Lucid Dreaming is the scientifically proven ability to become consciously aware while you're dreaming - to "wake up" and take active control of your dreams.
Many people can easily remember their dreams. This provides memories of rich inner worlds that tell us much about the unconscious mind.
But lucid dreams take one giant leap further - to a fantasy realm where everything you see, feel, taste, hear and smell can be as authentic as reality.
When you can control your dreams, you can explore your private dreamscape as if it were a virtual reality world. Sounds cool? You have no idea...
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A fully lucid dream is tangible, rich and visually detailed - sometimes furnishing you with even greater awareness than you have right now, such as 360-degree vision or existing in two places at the same time.
Because it all takes places in your mind, the dream world has no physical laws. Anything you can conceive of comes true.
You can take control and warp The Matrix like Neo, fly and soar over cities like Iron Man, slow down time Inception-style, have sex with anyone, fight like a ninja, re-live childhood memories, and more.
In fact, the possibilities of lucid dreaming are limitless.
But a lucid dream is not merely a fantasy playground; it's a chance to interact with your subconscious self via dream characters and the fabric of the dream itself. This website reveals all kinds of applications for conscious dreams, so if you think lucid dreaming is just about wish fulfillment - think again.
Once you know how to become lucid in dreams, you will discover a strange new world - an entire universe, no less - of which you are fully aware and can manipulate with the power of thought.
Beyond the fantastic escapism, you can interact with your subconscious dream self. That's because a lucid dream is a co-created experience; where your conscious and unconscious collide.
In regular dreams, the environment, characters, themes, symbols and plot are all driven by your unconscious mind, which communicates through experiential memory and conceptual form.
With self-awareness (lucidity) in your dream world, you can co-create the dream by wilfully performing any desired action within the unconscious dreamscape. You can ask any question or give any command and your unconscious dreaming self will respond. For instance, simply ask out loud of your dream:
The answers may surprise you... coming directly from a lucid dream character, written in clouds in the sky, or beamed telepathically into your mind. Lucid dreaming is a strange new world... come on in :)
There is a variety of scientific research that proves the existence of lucid dreaming.
There are two particularly groundbreaking experiments from the last 40 years which scientifically validated the existence of lucid dreams:
In 1975, lucid dreaming was scientifically proven in the laboratory for the first time. The British parapsychologist Dr Keith Hearne recorded a set of pre-determined eye movements from his volunteer, Alan Worsley, who was in a lucid dream.
By manipulating his Rapid Eye Movements (REM), Worsley showed that he was was consciously choosing to look in certain directions while dreaming. It was a kind of basic communication between the dreamer and the outside world.
However, Hearne's groundbreaking research slipped under the radar of mainstream science journals and it was Dr Stephen LaBerge at Stanford University who became famous for first publishing his own version of this experiment in 1983.
LaBerge did his doctorate thesis on lucid dreaming and formalized some excellent lucid dream methods like the MILD technique. Today, he runs intensive workshops and dream experiments at The Lucidity Institute and his classic book Exploring The World of Lucid Dreaming remains a bestseller on the subject.
More recently, a 2009 study by the Neurological Laboratory in Frankfurt showed people with significantly increased brain activity while lucid dreaming.
An EEG machine recorded highly active frequencies up to the 40 Hz (or Gamma) range in lucid dreamers. This is far more active than the normal dream state (Theta range, 4-7 Hz), supporting the need to classify lucidity as a separate state of consciousness altogether.
The research also showed heightened activity in the frontal and frontolateral areas of the dreaming brain - the seat of linguistic thought and other higher mental functions linked to self-awareness. Sleep scientists accepts that lucid dreaming is real and may offer considerable insight into the nature of human consciousness.
In addition to these studies and other measurable evidence, countless people can provide anecdotal evidence of their conscious dreams, such as those reported in our lucid dream forums. If you still have any doubt as to the existence of conscious dreams, then you can of course experience it for yourself!
Inception popularized lucid dreaming and gave us new triggers for our night-time musings - from lucid dreams-within-dreams to working with subconsciously-driven dream figures.
The movie was written and directed by a real life lucid dreamer, Chris Nolan. Learn more about other famous lucid dreamers.
Often on becoming lucid, I exit the dream scene and find somewhere new to explore. I like to summon up scenes of nature and step into them via a dream door - or simply teleport there. Here's a montage of high definition lucid dreamscapes to inspire such lucid dreams and create some breathtaking dream memories.
The purpose of this website is to teach people how to lucid dream. This includes entraining the right waking mindset and mental habits, so that you find it easy to recognize when you're dreaming at night.
This recognition leads to instant lucidity (consciousness) in dreams, intensifying your awareness of the dreamscape and giving you the option to control and manipulate the events of the dream at will.
We all have the potential to lucid dream - but only a small fraction of people learn how to harness the ability and use it on a regular basis. Lucid dreaming is not hard, but it does require your commitment.
While some people can control their dreams naturally, most people must invest time and energy to attain that breakthrough moment when they become lucid in dreams. This site is designed for people who are serious about learning the art of lucidity and are willing to commit to it.
With my tuition, you will learn to:
This site contains hundreds of lucid dreaming articles. Don't let that overwhelm you though because no matter where you start, you will soon find something of value. If you don't have time to dig in now, just bookmark the site for future use.
Frequent visitors will start or finish their day by spending 15-30 minutes here because it puts lucid dreaming on the brain. This is actually a well-known incubation technique which I cover in more detail in my lucid dreaming techniques section.
If you've just discovered conscious dream control, you'll probably have a lot of questions... and some misconceptions. I recommend all beginners take the time to read up about lucid dreaming before starting any techniques on this site. Here are some of the most common things people want to know:
How long does it take to have your first lucid dream?
How do I know when I'm lucid?
How can I stay lucid for longer?
How can I change the scenery?
How can I have flying dreams?
Can I get stuck in a lucid dream?
How do I talk to my subconscious in a lucid dream?
One study showed a group of committed students were able to have their first lucid dream within 3-21 days on average. They were equipped with the right tutorials and practiced mindfully every day. You should aim to take a similar approach.
This is a guide only. A minority may already possess the key skills and have their first lucid dream the same night they discover the concept. Others may take months to learn the skill, especially if you're only making a half-baked approach.
If you are struggling to have your first lucid dream, ask yourself:
In Dream Initiated Lucid Dreams, the moment you become lucid is the moment you suddenly realize you are dreaming.
In many movies, fictional characters often realize they're dreaming and make funny comments about it but otherwise allow the dream to continue of it's own accord and nothing changes. Lucid dreaming is nothing like this :)
In real life, the effect is quite different. Saying (and knowing) "This is a dream!" results in a rush of clarity of thought. Your surroundings will zoom into focus and become much more vivid. You will have far greater awareness of your body and it is more like a waking experience, seeing the dream through your own eyes and having the opportunity to move freely and take in much more sensory information.
The features of conscious dreams can spontaneously change just like a normal dream. For instance, you may manifest a group of bear cubs which later change into a pile of boxes. Of course, you can easily call the bear cubs back again. But don't be surprised if you notice these subtle changes which seem beyond your control. It is a co-created experience and your subconscious mind still plays a key role.
Beginners often get frustrated because their lucid dreams end prematurely. Sometimes, the sheer excitement causes you to wake up. Other times, you may simply forget you are dreaming and the subconscious mind regains full control. In this case, the dream loses its intensity and become just like a regular dream again.
To prevent this from happening, cultivate a calm and focused mind set in the dream world. Remind yourself that you are dreaming often stay mentally grounded. I explain more about this in the article how to stay lucid. These techniques have helped me experience lucid dreams as long as an hour (estimated in real-time).
A very simple way to enhance your lucidity and ground yourself in the dream is to rub your hands together while saying "I'm dreaming". This kinetic sensation stimulates the conscious brain, while drawing awareness to your dream body and away from your physical body lying asleep in bed.
Making the dream scene morph in front of your eyes can sometimes be difficult - mainly because you simply don't expect it to happen. This is typical of the results beginners complain about because they lack the anticipated dream control.
If you're having problems with dream control (and I should stress that not everyone does have such issues) the best way to change things is to work WITH your subconscious dream logic. For instance, to change the scenery:
As you can see, there are many creative solutions to issues of dream control. The most important thing to remember is that your conscious expectation plays a major role. If you question your own ability to manifest new scenes, then your abilities will falter. But if you remain confident and learn from your experiences, you'll soon find that absolutely anything is possible inside a lucid dream.
Learning how to fly in lucid dreams is something we all want to master first.
However, it's not like you've had any practice in real life, so the concept can be a little difficult on the lucid dreaming mind. While some people take to the sky like Superman, others can get stuck in power lines, bump into buildings, or waver as if gravity is acting against them (which of course it isn't!)
Think of the movie The Matrix, when Morpheus asks Neo how he beat him in a virtual reality fight. Was it because he was stronger, faster, or fitter in this simulated world? No. It was because he truly believed he was better.
It's the same in lucid dreams. See my article how to have lucid flying dreams which explains the expectation principle and a three-step flight training program.
If you are imagining getting stuck in a lucid dream that way a child gets stuck in a painting in a horror movie, then no, that's science fiction.
You can no more get stuck in a lucid dream than you can get stuck in a regular dream or nightmare. "Dream limbo" is just a plot device for the movies.
In fact, lucidity affords you the opportunity to wake up on demand. Many people learn to start lucid dreaming naturally by using it to wake up from nightmares. Just open and shut your dream eyes firmly while saying "WAKE UP!" You can use the same moment of clarity to transform your nightmare into a guided dream.
While it is possible to become engrossed in a lucid nightmare or false awakening, this is not the same as being trapped in a dream for any significant amount of time. Though frustrating (but also enlightening) they are no different in length from typical periods of REM sleep, which max out after a certain period of time.
As the lucid dream is a co-created experience, you can find subconscious communication arising from many different places - via dream characters, dream events, or even the fabric of the dream itself. The easiest way is to start a dialogue with the dream; just talk out loud. See the article 10 things to ask your lucid dream self for specific questions to pose to your dreaming self.
To continue reading questions like this, see my full lucid dreaming FAQ.
That's enough to get you started. Thanks for dropping by the World of Lucid Dreaming and I hope you find this a useful resource for many years to come!
Creator, World of Lucid Dreaming