Meditation and the resulting mindfulness goes hand-in-hand with many lucid dreaming practices.
For instance, the act of meditation forms part of the Mnemonic Induction of Lucid Dream (MILD) and Wake Induced Lucid Dream (WILD) techniques, and is great for improving in-dream skills like visualization (for changing the scenery) and inducing focused states of awareness (for prolonging your lucid dreams).
Scientific studies back this up, revealing direct links between meditation and lucid dreaming. Both practices involve higher states of awareness (up to the gamma band or 40 Hz) and help you to become more habitually focused, self aware and reflective. Both improve your dream recall, visualization skills and your ability to become lucid automatically, so that even a simple breathing meditation practiced daily will help you achieve profound relaxation and increase your chances of having lucid dreams.
People also meditate for all-round quality of life improvements such as:
Indeed, the process of a focused meditation - such as putting all your mental energy into achieving one specific goal - can help you achieve personal success in any area of your life.
People have been entering a meditative state of mind for more than 5,000 years. It is a component of almost every religion. But that does not mean you have to be religious in order to meditate.
The science of meditating stems from psychophysiology - a branch of psychology which studies the effect of the mind on the body. In order to meditate for lucid dreaming, you must develop two opposite skills:
But don't worry, you don't have to give up your busy lifestyle or become a Buddhist Monk to be good at meditation. I will guide you through two simple routines here: Breathing (to calm the mind) and Guided Meditation (to focus the mind). Both can be very enjoyable experiences and you may even come to relish these states as your daily escape from the hustle and bustle of modern life.
You can perform these meditation exercises unaided, or with the help of brainwave entrainment. Check out these recommended brainwave entrainment audios for extra support.
Choose a quiet place. You can cross your legs (like a traditional Buddha) or sit in a chair. The key is to keep your back straight to stop your mind from becoming sleepy.
Allow your eyes to close naturally and focus on your breathing, without actually trying to control it. Breathe in and out through the nostrils and become aware of how the air feels as it enters and leaves your body.
At first, your mind will be full of jumbled thoughts and it may feel like things are getting busier. In fact, you are increasing your self awareness and noticing how many thoughts you really have. Avoid the temptation of following your thoughts as they occur. Stay focused on your breath going in and out of your nose.
If you realize your mind has wandered, bring it back. If you keep this up for 10-15 minutes, you will achieve a quiet state of mind. Your thoughts will be clear and lucid, like a calm lake that has not been disturbed for a long time. Remain in this state for as long as feels comfortable.
Aim to practice this breathing meditation every day. You can do it when you wake up or before you go to sleep if you prefer. But you will probably find most gain from taking time out from busy periods. This is also a great anxiety-buster: slow, deep breaths helps combat your body's adrenaline response when stress looms.
Choose a quiet place to meditate and sit comfortably. Focus on your breathing and allow your eyes to close naturally. You are about to increase your self awareness and mentally disassociate from your physical body.
Imagine that you are walking through a beautiful garden. It is natural and wild and never-ending. Feel the clean air entering your lungs, and observe the tranquil environment around you.
The aim is to use your visualization skills to increase your awareness of this imaginary landscape while letting go of lingering everyday thoughts and anxieties. Listen intently to the peaceful silence. You may start to hear birdsong or the rhythmic sound of raindrops. The stronger the mental imagery, the better.
Feel the texture of the grass under your bare feet. Stop to touch the flowers and feel the warm air circulating around you. Make every movement slow and deliberate. Take as long as you like to explore your tranquil garden.
It may help you focus if you continue walking at all times, so that the scenery is forever changing. Moving down a gentle slope in your garden will mirror the action of your consciousness going deeper.
On average it takes about 15 minutes to enter a deep trance-like state, with little awareness of your physical body. Remain there as long as you want - there is no time limit on your meditation experience.
Finally, gently rouse yourself from the trance by counting backwards from five to one, taking deep breaths as you do. Give yourself a few moments to acclimatize before you open your eyes in this reality.
These self guided exercises are great for increasing self awareness and allowing your mind to focus without everyday distractions. You may change the scenery every time you practice the guided routine - make up your own inner worlds - as long as they promote calm relaxation and vivid mental imagery.
You can find more tutorials on meditation for lucid dreaming in my home study program, the Lucid Dreaming Fast Track. In 30 detailed tutorials, I'll show you exactly how to meditate and perform guided visualizations for creating lucid dreams on demand.
The program also includes bonus audio materials such as the Lucid Dreaming Hypnosis sessions and the unique BlissCoded Sound brainwave entrainment experience.
Here's a good question. If a lucid dream is any dream in which you know you're dreaming, then why aren't we always lucid in dreams? Why doesn't it just become the default state of dreaming? Why do we accept our dreams of flying pigs and dinosaurs as an extension of waking life? What is the mechanism for defaulting to non-lucid dreams? Intriguingly, scientists have approached this question from three different angles./p>
What do blind people dream about? Can they "see" in their dreams? Take a look at scientific studies into the dreams of the blind, colorblind, and black-and-white dreamers. In 1999, dream researchers at the University of Hartford analyzed 372 dreams of 15 blind people. They found that both the congenitally blind and those who went blind before five years old did not have any visual dreams at all. That's because our dreams are made up of real world experiences and our innermost thoughts, anxieties and desires. So for someone who has never perceived images or light (or can't remember any) their dreams simply can't manifest visually.
Not long ago, scientists at Frankfurt University discovered how to produce lucid dreams with electronic stimulation. It was a world first. And - astonishingly - it worked in non-lucid dreamers 77% of the time. Now you can buy the same technology for yourself. The foc.us V2 - which delivers the proven optimum 40 Hz transcranial alternating current stimulation (tACS) - was originally developed to increase working memory in video gamers and improve sleep.
As technology continues to move us towards more immersive dreamlike experiences, one can only wonder what digital wonders lay just beyond the horizon of tomorrow. We may also question just how the future of virtual reality will impact the study and practice of lucid dreaming. Are we, perhaps, the last generation to whom lucid dreaming will maintain an appeal?
Jeremiah Morelli is a whimsical fantasy artist and visual storyteller. He places conceptual fairytale creatures in vivid dreamscapes to capture the imagination. He's also a school teacher, and amazingly finds the time and motivation to create this huge gallery of artwork. Such light and dark fairytale paintings make beautiful places to visit in your lucid dreams.
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?