Lucid dreaming is one of the safest and most rewarding pastimes available, however, there are some genuine dangers and pitfalls that are best avoided. Today we'll look at 5 real dangers of lucid dreaming.
The following article is a transcript of the latest The Lucid Guide video, if you'd prefer to watch rather than read you can check it out here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Qjp_Ue1c65Y&t
Number 5 - Hubris
One of the most common pitfalls for those new to lucid dreaming is that of hubris. The private nature of the subject, combined with its ability to provide the experience of god-like powers, can lead some lucid dreamers into a false sense of self-importance.
This risk of an inflated ego can lead to an ignorance of new knowledge, self-aggrandizement and some unpleasant personality traits.
Lucid dreaming forums are often full of those new to the subject who, after reading a few books and articles, are a little too keen to consider themselves as experts and will happily dispense with diplomacy and decency when they consider others wrong.
The experience of a lucid dream can be life altering and it is not uncommon nor unreasonable to be driven to want to share such a wonderful discovery. In fact, I'd recommend doing so. However, be wary of falling into arrogance or a messiah-complex. The best antidote to this is humility. Remind yourself that, as with any subject, a real understanding takes many decades of commitment - and even then, there is still much to learn. This is especially true for lucid dreaming where the subject itself is still in its infancy and there are few hard facts.
Indeed, the more one learns about lucid dreaming, the more one realizes just how little we really know.
Number 4 - Insomnia
If you're new to lucid dreaming it is important to be aware that a common and unavoidable side-effect of many lucid dreaming practices is that of insomnia. Attempting to remain aware during the night, or disrupting one's sleep using techniques such as Wake Back to Bed, will inevitably lead to the occasional nights of insomnia.
Generally, this should be a somewhat rare occurrence, but if you find your lucid dreaming practices are resulting in too many sleepless nights, it's a sign that you need to back off and reassess your approach. You're doing something wrong. Don't ignore Insomnia, it's a real danger and long-term sleep deprivation will have a negative influence on your health.
So if it becomes an issue, take it as a sign to step back and try a different approach.
Number 3 - Frustration
Frustration is, without a doubt, an unavoidable aspect of pursuing lucidity, especially for those new to the subject. Missed dream signs, failed reality tests, forgotten dreams, long dry spells, fluctuations in enthusiasm, and the illusion that everyone else is doing better than you can all lead to a level of frustration that can result in many newbie lucid dreamers quitting entirely.
As with insomnia, excessive frustration is a sign that you need to reassess your approach. If a particular reality test keeps failing - try another, if you're missing dream signs - perhaps you need to be more vigilant or be more specific in your targets. Flexibility, experimentation, and a sense of fun are the core weapons to fight frustration.
Remember, frustration is a normal part of any learning process, it's the dark side of enthusiasm. But, learn to manage your expectations and work at a steady and sustainable pace. Don't become another lucid dreamer that quits due to unchecked frustration.
Number 2 - Toxicity
One of the more worrying dangers of lucid dreaming is that of potential physical harm. There are many companies happy to sell you all manner of pills, supplements, herbs, vitamins and teas. It's a booming market with very little regulation or research behind it, many of these companies operate out of bedrooms or home offices, selling blends of chemicals and herbs cheaply produced in labs in developing countries with questionable quality control.
Unfortunately, these businessmen are rarely medically qualified nor experts in herbalism. As a result, many of these pills are a haphazard blend of often irrationally combined ingredients - chosen seemingly due to their exotic names or due to speculative claims about their ability to be beneficial to sleep or dreams.
Most worryingly, there has been no research into the long term effects or potential hidden dangers of these blends. Chemistry is a complicated science and unforeseen interactions are not something to take lightly.
There are certain chemicals, such as galantamine, that do offer a boost in lucidity under the correct conditions. But, even these used alone should be approached with the due care and consideration of any brain-chemistry altering substance. Talk to a trained medical professional before using them.
Indeed even common vitamins such as B6 can cause dangerous nerve damage if used incorrectly.
I'd especially recommend avoiding companies selling pills with a random blend of ingredients. Generally, these have pseudo-scientific sounding brand names and blur the lines between herbalism and pharmacology in their marketing. These companies are risking your health for their profit.
Lucid dreaming, while wonderful, is not worth gambling your physical or mental health. So, don't allow yourself to become a lab rat for businessmen looking to cash-in on your trust in an unregulated market. Be lucid about what you're willing to put into your body
Number 1 - Charlatans & Scams
Including the aforementioned pill-dealers, the biggest danger in the world of lucid dreaming is that of charlatans, deception, and scams. Each year there is a wave of questionable new products, self-styled spiritual teachers, devices and apps all looking to hijack your enthusiasm to empty your wallet.
In reality, there are, as of the time of making this video, no easy short cuts for lucid dreaming. The only exception being acetylcholinesterase inhibitors such as galantamine - and these are best used sparingly. And this will likely be the case for the foreseeable future. Be wary of anyone making unrealistic or exaggerated claims. There is not a single product that will give you effort free lucid dreams.
Hype, exaggeration, or impossible to verify promises are normally the best warning signs that something isn't right.
Of course, there are plenty of trustworthy companies and quality products also, in general, these are easy to spot with their humble and realistic advertising.
The simple truth is that lucid dreaming is available to anyone who is willing to put in a little time, research, and effort, and it needn't cost you a penny.
So, those are five real dangers of lucid dreaming. Of course, with a little common sense and critical thought, they're easily avoidable. In reality, lucid dreaming is one of the safest means for self-exploration. So don't panic and stay lucid.
So what are your thoughts and experiences? and do you have any dangers you'd like to add to the list? Drop them in the comments below.