The Art of Lucid Dreaming or how do I know that my reality is just an Illusion

Have you ever woke up and realised you were still sleeping? The feeling was amazing, right!

The concept¬†of lucid dreaming has been of interest to me for a very long time. For those of you who are not familiar, lucid dreaming¬†occurs when¬†one is aware that one is dreaming, while still asleep. In Buddhist culture, lucid dreaming has been recognised thousands of years ago. Western culture though, only took interest in the phenomenon in the last few decades, with biggest impact in the recent years. Even Hollywood told the story of lucid dreaming, making a few movies dedicated to its art. One of them-Inception- shows the world of lucid dreaming in a very detailed and complex way. Actually, Inception‘s director- Christopher Nolan, one of the most popular conscious¬†dreamers nowadays, took the inspiration for the movie from his own lucid dreams.

The art of lucid dreaming

The art of lucid dreaming

However,¬†Inception¬†is not the only movie inspired by the phenomenon of lucid dreaming. The movie¬†Avatar, made by another famous vivid dreamer- James Cameron, makes a parallel between dreams and¬†reality; moreover,¬†the way it’s been made resembles a lucid dream. The concept for¬†Avatar¬†occurred to Cameron many years ago in a dream, but he was waiting for the appropriate technology to be invented so that he would be able to make the film.¬†The Matrix¬†trilogy (again the Wachowskis¬†are lucid dreamers) is one of the first Hollywood movies that explores the concept of living in parallel worlds through vivid dreams.¬†“How do I know that my reality is not an illusion?”

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The Matrix

Film directors are not the only famous lucid dreamers out there. Loads of art personas, musicians, writers, scientists etc. have made a good use of the benefits of lucid dreaming. Albert Einstein and Nikola Tesla are rumoured to have been under the influence of dreams when made their biggest inventions. Salvador Dali’s most popular paintings are a representation of what he’s seen in his dreams. Writers such as Stephen King and Edgar Alan Poe have taken most of the plots for their stories from dreams. Both of them have work dedicated to lucid dreaming- King’s¬†Dreamcatcher¬†and Poe’s¬†Dream-Land¬†and A¬†Dream Within A Dream. Even the tune¬†for one of The Beatles’ most popular songs-¬†Yesterday-¬†was composed in a dream.

The Temptation of St. Anthony by Salvador Dali

The Temptation of St. Anthony by Salvador Dali

As¬†you can see, lucid dreaming is an amazing skill, which can change your life in a very positive way. Through lucid dreaming, we get access to some of the deepest parts of our brain. While lucid in a dream, we are able to use a much bigger percentage of our brain’s capacity than when we are awake. We get rid of all boundaries and become free. But in order to achieve this incredible state of mind, we need to learn how to control our mind, even a little. It’s not difficult, but it takes time and patience. We need to understand the world that surrounds us by questioning it, by questioning the reality.¬†If we learn to question the reality, we’ll know how to control the illusion.

After all, reality is the biggest illusion!

L. V. K.

 

 

 

The 25th Frame- Fact or Fiction

We live in a modern world where we enjoy the freedom of choice- choosing our religion, the type of music we are listening to, the movies and TV shows we are watching, the food we eat, and so on. But do we really have that freedom or we just think we do? 

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The truth is we are manipulated for most of the decisions we take in our lives. We are manipulated by politicians to elect them, by companies to buy their products, by advertisers and marketeers who sell us these products, etc. Even the decision of purchasing the toothpaste we normally do is a result of manipulation.

1436255_300One of the most brilliant and at the same time easiest methods of mass manipulation is the “25th frame effect“. The human eye, while watching a video, can perceive 24 frames per second. However, if a 25th frame is used it bypasses the mind and the information it contains goes directly to the subconscious. This information has not been seen by the person but has been saved by the brain and it comes out of the mind at some point as a hang-up or an idea. A similar concept is used in the movie¬†Inception. However, the ideas there are installed into the subconscious through dreams. The effect of the 25th frame is similar to the effect of hypnosis. A wide number of countries have made its use illegal. Some psychologists even argue that a labile person could be induced to commit a murder.

The founder of the 25th frame is the American businessman James Waikerie. In 1957 he came up with the idea of a very interesting experiment. While showing movies in a New Jersey cinema, an additional projector was added, projecting extra frames every second, which contained two hidden advertising messages: “Drink Coca Cola” and “Eat popcorn“. The results after the experiment showed that the consumption of Coca Cola and popcorn in the cinema increased by 17%. Waikerie patented his invention and this brought him $38 million but suddenly in 1974, he gave up on his rights over it, without giving a concrete explanation.
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Does the 25th frame really violate our right of free will or is it just another conspiracy theory? Some say the first to use its magic for mass hypnosis was Hitler himself. Some say it is all a myth and the “25th frame effect” does not exist. Where is the truth? Somewhere in between maybe. It’s for you to decide…

Everything comes to us that belongs to us, if we create the capacity to receive it

This wise thought was quoted by Rebindranath Tagore,¬†a¬†Bengali¬†polymath¬†who reshaped¬†Bengali literature¬†and¬†music¬†in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. His¬†poetry was¬†viewed as spiritual and mercurial…

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I love quotes of wisdom because they make me think, they make me seek and they make me understand. Very often when something bad happens to us, we ask ‘why’. We ask why me, why now, why this way and then we cry, we blame, we curse and cry again. Every one of us has lived through a crisis in their life and if you haven’t yet, you will soon. But very often¬†it is not that important what happens to you, but how you react to it. Every misfortune is a test in this big school called life and how you accept it shows how much you’ve learned. Sometimes we want something so much, it hurts before we receive it. And suddenly it comes to us, but if we haven’t created the capacity to hold it, we lose it. And then it hurts even more. What we need to do then is let go and be at peace with ourselves, because this way we create the capacity to receive something better. Three things we should do to be happy and be in peace- learn from the past, accept the present¬†and do not fear the future. This way we’ll create inner peace and peace=happiness.

I was really inspired by¬†a quote I read today: “When life knocks you down, roll over and look at the stars.” Misfortunes that happen to us are beyond our control, but our reactions to these are. If we learn to accept and continue, we’ll know peace and scars will turn into lessons, which will make¬†us stronger and wiser.

L. V. K.

 

March, 1- the Bulgarian ancient tradition

Since today is 1st March, I think it is necessary to dedicate a post to this special day in the Bulgarian ancient culture. On 1st March, Bulgarians celebrate “Baba Marta” (meaning Grandma March), which is a welcoming custom of the upcoming spring. The tradition includes exchanging of “martenitsi” (plural) in the first days of March (especially on 1st).

Traditional Bulgarian Martenitza

Traditional Bulgarian Martenitza

The martenitsa (singular) is the symbol of Baba Marta and is always in red and white. It could be in the shape of a bracelet (red and white thread twisted together), a brooch (the typical one represents two dolls of a boy and a girl made of red and white yarn, called Pizho and Penda) or a necklet. The white colour symbolises purity and prosperity and the red symbolises blood, passion and life in general (red and white are also two of the three colours on the Bulgarian flag- White, Green, Red). The two together are heralds of the spring and are believed to bring health to the one wearing them. That is why people exchange martenitsi with their family, friends and those they feel close to. The martenitsa should be worn until one sees a stork or a swallow and then should tie it on a blossom tree.

You should put your martenitsa on a blossom tree

Since I was a child, Baba Marta has been one of my favourite traditions as I was waking with a martenitsa¬†on my hand in the morning on 1st March. I was told that during the night Baba Marta came and tied¬†martenitsa on my hand so that I am rosy and cheerful throughout the year. According to the belief, Baba Marta is an old woman who is very good and hardworking, but also short-tempered. This is why Bulgarians relate the changeable weather in March to her rapid mood swings. When it’s sunny and warm, Baba Marta is happy when it’s cold and unpleasant, Baba Marta is angry. Because of this, the month of March is also referred to as a ‘female month’. According to my observations though, Baba Marta is always happy on 1st March as it is always sunny and warm, just like today.

Baba Marta

Baba Marta

The origin of the “martenitsa” tradition dates back to 681AD during the time of the Bulgarian Khan Asparuh. The Khan’s sister, Huba, had a prophetic dream related to the pagan god Tangra so she decided to send a falcon to her brother with a sprig of dill (traditionally used in the sacrificial pyre for Tangra) and a white thread tied to its leg. However, the falcon was hit by an arrow, which didn’t kill it but soaked part of the thread with blood, giving it a red and white colour. Despite the wound, the brave falcon reached the Khan who tied the thread to his hand. It is believed since then Bulgarians started wearing red and white threads, twisted together. During her 1300 years of existence, Bulgaria has shared lands with other countries, which is why some of them also hold on to the tradition (e.g. Greece, Romania, Macedonia etc.).

Traditions are very important for nations’ survival. Nowadays, when globalisation is sweeping the world, it is traditions that help us to remember who we are. As Henry James says: “It takes an¬†endless¬†amount of history to make even a little tradition.” And our history is more than 1300 years old…

L. V. K.

You are not a body having a soul, you are a soul having a body

The soul- these 21 grams in our body, which are our bond to the universe. Or scientifically said, the quantum consciousness that is released from the body at the moment of physical death.

No doubt, most of us have lost a loved one, someone we grieve for with all our heart, someone who left a significant mark on our lives. The absence is painful, but it is only a physical absence because the soul never dies. The soul is immortal because it is not material. It is an energy, a consciousness, an information, it is intangible and it is eternal. You cannot touch it, but you can feel it. We might be deprived of the physical presence of deceased loved ones, but we are not deprived of their spiritual one. The body dies but the soul survives, as long as we keep the memories in our mind. The memories and thoughts are energy and so is the soul.

The Human Soul - Luis Ricardo Falero.1894

The Human Soul – Luis Ricardo Falero.1894

Nowadays, when science is developing so fast and technology allows more precise research, the idea of the existence of the soul and its reincarnation is no longer a myth. Dr Pim van Lommel conducted the largest hospital-based study of Near Death Experiences (NDE) in the second half of the 20th century after hearing the story of a patient who had been in a clinical death for six minutes. Dr Lommel interviewed mainly patients who survived heart attacks and who had been clinically dead for several minutes but came back to life. Most of the participants in the study reported seeing a tunnel and hearing beautiful music. Some met deceased relatives and some observed beautiful colours or communicated with the light that embraced them. But all patients, after their NDE had a strong belief in the afterlife and in the reincarnation of the soul.

The soul - Ba

The soul (Ba) in Egyptian mythology – source: setthings.com

Many studies, like the one Dr Lommel conducted, are trying to reveal the secrets of the soul. I believe, all information is locked deep in our mind but most don’t even suspect about its existence. The older we get, the more we forget. For me, the human life is similar to dreaming. When you wake up, your last dream is still fresh in your mind; sometimes it even feels as if you are indeed living it. However, as the time passes, you forget the details little by little until the dream becomes just a shadow in your mind. The same concept can be applied to the human life. In the first years of its birth, the baby is believed to remember their previous soul reincarnations. However, as the time passes, this information is slowly erased or is saved somewhere one can’t reach it.

It is in human nature to question everything that surrounds us. If we cannot see or touch something, we assume it doesn’t exist. And yet we have so many questions- what is the purpose to live, if you are going to die, what is our mission in life, do we only live once, what happens when we die and so on. If we open our mind and release the information we have inside, the answers will show before us. But first, we should learn to see and not with our eyes…

L. V. K.