You may have heard of lucid dreaming but perhaps weren’t sure exactly what that term means or how it can benefit anyone. During a lucid dream, the dreamer is aware that they’re dreaming and is sometimes able to have a certain amount of control over the dream; the outcome, the characters, the storyline, and the environment around them. A lucid dream can appear as real as your surroundings when you’re awake, from the sounds, tastes, sights and even to your sense of touch. Your conscious brain wakes up during this type of dream, as opposed to shutting down as it does during other types of dreaming. Out of body experiences may be explained by this type of dreaming.
So why would someone choose to lucid dream? Because your senses come alive during this type of dream state, you have the opportunity to truly experience some wonderful things, and can explore the inner workings of your mind. For thousands of years, Tibetan monks have used dream control especially with regards to dream yoga, but it wasn’t until the 1800’s that the term “lucid dreaming” was actually used; first by the Marquis d’Hervey de Staint-Denys. During the 1960’s it was Celia Green who made the connection between lucid dreaming and the scientific potential it implied. She also linked REM sleep with false awakenings. British parapsychologist Keith Hearne caught and recorded predetermined conscious eye movements from a volunteer during his lucid dreaming research in 1975. This was the first scientific evidence of lucid dreaming.
It is thought that anyone can learn to lucid dream, as we all dream (although we may not remember anything about them once we’ve woken) and so it makes sense that we have the ability to become conscious while dreaming. Children seem particularly adept at lucid dreaming, although age doesn’t appear to be a restricting factor, and you can learn to lucid dream at any stage during your life once you’ve discovered how to tap into them. In fact, you’ve most likely already had at least once lucid dream.
In order to get into the habit of recognizing your lucid dreams, there are a few things you can do regularly. Meditation can help you to intentionally focus your mind, and visualization can help you to start lucid dreaming from a waking, conscious state. You can perform reality checks so that your self awareness kicks in during your dream or use dream journaling to help you remember your dreams after you wake up. There are dream herbs that can help to make dreams more intense and can help lengthen their duration. You can easily practise one or several of these methods daily or get into the habit just before you fall asleep so that your unconscious mind starts to recognize when to trigger your conscious mind while asleep. You may find this difficult in the beginning, but it will become easier with each practise; most people find that using these methods typically brings about their first lucid dream within 3 to 20 days.