We spend about 8 hours a day sleeping, 56 hours per week, 240 hours per month and 2,840 hours per year. This is about a third of your life! So we spend a third of our lives sleeping, less than that dreaming, and only a relatively small percentage of us are able to dream lucidly!
Even though there are techniques of dream interpretation and of inducing dreams, they are not taught in schools and are rarely taken seriously, although, for instance, American Indians have developed an art of conscious dreaming.
A dream is a link to more subtle levels of our being and therefore, cultivation of awareness in the dream state can help us know ourselves better.
The dream is an intermediate state between normal consciousness and deep sleep when sleep is lighter. This, however, should not be so light, as to interrupt at the slightest noise.
Dream occurs when sleep is balanced, neither too light nor too deep. In this case, if we want to take advantage of this state of mind, we must develop the ability to be conscious during the dream.
What is it?
The essence of this state is that a fully conscious person realizes that she is dreaming during the dream and has the ability to take active control of the dream act.
Moreover, lucid dreaming has the advantage of inducing much more intense emotions than the common dreams. The dreamer finds himself within a space that is equally realistic, based on perceptions and structure, in which he experiences much more intense sensations than during the waking state.
It is filled with details. You can see, hear and feel just like in a real situation.
Also, you can reach very deep states of presence and consciousness. Because it’s all in your mind, the dream world is not subject to any laws of physics. In other words, you can fly, fight, slow down the time, relive childhood memories…. practically there are no limits to what you can do.
Even if experiences within a dream are so diverse and different from one another (realism, time, motivation, a method of access and more), the basic idea refers to accessing a higher level of consciousness or, in other words, moving one’s consciousness into a different plane.
What can you do?
You can eat, touch, listen, envision what you think about, get rid of fears, feel joy or pain, and much more. Also, anyone can fly, walk through walls, can turn into other creatures etc.
Compared to these experiences, any form of entertainment, including computer games and drugs, seems childish. However, one should use these states pursuing various practical goals and thus, entertainment amounts to self-development.
For instance, one can travel, can meet various people (including those who died), can develop his artistic creativity, can fulfill his desires and, at the same time, can hone his skills. And all this is just the tip of the iceberg!
Freedom to do anything
Perhaps this is the only reason why most people want to be aware during the dream state. We all have unfulfilled wishes and lucidity is an exceptional way to achieve them consciously. It is our own reality, our own universe in which we can escape and live the life we want.
If you have never experienced this state, think of it as if you were watching a movie or reading a book, except in this case you are the hero. You can intervene or you can just watch and let him develop, it’s your choice. In both cases, you have the power to create unimaginable situations.
Another interesting aspect of lucid dreams is related to the freedom of creating the bodies. It is one thing to imagine the surroundings and another thing is to play with your astral body; change its shape, properties, turn it into another species, the possibilities are endless.
You can create human beings, animals, angels or any other creatures you can imagine, that you can equip with certain degrees of freedom and attributes.
You are the creator of your own virtual universe, which feels very real. The sky is NOT the limit. You can play with energies the way you want and use them to build whatever you want, as long as you have enough willpower and imagination.
At some point, one begins to wonder: just how real this world we live in truly is? Is it possible that this world, ourselves included, that seems so real is purely a creation of someone’s imagination?
A certain someone who lent us some of his divine spark and power? One must wonder: how many beings encountered in the real world or the astral was born this way? How much power do certain beings receive just because we think of them? This brings us to philosophical questions such as: What came first, the chicken or the egg?
The first lucid dream occurs most often due to spontaneous lucidity. It is that moment when you become aware apparently without reason that you are dreaming.
It is possible that the dream becomes so strange and may turn into a nightmare; this is the moment when you become aware. By practicing a state of presence and consciousness during the day, chances that it will occur while dreaming are much higher.
When does lucidity occur?
While dreaming, lucidity usually occurs when the dreamer observes an event that is unlikely to occur during the dream, such as flight or death. Sometimes lucidity occurs for no apparent reason or, in rare cases, after returning directly into the REM state (into the dream) after a brief awakening.
The signs during the dream that may indicate the dreamer that he is in a dream state were identified by Stephen LaBerge (Lucidity Institute, USA), after analyzing 227 dreams.
It should be noted that the lucidity during the dream is not the same with controlling the dream; there are people who can control the course of a dream in some way, but not be aware that they are dreaming. Once they become lucid, they can see the whole situation as it is.
What to do if you wake up?
Fortunately, if you woke up accidentally, there is a way to resume the dream where it left off.
As long as you keep the body motionless (not to disrupt the mechanism of sleep paralysis) and immediately close your eyes, you should turn back into the dream fully lucid.
It could resemble a television channel change; for a few seconds, both realities exist and you are free to change them around.
Linda Magallon, a researcher at the US Lucidity Institute, describes a series of activities during LD which leads to maintaining the dream:
- listening carefully to voices, sounds, your own breath;
- starting or continuing a conversation;
- rubbing the eyes (in the dream) or opening / closing them recurrently;
- touching your own hands or face (in the dream); flying.
Children can dream easier
One possible reason why children are more receptive is that they are more prone to nightmares, which can be extremely realistic and emotionally intense.
This awakens the part of the brain responsible for self-consciousness and offers the young dreamer a moment of clarity to realize – „Hey – I think I’m dreaming”. Some children use this knowledge to awaken, while others turn the nightmare into a pleasant dream.
Vitamin B6 (also known as pyridoxine) plays an essential part in the brain and nerve functioning. Healthy adults need only 1.3 mg of vitamin B6 per day, and it can be found in: bananas, carrots, oranges, spinach, beans, and nuts.
What happens in your body when you take this supplement? Vitamin B6 converts tryptophan into serotonin, which generates much more real dreams.
To increase the chances, eat more foods that contain tryptophan a few hours before bedtime. Foods rich in tryptophan: chia seeds, white rice, and flour.
Sleep paralysis is, in fact, feeling conscious, but not being able to move. It happens when a person crosses two stages of awakening and sleep when the brain awakens from the state of REM (rapid eye movement), but the body remains motionless.
During these transitions, one may not be able to move or talk for a few seconds or minutes and may experience a sensation of choking or pressure.
Some people may even feel some strange presence around them, see and hear things that are not real and have hallucinations. The reason is an acceleration of brain activity that makes you feel/hear/see things.
It’s all in your mind, which as you know controls the senses. It’s mostly about expectations.
The moment it happens, if you expect to hear strange sounds, that is what you will hear. Your most powerful emotion dictates.
Remain calm if this happens to you, breath deeply, relaxes and soon you will be able to move freely. You will go back to sleep or you will immediately start dreaming, if you choose to remain conscious and relaxed, with eyes closed, and thus to control the reality of that dream.
Binaural sounds on different frequencies contribute to the synchronization of cerebral hemispheres and creation of a mental state of consciousness. They are used for:
- physical and mental relaxation;
- increasing attention in the inner world;
- visual hallucinations (colors, shapes, patterns);
- auditory hallucinations (hearing voices or conversations around you, even if there is no one besides you);
- an out-of-body experience (feeling of floating or everything moving around you);
- becoming aware of scenes from the dreams.
These effects are the result of binaural sounds and conscious effort to meditate. With practice, this will help your mind have more lucidity.
Out-of- Body Experiences (OBE)
Out-of-Body Experiences (OBE) occur when you feel that you have left your body, you can see it and you have the freedom and are able to go anywhere.
There is an important difference between lucid dreaming and other states of consciousness. Regarding LD, the person has the awareness of the state (actually defines the state) and in normal OBE people feel that they have really left their bodies.
Those who experience NDEs (Near Death Experience) may feel rapid movement through a long tunnel, which some perceive as access to the world beyond death.
Only in an LD, the person (or oneironaut) realizes that it is a dream. OBEs often occur while you sleep, meditate or try to induce lucid dreams while being awake. Most dreamers agree that this phenomenon is an extension of lucid dreams. About 1 in 10 people have experienced OBE in their lives, and some people are trying them frequently.
OBE is considered another type of LD. Conscious induction of lucid dreams (WILD technique) resembles the induction techniques of out-of-body experiences.
They are almost the same phenomenon: both start when you lie in bed after you wake up from sleep. The body then enters sleep paralysis and then falls asleep, although the mind remains awake.
This gives you the odd sensation of being stuck in your own body, without the possibility to move and with the desire to free yourself. In reality, you are already in a dream.
The sensation of paralysis during sleep, combined with a state of consciousness, will trick your body and induce it a dream in which you are still lying in bed. Your room can be exactly the same or slightly different (an extra window for instance).
This experience can be incredibly real, much more real than a lucid dream and those who don’t have the knowledge or don’t recognize out-of-body experiences will struggle to realize that it was all just a dream.
Dangers of lucid dreaming
Lucidity is a very effective tool against nightmares. However, it can often be difficult to become lucid or keep your lucidity when scary things are happening around you.
The answer is simple: while you are awake, constantly tell yourself that nothing can hurt you. It’s not enough to say it – you need to believe it. You know it’s true, anyway; if that nightmare is so scary, how come you’re not dead or hurt?
With a little practice, you will be able to take this idea with you during the nightmare as well. Once you become lucid, you can tell the nightmare (or the characters in it) to mind its own business.
If it doesn’t, you can use lucidity to kill that scary thing as you wish. Don’t be scared of these nightmare characters, you know that they are not real.
Sometimes you can become lucid and still be scared of monsters or the nightmare itself, or still think that they will hurt you. This happens because dreams are so real sometimes, that it can be difficult to gather your thoughts during the dream.
Just remember those things and repeat them every night.
Learn them by heart and you will defeat the nightmare in no time. Once “defeated”, a nightmare will not reappear. But if it does, you can do the same. Once you’ve defeated it, it will be easier next time.
How to have more vivid dreams?
In order to have a lucid dream, it is important to remember at least one dream per night. This increases your power of self-awareness while dreaming, and most important, this means that you can, in fact, remember lucid dreams.
The following techniques will teach you how to remember your dreams more often, even if you’re terrible at remembering dreams or if you think you do not dream at all.
The main methods
- DEILD&FILD techniques;
- Carlos Castaneda’s LD technique;
- Wake-Back-To-Bed technique;
- Wild LD technique;
- Tibetan Dream Yoga;
- Mnemonic Induction of LD technique – involves waking up after several hours of sleep and then developing the intention to remember that you are dreaming before returning to sleep, by repeating – “The next time I’m dreaming, I will remember that I’m dreaming.”