Last night I went to bed tired as can be. It was one of those juicy falling asleep experiences where you feel your body becoming numb in stages as you merge with the bed. I slept for ten hours and had a long lucid dream around 7am followed by a false awakening. I've lost many details of the lucid dream in the hours since it took place, but what I remember I've recounted below.

I can't remember what incited my lucidity, but in my dream I became lucid standing in my bedroom. Once I realized I was dreaming I flew all around my room like a frog, but expectation constraints prevented me from traveling through my walls or ceiling. I wanted to be in a more interesting setting or at least have characters to interact with but I was struggling to break through psychological barriers.

It felt like I'd be stuck in my room forever. I wasn't making progress and I was scared of losing awareness and control. To prolong lucidity, I occasionally stabilized my consciousness by staring at the criss-crossing lines on my palms and performed reality checks by pulling my fingers (which tend to lengthen like taffy in dreams). 

Once when I pulled my finger, I saw open space behind a few yellow strings that I tried to travel "into." I had read about others traveling into parts of their bodies in lucid dreams and, curious about what I might find in there, decided to give it ago. I set the intention and concentrated on making it happen. No luck. (I must not have expected it to work so it didn't.) I needed a new plan for adventure. I was lucid - a rare and delicious occurrence for me - and going to take advantage of it, damnit! 

Finally, I remembered to call on LaBerge's classic trick of "spinning" to change my setting. I looked at my feet and shuffled them out and out, twirling on the carpet of my bedroom. I emerged in a minimalist futuristic street scene. Success!

Not sure what I saw or did in this new setting, but at one point in the dream I ran into my boyfriend. My boyfriend is an oneironaut like myself, so I decided to take the opportunity to try an experiment. Excitedly I approached him and said, "Hey, you're in my lucid dream! You might be dreaming too right now! Try to become lucid!" (This morning when I asked him, he said he dreamt we slept next to each other but he can't remember his other dreams. Mutual lucid dreaming experiment inconclusive.)

Towards the end of my lucid dream I remembered the intention I had recently set to ask the dream itself what I should do next within the dream. "Dream! What should I do next?" I yelled up at the sky. An animated portrait of a woman on the wall drew my attention. She started talking to me, telling me about something she wanted or needed, but I couldn't quite understand what she said so I ignored her. "You want a what?" I said. "A TV?" I saw her face break out into frustration but I didn't stay back to get her response.

I kept walking and decided to try again. "Dream! Tell me what I should do next." Immediately the sky overhead turned terrifying. Angry thunder exploded, cracks of lightening broke out, and the dream collapsed.

I "woke up" in a research lab, with a woman in a white lab coat telling me I had made a mistake. "We planted that girl in the portrait," she said. "You were supposed to listen to her."

Now that I'm awake I wish I had listened to the portrait. I doubt she was an independent agent of any kind "planted" by a dream researcher or anyone else, but she could have been a dream symbol or the voice of my unconscious itself. And what if she had something important to tell me or show me? 

I've experienced my mind as a lab before and I think the metaphor fits. But it's less clear to me now who the head of the lab really is. The more I meditate the more clearly I see that we are not our egos. Thankfully the ego and the mind are two different things. 

So what makes up or creates the sum of our conscious, subconscious and unconscious if not our egos? Is there an overseer at all - a head of the lab? I'm starting to think we don't run our own labs, but at least through lucid dreaming (and yoga and meditation and mindfulness and psychology) we can closely observe our labs and learn what there is to learn.

The more I dream the more I question. The more I question the more I dream!