The above passage is from a book that explains the essence of lucid dreaming. Learning to dream lucidly opens up a fantastic world full of adventure and spectacle. But what exactly is that lucid dreaming?
In short, lucid dreaming is knowing that you are dreaming while you are dreaming. To some people this sounds impossible, but many have dealt with this at some point and will recognize it. The great thing is that you can train yourself in it, as explained below. The moment you realize during your dream that you are dreaming, you are literally the director of your own film. Almost anything is possible! Sex with unattainable love and acting against the laws of nature - such as flying or breathing underwater - are among the top 10 most common activities during a lucid dream.
During the course Sports Psychology I learned, among other things, that it pays to do certain exercises in your head. The body appears to a certain extent, as it were, 'by training' by just thinking about training. This is wonderful, of course, but it would be even better if we could repeat or even expand our exercises during our sleep, where the experience is often more realistic than in our thoughts. I do not know whether research has been done on this, but I can imagine that this has a positive effect on the training.
How can you learn lucid dreaming?
Everyone dreams. There will be people who will not remember their dreams at dawn, but they will also dream. And anyone who dreams can basically learn to dream lucidly. All it takes is a pen, paper and some persistence. The steps are as follows:
Step 1. Write down dreams
To learn to dream lucidly, it is first of all important that you recognize your dreams. And to recognize them, you have to memorize them. With a pen and paper (notebook or similar) on the bedside table, the first thing you do when you wake up in the morning is to write down your dreams. It is important that this happens as soon as possible, because within half an hour of being awake, you will often have forgotten the complete dream.
If you have trouble remembering your dream, you can try to lie down with your eyes closed and let your thoughts go a little bit. Often a dream image then slowly but surely returns. Unfortunately, it often takes some discipline when you just wake up to encourage yourself to do a fairly difficult act like writing. On the other hand, it can be very funny to read this again later; firstly, the handwriting is difficult to read and secondly, the sentences are sometimes incorrect.
Step 2. Recognize the patterns
It turns out that there are certain patterns to be found in a person's dreams. When you have written down your dreams, you will discover recurring elements over time. These can be characters or events, but also locations or combinations of these things. Many dreams are also characterized by their absurd events such as talking pets or appearing without clothes at work. Recognizing such patterns and events makes it easier to recognize them while you are asleep.
Step 3. Strengthen lucidity
What if it works? The first few times during your dream that you suspect that it is a dream, it is difficult to hold onto your dream. You are, as it were, startled by your discovery, and so hard that it wakes you up. That is unfortunate, but a sign that you are heading in the right direction! It seems that in your dream spinning or rubbing your hands works to keep your attention on the dream.
What can also happen is that you are not sure whether you are dreaming. In that case there are a lot of 'reality tests' that you can perform. Below are a number of them, choose your favorite yourself:
- Light switches never work in a dream. Just try it, and you will see that the light intensity changes only a little bit.
- Clocks also work badly. Sometimes you can read the time from it, but if you then look away and try again, you will see that something completely different is written.
- Mirrors are not there or do not work as they should.
- If you walk from room A to room B in a dream and then walk back through the same door again, you will never end up in room A again.
- You cannot remember in your dream what you did 10 minutes ago.
- You can walk through the wall in a dream. Or easier to try: you can pass one hand through the other.
- You can run without getting tired (that would be something; getting tired in your sleep!).
- It is difficult to read anything in your dream, and what you are trying to read is also constantly changing (and often in total nonsense).
And if that succeeds, you know for sure that you are dreaming and you also stay in your dream, then you can basically do anything you want. This does take some practice. A friend of mine recently said that he dreamed every night for a week that he could fly, and at the end of the week it was a lot easier and faster than at the beginning!
Dreaming happens during REM sleep, the period in sleep when the eyes blink violently. The existence of lucid dreaming has been scientifically proven. There is even a method to communicate with the real world in an abstract way during sleep, namely through eye movements.
Book: Exploring the world of Lucid Dreaming (Stephen LaBerge)
Wikipedia: Lucid Dream
Frontier Science: Lucid Dreaming: A Quick Guide
Article in Quest: How do lucid dreams work?