Dreams are one of the greatest human mysteries. We spend a huge part of our lives sleeping, and scientists and spiritualists still cannot fully understand why. But an even more wonderful mystery is that of lucid dreaming.
You might have heard of lucid dreaming, and it probably has piqued your curiosity. I know it did for me the first time I heard the two words!
But what exactly is it, and what benefits does it have? Plus, are there any dangers?
Read on to learn all you need to know about lucid dreaming!
What Is Lucid Dreaming
Lucid dreaming is basically being conscious of your dreams and having the ability to interact with your dream world. According to WebMD, the definition of lucid dreaming is knowing that you are dreaming when you are asleep. It is a consciousness, an awareness in sleep.
Most dreams are like watching a movie. You have a passive role, merely experiencing the dream, not fully understanding what is going on or that it is really a dream.
Lucid dreaming, however, is more like a video game. You have control of what you do, you can interact with the world you are in, and develop the storyline.
It is an incredible experience, and according to Science Direct, more than half of people have had at least one lucid dream in their lifetime. Have you?
Benefits of Lucid Dreaming
There are so many great reasons to practice lucid dreaming, and the phenomenon can be truly life-changing!
Here are the reasons I believe that developing lucid dreaming can be really beneficial to your spirit and personal happiness.
A major benefit of lucid dreaming is that it’s fun. Humans are naturally drawn to intrigue and adventure, and lucid dreams make it possible to have adventures without even leaving our own bed!
Lucid dreaming provides us with the ability to experience so many amazing things, and see things that we would never see in our waking lives. We can control what is happening, giving us fun and exciting experiences.
Being creative is so important. It is a way of expressing ourselves and can really heal our soul! A huge benefit of lucid dreaming is that it unlocks new and exciting creative ideas.
In dreams, we have a level of disinhibition and an openness to different ways of looking at the world. This can really enhance creativity.
If you are a creator, a writer, or an artist, using lucid dreaming is a fantastic way to bring forth new ideas.
The link between dreams and creativity has long been discussed and many popular artists and musicians have mentioned the importance of dreams to their practice. The amazing surrealist artist Salvador Dali had a process that he called “slumbering with a spoon”.
This is where he would have a brief nap holding a spoon. When he was fully entering deep sleep, his body would relax and therefore the spoon would drop and Dali would wake.
He claimed that this opened up the link between the dream world and the material world, allowing his subconsciousness to come forth and assist him in his art.
For a lot of dream experts, Dali’s technique seems reminiscent of lucid dreaming. He wanted to create a bridge between consciousness and subconsciousness, using dreams in order to enhance his creativity.
Because you are in control of your lucid dream, it can relieve anxiety and stress.
If you suffer from nightmares, perhaps because of a traumatic event that you experienced, learning how to lucid dream can help you face your fears and change the ending of your nightmare.
This can be incredibly empowering for some, and it can help you deal with the anxiety in your waking life as you are facing the root of your anxiety in your dream world.
The Finnish cognitive neuroscientist Antti Revonsuo has put forward the theory that dreams serve an evolutionary purpose. He suggests that when we dream, our mind stimulates threatening events for us to practice how we might deal with them.
This is a really interesting theory, and it suggests that this might be why we have the ability to lucid dream, and why doing so can relieve anxiety.
In dreams, we are able to face and overcome threatening situations safely, giving us knowledge that we can deal with any bad event that might occur!
Connect to Higher COnsciousness
In dreams, we are able to connect with higher psychic energy and new planes of existence. When we dream we are open to new ideas and our subconsciousness and its powers are unlocked.
With lucid dreaming, we are opening up our souls to higher consciousness and a deeper understanding of the spiritual universe. We may even experience astral projection, where we can visit other planes of existence and different planets.
Dreams, spirits, and the universe are all connected. Lucid dreaming also may allow you to speak to deceased spirits or spirits from another world.
Dangers of Lucid Dreaming
Lucid dreaming can be amazing and beneficial to so many people. However, before you begin your journey, it’s important to know the dangers that might come with it.
Lucid Dreaming Sleep Paralysis
Some people might experience lucid dreaming sleep paralysis. This is when you feel awake but do not have control over your body. This can be really scary, but it isn’t harmful.
There is a link between lucid dreaming and sleep paralysis because in lucid dreaming you are developing the connection between your waking state and your sleeping state. This connection allows for sleep paralysis, too.
Lucid Dreaming Nightmares
Even though in your lucid dream you have control over your nightmares, lucid nightmares may seem much more realistic than regular nightmares. If you react badly to nightmares, really think about if lucid dreaming is worth it.
Dissociation and Derealization
In opening up the link between the dream world and the waking world, you might trigger dissociation and derealization. This is where you find a disconnect with the physical world, even doubting if what you experience when you are waking is real or not.
If you suffer from mental health issues that are linked to these kinds of thoughts and feelings, you should be extremely cautious in regards to lucid dreaming.
How to Lucid Dream for Beginners
There are so many lucid dreaming techniques that are suitable for beginners. If this is all totally new to you, that is fine! I have worked on a handy lucid dreaming guide that allows you to develop your abilities.
Remember, everything takes practice! Of course, some people lucid dream the first time they try, however for a lot of people it takes time. Don’t give up and work on these lucid dreaming techniques!
Mnemonic induction of lucid dreams (MILD)
This technique was developed by Stephen LaBerge in the 1980s. LaBerge is an American psychophysiologist who specializes in lucid dreaming.
The MILD technique is all about setting an intention. Before you sleep you make the intention that you will have a lucid dream or remember your dreams.
As you are going to sleep, you must try and think of a recent dream and acknowledge a phenomenon in this dream. LaBerge calls this a dreamsign. This might be something strange, such as a celebrity or a superhero ability.
Remind yourself that this dreamsign only happens in your dreams and keep your mind on the dreamsign as you are falling asleep. Tell yourself that you will remember your dream and you will develop the ability to lucid dream.
Wake back to bed (WBTB)
This is a great technique for lucid dreaming and works on linking your consciousness with REM sleep. REM sleep is where lucid dreaming mostly occurs and happens a few times in the sleep cycle.
The WBTB technique is about developing consciousness in your REM sleep.
- Before you go to bed, set an alarm for about five hours after you will fall asleep. This will probably be around the time you are in REM sleep.
- Go to sleep.
- When the alarm goes off, get up out of bed and try to become fully awake. Occupy your mind a little, perhaps do some reading. Try and stay alert for at least 20 minutes.
- After 20-40 minutes, go back to bed, perhaps performing the MILD technique or visualization to keep your mind on lucid dreaming.
You may find lucid dreaming easier to access as your brain is still connected to the REM sleep stage.
When you go back to sleep, you are more likely to go straight into REM sleep. However, you still have a level of consciousness. This causes intense and realistic dreams that you might be able to interact with.
Lucid Dreaming Meditation
Meditation can be a great way to assist in your journey towards lucid dreaming. It can help with the MILD technique and prepare your mind, opening up your psyche.
Meditation has so many benefits and allows you to develop stillness and focus of the mind, opening up your consciousness to new things.
Breathing exercises before bed will help you clear your mind of distractions and focus on lucid dreaming. Sit or lie down with your eyes closed and breathe in through your nose for seven seconds and out from your mouth for eleven seconds.
Be aware of your lungs filling and opening. Let thoughts drift through your mind, but keep your focus on your breathing.
This clears your mind in order for you to focus on lucid dreaming.
This lucid dreaming technique is all about training your mind and developing your awareness in your waking world. This can then be worked into your dream world.
With reality checking, you are becoming aware of your surroundings when awake and therefore this awareness will be induced when you are asleep.
Reality checking techniques include:
- Asking yourself, “Is this a dream or is this reality?”
- Check your reflection in the mirror to see if it is normal or not. In dreams, reflections are often distorted.
- Read a page in a book and then look away. Turn back to the page. Is it the same text as before? If it is not, you are probably dreaming.
- Check your clocks. If the time keeps changing erratically, you are probably dreaming.
In learning how to test reality when you are awake, you will start to begin to have the option to do so when you are dreaming. This allows you to figure out if you are dreaming or not and therefore lets you interact and control your dreams.
Keep A Dream Journal
If you want to develop your connection with your subconsciousness, it’s super important to keep a dream journal. Dream journals let us stay focused on our dreams and understand the different types of dreams.
Keep your dream journal by your bed and try and write in it as soon as you wake up. This makes you recall your dream and bring it forth into your consciousness.
You may also want to read your dream journal before you go to sleep. This helps with the MILD technique as it means that you can think about your dreamsigns before you go to sleep.
Lucid Dreaming Hypnosis
You can practice lucid dreaming hypnosis in order to focus your mind on the process. There are many lucid dreaming hypnosis audiobooks and YouTube videos. You can also practice self-hypnosis.
Self-hypnosis is relaxing your brain and concentrating on a specific thing. It is creating a trance-like state.
Step 1 – Relax Your Body and Mind
Practice some breathing techniques to clear your mind of distractions. Release the tension from your body, taking time to focus on each muscle and any strain they might be feeling.
Step 2 – Visualize Yourself Floating
When ready, visualize yourself floating upwards into the sky. This represents you floating away from the constraints of society and the waking world.
It is opening you up to your subconsciousness and the wonders of your mind.
Step 3 – Repeat Phrases in Your Mind
Once you feel comfortable floating, repeat phrases in your mind. These might be:
“I can lucid dream.”
“I can remember my dreams.”
“I am aware of when I am dreaming.”
“I can control my dreams.”
Repeat these phrases as often as you like, feeling your consciousness expanding. Visualize your goal and focus on the relaxation and awareness that you are feeling.
Step 4 – Return to the Ground
When you are ready, float down from the sky and land back on the ground. Open your eyes and reconnect with the physical world. Breathe and recognize the trance state in which you were in.
It might take time to fully work with self-hypnosis, but it’s a great practice for you to do in order to open up your mind to lucid dreaming.
Create The Correct Enviornment
It’s really important to dream in a peaceful environment that promotes positive energy. Make sure you do not have any screens around you before bed, and try and get rid of clutter in your bedroom. This allows your mind to calm and focus on lucid dreaming
Check out my guide to increasing positive energy in the home. The things here will be super helpful in order to create a correct environment for dreaming and connecting with your dreams!
Can You Get Stuck in a Lucid Dream?
If you are starting out on your lucid dreaming journey, you might be a bit hesitant! There might be a worry that what happens in the lucid dream can affect reality, or that you might get stuck in the dream.
This is not true. Lucid dreams are very much like real dreams–what happens in the dreams isn’t real. There is no chance of getting stuck in a lucid dream. On the contrary, lucid dreams might actually help you develop the ability to leave dreams when you wish.
If you are aware of being in a dream, you probably have the ability to wake yourself up and reject your lucid dreaming.
If you are feeling anxious about lucid dreaming, make sure you consider if it is worth it. Do not sacrifice your peace of mind!
What Does It Mean if You lucid dream a lot?
Lucid dreaming can often happen without inducing it. You might not want to be a lucid dreamer, but it might just happen to you!
If you lucid dream a lot, don’t worry! It actually suggests that you have a higher cognitive strength in your waking life!
If you are really good at mental abilities such as math or science, or if you are super creative, you are much more likely to experience spontaneous lucid dreams.
What Does Your Lucid Dream Mean?
Every lucid dream is different and therefore what your lucid dream means is really about what is going on in the dream. It is just like regular dreams. What you experience in your waking life and what your subconscious desires manifests itself in the dream world.
There are so many different types of lucid dreams and therefore different causes of them. If you keep on having a specific lucid dream, you might want to look into the dream interpretation behind it.
For example, if you are dreaming that you are in an airplane, this might suggest that you are rising to a new consciousness and getting a better view of the problems in your life!
Another example is if you are dreaming about rats in the house, this often represents your interpersonal relationships and how you feel about those in your life.
Or, perhaps there are snakes in your lucid dream. Dreaming of snakes either in a lucid dream or a normal dream has specific meanings, so do look into what dreamsigns you are experiencing and what they might mean!
This will allow you to understand your dream world more and therefore develop your lucid dreaming skills!
Are You Ready to Lucid Dream?
I hope this article has inspired you to explore your dream world! There are so many amazing things that you can get out of lucid dreaming, but make sure you are ready for it!
Lucid dreaming is an amazing way to understand yourself and go on new adventures. It allows you to develop your spirituality, whilst having amazing experiences at the same time!
Have you begun practicing lucid dreaming? Has it changed your life for the better?