The concept was popularized in Inception, where lucid dreamers could link up via technology and roam around the unconscious of a single dreamer.
But what's the basis for mutual dreaming in the real world?
In reality, mutual dreaming is very unlikely to exist - although we may, one day, develop technology to allow us to share "dreams".
This doesn't mean people can't share what seem like mutual dreams. The most commonly reported type is known as a meshing dream.
"Meshing" refers to different dreams which share certain elements.
For instance, you and your partner may both watch Lost together and then both of you dream about being stranded on an island.
Understandably, your shared waking experience leads to similar dreams. Even Freudian dream analysis offers an explanation for this kind of coincidence.
The other notion of shared dream is that of a meeting dream.
A meeting dream is the true meaning of mutual dreaming, where two or more people meet up and communicate inside the dream world.
But how would mutual dreaming be possible?
The definition implies one of at least two paranormal explanations: that we have the capacity for telepathy in dreams - or the dream world itself is an external construct, an alternate reality that could stem from an artificial simulation or other shared astral realm.
Dr Stephan LaBerge of The Lucidity Institute believes that mutual dreaming experiments in the lab can test the objective reality of shared dream worlds. That means that group dreaming can be used to prove whether the dream world is a genuine alternate reality or not.
Numerous group dreaming experiments and anecdotes have been published over the years.
To learn about some of these cases in detail, check out Group Dreaming: Dreams to the Tenth Power by Jean Campbell. In this book, Campbell traces the history of group dreaming experiments and how harnessing the power of mutual dreams would change our world today.
You can also take part in Dr Rory Mac Sweeneys ongoing Mutual Dream Experiment, in which dreamers are asked to select a "dream password" and attempt to exchange it with another dreamer on a specific night. Passwords are then matched online and dream content exchanged to further validate the match.
Let's look at some mutual dream experiments you can try in a non-lucid or lucid dream state.
Find a meshing dream partner willing to try this experiment. Choose an activity to do together during the waking day. Maybe go to a sports event, go hiking in the countryside, go to the zoo, or watch a movie.
Before you go to sleep that night, discuss your memorable experience with your meshing dream partner. Talk about elements that you found most interesting and set a clear intention to dream about your shared experience.
Ideally, you'll dream about your waking experience, or a closely related theme. If you become lucid, all the better. Seek out your meshing partner in the dream and have a lucid conversation with them. When you wake up, write down all the details of the dream, including the time you think it happened.
Compare notes with your partner and see how many dream symbols you can match. Don't influence each other's dream reports or change your recollection to fit their story. If you both report a dream conversation, pay particular attention to the details. This would be a nice example of a pre-arranged meshing dream.
There is nothing paranormal about this experiment, it is essentially a form of dream incubation. It's a pretty good demonstration of how our thoughts and experiences influence our dreams - even more so when these are compelling or novel experiences.
Find a meeting dream partner. If you have friends who lucid dream, invite them to try this experiment with you. Or you can seek out out others at our lucid dreaming forum. The goal is to have a lucid dream at the same time, on the same date, and both remember to enact the meet-up.
Select a location to meet up in. If you both live locally, you might choose a familiar place, like a park or town center. Otherwise choose a famous meeting spot, like Stone Henge or the Eiffel Tower. Make sure you know your destination in detail so you both have the same location to meet in mind.
If you do both visit the same location in your lucid dream, it could simply be a meshing dream - a coincidence - so you need to go one step further by having an unpredicted conversation. Share something you've never told them before, or make up a code-word on the spot.
By reporting the same unique conversation, you would generate anecdotal evidence for mutual dreaming that could warrant further investigation.
When you're exploring a paranormal phenomenon such as mutual dreaming, remember to record as much data as you can and to be objective.
This means trying to rationalize events as much as you can before jumping to conclusions. It's all too easy to trick ourselves into false beliefs, which may be much more exciting than writing off results as coincidence. But that does not lead us to greater truth.
One of the brilliant things about lucid dreaming is that it enables us to explore the dreaming mind in a way no other research method can. I urge all lucid dreamers to help science gain a greater understanding of the human mind, including the possible existence of mental phenomena like mutual dreaming.
Lucid dreams are a life-changing opportunity for all of us. If you want to learn how to have lucid dreams, this section gives a flavor of the mindset and the techniques you'll learn. I'll be absolutely up front with you. If you're going to learn how to have lucid dreams, you need to inject three things in your life starting today. Time: it takes time to learn a new skill like lucid dreaming. For instance, time to record your dreams each morning. Time to meditate and incubate a self-aware mindset. Time to perform a pre-sleep lucidity routine.
It's the most frustrating thing about lucid dreaming. You finally realize you're dreaming, get excited about the infinite possibilities... and immediately wake up. What's the point of all this lucid dream training if the experience only lasts a few seconds? How much more effort is it going to take to learn how to prolong your lucid dreams? The answer is: none at all.
Learning to have lucid dreams -- it's fun, intensive, frustrating, euphoric, bizarre, daunting -- yet ultimately, lucid dreaming is a hugely rewarding and life changing experience. Learning how to lucid dream is like any other skill that you develop over time. There is no magic secret. But there are a number of tried-and-tested methods that you can employ. Below I've listed a number of those techniques to get you started. Happy dreaming...
This week I was the recipient of a ten-year anniversary gift from Pete (meaning I opened a package with his name on it and was all "Hey cool! Is this for me?!"). The gift was a set of AcousticSheep SleepPhones - wireless headphones embedded in a plush headband which receives audio from your nearest device. The main reason he got this for me was to listen to music and podcasts more comfortably in bed. It's also a top selling product among joggers, air travelers, the partners of snorers, and insomniacs. AcousticSheep SleepPhones have applications in entertainment, leisure, sport and sleep therapy.
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>
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?