Fifteen members of the Consciousness Club gathered in the living room of a senior house, their plates filled high with sautéed spinach, sweet potatoes, and fresh salad with homemade dressing, sipping steaming mugs of spicy hot chocolate and apple cider. The room was void of furniture; instead, a colorful collection of cushions were scattered under a metal pyramid-shaped frame. As the scent of spiced incense filled the air, the bold sound of a gong signaled the start of group meditation. So began another weekly meeting of the Consciousness Club, a group formed last semester as a forum to unite students interested in mediation, healing, lucid dreaming, and “altered” states of consciousness.
The Consciousness Club challenges its members to reject the norm of going through life with self-limiting concepts in order to achieve inner peace and joy through various exercises. This week the group worked to obtain self-awareness through the practice of lucid dreaming.
“Are you lucid dreaming right now? Try flying. Can you do it?”
This is just one of the texts that members of the Consciousness Club received in an effort to become fully immersed in the topic of lucid dreaming.
“Doing reality checks and immersing yourself in the topic of lucid dreaming makes it more likely that you will think about these things while you are dreaming, which can then lead to becoming aware that you are dreaming,” said Chloe Bolton ’10, a founding member of the club.
Achieving awareness inside a dream can unleash infinite possibilities—at least that’s what the members of the Consciousness Club believe.
“Once you realize that you are dreaming, there are no limits to what you can do,” said Gabriela De Golia ’13, a member of the Consciousness Club. “You can fly, travel all over the world and even outer-space.”
With that goal in mind, each of the ten participating members were responsible for sending a text message once a day to the other members to train the brain to question reality, and to increase lucid dreaming stimuli. Messages included asking members to push into solid ground or check the time twice to test reality.
Joe Zamboni ’10 has achieved lucid dreaming once since starting the project.
“I’ve noticed an increased awareness in my dreams” Zamboni said. “Most mornings I used to have a short paragraph in my dream journal, now I often manage to recall enough for a whole page.”
De Golia, who hasn’t yet experienced this, has also seen a change in the way she sleeps.
“The group exercises we’ve been doing have definitely helped me to become better at deciding what I’d like to dream about before falling asleep,” De Golia said. “[I’ve] become more aware of the fact that I am dreaming while they’re unfolding, and remember them better once I wake up.”
While lucid dreaming is the ultimate goal, the process has other benefits.
“It also helps to bring greater clarity and awareness to the present moment,” Bolton said.
By the end of the first week of the project, only a few members had achieved lucid dreaming. Most members, however, experienced increased dream recall and more vivid dreams. Although the club has moved on to new goals, members were encouraged to continue working towards lucid dreaming on their own.
Since the club’s creation, they have held regular potlucks, a full moon gathering, and several lectures, including a visit from a local shamanic healer.
In the coming weeks, they plan to organize a singing bowl sound healing concert and a workshop on shamanic healing, as well as continue to host potlucks and full moon parties.
The group’s weekly meetings include mini-projects and exercises such as energy-chi work and loving-kindness mediation. During one meeting, members formed a mediation circle around a participant and actively focused feelings of love and kindness towards them.
Beyond providing a forum for such activities, the Consciousness Club emphasizes community.
“I also think it is really important to create communities where people are actively thinking about and exploring questions,” Bolton said. “Who are we? Why are we here? What is our greatest potential and how can we get there?”
Bolton considers the meetings to be one of the most important parts of her week.
“Consciousness Club, mediation, dream work, and all of these healing spiritual practices help me to get back to that place of wonder, excitement and creativity in which children and mystics effortlessly exist,” she said.
The work they have done so far is just the beginning, according to Bolton. With increased awareness, people can obtain liberation from self-loathing, negative mental patters, fear and other self-limiting concepts.
“[It’s] just an entry point into this vast area of knowledge and potential experiences that help people to realize the nature of reality, the mind and the self,” she said.