The potential benefits of lucid dreaming range from resolving recurrent nightmares and emotional healing to accessing creativity and accelerated spiritual growth. Since the publication of my two books, Lucid Dreaming – Gateway to the Inner Self and Lucid Dreaming Plain and Simple, I have received many emails from readers and others who used the techniques to promote emotional and physical healing and personal growth.
One of my former lucid dreaming workshop participants, Karim, shared a powerful lucid dream which freed him from a recurring nightmare and a difficult workplace situation. He titled his lucid dream article ‘Embracing the Shadow,’ and it can be found in the Lucid Dreaming Experience magazine at Embracing the Shadow in Dreams.
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Karim writes, “I’d like to share an interesting recurring dream I had many years ago that taught me the value of embracing shadow rather than rejecting it.
At the time I would regularly see a dream where someone transforms into the Incredible Hulk and then proceeds to chase me. In those dreams I am not lucid, but I am aware enough to start running and then fly away to escape from him. He was always faster than me and just before he would capture me, I would pull myself out of the dream and wake up. I would usually find myself drenched in sweat, heart beating rapidly in anxiety, and feeling intense fear.
It started to bother me that I kept dreaming of the angry Hulk at least once a week. Sounds funny when I am typing about it now, but imagine the Hulk with the strength of a thousand men roaring at you right in your face!
I got my big boy pants on one day and thought to make a self-suggestion over the next few nights before going to sleep, “To become lucid when I see the Hulk”. I was determined to work through this dream.
I was a cameraman on a film set (interesting symbolism about me being an observer). We were just finishing shooting a scene and Gary Oldman was the main lead role in that movie.
Gary looked unwell and had a feverish sweat. Suddenly he transformed into the Incredible Hulk. The big green monster growled and then attacked everyone on the set. I stood there watching while he beat and killed everyone around him in a fit of rage and then turned around, looked at me and came heading my way.
Obviously just like before, I started running! As I was running, I remembered my suggestion and noticed that the Hulk doesn’t really exist in waking reality. This sparked my lucidity.
As I became more lucid, the Hulk grew in size until he became a giant King Kong sized Hulk! The amount of fear grew inside me exponentially. At the time I did not have enough skills or knowledge to deal with this magnitude of shadow. So, I decided to do the most logical thing and kept running! So the chase began… again.
As I was flying, I looked back to see the Hulk destroying entire buildings, crushing cars and gaining speed, really determined to catch me. I started teleporting in a zigzag around the dream space as I was flying away but he was scary-fast. That made me stay ahead of him just a little but still I could feel my impending doom.
I did a quick turn to the right and dived down attempting to hide in a small alley hoping the Hulk wouldn’t find me.
Collecting my thoughts I started forming a request in my mind for help from ‘the awareness behind the dream’ when suddenly a beautiful red haired woman appeared in front of me wearing glasses and a purple dress. I immediately knew she was some sort of witch. She instantly cast a spell that bound me with green energy ropes. She then called to the Hulk, “Come here, I got him!”.
You can imagine how fear stricken I was at that moment! The Hulk appeared in the alley way, let out a huge demonic roar, and grinned in satisfaction. This was the height of my fear. The woman telepathically suggested, “Why do you keep running away? He just wants to talk to you.”
This completely took me by surprise — a shadow character wants to talk!? This never occurred to me before. Little did I know that this dream would mark a big milestone for me in learning to speak to my shadow characters and not just run away from them.
I faced the Hulk with fear and trepidation and asked, “What do you want?”
Hulk answered in his thick burly voice, “I can’t stand being in XX [the tech company I was employed at]. Get me out of therree!”
This totally took me by surprise and I woke up immediately. It was between 4:00-5:00 AM. I definitely couldn’t go back to sleep now.
XX was the name of the company that I was working for. I had a growing frustration for four years working there, especially that my boss had unfairly appraised me for a couple of years in a row so I did not get a pay rise. I needed the money at the time as I was paying back my student loans.
Besides helping with my loans, maintaining a job for five years in a row straight out of college would help me get exempted from my mandatory military service. Also during the whole year in the military, I wouldn’t be earning an income and paying back my loan installments. It would mean that I’d end up piling a good amount of interest with the bank. Something I really did not want. So, I held onto this job with hand, nail, and tooth despite being unhappy.
I guess living with the frustration for so long created the repressed anger — ‘the Hulk’. It was really nice to see a face to the anger and understand why it was there.
I knew it was no longer healthy for me to continue with this job. I promised the Hulk that morning when I woke up that I would rectify the situation and get ‘us’ out of there.
A few days later I quit my job and prepared myself to finally face military service and the resulting increase in my debt. Thankfully with that, the Hulk stopped appearing again in my dreams.
Just to complete the story, I had only a one month grace period to find another job before entering the military. This was a very short time to find a job offer, go through any company’s recruitment cycle and get the necessary paperwork done, so I did not bother trying.
At the 11th hour before giving myself up to the military, I got a call completely out of the blue. A company needed a project manager with my skills to start ‘immediately’ in another country! I accepted on the spot. Thankfully, the salary was double the previous company’s and I had more space to make my own decisions.
Of course, since this involved travel it was easy to arrange the paperwork for postponing military service and no extra interest would pile up on my loans!
Since that incident, whenever I repress frustration or anger, the ‘Hulk’ revisits me in my dreams so I immediately know what’s going on and I rectify whatever is needed in waking life, and then he lies dormant.”
By lucidly turning and facing the nightmarish figure of the Incredible Hulk to hear what it had to say, Karim discovered that it represented the pain of his own employment situation. This powerful realization gave him the courage to leave that company and achieve new levels of personal growth.
Many lucid dreamers can point to an insightful lucid dream that led to a transformational change in their waking life. Even better, they can see how deeper layers of their self served to convince their lucid dreaming self of the need for change!
Lucid dreaming shows us that lucid dreaming does not mean ‘control’ but instead it means a new and more aware ‘relating’ to our own inner knowing and deepest levels of creativity.
I hope you will join me, along with Ed Kellogg, PhD, and Gillian Thetford, for our upcoming workshop, Lucid Dreaming and Living Lucidly. Designed for all explorers of lucid dreaming – from the inexperienced beginner to those who have ventured far along the path — this workshop will give you sound foundational materials, while offering insight far beyond lucid dreaming basics. Together we’ll explore fascinating states of being that can help us access a larger awareness of consciousness for growth, insight, and transformation.
About the Author
Author Robert Waggoner is the past President of the International Association for the Study of Dreams (IASD). For the past ten years, he has been the co-editor of the online magazine, The Lucid Dreaming Experience, the only ongoing publication devoted specifically to lucid dreaming. A lucid dreamer since 1975, he has logged more than 1,000 lucid dreams.
Robert’s first book, Lucid Dreaming: Gateway to the Inner Self, shows how lucid dreamers can explore the subconscious and its knowing. With fascinating lucid dream examples, thought-provoking questions and exciting techniques, it has been hailed “a classic” by experienced lucid dreamers. His latest book, Lucid Dreaming, Plain and Simple: Tips and Techniques for Insight, Creativity and Personal Growth, written in collaboration with Carolina McCready, was called the “perfect book for beginners” by easy-lucid-dreaming.com.