Flying dreams can be the most uplifting, liberating and instantly gratifying lucid dreams there are. Every lucid dreamer has done it. If you're like me, you'll fly, float, soar, hover and glide every time you're lucid. It never gets old.
If you've never had such a flying dream before, here's a taste. It's a clip of flying scenes from the video game Just Cause 2, demonstrating visual and audio sensations you might aspire to in your lucid dreams.
Now it's helpful to understand that some people are complete naturals when it comes to launching and controlling their lucid flying dreams.
However, some of us need some pointers. That's because flying in lucid dreams is not necessarily easy for the uninitiated.
It's not your typical experience to be able to fly in reality - so when you try to shoot off in the dreamscape, your conscious brain kicks in with limitations: "You can't fly! What about gravity?!"
Even when gravity isn't your concern, you may find yourself getting tangled in power lines, bumping into rooftops, or failing to take off altogether. It's really frustrating.
But why do we sabotage our flights of fancy? Why can't we just let go and have fun with it? After all, we know we're in fantasy land...
The best way I can describe the mentality for having flying dreams is this. Remember in 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 the simulated world? No - his winning had nothing to do with muscle mass or speed or oxygen.
"You think that's air you're breathing?" Morpheus probed in their simulated do jo.
The lesson was this: Morpheus beat Neo because he truly believed he was better. And when it comes to lucid dreaming, it's exactly the same concept. You have to take control of your expectations. You have to truly believe you are a confident, experienced flyer. Then nothing can bring you down.
Some people, in their very first lucid dream, have all the confidence in the world to jump off a skyscraper and shoot over the city like Superman. Lucky buggers.
When I began lucid dreaming, my ability to fly was faltering at best. At worst, I simply couldn't even take off the ground. I felt ridiculous standing there willing myself to shoot into the sky... only for nothing to happen.
How do we get around this? What's the secret to flying dreams?
The simple answer is to learn to walk before you run. Or in this case, learn to hover before you fly.
Trying to control any aspect of your dream with only partial lucidity is a losing battle.
Your ego (and its desire to fly) is battling with your unconscious dreaming mind (and its own doubts about flying). So first you need to establish yourself as the pilot of this mission.
Do this by performing a reality check and affirming to yourself that you are dreaming. Do it several times.
Examine your surroundings, increase your conscious awareness of the dreamscape, and intensify all sensory input.
Now you're fully lucid and ready to go.
Begin your flight training by running and bouncing along the landscape. Allow yourself to do low-gravity jumps but always come back to the ground at the end of each one. That gives you a mental safety net.
Allow yourself to bounce higher and further, feeling how each movement is smooth and easy. There are never any sudden drops or thuds as you touch back down - in fact don't even think about this. Maintain optimism. Flying dreams should, after all, be uplifting and even euphoric affairs.
Your next lesson requires you to build on this confidence. In your lucid dream, stand on the ground and hover just a few inches in the air. Remind yourself that it's all a dream and nothing is real.
Feel how much control you have over your own movement. Then hover higher - a few feet up - and again make some precise movements. Hover forwards and backwards.
This all just reaffirms how good you are at hovering.
Now, hover straight up, higher and higher, until the buildings below look like little models. This is the real test of your control.
If you falter, remind yourself again that you are dreaming. Keep your lucidity level high.
For me, the absolute best training ground for super fast flying dreams is in space. Everyone knows that there is no gravity in space so you don't have to worry about falling.
You can zoom about all you like and learn what it is that controls your movement while floating, gliding or rocketing at incredible speeds. The only problem you may find is remembering which way is up...
The best way to get into space? Hover up high. Expect to pass through a cloud layer and suddenly emerge in space, floating among the twinkling stars, with the blue planet in full view below.
It's an amazing feeling when you get there.
One of our readers, Joseph Kemeny, kindly shared one of his lucid dreams about flying along with one of his surreal dream-inspired illustrations:
Thanks to Joseph for sharing his flying experience and his amazing dream art.
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?