Lucid dreaming is an all-engrossing experience. An explosion to the senses. An alternative reality in which you can live free of all your fears and inhibitions, confident that you can do absolutely anything in the world.
This liberation has a significant impact on your waking life.
But how can dreams affect the real world? Surely the novelty of a great lucid dream wears off eventually - then what?
Today I'd like to share 12 amazing benefits of lucid dreaming, both while asleep and awake, showing you real world examples that will inspire you to push your dream life that much further.
There is unlimited potential for creating any imaginable dream scenario in advance. Using both dream-induced and wake-induced techniques, lucid dreamers can set up elaborate dream plots before even going to sleep. The more excited you are about the dream, the more likely it is to happen. This in itself can yield lucid dreams, by creating ready-wired scenarios for lucidity triggers. So next time you yearn to know what it feels like to be sailing around the Mediterranean in a super yacht... or snowboarding down Mammoth Mountain... or hang-gliding over the Grand Canyon... you can.
When I'm lucid dreaming, I fly, hover or glide just about everywhere I go. It's so much fun - and given the option, why would you walk?
When you fly, your awareness is scooped up in the whole experience. It feels like it is literally happening. You worry you might fall (and then you do) but maintaining the confident expectation that you can fly (saying "I'm flying" out loud) ensures your successful aviation. This one's a game-changer. For me, lucid flying is the most consistently enjoyable activity in my dreams.
There are a ton of personal heroes who inspire me to think and act differently in my personal and working life. Brian Cox. Richard Dawkins. Tim Minchin. Derren Brown. David Mitchell. David Attenborough. Richard Branson. And let's not forget the deceased ones: Nikola Tesla. William Blake. Salvador Dali. Michael Chrichton. There are no limits here. Who would you choose to meet in your lucid dream? What would you ask them? The possibilities are endless, and the impact these wonderful lucid conversations have had on my waking life are profound.
Talking of meeting your idols, not all of these encounters are purely academic or inspirational, you understand. Lucid dream sex is a great release and it is possible to summon any partner - famous or anonymous.
In fact, sex and intimacy are blinding lucid dream triggers for me because in my waking life I don't expect to be with anyone else except my partner. So when I find myself making out with Sam Rockwell then - BAM - I realize I'm dreaming. This is also why incubating a sexy lucid dream is an easy trigger for actually becoming lucid.
Lucid time travel dreams really blow out the cobwebs of the mind. Because in my experience, they never really match my expectations. It's time travel with a twist. The past and future are drizzled with surrealism, making me wonder if I am not just traveling an imaginary dream timeline but in fact inside a parallel universe. It makes it more possible, like I'm exploring other worlds for real.
Of course, I'm a firm believer that all lucid dreams takes place in the mind. But still, lucid time travel dreams remain a unique and exciting proposition.
In the last few years I've used my lucid dreams to consolidate my waking philosophies - for figure out what it's all about. One dream concluded that the meaning of life was... to discover a meaning to life. That there is no true purpose at all unless I create one. On closer inspection, this is quite possibly the most exciting answer because it means the meaning of life will evolve with my consciousness. My purpose now may look nothing like my purpose in ten and twenty years' time. So my next lucid dream goal is to realize: what purpose should I seek right now? Thoughtful stuff.
Frequent lucid dreamers have discovered that there appears to be a hidden awareness behind the dream. This observer, this wiser self, speaks frankly and directly and references both waking and dream elements.
The oneironaut Robert Waggoner, author of Lucid Dreaming: Gateway to the Inner Self, refers to it as a separate consciousness within. I have come to think of it as a true self; an awareness hidden by layers of misguided core beliefs developed in childhood. What questions would you ask if you possessed such profound lucid wisdom?
In Exploring The World of Lucid Dreaming, Stephen LaBerge features the testimony from a doctor who practiced surgical cases for the next day during his sleep. He boasted a reputation of excellence because of this, being able to refine and polish his techniques much faster than the average surgeon. Indeed, any physical skill can be improved upon while lucid because the tangible experience transfers to real life muscle memory. Similarly, mental and emotional responses can be realistically rehearsed while lucid dreaming to improve upon skills like public speaking. Quite simply, practice makes perfect.
If you are afraid of heights, what's stopping you - in a dream - from jumping out of an airplane? Not only are you completely safe, but you can slow down time, control your fall and float gently to the ground. Having done this lucidly at 10,000 feet, lucid dreamers have reported feeling much better about their fear of heights in the waking world. As clinical psychiatrist J Timothy Green reported in his article on lucid dreaming and Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, dealing with a worst case scenario in a positive way creates new neural patterns in your unconscious mind to help overcome the fear for good.
When we lose loved ones, we have the sense that there is some unfinished business. Whether the death comes suddenly without warning, or slowly and predictably, we would all take that opportunity to have another hour with the deceased. Lucid dreams of the dead may offer a psychological therapy for the surviving individual. They provide a capacity for grieving and healing, even if you take the view that the deceased are not actually visiting you and it's just a part of your own psyche playing the role. Lucid dreams offer us the closure we need to overcome our grief and move on with our lives.
Conscious dreaming is an exceptionally powerful way to improve your creativity. In fact, some of the most beautiful music I ever heard took place in my lucid dreams. They reveal our most creative side because of the free-flow of ideas arising from the unconscious mind. To seek creativity in your lucid dreams, I've found there are two pretty effective methods: either shout out to the dream to show you a particular form of inspiration. Or, actively visit a place of inspiration, such as a painter exploring an art gallery of the future, or a musician listening to their favorite composer.
The lucid dream world is made up of many alternate realities. Every time you wake up in a new dream scene, you will find strange goings on and new landscapes to explore. They are all completely tangible and life-like. Just like science fiction, you can teleport to parallel worlds, explore different timelines, visit alien planets and travel to the tenth dimension. This is a thrilling proposition that enables you to explore the nature of the physical universe, as your vast unconscious mind sees it. You can even induce an out of body experience (OBE) in a lucid dream and explore the so-called astral realm.
The more you probe the possibilities of lucidity, the more wonderful applications that emerge.
The trick is to not limit yourself with self criticisms or judgments and see where the horizon takes you. No lucid dream is wasted.
The dreamscape and your waking ego are interconnected, enabling you to use this playground for profound personal growth and insights.
I love the sheer freedom created by lucidity; how it enables me to fly high like a bird without fear of falling, or run through solid objects. I can visit anyone and do anything I want.
And beyond the novelty of wish fulfillment, it provides me with a direct channel to both the awareness behind the dream and my unconscious self, enabling me to heal past fears and anxieties and regard myself in a whole new light. It's mind-blowing stuff.
Like anything worth doing, learning to lucid dream is not necessarily easy. But with practice and patience, anyone can do it. If you are new to this concept, just by reading this article you have already planted the seeds of lucidity.
If we're completely honest, lucid dreaming isn't really known for being the most social of interests. In fact, often it's a lone pursuit - just you, your dream journal and the landscape of your mind. But this technique called PAL (or Partner Assisted Lucidity) breaks down that wall and turns lucid dream exploration into a social event.
Members of our lucid dream forum have been asking how to create dream characters in lucid dreams. The most common problem is having characters who look nothing like they should. Or they seem disinterested in your company. Or they fail to show up on command altogether. So, how to combat this? It's a matter of finding creative solutions that bypass logical expectations.
To lucid dream, I recommend being able to remember at least one vivid dream per night. That will boost your self awareness in dreams (making lucidity more likely) and also means you can actually remember your lucid dreams. Which is nice. Here are four detailed tips on how to remember your dreams more frequently. And if you don't think you dream at all - trust me, you almost certainly do. It takes an extraordinarily rare sleep disorder to deprive someone of dream sleep.
It is estimated that these wise and wily Indians have been using mugwort in their healing and ritual practices for 13,000 years, where it is known as the ‘dream sage’. They use the herb to promote good dreams, which they consider an essential aspect of normal human functioning! But that’s not all...
Silene Capensis has been used for millennia by the Xhosa shaman of the river valleys in the eastern cape of South Africa, where it is known as Undela Ziimhlophe or 'white paths'. It's fragrant white flowers open only at night, when they emit a fragrant and almost hypnotising aroma. Also known as African Dream Herb or Ubulawu, Silene Capensis induces spectacularly vivid dreams - yet has never entered the mainstream and remains a fringe taste within western culture.
Experts agree that everyone is capable of having lucid dreams. Dreaming itself is a normal function of the mind. We all dream every night, even if we don't remember. And we all achieve conscious awareness while awake every single day. So what does it mean to combine these states? Why, the amazing ability to have conscious - or lucid - dreams. Sounds simple, doesn't it? So why do I keep hearing from people who say they can't achieve their first lucid dream?