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Lucid dreaming

What is lucid dreaming ?

A lucid dream can be any dream, where the dreamer is aware of the fact that he/she is dreaming. A Dutch author and psychiatrist name Frederik van Eeden was the person to come up with the term. In a lucid dream, the dreamer is usually able to influence the happenings within the dream and also holds some degree of control over his/her participation in the dream. Lucid dreams tend to be vivid and very realistic.

Lucid dreaming has undergone scientific research and its has been proven that lucid dreaming is real and does exist. The many studies show that higher quantities of beta 1 in the 13-19 Hz frequency band are experienced by lucid dreamers. This results in more number of processes in the parietal lobes of the brain, which indicates that lucid dreaming is indeed a conscious activity.

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How does one feel within a lucid dream?

When one becomes self-aware within the dream, then it brings in the lucidity. Such dreams are not the usual ones that we dream on an everyday basis, but are complete with a 360 degree circle of awareness. Most of us usually remember most of our dreams, which provide an insight into the thoughts of our subconscious mind. However, lucid dreams are many giant strides ahead of such dreams. They can be considered as a fantasy world, where everything that one does, tastes, smells or hears feels as real as the feelings when one is awake.

The possibilities within a lucid dream are without any physical boundaries or laws. Anything that you can think of, can become a reality in lucid dreaming. You can fly through the clouds and touch the sky, just like Superman; you can have sex with anyone that your heart desires; you can kung-fu like Bruce Lee or become an all American star player.

Lucid dreaming is not just a mere playground for unfulfilled dreams and desires, but can be a potent weapon to go deep into the subconscious, interact with it, find out its desires and needs and thus gain an insight into your own true self.

How to induce lucid dreaming

All of us dream on an everyday basis and often have the ability to recall them. Hence, all of us have the capacity for lucid dreaming. However, the capacity to dream lucidly depends on your ability to control the dreams and this can happen only with training. It does not indicate that you can have a lucid dream, today-right now! It just indicates that your ability and skills to control the happenings with a lucid dream will improve with training and practice.

Some of the basic things that will help the recall of dreams and self awareness, to facilitate lucid dreaming are as follows:

  • Remember the dreams: one of the best ways to increase the self awareness in dreams to have good dream recall. You may keep a dream journal and write down all that you remember about the dreams. You may always draw out the details. Also, before you wake up, try to recall as much of the dream as possible, so that the memory of the dream becomes more solid.
  • Reality checks: One can increase the self-awareness levels during the waking hours by the practice of reality checks, which is referred to as lucid living. Such practice will eventually manifest itself in the dreams due to force of habit, triggering lucid dreaming.  You can perform a reality check by trying to push two fingers from one hand through the palm of the other and then repeating ‘Am I dreaming?’ You may practice this several times a day. Eventually when you dream about the fingers and the hand incident, you will become aware that you are dreaming and lucidity will be triggered.
  • Meditation: Practice medication at least once a day. The more you meditate, the easier it will be for you to start having conscious lucid dreams.
  • Sleeping schedules: Understand your body’s sleep patterns and learn the best times for lucid dreaming. Increased awareness about the sleeping practices will enable you to schedule the sleep patterns, so as to easily induce lucid dreaming. Most lucid dreams generally occur during REM sleep, which in turn often occurs in the early mornings. It is also easy to wake up during REM sleep. So you may condition the body, to wake up right after the REM sleep cycle.

Techniques for lucid dreaming

The MILD technique: This is one of the easiest ways to start lucid dreaming.

  • Set the alarm clock in such a way so that you wake up either 4 ½ or 6 or 7 1/2 hours after going to bed.
  • When the alarm wakes you up, then try and recall as much of the dream as possible.
  • After you have recalled most of the dream that you could remember, go back to the bed. Then think about the events of the dream and imagine that you are dreaming that same dream. You could also keep on repeating something along the lines, ‘I know that I am dreaming’. Once the thought has imbibed itself into the mind, go back to sleep.
  • In case, other thoughts prevent you from sleeping, then re-imagine the dream and the parts that you want to play in that dream. Keep on doing this and do not worry about the time taken, because the longer it takes, the greater are the chances of the thoughts to become more solid increasing the chances of lucid dreaming.

Stories about lucid dreaming

The man was afraid of death, but his fear of death was cured through lucid dreaming. During one of his dreams, he was walking through a hell-like surrounding. He was aware that he was asleep, dreaming and therefore the current scenario was not real. At this moment, he was stabbed on his back. He felt immense pain surging through his body and then decided to find out what dying was like. So he willed the soul in his dream to leave the body in his dream. Once that happened, he looked at his dream body lying below his dream soul, and moment was quite strange and alien. However, he was completely immersed in peace and calmness. He realized that if death was like this, then there was nothing to be afraid of. Since that day, the man has overcome his fear of death.

 

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