A Dream I Once Had Last Night
A couple of years ago, I briefly experimented with lucid dreaming. Throughout the day, I would randomly ask myself if I was awake or dreaming, then try to figure it out. One way to test if you're dreaming is to look for timepieces and written materials. Clocks and writing don't work correctly in dreams. You'll know it when you see it.
I did this consciousness check-in several times a day for a few weeks. Until one night, after asking myself, "Am I awake or dreaming?", I concluded I was, in fact, not awake. Sufficiently spooked, I startled to waking and never tried lucid dreaming again.
Last night, I had an extremely curious dream. All of its constituent elements were exceedingly rudimentary. Typically, my dreams are enviably rich in detail, color, sights, sounds, tastes, smells, and touch sensations. They often feature complex and long-running plot lines as well.
Last night's dream was dramatically different. I was in a flat world landscape featuring abstract swathes of color residing in a two-dimensional space that somehow had layers and depth while simultaneously existing entirely on a single plane without the possibility for such depths. A wholly theoretical notion or intuition of space replaced any illusions of three-dimensionality.
Large inky shadows spilled into the scene, leaving a pitch-black nothingness in their wake. This void would then fill in with blocks of color. Lights pulsated and strobed along to an unpleasant rhythmic pounding, which was occasionally broken up by a siren whaling or pulsing alarm.
I asked myself, "Am I awake, or am I dreaming?" Clearly, I was dreaming. That was obvious. But I was also conscious of the fact, which is an extraordinary experience. And so I began to explore this strange, flat dream-space.
Colors came and went, as inky blackness swept over the idea of them. Lights flashed as klaxons rang out. A steady hiss began to permeate everything. A growing sense of being slowly crushed came over me, even despite my not having a dream body to squeeze in the first place. I decided it was time to leave.
Jolting awake, I sat up in bed, pondering my second ever official lucid dream experience. Why was the dream so distinctly odd? I had never had one made up of such primordial elements before in my life. I sat up in bed to ponder my second ever official lucid dream experience.
Then it occurred to me. It's not technically possible to sit up in bed twice in a row without having had a lie down in between. I was still dreaming. This realization jolted me awake for real this time.
As it turns out, clocks, writing, and dreams themselves don't work correctly in dreams.