The Razor’s Edge to Lucid Dreaming

P1. Somerset Maugham’s novel, The Razor’s Edge, quotes the following lines from the Katha Upanishad written around 1000 BCE,

“Rise, awaken, seek the wise and realize.
The path is difficult to cross like the sharpened edge of the razor, so say the wise.”

Back in King Arthur’s time, Lancelot the knight, races to rescue Queen Guinevere who has been abducted. On his journey he too must cross a perilous bridge in the form literally of a sword-bridge, which has a razor’s edge. He does manage to cross it and is cut badly by the blade, but his love for Guinevere soothes his pain.

Another example is written by the shaman, Carlos Castaneda, who says that in a dream a bridge formed out of a fog bank. It was perfectly formed and precisely rendered. It seemed more real than real.  He knew he would have to cross that bridge one day, but he also knew he would need to have mastered his attention further before he could do it. That’s the secret of the Toltec dreamers.

Lucid Dreaming Advice

The path to lucid dreaming is rather like walking along a razor’s edge. Not enough attention and you don’t become lucid at all. But too much attention  and you wake up. It’s a balance.

It’s also related to “Will”, for in order to cross the razor’s edge you need to have the determination to cross that narrow and tricky place.

Stephen LaBerge says in his book on Lucid Dreaming that

“Many lucid dream induction procedures require the specific use of intention – the active mode of that elusive characteristic known as Will”

He goes on to say that many people would benefit by strengthening their will if they want to help with their lucid dreaming. There are many ways to train your will such as practicing “acting as if” you have already achieved something, or using the power of directed visualization, or repeating affirmations like a mantra, or practicing meditation, which can also bring in spiritual insights.

To achieve lucid dreaming you need to practice doing it and not simply spend time reading about it.

The Razor’s Edge

Here is a book that gives an example of how the trials of your chosen path can be overcome through the determination and love you have for your objective. Maugham develops the existential theme of characters attempting to make their lives meaningful in a meaningless world.

In The Razor’s Edge, the protagonist Larry Darrell forsakes wealth, security, and personal relationships to seek a spiritual meaning in life.

We find a group of characters who each find their own, very different paths through life. Each life is difficult in it’s own way but each character ends up getting what they strive for.

Finally, Larry returns to America, planning to become a mechanic and eventually a taxi driver in New York. He has acquired spiritual wisdom and wants only to be of service to others.

The book ends saying about what each character achieves in the line “Elliott social eminence; Isabel an assured position; … Sophie death; and Larry happiness.”.

The Meaning

The point is that if we wake up to life and explicitly choose our path then it is often indeed like a Razor’s Edge because it can be a narrow and treacherous way. We are always on the verge of being swept away by the winds of emotional change or the undercurrents of society. It is difficult to stay on the path for long periods of time.

As the AC/DC song says about the Razor’s Edge:

“There’s fightin’ on the left
And marching on the right
Don’t look up in the sky
You’re gonna die of fright
Here comes the razor’s edge”

Here the razor’s edge is a doorway to new opportunities and possibilities where you will discover a sense of personal empowerment to enable your lucid dreaming. All life’s transitions take on a greater sense of purpose and meaning when the path across the razor’s edge is recognized. But only the few really want to follow the path because the path is very narrow, very hard to stay on, extremely easy to fall off.

But this is where you walk into the present moment of your lucid dream and experience more joy than mere happiness.

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