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Creating the Dream Reality by Robert Waggoner

Lucid Dream Robbert Waggoner

As we seek to comprehend the alternate reality of lucid dreaming, we may initially feel that we manipulate the dream objects and figures, but ultimately we realize that we actually manipulate our own mind — particularly our beliefs, focus, expectations, intent, and will. By manipulating our mind within the lucid dream, we learn how to create the dream reality that we then experience.

Though many would simply declare the dream an illusion, the dream as illusion still relates to you on an intimate level. Largely, it reflects back your own concerns or wishes filtered through your beliefs, expectations, focus, intent and will, but in an exteriorized, symbolic fashion. By all appearances, the illusory dream naturally draws events and associations to you that have significance for you. So, as you change, the dreaming changes.

Calling dreams an illusion suggests the ancient Sanskrit term maya. However, as psychiatrist and philosopher Gordon Globus points out, maya actually suggests much more.

He writes: “One meaning of maya is translated as ‘illusion’ but it also has its basis in the verbal root ma which means ‘to make.’ Thus [Wendy Doniger] O’Flaherty calls maya ‘creative power,’ ‘artistic creation,’ ‘the process of creation.’ She quotes [Jan] Gonda on maya in terms of ‘converting an idea into dimensional reality,’ which is just what I have called ‘formative creativity.’

As lucid dreamers, we experience this broader meaning of maya directly – the forming and creating of an experienced reality from our feelings, thoughts and ideas. The Sanskrit expert and scholar, Wendy Doniger O’Flaherty points out, “Thus maya first meant making something that was not there before.….[M]aya can often best be translated as ‘transformation.’“ She goes on to suggest, “To say that the universe is an illusion (maya) is not to say that it is unreal; it is to say, instead, that it is not what it seems to be, that it is something constantly being made.”

The ancient concept of maya or illusion alludes to the experiencer of the illusion, as formatively assisting in the creation of the illusion. We do not exist in illusion so much as help form illusion. Lucid dreamers come to realize the truth of this, as they see their own artistry, their own creative power, their own ideas formed into the dreaming reality that they experience. Like an artist projecting their ideas, knowledge and talent into their paintings, lucid dreamers project portions of themselves creatively into their dreaming. The lucid dreamer embodies and joins forces with the inventive power of maya.

To create the lucid dream most constructively, each lucid dreamer must learn how to apply properly to the dream canvas the colorful materials of their mind. The full “creative power” of the lucid dream creator emerges when he or she masters the principles of reality creating.

In a sense, lucid dreamers accept and even relish their role as illusion makers. Lucidly aware, they learn the process of how they create their own reality, their own maya.

For my part, I have identified six reality-creating principles for lucid dreamers to consider: focus, beliefs, expectations, intent, will, and X, the inner Unknown.


Excerpt from Chapter 10 of Lucid Dreaming: Gateway to the Inner Self, used by permission of the author, Robert Waggoner.

Quotes from Gordon Globus, Dream Life, Wake Life – The Human Condition through Dreams, (State University of New York Press, Abany, 1987), 173.


Wendy Doniger O’Flaherty, Dreams, Illusions and Other Realities, (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1984), 118-9.

January 21, 2021

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