“Lucid dreaming, quite simply, is the ability to be aware and conscious during a dream.”
Did you experience a dream that feels real? Lucid dreaming is a type of dream where you are aware that you are dreaming. You gain complete conscious awareness throughout your dream.
In a lucid dream, you will be able to recognize your emotions and thoughts throughout the dream. There are even times when you can control your lucid dream. This means you may change its storyline, the people in it, and the environment.
So if this is the first time you encountered this kind of dreaming or simply want to enhance your dream work practice further, this post is for you. We will explore every basic thing you may possibly want to know about lucid dreams.
Some of the things we are going to cover today are the following:
- What is it like to have a lucid dream?
- 5 Common Characteristics of Lucid Dreams
- Who Can Have Lucid Dreams?
- Different Styles of Inducing Lucid Dreams
- Are Lucid Dreams Real? What Science Tells Us
- The Benefits of Lucid Dreaming
- The Basics for Getting Started
- Other Frequently Asked Questions
WHAT IS IT LIKE TO HAVE A LUCID DREAM?
Lucid dreaming is sometimes known as active dreaming. In lucid dreams, you are not a passive individual where you merely observe the events in your dream. You are entirely active and may control the entire experience and the things you do.
In other dreams, you don’t usually play an active role in them, which determines their outcome. It’s a very different case in this type of dream.
As mentioned above, you are entirely aware that you are dreaming during a lucid dream experience. And when your subconscious is aware that you are having a dream, you can actively make decisions regarding what you do and what will occur.
Similar to every dream you have, what you may experience when lucid dreaming will depend on you. Similar to all dreams you have, your experience when lucid dreaming will depend mostly on you. Dreams are an individual thing and extremely personal. Hence, whatever experiences you have in your dreams are typically different things in comparison to other people.
WHY WOULD SOMEONE WANT TO DO THIS?
There are plenty of great reasons why you may want to understand lucid dreaming further. Personally, I started exploring it since it was naturally coming to me most of the time.
I shared my experiences about it with other people but most of them cannot grasp what I’m talking about. In fact, I even went as far as to talk about it with therapists, doctors, and therapists. However, the knowledge of these professionals about it was very little.
So I did my own research and discovered that lucid dreaming is a real thing. I’m not going crazy after all! I also realized that it is useful and can help me in many ways.
A lot of people out there may wish to experience a lucid dream just for the sake of it. Perhaps, you are like them and have always wanted to feel what it’s like to fly really high up in the air riding a magical dragon (see also dragon dream symbols) and view the world from a different perspective. Or maybe you wish you can fly a spaceship and go to the moon. Perhaps, you have always been interested in what it would feel like to live under the seas.
During a lucid dream, you may want to consider combining all kinds of fantasy elements simply as a way of expressing your personal creativity beyond the things possible in the real world. Although some people may see this as a way of escaping reality, some may argue that since you’re already sleeping every night, it’s best to just enjoy it.
Nevertheless, it’s important to note that lucid dreaming is not merely an escape from the physical world or just for fantasy. Sometimes, you can apply the skill so that you can become conscious and aware while you are asleep to explore your true feeling about a certain situation further and make decisions concerning your own life.
Furthermore, a lot of individuals utilize the active dream experience for conscious exploration and to improve themselves. Often, you can use the state of a lucid dream for practical things, including utilizing the time to search for ways on how you can make your physical waking life much better.
USING LUCID DREAMS FOR PRACTICAL APPLICATION IN REAL LIFE
It’s vital to keep in mind that even though some people may merely see it as something fun, most of these dreamers choose to utilize their lucid dream experience for practical purposes in their waking lives. You may want to deem this state of mind as a conscious playground, where you can try various new things and explore their results freely.
Take this example:
Say a new job opportunity comes your way recently. The job is a good one but the change it presents is also huge. If you decide to accept it, your life will change dramatically. Hence, you need to make a decision whether it’s a good idea to accept the position or not.
In this instance, one of the most practical ways to use a lucid dream is to experience a dream that will yourself a safe place where you can explore all the possibilities of taking in the job. You may explore various both the worst and best-case scenarios and live them all out.
You have all the freedom in your hands to experience the various likely results and outcomes in the dream world without having to face all long-term vital consequences in real world. After lucid dreaming, you be much more confident that you’ll be able to make the right decisions for your waking life.
This conscious playground presents a lot of different life aspects that you can explore, such as business and work. You may also use the space for personal matters, family, and relationships. Likewise, you can use it for spiritual development, healing, personal growth, and even use the time you spent here to aid you in learning new sets of skills
Remember that everything is all up to you, as well as the different things that you currently find interesting. All the things you may experience while you’re fast asleep is very personal. And the best part of a lucid dream is that everything is under your control.
THE 5 MAIN CHARACTERISTICS OF LUCID DREAMS
Now that you have a little understanding regarding the nature of this type of dream and the reason why you may have it, it’s time to learn how you can tell if what you’re having is a lucid dream or not.
If you think that what you had is a lucid dream, then it most probably is. I experienced lucid dreaming for many years when I was younger even before learning what they are or knowing that there are other people who have them as well.
Perhaps you are not aware of these types of dreams yet but you are curious about what it’s like to have one. There are some noticeable distinct characteristics when you become lucid during a dream.
Again, while the experience differs from one person to the next, these dreams share some common characteristics. Also, it is possible for some of these things to be a part of the majority of your experiences.
1. A FEELING OF BEING IN A DREAM WITHIN A DREAM
During my younger years, I often dream that I am dreaming where I am waking up from a dream. Then, I will realize that I was still asleep and dreaming.
From there, when I woke up in the dream, I pretty much was able to explore different kinds of things during my dream until finally, I would truly wake up in the physical world.
Have you ever had a dream about dreaming? If so, this is a good sign that you already possess the skill to lucid dream. You simply may need to practice a bit more so that you can learn how to control when it occurs or be able to cause certain kinds of experiences.
2. A FEELING OF COMPLETE CONTROL
You have complete control of a dream when you are entirely actively conscious. This means that you will be able to decide what you do and do not do.
While there are times your dreams will still include some surprising things that can happen, you will always be fully aware that you can change or stop it. You can even purposely wake yourself up at any point.
3. INTENSE FEELINGS & IMAGERY
Once you are in a lucid dream, everything you feel will likely be heightened. These dreams can sometimes be highly intense.
Usually, in our sleeping state, things may seem a bit muted or blurry when having a dream since we are not participating actively in it. But, once you shift your consciousness to become aware of your actions and feeling, the sensation you’ll have are very powerful.
Although lucid dreaming has no known side effects or dangers, some individuals do claim that the sensations are so real that it scares them at times. One example is a dream where you are sitting face to face with a snake, you may feel every physical sensation, such as fear.
4. ABILITY TO EXPERIENCE ALL 5 SENSES
In general, when you encounter a common release dream, you will not experience all five senses of sight, taste, smell, touch, and hearing.
Nevertheless, you may be able to notice further details with your senses with lucid dreaming as you normally would. You will entirely experience every same sensation you would feel in your physical waking life.
If you regularly spend some time practicing mindfulness in real life, you will notice that you are also growing a lot more attentive during your dreams.
5. EASIER DREAM RECALL
If in your dream you are fully conscious, it will be quite easy for you to notice details, as well as remember more of what event occurs. Furthermore, it’s quite easy to record your dreams since throughout the events of your dream, you are conscious.
You’ll have little to no effort fillip an entire page or even more of your notebook when writing down every detail. Remembering your dreams is extremely easy when you have this experience.
Often, you will be able to take into account every detail as well. In nature, lucid dreams are pretty much quite vivid. Therefore, you may likely see yourself writing down plenty of different things.
WHO IS ABLE TO HAVE LUCID DREAMS?
One of the most common misconceptions about lucid dreams is that you must possess some sort of natural ability or gift to do it. Nevertheless, this most clearly is not the case here.
To some degree, just about everyone can experience lucid dreaming. For example, the majority of people who have nightmares are able to become conscious of their dreams to stop the nightmare. Once you are lucid in your dream, you will soon realize that you have both power and control to influence what occurs.
Although some individuals can have these kinds of dreams without any preparation and very naturally, in most instances, those who are capable of bringing on a conscious awareness have had plenty of practice in interpreting and remembering dreams.
The majority of us have the capacity to lucid dream. However, at first, it may take some practice. Think of your consciousness similar to your muscle. So the more you grow it, the more natural it is to utilize it for various outcomes you want.
Most people who have an interest in lucid dreaming may have a lot of practice previously with dream work in general. For instance, they may already be keeping track of all of the dreaming activities they have in a dream journal. Perhaps, you are practicing different forms of meditation currently and have a keen interest in exploring your personal conscious boundaries.
UNDERSTANDING THE MAIN TYPES OF LUCID DREAMS
There are two main methods you can experience a lucid dream:
- Dream Induced Lucid Dreaming (DILD)
- Wake Induced Lucid Dreaming (WILD)
The way your dream begins and how it occurs is the main difference between dream-induced and wake-induced lucid dreaming
DREAM INDUCED LUCID DREAMS
In a Dream Induced Lucid Dream, you will fall asleep as normal, and then later your dream will begin just like with any other kind of dream. But at some point throughout the dream, you become consciously aware that you are dreaming.
Once you start to become self-aware in your dream, you will be able to control more about where you go and what you do during your dream.
These sorts of dreams can appear quite naturally and with almost little to no practice at all. I started having dream-induced lucid dreams even before I even understood what their meaning is. Or that other individuals experienced them as well, growing completely conscious and aware in a dream.
One of the ways to promote these types of dreams from happening more frequently is to practice simple reality checks. There are times in your dream where you will begin checking whether it is real or not. And once you become consciously aware that you are certainly in a dream, you become capable to control it more and have awareness of everything else.
This is a great way to start if you have never experienced lucid dreaming before. The reason for this is because it will certainly confirm to you that it is pretty much probable to become aware while you are in a dream state of consciousness.
WAKE INDUCED LUCID DREAMS
The beginning of Wake Induced Lucid Dreams is a little bit different. With these kinds of dreams, there is no need for you to fall asleep first.
Basically, you simply lay down, close your eyes, and go straight into a conscious dream state with full total awareness. The time you fall asleep and the time your dream starts have no lapse between them.
Most of the lucid dreams I have currently are wake-induced dreams. And actually, this is one of the means that help me fall asleep easily and quickly. What I do is simply lay down comfortably on my bed at night, draw in a few relaxing, deep breaths, and then make my way into a dream state of consciousness.
I don’t toss or turn ad lay awake at night worrying about things I simply close my eyes and begin dreaming.
ARE LUCID DREAMS REAL?
The obvious question you probably have once you begin pondering about everything is if being consciously awake during as actually possible. Surely, that is far from being real!
But it is truly real. In fact, even science has eventually started catching up to explain it to people who need to see with their own eyes research and reports as proof that these sorts of things do exist.
Although most of the science of dreams remains a mystery, there is plenty of encouraging study showing that a lot of us who constantly lucid dream is not simply crazy or with an overactive imagination.
A PROMISING STUDY FOR DECODING DREAMS
With the help of fMRI scanners and highly advanced machine-learning technology, the team at Advanced Telecommunications Research Institute International in Japan obtained some exciting results.
Published in 2013, neuroscientist Yukiyasu Kamitani led the study. It proposes that there is a relationship connecting how our brain processes similar information while we are dreaming and doing the same activity n our waking life.
Essentially, they have started the job of demonstrating that our brain reacts to specific stimuli exactly the same way. This is regardless of whether we experience it asleep during a dream or we see this object in our waking physical life.
Science still has plenty to catch up on before it can adequately explain and understand the secrets of consciousness and what occurs while we are dreaming. Nonetheless, it is always encouraging to see scientific research backing up what we, as dream journeyers, have always perceived to be true.
PERHAPS THE BEST PROOF? TRYING IT FOR YOURSELF
For a lot of individuals, the most straightforward approach to comprehend that lucid dreaming is real is to discover how to lucid dream. Likewise, it helps to begin having your own lucid dream experiences.
When you initially experience this kind of dream, you will most probably see yourself having them more and more frequently. Eventually, you will be able to go into a state of lucid dreaming easily and will.
There are also times when this ability happens naturally. But generally, you will need to have a bit more conscious effort so that you can at least be more aware of your dreams and how they work.
Some may think of me as someone who is a naturally-born lucid dreamer. Still, it is crucial to keep in mind that I study and record the dreams I had in my dream journal. And this dates as far back as I can remember being able to read and write.
So without a doubt, if you have a passionate interest in learning about dreams starting at an early age, it will play a huge factor. On the other hand, it just makes sense to have a bit more practice to gain experience if you just became interested in what dreams mean. Or if you want to apply your dreams in understanding your life better or in enhancing your well-being.
As with everything that concerns dreams and science, it is a good idea to keep the following words of wisdom from Albert Einstein in mind:
“If we knew what it was we were doing, it will not be called research, would it?” – Albert Einstein
The reality is, we may never truly know everything there is to know about dreaming. Also, the way our consciousness works still baffles scientists. Even they still have no clue about it.
While a huge part of me believes that time will come when we will have better knowledge and understanding of it, the possibility of us never knowing is more likely as well.
WHY LUCID DREAM? WHAT ARE THE BENEFITS?
It is both interesting and exciting to think that you will be able to control your dreams. However, you may also be asking yourself why is this so? What is the reason why you want to be able to lucid dream?
The reason why someone may want to develop this ability can vary from one person to the next. Still, there are several factors that make it a worthwhile thing to learn. With that in mind, here are the top reasons that make lucid dreaming enjoyable:
1. EASIER TO FALL ASLEEP
There are a lot of people who find it hard to turn off their brains at night time. Are you one of those who lay down on their beds to go to sleep, then after a few minutes, there are a million different things running through your head all at once? Practicing and learning how to wake-induced lucid dreaming can help you fall asleep much easier.
This type of lucid dream tends to provide our brains with something it can focus on. Hence, you will find it more manageable to enter into the natural dream state of consciousness.
Personally, laying down and knowing that I want to experience a certain dream helps all my thoughts to go on that certain dream. When I’m in bed, I refrain from thinking of things that would normally worry me at night. For example, I don’t think of the tasks I need to accomplish upon waking up or the details of the new project I will work on in my waking life.
There are plenty of amazing reasons to study the basics of lucid dreaming and to start including it into your regular dreamwork practice. Once you reap all of its benefits, it will be easier for you to know why many people want to experience it intentionally. Likewise, you will see you can use it to make your life better in a lot of ways.
2. LEARN AND PRACTICE NEW SKILLS
The estimate for anyone to be good at what they do will take at least a decade of dedicated regular practice. But that’s a very long time, considering the fact that you will be lucky if you were to reach 100 years old.
But if you are keen to learn something new quickly, then grabbing the chance while you are asleep to provide your conscious mind some practice at this ability can be extremely helpful.
Most people use the time they are sleeping to study for a test, practice a skill that requires a specific level of hand-eye coordination and even simply exploring the things that they may not be able to experience in the physical world with ease.
As a person who relishes in all things creative and crafty, I like to utilize my lucid dreaming time to be able to practice new creative skills. These include painting, pottery, crochet, knitting, and so much more. It can truly make a big difference. And since then, whenever I go to do these things in real life, my consciousness already had the chance to get that practice in.
3. EXPLORE POSSIBILITIES AND OPPORTUNITIES
This is probably one of my favorite means of taking advantage of a lucid state of consciousness. A dream realm is a place where we can traverse various opportunities and options and not suffer any consequence of our physical real world.
I apply this natural state of consciousness while asleep to weigh in various options in my sleep all the time. For instance, we decided recently that it is best for us to move to a new home.
Since my job and husband’s work is not dependent on the location, we actually have endless possibilities on where we could go. As long as we an internet connection, we could work from any location in the world.
Hence, this may present us with plenty of different options. However, it is not easy to decide because picking everything up and packing the entire family is going to be a massive challenge and change.
So lately, I am using plenty of my dream time to house shop. I explore various cities and cities. I even explored living a nomadic life to help me decide what I think maybe the best option for us.
Doing so gives me an extremely visual and vivid means of determining the things that I truly went. Likewise, it gives me some confidence for that time when we finally make the decision that is indeed the best choice for our family.
4. PROBLEM SOLVING AND OVERCOMING CHALLENGES
Often, our lives are full of trials. I’ve discovered that lucid dreaming is an excellent method of exploring new means to solve problems. It also helps me greatly at overcoming barriers along the way that stand between us and our goals.
There are times when we face huge problems in life. However, sometimes they are very mundane and trivial. Nonetheless, they simply happen frequently daily that, it can begin to wear you down bit by bit.
Sometimes the problems we face in life are big, other times they can be extremely trivial and mundane, but happen just often enough each day that it really starts to wear down on you over time.
I lucid dream during these times to help me look for a new solution to my problems. So instead of laying in bed awake all night long and worrying about it, I use that time so that my body can rest. This allows my consciousness to explore all kinds of creative opportunities that may provide new means on how I can solve the current problems we are facing.
5. SPIRITUAL COMMUNICATION
Have you ever wished you can have a chance to meet or encounter your spirit guides? Perhaps have a conversation with an angel? Maybe sit down with Jesus Christ (see also Jesus dream meaning and interpretation) himself? Or have loved ones who passed on and you wish to make the most out of visitation dreams.
With a lucid dream, you can do all of these things with ease.
Numerous people frequently apply the term lucid dreaming to also describe astral travel. That’s because these two somewhat overlap. Likewise, they share several common characteristics. While there are some key differences between the two, you will be able to find a lot of resources online that can help you learn how to communicate with the spirit if that’s something that interests you.
You may be wondering if spirits (see also Ghost Dream Symbolism) are real and if it is truly possible to communicate with them. I can definitely say so. Nevertheless, the spiritual experience each of us has is unique. So it is a good idea to do your own spiritual exploration. Doing so can help you determine the things that you believe and perceive as real.
6. EMOTIONAL AND PHYSICAL HEALING
Another means to apply lucid dreaming that most people do not seem to talk about a lot is for both emotional and physical healing.
The majority of us go through life and experience all kinds of trauma. Sadly, that is the real nature of the human experience. Still, suffering can help make us stronger in the end.
Although lucid dreaming is not a substitute for actual medical care when necessary, it may be an excellent way to comprehend your body’s inner workings. Likewise, it may help you explore the emotional reasons that may be linked to illnesses or discomfort occurring in the real physical world.
While this may seem unlikely, but keep in mind that all your thoughts are vibration. On the other hand, all vibrations are energy. So simply because you cannot clearly see or touch something in the real physical world, it does not mean that it is not real.
A lot of people do not normally see sound waves, just as you cannot feel light waves. Still, with practice and careful observation, you will be able to certainly do both.
For example, if I tap on a drum and look thoroughly at the glass of water beside me, I will see the water starts to move. Meanwhile, if I hold my hand in light long enough, I will start to feel that the parts touching the light will feel a different sensation in comparison to the parts that where the light is not shining on them.
Your thoughts, emotions, and consciousness are all sorts of energy. Therefore, it is just a matter of exploring how you can practice this for the benefit of your own life, as well as the others with who you share your life with.
HOW TO GET STARTED WITH LUCID DREAMING
If you are ready to start lucid dreaming, there are plenty of things you can do that can help you make it a possibility
Here are five simple steps on how you can do it:
1. LEARN AS MUCH AS POSSIBLE
You will find numerous wonderful resources that can help you get started with lucid dreaming. A lot of websites like ours exist, with several people sharing their own experiences, advice, and methods.
For instance, our blog post on how to lucid dream provides a step-by-step method that you can easily try. Generally, the more you practice and learn, the more it will be possible for you to develop and grow your consciousness at entering into this state of awareness while asleep.
2. UNDERSTAND AND RECORD YOUR DREAMS
If you have not done it already, you most definitely should start having a dream journal (see also Guide To Keeping Dream Journals). You don’t have to make your dream journal elaborate or fancy (see also Dream Interpretation Guide). It can create a simple dream journal out of the notebook you already have at home.
The most important thing here is that you take the habit of writing down your dreams and start exploring what they could possibly mean. Discovering what to write in your dream journal can also aid you to better grasp what aspects are similar and common in your dreams.
3. TRY MEDITATION
Practicing meditation is another valuable thing that you can do. Regular practice of meditation can help exercise and calm your mind. Moreover, it can improve the awareness of your consciousness in general. Also, this frequently overlaps with the realm of sleep and dreams.
Meditation offers so many benefits. And of course, making the habit of doing it can be very beneficial for numerous different things in your life. You may see yourself feeling more peaceful and you will be able to relax more easily. And that’s always a great thing for all of us, especially when you think about the stress that everyday life can sometimes bring.
WHAT ARE YOUR LUCID DREAMING EXPERIENCES AND QUESTIONS?
Hopefully, this post has helped you better understand the meaning of lucid dreaming, as well as learn a bit more about what a lucid dream is.
Although it may seem like it is a bit confusing, or even not possible at first, the ability to be awake while you are dreaming is indeed very much true. Aside from this, it can be a very beneficial technique that you can use to help improve your life in several different ways.
I am continuously updating this site with useful information that may help you throughout your journey. Likewise, the things you may want to know or learn about lucid dreaming may very well be a question that someone may have. So if there are any questions lingering in your mind, do not hesitate to ask them by posting them in the comment section.
Additionally, I am looking forward to hearing about your personal lucid dreaming experiences. Whether this is your first time or has been doing it for years, feel free to share what you have learned so far and the things that helped you when you were just starting out. I’m sure that our readers would learn so much from your own experiences.