Results/Discussion:

At the close of the data analysis/writing period of the course on this project the entire class and the instructor met to compare the conclusions of the various groups. Even though the three groups focused on apparently different aspects of the diary there was considerable agreement on one major point. WN went through a clear growth in personal awareness during the 26 month period of this diary. Each groups results will be discussed separately, but first lets look at the number of words in the diary as a function of phase.

In Table 1 the total number of words is more in the dream (3rd) phase than in the first two, but the length of this phase is significantly longer. A more accurate look at amount of writing WN did in his diary as a function of phase is the average words per month (phase 1 (OBE) = 1300, phase 2 (Lucid) = 2877, phase 3 (dream) = 966) and per states of consciousness episode (phase 1 (OBE) = 190, phase 2 (Lucid) = 180, phase 3 (dream) = 203). Although there was no difference across phases as a function the amount written per episode, the most writing occurred in the middle or lucid phase as a function of time. This is, of course, because there are so many episodes in phase 2 given its brief time (n=46; also see Table 2 below).

This certainly seems to imply more attention to events in this phase. Interestingly the number of words of narrative (nonepisode writing) per month dropped in the last phase of the diary (phase 1 (OBE) = 400, phase 2 (Lucid) = 510, phase 3 (dream) = 200). During the first year of the diary (phases 1 and 2) he had more commentary than during the second year (phase 3). This might indicate a decrease in the enthusiasm for the project. But more will be reflected about this change as we go through the results.

Group 3 Results/Discussion

The three phases identified by group one were also characterized by specific types of experiences as shown in Table 2. The first phase was characterized by OBE's while lucid and prelucid dreams dominated the second phase and the third was primarily although not exclusively "ordinary" dreams. The first two phases were dominated by obsessions with getting first an OBE and then a lucid dream as illustrated by these quotes:

However, by the second, transitional, phase some flickerings of self awareness and reflection are evident:

My life was clearly a mess and this was due, in no small part, to my obsessive interest in lucidity and the occult in general. Further the language seems to be less mechanistic and more theoretical in this phase. For instance, when these words, try, attempt, trick, technique, experiment were counted as a function of phase, they were used 79 times in phase 1, 35 in phase 2 and 29 in phase 3. Toward the end of this phase WN appears to be moving away from a preoccupation with specific dream state:

This disruption was short lived and I was soon drifting back to sleep. As this was happening I found myself pre-occupied with a single thought. My life was clearly in a mess and this was due, in no small part, to my obsessive interest in lucidity and the occult in general. It was only too clear that I needed to pay a lot more attention to the details of day-to-day life. The word that came to mind was "desire". In "The mystical life", JHM Whiteman, a South African with more than a quarter-centuries' worth of experience in this field cautions against excessive desire. It is his opinion that those who desire mystical consciousness too much, either fail to attain it, or have nightmarish encounters. There and then I decided to stop looking for lucidity. The ironic thing is that as soon as I had come to this decision and gone back to sleep I began having bizarre dreams. Within 3 or 4 hours I had no less than five lucid dreams, all of them nightmarish.

This entry seemed to mark a powerful turning point in the life WN and he begins to reflect on the meaning and purpose of the dream in terms of himself. In the third phase his language became more flowing and metaphorical. His attitude of an almost desperate need to have these extraordinary experiences was followed by some beginning insights through lucid dreaming in the middle phase and culminated in an acceptance of his dreams as they happened in phase 3. In the last phase WN became aware that dream content related to his waking life and began to see the symbolic, metaphoric messages and implications therein. Here is an example from this period:

Last night I had a dream that directly relates to the fact that my father is in New York. The dream is long and complicated. I miss a "lucid cue" when I fail to connect the downward count on a recorded message to a LaBerge trick that I had been thinking about the night before...Anyway the relevant part of the nightmare involves a drunk, whom I fail to pacify with words and from whom I eventually have to flee. He keeps smashing glass bottles near me (and in this I see a clear symbolic representation of "shattering the peace"). I give up and decide to run away.

Symbols

1. Shattering glass: disturbing or shattering the peace. 2. Unpacifiable drunk: probably well-meaning, but father who just cannot be reasoned with (does this mean that calling will be of no value?)

Group 2 Results/Discussion

The results from the second groups analyses on spiritual encounters and emotional states is portrayed in Table 3. Not surprisingly a strong pattern between these two variables can be seen such that divine encounters and pleasant emotional experiences and evil encounters and distressed emotional experiences are related. Each cell has the same number of idea unites (n=12).

An illustration of positive/divine is:

The early morning dream had me entering a church which had recently reverted to an ancient, and barbaric practice of worshiping with animals. Having little tolerance for any kind of religion I arrogantly walked into the church with the intention of sneering at the worshipers. I soon found myself at the alter. Suddenly I became aware of the great potential around the alter for an ecstatic experience. I knelt down, bowed my head and concentrated. The lights quickly dimmed and a great blackness fell. I found myself being projected into the unknown at an incredible speed; this was clearly a very powerful rapture.

While here is an illustration of the evil/negative:

The situation was so distressing that I hurled myself out of the dream and woke up to find myself moving rapidly out of my body. It began with a warm, wet sensation all over my back. ... After all, the dream had been an evil one. What if some evil discarnate entity had orchestrated the whole thing to lure me into a trap? This may sound ridiculous but at four AM, alone and just out of a nightmare it seemed to be a legitimate concern. I chickened out and got back into the safety of my body.

However, the most frequent cell was undefined beings/distress-fear (n=20). For instance, WN writes:

I was rudely awaken by powerful vibrations 20 minutes later. Even in my dazed state it was obvious that two things? on either side of me were trying hard to get my attention. Suspicious and unwilling to leave the safety of my body before being sure about the situation I began to withdraw (i.e. decrease the vibrations). Suddenly I was momentarily unable to breathe. For a split second I felt like I was being choked. I withdrew even more and all of a sudden I felt this firm and painful pinch on my left nipple (which was swollen). (10-3)

About these he comments:

This feeling of being grasped by unseen presences is quite common (for me) when 'out-of -body', and is one of the reasons that the proper 'stabilized' lucid dream has become a more attractive alternative. At this point I am unsure as to the objective reality of these disturbing experiences, but they have not yet manifested themselves during a fully lucid state. (24-1)

An interpretation of the development of WN's spirituality is in WN's relationship to/attitude toward God. God takes on more significance in WN's dreams especially in the latter part of the document, suggesting that this belief becomes perhaps more important to WN as he develops through his dreams. It also could be looked at as WN becoming more stable or convicted in his belief as time progresses. Instead of questioning who to turn to in times of thankfulness or distress, he immediately turns to God. Regardless if God responds, the action of turning to God shows a development in a belief or faith in a God.

Although it may appear that WN's experiences are dominated by evil, demonic and distressful dreams, this statement made in the course of his experimentation with lucid dreaming should be taken into account, "the positive aspects of lucidity have greatly outweighed the negative aspects."

Group 3 Results/Discussion

The final sets of analyses dealt with power and control. Group 3 decided to examine this aspect after several readings of the diary and a systematic clustering of apparent themes. Control or lack of control seemed to cross all the clusterings. Lack of control was associated almost exclusively with nightmares and other people whereas all other sensitizing categories (i.e., elements, transportation) were associated with control.

Power was used interchangeably with control based on the definition of control, "the power to regulate and direct". When power or control were absent themes of depression seemed to emerge. The negative or nightmarish dreams highlighted by group 2 seemed to occur in the earlier parts of the diary whereas they seemed to drop off in the later, healing part.

In each part of the diary a single dream which was thought to represent that phase was selected for analysis. So that in the OBE obsession period WN writes, "After nearly two month I had my most vivid and controlled OBE . . . I feel that a door that had been closed is now open again and inviting me to wander inside." WN interpreted this gain in control as a result of the increase of power internally:

There is something about the blowing wind, the flashes of lightening and the driving wind that seems to have filled me with some sort of vibrant power.

He did not seem to be sure of the amount of control he possessed at this point (i.e., "Figuring I had nothing to lose...."). Control issues in this part seemed to be tied up with level of skill attainment.

The next dream examined which was from somewhat later on in the diary continued with the theme of control or its lose. By the middle of the diary it became apparent that themes of flying were becoming more frequent. When he is able to fly it seems that this is a symbol of power because with this power he is able to plan his course of action.

To further extend this groups analysis to the whole of the diary the number of references to control/power and flying as a function of phase of the diary were calculated. As can be seen in Table 4, while control/power decreased from the OBE to the lucid phases there was an increase in both with the third, "ordinary" dream phase. This is especially marked with power. On the other hand flying shows a steady increase across phases. Thus the simple association of power/control to flying does not seem to be held up in terms of word count at least. But herein lies the difference between a qualitative and a quantitative analysis. Where the former allows us to develop what is only implied by the latter. So that although control type issues were high in the beginning and at the end the quality of that control changed from a mechanistic experimenting attitude to a control which is not overwhelming and unhandelable.That he has a different type of control if not more control later in the diary is illustrated by this where he is "the focal point of a mass of swirling, highly confusing and charged forces of energies . . . that I do not even pretend to understand . . decide to switch from 'passive' to 'active' mode; as I do this the event climaxes in an extremely satisfying and dramatic manner." The dream does not dissolve into a nightmare because of his control which had been the case too often earlier on. His lack of control is indicated by his feelings of "a mixture of envy and contempt" for former classmates, with whom he finds himself in the same classroom. In order to regain some control, he conjures up a scene of a spectacular view, and then he begins to fly.

By trying to control his dreams/experiences he may be trying to control his life. But we see this attempt for control deteriorating into an obsession, where many times his dreams seem to be controlling him more than he was controlling them. Not surprisingly this seems to correspond with a period in his life where he was depressed and confused. As his later dreams move from the nightmarish quality to an apparent emotional improvement it is apparent that his increased control and flying is associated with acceptance and peace. Sometimes we need to relinquish control, so that we actually gain control, as in this:

One resolution I've made is that instead of using lucidity to escape from my next 'hurtling elevator' dream, I'll actually encourage the nauseating acceleration in order to see where it leads. He lets go of control in phase two and thus gains power and control in phase three as well as the freedom of flight. This shift is especially evident in WN's lucid and prelucid dreams. Although the absolute number of these three words and their derivatives is quite small, it is interesting that there is more in lucid dreams from the third dream phase than from the lucid phase when lucidity was the focus. Certainly there is a learning effect, none-the-less this qualitative analysis shows that the healing "power" of lucid dreams can be best reached in a manner that appreciates all dreams for their inherent ability to deepen self awareness.


Go to: Conclusion


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