a way I feel that the nightmares gave me the beautiful gift of lucid
dreaming. That without the adversity they provided, I would not have
reached for such a powerful technique as lucid dreaming.
-- Ben Kidd
Ben Kidd has experienced nightmares from time to time throughout
his life. Remarkably, he taught himself to realize when he was dreaming
- and to use his lucidity to change his nightmares - at a very early
age. He shares his inspirational story in the current issue of LDE
NIGHTMARES AND LUCID DREAMS
(c) 2004 Ben Kidd
I have had many nightmares that I have
overcome by lucid dreaming. In fact, my lucid dreaming started that
way. My lucid dreaming was initiated by a recurring nightmare that I
had between the ages of about 3 and 4. From there, many of my lucid
dreams were invoked during a nightmare, and were the avenue to end
them. This occurred into my twenties, and can still occur today (my
thirties), although the nightmares are much weaker than they once were.
FIRST RECURRING NIGHTMARE
1975 (three years old): The Dungeon (all occurrences pre reaching lucidity, about 8 times in total):
I am out the
back of my house, playing. I accidentally drop my red woollen gloves on
to the paving bricks near a storm water drain. I try to pick them up,
but when I try to, I accidentally push them partially into the drain.
So I get on my knees to get closer. Again I knock them further into the
drain. I lie on my chest, and reach down to grab them. I knock them
into the drain, and I fall in after them.
I find myself
in a dungeon-like place. There are two rooms joined by an escalator. On
the escalator are my family, and my extended family. The upper room is
dimly lit. About thirty pairs of forearms reach out of the floor. The
beings they belong to are imprisoned in the ground. They reach out to
try to grab my legs, and pull me into the ground. This scares me
greatly, so I go down the escalator to the lower room. I enter the
lower room, which is pitch dark. I can't see my own hand in front of my
face. The darkness excites my fear until I am petrified. Once I cannot
handle it any more, I get back to the top room. I go back and forth
between the rooms each time I can't stand the current room.
I wake up terrified.
MY FIRST LUCID DREAM
1976 (four years old): The Dungeon and the Banished Witch:
nightmare starts and continues as it always has. This time however, it
changes. I am determined to end the nightmare. When I am in the
upstairs room, after going up and down a few times, I decide to end it.
This is where I become lucid.
I realise that I am dreaming, and so I call forth the witch that has
imprisoned me. She appears instantly. She is wearing a long black robe,
had a pointy black hat, is floating on a broom, and even has a large
wart on her nose.
I tell her that she has no right to imprison me here, and directly
order her to set me free. Instantly she disappears, and I appear in my
back yard, with my red gloves at my feet. I pick them up, and the dream
ends. I never had that dream ever again.
I wake up feeling empowered, that I have control over my destiny.
MY SECOND RECURRING NIGHTMARE
1976 (four years old): The Dungeon Behind the Cupboard (had twice or three times)
I am walking to school in my dream. It is dusk, which seems strange.
There is a
small building at my school which doesn't exist in real life. It's
about the size of a toll booth. I go into the room, and find a
cupboard. The cupboard is against the back wall of the room, which
backs onto the playground (i.e., there is open space behind the
slides across, to reveal a hole in the wall that leads to a dark
warehouse. I am drawn into the warehouse. I am scared in the warehouse,
as it is dark, large, and I cant find my way out.
I wake up feeling scared.
MY SECOND LUCID DREAM
1976 (4 years old): The Dungeon Behind the Cupboard is Vanquished.
I am dreaming. I decide that I will not let this recent nightmare get on top of me like my first one did.
purposefully walk to school. When I get there the small building is
there as expected. I go inside to find the cupboard. I walk straight up
to the cupboard and push it across. I find the hole in the wall, and
the large space behind it. I make my intentions to rid my dream of this
nightmare strong in my mind, and walk into the dark area behind the
cupboard. I find it lighter than last time. I have a look around,
finding old school desks, dusty chairs, clocks and the like. I find
that it is not scary at all, rather an old dusty place. I overcome my
fear of the place, and leave it. Once I have left, I look behind the
cupboard, and can no longer see the hole that leads to the large dark
I wake up feeling empowered.
VIOLENT NIGHTMARE ENDED BY LUCID DREAMING
1990 (18 years old): The Giant Axeman
I am in the
country. It is dry, with low brown grass, open fields, and wire
fencing. There is a dirt road. I am in a house with a friend. There is
a rowing boat (an eight) outside on trestles (to hold it up off the
ground). A car pulls up out the front. Four men get out of the car. The
have axes. One of them walks up to the boat and rocks it until it falls
to the ground causing much damage. They leave, for now.
I am feeling distressed by this. I am wondering how I can defend
myself, and notice two axes in the house. My friend and I grab the axes
to defend ourselves.
The car pulls up again. Again, it has the same four men in it, but
there is also a giant man, about 8 feet tall. He too has an axe. They
start walking towards the house. I am getting terrified by now, and so
I am wondering what have I done to deserve this?
The men approach and enter the house. I am still thinking, why do I
deserve this? What have I done? The giant slowly walks towards me with
his axe. I realise I must defeat him, or I will die. I suddenly realise
that I don't deserve this. That I haven't done anything wrong. I then
realise that I am dreaming. A triumphant feeling follows, where I
realise I can make the walls fall outwards allowing my escape. However,
I am still too close to this giant, and worried, so I take my axe and
hit him again and again with it in the chest trying to stop him. The
huge emotion associated with this stops my dream.
I feel relieved to have gotten out of the nightmare, and empowered that
I have had a lucid dream, but disappointed that I ended it in a violent
way rather than a supernatural way.
NIGHTMARE NEARLY ENDED BY LUCID DREAM
1992 (20 years old) Rolling the Paddle Steamer onto the Beach
In the dream I
am on the deck of a paddle steamer. The paddle steamer happens to be
steaming along a footpath that runs along a long beach. The paddle
steamer approaches a left hand turn, about 45 degrees. As it turns the
corner it rolls over onto it's side. It is now lying on the beach.
I realise that I am in trouble. There is a lot of financial damage to
the vessel, and they are holding me accountable. However I realise that
I wasn't driving the boat, so I realise that it's not my fault. I then
realise that I am dreaming! Such relief! It's not my fault.
Then, amusingly, I manage to convince myself that it's not a dream after all, and the nightmare continues until I awake.
I wake up feeling a mix of frustration, and happiness with realising it was a dream.
FALLING DREAMS TURNING INTO LUCID FALLING DREAMS TURNING INTO LUCID FLYING DREAMS
During my childhood I've had many falling dreams. When I was 16 I fell
off an 8 metre high cliff, where I found out that falling in a dream
feels just like falling in real life, very scary. I'll move onto when
things started to change.
1988 (16 years old) Feather Falling
I am in a
dream, on the beach. Out to sea is a large green skyscraper. I go out
to the skyscraper, and climb to the top. Instead of having normal fire
stairs, there is a large central stair well, with stairs running on all
four sides. The stairwell has a central open area about 15 metres by 15
metres (45 feet by 45 feet).
I start to walk down the stairs, and slip. I find myself falling
through the air, and feel that classic falling feeling deep in my
stomach. However, instead of plummeting to the ground, I am falling
more like a feather, slowly, drifting. I land on a stairway clear
across the gap at the centre of the stairs. I realise that this isn't
normal, so I must be dreaming.
I then practice this feather falling again and again, in the hope that I will remember this skill for future falling dreams.
1989 (17 years old) Lucid Falling
I am on the
top of an 8-storey building. I am not lucid. In the dream I approach
the edge of the building. It is scarily tall. I fall off the edge. I
land on the ground, but find I am not hurt in any way. I realise I am
I go to the top of another building, this time 10 storeys tall. I
realise that I want to practice falling so that I can overcome my fear.
I jump off the edge, and free fall to the ground. I land on my feet,
but as I am falling so fast I end up very quickly in the squat
position. The deceleration is so fast it scares me.
I go to the top of another building. This time more like 20 storeys
tall. The landing area is so small, I find it hard to see it. I jump
off the building, and free fall. Again the landing is so fast that it's
a bit of a shock, and wakes me up this time.
I feel happy that I have started to overcome my fear of falling.
FLYING OUT OF A NIGHTMARE
1994 (22 years old) Flying out of Adversity
I am having a
nightmare. I am being chased by an infinite number of criminals. They
are trying to kill me. I have a gun though, which I am using to defend
myself. The gun takes 6 very fat bullets. They are about as fat as a
I am running. As I am running I am trying to load my gun. Once I get
the sixth bullet in the gun, I close it up, and turn and fire. By this
time there is one enemy at most 2 metres from me. I kill him, and five
others that are very close. Then the running starts again.
More running, more shooting, more running, more shooting. The whole
time the same old thoughts come up. "What have I done to deserve this?
What karma do I have that I deserve to be killed like this?" And so on.
Eventually I have the realisation that I don't deserve that. I am not a
murderer or criminal, and thus realise that I am dreaming!
With this realisation I realise I have supernatural powers. I instantly
fly upwards very fast. I reach orbit in a matter of seconds. The
experience is so strong that I wake up.
I feel incredibly energised by the dream. Not only because I became
lucid, but because I have continued to get out of nightmares using
FLYING MYSELF AND OTHERS OUT OF A LOW LEVEL NIGHTMARE
2003 (31 years old) Group Flight
I am having a
low-level nightmare (my nightmares are now generally like this, if they
occur at all). I am in an outdoor setting. There is an island
surrounded by a moat. There are a few bridges leading from the island
in the middle to the land (bank) surrounding the moat. Each of the
bridges had a landing in the middle on it's own smaller island that is
located in the moat, not touching either the bank or the main island.
There is a large crowd in a grandstand to one side.
There is some sort of sport going on. However the sport is like chasey,
and I am being chased. I am finding this situation uncomfortable, as I
don't want to be chased. There is a group of three other people with me.
I realise that I am dreaming. I am not sure what triggers that, but I
expect it is the usual understanding that I don't deserve to be chased
like this, as has happened many times before.
I decide that I want to get off the main island to the bank on the
other side. I want to take my three friends with me, as I am protecting
them. So I decide to fly myself and them off the island. I will myself
and them into the air. There is no physical contact between the three
of us. As I fly over the bridge, I notice that it rises up and down as
it heads across the moat. I find that as I reach a high point, and
start to fly over the low point, that I and the three other people
start to fall towards the bridge. I remember that the fear itself will
cause this to happen, so I strengthen my resolve, and continue to fly
to the other side. We land safely, and the dream ends.
I awake greatly charged and excited. It's the first time I have made others fly with me just using my will.
I find that the common thing that initiates a lucid dream in a
nightmare is my intrinsic understanding that I don't deserve the bad
events that are occurring to me; that I haven't done something horrible
that has brought it upon myself. This seems to bring up "justified
anger" towards the situation. This results in a very strong resolve to
end the situation, crossed with the innate knowledge that I can end the
situation by my will alone. I end up like a bulletproof superhero.
I feel that this result is partly created through my waking life, where
I feel unsatisfied with being stuck at night in nightmares (first
learnt from the recurring nightmares of my early years). I find that if
I convert the dissatisfaction into a challenge to reject the nightmare,
and carry that resolve with me to strengthen it, that the chances of me
overcoming a nightmare by lucid means are greatly increased.
This effect snowballs. After I first beat the nightmare when I was four
years old, it made it easier to repeat that when I was five, and so on.
Now I find that the power of my nightmares are greatly diminished, as I
know that I can beat them with will alone.
In a way I feel that the nightmares gave me the beautiful gift of lucid
dreaming. That without the adversity they provided, I would not have
reached for such a powerful technique as lucid dreaming.
As the Buddhist saying goes (approximately), rubbing a block of rough
wood with silk will not smooth it, rubbing it with sandpaper will.
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