Lucid Dreaming and Spiritual Enlightenment
by Beverly (Kedzierski Heart) D’Urso, Ph.D.
Proposal for IASD2009
Copyright  © 2008


Some people have associated lucid dreaming with ego control and satisfaction. I will show how lucidity relates to expanded states of consciousness, and compare it to the work of the contemporary spiritual teachers, Byron Katie and Eckhart Tolle. My topics include: inquiry, the present moment, expansion of self, the connectiveness of all, facing pain, viewing death, and the interdependent illusions of space, time, and thought.


In my dreams, as in my waking state, I can act with various levels of consciousness. By the term dream, I mean an experience of an outer world made up of characters and actions that my expanded self has helped to create. In this sense, I view the waking state as a kind of a dream. I aspire to come from an expanded level of consciousness, or lucidity, in every moment, whether awake or asleep. In sleeping dreams, time and space may appear to differ from the waking state. Events can happen almost instantly, so I can quickly see the results of my thoughts, desires, or fears.

When I act in my dreams, or in the waking state, with a contracted level of consciousness, I may judge, attack, suffer, stressfully pursue ego gratification, or just plain not pay attention. However, when I question if I am dreaming, in other words, question my reality and my assumptions, and notice them in some way as ‘not true,’ my consciousness expands. This inquiry process seems similar to the techniques of Byron Katie, the author of Loving What Is. She helps people end their suffering by asking them to question any stressful thought and see if they absolutely know it as true.

If I believe that I am not dreaming, I may feel limited. When I know I am dreaming, my fear decreases, my mind clears, and I respond in more appropriate and creative ways. I often experience expanded potential. Eckhart Tolle, the author of The Power of Now, calls this state ‘Presence.’ With even partial lucidity, small frustrations disappear quickly, and I experience more fulfillment. When I know I am dreaming, I focus more on the present moment, usually realizing that I will wake up soon. Concerns, such as ambition or regrets, don’t come up, and  I can co-create interesting dramas, which sometimes seem to enhance my waking state as well. When I have increased lucidity, I easily surrender to, and fully face seemingly painful or scary situations, a process that both Tolle and Katie recommend.

The more lucid I become, the more I notice that my view of how others act towards me may reflect how I act or have acted toward them, others, or myself. I listen carefully to what others have to say to me and sometimes change my actions instead of defending myself. My response comes from an expanded self.  In her work, Katie calls this the ‘turnaround.’ In my extreme levels of lucidity, I experience no separation, but rather a connection, with everything. Eventually, I no longer have a body nor an environment. Tolle calls this expansion into ‘Being.’ Others use the word ‘Source’ or ‘God.’ I like the term ‘Dreamer.’

Lucid dreaming also gave me a spiritual perspective on death. In non-lucid dreams, I used to think of my ‘dream body’ as my ‘self.’ Because I did not have awareness of my expanded self, I believed that if my dream body died, I died. I continued to feel this way until I woke up out of the dream. Then, as a child, when I knew I was dreaming while I was dreaming, I experienced myself as more than just my body before I woke up out of my sleeping dream. Eventually, while very lucid in a sleeping dream, I let my sleeping dream body die, and yet woke up whole. As an adult, I now see that I can similarly “wake up” in my life before my physical body ‘dies’ and really enjoy the experience of my expanded, lucid self.

In Tolle’s recent book, The New Earth, he says, “To awaken within the dream is our purpose now. When we are awake within the dream, the ego-created earth-drama comes to an end, and a more benign and wondrous dream arises. This is the new earth.”


1. “Lucid Dreaming/Lucid Living,” Online Publications, D'Urso, Beverly (Kedzierski Heart), 1982-2008.

2. Lucid Dreaming: A Bridge to Lucid Living, D’Urso,
Beverly (Kedzierski Heart), Ph.D., Workshop Before the International Association for the Study of Dreams (IASD)  Conference 2007, Sonoma, California, June, 2007.

3. “Loving What Is: Four Questions that can Change your Life,” Katie, Byron, and Mitchell, Stephen, Harmony Books, New York, New York,  2002.

4. “The Power of Now: A Guide to Spiritual Enlightenment,” Tolle, Eckhart, New World Library, Novato, California, 2004.

5. “A New Earth: Awakening to Your Life’s Purpose,” Tolle, Eckhart, Penguin Books, London, England, 2005.


Dr. Beverly (Kedzierski Heart) D’Urso (USA), an ‘extraordinary’ lucid dreamer all her life, has used her practical teaching called lucid living to give workshops and present at conferences for decades. She completed her Masters, involving Cognitive Psychology, and her Ph.D., focusing on Artificial Intelligence, at Stanford University, where she also did lucid dreaming research. Dr. D’Urso has over fifty publications and has won several IASD dream contests.


L1    Discuss some aspects of lucidity that demonstrate an expanded level of consciousness.

L2    Compare Byron Katie’s inquiry and turnaround processes to getting lucid and learning from dream characters.

L3    Explain Eckhart Tolle’s terms ‘Presence’ and ‘Being,’ and how they relate to lucid dreaming.

Q1    Describe three aspects of lucidity that demonstrate an expanded level of consciousness?

Q2    How does Byron Katie’s inquiry process relate to getting lucid?

Q3    Give two ways that lucid dreaming relates to Eckhart Tolle’s term ‘Presence.’