Lucid dreaming, at first, sounds too good to be true. But lucid dreaming happens to many people of all ages and all walks of life. This is very hard to prove, because we cannot see into a sleeping person’s dreams. We can only trust their verbal accounts and anecdotes. But you can also trust your own dream experiences to discover for yourself that lucid dreaming is fact.
This writer is lucky enough to have lucid dreams for many years and averages one lucid dream a week. You have no reason to believe my claims, but I hope you will at least give the idea that anyone can have lucid dreams a fighting chance. Lucid dreaming isn’t for everyone, but it can be (if you’ll forgive the pun) an eye-opening experience.
What Is A Lucid Dream?
During the course of a lucid dream, a dreamer suddenly realizes that he or she is dreaming and whatever happens will not have repercussions on the waking world. This awareness is called “lucidity”, which leans you are aware of what’s going on around you. Sometimes a dreamer then immediately wakes up, sometimes they can manipulate the dream’s surroundings, or they can sit back and enjoy all the dream has to offer.
Lucid dreaming may explain the phenomenon of astral travelling or other out of body experiences that people have reported through the ages. Shamans not only learned to dream lucidly, but how to manipulate spirits (dream figures) and supposedly visit other people as they dreamt.
Ancient Buddhist teachings, particularly from Tibet, teach of “dream yoga”, which is when a practitioner purposefully induces lucidity in dreams in order to help attain enlightenment. For millennia, people have believed that they have been told messages by spirits and by mortals through the use of dreams. Shamans were respected for being able to travel in their sleep. The current Dalai Lama reports of knowing a woman who traveled in her sleep in such a way.
Any Scientific Proof?
The closest to a scientific experiment in proving whether or not lucid dreams exist happened in the late 1970’s by Stephen LaBerge. He is a psycho-physiologist considered today’s leading expert on lucid dreams. In 1980, he published his thesis about the results of his lucid dreaming experiments, “Lucid Dreaming: An Exploratory Study of Consciousness During Sleep.”
In the experiments, he hooked sleeping volunteers up to an EEG, which measures brainwaves. Before the volunteer went to sleep, they were asked to move their eyes in a simple pattern if they had a lucid dream, in order to let LaBerge know he or she was having a lucid dream. There was a lot more to the experiments, but the main point is that the volunteers did indeed do the prearranged pattern of eye movements during sleep.
If you can remember to do certain eye movements in your dreams, then it logically follows that you can recognize when you are dreaming. It is then that can give your imagination some free rein.
Since so many people over the ages have reported lucid dreams, it seems a hard phenomenon to ignore. The human brain is far more capable of creativity than perhaps we are willing to admidt. This creativity and ingenuity can just be glimpsed at in lucid dreams. It’s potential has yet to be tapped.
The Art of Dreaming. Carlos Casteneda. HarperCollins, 1994.
Exploring the World of Lucid Dreaming. Stephen LaBerge, Ph.D. Ballantine Books, 1991.
Sleeping, Dreaming and Dying: An Exploration of Consciousness with the Dalai Lama. Wisdom Publications, 1997.
Lucid Dreaming for Beginners. Mark McElroy. Llewellyn Publications, 2007.
Lucid Dreaming: Gateway to the Inner Self. Robert Waggoner. Moment Point Press, 2009.
Author also has had lucid dreams since her teenage years.