To have a lucid dream or OBE, which I prefer to call an "unworlding," it is not necessary to consciously experience sleep paralysis or associated energy sensations such as the vibrations, auditory hallucinations, spectral visitors, etc. Some people never experience these things, even during direct inductions such as WILD or wake-induced lucid dreaming.
There are two camps in competition and I'd like to see this website bridge that gap and bring unworlders together on the controversial sleep paralysis issue.
Camp One, populated by mostly beginners and quite a few experts, says that sleep paralysis is a road sign along the way to the Unworld, and these folks purposely try to induce sleep paralysis, considering it the gateway to direct unworlding a.k.a. Going-To-Sleep-Right which Monroe called "mind-awake, body-asleep," a term that probably originated with Oliver Fox. Fox referred to the moment of consciously going to sleep (the Urumara) as "the pineal doorway" while insisting that this terminology not be taken too literally.
Camp Two, populated by mostly experts or at least those who are past the beginner stage, has taken note of the fact that not all successful journeys to the Unworld include conscious sleep paralysis and the other energy sensations. Some people never experience some of these things. So, while most people experience some of these things some of the time, Camp Two has announced publicly and noisily that no beginner should ever try to induce sleep paralysis or vibrations because it's a distraction and a waste of time.
Both camps are standing their ground at extremes in a standoff which is neither productive nor necessary. As usual, there's more to be gained by compromise. My suggested compromise is this: sleep paralysis and various associated energy sensations are always a signpost that really exists on the way to true lucid unworldings, which is not the case with non-REM dreams because they take place in the Tunnel, i.e. pre-Urumara. However, the nature of the signpost at the exact moment of dropping off to sleep--the Urumara--is that if you blink while passing it, you will miss it. Because of this, some people never consciously experience it. One reason for not looking while you go past the signpost would be that it doesn't interest you. Another might be abject terror.
It's a simple compromise and I feel it's an accurate one, in spite of the fact that I am not someone who often experiences conscious sleep paralysis myself. But I want to, and as I continue with my practice, I am accumulating success in this regard.
Here's a reminder regarding terminology. The state of paralysis most people always experience during REM sleep is supposed to be called "REM atonia". The term "sleep paralysis" is supposed to be used in reference to conscious experience of REM atonia. As someone who fancies himself an innovator or even an inventor, I have naturally added to this mess of terminology with terminology of my own, in the vain hope that people will like my terminology better and start using it. Stranger things have happened.
Where I live in the Philippines, I'm having a hard time getting my wife to stop waking me up when she detects that I'm having a nightmare of the sort she calls the urum. I don't have nightmares, I enjoy all dreams including scary ones. The ones that make us thrash and kick and try to vocalize are the ones where we dream we can't move or shout, or can barely do so, and we start to panic because of this. This is a classic case of sleep paralysis getting worse (scarier) due to our resisting it, except it happens during a dream instead of during the process of going to sleep or waking up. Actually due to the positioning of REM on the sleep depth scale, any dream is in danger of slipping into the urum because the reason the dream is more vivid and higher in lucidity is that the conscious mind is unusually active for a sleeping person. Really, all this is on a continuum, with the urum dream, as Visayan-speaking Filipinos call it, taking place only a bit deeper into the dream state than what we usually think of as conscious sleep paralysis. So the urum is a nightmare where you can't run away from the bad guy and can't shout for help, for example. My wife wakes me up because in her native belief system, she thinks the urum can kill me. She won't listen to me when I tell her that all dreams are good, even though I beg her to never wake me out of a dream. This is one reason I always switch to my special dream bed when I'm serious about getting unworlded.
While researching sleep paralysis, I heard about a word mara which exists in many forms in many languages and cultures, but mara in particular is from Swedish tradition and refers to the classic old hag syndrome of sleep paralysis, where you wakefully, or seemingly wakefully, hallucinate that someone is sitting on your chest making it hard to breathe. The etymology of the "-mare" in "nightmare" comes from the same original root word. Anyone not familiar with sleep paralysis should read Ryan Hurd's excellent book on the topic.
In an effort to define a real place on a real map which is a real signpost on the way to a real experience--even if some force that we don't yet understand tends to rush some folks past this spot so fast that they don't see it, or in a lapsed state of awareness so they couldn't see it if they wanted to--I've come up with a new term, "the Urumara," which refers not to sleep paralysis itself, but to the narrow spot in the road, the transition zone to and from sleep where some people are squeezed into the conscious experience of sleep paralysis, vibrations, extremely realistic hallucinations that often involve intruder panic, and many other energy sensations which can be pleasant or unpleasant depending on your expectations. And other people just accelerate through this place--which my 7ness dream body Mouse called "the pinch tube"--like Roger Ramjet getting squirted through a time warp like a watermelon seed squeezed between two fingers. My thesis is that such a place does exist, and reliably so. I believe it's a bit arrogant of people in a field such as this--where lapses into unconsciousness are practically the glue that holds everything else together--to claim that there is no such signpost, just because they manage to look away every time they get to it. But a bit of condescendingly self-righteous fervor from the deeper-experienced intelligentsia should be conciliatorily overlooked, and the two camps shall please now come together in the Urumara where we can all have a big party complete with name badges and paper hats, experience not being able to run or shout, together coming to the realization that there is no bad guy as we each get accelerated off to his or her own separate reality to experience his own unique version of the Unworld.
This website covers the theorizing and philosophizing that I managed to accomplish during my search for the Urumara, since I am one of those people who bypass this signpost unconsciously and get more curious about it every time I do. It's basically a "how to get more lucid more often" manual by a beginner writing for his own daylight entertainment since my wife won't let me sleep 24 hours a day.
Right now I'm working hard to map the route to the Unworld, under the notion that a beginner like myself can record these initial explorations at least as well as a longtime expert can remember and reconstruct their own initiatory experiences of long ago. Once I can no longer call myself a beginner, I suppose more dozens of chapters will follow, which will attempt to map the Unworld itself, but for now I'm all about the way there. As I continue to experience the Urumara in bits and pieces, the evidence that this transition zone is both the act of going to sleep and Monroe's 'fear barrier' continues to accumulate. The reason this seems odd is that we don't remember being afraid of it due to the fact that the entire experience is repressed possibly several times each night.
What's there to be afraid of? The conscious mind fears death more than anything, and to this entity, losing consciousness equates to its own death. There is also a physical component or two, and this could be of utmost importance unless I'm some kind of freak. When I started my practice in late 2015, I immediately began having panicked Awakenings in which I was sure I was choking. This hadn't ever happened to me and I don't have sleep apnea. The reason it started happening is that I was spending time near the Urumara, consciously or more consciously than usual. There's a physical process that takes place at the moment of sleep, in which the conscious mind abandons control of semi-autonomous processes such as breathing and swallowing.
Can you remember the first time you had to breathe and deal with the accumulation of saliva with a dentist's hand in your mouth? I can. I was panic-stricken. What I have to relearn a little every time I go to the dentist is that swallowing and breathing are completely automatic (autonomous) physical processes until you think you can't and then you can't wait. This amounts to your conscious mind frantically telling itself that you must swallow NOW or you will drown, that is, you won't be able to breathe. Currently my hypothesis is that the fear barrier amounts to the conscious mind's stubborn assumption that letting go of its conscious share of semi-autonomous processes will spell its doom. We reflexively assume, without even knowing that we are doing so, that allowing semi-autonomous processes to become fully autonomous will kill us. So the conscious mind won't let us go to sleep consciously; it must either stay alert and act as a lifeguard, or else dive under cover of deep unconsciousness at the moment when the physical processes revert to complete autonomy, i.e. at the moment of sleep. My belief is that the conscious mind must be forcibly put under by the higher chakras or dream bodies because it doesn't know how to merge smoothly into the sleep process. For this reason, we have no idea how to go to sleep consciously. In someone like me who has experienced both a near-drowning as well as many years of childhood insomnia, purposely staying awake in order to experience the Urumara with open eyes is especially fearsome to parts of myself that I'm not aware of until they surface.
I'm determined to become inured to the act of falling asleep so that the mind and the body can go to sleep separately. Eventually the goal is to keep the mind awake 24 hours a day. This has been my goal for decades and I will never give up. Since I probably don't have very many decades left, I am not interested in doing things the hardest or longest way. So I'm seeking the Magical Mindset which guarantees success, and the Methodless Method which forms the invisible backbone of all the supposedly different unworlding techniques out there. It helps that I don't believe this world is the only world that exists. Never in my life have I become reconciled to the odd notion that reality and physicality are the same thing, with solidity somehow trumping imagination and dream experience. I believe that what we remember, we must have really experienced; otherwise, where did the memory come from?