A lucid dream is a vivid, realistic dream in which the dreamer is aware that he or she is dreaming. Once aware, the dreamer can often change the dream and direct it to follow a path of his own choosing.
The term “lucid dream” was coined by Frederik (Willem) van Eeden (1860-1932), a Dutch psychiatrist and writer. By “lucid”, he was referring to clarity of mind.
Lucid dreams vary in degree. As long as the dreamer is even nominally aware that he is dreaming, the dream is considered to be a lucid dream. However, the degree to which the dreamer is aware can vary. It is possible to be aware that you are dreaming to an extent, but not really accept that knowledge as something you can use. Conversely, you can be completely aware that you are dreaming and that you will awaken at will. You can usually manipulate such dreams and make them into a private playground.
Lucid dreaming has been subjected to rigid scientific research and in 1975 it was scientifically proven in the laboratory by British parapsychologist Keith Hearne and again by Stephen LaBerge at Stanford University.
There are many benefits to being aware that you are dreaming, and being able to control your dreams. When you are dreaming you are not restricted to the laws of physics. You can do whatever you want, whereever you want. This can have a tremendous impact on your life.
Ridding Yourself of Recurring Nightmares
One benefit of lucid dreaming is the ability to control your nightmares. If you wake from a nightmare, you should wake yourself fully for at least a few minutes and think about the nightmare and how you can make it work to your advantage. As you lay back down in bed, affirm to yourself that you will return to the nightmare. This technique can bring you back to the nightmare but put you in charge by making it a lucid dream. At this point you can conquer whatever it was that was conquering you, and turn the tables on the dream.
Once you’ve managed to take control of nightmare and turn it to your advantage, you’ve learned to face the fear head on, and it shouldn’t bother you again.
There are other ways to face your fears in a lucid dream. It takes a some bravery, but repeating to yourself that you are dreaming and that you cannot be hurt can help. As you are dreaming and become aware that it is a dream, force yourself to do the thing that scares you, such as facing down a snarling dog or standing on the edge of the roof of a tall building. You can even jump, knowing you can float down calmly and not get hurt.
These techniques can help you get over these fears and stop the recurring nightmares.
Playing Out Your Fantasies
In a lucid dream, you cannot be found out. No one in the waking world will know what you’ve been doing. You are completely safe and free to do whatever you please. If you choose to traipse around in a jungle hunting large game, you won’t hurt any real life animals but you’ll be able to live out your “great hunter” fantasies. If you’ve always wanted to act out a sexual fantasy with willing partners, now is your chance. You can’t get hurt and no one will get pregnant or ridicule your physique.
Practicing Your Craft
Whatever it is that you want to do, you can practice it in a lucid dream and learn to do it better. Perhaps you’re a painter and want to paint the next Mona Lisa, or a carpenter with dreams of designing the most sought after furniture. Many professionals and craftsmen have reported using lucid dreaming as a way of perfecting their skills. Act out your hopes and dreams while dreaming and once awake, you only have to repeat what you did while lucid dreaming. It will be easier because you’re already done it once.
Redirecting Your Life
It has been proven that what the mind believes can be duplicated in mental and physical health, and in all other areas of life. The power of positive thinking is well documented and many people live their lives by the philosophy. To work well, positive thinking has to be more than just a passing thought. You have to truly experience the thought in as many of your senses as possible. Nowhere is this more possible than in lucid dreams.
Imagine that you wish to accumulate wealth. It isn’t hard to imagine, wealth would probably make life a lot easier for many of us, so we strive to find the means to create personal wealth. In positive thinking, the key is to imagine that you already have what it is that you want, under the theory that by believing it to be true, you will attract it to yourself.
When you enter the lucid dream state, imagine yourself living life as you would if you were wealthy. Live in your dream house, drive the car you’ve always wanted. Smell the smells, taste the steaks, feel the silks and leathers. As long as your lucid dream lasts, live the life you want to live in the fully waking world. Believe that it is yours. Own it. If you can create this type of life in your dreams, you will attract it to you in your life.
Repairing Your Health
The same may be true for health. When dreaming, imagine away any health issues you may suffer. Live as if you are completely healthy. When you wake, don’t counteract that belief by focusing on your suffering. Instead, try to maintain the idea that you are healthy. In many people, this has brought healing and pain relief.
Not everyone can drop themselves into a lucid dream whenever they choose. For most of us, it takes time and practice. There are many sites on the Internet that can show you proven methods to help you achieve this state.