19 Aug Lucid Dreaming 101: How to Lucid Dream
The Science of Dreaming
Dreaming is one of the most common, yet completely surreal and still vastly misunderstood human experiences. The scientific study of dreams is called oneirology, and yet to this day, no scientists seem to have any concrete answers on exactly how and why we dream.
A few theories suggest it’s anything from a form of memory processing, to simply an extension of our waking consciousness which reflects the experiences of life, or as a mechanism by which we process thoughts and emotions to create a psychological balance within us.
Some researchers suggest it’s merely a meaningless side effect of the biological function of neurological activity as we sleep, however more information and studies are continually being done finding results that these dreams may have more to them then we thought.
As we slip deeper into a sleeping state, we undergo multiple cycles of REM sleep, which stands for rapid eye movement. This is when our dreams are the most vivid, we are more active in our muscle reactions and our heart rate increases. At this time, our brain produces more of the chemical known as DMT which enduses the vivid experiences we refer to as dreaming.
The Spirit of Dreaming
On the other side of the spectrum, some people see dreams as representations of deeper levels of information or as the gateway to higher dimensions and a means to understanding reality’s infinite potential. No matter what we choose to believe on the scientific or spiritual side of dreaming; dreams can still deeply impact and influence our waking life.
Have you ever had an intense nightmare that you couldn’t stop thinking about the next day, or experienced an incredible dream that you wished was actually real and wanted to go back to? Psychologically, we treat the experience of a dream after we wake up as if it were a real life memory and can feel the impact of it for up to days, or even weeks afterwards.
Dreams allow us to explore our fears, understand deeply abstract concepts, peer into our subconscious mind and experiment with our unlimited creative potential. When we begin to harness the ability to control our experience while dreaming, that is what’s known as lucid dreaming. While there are many layers to lucid dreaming, it is essentially the act of becoming aware of your dreams, and then controlling your experience within that realm.
The first layer of lucid dreaming would be the awareness that you are experiencing a dream, but still cannot change what is happening. You are still subject to the story that’s taking place, and usually just slip back into being unconscious and succumb to the events happening around you.
The next layer is the ability to control your body in a dream, but not change your environment or the storyline of the dream. Many people immediately fly once they realize they can control themselves, and explore the area they’re in, but do not change the scene itself.
The final layer is unlocked when you remember the infinite you that is love and permeates all of creation! This grants the ability to transfer your perception to the very fabric of your dream itself and then have absolute control of your body, the environment around you, and what’s unfolding in the dream. At this stage, your every thought and intention manifests within the dream instantly and effortlessly allowing you to reverse time or completely change the trajectory of the dream.
It’s quite common to become lucid in a dream and understand that you’re dreaming, but it is a lot trickier to actually step beyond yourself and gain full enlightenment during the dream.
So how do you begin practicing lucid dreaming?
Lucid Dream Technology
As lucid dreaming popularizes, there have been an increased number of companies who have come out out with technology that assists in having a lucid dream. Both Remee and the iBand+ work in a similar way by flashing dots of light during your REM cycles to remind you that you are in a dream, and that you are able to start changing your reality if you wanted to..
While the idea of these gadgets are fascinating, most reviews say that don’t usually work, and that’s because there’s no surefire way to calculate when you’re in a REM state. These masks mostly guess based on your typical sleep cycle, but that is always subject to change.
If the mask does manage to flash the lights at the right time, it’s still up to you to decipher the signal as separate from a light going off in your dream and become aware of yourself during the dreamstate.
Methods to Become Lucid
To begin remembering dreams more frequently, recognize patterns within them and decode the symbolism, start a dream journal! The practice of writing down your experiences as soon as you wake up help the brain maintain the DMT production during that state which often results in more information about why the particular dream was happening. This can be as simple as a piece of paper and pen beside your bed, but it’s best to create a sacred journal dedicated to recording your dreams.
As soon as you wake up, immediately jot down any dreams, images or experiences you had while sleeping. Doing this over time will allow you to find and connect the symbols, themes and feelings experienced in dreams and begin to see a bigger picture. For everything happens for a reason and there are countless books which describe deeper meanings of nearly any object or event contained within your dream.
The Waking Dream
One of the best ways to become proficient in lucid dreaming is to actually start viewing your waking state as simply another layer of a larger dream. The Hindu call this “The Dream of Brahma” which is the concept that this entire reality is but the dream of a higher being. Start by looking at all the experiences around you as containing infinite information uniquely for your own soul to grow. Then try to see how by changing your own perspective of the situation, the people and events around you respond to your intention and start to unfold differently! When things are changing instantly, chances are you are dreaming.
Dreaming with Intent
Another great way to become lucid in a dream is by taking the time to set an intention for yourself before you fall asleep. Then holding this intention in your heart as you start to doze off creates a space for that intention to ripple out into your dream making it often easier to realize how you are in a dream state. Practicing this over time will create a mental pattern to better help you remember to become lucid when dreaming. It can also be helpful to set an intention to just experience more vivid, meaningful and enjoyable dreams in general.
Practicing meditation regularly can help slow the chatter of the mind and allow us to focus our intent, especially right before going to bed. By doing this practice regularly we can begin to destress our daily lives and not carry our problems into the astral world with us. If we meditate while falling asleep, remember to stay focused on your breath and slowly let yourself slip into an unconscious state. This can induce the feeling of falling and in some cases may cause you to experience sleep paralysis before you are fully dreaming.
Sleep Paralysis while Lucid Dreaming
Sleep paralysis happens when our bodies fall asleep but our minds stay awake. This is generally a frightening experience for people, as they will try to move and are unable to. The brain at this point is often producing enough DMT to cause hallucinations, lets you hear voices, and see the room around you with your eyes still closed.
If this is frightening to you, simply return your focus inwards and observe your breath. Remember the love and light that exists within and surrounding you and that all things are really just searching for love. Your mind is the mechanism by which any negative hallucinations happen in the first place, so by expressing love to the situation around you it will turn it around into a positive experience.
Once your body and mind are in a complete state of relaxation, your dreams can finally begin. You may slowly start to see images cloud into your vision which can be experienced as a slow fade transition or sometimes it’s more like a quick explosion, where you’re immediately sucked into the dream.
Some people experience it as a tiny dot that quickly expands out all around them, while others may go through a slow and gradual beginning, first seeing undefined shapes of light and color that begin to sharpen over time. The most common way people slip into lucidity is by waking up already being in the middle of a dream, thrown into the action!
Some object or symbol may trigger you to realize it’s a dream, or something like a noise in real life may slightly awaken you and pull your awareness into being. However you get there, once you’re aware that you’re lucid, the key is to remember to breathe deep and steady. This will be one of the biggest anchors that keeps your awareness present. The slower and deeper you breathe, the more your awareness expands within the dream. If it gets shallow and you lose the energy of your breathing, you can easily slip back into a false sense of reality and get lost in the experience.
If you’re able to stay lucid, you may notice that it feels like you have two bodies. One is your physical body, laying down on the bed breathing air, and the other is your astral or soul body which can feel like it’s breathing in light instead of air or doesn’t even need to breathe at all! This is a fascinating experience to undergo, and the more you can focus on that distinction, the easier it will be to stay lucid.
A great way to immediately expand your perception while lucid dreaming is to look close up at the ground or another object in the dream. It will appear extremely vivid, the details will be incredible even if it’s just something mundane. The sheer detail and beauty of even the smallest thing is breathtaking, and this grounding technique can keep you aligned with your astral body.
Another grounding tip is to look at your hands in the dream. Study the detail of them and explore the feelings and sensations that exist within this astral body of yours. It’s important to feel stable and grounded in your astral body before flying around or exploring, because your mind will often want to slip into any conditioned thought patterns and distract you from your current awareness.
At this point, to make the jump from existing within a physical body to being that of something with no physical form isn’t far off, though a huge factor here is the belief that you can do it. Many times people will be lucid in a dream but still too scared to leave their bodies and really detach from their own expectations for their daily life and their reality. So they don’t ever make it to a fully aware and awakened creator state while dreaming.
You can however still practice detaching from your expectations during your normal meditations by picturing yourself really letting go of all your past and all your plans for the future. Drop into the present moment, remember the love and light that is everything and created this universe, and pray to the higher realms to open up to you with compassion and guidance. Then center your awareness on your internal being and then be willing to take actions by following the most diligent and positive feeling calling to you.
The more you’re able to step beyond yourself and become lucid, the wider range of experiences you can start to have. You can connect with people across the globe, explore otherworldly planets, connect with your higher self or deceased relatives, gather insight from your spiritual guides, soar through the universe, or even do the most mundane everyday activities. The choice is yours!
As you begin to regularly slip into lucidity, remember to hold positive intentions for each experience. Sometimes you may want to do deep internal work and explore your subconscious to release old ways of being, sometimes you may want to have wild cosmic adventures, or sometimes you may just want to fly around and experience fun superhuman traits.
By being able to explore the depths of your mental realm, you can begin to understand yourself on deeper levels and translate that understanding into real life situations. Lucid dreaming can act as a type of therapy to overcome some of your fears, integrate emotional trauma, relive some of your favorite memories or explore the depths of the universe itself.
Don’t forget that grounding in the information you receive with a follow up meditation and by writing it down right after you wake up is a great way to really absorb the experience and bring the details into greater clarity. The more you practice, the easier it will become!