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Patricia Garfield's Pathway to ecstasy re-released: an interview

Faculty Advisor




spirituality, lucid dreaming, Creative Dreaming, meditation, dream, mandala, Pathway, dreamwork movement, awareness, consciousness

Abstract (summary)

Patricia Garfield: Spirituality and lucid dreaming were the things I was most excited about when I finished Creative Dreaming. They seemed like the future and thus where my writing should go. In 1974, before Creative Dreaming came out, I put together a book proposal and submitted it to Simon and Schuster. They felt there was not enough interest in dreaming to warrant another book, and particularly one devoted primarily to this weird aspect: lucid dreaming. I mean, nobody knew what that was. They wouldn’t take it. I had the option of just submerging it into something much larger, making it a very minor part of a book, or sticking with it and trying to get it published elsewhere. I think I hadn’t clearly developed how I wanted to present the whole of the material, other than the lucid aspects of it. Eventually it was picked up by Holt, Rinehart and Winston, who were not terribly interested in the lucid dreaming aspect either. They were much more interested in the personal elements. At the same time this was going on, I was undergoing very intense forms of meditation. Suddenly there was the realization that these meditation experiences were connected to the lucid dream experiences. That’s where they intersected. I became so excited when this happened. Jayne Gackenbach: Would you talk about that moment of realization? Garfield: It’s in the chapter of the book called, "The Magical Land of Breeze And Light." You know the characteristic feelings that accompany lucid dreaming are, by now, quite well known. But at that time, very little was spoken about them. Frequently people who had lucid dreams would talk about the rush of wind in their face, and the intensification of colors and the other things that are now common know-ledge. What I experienced I didn’t quite know how to describe. I called it a "sound-feel," or a "vibration-buzz." To me it was kinesthetic, as well as auditory. It was not just wind in the face, the entire body seemed to "buzz." So when I practiced this Taoist meditation, and when I had, what would probably be called in other cultures, a kundalini experience, these inner sensations became very perceptible to me while awake and meditating. Then they would occur spontaneously at other times once I had aroused them in meditation. This was then a very conscious force in my body. After I got some help with it, particularly by a Taoist meditation teacher who taught me methods of controlling it and calming it when necessary, then it became much more regulated.

Publication Information

Garfield, P. & Gackenbach, J.I. (1990). Patricia Garfield's Pathway to ecstasy re-released: An interview. Lucidity Letter, 9(2) and reprinted in Lucidity: Commemorative Issue 10th Anniversary of Lucidity Letter, 10(1&2), 367-372.



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