A lucid dream in one in which you are aware you are in the dream state while it is happening. Most people who have good recall of their dreams have had at least one experience of this phenomenon. Many who regularly remember and work with their dreams report being lucid in dreams regularly. (REMEMBERING DREAMS BETTER: The Gold In Your Subconscious)
- Becoming Lucid Spontaneously: Some people recognize a fantastic element such as a talking dog, and quickly realize "this is a dream." Others come to recognize the sensation of the dream state, and know they are in dream. People who record their dreams regularly appear to incorporate the recognition of the dream state into the dialogue and action of the dream. They may comment to a character: "I'm tired of you showing up in my dreams Joe." Or, they may be told by another character: "Be sure to write down this dream when you wake up."
- Controlling the Dream: Many people are attracted by the notion of lucid dreams, because the idea strikes us as a kind of virtual reality. After all, if you know you are in a dream, perhaps you could control the action and thus have the kind of dreams you want, with the satisfaction, fun, or experiences you want. Anyone who has experimented with lucid dreams knows that this can work......sort of. Once you become aware you're dreaming you can influence the course of events, go places, do things, and conjure up characters you would like to see. But there appears to be some limit to the control we can exercise over our dreams. To the disappointment of many, lucid dreams appear to be most effective when you want to explore the meaning of experiences, work on a skill, solve a problem, or enhance self-understanding. Asking for a night with your favorite celebrity only works for some of the people some of the time.
- Benefits of Lucidity: A recent study indicates that lucid dreamers may be better able to operate independently of their environment. Whether people with this ability tend to be better at lucidity, or whether people who have lucid dreams develop "field independence" is a question for future study. Some therapists claim that becoming lucid in your dreams happens spontaneously when you begin to "wake up" to certain patterns in everyday life. If you are no longer buffaloed by the consensus, recognizing the games people play enables you to avoid being sucked into trivial agendas. Many people who use dreamwork as part of their spiritual path have noticed that becoming lucid in a dream enables them to work out conflicts with dream characters, to dialogue with fearful monsters, and forgive other characters.
- Drawbacks of Forced Lucidity: I advise people to pursue lucidity in dreams for the right reasons. We live in a society addicted to quick thrills and remote control units. Extending that addiction to your dream life could contaminate a process that now helps keep you balanced, healthy and sane. There is a possibility that forcing yourself toward lucid dreams could interfere with your normal dream process. If you remember your dreams, listen to them, and record them you will be almost guaranteed to have some lucid dream experiences. If you choose to experiment, I recommend you do so periodically rather than constantly, allowing yourself plenty of time for "unstructured" dreaming.
Techniques to Encourage Lucidity
- Pre-Sleep Suggestion: As you drift to sleep repeat a request or statement in your mind about becoming lucid in your dreams. Here are some examples.
- When I begin dreaming I will know I am in a dream.
- When I see (my hand, my foot, etc.) in my dream I will know I am dreaming.
- Give me a lucid dream tonight.
- Periodic Questioning: Periodically throughout the day ask yourself: Could I be dreaming now?
- Rehearse Dreaming: Sit down and pretend you're dreaming. Use your imagination to create a dream and explore flying, time travel, bi-location etc. Developing this facility by day can influence your dreaming process at night.
- If This Were A Dream: Several times a day, stop and ask yourself: "if this experience were a dream, what would it mean?" If you get used to thinking metaphorically, you will begin to decipher your dreams while they are happening, and become lucid.
- Meditation: People with a regular practice of meditation tend to have more lucid dreams. The type of meditation doesn't seem important, the regular practice appears to be the relevant factor.
- Participate in a Dream Group: People with a regular forum in which to explore, appreciate and share dreams tend to naturally become regular lucid dreamers.