I'm looking to define the specific types of dreams I'm having. I call them "beyond a lucid dream" or "a second reality" or "the Matrix". In my dreams, I possess all 5 of my senses, and there's a very small chance that what happens in the dream will physically affect me. Yet I have no ability to control the dream outside of normal interactions as if it were the real world. I'm sure it isn't sleepwalking. Is there a specific name for these kinds of dreams, or do I possess some kind of unusual power?
Rebecca says: Great question. This is one of those weird things that happen on the sleep-wake border (and when you're lucid dreaming, you're much closer to that border than usual, because you are highly conscious).
These are lucid dreams, I believe, because you possess all five senses and have heightened self-awareness. You don't have to be in full control of a dream to call it a lucid dream. In fact, the word "lucid" just means clarity - ie of the senses. It doesn't imply dream control, that's just the most appealing nature of lucid dreaming for beginners; the novelty of being able to do anything. (It IS a novelty, and there is much more to explore beyond this, when you starting going deeper, and letting the dream show you things you could never create consciously.)
Sometimes when I do something in a lucid dream, my physical body does it too. Like you say, it's not sleepwalking (the movements are too small, and anyway, most sleepwalking occurs in the non-dreaming or non-REM stages of sleep).
For instance, if I close and then re-open my eyes in a lucid dream, I do the same in real life. Sometimes this causes me to wake up altogether, or sometimes I can see into my bedroom for a few seconds then close my eyes again and be back in the lucid dream. I am vaguely aware that my body is paralyzed at this point - if the sleep paralysis wears off, I usually wake up.
I've also had larger non-lucid dream movements affecting my physical body. When I was a teenager I worked on a supermarket checkout. Whenever I was stressed, I had these endless semi-conscious nightmares where I did the repetitive movement of scanning endless items of food on the checkout. Eventually I woke up to see I had been doing the same movements in my bed.
It also works the other way around too - where you incorporate external sensory information into your dream. For instance, if I wear a lucid dream mask to sleep, I end up dreaming that I'm wearing it. My first cue to become lucid is "Hang on, why can I see through this mask? I must be dreaming!" (For the record, I'm not really an advocate of lucid dream masks as there are cheaper and easier ways to have lucid dreams. But I did experiment with a lot of different tools and techniques to make this website, including lucid dream trigger masks.)
Anyway I hope that answers your question. There is a complex relationship between the brain and body during sleep; each speaking their own language and working off cues from the other. Sometimes things get mixed up, and the brain processes signals as if we're awake. This is most common when lucid dreaming, but nothing to be afraid of or worry about.
If we're completely honest, lucid dreaming isn't really known for being the most social of interests. In fact, often it's a lone pursuit - just you, your dream journal and the landscape of your mind. But this technique called PAL (or Partner Assisted Lucidity) breaks down that wall and turns lucid dream exploration into a social event.
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.
It is estimated that these wise and wily Indians have been using mugwort in their healing and ritual practices for 13,000 years, where it is known as the ‘dream sage’. They use the herb to promote good dreams, which they consider an essential aspect of normal human functioning! But that’s not all...
Silene Capensis has been used for millennia by the Xhosa shaman of the river valleys in the eastern cape of South Africa, where it is known as Undela Ziimhlophe or 'white paths'. It's fragrant white flowers open only at night, when they emit a fragrant and almost hypnotising aroma. Also known as African Dream Herb or Ubulawu, Silene Capensis induces spectacularly vivid dreams - yet has never entered the mainstream and remains a fringe taste within western culture.
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?