of the basic sameness, basic oneness and the basic spiritual equality of all creatures.  He also advocates that the lucid dream state be seen and regarded primarily as a psychospiritual tool, perpetually connected to its ancestral roots in Tibetan Buddhism where it was originally known as "the yoga of the dream state".  The term yoga means "union", and in this sense, the lucid dream is ultimately a special pathway to inner union, union with the Light, union with the higher self, and in its highest form, union with All-That-Is.


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Book Preview

Chrysalis: An Anthology on Out-of-Body Experiences


Thomas Metzinger and Ernst Waelti, Editors (Publisher in Negotiation)

(E = Chapter in English; G = Chapter in German)




An aim of this book is to bring together different approaches to understanding the Out-of-Body-Experience.  It tries to interweave the different threads into a colorful carpet - without dogmatically fixing any kind of pattern.  It could be the beginning of a new discussion of one of the most remarkable phenomena in parapsychology; a discussion that is open, uniting all constructive forces.  Amongst the authors are prominent scientists from all over the world as well as philosophers and people who talk about their own experiences. 

"Chrysalis" addresses believers as well as nonbelievers.  It provides a rich, stimulating source of information for scientifically interested readers as well as for people who want to gain a better understanding of their own experiences in altered states of consciousness.  Although having a high standard it is not at all restricted to academic circles.  It will be valuable for all those interested in spiritual experiences and expansion of awareness. 


Changing Models of Reality and the Out-of-Body State (E)

Susan J. Blackmore

Brain and Perception Laboratory, University of Bristol. 


What is altered in an altered state of consciousness?  I shall suggest that it is a person's model of the world and that by looking at models or representations, rather than physiology, we shall better come to understand altered states. 

Most of the time our consciousness is dominated by a model based on sensory input but if this is disrupted it may be replaced by some other model. Since the system always strives to model input it will try to get back to normal, but if input is inadequate or noisy it may not succeed.  Its next best option may be to build a model of the actual situation from memory and imagination.  If this is sufficiently convincing it will take over as the dominant model and seem "real".  Memory models are often built as though in a bird's eye view.  If such a model takes over then an OBE has occurred. 

By looking at altered states of consciousness in this way we can better understand the nature of consciousness and its changes, and we can see the OBE as just one of many possible states which can occur when input ceases to dominate.  We may also view some occult and magical teachings in a new light.


Out-of-body State as a Central Phenomenon of Extrasensory Perception (G)

Reinhard Fischer

Kaufbeuren, West Germany 


This contribution illustrates the difference between clairvoyance and out- of-the-body experience.  The author maintains that the latter is an independent phenomenon because:

-Report on the investigations of the "Wolfsburger Time Travel".  A time- transcending out-of-body experience into the past is presented.  The experience was confirmed by a neutral institution.

-A missing child is traced by OBE.  During the search the special mechanism of out-of-body perception becomes clear.

-The OBE which exhibits some parallels to modern particle physics and leads to the question: What is reality?

-A real astral projection takes the author to another transphysical vibrational plane of human existence.  He suggests that our consciousness may undergo a metamorphosis after death.  In his comments the author rejects the reproach of dramatizing the paranormal basis of OBEs.

-The difference between normal dreams, lucid dreams and OBEs is discussed vis-a-vis the author's considering his own experiences. 


"The Synaesthetic Model of the Out-of-Body-Experience" (E)

 Harvey J. Irwin

University of New England, Australia 


Harvey Irwin proposes a synaesthetic model of the Out-of-Body-Experience. If through a certain constellation of factors attention loses contact to somatic processes, the notion of the disembodied self is mediated to consciousness in the form of a diffuse somaesthetic image of awareness statically floating somewhere outside the physical body.  Typically absorption in this image instigates a synaesthetic mapping of the initial synaesthetic image onto other sensory domains, particularly the visual one and often also the kinesthetic mode.  Many phenomenological features of the OBE can be appreciated within this framework. 


Philosophical Aspects of Out-of-the-Body Experiences (G)

Thomas Metzinger

University in Frankfurt 


In my contribution I am going to look at some typically wrong or meaningless questions which are often asked when discussing OBEs, as well as at a number of typical false and hasty conclusions from the empirical data.  Also I want to relate the parapsychological discussion of OBEs to the philosophical discussion of the mind-body problem during the last thirty years, and try to find out if any of the relevant new groups of psychophysical theories (Identity theory, Interactionism, Functionalism, Supervenience) can be useful with regard to the problems that appear in the context of OBEs. 


Dreambody and Out-of-the-Body Experiences (E)

Arnold P. Mindell



This article will contain case reports in which people doing body work and dream work have experienced themselves in what they themselves refer to as out-of-the-body experiences.  Empirical material along with its psychological implications will be presented.  It is hoped that the out-of- the-body experiences will be understood as a part of body experience available to everybody, but without much access. 


Problems for the Theory of Perception Arising from the Study of Out-of-the- Body Experiences (E)

Celia Green

Institute for Psychophysical Research, Oxford, England 


This article will begin with a review of the difficulties raised by cases of different types.  There will also be a consideration of the least difficult type, in which the subject perceives the environment which he should be perceiving from the position of his physical body, but as if located at a different point of view.  The difficulty of giving an account of the process by which the entire visual field is replaced by an alternative one will be considered.  This in view of the fact that studies of imagery by psychologists have heretofore considered only relatively small and simple objects superimposed on the normal perceptual field. Furthermore the quantity of information that would have to be stored as memory for such a reproduction to be made is pointed to.  Further difficulties arising from consideration of levels of arousal of the brain functions of the subject at the time will be presented as will the states of subjects at the time of reported experiences which vary between fully functional states of activity and complete unconsciousness.  Difficulties arising from the combination of realistic and fictional elements in the same field of view will be touched upon.  Finally, consideration of evidence for the presence of extra-sensory perception in out-of-the-body experiences will be offered. 


Imagery and Out-of-the-Body Experiences (E)

Charles McCreery

Institute for Psychophysical Research, Oxford, England 


This paper discusses the possible relationships between out-of-body experiences (OBEs) and various normal and abnormal types of imagery.  The author reviews the work of other researchers in this field, including that of Irwin and Blackmore which found little correlation between vividness of the degree of control over normal imagery and propensity for OBEs.  The author also discusses the work of the Institute of Psychophysical Research, which consisted of the application of the Galton Imagery Questionnaire to some 200 subjects reporting at least one OBE.  In particular, he discusses the relationship of OBEs to eidetic imagery (the ability to project an image at will onto a blank surface such as a piece of paper).  The author discusses the implication of these various pieces of research for the question of the physiology of OBEs, in particular the question of what area or mechanism in the brain mediates them. 


First Things First: The Separationist Theory. (E)

Janet Lee Mitchell

Cottonwood, Arizona 


OBE research at present seems to be focused on psychological theories of the phenomenon.  In a way, these approaches tend to evade the most pressing question about the experience -- does anything leave the body?  I will discuss techniques and procedures that have been used to examine the separationist theory and suggest methods for future work on this problem. I believe the separationist theory is easier to check experimentally and more efficient in expediting our work. 

If an experimenter could work with an individual who has the OBE under control to some extent and believes some aspect travels across space, this would appear to be the more practical approach.  Therefore, I encourage experimenters interested in the OBE to devise methods for validating the separationist aspect, along the lines of the Osis and McCormick work with Al Tanous.  Attempts to concurrently study the experient's physiology, spatial parameters, and PK effects, might also provide much needed data. 

If, after conscientious effort and application of rigorous tests, it is determined that there is no detectable external component, our attentions can be well spent on the psychological approach.  However, since we are defining the experience as out-of-body, I think it is imperative the the separationist theory be the first priority of investigation. 


Ketamine and the Near-Death Experience (E) D.

Scott Rogo

Graduate School of Consciousness Studies, John F. Kennedy University 


The Phenomenology that typically accompanies the near-death experience (NDE) is also sometimes a by-product of ketamine, an anesthetic used in both medical and recreational settings.  Some surveys indicate that NDE- type ketamine hallucinations are quite common.  The close parallels between some ketamine experiences and the NDE can be explained by a variety of conceptual models, including these:  the NDE is a similar form of chemically induced hallucination; ketamine induces objective out-of-body experiences (OBEs); ketamine-linked NDEs are artifacts produced by expectancy and the hospital setting; or the NDE is an archetypal experience catalyzed under a variety of different situations.  Each of these theories has explanatory advantages and disadvantages. 


To be Reprinted from Anabiosis - The Journal for Near-Death Studies, Spring 1984, Vol. 4, No.1


Altered States of Consciousness: The White Spot on the Scientific Map of the World - Can Science Still Learn from Magic? (G)

Klaus Stich 

Frankfurt, West Germany


This article compares the world picture of the scientist and the world picture of the magician by looking at magical techniques for the dissociation of consciousness from the physical body and modern psychological research into dreams.  Stich argues against the uncritical use of magical models of consciousness and stresses the necessity to connect useful elements of both types of models to form an instrument capable of penetrating into what is according to his words 'the last great wilderness' of our planet - the human mind. 


A Psychophysiological Study of Out-of-the-Body Experiences in a Selected Subject (E)

Charles T. Tart

University of California, Davis


A young woman who frequently had spontaneous out-of-the-body experiences was studied in a sleep laboratory for four nights.  She reported several partial out-of-the-body experiences and two full ones.  While the physiological data are limited by dependence on her retrospective report in correlating physiological pattern with the experience, it seems as if her out-of-the-body experiences occurred in conjunction with a non-dreaming, non-awake brain wave stage characterized by predominant slowed alpha activity from her brain and no activation of the autonomic nervous system. Two incidents occurring in the laboratory provide suggestive evidence that the out-of-the-body experience had parapsychological concomitants. 


To be Reprinted from the Journal of the American Society for Psychical Research Vol. 62 - January 1968 - No. 1 


Out-of-the-Body Experience as an Aspect of Our Spiritual Potential (G)

Adalbert Toepper 

Frankfurt, West Germany


In my contribution I would like to show that the out-of-the-body experience (OBE) is to be considered one of many extra-sensory phenomena.  OBE reports are recorded on the one hand from the field of parapsychological research which is hampered by incalculable psychical factors and on the other hand from ordinary people.  In my opinion we should pay attention to this latter source.  Its richness is due to a spontaneity springing from a natural free will of our soul and its secret longings.  Heavy buffets of fate may also promote spiritual development and, as a consequence, the ability of extra- sensory perception, so that the attraction of subconscious longings seizes man like a storm which pushes open the windows and sets free his view of spiritual realms.

From this viewpoint I describe numerous diary-like recorded OBEs, visions precognitive dreams, etc.  Some phenomena should not be considered separate from the out-of-body state since they are mutually dependent.  Sometimes I also refer to the inspired knowledge of the mystics, when it can specifically explain the spiritual mechanism of extra-sensory abilities. 


The Evolution of consciousness as a Way to Creative Freedom - From Dreamer to Warrior 

Paul Tholey

Institut fur Sportwissenschaften, University of Braunschweig 


In part one of the article the basic theories offering an explanation for non-ordinary experiences, especially out-of-the-body-experiences (OBEs), in the waking, hypnagogic and lucid dreaming states are clarified using examples.  It is established that in a OBE nothing leaves the physical body, but that a phenomenal (bodily or disembodied) ego leaves a phenomenal body which is only experienced as the physical body.  If the misleading term OBE is still to be used, then it would seem advisable to use it only in a phenomenological context as just described. 

In part two a series of hypnagogic techniques for the induction of OBEs are described - again using examples.  There then follows a description of different types of OBEs which occur in lucid dreams.  Examples are given to show that all phenomenological criteria (apart from those mentioned above) cited in literature on the subject are invalid, since experienced lucid dreamers can alter the form of their experience by manipulation so that it is arbitrary whether the criteria for an OBE are met or not.  It is for example possible in a lucid dream to make one's body either solid or airy. In the latter case the body is able to penetrate walls, a characteristic feature of what is referred to by the occultists as the astral body.  All our findings would seem to confirm the supposition that during an OBE nothing leaves the physical body. 

Part three describes how to develop one's consciousness and personality by appropriate behavior in the inner world - i.e. attain creative freedom. This process is explained more fully in several examples which look at the warrior, whose battle is directed at his egocentredness.  Allegorically speaking the warrior starts his way in the inner world with the confrontation with threatening creatures and situations.  At last he progresses to rebirth via his meeting of death, i.e. to creative freedom in the inner and the outer world. 


A Night Has Many Faces: Man a Multidimensional Being (G)

Ernst R. Waelti



My contribution describes two of my own OBEs which demonstrate that man can simultaneously be conscious of two or more planes of existence, entering the psychic and spiritual realms of consciousness in the out-of-body state. 

During the separation of the two bodies, entoptic phenomena (luminous patterns) on the retina were observed.  In the light of these observations, I doubt if any psychological theory or model which posit that nothing leaves the body can explain every type of OBE.  Instead of rehashing the question if OBEs represent a genuine mind-body separation, I focus on an explanatory model based on the concept of dissipative structures.  The fundamental ideas of this concept were developed by Ilya Prigogine and his group.  My attempt suggests that man may be a living system which can split into a continuum of experiences on different planes of reality. 


Out-of-Body State - 24 Hours Are a Long Day (G)

Werner Zurfluh

Basel, Switzerland 


The acceptance of the so-called out-of-the-body experience (OBE) as a relevant factor of experience has far-reaching implications not only for theory of knowledge and science, but also for the individual personality and for society.  Not until the colloquial dualism of wakefulness and sleep is critically considered, the momentous identification of the ego- consciousness with the waking state of the physical body is realized, and the concept of a multidimensional reality is accepted, can ego- consciousness be maintained as a continuous unity while falling asleep. 

As a consequence we have to introduce criteria which may help a lucid ego to successfully define the plane of reality upon which it finds itself. This should be done without discrimination, confusion and redundancy. 

The reproducibility of the out-of-the-body experience makes clear that there must be many planes of reality differing from one another and with distinctive laws.  Only the ego remains as a continuous but not at all constant unity on all planes.  All else changes.  For ethical and even economical-political reasons, it is desirable that the ego assimilate and integrate all information directly available to it, not only from everyday life but also from the nightly sphere of experience. 


Talking of Social Relevance (G)

Winfried Paarmann



The adventures of discovering the earth are now almost over and those of trying to make it a human place to live in have only just started.  They can only come to a good end if we want this planet to be whole and peaceful - like a house in good order which allows us to go on completely new and different adventures.  Paarmann say that there is no contribution to peace and the dissolution of outer conflicts in our present time which is more essential and more determined that the penetration into unknown realms of consciousness like those obtained through lucid dreaming and Out-of-Body- Experiences.


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Book Previews

Waking Up: Overcoming the Obstacles to Human Potential


Charles Tart


(Book to be published by Shambhala Publications, Boston, MA)

“There is an awakening of your mind possible that will make ordinary consciousness seem like a state of sleep,” writes Charles T. Tart, an internationally recognized authority in the field of consciousness studies.

In "Waking Up", Dr. Tart takes the reader on a journey of awakening to a life of greater awareness, joy, effectiveness, and peace.  He shows how ordinary, "normal" consciousness is actually a kind of trance in which the essential self is suppressed, controlled by mechanical habits of thought, perception, and behavior.  To help the reader escape from this condition, the author offers insights and techniques drawn from the teachings of G. I. Gurdjieff as well as his own experience with such disciplines as Aikido, Buddhism, and psychological growth processes.  These methods, involving balanced work on the intellect, emotions, and body, are ideally suited for practical use in everyday life.

By integrating ancient spiritual ideas with the findings of modern psychology, Dr. Tart has made the path to awakened consciousness highly accessible to contemporary men and women who seek both personal fulfillment and peace in the world.

Charles T. Tart is Professor of Psychology at the University of California at Davis.  He is widely known for his classic book, "Altered States of Consciousness", which was pivotal in stimulating the study of hypnotic trance, psychedelic drug experiences, dreams, and meditative states. Recognized for his experimental work in parapsychology, he has explored ESP and psychokinesis, "lucid dreaming," out-of-body and near-death experiences, and similar phenomena.


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Lucid Dreams Bibliographic Update


Alexander, C. & Cranson, R. (1986). The Vedic Psychology of higher states of consciousness beyond dreaming, waking and sleeping. ASD Newsletter, 3(3), 4-5 & 20.


Alvarado, C.S., Benor, D.J., Giesler, P., Grosso, M., Hearne, K.M.T., & Schouten, S.A. (1986).  'Lucid' dreaming and psi research (discussion).  In B. Shapin & L. Coly (Eds.), Current trends in psi research: Proceedings of an international conference (pp. 214-217).  New York:  Parapsychology Foundation.


Austin, L., Benor, D.J., Giesler, P., Hearne, K.M.T., Morris, R.L., Palmer, J. & Roll, W.G. (1986).  'Lucid' dreaming and psi research (discussion). In B. Shapin & L. Coly (Eds). Current trends in psi research: Proceedings of an international conference  (pp. 207-213). New York: Parapsychology Foundation.


Banquet, J.P. & Sailhan, M. (1977).  Quantified EEG spectral analysis of sleep and transcendental meditation.  In D.W. Orme-Johnson & J.T. Farrow (Eds.), Scientific research on the Transcendental Meditation program: Collected papers. Vol I. (pp.182-186).  Livingston Manor, N.Y.:Maharishi European Research University Press.


Banquet, J.P., Sailhan, M., Hazout, C. & Lucien, M. (1974). EEG analysis of spontaneous and induced states of consciousness.  Revue d'Electroencephalographie et de Neurophysiologie Clinique, 4, 445-453.


Berkman, R. (1986). Lucid dreaming: How to control your destiny through dreams. Beyond Avalon, 1(2), 16-17.


Brain/Mind Bulletin (1986).  Lucidity becomes major focus in dream research. Brain/Mind Bulletin, 11(13), 1-2.


Dane, J.R. (1986, Feb.)  Laboratory lucid dreams and OBEs: Experiences and observations.  Paper presented at the annual meeting of the Southeastern Regional Parapsychological Association, Charlottesville, VA.


Dane, J.R. (1986, Feb.) Lucid dreaming, the Bardo, hypnosis and psychic healing: Underdeveloped human potential versus the paranormal, or where are the boundaries?  Paper presented at the annual meeting of the Southeastern Regional Parapsychological Association, Charlottesville, VA.


Fadiman, A. (1986). Stephen LaBerge: The doctor of dreams. Life, 9(11), 19-20.


Faraday, A. (1978). Once upon a dream. Voices: Journal of the American Academy of Psychotherapists, 14(1), 67-76.


Gackenbach, J.I. (1986, June).  A review of the relative manifest content of lucid vs. nonlucid dreams.  Poster presented at the annual meeting of the Association for the Study of Dreams, Ottawa.


Gackenbach, J.I., Cranson, R. & Alexander, C.N. (1986, June). Lucid dreaming, witnessing dreaming and the Transcendental Meditation technique: A developmental relationship.  Poster presented at the annual meeting ofthe Association for the Study of Dreams, Ottawa.


Giesler, P.V. (1986). Lucid OBEs: A case report. Parapsychology Review, 17(5), 5-7.


Giesler, P. (1986, Feb.)  Lucid OBE's: A Case report illustrating definitional problems in lucid dream/OBE research.  Paper presented at the annual meeting of the Southeastern Regional Parapsychological Association, Charlottesville, VA.


Giesler, P. (1986, Feb.) Phenomenologically similar attributes of Umbanda possession trance, hypnotic trance and lucid dreaming.  Paper presented at the annual meeting of the Southeastern Regional Parapsychological Association, Charlottesville, VA.


Gillespie, G. (1986, June). Early Hindu speculation about dreams. Paper presented at the annual meeting of the Association for the Study of Dreams, Ottawa.


Hearne, K. (1986). Dream sense. Nursing Times, 82(1), 28-31.


Hearne, K.M.T. (1986).  'Lucid' dreaming and psi research.  In B. Shapin & L. Coly (Eds.),  Current trends in psi research: Proceedings of an international conference (pp.192-207).  New York: Parapsychology Foundation.


Hunt, H. (1986). Cognitive psychology and dream phenomenology. ASD Newsletter, 3(4), 3-4 & 20.


Irwin, H.J. (1985). Flight of Mind: A psychological study of the out-of-body experience.  Metuchen, N.J.: Scarecrow Press.


Irwin, H.J. (1985). The link between the out-of-body experience and proneness to lucid dreams: A meta-analysis. Psi Research, 4(2), 24-31.


Irwin, H.J. (1986). Perceptual perspective of visual imagery in OBEs, dreams and reminiscence.  Journal of the Society for Psychical Research, 53(802), 210-217.


LaBerge, S. (1986). Dreaming, illusion and reality. ASD Newsletter, 3(3),1, 20.


Price, R. (1986, June). The development of lucid-ability: A sleep laboratory single subject dream content analysis.  Poster presented at the annual meeting of the Association for the Study of Dreams, Ottawa.


Purcell, S., Mullington, J., Hoffman, R., & Moffitt, A. (1986).  The range and manipulation of dream control: A preliminary study. ASD Newsletter, 3(4), 9 & 18.


Purcell, S., Mullington, J., Moffitt, A., Hoffman, R. & Pigeau, R. (1986). Dream self-reflectiveness as a learned cognitive skill. Sleep, 9(3), 423-437.


Snyder, E. (1986). Lucid dreams. Rainbow Bridge Magazine, 5(1), 24-30.


Sparrow, G. S. (1986). How to induce lucid dreams. Venture Inward, 2(4), 31-33.


Tart, C.T. (1986).  'Lucid dreaming' by S. LaBerge. Contemporary Psychology, 31(7), 508-509.


Worsley, A. (1986).  Dream lucidity induction/control: Towards a new brain programming language? ASD Newsletter, 3(3), 2-3.


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