When we’re in a dream, we usually don’t consider that we aren’t in the waking world. No matter how bizarre the events that happen around us (the dead coming back to life, the ability to fly, being in a foreign country) we accept what is happening as reality. In a lucid dream, however, we realize that we’re currently in the dream world, and that everything around us isn’t real in the usual sense. Once this happens, we can use our conscious mind to guide the direction the dream takes, and the results can be incredible.
Lucid dreaming occurs during REM (Rapid Eye Movement) sleep. REM sleep occurs when the body is most deeply asleep, occurring in patters after five or six hours of sleeping. During this time, the mind is just as conscious as it is when we’re awake, while our body remains fully unconscious, or perhaps in sleep paralysis.
If you’ve seen the film “Waking Life”, you might know a little about lucid dreams already. You can fully enjoy the regular craziness of dreams while totally aware, have sex with whoever you want, however you want, and come to terms with your fears and nightmares.
While we can influence the direction our lucid dreams take, there’s still a fair amount of the dream that is beyond our control. This level of dreaming comes from the deepest part of our subconscious, and lucid dreaming gives us a deeper insight into this realm.
Is Lucid Dreaming Real?
Absolutely. The doctor Stephen LaBerge proved lucid dreaming in a scientific study of lucid dreamers. Since during a lucid dream a person can still control their eyelids, he gave test subjects a set of eye-movements to perform while in a lucid dream. The eyes of the subjects were scanned during REM sleep, and those who had lucid dreams accurately followed the provided instructions.
Purposes for Lucid Dreaming
So beyond entertainment value, what practical benefits can we get from the experience of having lucid dreams?
One is that we can use the dream world as our own private rehearsal studio. If we’re nervous about meeting a person, going to a job interview, or undergoing any kind of nerve-wracking experience, we can place ourselves within a situation that seems to be fully realistic while knowing that it’s all a dream. Doing this can give us the inner strength we need when faced with the scenario in the waking world.
We can work on problems unencumbered with the distractions of the waking world. Since we’re totally awake, we can consider what we did and problems we had during the day. Many artists, doctors and technicians claim that they found out the answers to issues they were having while sleeping, and training in lucid dreaming can help us remember and take advantage of the knowledge our subconscious holds for us.
Tibetan Buddhists practice yogic dreams, similar to what we’d call lucid dreaming in Western society. It was their belief that the lucid dream world was the same, or similar, to the world of the dead. Learning to become aware of when we were dreaming can give us the ability to become conscious after death, according to this belief.
The reality of lucid dreaming proves that the mind can remain conscious while the body is not. For this reason, it opens up a wider spiritual world, especially in the potential reality of astral travel or out-of-body experiences. We’re also made aware of how willing we are to accept the so-called reality that exists in the waking world. As we explore lucid dreaming, deeper possibilities of reality begin to reveal themselves.
Check out more on lucid dreaming here.