The Dreamer or the Dream?
Have you ever been chased by monsters, or found yourself taking a final exam but had no idea in what subject? Perhaps you suddenly discovered you were standing naked in the middle of a busy airport - and nobody noticed! Unless you've been living a chemically enhanced or very unusual life, chances are you were asleep. But IF you realized this fact while the story was still happening, you've experienced lucid dreaming.
Usually, whether you play an active or passive role in any given dream, you're still totally caught up in its world and oblivious to everything else. But in a lucid dream you're simultaneously in and outside of 2 realities - both the dreamer and the dream. This self awareness gives you a fascinating perspective and, with practice, can allow you to deliberately alter elements of the ongoing scenario. After all, you're just changing your mind!
Now, we're not talking sanity bending, life endangering dream invasion as popularized by the recent hit film Inception. And Leonardo DiCaprio will probably not make a guest appearance (unless you're very lucky). But lucid dreaming has intriguing charms of its own. And if you really want to explore this inner world there are techniques that can stimulate the process:
- Practice meditation - become familiar and comfortable with shifting your levels of consciousness.
- Keep a dream journal - immediately upon waking write down as much detail as you can remember about any dreams you had; high dream recall and lucid dreaming tend to go hand-in-hand.
- Try planning your next dream. Think about things you might want to dream about and write the ideas down. The more attention you pay to the dream while awake, the more awareness you are likely to carry over into the dream itself.
- As strange as this may sound...several times a day ask yourself "Is this a dream?" As you take mental note of how you recognize that it isn't, you're also conditioning yourself to recognize when it is.
- It's usually some bizarre element in a dram that will first alert you to the fact that you are dreaming - like when you suddenly start flying without the benefit of a plane. But you can also try a more deliberate route by selecting an everyday object to act as a trigger. Tell yourself over and over, especially just before falling asleep, "When I see a ____ I'll know I'm dreaming."
There is, however, one major obstacle to this process. Dreams are fragile... lucid dreams even more so. They may last only moments. If you become too aware, the excitement can jolt you awake; and, if not enough attention is paid, you'll simple fade back into the dream. But the more you actively pursue this state, the more control you'll gain.
Lucid dreaming is not everyone's cup of tea. Some people never remember their dreams or, if they do, are not curious about them. Some are skeptical or even frightened of any kind of exploration of the subconscious. But, if you find the idea fascinating, the reasons to pursue are as numerous and unique as each lucid dreamer.
Would you like to work through problems, decisions and fears with no limitations of logic to block creativity? Or travel a road that could lead to enlightenment and self knowledge? Do you wonder if there just might be something more to "reality" than your 24/7 life? Or, how about just plain fun?
Whatever your interest, it might be just a dream away!