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.
Have you ever seen a tiger in the clouds? How about Jesus in the gnarled bark of a tree - or Richard Dawkins in a coffee stain? This peculiar quirk of human psychology goes by the rather lovely sounding name of Pareidolia (say: pah-ray-doh-lee-a). Many great scientists have pondered the origins of this trait. The simplest explanation is an evolutionary one: being able to detect predatory faces and figures amid background noise gives you a greater chance of surivival.
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.
Virtual reality is upon us. Shipping of the Oculus Rift began in April 2016. Vive launched in June. And Playstation VR breaks loose in October. These mind-expanding technologies are bringing interactive virtual worlds to gamers everywhere. But did you know that you already possess a far superior form of biological virtual reality? It stretches all the way back to before the discovery of fire. To the the dawn of our species.
Chloe is a natural lucid dreamer. That's to say that all of her dreams are conscious (lucid), highly realistic and incredibly vivid. She can remember these dreams as far back as being a toddler. That level of mindfulness we regular folk strive to achieve in our dreams is always present in her nightly escapades. Her dreams, by default, are highly intense, profound and acutely self aware.
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?