Lucid Dreams: Part 1

The value of lucid dreaming is immeasurable. When individuals begin to have the experience of lucid dreaming, the truth of who they really are and their personal reality expands. Have you ever been asleep and then suddenly become aware that you were dreaming? In lucid dreaming, the dreamer is aware that he or she is dreaming during the dream.

Most of us have experienced some degree of lucidity. When the dreamer realizes that some segment of the dream is only a dream, it is called "prelucid dreaming". A fully lucid dream is one which the dreamer definitely recognizes that he is dreaming. These dreams tend to seem more real and more vivid then normal waking reality. Also, the sense of sound, sight, taste and smell seems intensified.

Though lucid dreaming has received much attention from the metaphysical community in recent years, it is not a new idea by any means. In Eastern cultures, lucid dreaming has always been an esoteric element of the spiritual practices of Taoism, Buddhism and Hinduism. The Tibetan Buddhists have expanded the practice of lucid dreaming into an art form. Tibetan Buddhists believe that dreaming is a way to connect more deeply with one's soul. They feel that each time we dream, we are experiencing the condition of our soul essence.

Lucidity is invaluable. When individuals begin to have the experience of lucid dreaming, they begin to feel more expansive as one does when taking in a lovely, deep breath of air and this feeling moves into other aspects in their life. Personal limitations do not exist and there is a sense of being more in control of personal destiny. Intuition and imagination during waking hours are noticeably increased.

One of the goals of lucid dreaming is to transport your waking consciousness into your dreams and your dreaming consciousness back into your waking life without feeling a break. The purpose for this continuity in consciousness is that it allows the dreamer to recognize that the world of the waking self is a self-created dream as well. If you are working with a lucid dream, an excellent affirmation to keep in mind is: "All that I see I can dream. All that I can see, and I am aware of all my dreams."

Lucid dreaming can be regarded as a spiritual evolutionary process, a step towards remembering who you are and what your true destiny is. An Arabic mystic said, "A person must control his thoughts in a dream. The training of this alertness will produce great benefits for the individual. Everyone should apply himself to the attainment of this ability."

Cultivate the skill of lucid dreaming much as you would any other ability. Just as the ability to type, swim or paint can be developed and fire tuned with practice, so can the ability to lucid dream. It takes a certain amount of discipline at first, but it becomes easier and in time, even effortless.

Lucid Dreaming Techniques

First things first — Keep a dream journal. You must if you truly wish to attain lucidity. Then, as you are going to sleep, say: "Tonight I am aware and conscious that I am dreaming". Recall your dreams and as you remember a dream during the night, while you are drifting back to sleep, say: "During my next dream, I remember that I am dreaming." Sometimes repeating the phrase "I am dreaming" as you fall asleep will contribute to having lucid dreams. Having made a conscious choice to experience lucid dreams, be vigilant and consistent and over a period of weeks, it will begin to happen for you.

Applications

Once you are adept in recognizing that you are dreaming while in that state, begin to alter the circumstances of your dream. Deliberately choose some action you can take. Start with something simple. The Mexican mystic, Don Juan, told Carlos Castaneda to try to look at his hands while he was dreaming. Other simple dream actions could be picking a flower or opening your arms to the heavens in delight or hugging a tree. Become the hero or heroine of your dreams. You don't necessarily need to force your visualization, but simply be in your dream with awareness.

Stanford University psychologist, Stephen LaBerge, a proponent of lucid dreaming, has developed sensors which detect the eye movement that accompany vivid dreams. A pulsing red light is activated to be used as a signal to remind the dreamer that he is actually dreaming.

Though mainstream sleep and dream researchers may be skeptical of this controversial technique, it demonstrates once again the interest being generated for a deeper understanding of our dreaming selves.

Techniques

Closely related to the dream journal techniques, using these standards can help you to better recall dreams, thereby influencing your awareness when in the dream state.

Look for patterns and recurring themes in your dreams. If you don't "get it" the first time, your brain often sends you the same dream message again. Many people experience recurring dreams, or even recurring nightmares. That's just your brain trying to get your attention and convey an important message to you.

View each character in the dream as an aspect of yourself. For example, if there is a devil in the dream, see what happens if you view that character as "the devilish destructive part of myself". Even if the character is someone you know "in real life", try using this technique. Instead of your mother, maybe the character represents the motherly part of you or a part of you that is like your actual mother.

Explain your dream in the simplest terms possible. Pretend that you are explaining it to a Martian who needs you to define almost every word. So for example, if your dream involved a car, imagine that a Martian doesn't understand what a "car" is. You must explain that a car is a device you use for transportation to get from one place to another, to move forward. You may be surprised by the meaning that are revealed.

Use dream interpretation dictionaries. These books contain general "definitions" of dream symbols. They are based on simple psychology, but are not always reliable because dreams are so personal. Take what they say with a grain of salt.

Try role playing various dream characters. Some people find it helpful to imagine that they have returned to the dream and then they engage dream characters in imaginary conversations. So If you dreamed about a mysterious shadowed figure, you might question the figure, asking, "Who are you?" "Why do you hide yourself from me?" "Why have you come to me?"

Share your dreams with others and get their input. Do not accept a friend's interpretation unless it feels right to you, giving you an "aha" feeling of recognition.

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