Lucidity exists on a spectrum.
Sure, you can say that a person is either lucid dreaming or not. If you have any awareness that your reality is a dream, or any level of conscious control, or both - then you're lucid.
But there is a scale of increasing lucidity to be defined. And the level of your lucidity has a major impact on:
The following are my own unofficial classifications of lucidity in dreams.
For most people, this is the default dream state.
You are totally unaware that you are dreaming and you accept the dream as reality.
It may be hazy and illogical, or vivid and highly evocative. Either way, when you have no conscious awareness or control of your dream, you are not lucid.
Non-lucid dreams are created entirely by the unconscious mind. They are based on memories, experiences, fears and desires, illustrated by your unconscious conceptual understanding of reality.
This is the lowest level of lucidity, most common in beginners.
A semi-lucid dream is almost always the result of a Dream Induced Lucid Dream (DILD). You're dreaming of being on a first date with a giant, gregarious gerbil when you suddenly realize you're dreaming. The world snaps into focus.
Perhaps for the first time ever, you exist consciously in a new reality. This is not like wakefulness. This is really, really alien. It's hard to focus.
You say out loud, "I'm dreaming!" You ditch the gerbil and attempt to take flight. But nothing happens. The gerbil sniggers. You try again. Gravity resists.
Something is blocking your conscious will from affecting the dream world. But what?
You're wandering around the dreamscape, half aware that you're dreaming, but also overpowered by the realistic and yet inconsistent nature of the dream.
That thin strand of conscious awareness is hard to hold on to.
A lion sneaks by. So does Angelina Jolie. Hey, what? A mailbox.
You forgot you were dreaming. Lucidity is lost.
The solution to this semi-lucid limbo? Take the time to maximize your conscious awareness the moment you become lucid. It will affect the entire outcome of your dream.
The good news is, as you heighten your lucidity, you will become more observant of your dreamworld and the rules at play.
The part of your conscious brain that is responsible for shaping and influencing the dream will start writing a new rule book.
Soon you will be able to soar above the clouds, run through solid objects and create entire new dream scenes.
RELATED: How to Control Your Dreams
To enjoy a fully lucid dream, you need a little more practice at lucidity. That's my experience anyway.
Don't get me wrong - my early lucid dreams were highly exhilarating. But in no way did I have control of my dreams (at least, as much as I wanted at the time).
First I had to get to grips with staying lucid for more than ten seconds. This is actually the really easy bit when you know now.
Next, it was a challenge to control my immediate environment.
It finally struck me that all of this becomes so much easier when you become fully lucid. To heighten the intensity of your conscious awareness as a priority.
Then you can start controlling stuff.
A fully lucid dream means having no doubt whatsoever that you are in the mental construct of the dreamworld.
You understand profoundly that everything you see and feel is the creation of your own mind, and that you can manipulate any element at will.
It follows, through flawless logic, that in this fake reality you can teleport across the universe at the speed of thought or morph yourself into a tiger.
But lucid dreaming is not just about dream control. Anyone who has ever experienced a lucid dream knows that. It is about having conscious awareness of the dream state, which is often even more intense than waking reality, in its own way.
You can float above the city and observe hundreds and thousands of dream characters in the streets below, going about their business.
You can passively observe the dream while allowing complex plots to unravel on their own, while still playing a central character.
This is the real beauty of lucid dreaming. It is your gateway to an alternate reality world where you can exist in a far richer context.
As far as Tibetan Buddhism goes, there's an even higher level of lucidity which passes beyond the dreamstate.
The ultimate goal in Tibetan dream yoga is to attain a fully lucid dream -- then dissolve the dream.
That doesn't mean waking up. It means moving past the visual imagery, the tactile stimulus, the sounds and smells and tastes of the dream.
Deprived of any physical or conceptual dream sensory data, yet fully lucid and consciously aware, it's possible to experience the purest form of conscious awareness.
That sounds like an excellent goal for any lucid dreamer...
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Books are a powerful way to increase our understanding and generate new perspectives. Good books are immersive and profound: they can change the way we live our lives. In teaching us new lessons, stripping away fallacies and inspiring independent thought, the following books on lucid dreaming are bestsellers for a reason - they are groundbreaking and thought-provoking reads to expand your awareness and develop your lucid dreaming skills.
Galantamine is best known for its ability to improve memory and provoke intense lucid dreams. Research by Dr Stephen LaBerge has found that taking galantamine intensifies your dreams on many levels, including cognition, lucidity, recall, control, bizarreness and visual vividness. If you want to boost your dream life, and maybe prompt some lucid dreams, it's worth taking the occasional galantamine supplement.
Why write a book about how to "hack" sleep? Well, I've suffered from sleep issues throughout my entire adult life. Sleep was such a tough thing to figure out. It didn't respond to willpower. I could beg and cry and kick and scream to myself to fall asleep, but my body would not listen. Finally, I realized that enough was enough and that I was going to fix this very important area of my life for good, or at least do my best to try. I spent nearly one year constructing a system to improve the quality of my sleep.
Humans are unique in our endless capacity for imagination. According to Steven Mithen, an anthropologist at the University of Reading in the UK, we needed to evolve seven critical mental skills before we could have imagination as we know it. Each of these abilities serve a distinct purpose in their own right, while imagination is the culmination of them all.
This dream starts out pretty violent but then suddenly goes all profound on me. I'm having a nightmare in which a thin, gray-faced man is trying to kill me. I become lucid and battle him with ease, firing shots of lighting out of my hands and hitting him in the chest. He falls to his knees and I lock him in a gated prison using only my mind. But then my lucid dream evolves into a lucid nightmare. Another villain, who looks like Krang (or Krang's body at least) from that delightful cartoon about giant mutant turtles, frees the gray man using his telepathic powers. I am no match for him.
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?