Have you ever had a dream that you were aware you were dreaming? Neil had a dream like that so powerful and intense that it set him on a months-long journey to perfect the art of lucid dreaming. He wasn't interested in the meaning of his dreams, he just wanted the freedom to be able to fly.
Neil was mentored by Fred Mogul.
WNYC RADIO ROOKIES: LUCID DREAMING
First Broadcast: February 20, 2006
REPORTER: Neil Ramkissoon
Running Time: 10:20 (including Host Intro)
TRANSCRIPT (5 pages total)
HOST, INTRO: This week during Morning Edition, we bring you the newest batch of Radio Rookies stories this time, from Elmhurst, Queens. Radio Rookies is a WNYC program that teaches teenagers how to make documentaries about their lives and what they care about. Today's story delves deep...deep into the inner mind of Radio Rookie Neil Ramkissoon. Last summer, Neil had one dream that was so intense, so transformative that it set him on a months-long journey. Just listen and imagine...
(Sound of footsteps squeaking in a hallway and heavy breathing)
Neil, Narration of a Dream: I'm in school, running, and looking for a place to hide. Being pursued by a shiver of mutant sharks! Their budging biceps and jolting muscular legs are covered with flaming skull tattoos. All the doors are locked, except for this one.
(Sound of door opening)
Neil, Narration of a Dream: I sneak in. Immediately, a door far on the other side of the class swings open.
(Sound of door swinging open)
Neil, Narration of a Dream: As the savage sharks storm in, I dash out. I make my way to the staircase.
(Sound of echo and footsteps in staircase)
Neil, Narration of a Dream: But wait! The security guards! I try to evade them but they surround me. They beat me with their night sticks! But wait - This can't happen; this can't be real. I'm in a dream! The possibilities, the impossibilities, can be achieved. I close my eyes. "Fly."
(Sound of a roller coaster)
Neil, Narration of a Dream: I feel like I'm on a roller coaster making the slow anxious climb to the precipitous tip of the tallest mountain. I open my eyes. I'm in the air. I'm flying; amazing, just amazing. (Sound of a whistle blowing) But the guards they're waiting for me below. I close my eyes and think "The beach"; (Sound of oceanic melodies) a clear blue sky, white fine grain sand and the dazzling rays of the golden sun. I open my eyes. (Silence) I'm in my room. What was that?
(Sound of Neil typing)
Neil, Narration: I went to Google. I typed in the only phrase that could describe my experience: "knowing you are dreaming while dreaming." I found out I just had my very first lucid dream. Lucid Dream - so mysterious. Lucidity gave me an overwhelming sense of freedom and control something that was tough for me to get in real life. Some of the web sites described steps you could take to obtain a lucid dream. When it comes to steps, my diligence and methodical demeanor produce great results.
(Sound of the store "Open Center)
Neil, Narration: I went to a specialty bookstore for more information.
Neil (buying books at open center): We have books on shamanism, Feng shui…Jewish with feeling, okay!
Neil, Narration: I bought the book Lucid Dreaming: A Concise Guide to Awakening in Your Dreams and in Your Life - it came with a CD. I was so excited I started reading it on the train ride home.
(Sound of the train)
Neil, Narration: Soon I was in bed with a CD player and the book that I thought would give me the answers to my lucid dreaming questions. Push play.
(Sound of the LaBerge CD... Now ask yourself who is aware? Now in a moment, begin to take a slow deep breath)
Neil, Narration: I woke up disappointed. It didn't work.
(Sound of Neil's home)
Neil, Narration: I decided to conduct a simple experiment to see if the CD would work for someone else. After explaining the extreme importance of the test, I asked my mother one night to give it a try.
Neil's Mom: I listen to it and I couldn't sleep because I'm thinking, thinking about the tape and that thing is in my head.
Neil, Narration: I wondered how the CD would affect my little sister.
Neil: What did you dream about yesterday?
Neil's Sister, Jennifer: Some person went downstairs in the basement and then all the lights were off and I had a flashlight in my hand, so I just turned the flashlight on then the lady was in front of me and I had a knife in my hand and I just stabbed her and I just started killing people, it was scary.
Neil: Do you think the CD had anything to do with it?
Jennifer: Yeah! 'Cause usually I never have killing dreams - I never kill people in my dreams.
Neil, Narration: My little sister had a killing dream, nice. She remembered another dream. Thankfully, it was only about fish but this one turned out to be lucid.
Neil: Were you aware it was a dream?
Jen: Yeah I knew it was a dream cuz there was one big fish and then when I turned around there were 25 little fish.
Neil, Narration: My little sister had a lucid dream, on the first try. That was fantastic. I was thrilled for her, really. But I needed something more than just a book and CD. So I went to the experts.
Domininck Attasani: One...Start a dream log. Really impress upon your subconscious and your conscious mind this is something you want to do you're going to invest in doing and start making notes.
Dr. Arnie Mindell: Relax, then notice and then go deeper is the third step.
Neil, Narration: Both Dr. Arnie Mindell and the Lucidity Institute's Dominick Attasani were very helpful in giving me lots of techniques I could practice.
Dr. Mindell: It's a technique called "Mild", Pneumonic Induction of Lucid Dreams
Neil, Narration: But sometimes it was a little difficult to understand they're extensive dream vocabulary. (Sound of Dr. Mindell saying the word, Reincubated) I'm a very systematic person. I mean - I use Excel to create detailed grocery lists. So my dream regimen did produce some very vivid lucid dreams - BUT there were periods of time when I didn't have any.
Neil: Hello is this recording, (Sigh) maybe there's another component to this. I am willing. I am determined, I want this. Yeah! spirituality...nahhh... I don't think that's the direction I want to go too But (lowers voice to a whisper) that's not the direction I want to go in. I want to go in lucid dream direction. I want to go in freedom! Freedom! (Returns to normal voice) Freedom! Hmm...I want to punch someone and not have to worry about the consequences...sighs…that's the freedom I want.
Neil, Narration: I found a book called Lucid Dreams in 30 Days and thought that is what I needed; a concise schedule on how to attain a lucid dream. I told author and psychologist Keith Harary how hard I was trying.
Keith: Neil, why did you become so strict? What happened?
Neil (stammers): ...its something that I want. So bad.
Keith: I would say to you sometimes just letting go, lets it happen. Kind of take a break from the whole thing.
Neil, Narration: I relaxed. I stopped everything. I lived life like I did before this project. I relaxed.
(Sound of creaky floorboards)
Neil, Narration of a Dream: I'm creeping down a long, narrow spiral staircase. It's dark. A sharp chill rushes down my spine. I reach a platform. Right before me is a huge wooden door. Pounding (Sound of a THUD) something is trying to get in it grows more menacing, more maniacal (Sound of more menacing THUDS) I can't move. Terrified, petrified - into awareness. (Sound of silence) My eyes widen, (Neil whispers) 'I am in a dream I'm lucid.'
Neil, Narration: I think I had more lucid dreams when I was doing nothing then when I was on the dream regimen. But having some lucid dreams wasn't enough. By then, I wanted to be aware ALL the time in my dreams.
Neil: It is around ten o' clock and I am walking to my interview with Lama Pema.
Neil, Narration: Some Tibetan Buddhist Monks strive to reach a state of constant lucidity. Even though Lama Pema Wangdak doesn't specialize in that practice, he was taught by great masters and knows about the dream world.
(Sound of Neil entering apartment under narration)
Neil: Hi. Good Morning I have an interview today.
Neil, Narration: All I knew of Tibetan Buddhism was from Hollywood; the film Little Buddha; actor Richard Gere and, of course, Lisa Simpson.
Neil, Narration: I entered Lama Pema's apartment. Ba bump, ba bump, ba bump my heart was racing. He sat on a bed and motioned simply with his hand for me to sit on a chair. I felt him drawing me into something special.
Lama Pema: Dream at an awaken state...
Neil, Narration: His voice is very easy to really listen to.
Lama: As we talk this is a dream.
Neil: This right now?
Lama: At this very moment, from another point of view, another level of experience, this state as we speak, no more or no less then a dream. The dream is no more, no less real then this awaken state.
Neil, Narration:. What he said sounded like something from a science fiction novel. Basically, if I were truly aware, I would recognize my flying dream and the reality of being in lama's apartment as the same. I think that level of understanding could get me the freedom I'm seeking.
Neil: How do you become aware?
Lama: Don't ask me that question. That's between the master and disciples. You can not use one microphone and I have explain everything. Uh good question!
Neil, Narration: I was looking for the fast track, a quick method, an easy way to achieve something, divine. Now I am beginning to understand that there's no simple way.
(Sound of a train)
Neil, Narration: As I stand in the train, I contemplate the different realities and levels of clarity. After speaking with the lama, I now explore my waking life with a new perspective trying to find that connection to the dream world. I don't know what will happen if I achieve this, but I want to find out.
FOR WNYC, I'M ROOKIE REPORTER NEIL RAMKISSOON.