I stumbled upon a videotaped interview with Charlie Morley on www.conscious.tv and was instantly hooked on his premise: that one could use one’s sleeping hours for spiritual practice. One could meditate in one’s dreams! In fact, Charlie informed us that there was an entire Buddhist lineage devoted to “dream yoga.”
Charlie himself was an intriguing spiritual mentor: a former breakdancing hip-hop artist from the U.K., who got into lucid dreaming as a teenager in order to have sex with movie stars—in his dreams. In the fourteen years since he has become a practicing Tibetan Buddhist and developed his lucid dreaming practice to the point that Lama Yeshe Rinpoche gave him the traditional Tibetan authorization to teach within the lineage. In 2011, Lama Yeshe encouraged Charlie to begin teaching a new set of workshops on the subject of “Lucid Living and The Science of Happiness.” These workshops now form a small but significant part of Charlie’s teaching schedule.
In 2013, Charlie published Dreams of Awakening (Hay House, 2013), which synthesizes his own years of lucid dreaming practice, neuroscience research on the subject, and his teachers’ dream yoga practices in a book that makes lucid dreaming accessible to Western practitioners.
Most recently, in 2014, Charlie partnered with Mexican Toltec teacher Sergio Magana Ocelocoyotlto create the LUCID DREAMING WORLD TOUR: a series of workshops that combine Charlie’s own synthesis of lucid dreaming as a spiritual practice with the traditional Toltec shamanic teachings around lucid dreaming. The workshops are being offered in Mexico, the U.S., Canada, Holland, Spain, Italy, and the U.K. Because of Charlie’s busy international schedule, he spoke with me from Mexico City via Skype.
The MOON: What is lucid dreaming?
Morley: Lucid dreaming is the art of becoming conscious within your dreams. In other words, you know you’re dreaming as the dream is happening. Lucid dreaming doesn’t simply refer to a really vivid dream—through lucid dreams typically are—it’s a dream in which you’re sound asleep, you’re in the dream, and you have an “Aha!” moment and realize, “I’m dreaming.” From that point forward you are able to interact with the dream at will. It’s not as if you control the dream; you’re not forcing the dream to do anything, but you can make requests, you can set intentions, and your unconscious will often act upon those requests.
The MOON: So, why would anyone care about having a lucid dream?
Morley: Because in a lucid dream you’re conscious within your unconscious mind. That’s quite a rare state to be in. It’s similar to a state a hypnotherapist would take you to—down into your subconscious or unconscious mind to plant a suggestion of healing intent. The cool thing about lucid dreaming is that you can do it yourself. Anything you would see a hypnotherapist for you can treat with lucid dreaming. You can heal yourself of addictions, work through negative thought programming, address fear and self-confidence issues, cure yourself of nightmares. There’s loads of scientific evidence that shows that lucid dreaming is one of the most effective cures for nightmares.
This is not to say that lucid dreaming is better than hypnotherapy. In fact, hypnotherapy is a lot more accessible. You can see a hypnotherapist any time of day or night, whereas with lucid dreaming, you have to be tired enough to go to sleep, have to know the techniques, and so on. However, once you’re in the lucid dream state, it works very, very powerfully to plant those healing intentions into the depths of the unconscious.
The MOON: How did you get into lucid dreaming?