What is Lucid Dreaming

What is Lucid Dreaming?

by Neil Brown

In a non-lucid dream, the subject is unaware that they are dreaming, and react to events as if they were real. A lucid dream is characterised by awareness of the dream state and control over oneself, characters, narrative, and surroundings.

This awareness is not a binary switch - aware or unaware. It can be more accurately described as a spectrum comprised of different levels.

Level 0

The default dream state for the majority of people. The subject is oblivious to the fact that they are dreaming and respond to events as if they were real.

Level 1

The subject is aware that they are dreaming but struggle to do things that would break the laws of physics in the real world. They are aware that they are dreaming and decide to fly but nothing happens. The thin strand of awareness in this stage is easily lost and they lapse back into unconscious dreaming.

Level 2

The subject understands that everything they perceive is a construct of their mind and can manipulate any element of the dreamscape at will.

Level 3

The subject has moved passed the visual and sensory aspects of the dream. Deprived of all sensory data a higher level of consciousness is achieved


Tibetan Monks have used dream yoga to control their dreams for more than a thousand years, however, the modern 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 lucid dreaming volunteer. 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.

Read the other tutorials for details on these methods.

Photo by Cristofer Jeschke on Unsplash