Yoga Wellness educator. Hatha yoga, meditation, pilates, Reiki. Oracle card reader. Gateway Dream Guide. Yoga Therapy foundations program.
I recently completed my certification as a Gateway Dream Guide with Denise Linn, a spiritual teacher and a best-selling author. I do recommend this training with Denise who is a fantastic teacher.
What Is a Lucid Dream?
You have a lucid dream when you know you are dreaming. Frederik van Eeden, a twentieth-century Dutch writer and psychiatrist, was the one who first used the word lucid to imply mental clarity.
Most people can experience lucid dreams if they have the proper coaching.
Lucid dreaming is not dream control. We can be lucid when dreaming but have no control over our dream. Then again, becoming lucid in a dream is likely to increase your power to intentionally change the events in your dream. With practice, you may widen the degree of control you have over dream events. Lucid dreamers can often do unbelievable things, like flying, made possible only because of the extraordinary freedom of the dream state.
Skeptics claim that lucid dreams are artificial and could harm the soul of the dreamers. I do not share their concern. I have had lots of lucid dreams in my life and in many of them, I saw myself flying. These lucid dreams were fascinating and not harmful at all. Given that lucid dreams spread along with so many normal dreams, we have abundant time for non-lucid dreaming.
Not all lucid dreams are completely lucid. Some of us may have semi-lucid dreams in which we are vaguely aware that we are dreaming.
When we dream, our mind takes what we see and feel as real. In our dreams, we often find ourselves in situations and surroundings that are mysterious compared to our waking life. We could be living in a different country or married to a different person. The trees could be standing topsy-turvy, and we understand gibberish conversations. Most often than not, our mind in the dream state does not doubt that these bizarre events or circumstances are real.
Things in our dreams are not normal. We have to ponder the reason our mind so easily accept what we experience in our dreams as real. We do know the country and residence we live in, and to whom we are in fact married. But while dreaming, we often forget these things and believe what we see in the dream. Knowing and pondering this can help us to experience a lucid dream. Inconsistency is one of the triggers to lucid dreaming. A trigger is something that encourages lucidity.
One of the triggers could be becoming aware that one of your dreams or nightmares keeps recurring. A recurring or recurrent dream or nightmare is one that keeps coming back. If you have a recurring dream, make the effort to become aware that you are dreaming whenever you are. If the dream is about a particular person or location, think as you go to sleep, "the next time I find myself with that person or in that location in my dream, I’ll know that I’m dreaming". As the dream is a recurring one, you will not have to wait long to see that location or person in your dream. Becoming a lucid dreamer might take time.
If you want to experience lucid dreaming, and to experience it more often, go to sleep in the same place and around the same time. Music or other sounds can affect your dreaming. So, if you want to listen to music when you go to sleep, listen to the same relaxing instrumental (without vocals) music each time. Before you go to sleep focus on a trigger or a combination of triggers. If you have a common dream theme, consider it a trigger, and think of it as often as you can in your regular waking state.
Lucid dreamers at times say to themselves while dreaming, "I know I’m dreaming."
The science Behind Lucid Dreaming
A scientific study observed people as they slept while being attached to an electroencephalogram (EEG) machine that tests the electrical brain activity. The participants indicated with their eyelids when they were in a lucid dream. The EEGs proved that these participants were in the Rapid Eye Movement (REM) phase of their sleep when they signaled their lucid dream state.
Scientists no longer contest the fact that people can have lucid dreams, they just do not agree if people can control their dreams.
In Tibetan Buddhism, there is a practice called dream yoga that is similar to lucid dreaming.
With dream yoga, you explore your perceptions so you can reach a steady state of awareness. Practicing Buddhists strive to accept the world as it is, without deceiving themselves.
A lucid dreamer understands that the dream world is just a dream. As a lucid dreamer, you discover the way you think and the hurdles your mind faces in attaining clarity.
Mystics and sages call this altered state of consciousness a non-dual awareness. From a yogic viewpoint, duality is the root cause of suffering. Reaching a state of non-dual awareness frees us from suffering, which is the holy quest of all human beings.
Keep a Dream Journal
Journaling or keeping a dream journal on a regular basis is an effective tool to have lucid dreams. Do your best to write down your dreams the moment you wake up. Do not simply jot down a description of what took place in the dream but also record the thoughts and emotions you felt. Make sure to mention all the key elements such as people, locations, animals, etc.
Keeping a dream journal will help you understand your non-lucid dreams. As you continue writing your dreams in your journal and re-examining your earlier records, you will begin to see similarities in your dreams and your life. Little by little, it will be in your power to understand what the symbols in your dreams are telling you.
The powerful part in lucid dreaming is that once you become lucid in a dream, you can often decide what actions to take. You will have some control over the dream content.
What Are The Benefits of Lucid Dreaming?
Lucid dreaming can be a powerful tool for overcoming nightmares.
In therapy, lucid dreams encourage personal insight and assist with integration.
Many regular people are drawn to lucid dreaming as a risk-free opportunity for adventure unhampered by the laws of physics or by society.
Lucid dreaming has become a source of creative and inspiring activity. Lucid dreams promote artistic creativity and enhance critical thinking skills that are proven useful in daily life.
Dreams hold the most vibrant mental images achievable by most people.
Lucid dreaming could be the best way for achieving such benefits as enhancing physical performance, learning, remembering, and accelerating healing.
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Hearne, K. M. T. (1978). Lucid dreams: An electrophysiological and psychological study. Unpublished doctoral dissertation, U of Liverpool.
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Lambert, K (2008) How Lucid Dreaming Works. [HowStuffWorks/Science/Life Science/Inside the Mind/The Human Brain]
This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.
© 2022 Liliane Najm