WHAT IS LUCID DREAMING?
Lucid dreaming is simply the knowledge that you are dreaming while dreaming. Nothing more, nothing less.
In other words, during a normal night's dream, you "wake up" inside the dream, and understand, with complete certainty, that everything you are experiencing is a dream. You know that you're dreaming during the dream.
This is in contrast to standard dreams, where we don't realise it was a dream until we wake up. Most non-lucid dreams are a case of mistaken identity—we assume the dream is real until we wake up and realise it was all a dream.
Isn't it odd that we consider it perfectly normal to spend many hours each night mistaking the world of dreams for reality?
Lucid dreaming fixes this problem, it adds awareness and knowledge to an experience that is otherwise confused and misjudged.
Most people who are unaware that lucid dreaming has an official term refer to it as "conscious dreaming" or "aware dreaming".
You've probably experienced a spontaneous lucid dream at some point in your life, most people have. They are especially common among teenagers and young adults, who appear to experience spontaneous lucidity with a degree of regularity.
Lucid dreaming can be a very exhilarating experience.
Knowing you are dreaming while still dreaming can be quiet shocking. The experience of standing in dreamland, knowing that everything you see, hear, touch, and taste, is an illusion, can have a profound impact on your relationship with, and understanding of, perception and reality.
Lucid dreaming is not...
Lucid dreaming isn't simply a vivid dream, in fact, vivid dreams are less likely to be spontaneously lucid as they are even easier to mistake for reality.
Lucid dreaming is not:
Lucid dreaming is a unique state that occurs only during a normal night's dreams.
You cannot lucid dream unless you are asleep and dreaming.
Any other unusual nighttime experience is something else.
You've probably heard all sorts of hype and exaggeration regarding lucid dreaming.
One common misunderstanding is that lucid dreaming is the same as controlling your dreams. However, lucid dreaming and dream control are two separate skills.
Generally, dream control is a skill that you learn after you have developed the ability to become lucid in your dreams.
It's important to understand that you can have a lucid dream without exerting (or having) any control over your dream, equally, you can also have non-lucid dreams in which you use "magical powers" to control the dream (although in these you mistakenly believe that you're awake and have somehow developed some form of magic).
When you are lucid in a dream, this comes with the knowledge that everything you experience is "all a dream", or in other words, nothing is real and that it is all a projection of your mind.
This knowledge allows you, if you choose, to use dream control to change, manipulate, and exert your will over the dream.
Dream control is a skill you will develop alongside lucid dreaming, and will improve as you progress.
However, despite what some claim, there are limits to dream control.
Remember, a lucid dream is essentially "virtual reality of the mind", and is limited to certain factors such as:
The average length of a dream
Your memories and creativity
The processing ability of the human brain
So in other words, you'll not be able to use dream control to "dream of a thousand years" or "see a colour that doesn't exist".
However, the limitations are few, and most experienced lucid dreamers are able to dream almost anything they wish. From journeys to distant planets, walking with dinosaurs, to shape-shifting into other forms. The limits are mostly those of your imagination and creativity.
Can I learn to lucid dream?
Most likely yes, lucid dreaming is a learnable skill that any healthy individual can develop.
Like any complex skill, lucid dreaming takes time, dedication, and practice to master. Consider it a similar skillset to learning a new language or musical instrument. Lucid dreaming will take roughly the same amount of time to develop as these.
For example, you may be able to teach someone a few simple phrases in French, but it will take many years of dedicated training to become fluent—likewise, you may be able to experience your first few lucid dreams in a short period of time, but regular high-quality lucid dreams, at will, will take at least a year of dedicated and consistent effort, often much longer.
Ignore those who claim that lucid dreaming is "easy" or that you can "lucid dream tonight". Such claims are entirely false and designed only to mislead you and draw attention to those making them.
Generally, these claims are made by those who make money from selling low-quality e-books or through advertising revenue on their videos. They don't care if what they are teaching works, or if they are wasting your time, as long as you're giving them the clicks they require to make money.
This is deception and a waste of your limited and precious time on planet earth, don't support those who do this.
There are multiple techniques used to help induce lucid dreams. However, there is no single "ultimate technique". You will have to spend time experimenting and practising until you find a combination of techniques and practices that work for your unique psychology.
Equally, there are no pills or devices that can guarantee lucid dreaming.
Anyone who claims otherwise is lying to you and simply looking to trick you into parting with your hard-earned cash.
However, many thousands of people learn to lucid dream each year. With dedication and practice, you can too. It is genuinely worth the effort invested and can transform your relationship with reality.
Is Lucid Dreaming a Spiritual Practice?
Yes and no (but mostly, no).
Lucid dreaming is a skill that can be used in many ways. Its potential is as broad as those gained from developing the skills required for the written word.
Think of it this way, the written word has bought us everything from religious texts, poetry, fiction, scientific papers, personal blogs, and much more. Lucid dreaming is equally as flexible, it is a tool that can be employed to investigate all manner of topics.
Consider lucid dreaming as the virtual reality of the mind, how you wish to use that system is entirely up to you!
However, due to its profound impact on one's relationship with reality and perception, lucid dreaming can often shake the philosophical bedrock of one's beliefs.
Because of this, many lucid dreamers are deeply driven to use lucid dreaming as a tool to explore deeper spiritual and philosophical questions. Equally, there are many athletes, scientists, gamers, and artists, who use lucid dreaming to practice or explore their own fields of interest.
Be wary of those who promote or sell lucid dreaming as a uniquely spiritual practice, especially those who require you to "buy-into" their own personal spiritual system. Often these individuals are craving attention and some kind of "guru" status and take advantage of the ethereal and intangible nature of lucid dreaming and spirituality as a means to place themselves on some kind of pedestal.
In reality, lucid dreaming is simply another way of thinking. It is the creative machinery of the mind unleashed. In much the same way that you can use your imagination for all manner of tasks and distractions, lucid dreaming is just this same power of the human mind only with the brakes off!
Lucid dreaming offers you access to the full power of the brain's virtual reality systems.
Spiritual and philosophical explorations are certainly a worthy and valuable use of lucid dreaming. Just don't be mistaken that that's all you can use it for!
Please remember, lucid dreaming is a scientifically verified state, it is fact, not fiction. Learning to lucid dream is simply unlocking a powerful latent ability of your mind.
What can lucid dreaming be used for?
That is entirely up to you!
Lucid dreaming can be an entirely life-changing experience and greatly enhance your relationship with, and respect for, your mind and mental abilities.
Once you have developed the skills for lucid dreaming, it is really up to you to decide how you wish to use them.
Just as an English teacher wouldn't be so arrogant as to prescribe what you should write after you have learned the basic skills for penmanship, you are free to "write the novel of your dreams" in any way you choose.
But if you'd like a few suggestions, here's a list of just some of the benefits of lucid dreaming.
Sweet dreams, I hope that lucid dreaming brings you as much joy and adventure as it has for me!