Things Fall Apart: Deviant Devices in Dreams

Hello, fellow oneironauts!

If you’re reading this blog, you probably have an interest in lucid dreaming (dreaming in which you become aware that you’re dreaming), and you likely didn’t need those two links. So, you probably also know that devices don’t work very well in dreams; they either break down or do some strange stuff. One standard reality check is to test a light switch, which will likely fail in a dream. Of course, you have to be in the habit of testing devices in waking state in order to remember to test during dream consciousness. Most important, to hone your lucidity skills you should be cultivating mindfulness during waking state (meditation helps), and maintaining the habit of asking yourself whether you are dreaming. Cell phone appointment reminders are my mindful method.

A case in point about device failure in dreams: During my final REM cycle this morning, I was bowling and hit the reset button. The pins that came down were randomly ordered, and sometimes even mannequin legs replaced the pins! If that weren’t bizarre enough, on a couple of resets World War II dioramas were built at the end of the bowling lane. Instead of questioning this wacked-out reality, I was infuriated with the owner, who had no idea how to fix the problem. (Of course he didn’t: He was part of my own machinations to dupe myself. Ah, what a rich conspiracy the mind is!)

Some lucid dreamers might be upset with themselves for failing to perceive a dream sign that’s right under their nose. As a newbie LDer, I find it fascinating how my mind played along with the beautiful breakdown of the bowling pin setting machine. I consider it progress in my dream-life studies that I should remember and record this potent dream sign. It tells me that lucidity is near, and just one phrase away: the simple, skeptical question, “Am I dreaming?”



  1. Johannes said,

    March 3, 2010 at 8:13 pm

    I am getting in the habbit of reality checking. I had a dream the other night were i was in a lab and some proffessor was explaining to me why i most deffinetly was awake. “And that is why you are not dreaming”, he said and I didn’t doubt him.
    In this moment i get a message that a cat is attacking my sleeping body in my bed from behind and i wake up with a rushing sensation through my back.

    It seems that my body/mind is working hard against me trying to gain consiousness while dreaming

    • March 3, 2010 at 9:02 pm

      Hi Johannes,

      “And I didn’t doubt him…” Hi, Johannes. Thanks for your input! I hope you’ll report back here on more interesting findings in your practice.

      I’m of the persuation that at least one of the functions of dreaming is “defragmenting” the brain (which, I think, is a kind of wish fulfillment, since one is letting go and reordering things, “refreshing the page” of the mind to use another computer analogy). Thus, I think it’s as much a function of the brain to shut down our conscious awareness of a dream as it is to induce sleep paralysis. Many who become lucid awaken after or during their dream, and I speculate that the body/mind would “prefer” that you be fooled by the dreamstate in order to lull you into the deeper rest/repair state. Lucid dreaming is a fine tightrope walk that brushes very near the wakened state. The body/mind resists this, just as the conscious dreamer resists the full submersion. Anyway, I’ll stop speculating. Here’s an article I found useful:

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