posted on Jun, 12 2008 @ 04:43 PM
"He felt that his whole life was some kind of dream, and he sometimes wondered whose it was and if he was enjoying it"
- Douglas Adams
This is written in the assumption that readers already know a bit about lucid dreaming. Please note that lucid dreamers do not practice contemporary
“dream interpretation” but dreamscape exploration. Also note that this post does not refer to regular dreams which are nothing more than a
processing of the days events. "Lucid Dreaming" describes the ability to be aware that you are dreaming while you are dreaming and hence experience
dreamscape in a more vivid way and also be able to take influence on it. The potential implications will be described in another post.
Definition & Theory
There are scientific definitions for LD but I will be using the esoteric/buddhist/yogic interpretations as these sources have been exploring the
concept for thousands of years as opposed to psychology who has only started exploring it. If others wish to add the science-definitions they may do
Between the physical plane of existence and the non-physical plane there is the plane of night dreams. Dreams show how consciousness projects worlds
that the mind experiences as “real”. When you are dreaming you are often convinced that something is taking place “out there”. But when you
wake up you realize it was a dream, you realize that it all took place within you.
Some eastern philosophies, such as Buddhism, believe that our waking life (physical reality) is no different than this self-created dream except in
density and inertia. This means that things happen more quickly and realities shift more fluidly and obviously within dreamscape, but that there is
otherwise no difference between “dream” and “reality”. It is our label of physical reality as “real” and “solid” and “meaningful”
and our labeling of the dreamscape as “unreal” and “vague” and “insignificant” that makes most of the difference, according to these
Lucid dreaming means to become aware that you are dreaming while you are dreaming. It is in this awareness that you suddenly realize you can change,
stop, create or explore the dreamscape according to your own intent.
Some people believe it is "all happening in the mind", while others believe they are travelling to explore other planes of existence, planets and
dimensions while lucid dreaming. Some claim to be able to share lucid dreams with others (in a telepathic sense) or to have pre-cognitive
dreams of events to come, while others claim they use it to practice movements of golf or tennis with subsequent real-life results.
But even without these fantastic possibilities LD is fun and can enhance ones life experience without which one would instead waste half of ones life
Learning lucid dreaming is simple: Become more interested in and more aware of your dreaming. After waking up in the morning pay attention to what you
dreamed and let the whole movie repeat in your head a few times. Otherwise you forget it and its as if nothing ever happened. Some more disciplined
people do this in writing, but its enough to just let the dream repeat a few times until you've transferred it to your waking life memory. Thats
fairly simple. The only reason not to be paying attention to your dreaming is the belief that dreams are somehow not important. As you become more
aware of your dreaming its only a matter of time until you become more aware within your dreaming.
A therapeutic aspect of lucid dreaming involves allowing oneself to experience scenarios without having to experience them in waking life. It seems
that confronting something and turning it around in your dream spares you the pain of having to deal with it in waking life. In this sense some
believe Lucid Dreaming to have healing qualities. Or, you can live a secret desire that you wouldnt allow yourself to in waking life.
Buddhist/Hindu philosophy claims that the reason you can experience the most fantastic and exhilarating things on dreamscape is because the mind,
which acts as a reality-filter and censor, is asleep and its only the soul that is active here. The mind cant censor and the soul can do whatever it
wants (or whatever has been suppressed by the waking-life mind).
If we were to identify levels of dream awareness on a scale it might look something like this:
Scale of Dream Lucidity
1 Totally Unaware
After waking up you don't even remember you dreamed.
Its only after waking up that you notice you dreamed. The dream-indicators only become obvious after the dreams already over, rather than during the
dream, where you dont question anything that is happening but just let it roll over you. If its a nightmare you feel quite helpless. But on this
level you can at least recap the dream. The morning recap helps you rise to higher levels of dream awareness.
While dreaming you do sense or realize that something is strange, but you don't question it. There might be tiny flickers of awareness on what
meanings some aspects of the dreams have but you don't quite get around to acknowledging the dream as a dream. On this level you at least remember
your dreams when you wake up.
In this pre-lucid state you notice that “something is going on” during the dream. Certain hints and indicators make you think you might be
dreaming. You try to question it but never get quite lucid. Its as if one part of you, in the background, knows its a dream, but another part of you
does not quite summon the energy to intervene or care. Sometimes the question “Is this a dream???” arises but is quickly forgotten in the mist of
the dreamscape stimuli. Sometimes we don't reach this level from the lower ones but descend to it from the higher levels, as in: We were lucid before
but then descend into semi-lucidity. One example of this is knowing that you are dreaming but then having a “false awakening”. Now you believe you
are awake, but you are still dreaming. This seems to be some type of subconscious-protection-system.
Because of certain indicators or a heightened level of awareness or other triggers and circumstances, you become aware that you are dreaming (or you
drift into the dream already aware that it is one). You recognize the dream as a dream. “Ah, interesting. I'm dreaming”. On this level the
realization and its accompanying feeling of lightness or curiosity is enjoyed like a movie rather than your dream-self getting actively involved.
6 Very Lucid
This is a state of pleasant clarity in which you understand what is happening even more clearly. Furthermore, you become aware that you can influence
the dream. Possibilities for action and behavior, your own role and mission within the dream become more apparent. This is the lucid dreamer who can
actually fully enjoy the dream.
7 Luminously Lucid
This is crystal clear lucidity and well-being which sometimes tips over into euphoria and various states of bliss. Here you take active control of the
dream or, alternatively just let it play out and enjoy it. This is the realm in which you can use the dream to explore various planes and adventures,
act creatively, or apply therapeutic measures to your waking-life-self.
8 Illuminatingly Lucid
Awareness of different meanings and layers of what you are currently experiencing. Not only knowing what you can do but also knowing the purpose of
the dream and doing it. Reports of high states of bliss, "feeling high", recognition of real-life solutions and "communication with other beings"
are reported frequently on this LD level.
Don't take this scale as “gospel”. I just invented it as a general outline for contrast and comparison.
Inducing Lucid Dreams
Generally lucid dreaming, comes about by investing interest into it. And what if you are not willing to invest interest? Then don't. But don't be
pretending you are going to lucid dream then. Take note that its the interest itself that will produce lucid dreams and that it doesn't take that
much effort. Some people lucid dream only due to having talked about the subject to someone during the day. Believing that you need all kinds of
practice and technique before you can enjoy this natural ability is a falsehood that will stifle your progress. Be interested. Let it happen.
There are many ways to invest interest. One of these was already mentioned: Repeat the dream movie in the morning, right after waking up. Commit it to
memory. If you' re more intensely interested in this than the casual reader, then you can have a “dream journal” lying beside your bed in which
you write everything down. The dream journal technique will actually be enough for most people to gradually induce lucid dreaming. Why? Because as you
become aware of dreamlike during waking life, you become aware of waking life during dream life. Lucid dreaming is nothing more than being aware that
there is “another reality out there called waking life”. There is not only this dream you are dreaming but another one which you will later wake
To be continued in later posts.
Additions, Corrections, Comments, Questions welcome.
[edit on 12-6-2008 by Skyfloating]