In lucid dreaming, we realize that many of the actions or events occur according to our expectation about what seems likely to happen. If you lucidly expect to fly through a wall easily, then normally you will. If you turn around and fly through the same wall expecting difficulty, then your expectation will create trouble, and you will likely bounce off that wall. I call this the Expectation Effect in lucid dreams. Simply stated, the Expectation Effect suggests that you experience what you expect to experience to the degree that you expect at that moment.
But does the Expectation Effect explain the lucid dreaming experience? Or is this more?
In my previous blog, I suggest that the Expectation Effect cannot easily explain unintended events, and new environments, like the new vista seen when you lucidly fly around a corner. Some have ventured that the unintended events and new environments can be explained as the result of a subconscious Expectation Effect composed of mental models. They suggest that the subconscious Expectation Effect creates an appropriate action or environment, which then appears, and this explains how unintended environments and events occur in a lucid dream.
Like many lucid dreamers, I wrestled with this for years. I noticed quickly that my expectation created my experience on most occasions. Yet, I became mystified by the unexpected and unintended actions and events on other occasions. Finally, I began to realize that I needed to experiment within lucid dreaming to resolve this dilemma. The experiment? Actively seeking information beyond conscious and subconscious knowledge – in effect, I sought to discover the unknown.
By actively seeking unknown information in a lucid dream, the lucid dreamer can go beyond the limits of conscious or subconscious Expectation Effect, and journey deep into the psyche, the unknown part of the Self. If the unknown information (as in telepathic, clairvoyant or precognitive information) later appears validated, then it apparently comes from beyond my conscious or subconscious expectations. Unknown information like this must exist outside of the commonly accepted closed system of my mind.
Castaneda’s don Juan suggested that a “silent reservoir of knowledge” existed within each of us. In The Power of Silence, don Juan states, “Silent knowledge is something that all of us have. . . . Something that has complete mastery, complete knowledge of everything. But it cannot think, therefore it cannot speak of what it knows.” To access this “silent reservoir of knowledge,” a person had to touch it – to contact it. So in lucid dreams, I set out to do that through a number of methods including my counterintuitive technique, “asking the awareness behind the dream.”
Aware in the dream state, I began to probe for telepathic, clairvoyant and precognitive information. To my delight, the information seemed routinely valid or validated by later events. On occasion, the information came in symbolic form, requiring some interpretation (which could be misinterpreted). Yet overall, I discovered that lucidly seeking the unknown could result in consistently valid information. Moreover, I discovered that other experienced lucid dreamers were discovering the same thing!
In my book, Lucid Dreaming: Gateway to the Inner Self, I chronicle many of these lucid adventures in search of unknown information, which you can read for yourself.
By lucidly accessing unknown information, the lucid dreamer shows the limits to the Expectation Effect, as the definitive explanation for all lucid events. These personal experiments in search of unknown information have shown many lucid dreamers that they can touch a broader range of knowledge and information. By all appearances, lucid dreaming shows us that the mind is not a closed system. It has access to information beyond the conscious self’s knowing.
In the next blog, we will look at scientific studies on dream telepathy, conducted at the Maimonides Hospital Sleep Laboratory by Montague Ullman, M.D. and Stanley Krippner, Ph.D. Dream telepathy may be the mechanism that explains accessing telepathic information lucidly, and explains mutual lucid dreaming.