Awake dreaming is movement into, and the use of, dreaming energy without passing entirely out of a waking state of normal consciousness.
There is a place where you can go consciously which has nothing to do with this world; it's a dream space, you can move through it and with it as dreaming energy. It ties directly to moving your awareness in general.
Awake dreaming can move you to see into people a half a world away, it can help you direct healing, it can show you knowledge, but as a method it is often overlooked in favor of splashier practices. Awake dreaming is sort of the nuts and bolts way to achieve even greater movements.
In sleep, dreaming energy dominates so the rational mind isn't so much of a problem. Awake dreaming is controlling awareness - dreaming is only a part of awareness. Actually, moving and then trying to expend or manipulate energy at a distance is very dangerous without the experience. The dreaming energy is there just as in dreaming, but much more under your control. In general, awake dreaming requires less personal energy for movement than an actual movement where you physically disappear from the world. If you can alter the waking dream by directing it intentionally in a different direction, such as not being confined anymore, etc., you can also alter the nature of the intent, which operates to create those outcomes as possible realities.
This is not the same as trapping your attention, or even stopping the world, as some might call it. Trapping the attention is used to change the position of your energy; awake dreaming actually splits your energy, your awareness, in a way that allows you to move effectively without changing the physical parameters of this attention. For instance, if you were riding in a car, you might appear to be looking out the window, but to someone else, who in the moment moves to a point they can perceive, might also see you with your head turned around looking at them. Both exist in finite reality, yet neither is conceptually acceptable in normal terms. When we practice awake dreaming, our energy is split in a way that allows us to move part of it in total awareness.
Awake dreaming is tough, but it's how I do a lot of my work. It's very effective. You can eventually learn to be asleep through one eye and awake with the other, which gives you control over both energies, one to move and one to cogitate. Daydreaming is another doorway. Normally, daydreaming is a state of attention, which, while conscious, is still not directed outward in a manner that would allow you to use it for movement of your energy. It requires more effort to achieve accuracy and movement, but if you set an intent on a very specific place, then it will work for you to slide into that energy while forming the intent. Break the pattern by completing the pattern. In other words, your energy is calling you to do something, so try moving with it in more powerful ways, and then it becomes a practice and something you can do or not do.
There are a variety of methods for inducing this particular state. Awake dreaming is pretty easily accomplished in the beginning by forming a particular intent aimed at an event, person, place, time, or thing, and then forcing the awareness into a space that is normally occupied by the dream body. This is hard to explain on some levels. It requires you to move, but it also requires you to be rooted. The most practical approach is to split the awareness in this way, at least, starting out.
If you are lying there awake, you can simply occupy your mind with something while moving your intent into images of where you want to go while awake. Try to force your mind to remember something; think about how to do something, a complicated recipe, etc., but at the same time see images of where your intent should take you. Begin by using the left eye as a focal point, until you can learn to change the vision in that eye separately from the right. I know that sounds impossible, but it isn't nearly as hard as you might think. After all, musicians learn circular breathing, which just amazes me. Your awareness will split, you will become aware of both energies and be able to move with either. Your intent should carry you.
Once you can feel the separation in attention between the field of vision on the left and right eye, you will need to add intent to the mix in order to create an actual split and movement of your energy. Begin by pushing it into an intent to see something, go somewhere, etc. Feel the intent to, say, go look at the dirt pattern on your license plate - seriously, then you can verify. It doesn't count if it ain't real. Just reinforce the intent, then allow the first images to intrude - you'll find the split right about there. Once you have this 'feeling' you can do other things, but right now starting there is the best approach. Don't try to cross the globe on your first movement, although there are some people who sort of jump that way.
The first things I learned to use it for were strictly informational; going, seeing, learning - then verifying. Once you have the verification at a hundred percent, start moving through time. Go back and look at your birth. Go back and look at your mother's birth, whatever you're into, historical events, etc. You force the awareness into that space by creating a distraction for the conscious mind, i.e., rock polishing, scrying, sock tossing, and water work in general. All those are methods that shift awareness from direct conscious action and towards the dreaming side of awareness. I don't care what you use in the beginning, but you must occupy your mind in two directions at once, splitting the awareness in a way which allows it to connect with your stated intent.
Some people pick it up very quickly, others take a long time. But, I think in the beginning you can at least gather together the sensation of the movement, and I wouldn't try this while driving. Settle in somewhere quiet and work with it. I've led healing journeys with this method, and people seem to catch on to it fairly quickly; but if the entire scene comes into focus, claiming your total awareness, don't fight it, just patiently work with it. I know it's a little hard to grasp because we're moving beyond purely verbal understandings, but once you start it becomes much more clear. Then when you get it down to a snap of the will, you can move anywhere, anytime. There is no one doorway to learning, just that with some you open them and fall down a flight of stairs first. I try to keep people on level ground as long as possible.
I am not sure if I was doing it tonight or not. I was meditating, but it wasn't like any meditation I have done before. I was very much awake but with my eyes closed and a lot of dreaming imagery, almost with story lines, etc. Was this awake dreaming; can it happen like this?
Yes, it sounds like it. Now you need to move it further.
It doesn't have to be done with the eyes open?
No, not in the beginning especially, you would find it just a distraction; although I suggest to people they try with one eye closed to start with because they tend to just fall asleep.
Other than the obvious, how does it differ from 'dreaming'?
It differs largely by the intent of it. In awake dreaming, you are intentionally moving from point A to point B. Plus, you don't end up with the distortions you might normally experience in regular dreaming.
Will this affect my sleep dreaming?
Not really, although it could in the beginning by carrying over. It can be picked up thematically in sleep dreaming, although you can't necessarily trust the results the same unless you are in control of dreaming there. But start back with the beginning of the process and see how it goes.
Does awake dreaming involve moving the dreaming body, or is that a separate thing?
Well, let's just say you're putting your arm around your dreaming body, but not really moving it. :) Don't worry too much about the technicalities.
You need to consistently verify what you see through the awake dreaming state once you have established your own rhythm with it. This is why you need to start out in the next room, then move a little further each time in a way you can eventually verify. Results count.
So, it's actually more powerful than 'dream'?
It can be, and certainly can be in the beginning of practice before you have gained control of normal dreaming awareness.
How does it differ from lucid dreaming, wherein you decide consciously what happens in the dream?
Mainly it is an issue of movement. In lucid dreaming, you are still trapped in a dream world, or other worlds. In awake dreaming, you never quite move out of this one.
So this is not an accidental thing. It is fueled by intent every time?
It can be accidental if you are bent that way, but it usually just confuses people.
Is having 'visions' while awake the same as awake dreaming?
No, usually, because they involve a general shift of all your energy, and the world as you normally perceive it slips away. People do have spontaneous shifts, and as a result, often visions. If you have problems with them in terms of how you are able to hold onto them, you might try setting very powerful intents in whatever way you want to use them the next time they occur. In other words, you might gain incredible insight and knowledge by just shifting without intent, but how many times will you have to expend that energy until you get the one that really has meaning in terms you can bring back to the world and apply.
Do you have to do some form of movement, such as awake dreaming, to do energy work, or can you do it from your attention as it normally is?
Of course, but don't try it starting out - you'll bleed yourself to death. I've done a lot of healings at a distance, a lot of movements. I don't always use awake dreaming, but I almost always start there.
Let's say you used the awake dreaming technique to heal someone remotely (something small); then, if you recap that energy, will it undo the healing?
No, you didn't 'heal' them, you helped them to focus their own energy for the healing, or used energy which is available to all people from the earth.
Is the deadness going to pass soon, 'cause I need a break?
Yes, soon, but not in the next couple of weeks.
I'm hanging by a thread. I feel 'dead' and stuck in my dreams. Do you have suggestions?
For the dreams, once you are aware it's playing through your awareness, just jump ahead to a different outcome than where it's headed. For the being dead part, outflow, work with people, volunteer somewhere, get energy moving outward it will come back to you in good ways. Then you won't be dead anymore; or you may be, but you'll be a corpse making a difference in the world
I am not getting much sleeping done right now because I am spending so much time in the doorway state, as it were. My body is asleep, but I am wide awake. To get some sleep I should 'move' my energy - is that what you are saying?
Yes. Once you complete it, you will sleep - natural sleep, I mean. Otherwise it's going to nag you until you're worn out. Set aside anxiety, fear, trepidation and the concern and move with it.
When I get in that body asleep/mind awake mode, is there a way to deepen the sleep part?
I think awake dreaming is your personal key right now. The symptoms you have are all pointing to that, and I think once you are moving that way you can sleep.
How is it that I can move in awake dreaming but not recall night dreaming? Is there something fundamentally different between the two?
You're an awake dreamer, so am I. I have learned to use sleep dreaming, but I started with and prefer awake dreaming. It's really important to you to do asleep dreaming, so you're working on it and it will happen.
So, can you go to the same places in both?
Well, I'll stop worrying about the sleep thing, then.
I find awake dreaming more useful, but then that's my nature. I think as you apply more purpose to awake dreaming, you will find sleep dreaming more accessible as well.
How does it differ from 'seeing'?
It doesn't in one sense. Awake dreaming is an essential key in learning the movement.