I love my waking life. I live in a beautiful part of the world, and the sun is always shining when I open the door. My home life couldn’t be better, and things are going well in my career at the moment. I have plenty to stay awake for, but I’m also finding increasing pleasure in my dreaming hours. I would even go so far as to say that some of the most significant events in my life recently have occurred while I was asleep. This might sound like a bizarre claim but those who regularly have lucid dreams will probably understand what I’m referring to.
Lucid Dreaming Explained
I was once highly skeptical of lucid dreaming and put it in the same category as magic crystals or fairy dust. I didn’t realize that this state of consciousness had already been given the stamp of approval by science. There are now numerous studies that confirm that it is possible for people to become fully aware in the middle of a dream. It is even suggested that as many as 50% of the population will have experienced at least some level of lucidity while dreaming.
Lucid dreaming is when people become awake while in the middle of a dream . Those who are unfamiliar with this experience are usually so startled that it wakes them up right away. Once people learn how to manage this lucidity it opens up a world of opportunity. It becomes possible to have some control in the dream. This world created by our mind then becomes our personal holodeck ; fans of Star Trek will know what I’m talking about here. In other words our dreams can become our playground and we can do almost anything we want.
Benefits of Lucid Dreaming
Those people who have never experienced lucid dreaming might wonder what all the fuss is about. We tend to take our dreams for granted and most of the time we don’t even remember them afterwards. The potential of lucidity in dreams is astounding and the benefits include
– It is an opportunity to gain insight into our subconscious. The things that we learn about our own inner landscape can completely change the way we live our waking life.
– It is possible to talk with deceased loved ones. The general consensus is that these phantoms are just part of our subconscious, but they can bring great comfort.
– It is possible to have conversations with literally anyone; including historical heroes like the Buddha or Socrates.
– We can live out our fantasies. Forget about playing an air guitar because in a lucid dream you get to see an audience and really experience what it is like to be onstage.
– Buddhists have a long history of using lucid dreaming as a path to enlightenment.
– The ability that attracts the most attention from newbie lucid dreamers is flying. The laws of gravity do not apply in the dream world so flying is not a problem.
– Another tempting diversion in lucid dreaming is to live out sexual fantasies. This is probably high on the list of reasons for why people want to learn to become lucid in the first place – it takes sex tourism to a whole new level.
– One of the most talked about potentials of lucid dreaming is the ability to master new skills. My own experiences is that lucid dreaming isn’t that great for learning new languages, but it can be good for practicing physical activities. I’ve used it for Muay Thai sparring, and it did help with my confidence.
– One of my favorite abilities in these dreams is time travel. It is even possible to revisit times before we were born or in the future. Of course most people don’t believe that we actually travel through time, but it can be extremely convincing.
* It can lead to increased creativity in our waking life.
My Own Experience with Lucid Dreaming
I had lucid dreams in my teens, but I didn’t know that this is what they were. The shock of being lucid always woke me up. I had my first sustained lucid dream during a meditation retreat at Wat Rampoeng nine years ago. I was then meditating up to 16 hours a day, and this meant that when I became lucid my automatic response was to just continue meditating. Most new lucid dreamers will do all the exciting stuff like flying, or having sex with their dream date, so my early experiences with lucidity might be considered a bit tame.
Since giving up alcohol almost six years ago I’ve developed an increased ability to lucid dream. I am experiencing them with increased regularity. I now have lucid dreams about once every couple of weeks. It is still such a joy to become aware in the middle of a dream, and I can’t imagine ever getting bored with this ability. Some people are able to become lucid every night, but I’ve yet to reach that level. I would be happy with once a week.
It is only in recent months that I’ve started reading other people’s accounts of lucid dreaming and the techniques that work for them. I highly recommend Lucid Dreaming by Stephen Laberge. I still struggle to gain control over my dreams. I just become too distracted and excited with being awake in this imaginary world that has been created inside my own head. A few nights ago I time travelled back to Dublin during the seventies. I just felt so gob-smacked by how real everything looked and felt. I wasted a lot of time just touching things. I woke up before really getting a chance to explore. There is a great deal of skill involved in dream lucidity, but I am getting better at it.
I’m surprised at how little attention is given to dream lucidity in the media. I believe that this is something that anyone could learn to do, and the rewards make the effort well worth it. It can be frustrating in the beginning, but if people keep at it they are almost certain to gain control over their dreams. We spend a good sized chunk of our life asleep so it does make sense that we make use of this time.