What is Lucid Dreaming?
- Address recurring nightmares or night terrors.
- Talk to friends and relatives that have passed.
- Deeply explore dream meanings and recurring dreams.
- Experience the ability to fly a.k.a. astral projection.
- Visit parallel worlds or time travel like an immersive virtual reality.
- Overcome fears such as social phobias, claustrophobia, fear of flying, fear of spiders.
- Plant suggestions of healing which can have a powerful effect on the conscious mind.
Awakening from a lucid dream may leave you feeling empowered and energized, helping you to heal from trauma or medical conditions. Dream interpretation becomes effortless. Maintaining lucidity and awareness during dreaming provides a useful stepping stone to enlightenment. Lucid dreaming can also lead to a deeper sense of spirituality, helping with your understanding of the nature of the mind and the meaning of life.
When you focus on manifesting things into your life in a lucid dream, you can attract things like the perfect job, the perfect home, a love relationship, etc. It’s a great way to learn how to deal with anxiety, stress, and post-traumatic stress disorder. It can enhance creativity, helping you to be a better artist, writer or dream up new invention ideas.
The Science of Lucid Dreaming
Scientists have also asked themselves, what is lucid dreaming? Many have conducted scientific studies. One recent Lucid Dreaming Study conducted in Brazil surveyed 3,427 participants revealed fascinating results. Seventy-seven percent of the subjects experienced LD at least once in life. Forty-four percent reported up to 10 episodes over their lifetime. Lucid dreaming is rare yet with practice you can train yourself to be able to regularly experience lucid dreaming and even control what happens in your dreams.
Stephen LaBerge is a world-renowned lucid dreaming expert and has pioneered the scientific study of the psychophysiology of dreaming and consciousness. LaBerge says, “Dreaming is pure consciousness. It is the perfect laboratory for examining the mind and multiple dimensions of consciousness. Everything you experience there is pure mind. There is no physical matter, no molecules, no atoms.”
Lucid dreaming has been proven to be a very real thing. Neurologists at Frankfurt University conducted a study on the process of lucid dreaming and it showed a link between wake-like reflective awareness on an EEG while study participants were actively controlling their dreams. This wave-like reflective awareness was correlated with significant changes in electrophysiology during the lucid dreaming period.
How to Prepare for Lucid Dreaming
- Eat melons. Personally, this works remarkably well for me and there are thousands of testimonials from lucid dreamers that claim eating melons before bedtime is conducive to more vivid lucid dreaming. There is something in melons that causes your brain to transition between normal sleep and lucid dreaming. (Source)
- Do not drink alcohol or smoke cigarettes; these harm the body and the spirit thus, while we sleep our body will focus more on straight REM because it is constantly trying to heal itself. Also it has been shown through scientific research that alcohol prevents your brain from entering proper REM, thus healing in general is limited.
- Prepare your mind to see what you want to see. Clear any negative thoughts or they may invade your lucid dreaming. Your expectations play a leading role in your experience.
- Increase your Melatonin levels. The pineal gland is a small part of the brain, which produces melatonin. Melatonin is very important for our normal sleep patterns since it regulates our sleep-wake cycle. High melatonin levels positively affect the quality of our dreams and influence the success of lucid dreaming. 5HTP will increase your body’s ability to utilize melatonin.
- Huperzine A taken at bedtime will cause intensely vivid and memorable dreams.
How to Induce Lucid Dreaming
Listening to binaural beats as you fall asleep can be very effective in inducing lucid dreaming. Binaural beats are two different auditory impulses or sounds, heard from opposite ears stimulating a specific brain state which can induce lucid dreaming. Jason Stephenson has a 2-hour youtube video of binaural beats here.
Meditation for Lucid Dreaming
Make a habit of slowing your thoughts down, observe and become aware of your surroundings. Take 10 minutes per day to meditate. It is best to do this right before drifting off to sleep. This will put you in a hypnagogic state that will make you feel sensations such as floating, gliding or flying. Meditation puts you into a sleep-threshold state which can open a gateway directly into a lucid dream. Michael Seely has a great lucid dreaming guided meditation here.
How to Control Your Dreams
One of the best ways to become lucid in your dreams is when you wake up in the middle of the night. Let’s say when you to go to the bathroom, you take a key element of that dream and focus on it as if it is literally your key to get back in and when you return to sleep you are now able to control it as you return to a REM state. If you’re super young and tend to sleep through the night I suggest drinking a big glass of water before bed.
Dealing with Nightmares in a Lucid Dream
If you suffer from nightmares you should accept and welcome with love the situation or the assailant. Try to talk to them; ask them ‘why are you appearing in my dreams?’ or ‘what do you need to resolve this struggle with me?’ Program your mind to have superpowers in the dream, such as flying or fighting.
Understanding the Astral Body
As you fall asleep you transfer your awareness to a more flexible replica body known by many names: a spirit or astral body or a lucid dream body.
Some people make a mental note to look at their hands and to freely move them as they enter this astral body so that they can become aware that they are in the lucid dreaming state. This will prevent a feeling of sleep paralysis that some people experience. You need to grant yourself the power over this body.
Many people describe a thin silvery ray of light streaming from the top of their body also known as a ‘silver cord’.
You can then explore the room, pass through walls and windows and even fly out into the night. It can be one of the most vivid experiences of your life to have an out-of-body astral projection while lucid dreaming. I know it was for me. It was life-changing. I saw the world with completely different eyes.
How to Remember Your Dreams
When you go to bed repeat several times, “I will remember my dreams tonight”. This will program your mind to remember your dreams.
The first dream of the night is the shortest, perhaps 10 minutes in length, while after 8 hours of sleep, dream periods can be 45 minutes to an hour-long. We all dream every night, about one dream period every 90 minutes. People who say they never dream simply never remember their dreams. You may have more than one dream during a Rapid Eye Movement (REM – dream) period, separated by short awakenings that are most often forgotten. It is generally accepted among sleep researchers that dreams are not recalled unless the sleeper awakens directly from the dream, rather than after going on to other stages of sleep.
Spend a few minutes each morning writing in a dream journal. It is the best tool for remembering and interpreting dreams. It can help you enter a lucid dream state by holding the intention of going back into the dream you had previously. You are training your mind to be more connected with the dream state.
One of the best experiences I ever had in lucid dreaming was a guided meditation dream yoga session conducted by my yoga teacher. She would do this after a vigorous session of yoga. It was a sort of talk down waking consciousness meditation. My instructor explained that just as yoga stretches our bodies lucid dreaming stretches our lucidity in our waking lives.
Lucid Dreaming Resources
Lucid Dreaming: A Concise Guide to Awakening in Your Dreams and in Your Life by Stephen LaBerge, 82 pages (2004)
What can Lucid Dreaming Tell us About Consciousness?
Lucid Dreaming, Plain and Simple: Tips and Techniques for Insight, Creativity, and Personal Growth by Robert Waggoner and Caroline McReady, 203 pages
Robert Waggoner – ‘Lucid Dreaming – Gateway To The Inner’ – Interview by Iain McNay