Last night I had not one but three lucid dreams, thanks to the (totally legal) dream lucidity cheat pill: galantamine. An extract from the Red Spider Lily, galantamine is a memory enhancer with the awesome side effect of augmented dream recall. Taking it can result in lucid dreaming too, especially if it's ingested several hours into one's sleep cycle. The stuff works. I've tried it five times now (over a period of several months) and it's led to lucidity 5/5 times for me.
I'm currently reading a book on Dream Yoga and I'm signed up to take a lucid dreaming course with Fariba Bogzaran in September, but, despite having dreams on my mind these days as much as ever, it has been quite a while since I've had a lucid dream. For the past few months I've been cutting out precious REM time by waking up an hour earlier than usual each day to meditate. I'm certainly enjoying the benefits of meditation so far, but I've been missing my lucid adventures too. So yesterday I decided to take a bit of a shortcut. Knowing I could sleep in today, last night I went to bed at midnight and set my alarm to wake me up five hours later.
Right before my alarm went off at 5am, I was actually already in a mildly lucid dream. In it, I had been watching two people partake in a Pokemon battle (at least that's what I think it was) in an otherwise bare room. They were throwing red energy balls at each other. But these seemed to originate from their bare hands, causing me to question reality and recognize I was dreaming. Once I realized I was dreaming, I somehow "knew" I was in a layer of hell and that each floor below was another (presumably worse) layer. Naturally, I decided to check them out.
I went down one flight of stairs and entered a room of violinists sitting poised to perform against an ominous backdrop of glowing red light. They began playing their violins to a tune I couldn't immediately place though it instantly caused my chest to flood with emotion. As soon as I realized it was I Love You Always Forever, I realized why and broke out laughing in delight.
I hadn't heard this song in probably at least a decade, but it used to mean a great deal to me. This was my song in the first grade, a time of great creativity but also great loneliness and longing for me. I'd sit with my radio in the front yard for hours at a time that year, listening to KORR 104 and praying my song would come on. I lived for when it did. And now I was hearing it again, over 15 years later, in this silly dream "hell."
After the song I noticed a small group of other people watching the performance too. Curious if they were also lucid dreamers dreaming the same dream (something I'm prone to suspect while I'm in a lucid dream), I asked them, "Who are you?"
A young, well-dressed man told me (somewhat incredulously), well, he was in finance and had a family and liked sports and drinking and fashion and was just trying to get by, really -- aren't we all? He had a point. As I was contemplating that we're all just dreamers trying to remember not to take everything (including "hell") at face value, my alarm went off.
After taking the galantamine (8 mg of it, chased with 500mg of choline to prevent any headaches), I had two more dreams. Both were "wake-induced," meaning I did not become lucid in a "normal" dream. I entered each dream lucidly. In the first, I found myself in a big, dark basement. I chose to follow the darkness, because in dreams that's where there's more to learn about ourselves, according to dream yoga. I found a bunch of teens passed out on various couches. One of them told me they were all "wasted" thanks to their "manager."
That's when I remembered (excitedly) that last night I had set out to sing the Gayatri mantra within my dream. So, accompanied by my new friend, I lucidly sang the beautiful mantra until I woke up.
I lay still and replayed my first two lucid dreams of the night until I entered a third one, also set in a basement. But I didn't want to be in a building anymore, so I practiced LaBerge's spinning technique as I set an intention to change the dream scene to a forrest. Unfortunately, the only result was dizziness so I had no choice but to take the long(er) route.
I found my way out of the building and took to the sky, flying with a tired dream body (which might have been a result of the galantamine). I flew until the terrain looked sufficiently forrest-y. When I landed, I found some interesting creatures that looked like deflated green and purple rubber costumes, but filled up and came to life when I spoke to them. I can't remember what they said, but I remember they were kind of cute. And that's all I remember.
When I woke up, Breakfast at Tiffany's was playing in my head. Not sure how it got there (was it playing in my dream?), but I didn't hate it. My stomach felt a little odd from the pills, but as soon as I ate some eggs (after writing down my dreams of course), I felt fine. All in all, last night was worth it, and taking galantamine continues to be my one bulletproof recommendation for achieving night-of lucidity.
Give galantamine a go and share your experience in the comments! And feel free to send me your dreams (lucid or not) whenever you feel so inclined.