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Welcome to the new mini-series "Bite Size" where I explore various lucid dream, meditation and consciousness tips and techniques in just one minute.
Reality Checks (also known as Reality Tests or Critical State Checks) are a staple technique of the lucid dreamer's toolkit.
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Over the past few weeks I’ve had a lot of questions about the latest highly hyped Kickstarter lucid dreaming machine, Instadreamer.
Consider this a quick "blog-style"article. It's a little rushed out, but I feel an early warning is far more important than a late but polished article.
Now, ignoring the tacky and misleading name, there are so many reasons why I’d hugely recommend avoiding this and other hype-fuelled so-called lucid dreaming devices that crop up regularly on Kickstarter.
In fact, if you’ve already backed this project, I’d recommend getting a refund while you still can.
For those who’d rather not read, here’s my tongue-in-cheek video that explains why (but it’s a serious message).
Otherwise, here are just a handful of reasons this particular device seems incredibly suspect:
1 - The prototype is a smart-watch poorly hidden under electrical tape -
Yet in the campaign they try to hint/claim that they have “built” a prototype. Now that’s a shocking lapse in honesty right of the bat. Do they have the expertise to bring a device to market? If they’ve only run tests using an off-the-shelf smartwatch, why not just release the software as an app and allow people to just buy as smartwatch for the same price but with many other features? (I think we know the answer to that one... $$$)2 - The principle is nothing new and applied in flawed fashion - Pavlovian response (classical conditioning) is something lucid dreamers have been doing for a long time - only with more finesse and with additional skills. This is the entire principle behind Reality Checks. Although traditional reality checks also combine observation, knowledge of one’s dreams etc. It’s also the principle behind other lucid dreaming devices - Both the NovaDreamer and REM Dreamer required the user to perform reality checks during waking hours whenever they see a flashing light (which will then be supplied during dreams via the device). So, they’re automating reality check cues - which is basically another way of saying that they’re removing observation and awareness from the process - doesn’t that sound a bit backwards when lucidity is about awareness? Another problem is that vibrations are really not very good at crossing over into the dream world. Many have experimented with this with little success. Mostly, vibrations seem to wake users, which is why it’s a common “silent alarm” for most smartwatches and phones.3- Learning to reality check based on random vibrations is counterproductive - Reality checks should require observation, awareness, critical thinking and be linked to dreamlike events (something that requires one to become familiar with one’s own dreamworld in order to achieve). The Pavlovian response is only one tiny factor that lucid dreamers employ during regular reality checks - and not a particularly important one. Moreover, any experienced lucid dreamer will tell you that reality checks alone are not the single key to nightly lucid dreams. So, dumbing them down further into an automated mindlessness act is a ridiculous concept.4 - Using an accelerator and heart-rate monitor to assess when one enters REM is a very imprecise means to of doing so - More precise devices such as the NovaDreamer and REM Dreamer which monitor eye movements directly have already been proven to not be particularly effective at inducing lucid dreams. The Instadreamer is a step-down from previous devices and yet they claim to be revolutionary. There are many more reasons, many of which I cover in my video, so here’s that link again: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GBUsQuA0rGg Don’t waste your money on hype and false hope. This device cannot and will not live up to its claims. Lucid dreaming is a natural skill you can learn at no cost. These guys are no different from people trying to sell you the air you breathe (only in this case, the air would be toxic). Please do your bit to raise awareness and help others avoid wasting their money on this and other devices. They do little more than disappoint and turn people away from lucid dreaming.
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Today we'll explore everything you need to know about the powerful and potentially life-changing experience of dimethyltryptamine, aka DMT. We'll cover the basics, law, safety, experience, myths and a whole lot more.
Don't feel like reading? This article is a transcript of our original video. Why not watch the video instead:
DMT - The King of Entheogens
For anyone interested in the exploration of consciousness, there is no denying the allure of the otherworldly experiences offered by mind-altering drugs, especially psychedelic compounds.
Arguably the king of all entheogenic substances is DMT, offering those brave enough to venture into its territory, experiences that can transcend language and shake the philosophical and existential bedrock of one's reality. The Basics
DMT is a powerful naturally-occurring psychedelic that’s also found endogenously in the human body and many living organisms.
Visually, it appears as a white or yellow crystalline substance, although poor extractions can result in a yellow wax-like material.
DMT has a unique and difficult-to-place scent, with some likening it to mothballs or a musky jasmine. After using DMT, many users report noticing its scent absolutely everywhere.
As with most tryptamines, DMT's molecular structure is very similar to that of Serotonin.
The most popular means of taking DMT is through the inhalation of its vapour, but it can also be taken orally in ayahuasca-like preparations. Alongside ayahuasca, traditionally, it has also been used as a snuff.
Vaped dosage ranges from 10 to 60mg, with 30-60mg being most common.
Whatever the dose, the administration experience translates to three long and deeply held inhalations of its somewhat harsh vapour.
The Law & Safety
DMT is a Schedule 1 illegal drug in the United States and shares a similar illegal status in almost all countries.
While it is considered mostly-harmless and non-habit forming among its users, there has been little scientific research into its long-term effects on health. In other words, most claims you might hear are likely to be assumption or speculation. As with any powerful drug that profoundly alters the complex machinery of the mind, one should proceed with the appropriate caution, safety, and respect.
Indeed, those with a personal or family history of mental illness should be especially cautious, as there may be a risk of triggering latent issues.
On the flip-side, recent research has also shown promising results in using similar compounds to treat long-term depression.
During the experience users are almost entirely incapacitated, in a state resembling sleep, therefore it should only be used in a safe, secure and relaxing environment with those with whom the user trusts deeply. A bed or comfortable spot to lay is essential. It is wise to have a sober and trustworthy companion to watch over you.
The Experience
The experience of DMT is short lived at roughly 10 minutes, and incredibly intense. Indeed, most who have experienced its effects admit that there are simply no words to describe it.
Even experienced psychonauts who have used other psychedelics are generally shocked by its sheer intensity and peculiarity.
Initially, one finds a comfortable spot, a place to lie down during the experience. Then with the help of a partner one proceeds to take the first long, deep inhalation, this is held for as long as possible and quickly followed by the second.
At this point, most people will already be feeling the intensity of the effects, with a rapid onset of geometric designs crisscrossing one's vision and reality melting as if at the peak of an LSD trip. Generally, most people feel "the highest they have ever felt", and the idea of a third toke is incredibly unappealing.
However, the third inhalation is vital for the full "breakthrough" experience.
On the third toke, your assistant will take the pipe and the user will lie back on the bed and close their eyes.
At this point, roughly 10 to 20 seconds after the first toke, any connection to the physical world has been lost. This may involve the feeling of dissolving, being pulled through a hyperspace tunnel, or simply "appearing" in an entirely different psychedelic geometric space - which has been nicknamed "the waiting room".
Personal identity will have mostly evaporated, with only base consciousness remaining. For most this can be a terrifying experience, and the belief that one is dying is a common fear. However, it is vital to remain calm and to simply relax and let go, but this is much easier said than done!
Time also appears to lose all meaning, with the space between each breath seeming infinitely long. This can also induce the unfounded fear that one has stopped breathing.
This "Ego Death" tends to occur in the "waiting room", a space that has been described as feeling something like a complex geometric multi-dimensional cosmic doorway.
Now, One may be greeted by what feels like some form of an independent entity, and while it is hard to put into words, often they appear to be formed from the very same ever-changing-kaleidoscope-environment that unfolds before you. These beings can come in a variety of forms and personalities, from loving almost-parental creatures, devious, cold-and-detached, shocked, outright malevolent, and everything in-between.
If the dosage has been correct, one will be pulled through the doorway and into "hyperspace" itself, often guided by the entity, all attempts at a description from this point onward become virtually meaningless.
For the next 10 minutes, which for the user can feel like eternity itself, one feels as if they have entered an entirely alternate reality - one in which all the rules of OUR world have become quite useless. Indeed, many suggest that they feel like an infant in an unfathomably confusing and vastly different universe.
There really is nothing that can prepare you for this and the astonishment that one feels can be entirely overwhelming.
One thing is common, that the experience is almost always reported as hyper-real or feeling more real than life itself.
People report all manner of experiences from alien experimentation, communication with god or gods, peculiar cosmic sexual encounters, playful cosmic clowns, or any manner of outright bizarre experiences.
It is entirely impossible to predict the experience - as often each trip seems utterly unrelated to the personality or interests of the user.
Often people report the entities offering seemingly profound insights into their lives, the state of humanity, or other spiritual revelations.
Of course, as with experiences in dreams, it is important to be cautious of taking such insights entirely on face value. Simply because something feels profound, doesn't always mean it truly is.
Whatever your beliefs about DMT, be they scientific, spiritual, or somewhere in-between, remember, both the subconscious mind and any potential otherworldy entities are as capable as any human of attempting to deceive or manipulate. So, retain a healthy level of critical thinking.
As the DMT wears off, between the 8-10 minutes mark, the consciousness of the body slowly returns - often feeling as if one "remembers" one's existence in this dimension. Aspects of the personality and self, coalesce, and normality rapidly returns. Often one has been so detached from oneself that if there is more than one person in the room, it seems almost arbitrary who you'll awake as.
Normal reality can often feel exquisitely comfortable and reassuring by comparison - a feeling that much like returning home after a long and exotic journey.
It is now that any trip report must be recorded as, like a dream, the memory will quickly fade.
Remarkably, most people feel almost completely normal within 15 to 30 minutes after the experience - if not a little shaken by the realisation of such a profoundly different world.
The Myths
One cannot talk about DMT without addressing some of the common myths associated with the substance. The following are popular beliefs which sound incredibly exciting, yet have absolutely no evidence to support them:
MYTH #1 - DMT is released during birth and/or death. One should ask oneself simply what kind of hideous experiment would have had to have been undertaken to discover this. Rest assured, no such experiment has been ever been performed and there is no evidence to support this claim.
MYTH #2 - DMT is produced in the pineal gland (referred to by some as "the Third Eye"). Again, this is pure speculation with no scientific evidence. The pineal gland isn't fully understood but we do know that it regulates some hormones such as melatonin - which is best known for its role regulating sleep patterns. DMT has not been discovered in any significant amounts in the pineal gland.
MYTH #3 - DMT is responsible for dreams. While this certainly sounds plausible, again there is no direct evidence that the body even uses DMT as a neurotransmitter. While it is present in the body, some evidence points to it likely being the byproduct of the synthesis of similar transmitters like tryptophan or serotonin.
DMT is a fascinating substance that raises deep questions about the nature of self and reality, it is more than interesting enough without needing to invent myths about its use in the brain, dreams, birth or death. While it's great to speculate, it's good to remain lucid in our understanding.
Lucid Dreaming -The Alternative
DMT is a remarkable chemical with a long and rich history and I believe it is up to each individual to assess the legal, physical and psychological risks involved in its use.
Certainly, an experience with DMT will shake the very foundations of your existence - raising all manner of philosophical and spiritual questions. It is up to you to draw your own conclusions - I'd recommend doing so with a clear and lucid mind.
Personally, I'd recommend that those who are interested in this and other substances first try a little experiment. Develop your ability to lucid dream, and then use that dream control to explore these drugs within the safety of the dream world.
I and others have had fascinatingly convincing experiences in just this manner - a lucid dream of DMT can be just as astonishing as the real thing. As an additional bonus, you will have also unlocked the keys to your own personal biological virtual reality and a universe of self-exploration.
What do you think DMT tells us about this strange and mysterious universe in which we find ourselves in?
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Today we'll be exploring the concepts of Chaos Theory and The Butterfly Effect. With these in mind, it is certainly not hyperbole to claim that this video will change your life. By becoming familiar with and observant towards the flow of cause and effect during our waking lives, we become better equipped to spot the inconsistencies of the dream world, allowing us to more regularly induce a lucid dream. The techniques of lucid dreaming offer us a chance to enhance both our waking and dreaming lives, to look at the world with new eyes and to become aware that lucid-consciousness is a tool that can be used in both worlds. Life is an unpredictable navigation through a vastly complex universe, where even the smallest change can create ripples in the future, forever changing our destiny.
Video Transcript:
"Hello everyone, I'm Daniel Love, The Lucid Guide.
Today's video is going to change your life. I know it's a big claim, but I guarantee that if you watch this until the very end, your life will be irrevocably different. So, if you're brave enough to take that risk, let's get started...
In a complex system, such as a human life, even a seemingly insignificant change, such as the choice to watch this video, will ripple outwards into the future, forever changing the direction and outcome of your life.
Even the smallest change in the timing and choices of your journey through the world will forever alter your future.
Therefore, the minutes that you spend watching this video will create a cascade in the timing of your life. With the effect growing exponentially and redefining your unique path through our universe.
There is, of course, no means to know if this change will be positive or negative. Perhaps, the delay will mean you miss a tragic accident or alter events just enough that you meet a particular potential future romantic interest, but it could equally result in unpleasant events. In reality, each and every choice you make is determined and defined by those made previously and the resulting journey will always be a mixed bag of good and bad.
The human world is an unfathomably complex and ever-changing system. Your future friends, romantic interests, and life experiences are all up for grabs - the results of what will occur due to your choice to watch this video are impossible to predict - almost anything could happen. But what is certain is, that it will be a different outcome from if you had chosen not to.
You may be familiar with this concept if you have studied the principles of Chaos Theory or the Butterfly effect. It has been a popular theme in works of fiction, with the film "Sliding Doors" being perhaps one of the most well-known examples.
Of course, these concepts apply not only to the choice to watch this video, but to every choice you will ever make.
For those interested in mindfulness techniques, personality development, or the skills of lucid dreaming, this way of looking at the world can be an incredibly powerful means to heighten and maintain your awareness.
By regularly paying attention to the subtle flow of cause and effect, and by observing the results of your behaviour, you can learn to navigate through your life and dreams with a fine-tuned awareness and sense of personal accountability. While the long-term variables and the results of our actions are essentially unknowable, it invites us to attempt to live a more skilled and thoughtful life and to make the very best choices we can.
Not only does this help us to orientate ourselves within the world, it is a constant reminder that every moment is a chance to turn it all around - That we are the architects of our destiny and each new moment is the birth of a fresh and unique future.
So, whatever your reason for watching this video, know that it has forever altered your future. So try, in this future, to pay attention to the choices you make and the ripples they will create in your life and the lives of others.
Aim to invest your mental energy into building a future of which you'll be proud. This self-reflection will also help you notice the inconsistencies in the dream world - where the timeline can suddenly jump and cause and effect are somewhat erratic. A deep familiarity with the nature of waking reality increases your chances of noticing when something is out of the ordinary - and therefore, lucidity in your dreams will increase.
If you're looking to invest in your future self, one way to do so would be to hit the subscribe button (including the notification bell), it will create one future in which you'll have access to all manner of awareness techniques and lucidity videos.
Or if you'd like to create a bigger ripple and help me do MY part to create a positive future - a donation to this channel via Patreon or the Paypal link in the video description would go a long way. Indeed, if every subscriber donated just one dollar, I'd be in a position to create a HUGE amount of new content. Thank you to everyone who does.
So, that's it for today. Welcome to the new timeline you've entered through watching this video. I wonder where it will take you? So, thanks for watching - Please don't forget to hit the like button.
I'm Daniel Love, The Lucid Guide and until next time, sweet dreams!"
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By Guest Author: Anka Sterling
A bit of context: a couple weekends ago, it just so happened that the last transcript I finished before getting off work was a radio interview with singer-songwriter Ry Cooder. He had recently released a new album focusing on Gospel music, and many clips of his songs were played throughout the interview, including one called “You must Unload.”
Once I had finished, I sat down to read Daniel Love’s “Lucid”—a fascinating book in many ways, and a welcome departure from the usual ways of thinking and writing about lucid dreaming. I was on the last section, an essay entitled “Unplug” that addresses the challenges of living an authentic life in the age of social media.
Ideas bounced off one another, as they often do, and this is what came out of it. My apologies go out to everyone involved. But, in the words of an anonymous poet, “Sure, it’s a bit preachy, but the problem with most sermons is that they go on too long and end up thanking the sisterhood and the men’s club for the bake sale.”
The original lyrics and a recording of the song can be found here. A version of the essay can be found here.
You must Unplug Now, you tech-addicted dreamers sure give me the blues
You must unplug, you must unplug
Ain’t gonna get a lucid losing sleep over your likes and shares and views
You must, you must unplug. It may seem the world is watching with its 16 million eyes
Like you’ve gotta chase somebody else’s rainbow ‘cross the skies
Brothers and sisters, the world will only shrug
You must, you must unplug.
Your feeds have set the bar too high to reach?
Well, don’t despair.
You must unplug, you must unplug‘
Cause the world is old and vast and the bar ain’t there You must, you must unplug It may seem the world is watching with its 16 million eyes Like you’ve gotta chase somebody else’s rainbow ‘cross the skies Brothers and sisters, the world will only shrug You must, you must unplug. It’s just as well the world ain’t quite as small as how it seems You must unplug, you must unplug So turn off your phones and go and have some awesome lucid dreams You must, you must unplug It may seem the world is watching with its 16 million eyes Like you’ve gotta chase somebody else’s rainbow ‘cross the skies Brothers and sisters, the world will only shrug You must, you must unplug.I think you must, you must unplug.
About the Author: Anka Sterling is a passionate and creative oneironaut and the founder of "Prism of Dreams", a fascinating new lucidity blog.
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