Every year on April 12th, lucid dreamers around the world unite to celebrate the annual Lucid Dreaming Day.
This exciting opportunity provides a platform for passionate lucid dreamers to meet other oneironauts, take part in dream challenges, win prizes, hear from the experts and introduce the uninitiated to the wonders of dream exploration.
The event is a collaboration of lucid dream experts and researchers which is hosted online - so turn up in your pajamas and join the celebrations!
Join me now in considering the scientific roots of lucid dreaming that make April 12th such a landmark date. Plus, find out how your support of this artistic, entertaining, therapeutic and philosophical tool can benefit oneironauts around the world for generations to come.
Lucid Dreaming Day falls on the historic date of April 12th when, in 1975, lucid dreaming was first scientifically proven by Dr Keith Hearne.
For it was Hearne who first demonstrated a method by which we can communicate to the waking world during a lucid dream.
He exploited the nature of Rapid Eye Movements (REM) to have an experienced lucid dreamer called Alan Worsley perform a pre-defined set of eye movements during his lucid dream.
After a false start (in which Worsley performed the routine but the recording equipment had been shut down for the night), Hearne successfully recorded Worsley's smooth and deliberate eye movements on an electro-oculogram (EOG) at around 8am on the morning of April 12th, 1975:
Hearne's EOG experiment was formally recognized through publication in the journal for The Society for Psychical Research. Unfortunately, this fell short of the required reading material for most relevant experts and his work went widely unknown.
A few years later, in 1983, Dr Stephen LaBerge performed another ocular signaling experiment at Stanford University. He went on to forge a lifelong career in the field of lucid dream research and is a widely known expert on the subject, often credited for being the first to scientifically verify lucid dreaming.
The media fell in love with the romantic idea of lucid dreaming being a real phenomenon and today it frequently hits the headlines - curiously, in both science and paranormal media streams.
Clearly, both Hearne and LaBerge have played significant roles in this field and it's important that we recognize both of their contributions over the years. But on April 12th, we'll remember the Neil Armstrong of lucid dreaming: the humble shop worker, Alan Worsley, and his landmark eye movement signals to Dr Keith Hearne working through the night in his sleep research lab.
Increasingly, "lucid dreaming" is becoming a household term.
To keep raising awareness of lucid dreaming as a regular nocturnal pastime means that more students of tomorrow will:
Not only will greater interest lead directly to new developments in our lucid dream technology (from induction devices, to dream playback machines, and even experiencing shared dreams one day)... it will also afford us huge opportunities to better ourselves as individuals and mankind as a whole.
I believe that if every human being were to start harnessing the power of lucid dreams then our culture, art, technology, medicine, science and beliefs would quickly evolve in a whole new direction. The human race would be enriched as a result, both individually and universally.
That certainly gives us something to strive for on Lucid Dreaming Day.
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For centuries, Tibetan Buddhists have been working on waking up in their dreams, so that they can "wake up" at the moment of their death. They also believe that whatever cultural assumptions you have during life will become true upon death. Can lucid dreaming prepare us for the dying process? What might happen at the actual moment of death? Why are we scared of death and how might bodiless lucid experiences help to reduce our fear? In this interview, Dr Clare Johnson and Dr Keith Hearne dive into the lucid void, Tibetan Buddhism, and lucid dreaming as an emotional and spiritual preparation for death.
Does this face look familiar? It should. This is the result of image averaging - a technique in which multiple headshots are averaged out into a single face. In this case, our composite guy was generated by psychology student and photography enthusiast, Bill Lytton. Lytton averaged out 32 attractive male celebrity faces. To avoid personal bias, he referred to Maxim's Hot 100 and other opinion polls. He also averaged out a bunch of unattractive male faces for comparison.
It's a myth that you could exhaust yourself having a great big run in a lucid dream. After all, your real muscles are paralyzed during sleep. Your body isn't really running or burning up energy. So why would you feel depleted? So, in terms of physical energy depletion, there's really no logic to this argument. But what about dreams being mentally or emotionally tiring? The best way to test this is to survey lucid dreamers themselves. Go ahead, take our poll. My intuitive response is no - and that's based on my 17 years of personal experience. Lucid dreams aren't tiring for me at all.
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?