What is Lucid Dreaming, and How Can I Control My Dreams?
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The term “lucid dreaming” refers to dreaming while knowing that you are actually dreaming. The “lucid” part refers to the clarity of consciousness rather than the vividness of the dream. It generally happens when you realize during the course of a dream that you are dreaming, perhaps because something weird occurs. Most people who remember their dreams have experienced this at some time, often waking up immediately after the realization. However, it is possible to continue in the dream while remaining fully aware that you are dreaming.
Usually lucidity brings with it some degree of control over the course of the dream. How much control is possible varies from dream to dream and from dreamer to dreamer. Practice can apparently contribute to the ability to exert control over dream events. At the least, lucid dreamers can choose how they wish to respond to the events of the dream. For example, you can decide to face up to a frightening dream figure, knowing it cannot harm you, rather than to try to avoid the danger as you naturally would if you did not know it was a dream. Even this amount of control can transform the dream experience from one in which you are the helpless victim of frequently terrifying, frustrating, or maddening experiences to one in which you can dismiss for a while the cares and concerns of waking life. On the other hand, some people are able to achieve a level of mastery in their lucid dreaming where they can create any world, live any fantasy, and experience anything they can imagine.
Because the laws of physics and society are repealed many people share a desire for lucid dreaming. The only limits are the reaches of your imagination. Much of the potential of dreams is wasted because people do not recognize that they are dreaming. When we are not lucid in a dream, we think and behave as if we are in waking reality. This can lead to pointless frustration, confusion and wasted energy, and in the worst case, terrifying nightmares. Anxiety dreams and nightmares can be overcome through lucid dreaming, because if you know you are dreaming you have nothing to fear. Dream images cannot hurt you. Lucid dreams, in addition to helping you lead your dreams in satisfying directions, enjoy fantastic adventures, and overcome nightmares, can be valuable tools for success in your life Lucid dreamers can deliberately employ the natural creative potential of dreams for problem solving and artistic inspiration. Athletes, performers, or anyone who gives presentations can prepare, practice and polish their performances while they sleep. This is only a taste of the varietyof ways people have used lucid dreaming to expand their lives.
There are several methods of inducing lucid dreams. The first step, regardless of method, is to develop your dream recall until you can remember at least one dream per night. Then, if you have a lucid dream you will remember it. You will also become very familiar with your dreams, making it easier learn to recognize them while they are happening. If you recall your dreams you can begin immediately with two simple techniques for stimulating lucid dreams. Lucid dreamers make a habit of “reality testing.” This means investigating the environment to decide whether you are dreaming or awake. Ask yourself many times a day, “Could I be dreaming?” Then, test the stability of your current reality by reading some words, looking away and looking back while trying to will them to change The instability of dreams is the easiest clue to use for distinguishing waking from dreaming. If the words change, you are dreaming. Taking naps is a way to greatly increaseyour chances of having lucid dreams. You have to sleep long enough in the nap to enter REM sleep. If you take the nap in the morning (after getting up earlier than usual), you are likely to enter REM sleep within a half-hour to an hour after you fall asleep. If you nap for 90 minutes to 2 hours you will have plenty of dreams and a higher probability of becoming lucid than in dreams you have during a normal night’s sleep. Focus on your intention to recognize that you are dreaming as you fall asleep within the nap.
External cues to help people attain lucidity in dreams have been the focus of Dr. Stephen LaBerge’s research and the Lucidity Institute’s development efforts for several years. Using the results of laboratory studies, they have designed a portable device, called the DreamLight, for this purpose. It monitors sleep and when it detects REM sleep it gives a cue, a flashing light that enters the dream to remind the dreamer to become lucid. The light comes from a soft mask worn during sleep that also contains the sensing apparatus for determining when the sleeper is in REM sleep. A small custom computer connected to the mask by a cord decides when the wearer is in REM and when to flash the lights.Words
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