Sleep is a normal part of life. The least we can do is make it interesting and and use that time to our advantage.
The state of being consciously aware while in a dream is a topic that is discussed virtually everywhere spirituality or psychic phenomena is involved. Yet, people seem to still be extremely vague on the idea of lucid dreaming, and more importantly it’s capabilities. I have been actively lucid dreaming for the better half of 6 years and have written various articles that are either floating around without my permission or have been lost amongst the various websites I use to administer.
What lucid dreaming is, isn’t a hard question to answer at all, it’s simply being consciously aware that you are dreaming while you are dreaming. The idea of lucid dreaming has been studied for hundreds of years and continues to be researched today. It’s one of the few topics that fall into the category of parapsychology that many can say is “proven.” It exists, and learning to acquire them isn’t all that difficult either.
Brief History of Lucid Dreaming
Lucid Dreaming is by no means a modern discovery. However, it has only been in recent decades that the phenomenon has actually gained modern attention. Despite this, the earliest known documentation making reference to Lucid Dreaming dates back to 415 A.D., in a letter written by a man known as St. Augustine. Within’ this letter, Augustine states that “Your body is asleep but in your brain your mind is bright and awake and awareness is now in your brains own created dream world.” This takes very little analysis to see that he is making references to the phenomenon we know today as Lucid Dreaming.
The Tibetans Buddhists are also very famous for their discoveries of Lucid Dreaming. Within the Tibetan Book of the Dead there was discussion of a system of Yoga to designed to maintain a full consciousness while in a dream state. Their understanding of dreams and the dream state is said to be so advanced it surpasses the understanding we have of them today.
During this same time period, in India similar practices began to develop. Various Tantric texts have been known to make reference to Lucid Dreaming, and mentions exercises of maintaining awareness while falling asleep. Other mentions to the phenomenon occurred by the Spanish Sufi, Ibn El-Arabi. A century later St. Thomas Aquinas mentioned it.
As time went on the knowledge of Lucid Dreaming’s possibility continued to grow. With this, came scientists who were willing and interested to investigate the phenomenon further. Marquis d’Hervey de Saint-Denys was one of the more popular of these scientists. Through his work, he published a book entitled “Dreams and How to Guide Them” in 1867, which subsequently led many others in the “modern” world to pursue the practice. He documented more than twenty years of his own research, and left a clear cut methodologies to get into the dream state yourself. The same principals he discussed are taught today. Those being to first learn dream recall, which will later lead do Lucid Dreaming.
Time continued to pass and eventually the phenomenon was discovered by a Dutch psychiatrist and dream researcher by the name of Frederik Willems Van Eeden. This is the gentlemen we owe the term “Lucid Dreaming” or rather “Lucid Dreams” to. He coined this term to explain the event of a dreamer being conscious of their dream, while they are dreaming. The word “lucid” directly translates into clear, easily understood, completely intelligible or comprehensible. So we can essentially say that lucid dreaming can also be called “clear dreaming” or “aware dreaming.”
Van Eeden found lucid dreaming at the forefront of his interest, even though he was interested in all areas of dreaming. His ideas of the phenomenon were first published in his fictional book “The Bride of Dreams.” Only later, in 1913 did he publish a scientific paper to Society for Psychical Research. Within this paper he reported on upwards of 352 of his own personal lucid dreams, of which he documented and collected between 1898 and 1912. This paper was very extensive, as he discussed eight different classifications, or categories of dreams and dreaming. Today, many of his ideas have been proven otherwise thanks to modern science. Despite this, this particular paper remains a key reference point to dreaming, both lucid and otherwise.
Lucid Dreaming has an extensive history, and some of which is distorted, lost, or we still don’t even know about. It’s hard to say how long this subject has been studied, but I can honestly say that is has probably been going on long before documented civilization. From the first written language and perhaps even before. Dreaming is something we has human beings experience, so dreaming lucidly, be that a known experience or a strange encounter for some, is a subject that I don’t think we could have avoided. Research continues to be done today, and with recent technologies being pointed at the possibility of recording full length dreams on digital screens, the level at which we will begin to unravel the mystery’s of dreaming is still unknown.
The Stages of Lucid Dreaming
There are various stages associated with Lucid Dreaming. As you begin to practice you will realize that even within these stages there are deeper stages. It’s almost as if you were peeling back the layers of an onion. Although, despite these smaller layers there are three major stages you will experience as you begin practicing to have a Lucid Dream.
Stage 1 – The first stage you will experience is dream recall. As you dream you may not notice you are dreaming at all, but upon waking you will remember more and more details about your experience while you were sleeping. This stage is the first and one of the most important stages. You probably won’t have too much success in lucidity until you first go through this stage.
Stage 2 – Stage 2 is where you actually experience lucidity in your dreams. This stage is that prime, optimum, and heart-felt stage we all seek in the beginning. Although within this stage you will realize that the work has just begun. There are levels of lucidity just as there are stages of the overall practice. Like the three main stages of Lucid Dreaming I’m discussing now, the actual stages of lucidity follow the same principal. There are three major stages people experience, but within those three stages are other layers we go through, and the extent at which you can develop your ability in Lucid Dreaming is only limited by the limitations you instill upon yourself.
Stage 3 – This is the stage that you actually begin moving forward within the realm of Lucid Dreaming. Many go off to experience things like Astral Projection, Out Of Body Experiences (OOBES), Dream Walking, Magic(k), etc… This is the limitless stage where self-discovery and exploration, along with spiritual development is at it’s peak. From this stage your perception on so many different things may change. It’s a truly wonderful experience.
Stages of Lucidty
1. First you will experience the essence of being aware that you are dreaming while you are dreaming. During this experience you may wake up, or just go through a situation where within your dream you go “hey, wait, that’s not right.” Upon waking you may go “hey, I KNEW that was a dream!” But you had no control of the events that were going on. It’s like watching a movie. You have no control over what happens in the movie yet you know it’s not real.
2. This stage is where you first begin to gain control over dreams. You fall into a dream state and instantly know your dreaming, or by some events you snap out of that unconsciousness and are forward into a conscious dream state. From here many experience very sporadic dreams. As you think, your dreams change, so you may experience several extremely odd situations within your dream, and in this stage you will still wake up from time to time. Many experience lucidity that fades in and out along their practice.
3. Stage three is when you have full grasp of your dreams. You can control them, and you begin to explore the many different things you can do within them. This is where the real fun begins because as you continue in this stage you not only remember your dreams to a point where your dream logs become pages of detail instead of paragraphs, but you understand your dreaming patterns. You will understand many of the odd things that may occur while in a Lucid Dream, and more importantly you can begin going deeper and deeper. Asking yourself questions, exploring old memories, etc… Because you are dreaming you are basically riding the waves of your subconscious. Due to this, you are able to practice self-hypnosis, practice different things, and so much more with a lot more ease. Some people find practicing sports, math, etc… a lot easier in this state, and in doing so your “real-world” success in those areas will improve.
How to Have Lucid Dreams
It is a fairly regular question, no doubt to the lack of interest or use seen in being consciously aware of your dreams, but why exactly would you want to pursue lucid dreaming? Besides the obvious part, it being cool to be conscious during a dream, and what I just mentioned, lucid dreaming can be used to your advantage in more ways than one. A few examples would be practicing something physical without the risk of getting injured, like gymnastics or martial arts, indulging into your own fantasies, and even Astral Projection. The possibilities of what you can do through or by means of a lucid dream are pretty much consistent with your creativity.
How to lucid dream is a lot easier done than said coincidentally, the reason that some people fail is due to patience on their part. As opposed to trying to sound overtly intelligent by elaborating on everything that doesn’t interest you I figure telling you how to do it, and how I’ve done it for so long is the better route. For those that disagree, there are hundreds of books and websites on the topic that I’m sure you can find with a simpleGoogle search.
The first thing I would recommend you doing if you are serious about lucid dreaming, or at least curious, is to begin writing a dream log. You should put the time, date, any emotional feelings upon waking, and more importantly the dream in complete detail down on paper. By detail I mean everything from the smells, sounds, colors, and even subtle feelings should be logged. If upon waking you are unable to actually remember anything, you should put the first part down, the date, time, etc… followed by “I chose not to remember my dreams.” Get into the habit of doing this every morning, and eventually you will see that each log will turn into pages as opposed to just a few sentences or paragraphs when you first start out.
This alone may induce lucid dreaming eventually, simply because you will notice patterns. I use to ride the metro bus home from school a few years back, and I had an experience where I was riding the bus home in a dream and noticed that we had skipped a few streets. In the dream I questioned it, thinking “hey wait, this isn’t right” and I instantly woke up. The more you log your dreams the better off and more likely you will be to actually induce a lucid dream.
There are a lot of other methods out there floating around used to lucid dream. One of which involves concentrating on one particular thing while you fall asleep, like the amount of fingers you have. The theory is that when you fall asleep this same habit will be repeated and possibly give you that light bulb moment. Honestly, I don’t understand why this method is even taught separately from the journaling method, no doubt do to laziness. It is said that it takes an average of 28 days to develop a habit. When it comes to lucid dreaming this is more so defined as your reality check. You pretty much practice regular activities every day on a regular basis, like checking the time, pinching yourself, counting your fingers, etc… This way, when you fall asleep that same habit will be repeated. I think it makes much more sense to teach it like that then to tell someone to count their toes while falling asleep. But to each their own.
Some other methods to induce a lucid dream are out there, like this apparent “dream pill,” but I would never recommend using drugs of any kind. There are some binaural beat things out there too, like Hemisync or the Brain Wave Generator. However I honestly feel that if you begin writing your dreams down you will have a lucid dream, it’s that easy. Just make it a habit and you will see results.
Lucid Dreaming is a truly amazing experience, and one I recommend everyone who is pursuing any spiritual path to divulge in. Over the years I eventually realized that through Lucid Dreaming I could break free into Astral Projection, yet was unable to do so regularly or effectively by other means. Without Lucid Dreaming I had a few very small Astral Projection/OOBE experiences, but I’ve had a lot more utilizing lucid dreaming.
How to do it is kind of difficult to explain. When you’re actually dreaming you can obviously make the environment to match your predisposed assumptions about an Astral Projection, which makes it hard to judge if you’re really successful or not. I personally kind of “will” myself out, but I’ve heard of others doing things like putting symbols or sigils on the walls of their dream location to “project” them outwards. I would advise you to experiment on your own.
As far as checking your success within regards to having an OOBE or Astral Projection, just look at yourself or look around the house. Upon waking check to see if what you saw was accurate. This seems to be the most used method of checking on your Astral Projection/OOBE experiences. Just keep at it and I’m sure you will see for yourself why myself and so many others deeply enjoy Lucid Dreaming. Happy Dreaming!