1) easily understood; completely intelligible or comprehensible.
2) characterized by clear perception or understanding; rational or sane.
3) shining or bright.
4) clear; pellucid; transparent.
I took an incredible workshop last weekend at my favorite yoga sanctuary, Laughing Lotus, called “Practical Magic: Energy and the Subtle Body”, taught by Justin Ritchie. I sat in the front enrapt, feeling the pulse in the air, the room full of a community willing to learn. We formed a semi-circle, sitting on each other’s mats, switching between crossed legs and arms draping around our knees.
“The purposeful direction of energy helps us not only to get the most of our physical practice, but also serves as the bridge between our physical body and our mental and mental/emotional being.”
Justin spoke of the main energy channel that runs through the body, beginning at the base of our seat and rising through the top of our head. Wrapping around this centered column is our masculine and feminine energies, forming swerving figure eights, conjoining along the way, offering balance.
My pen translated notes from the circular charts and references. When Justin introduced his friend Thomas, a lucid dreamer who has helped form a website called Dreamlabs.io, I connected to this subconscious energetic tie, and became curious.
From lecture to mindful vinyasa practice, the room rose from their seats to directly engage the teaching, lined in rows. Spreading my fingers on the mat, I placed my intention on my breath and feeling this flow along my center, a spiraling pull both skyward and into the earth.
Inhale, in child’s pose. Exhale, release into downward dog.
As I’ve embraced my practice more, I have held a greater understanding and appreciation for energy in its many forms. Energy defined by the seven chakras, energy that sticks in my chest and constricts my front in moments of fear and pain, and energy that emanates from a person’s smile when they feel safe and at ease, resting in the blessed connection of community.
We are all powerful beings. We radiate energy everywhere we go, and affect our environment with our inner story, conflicts, love, and triumphs. In a city of such proximity, the urban explorer knows intimately the feeling of a packed subway at rush hour, both in the physical sense and the energetic sense. We can absorb that tightening, the lack of space, and the shoulders curving in to protect our tender hearts. We can shrink in, rejecting the noise, and attempt to tune out through music or video games, but what are we emitting at that moment?
The heart generates the largest electromagnetic field in the body, about 60 times greater than the brain, and can be detected several feet away.
I sought out Thomas after class, to commune with him, and to learn more about lucid dreaming. The concept of being awake in the dream was blowing my mind. I’ve always been an active dreamer, and able to remember my dreams. We connected over journaling, and he encouraged me to read his “Field Guide to Lucid Dreaming”.
The next night, I sat at my computer and quickly scanned the basics around their technique as listed in training at Dreamlabs.io. They recommended setting an alarm after six hours of sleep, to waken the mind, and then go back to sleep. Since the dreamer should be basking in the glow of REM at that point, the transition from wake to dream is much smoother than earlier in the sleep cycle. As I was looking forward to sleeping in the next day, I looked at my clock before going to bed, set an intention to remember my dream, but did not set an alarm.
Six hours later, I awoke.
It took a bit for me to fall back asleep, definitely past the 20 minutes that Dreamlabs had recommended, and then I found myself staring at a bright indigo parrot. He was up on a wire, and opening his mouth wide, cawing, and growing larger with each sound. He began to appear dangerous, his beak sharp and monster-like, so I shot him with my bow and arrow. He immediately shrank, but was still there. I pursued him to shoot again, and he became a sparrow, hopping in and out of my sight, transforming into a dead groundhog that I kicked to make sure it was no longer alive.
Then, I became lucid for the first time. I looked down at my hands and my feet on the ground, and realized I was dreaming. I had felt apprehension when I slipped under my covers hours earlier, but my subconscious had already made a plan. There was no fear here, just sweet awareness. No need for an alarm, because the intention was set.
And to test the state, I tried to fly.
I didn’t want to raise too high, just over the tops of the trees, but I was lifted by a simple push of my feet and an energetic direction. It was amazing, light, and easy. I traveled along looking down over fields and green. Landing in a campground full of tents, I ran through many of them before waking with a start.
I couldn’t write fast enough in my dream journal, and my grin was wide as my room, stretching with the new experience, and the rush of accessing a lucid state.
The exhilaration wasn’t just from being “awake”, but from the clarity of the moment, and the images running through my head. They were pouring out of me, and I was able to associate freely with them, open to their teaching, and now possessing a felt physical sensation.
I hadn’t understood what lucid meant, until I spread my fingers in the midst of a dream. This process seemed to be done through me, despite my fears and hesitation. There was a flow from the workshop to my pen scrawling madly across the page on an early morn, and I felt the tickle of a feather on my back, from wings that had taken their first energetic flight.
Where to next?