WHAT IS LUCID DREAMING?

WHAT IS LUCID DREAMING? Lucid dreaming means dreaming while knowing that you are dreaming. The term was coined by Frederik van Eeden who used the word “lucid” in the sense of mental clarity. Lucidity usually begins in the midst of a dream when the dreamer realizes that the experience is not occurring in physical reality, but is a dream. Often this realization is triggered by the dreamer noticing some impossible or unlikely occurrence in the dream, such as flying or meeting the deceased. Sometimes people become lucid without noticing any particular clue in the dream; they just suddenly realize they are in a dream. A minority of lucid dreams (according to the research of LaBerge and colleagues, about 10 percent) are the result of returning to REM (dreaming) sleep directly from an awakening with unbroken reflective consciousness. Lucid dreaming is awareness of the fact that you are dreaming. This awareness can range from very faint recognition of the fact (which is often too brief and nebulous to be considered truly lucid) to something as momentous as a broadening of awareness beyond what has ever been experienced even in waking life. What a dreamer does with lucidity reflects personal tendencies and levels of skill attained usually through experience and practice. Although a lucid dreamer can influence the dream’s structure, characters, course, etc., it is not a given that a lucid dream is about what the dreamer wants it to be about. Seasoned lucid dreamers who are more often lucid than not will continue to encounter psychological and developmental challenges in the dreamscape. The agreeable and the distressing,the easy and difficult, beautiful and horrifying, are all occasioned much as they are in regular dreaming. But whereas a regular dream is filled with the convoluted subtleties of the subconscious mind enumerating its issues before a largely unconscious dreamer, a lucid dreamer has the opportunity to consciously explore at any level. Lucid dreams usually occur while a person is in the middle of a regular dream and suddenly realizes that he or she is dreaming. The person is then said to be “lucid”, and may enter one of many levels of lucidity. At the lowest level, the dreamer may be dimly aware that he or she is dreaming, but not think rationally enough to realize that events/people/actions in the dream are not real/pose no threat. At the highest level, the dreamer is fully aware that she or he is asleep, and can have complete control over his or her actions in the dream. However, with low mental control your decisions could be biased not by your opinion, but by your brain. You can control your dreams using the lucid dreaming methods that follow. The basic definition of lucid dreaming requires nothing more than becoming aware that you are dreaming. However, the quality of lucidity can vary greatly. When lucidity is at a high level, you are aware that everything experienced in the dream is occurring in your mind, that there is no real danger, and that you are asleep in bed and will awaken shortly. With low-level lucidity you may be aware to a certain extent that you are dreaming, perhaps enough to fly or alter what you are doing, but not enough to realize that the people are dream representations, or that you can suffer no physical damage, or that you are actually in bed. IS LUCID DREAMING THE SAME AS DREAM CONTROL? Lucidity is not synonymous with dream control. It is possible to be lucid and have little control over dream content, and conversely, to have a great deal of control without being explicitly aware that you are dreaming. However, becoming lucid in a dream is likely to increase the extent to which you can deliberately influence the course of events. Once lucid, dreamers usually choose to do something permitted only by the extraordinary freedom of the dream state, such as flying. You always have the choice of how much control you want to exert. For example, you could continue with whatever you were doing when you became lucid, with the added knowledge that you are dreaming. Or you could try to change everything–the dream scene, yourself, other dream characters. It is not always possible to perform “magic” in dreams, like changing one object into another or transforming scenes. A dreamer’s ability to succeed at this seems to depend a lot on the dreamer’s confidence. As Henry Ford said, “Believe you can, believe you can’t; either way, you’re right.” On the other hand, it appears there are some constraints on dream control that may be independent of belief.
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