If you believed what the experts were saying back then, we would be spending our time today exploring alternative worlds and having a lot of fun with adventures as special agents, powerful warriors or even superheroes … all as if we were really living the experience right there and then.
Sadly, technology has not gotten quite there yet … but some exciting prototypes are being tested as I write this (Dec, 2016.) However, there are people who enjoy adventures in virtual reality one, two or more times per week, and without fancy technology. These fortunate few have learned to harness the power of lucid dreaming.
Unlike usual dreams which can be hazy, strange and frequently forgotten as soon as you wake up, lucid dreams are very different and quite special because when you dream in this fashion you are actually awake inside your dream!
In other words, imagine this: You are warm in your bed and start dreaming. Only you know you’re dreaming, yet the things you are dreaming about are ‘out of the ordinary.’ Nevertheless, the world around you seems as ‘real‘ as the one you’re in now, as you are reading this article. Exciting, uh?! But you might be asking…
Why Would I Want to Learn Lucid Dreaming?
A sleeping person who is dreaming lucidly knows that he(she) is awake inside the dream and can even remember the dream, totally or partially after he awakens. The amazing thing is that those who have developed this amazing ability are able to control or redirect the outcomes of their dreams. This could be compared to plotting a sci-fi movie in which you get to decide what you do (how about flying like Superman?) and how the story ends.
Now, think about it… This is HUGE because you can manipulate your dream to your liking and experience the dream ‘as if’ it was a reality which helps you modify limiting beliefs, handle fears, achieve seemingly impossible things, and reprogram your subconscious mind to succeed at anything you want!
Imagine the possibilities!
Let’s say that you had fear of heights and that you have trained yourself to lucid dream. You go to sleep and through a series of prompts, you begin to dream lucidly.
This means that you are awake within your dream. Then, you purposefully picture yourself climbing a ladder in total confidence. You can add as many details as you want and see yourself totally confident, fearless, courageous, and enjoying the experience. Since your subconscious mind doesn’t know the difference between yes and no and can’t discern reality from fantasy, you will be living and feeling the experience as if you were actually there.
Think about it… you can use lucid dreaming as a self-development technique to achieve goals, enhance your self-growth and become the person you want to be, easier, faster, and having fun… almost effortlessly!
Types of Lucid Dreaming
There are two ways with which lucid dreaming begins. The first one is called the dream-initiated lucid dream. It refers to a person who is asleep, starts dreaming and then begins to be conscious of the fact that he is dreaming while being able to remain asleep. The second one is called the wake-initiated lucid dream. In this one the person is still fully awake yet falls into a state of dream and can ‘live‘ the experiences as if they were real as well.
How To Lucid Dream
The good news is that everyone can develop the ability to dream in this fashion. There are simple methods and techniques to develop the ability to lucid dreaming which have been proven to be effective and safe for many people. To start, all you need to do is believe that you will be able to achieve the goal of gaining this ability, and you will.
Here are some points to learn and follow:
- Practice Reality Checks
If you are in a state of disbelief about something that you consider out of the ordinary or abnormal, check it out against something that is real. That’s how you’ll know you are dreaming. For instance, grab a pencil with your right hand right now and try to pierce the palm of your left hand with it. You will feel pressure and if you do it long enough, you will feel pain. This will indicate that you are awake. If you were dreaming, you’d be able to pierce the palm of your left hand and see the pencil going straight through, with no resistance, blood or pain.
The practice of reality checks while awake will eventually leak into your dreams and will become the signal that let’s you know you are actually asleep. When this becomes habitual, you will start to dream about this and soon conclude that indeed you are dreaming. Make it a habit to practice reality checks like these while you go about your day.
- Write Your Dreams in a Journal
As soon as you are awake, recall your dream and write it down with precision; such as place, people, events, facts, and what exactly happened; write down as much details as you remember. Don’t wait long as significant points become blurry soon after awakening.
When you keep a dream journal, you will soon discover that there are common dream patterns or details that are present in your dreams.
This will help you first identify if the dream is lucid, and then it will help you fall into this kind of dream on purpose and more often.
- Concentrate on Dreaming Lucidly
Before falling asleep, focus your attention and concentration on having a lucid dream. Soak your mind deeply in the subject by reading, learning, and thinking about it as much as possible. Talk about this interest of yours with others and make it a subject of curiosity and exploration so it becomes a frequent instance in your mind.
- Establish Your Own Sleeping Schedule
Lucid dreaming can be induced by establishing a sleeping time and pattern, because as with any habit, the more you do it the more predictable it becomes. So plan to determine the best time for you to go to sleep and stick to it to train your mind to fall asleep at a certain time and follow patterns with ease in this manner.
- Create a Personal Reminder
A personal reminder can be a small object to help you confirm that you are awake after having had a lucid dream. It will be your clue to determine whether you are indeed awake or not. When you see and feel this object in your hand, it creates a signal that prompts you to realize that you are indeed awake.
Here’s an example of this…
If you watched the mind-bending movie “Inception” by acclaimed filmmaker Christopher Nolan and leading actor Leonardo DiCaprio playing the character of Cobb, you’ll recall that at the end of the movie the viewer is left to make his/her own conclusions based on perception and interpretation of what happens to the spinning top.
Was Cobb still dreaming when he went back to his children or was the spinning top about to fall over and confirm the scene was an awaken reality? The top was the signal (personal reminder) that Cobb used throughout the movie to determine whether he was awake or dreaming because no top will spin indefinitely, unless it is in a dream.
- Mnemonic Induction of Lucid Dreaming (MILD) Technique
This technique was introduced by Stephen Laberge, a psycho-physiologist and leader in the scientific study of lucid dreaming, and founder of “The Lucidity Institute.” The technique allows you to recall your dream in as much detail as possible and becoming conscious that you are dreaming by repetitively telling yourself that you are dreaming.
Of course, these are a few basic principles of this practice. To become very good at lucid dreaming, more learning, understanding and practice are needed. Experts can do this effectively and at will, and the benefits are only limited to one’s imagination. Just think about this… anything is possible when you are dreaming, and the subconscious mind does not differentiate between fact or fiction… what would your plan be if you were to dream lucidly tonight?
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