What is Lucid Dreaming? A Wide-Awake Intro to the Spiritual Practice
Ever realized you were dreaming, in the middle of a dream? No, you weren’t going crazy. You may have been Lucid Dreaming — and it has many different powerful benefits.
Hey Sacred Bombshell,
Most people have a variety of questions when they first learn about lucid dreaming. You may wonder what exactly lucid dreaming is, whether it has been proven to actually exist and what you can do to promote lucid dreams.
You may also wonder about the benefits of lucid dreaming.
What is Lucid Dreaming?
Lucid dreaming means that you figure out that you are dreaming without waking up. Most of the time a sleeping person has been dreaming for quite a while before they become lucid, realizing that they are dreaming. The dreamer usually figures out that they are dreaming when they see or hear things that they would not experience in real life, but it’s possible to figure out that you are dreaming without seeing anything unusual. It’s possible to fall asleep and start lucid dreaming immediately, but it is a rare occurance.
There are degrees of lucidity during dreams. You may realize that you are dreaming and cannot be hurt if you have a high level of lucidity during your dreams. If you have a lower level of lucidity during your dream you may realize that you are dreaming, but still be concerned about getting hurt and not realize that the people in the dream are not real and you are actually still in your bed.
History of Lucid Dreaming
Most scientists assume that people have been lucid dreaming since the beginning of time. The first reference to lucid dreams on record is in a letter that was written by St. Augustine in about 415 A.D. The next reference came from Buddhists in the eight century who developed a form of yoga that was designed to help people maintain consciousness while they were dreaming.
A book was published in 1867 by scientist Marquis d’Hervey de Saint-Denys about how to guide dreams. He documented at least twenty years worth of research about guiding dreams. Dutch psychiatrist Frederick Van Eeden was the first person to use the phrase “lucid dreaming”.
Is Lucid Dreaming Real?
One of the biggest questions about lucid dreaming is whether or not it actually exists. Lucid dreaming has been proven to be real by both scientists and regular people throughout history. It is accepted in both Western and Eastern cultures as a universal truth.
Keith Hearne, a British parapsychologist, recorded a set of eye movement signals from a volunteer when the volunteer was in a lucid dream in the laboratory. Another version of this experiment was recorded by Dr. Stephen LaBerge in 1983 at Stanford University. Dr. LaBerge has since founded The Lucidity Institute. He is still among the leading researchers on lucid dreams.
A German study in 2009 further proved the existence of lucid dreams by measuring brain activity during normal dream state, consciousness and lucid dream state. The brain activity during lucid dream state measured significantly higher than the activity during normal dream state. Heightened activity in the fronolateral and frontal brain areas was also recorded during lucid dreaming. These areas are associated with self-awareness, linguistic thought and other mental functions.
How to Promote Lucid Dreams
You can’t really force yourself to become lucid during your dreams, but there are many things you can do to encourage your brain to become aware during your dreams. You can combine most of these tips to improve your chances of becoming lucid during your dreams.
1. Create a Dream Journal.
To have the ability to become lucid during your dreams, it is important to know the things you dream about as well as the quality of your dreams. Having a dream journal sitting next to your bed with a pen is the best way to remember your dreams. Write down every detail you can think of as soon as you wake up. You may think that you don’t need to write things down because you will remember, but most people forget the details of their dreams shortly after getting out of bed.
It’s a good idea to set your alarm for ten minutes before you need to get up so that you have plenty of time to record your impressions in your dream journal.
2. Perform Reality Checks.
Take a minute to make sure you are really awake several times throughout the day. You may simply ask yourself if you are dreaming or set up a check such as looking at your watch to see what time it is. If you are in a dream the time is likely to change dramatically the second time you look at it. You may also pinch yourself. If the pinch hurts you are not dreaming. The idea behind reality checks is that if you ask yourself if you are dreaming while you are awake, you will begin to ask yourself this question while you are sleeping. This is one way to become lucid during your dreams.
3. Use A Mantra.
Many people use mantras to help them focus on something that will happen. The power of suggestion really can be powerful, so repeating a mantra as you fall asleep can help you have lucid dreams. Your mantra should be simple as easy to repeat, like “I will have a lucid dream” or “I am dreaming”. This method doesn’t work for everyone, but it can be very effective.
4. Use Dream Signals.
Dream signals are images, objects or actions that you can use to discover that you are dreaming. Your dream signals will probably be different than those of everyone you know. To discover what your dream signals are, read through your dream journal and try to pinpoint a couple of images or actions that have been repeated throughout your dreams. When you are in bed and ready to go to sleep, think about that signal and tell yourself that you will know you are dreaming when you see that signal.
Why Lucid Dreams are Useful
You may also ask yourself why you would want to have a lucid dream. Lucid dreams help people in many ways. Some people use lucid dreams to relieve stress.
You can do things in dreams without having the consequences that would occur in real life. This is very helpful for stress relief.
Lucid dreams can also help you solve problems, try something new that you have been afraid to try or overcome social problems. Lucid dreams are also very helpful for people who have been plagued with nightmares because they are able to finally take control of their dreams.
About the Contributor
OnlineClock.net are the creators of the world’s original online alarm clock website and The Alarm Clock Blog, where they write about dreams, sleep issues and anything related to the subjects of time and alarm clocks! If you like this post, take a look at their latest blog entries or subscribe to their RSS Newsfeed.
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