If you have ever heard of the term “lucid dreaming” and wondered what exactly it means, then you’re not alone. The term is often misunderstood and many people assume that it means to have particularly realistic dreams…dreams which feel real. In fact, the term relates to the state of being which some people can reach by choice and which allows them to effectively control their dreams and to be fully aware during the time of sleep in which they are experiencing R.E.M. (Rapid Eye Movement).
Because for most people dreaming is something which they take rather for granted as a state over which they can exert no control, the idea that they could essentially choose what they dreamed about or control what happens in their dreams is almost ludicrous…but it is entirely possible.
Practitioners of lucid dreaming learn to be able to experience and interact with their dreams with clarity. They can communicate with their dream characters without speaking, they can even fly and perform all kinds of ‘impossible acts’ that cannot be experienced in waking life. Everything you see, hear, smell and taste can seem as real and as realistic as in waking life, with practice.
Lucid dreaming is not just about becoming conscious in the dream world. It can be so much more. We can learn to wake up to ourselves in the real world.
Charlie Morley, author of Dreams of Awakening: Lucid Dreaming and Mindfulness of Dream and Sleep, and the first official westerner “authorized to teach” lucid dreaming within the Kagyu lineage of Tibetan Buddhism says ” We sleep for a third of our lives. Lucid dreaming allows us to make some use of that time, and gives us the tools we need to heal ourselves, to get to know ourselves and to enter into a friendship not just with our shadows, but with every aspect of our psyches, all while we are sound asleep! That is some pretty effective time management”.
Some people find that they experience lucid dreams as a matter of course and with absolutely no effort whilst others find that they need to practice and use various methods of control to get to the place where they are more aware of their dreams.
Those lucky enough to naturally experience lucid dreaming report that as well as being realistic, their dreams take on an other-worldly quality…one in which colours are brighter, sounds are clearer and senses are sharper… the dreamer may also gain “superhuman” powers such as the ability to see in a 360 degree-circle or to fly. In a lucid dream, the world’s laws are turned upside down and anything can be accomplished.
How to lucid dream
If you are curious about lucid dreaming and would like to experience it for yourself there are various methods in which you can attempt to control the amount of consciousness which you have when asleep.
- Keep a dream diary. Learning to think about and remember your dreams is the first step towards lucid dreaming.
- Think about the things you regularly dream about and before you sleep, tell yourself to “notice” these things…as your brain notices what it has been instructed to, your consciousness will also notice that you are dreaming…this is the key to lucid dreaming.
- As your day progresses, ask yourself if you are dreaming…”Am I dreaming?” if you ask this question enough during your waking hours, you will also ask it when you sleep…again taking you a step closer to the necessary consciousness for lucid dreaming.
- Sometimes, the simple act of learning more about lucid dreaming is enough to set off a pattern and you may find that simply reading these words are your key to beginning lucid dreaming.
- Read an authoritative book on the subject or attend a workshop where you can also gain tips from other lucid dreamers. Try Dreams of Awakening: Lucid Dreaming and Mindfulness of Dream and Sleep by Charlie Morley (See below for how you can win a copy)
Remember that lucid dreaming is a simple thing…it should not be hard to achieve and if you find yourself growing frustrated with your efforts, you should stop trying to lucid dream for a while and focus instead on becoming more aware in your waking life. Being more aware during your waking life is also a good step to take in the journey towards lucid dreaming and your efforts should be rewarded quickly. Yoga and meditation are excellent tools to use in your lucid dreaming journey.