“The eyes see things more clearly when dreaming, than the imagination when waking.”
– Leonardo daVinci
Did you know that an average human being spends six years of his/her life dreaming?
Dreams are letters from our subconscious mind. Paying attention to our dreams can be a short cut in getting to know ourselves better and discovering any limiting beliefs or self-sabotaging patterns and even to realize our dreams in our physical reality.
Google co-founder Larry Page, for example, had a vision in a dream before he founded Google. He was then a 22-year-old graduate student at Stanford when he had a dream about structuring the entire web in a new way.
Some well-known people who understood the power of lucid dreaming which is an advanced state of consciousness where you are aware that you are dreaming while you are dreaming are:
1 – James Cameron – The director of Avatar
2 – Nikola Tesla – A genius inventor
3 – Salvador Dali – The famous surrealist painter
4 – The Wachowskis – The creators of The Matrix, Andy and Lana Wachowski, are lucid dreamers. The movie shows that we create a virtual reality world in which we are all mentally enslaved, not recognizing that we are merely “dreaming.” The quintessence is “How do I know that my reality is not an illusion?” This is the key to unlocking a dream and becoming consciously lucid.
In February 2015 I attended a 24-hour sleepover lucid dreaming workshop with Charlie Morley which has opened up a new world for me.
The event took place in a Yoga center in South London. There was a lot of laughter and fun during these 24 hours besides dreaming and learning. We were around 30 participants; some were executives, some were artists or healers.
Charley Morley is known as the youngest and the most authentic practitioner of lucid dreaming teaching in Europe. We spent the daytime learning the techniques and practices of Mindfulness of Dream and Sleep, and we then spent the night putting them into practice.
I am in no way an expert in lucid dreaming, but I had some profound, lucid dreams since then, and this experience has expanded my mind into a higher level of consciousness while I am awake.
I hope that this article will inspire you to dive deeper into this topic because it has so much potential for healing and transformation.
We often hear from Buddhist teachers, that this life is nothing more than a dream. Those who practice lucid dreaming agree with this assessment.
A dream is an answer to a question we haven’t yet learned how to ask.
What is lucid dreaming?
It is the art of becoming conscious within your dreams. Once you become conscious within a dream, you can start dancing with your unconscious mind. You become aware that your dream is taking place “within your being” and not somewhere “out there.”
It is also an excellent way to access the deepest depth of your mind consciously. In a lucid dream, you are sound asleep, but a part of the brain is reactivated which allows you to experience the dream state consciously with self-reflective awareness.
Lucid dreaming can completely transform your relationship with sleep. Suddenly, sleep time is not seen as wasted time but can be used for healing, accessing your creative power and spiritual growth.
Imagine that you can conquer your fears, and release emotional and mental blocks while you are sleeping.
You might have heard about the mind and body process known as neuroplasticity. It refers to the brain’s ability to rewire itself in response to stimuli. This process explains why we get better at doing something with constant practice.
As fMRI imagery has revealed, being in a lucid dream state is little different than being fully awake. Thus what the brain ‘sees’ or experiences in a lucid dream can carry over to the waking world as well. The profound difference is however that simple practice of something in your everyday life is nowhere near as effective than training to do something in a lucid dream.
In summary, lucid dreaming can help to create new pathways in the brain because our neurological system doesn’t differentiate between our waking experiences and our lucid dream experiences.
Therefore each time you act from a place of self-empowerment and confidence in your lucid dream, you will also strengthen the neural pathways associated with confidence and self-empowerment in the waking state.
Many athletes use lucid dreaming for attaining new sensory abilities while dreaming. Most of them showed significant improvements in their athletic abilities.
As you see lucid dreaming has extraordinary potential when thoughtfully applied and mastered.
Some other benefits of lucid dreaming are:
Psychological and emotional healing (phobias, trauma, confidence, overcoming anxiety)
Physical healing (Charlie Morley improved his eyesight with the help of lucid dreaming).
Getting in touch with spirituality and creativity while you sleep
Exploration of the unconscious mind
Treatment of PSTD and nightmare integration
Increasing and tapping into creativity
Access information and solutions that you cannot access in your waking life
Access higher states of consciousness or ascend to a state of cosmic consciousness
Surprisingly better, blissful, and more restful sleep
Dramatically improvement of your memory
Lucid living and waking up to your full potential
Lucid dreaming can also help you to become aware of any limiting beliefs and transform them. Science suggests that PTSD can be directly integrated through lucid dreaming.
A lot of our traumas, and shadow aspects of our psyche that we have unconsciously rejected comes to the surface during the night – causing insomnia. The shadow is a Jungian concept used to describe the parts of the unconscious mind made up of all the undesirable aspects of our psyches that we have rejected or disowned. The shadow is our dark side, comprised of everything within us that we are ashamed of or simply don’t want to face. It is not evil – it is merely the sum of those parts of us that are incompatible with who we think we are.
In a Lucid dream, we have the opportunity to integrate the shadow side and face our deepest fears in a safe environment and heal our mind.
If you would like to work with your dreams and transform some limiting beliefs you could try the following exercise.
1. Write down your dreams and pay attention to any occurring feelings. Did you feel courageous or afraid, frustrated or peaceful, insecure, doubtful or faithful?
2. Be aware that each person or object is pointing to an aspect of yourself. Think about each person or object and notice how they interact with each other? How do they behave? What do they want to express? How do they communicate with each other? Compassionate or aggressive? Lovingly or angry?
3. Now imagine that you are back in the dream and interact with the people in a way which is for the highest good of all concerned. Do something that feels good and makes everyone happy. Plant a seed of a positive change if you didn’t like what you saw in the dream.
4. Do something in your everyday life that reinforces your new way of seeing things and your new beliefs.
Charlie Morley has written two books:
Lucid Dreaming: A Beginner’s Guide To Becoming Conscious In Your Dreams
Dreams of Awakening
The following picture was taken during his second book launch party which took place one week after the workshop.
He describes in his book that for most people lucid dreaming holds such a buzz of excitement that the day after a lucid dream will often be lit up with a sense of joy and achievement.
Once you have made a friend of your unconscious you will have access to more energy than you ever thought is possible.
Freud’s theory led to imagining the mind like an iceberg. The mind has according to Freud two parts: the conscious and the subconscious. The conscious mind is the part that sticks out of the water. The subconscious mind is the part hidden away underneath the surface.
What you experience in this present moment is only the tip of the iceberg. The majority is hidden and invisible and resides below the surface. In the lucid dream, you have the opportunity to experience firsthand the vastness of all that is.
WHAT IS LUCID DREAMING LIKE?
Think about Neo in the Matrix and the blue and red pills. Whatever you expect and believe to be real will be real, the pills are an illusion, a projection of your mind. They serve as a mechanism by which one can either remain in the illusory world of the matrix (the blue pill) or exit it to the real world (red pill).
Just as lucidity enables you to awaken in a dream, so can you awaken to the waking dream. This is the nature of awakening.
IS LUCID DREAMING THE SAME AS DREAM CONTROL?
Many people who hear for the first time about lucid dreaming believe that the aim of lucid dreaming is to control the dream but this not the case. In his book Lucid Dreaming: ‘Gateway to the Inner self-lucid dreaming,’ lucid dreaming expert Robert Waggoner wrote the following: ‘No sailor controls the see. Similarly, no lucid dreamer controls the dream’. It is often the inflated ego that beliefs it can control or manipulate the dream.
The more accurate version is that you become one with the dream. It is a co-creative experience which reveals how interconnected everything is. Just as lucidity enables you to awaken in a dream, so can you awaken to the waking dream.
Lucid dreaming could be used to access hidden information; from the deeper part of yourself or the collective unconscious. If you use lucid dreaming for healing purposes, the dream will reveal to you everything that you are ready to heal or transform.
In the beginning stage, it might be exciting to fly around, go through walls or to create adventures but the ultimate goal of lucid dreaming is to dissolve the perception of separation and to experience the ultimate state of oneness, or unity with the whole.
HOW DO I LEARN TO HAVE LUCID DREAMS?
Lucid dreaming is a skill everyone can develop. A few individuals may have an innate talent for achieving lucidity, yet even they can benefit from guidance and practice in making the most of their lucid dreams. Often it requires dedication and commitment to master lucid dreaming.
The first step is to pay attention to your dreams and to write them down. As with everything it is a matter of attention, focus, practice and dedication.
One reason that many people never had a lucid dream is because they simply don’t know or don’t believe that such a thing exist. The majority associates falling asleep with loosing awareness but paradoxically lucid dreaming implies regaining awareness while asleep.
I won’t go into any details about the learning techniques because many books have been written about this topic and there is plenty of information online. Besides the books from Charlie Morley which I have listed above, I would also recommend the following book “Lucid Dreaming, Plain, and Simple” by Robert Waggoner.
However, you will probably have the biggest progress and most of all more fun if you attend an interactive workshop or even a retreat with an experienced Lucid Dreaming Teacher. The group energy at the 24 hours sleepover workshop I attended was priceless, and Charley Morley runs lucid dreaming retreats and workshops around the world.
ANOTHER COMMON QUESTION IS HOW LUCID DREAMS ARE RELATED TO OUT-OF-BODY EXPERIENCES (OBEs)?
In his first book, Robert Waggoner makes clear that lucid dreams and OBEs are not the same experiences, even though they may share similarities (just as a house cat and mountain lion are similar but very different). Some writers (and some lucid dreamers) make no distinction, which then leads to a very confusing situation. Briefly, in a lucid dream, you ‘realize’ within a dream that you are dreaming. But if you begin to hear buzzing and float out of your body as you lay in bed, or when you have a car accident, then you likely have an OBE. Also, often in the OBE state, you find yourself in a replica of the place (your bedroom, or the accident site) — whereas a lucid dream happens in a dream environment, which seems dreamy.
I hope that this article will inspire you to learn more about lucid dreaming. This topic is huge and vast. One of the crucial points to understand is that lucid dreaming can help you to connect with your true SELF and become aware of your limiting beliefs which hold you back. And once you have established this connection, you can turn your focus outwards and be of service to others.