Lucid Dreaming and Spiritual
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
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,
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.
LEARNING OBJECTIVES AND QUESTIONS
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
Q3 Give two ways that lucid dreaming relates to
Eckhart Tolle’s term ‘Presence.’
TO INDEX OF PAPERS