In lucid dreams, time can be slowed down or speeded up. Lucid dreamers can float and fly. The laws of time and physics which apply to waking reality do not apply in the lucid dream world.
Lucid dreamers also report entering wormholes, spiralling through dots of light, and being spat out in vast, featureless spaces.
I’m in whitish space, endless neutral light. I try flying as fast as I can and it’s so quick it’s impossible to describe – I could go around the circumference of the world in a second at this speed. It strikes me that in experiences like this there can be no doubt that we are more than just a physical body. We are physics itself; gravitational pull and light particles and the energy-force that pulls everything together…
Clare R Johnson, ‘Surfing the Rainbow: Fearlessness and Creativity in the Out of Body Experience’, in Consciousness Beyond the Body (ed. Alexander de Foe).
Lucid dreams often feature portals in the form of windows, plugholes, clouds and mirrors.
If the lucid dreamer decides to enter a portal, this may take her into a new dream scene or into a different space; perhaps one of black light (the void) or zillions of dots.
The transition into this new space may feel a bit like riding a rollercoaster or being sucked in spiralling winds.
What can exploring these spaces teach us about consciousness? In what I have termed ‘Bodiless Lucid Experiences’ (BLE), the lucid dreamer has an experience which goes beyond waking life experiences, yet remains consciously aware throughout. This is a fascinating opportunity to be both more and less than we can be in waking life. More in the sense of going beyond what we are used to: leaving our physical body and the laws of physics behind and expanding our conscious awareness into unfamiliar forms and spaces. And less in the sense of existing in a state of relative sensory deprivation: although we still ‘see’, there is generally no representational imagery such as houses, mountains, or objects, and we have no sense of pain or the physical body. This seems to focus our conscious awareness more tightly, as there are fewer distractions.
Lucid dreamers who have had Bodiless Lucid Experiences often report that these experiences confirm for them that consciousness can exist beyond the body and that life may continue after death. These experiences can be linked to deep psycho-spiritual experiences, as floating in a huge empty space makes it particularly easy to meditate.
A spontaneous experience of the void can provoke a meditative or nondual state, especially if kinesthetic perception is minimal so that we aren’t clutching onto our dream hats and trying to keep our wits about us as we shoot through a twisting vortex, but remain gently suspended in space. After all, there isn’t a lot else to do when we’re bodiless and mainly sense-less besides enter a meditative state, unless we choose to activate dream control or try to return to the imagery of a more usual sort of dream.
– Clare Johnson, ‘Magic, Meditation and the Void: Creative Dimensions of Lucid Dreaming,’ chapter in Lucid Dreaming, New Perspectives of Consciousness in Sleep (eds: Hurd & Bulkeley)
For those more interested in playing with time, lucid dreaming offers excellent opportunities for experimentation. A doctoral study on motor skills in lucid dreaming by Melanie Schädlich at the University of Heidelberg found case studies of athletes who slow time down in the lucid dream so that they can hone a movement, from swim strokes to complicated kickboxing kicks.
Experiences of simultaneous time in the dream state have been reported: people who dreamed two or three dreams simultaneously. Lucid dreamers have experimented with freezing time in a dream and walking through the frozen action, examining 3D dream people, animals and vehicles. One screenwriter used to rewind and replay the action in lucid dreams to help him develop scripts.
How to explore Time, Space and Physics in Lucid Dreams
- Devise a simple experiment to test gravity in a lucid dream. Dr Keith Hearne, who scientifically proved lucid dreaming in 1975, suggests counting how long it takes for an apple to fall from shoulder height to the dream ground
- Try levitating cushions as I once did in a lucid dream. Any object will do!
- Slow or freeze time in your next lucid dream, combining the firm intention with willpower and a clear expectation that this will work
- Look for liminal spaces which may be used as portals: cloudiness, mist, fog. These are spaces of potential which can be walked through with the intention of ending up somewhere else.
- Other portals are windows, mirrors, plugholes, and the like. Experiences such as flying as fast as possible or experiencing sexual bliss can also be portals into new dream spaces.
- Try waking visualisations of entering liminal spaces, and cultivate a feeling of safety as you do so. Relaxing breathing techniques are helpful.