Have you ever had a nightmare? A confusing dream? Have you ever had problems in life that you wish could be solved subconsciously, like when sleeping? Maybe you should learn to lucid dream. For all you non-lucid dreamers out there, this is an awesome experience and you won’t regret learning the techniques to control your own dreams. But what really is a lucid dream?
What is a Lucid Dream?
“A lucid dream, in simplest terms, is a dream in which one is aware that one is dreaming.” Frederik van Eedan (1860-1932), a Dutch psychiatrist and writer had once said. What’s even better about lucid dreaming, is that not only is one aware that they are dreaming, but they have the ability to control the dream!
Lucid dreaming has been scientifically investigated for quite some time now; however, this particular field of study would not be recognized in book form until 1968, when Celia Green wrote Lucid Dreams. After studying and analyzing certain primary traits in dreams, and while taking into consideration information about this subject that was published prior to her own book, Green came to recognize a defined nature between ordinary dreams and lucid dreams.
Later in the 1970s, Daniel Oldis participated and conducted some of the earliest studies of lucid dreaming as a student at the University of South Dakota. It was during these experiments that he had been able to create a certain technique that would allow people to lucid dream, using external distractions as they slept. During his test subjects’ REM (rapid-eye-movement) sleep, he would initiate a light or sound, not loud or bright enough to wake them, but just enough to have them realize that they were dreaming, and from there they could take control of their dreams. Since then, Oldis has also written The Inception of Conscious and Lucid Dreams.
Types of Lucid Dreams
There are two different ways in which a lucid dream can take place. One is called a dream-initiated lucid dream (DILD) which is basically a normal dream at first, that then later morphs into a lucid dream when the sleeper realizes that they are indeed dreaming. A wake-initiated lucid dream (WILD) is when the person goes straight from being awake, to falling asleep immediately into a dream state.
Lucid Dreams Through the Years
Lucid dreaming might not have been published in a book till 1968, but that doesn’t mean it was only recently discovered. In fact, the concept of lucid dreaming was once mentioned in 415 AD in a letter written by St Augustine of Hippo, and “dream yoga” (a way to be conscious while in dream states) was practiced by Tibetan Buddhists in the 8th century. Another example of early lucid dreaming is Sir Thomas Browne (1605-1682), a philosopher who had always taken a deep fascination in the concept of dreams. He himself was able to arouse his lucid abilities when sleeping, and described one of these events as, “… yet in one dream I can compose a whole comedy, behold the action, apprehend the jests and laugh myself awake at the conceits thereof.”
How to Lucid Dream
So by now, you’re probably wondering how to lucid dream. Well, the first thing you have to do is realize that you are actually dreaming. Here’s a small list of what you should be doing to lucid dream:
*Study things when you’re awake
*Study things when you’re asleep and dreaming
*Right before you go to bed, tell yourself over and over that you’re going to lucid dream
*Keep a dream journal
*Set your alarm clock early
One way to start conditioning your mind and evoking the ability to recognize dreams is by starting to ask yourself when you’re awake, if you’re dreaming. What is it about being awake-about reality itself-that determines you are not sleeping? Look at places in your house, look at your face in the mirror, or glance at your hands. Do this both when you’re awake, and again when you fall asleep. You’ll be able to pinpoint the differences between traits in real life and traits in your dreams. An example could be that when you’re awake and you look at yourself in the mirror, you simply see yourself as normal. But if you’re looking into a mirror while dreaming, you might spy a three-eyed version of yourself peering back at you; the realization that you’re dreaming will be stimulated by the fact that you don’t actually have three eyes … well, most of you don’t I assume.
Repeat these words: “I am going to lucid dream tonight.” Before you go to sleep, sit in bed and tell yourself that over and over. Even say it out loud. This is basically drilling the concept of lucid dreaming into your brain, and this will definitely improve your chances to succeed in controlling your dreams.
Keeping a dream journal can also help to boost your lucid dreaming potential. Keep a notebook by your bed, and every time you wake up be sure to jot down any dream you had. Remember, the whole point of lucid dreaming is being able to recognize the fact that you’re dreaming; by keeping a journal you’ll be able to recall dreams which increases your ability to remember dreams on your own to and help you recognize when you are dreaming.
Setting your alarm clock is yet another way to help you lucid dream. This is a technique created by scientist Stephen Laberge who studies lucid dreaming. All you have to do is set your alarm clock to wake you up earlier than you normally would, anywhere from 4 ½ to 7 ½ hours after falling asleep. Once awake, remember your dream and write it down. Then attempt to fall asleep again, imagining the last dream that you had. Try to “sink” or “fall” back into that dream.
You’re probably not going to lucid dream on the first try. In fact, it usually takes a while before a person gets it down, so don’t feel frustrated if you wake up in the morning and realize that you didn’t seize control of your dreams. Just keep trying. Chances are, you’ll eventually get the hang of it.
Dream Views (www.dreamviews.com)
The Lucidity Institue Inc (www.lucidty.com)