Have you experienced a dream where everything seems so vivid and real, and you can control everything?
This phenomenon is called Lucid Dreaming, an amazing and rare experience that remains an interesting topic for the world and has become a well-sought-after skill.
Lucid dreaming may be daunting and impossible to learn, so to help, we have compiled all the necessary information for you and how you can initiate it through self-induction methods.
What is Lucid Dreaming?
Lucid dreaming is a dream where you are conscious and aware that you are dreaming. During this experience, you are aware of your consciousness and control everything in your dreams.
Lucid dreams happen during Rapid Eye Movement (REM) sleep, or the stage where we dream during our sleep. According to studies, around 55 percent of adults have at least one lucid dream throughout their lifetime.
Some people have different types of lucid dreams. These dreams can be happy, sad, or scary. For others, their lucid dreams are real and vivid, while for some, they feel hazy.
The History of Lucid Dreaming
Lucid dreaming has fascinated the world ever since ancient times. Though lucid dreaming can be traced back to the Paleolithic era, it took thousands of years before its concept reached the scientific community’s attention.
During the Paleolithic era, lucid dreams were evident in the people’s cave art and shamanic rituals. These include spirit traveling, visions of flights, meeting with terrifying creatures and otherworldly entities, and even undergoing explosive emotionalities.
When it comes to lucid dreaming, the Egyptians and the Greeks analyzed and interpreted dreams, searching for prophecies from the Gods.
On the other hand, the first verifiable textual description of lucid dreaming is seen in the Upanishads, written before 1000 BCE. According to The Dream Studies Organisation, the ancient Hindu practice of Yoga Nidra promotes awareness of the reality that we are in a dream state.
This practice finds its way into the ancient Buddhist literature and the Tibetan practice of Dream Yoga. This way, Tibetan Buddhists can control their dreams which are now wildly known as WILD (Wake-Induced Lucid Dreaming), the ability to slip into a dream state while fully aware of one’s consciousness.
In this period, lucid dreaming was accepted by the world and started being studied by scientists and physicians. Sir Thomas Browne, a known physician and philosopher, wrote On Dreams, where he learned the reasons behind dreaming. In his work, he described how he could stay awake while in a dream state.
Marie Jean Leon, the marquis d’Hervey de Saint Denys and a French sinologist, published Dreams and the ways to direct them; practical observations in 1867. In this work, he wrote about lucid dreaming experiences and suggested that anyone can learn to perform one.
At this time, a dutch psychiatrist, Fredrik Van Eaden, coined the term ‘Lucid Dreaming.’ Thanks to his work, A Study of Dreams, Fredrik Van Eaden is also one of the first to study dreams.
Cecilia Green successfully classified lucid dreaming as a scientific phenomenon. Then in 1975, new opportunities for studying lucid dreaming were opened when a lucid dreamer, Alan Worsley, and the researcher Stephen LaBerge proved the phenomenon in a laboratory setting. With this breakthrough, LaBerge continues to be a pioneer in the study of lucid dreams.
Lucid Dreaming and Astral Projection
Lucid dreaming and Astral Projection are often associated with one another. Although these two share some similarities, they have profound distinctions.
Lucid dreaming is widely different from normal dreams, which can typically happen when you wake up from your dream and return to sleep. When you are not fully awake, you can return and continue your dream and manipulate its outcome.
On the other hand, Astral projection is considered a higher phenomenon. Advanced astral travelers can drift beyond the limitations of our world and enter other dimensions. A solid example of this is the astral traveling done by the characters of Dr. Strange.
Unlike lucid dreaming, one does not have to sleep to travel astrally. Being unable to return to your physical body is one of the risks of astral projection. That’s why an in-depth understanding of astral projection is a must, as you must be cautious when you perform one.
Lucid Dreaming and Daydreaming
Just like with astral projection, lucid dreaming is mistaken for daydreaming too. Just because both occur while you’re aware that you’re dreaming doesn’t mean that these two are the same.
Lucid dreaming occurs during sleep, while daydreaming happens when you’re awake. Also, daydreaming is more superficial and performed easily. Your imagery is less realistic and vivid, while you have a great sense of your physical environment.
When do Lucid Dreams Happen?
According to sleep researcher Keith Hearne, lucid dreaming tends to happen during Rapid Eye Movement (REM) sleep. During REM sleep, most of the muscles are paralyzed except the eyes.
One of his study subjects could communicate his consciousness of lucid dreaming by moving his eyes left and right eight times. His signals occurred early in the morning until the end of his REM sleep.
After this, the latest studies showed that lucid dreaming occurs when moments of high stimulus or change in our brains wave activities in the external layers of the brain.
Dream recognition specifically happens in the dorsolateral prefrontal cortex, where planning, abstract reasoning, and memory work occur.
How to Lucid Dream?
With the right methods, self-induced lucid dreams are easy to achieve, especially for beginners. Here are a few steps you can follow to perform lucid dreaming:
Prepare your bedroom for sleeping.
When optimizing your bedroom for sleeping, ensure you’re comfortable with your bedroom temperature. Keep your surroundings dark and peaceful. You can use sleeping masks, thick curtains, and other sleep-helping materials. You must have good sleep hygiene to have a healthy sleep cycle.
Test your reality.
Practice ‘reality testing’ by assessing your environment to confirm if you’re sleeping or awake. Your surroundings may seem familiar in a lucid dream, but there will be distortions and inconsistencies compared to your reality. By conducting a reality test, you could gain the ability to test your reality during your dreams.
Consider these reminders when assessing your reality:
- Check the mirror and examine if there’s anything strange with your reflection.
- Check if time is normally moving in the clock.
- Check solid objects and see if you can touch them.
Try the MILD and WBTB techniques.
To perform the mnemonic induction of lucid dream (MILD) method, wake up after a five-hour sleep. You can use an alarm if necessary. Then after this, remind yourself that you’re dreaming once you’ve gone to sleep.
On the other hand, the wake back to bed (WBTB) method also requires waking up after a five-hour sleep, but you’ll have to stay awake for about thirty to one hundred twenty minutes before going back to sleep.
Keep a dream journal.
In your dream journal, write down everything you remember about your dreams. A voice-recording device is also great for keeping your dream memories. A detailed record of your dreams is a great tool for recognizing and triggering lucid dreams.
You can achieve lucid dreaming by convincing yourself once you’ve fallen asleep. Some people can trigger lucid dreams by affirming that they will have one.
Use a lucid-inducing device.
Lucid-inducing devices are available to help you perform lucid dreaming. Sleep-oriented companies formulate devices to help people achieve lucid dreams by acting as visual, auditory, and tactile stimuli. These devices include flashing lights, aromatic candles, sleep masks, etc.
Experiment with video games.
Playing video games and the frequency and control of Lucid Dreams have a connection, according to studies. The right choices of interactive video games can help you trigger lucid dreaming.
Interpreting Your Lucid Dreams
Lucid dreams, as phenomenal as they are, can also hold profound meanings. Knowing how to interpret your dreams is a great way to have a deeper sense of self and connection with the world.
It’s crucial to remember that your lucid dreams are symbolic and not literal. You must consider all the details and the elements they consist of because each has its meaning.
You can learn to interpret your lucid dreams on varying levels. They can be spiritual, collective, or personal. Everything depends on you and how you want your dreams to help and guide you.
The Benefits of Lucid Dreaming
Lucid dreaming can help reduce anxiety because of the sense of control it gives you. You will feel empowered because you know the story’s narrative and can tweak it in the course you want.
You can enhance your creativity through lucid dreams too. Some people, especially artists, who perform lucid dreams, can have new insights and inspiration for their works.
Furthermore, lucid dreaming sometimes serves as a therapy for people who experience nightmares, where they learn how to control their dreams.
The Risks of Lucid Dreaming
Like a coin, lucid dreaming has its disadvantages too. Frequent lucid dreaming without following the correct methods can give you less sleep. Vivid dreams can make it hard to return to sleep, and you might lose quality sleep if you’re too preoccupied with lucid dreaming.
Moreover, sleep paralysis, delirium, hallucinations, and confusion can be triggered by lucid dreaming if done wrong, so it’s important to understand the concept of lucid dreaming. For people suffering from mental health disorders, performing lucid dreams may blur the line between what’s imagined and reality.
Lucid dreaming is a fascinating phenomenon that continues to amuse us. Though it has its setbacks, lucid dreaming is a worthwhile experience you can explore at least once. Under the right methods and preparations, you can perform lucid dreaming and become creative in shaping your dreams.
You can be anyone you want to be, and you have all the power to dream according to your desires. Lucid dreaming is a natural process of our bodies, and you could gain insight into how you’ll create the life you want.
Discover More About the World of Dreams
- Dream Interpretation: A Complete Guide
- The Biblical Meaning of Dreams: Everything You Need to Know
- Understanding the Spiritual Meaning of Your Dreams (Explained)
- The Spiritual Meaning of Sleep Paralysis (Explained)
- Lost In Daydreams?: Everything You Need to Know
- A Beginner’s Guide to Lucid Dreaming: Everything You Need to Know
- Nightmares: Everything You Need to Know
- Astral Projection for Beginners: Your Complete Guide
- 16 Best Books on Astral Projection You Must Read
- 14 Best Dream Books to Decode Your Dreams
- 14 Best Books on Lucid Dreaming
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- Dreaming About Dying: Everything You Need to Know
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- Understanding the Spiritual Meaning of Wet Dreams (Explained)
- The Spiritual Meaning of Flying in a Dream: A Complete Guide
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