What is lucid dreaming?

During lucid dreaming you are in total control. You can enjoy adventure and fantasy, overcoming nightmares, self improvement, creativity and problem solving, healing, or just have fun.

What makes lucid dreaming different from normal dreams?

  • you are completely aware that you are dreaming
  • you are completely in control, totally free to do what you want
  • you are fully aware, your awareness is not obscured in any way
  • you are awake in the dream, all your senses are working in exactly the same way as in waking reality

The degree to which you can be conscious of your sleeping activities can range from recalling nothing at all about them to recalling vividly many of them each night, to becoming aware of the fact that you are dreaming during the dream itself and participating in its creation.

In lucid dreaming, you are aware of the fact that you are dreaming, while it is happening. You have probably experienced some degree of lucidity if you have been recalling them for a while. How many times have you said to yourself, “This is only a dream”, while some enemy was chasing you. This is a form of pre-lucid dreaming in which you, while sleeping, half realize that some segment is only a dream.

A fully lucid dream is one in which you definitely recognize it as such. You can use your awareness to change it in almost any way you choose. What would you like most to do? Fly and soar like an eagle? Meet with a wise old friend or relative? Ask each figure in a dream what it represents? Or perhaps you would like simply to watch the progress, knowing all the while that you are dreaming and that you cannot be hurt by the most fearsome of its images.

What is lucid dreaming?

There is a joyous quality to many lucid dreams that is almost irresistible. Colors are filled with sunlight and moonlight, and one often has the impression that everything in it is more real and vivid than in waking reality. If you hear music in a lucid dream, it will probably be sweeter than any earthly sound you know. Tastes and smells will delight you by their intensity, and the degree to which you can direct the progress of events will amaze you.

Tibetan Buddhism teaches that lucid dreaming is a way of preparing to exercise control in the after life – an environment similar to the dream world. The American psychologist Charles Tart suggests that we use the freedom available in them to seek or create a wise man or woman from whom we can ask advice on our psychological or spiritual growth. Such a creation might be a personalization of our own unconscious wisdom, but he or she may bring information charged with a truth and profundity unavailable to the conscious mind.

Western therapists have long taught that lucid dreaming is an essential skill on the path to innner development. It is a major step toward enabling consciousness to leave the body in a so-called “out-of-body experience” (OBE). Some people say that in these kind of dreams consciousness wanders in the “astral realms” – worlds created by thought and imagination.

The experience of lucid dreaming is unmistakable and unforgettable. While remaining asleep, the he or she approaches waking consciousness and suddenly becomes aware of his or her ability to shape the dream as designed. It takes on the sharp focus of waking life, sensitivity is heightened, colors become especially vivid and emotions assume a new intensity.

A related phenomenon is false awakening, in which the dreamer rationalizes his or her emergence toward consciousness during a dream by forming the impression that he or she has actually woken up and is brushing teeth, getting dressed and having breakfast. On actually awakening, he or she may find it hard to believe that this experience was in fact unreal, and is ashtonished to find that he or she is still in bed.

Both lucid dreaming and false awakening indicate that it is possible to retain a considerable degree of consciousness, but lucid dreaming represents an almost complete meeting of the conscious and unconscious levels of the mind. We can consciously form an intention in the dream, deciding to visit a place or a person, to open a door or perform a particular action.