Waking Into Lucid Dreaming
Lucid dreaming is often disregarded or unknown, but is at the same time a very powerful human ability. The process of becoming conscious of your own dream state – which is exactly what lucid dreaming is by definition – isn’t exactly as simple as it sounds. Some people innately have the ability to enter lucidity in a dream with little or no effort, but this is not too common. Others can achieve this through a bit of work and determination. Others aren’t so lucky.
Just imagine that you could become fully self-aware in your dreams. You really can do anything you could ever possibly envision. Flying, amongst an infinite list of other possibilities, seems to be the most popular notion associated with dream control. The Lucidity Institute (lucidity.com) also suggests adventure and fantasy, overcoming nightmares, and rehearsal for waking life as just a small percentage of the overwhelming potential that comes with lucidity.
Lucid dreaming comes naturally to a select few, some have them without even knowing it, but to others it can be achieved through simple habits and exercises in your daily waking life. Recalling, logging, and reviewing your dreams can help you find unique consistencies that occur. With these uniform events or visions, it can be gradually easier for you to determine when you’re dreaming by recognizing them as they appear. Though a bit odd at first, getting used to asking yourself, Am I dreaming?, regularly throughout the day can also assist in recognizing your state of consciousness. Additionally, dreaming can be recognized by double-checking specific pieces of writing like streets signs or any other such text that you can find throughout the day. If you read something specific, turn away, read it again, and find it has changed then it’s likely a good indication that you are dreaming. It can even be argued that lucid dreams are contagious to some degree or another; hearing somebody talk about them or even reading about it (maybe even this article itself) may induce you to have them yourself.
All of this is comes down to a matter of consciously fighting with your subconscious for some level of control. But why do all of these ridiculous exercises just to get a little control? It needs to be understood that this is more than just a little rule over your mind; you have access to an endless amount of information and imagination that your brain can relay to your subconscious. Beyond anything computers, books, or television can do for you, your dreams are afar from a reality of any kind. Without fear of physical harm or repercussions of any sort, you could, for instance, kill your boss or meet that special someone you’ve always thought about it. Again, the possibilities are endless. It’s just a matter of what whets your whistle.
These dreams are as real as they come. You can see, smell, taste, hear, and feel everything just as you would in waking life. The only difference is that it’s up to you what you’re putting up to your senses. This is what really drives lots of people to learn more about lucid dreaming and how to achieve it, and this is exactly what’s inspired me to research, attempt, and write this article.
My personal experiences with lucidity in dreams are pretty few, I must admit. I can think of a few occasions when I thought I was in control during my dreams, but really only came to this thought a day or two after a dream I happened to only vividly remember. I shouldn’t need to point it out, but remembering a dream clearly is significantly different than controlling one, which I think quite a few people might mistake. My first, and thus far only real experience happened about a week or so before finishing this article. I had stayed up relatively late doing Internet research about this subject, as a matter of fact, and got quite caught up traveling from one website to another, reading and reading. I finally realized I should get to bed, so I did my nightly routine, turned on some relaxing music and just laid in my bed. I don’t remember ever hearing the second song come on from my CD player, so I must have fallen asleep really quickly. I had a pretty usual dream (and by that I mean not totally off the wall), and I do remember it extremely vividly, more so than any other I’ve ever had. Avoiding some uninteresting personal jabber, I’ll relate that in the dream there was nuclear war (maybe even in relation to class discussion) and my family was packing up to move somewhere remote for the time being. I distinctly remember walking through the upstairs hallway of my house to grab my CD collection – strangely I even remember exactly which album it was that I wanted. This is when I looked at my watch, and then looked back, and then again; I did this exactly as some of the methods of realizing dream states mentioned above. First it was 8:30. Then 8:20. Then 8:15. Something clicked and I said to myself, “hey, this is a dream, don’t wake up!” The next thing, I realized was that I was consciously making decisions to be running around my house and doing back flips down the stairs – this isn’t quite flying, but it’s a start – and then I decided to wake up. I recounted the dream to myself in perfect detail, like it had just happened in my awakened life. Soon enough I even got the effort to pull myself from bed and write down detailed points about things I saw and did in the dream. Reflecting, I couldn’t believe how real it felt. As far as my heart and soul were concerned, it did happen. I really did feel the same fear that I might’ve felt had there actually been nuclear war. It was eerie, to say the least, but enjoyable. However, despite my efforts, I haven’t had another one since.
Lucid dreaming isn’t just one of those New Age, yoga-driven hippy ideas. It’s real. Scientific studies have been conducted, institutes have been made, and there are an uncountable number of personal relations of these dreams (Exploring the World of Lucid Dreaming by Stephan LaBerge, Ph.D. & Howard Rheingold has some great individual reports throughout). You can’t get in touch with your mantras, you can’t see with your Third Eye, and you won’t be able to predict the future. It’s not like that all. However, you can have dreams that you’ll always remember, dreams that feel so incredibly real, dreams that you can control and are beyond anything you’ve ever experienced while asleep. (It’s also said you can achieve Out of Body Experiences, or Astral Projections through lucid dreaming, but that’s really an entirely different article in itself. I’ll leave that to someone who is more “mainstream” than I am.) The whole point is that you can avoid the sentiment that dreaming is just a waste of time and get back that once “useless” time of your day.
The next time you’re being chased endlessly by a monster, you can thank me when you realize it’s only a dream and then place yourself into paradise.
Written for my grade 12 Writer's Craft assignment where we could write an article/(personal) essay about essentially anything we wanted. I don't remember any exact sources, but this is just a lot of what I remembered from doing my own research in previous weeks.
Node your homework.