Photo by Cristofer Jeschke on Unsplash
What is Lucid Dreaming?
by Neil Brown
Typically, we are unaware that we are dreaming and react to events as if they were real. In a lucid dream, we are aware of the fact we are dreaming and have control over oneself, characters, narrative, and surroundings.
This awareness is not a binary switch - aware or unaware; it is a spectrum comprised of different levels.
- This level is the customary state for the majority of people. We are ignorant of the fact that we are asleep and respond to events as if they were real.
- We are aware that we are no longer in the real-world but struggle to do things that would contravene the laws of physics. For example, we decide to fly but are unable to leave the ground. The thin strand of awareness in this stage is easily lost, and we easily lapse back into believing we are in the physical world.
- We understand that everything we perceive is a construct of our mind and can manipulate any element of the dreamscape at will.
- We transcend the visual and sensory aspects of the dreamscape and achieve a higher level of consciousness.
Tibetan Monks have used dream-yoga to control dreams for more than a thousand years, but the term "lucid dreaming" was not coined until the 1800s by Marquis de Hervey de Saint-Denys.
British parapsychologist Keith Hearne produced the first scientific evidence of lucid dreaming in 1975 by observing predetermined eye movements from a volunteer who could control their dreams. But it was Stephen LaBerge who replicated the experiment, to whom the accolades are often attributed.
There are two main approaches to having a lucid dream.
- DILD - A Dream Induced Lucid Dream. You go to sleep and dream unconsciously (state 0) until something triggers you to realise that you are dreaming.
- WILD - A Wake Induced Lucid Dream. Your body goes to sleep, but your mind remains aware. You deliberately enter the dreamscape with no lapse in awareness.
If you wish to learn how to control dreams, read our other tutorials.