The meaning of Lucid dreams in dream | Dream interpretation
Being conscious during the dream state represents a high level of mastery. You are realizing your ability to powerfully orchestrate your life that will help you achieve clarity and empowerment in your life.
To dream that you are able to control the action in your dreams, indicates your growing confidence, high self-esteem and increasing skills. Alternatively, this type of dream may be a way of compensating for a waking situation in which you felt powerless.
Lucid dreaming can be incredibly exciting and rewarding.
If you are aware that you’re dreaming, you can do things that are impossible in waking life, such as flying, becoming invisible, or traveling to distant times or places. But on a more practical note, interacting with dream characters in a lucid state can help you interpret the meanings of your dreams. Lucid dreams can also help you find creative solutions to problems, work through difficult emotional issues, and promote physical and mental healing. Many people believe lucid dreaming is a path to, or at least a necessary step towards, a form of enlightenment
A researcher named Hervey de Saint-Denys introduced the notion of lucid dreaming to the Western world in his 1867 book Dreams and How to Guide Them. But the term lucid dream itself was coined by Frederik Willems Van Eeden in his 1913 paper ’A Study of Dreams’.
The best-known modern figure in lucid dreaming is Stephen LaBerge, a professor at Stanford University. For nearly three decades, LaBerge has been studying lucid dreaming in a laboratory setting, and he proved that subjects can be taught to dream lucidly, using a technique he calls Mnemonic Induction of Lucid Dreams (MILD).
To use this technique, you form a habit in waking life of asking yourself, ’Am I dreaming or awake?’ every time you encounter some common stimulus. Sooner or later, you’ll encounter the same thing in a dream, and if you ask the question while dreaming, you’ll probably figure out that you’re really asleep. Other methods include exercises performed right before going to sleep to focus one’s attention on having lucid dreams, meditating on certain symbols or sounds, and listening to specially designed audio recordings whilst falling asleep.
With lucid dreaming it may be possible to intentionally access the creativity of the dream state to help solve problems in your waking life. Before bed, decide on a problem you would like to solve. Frame your problem in the form of a question. For example, ’What is the topic of my next book?’ or ’How can I become less shy?’ If you have an illness, you might consider the problem, ’How can I regain my health?’ Once you have selected a problem question, write it down and memorize it; keep going over it in your mind before you go sleep. Visualize yourself looking for the answer in your dreams and then, if you fall asleep and become aware that you are dreaming, explore your dream world with your question in mind. Look for any clues that might suggest an answer. This includes seeking out advice from other characters or experts in your dreams.
Regardless of the details of one’s approach, anyone who tries to practice lucid dreaming will end up wondering, on increasingly regular occasions, ’Is this real? Could I be dreaming?’ This is what so many people find fascinating about the notion of lucid dreams: if dream reality is as convincing as waking reality, how do we really know that waking reality is not itself a kind of dream and dreams a kind of reality?... The Element Encyclopedia
The technique of “lucid dreaming”
Broadly speaking, this type of dream permits the dreamer to consciously participate. That is, realize suddenly that they are dreaming and that they can use the elements of the oneiric scene to their advantage or whim. In this aspect, lucid dreams have a greater potential for creativity; it is the ideal occasion to invent, conceive, and formulate without any type of limit or restriction. The main course of these dreams are the curative properties they offer. The life of any individual can be improved by sleeping, since making direct contact with unconscious material makes it easier to discover oneself and progress interiorly.
But what is a lucid dream? You may have experienced it before. You are sleeping and your mind enters into a dream in which a stranger, for example, yells at you to go home. The inverosimile of the situation makes you suddenly say to yourself: “This is a dream.”
Lucid dreams are very stimulating, above all because they allow the dreamer to control their reactions within the oneiric episode, even if it is a nightmare.
Experts define this phenomenon as “prelucid oneiric activity.” But this situation can manifest in a much more evident form. In this case, you not only know you are dreaming, but you can also use your conscious to change the dream as you wish. In the example given, you could ask the stranger who he is, or why he is throwing you out of your own house.
It must be said, however, that oneiric lucidity is not common, even though surveys have reported that 70 percent of people claim to have had this type of dream at some point. It is possible that many are confusing lucid images with prelucid ones, in which they only had the vague sensation of dreaming.
Keeping the conscious awake for a long time as you navigate your oneiric oceans is complicated. When one has lucid dreams, normally you either wake up shortly after, or quickly fall back into an unconscious state. Lucidity is only intermittent. And once you’ve had a dream of this type, it could be years before you experience another one. This exceptional character is why many people consider lucid dreams to be the most stimulating, above all because they allow the dreamer to control their reactions within the oneiric episode, even if it is a nightmare.
Unfortunately, not much is yet known about this type of oneiric process, although it is believed to occur more frequently in the early morning hours, since this time period makes it easier for the individual to realize that the mind is conceiving something improbable or outright impossible (for example, seeing yourself lift an airplane with one hand).
Are lucid dreams beneficial? Of course, since the individual who experiences them, upon realizing their mind is conscious, has the satisfaction of the sensation of freedom increasing as their self-control does. In this sense, some experts go beyond and claim that when one has learned to control oneiric events, it is much easier to solve daily problems and face anxiety. Lucid dreams, therefore, can contribute to our spiritual growth.
In another way, their potential can help us to treat the most terrifying nightmares. Lucidity allows you to face the threatening images in order to understand them, not obliterate them. According to some psychologists, such as the reputable American analyst Gayle Delaney, the best way to deal with a nightmare is not to turn it into a pleasant dream. Quite the contrary, those who dream lucidly have a better option: directly ask the oneiric characters that so terrorizes them what it is they want, or what they represent.
This experience can not only help transform the evil figures into friendly characters, but also allows one to discern what parts of the dreamer’s personality are represented by the original threatening images. With proper training, the individual will report feeling more secure and confident upon waking.
How it all began
The term “lucid dream” was coined by Frederik Van Eeden in 1898, using the word “lucid” in the sense of “mental clarity.” So we can say that a lucid dream is one in which “the dreamer becomes conscious that they are dreaming.” This definition, given by the researcher Celia Green in 1968, is the most widely accepted today. In any case, the
study of this type of dream has been ongoing since Ancient Greece. In the fourth century BC, Aristotle makes the first written reference to a lucid dream in his Treatise on Dreams: “When one is sleeping, there is something in the conscious that reveals that what is present is nothing more than a dream.”
In 415 AD, Saint Augustine used the story of a lucid dream to justify life after death. Later on, in the seventh century, Tibetan Buddhism studies the yoga of dreams, in which the monks train themselves in lucid dreaming as part of their spiritual development. Despite these precedents, the study of lucid dreams, as we understand them today, does not emerge until the nineteenth century, by the hand of Marquis d’Hervey Saint Denys. This researcher published the book Los suenos y como controlarlos (Dreams and how to control them), in 1867. In this, he demonstrated that it is possible to learn to dream consciously. This fact converted him into the founder of the first line of study on lucid dreams, although his discoveries were put into doubt by many researchers afterward.
In lucid dreams we are conscious that we are dreaming.
The sensation that time has passed, in a normal dream, is due to the sudden change of setting. In a lucid dream, however, the critical sense of the dreamer makes them question passing of time they did not live. Much more systematic and objective than Saint Denys, was the English psychologist Mary-Arnold Forster (1861–1951). In her book, Studies in Dreams (1921), she describes techniques of lucidity and control over dreams she herself experienced. The researcher was especially interested in “learning to fly” in lucid dreams, a practice which she had done since childhood.
Another very important aspect of her work was her nightmare therapy. She learned to recognize that her terrifying dreams were “just dreams.” So she helped many children overcome their nightmares through lucid dreaming, teaching them techniques to change an unpleasant dream to a pleasant one. The fact that she criticized many Freudian theories, especially those about pretending and censorship, relegated her brilliance to obscurity. It wasn’t until many years later that the true value of her discoveries was recognized.
Meditation is a good resource to stimulate lucidity in dreams.
Through the techniques of lucid dreaming, we can overcome nightmares by transforming them into pleasant and agreeable dreams.
The lucid dream, today
Modern research on lucidity has advanced a lot in the last fifty years and has come to dismiss old theories. Traditionally, it was thought that dreams happen in a moment, although long stories occurred within them. However, after studying in a lab the subjective experience of the dreamer, in all cases the estimated time of the lucid dream was very close to the real time (LaBerge, 1980–1985). The sensation that more time has passed is due to the sudden changes of scenery during dreams. In 1982, a study by psychologist Stephen LaBerge and William Dement demonstrated that, in the lucid dream, respiration was controlled voluntarily. They confirmed it with three lucid dreamers, who could breathe rapidly or hold their breath during the experiment without suffering any alteration of the dream.
On the other side, one of the most common themes of lucid dreams is sexual activity. LaBerge, Greenleaf, and Kedzierski (1983) completed a pilot experiment on the physiological response in lucid dreams of a sexual nature. The experimental protocol required the lucid dreamer to make ocular signals at the following moments: when he entered lucidity, when the sexual activity of the dream began, and when he experienced orgasm. The investigators discovered that the body reacts the same sexually during a lucid dream as it does while awake.
The situations, characters, or objects that are present in dreams but impossible in real life are precisely those that awaken the dreamer’s critical sense and brings them to lucidity. “The Meaning of Life,” Hipgnosis.
Meditation is also a good resource to stimulate lucidity in dreams. Before going to bed, find a quiet place and sit in a straight chair or on the floor with your legs crossed. Close your eyelids until only a faint fringe of light enters your eyes, or close them entirely if it won’t make you sleepy. Then, try to relax for five minutes (as you practice, you can lengthen the sessions). Concentrate in a single stimulus, focusing your attention on a specific spot. When you finish the exercise, go directly to bed, trying not to lose the relaxation you attained. Meditation will help you concentrate as you sleep, allowing you to recognize the incongruencies in your oneiric thoughts. This is the starting point of lucid dreaming.
Another method for inducing this type of dreams consists of proposing to complete some sort of assignment while you sleep. When dreaming, you will try to finish this job, something that will remind you that the activity you are doing (if you do in fact dream about what you proposed to) is nothing more than a dream.
A variation of this technique (also implies taking on a task) consists of leaving a glass of water in the bathroom and eating something very salty before going to bed. If you follow this method, you are likely to be thirsty but, given that your body is reluctant to get up and go to the bathroom, the displacement will end up incorporated in your dream. The coincidence will make you realize you are dreaming.
When in daily life, if a person, feeling, or thought appears repetitively, there is a greater chance you will dream of it. The content of dreams is always influenced by the content of your day. The more often you do a certain task, the more likely it is to appear in dreams. Therefore, if you ask yourself “am I dreaming?” frequently, you will end up asking this question in dreams. The problem comes when the sensation of reality in dreams is so strong that it tricks you. It is necessary to repeat the reality test we show later on.
Dr. Consuelo Barea notes that there are two primary techniques to induce lucid dreaming at night. It has to do with self suggestion and direct entry into dreams without losing consciousness, which comes from Tibetan yoga.
The number of times that stimuli repeat in a dream has a great impact on the content. However, the same happens with the quality of these stimuli. An event that impresses you, that hits you hard, that causes a big impact, is much more susceptible to appearing in your dreams, even if it only happened once. The way in which people talk to you or in which you receive information can be very suggestive and enter directly into your unconscious.
The prospective memory is a variation of this ability. It consists of giving yourself an order, forgetting it, and then completing it when the opportune moment arrives. We see an example of this memory in people who are able to wake up without an alarm at the hour they want. When the order of oneiric lucidity is given intensely and with force, it can directly reach the unconscious. Some people are able to have a lucid dream just by hearing about it for the first time; this seems interesting, but it’s more useful to educate one’s prospective memory, so that one knows how to give the order effectively.
The process of training in lucid dreaming requires a gradual increase in oneiric experience. It is possible to advance suddenly to a much higher level of lucidity and control but, if this happens by chance, without having worked for it, you will not be able to maintain this achievement. Advances remain fixed when you work for lucidity, persisting with the techniques for induction. Then, the accomplishments are incorporated with your normal oneiric repertoire. In this way, you can reach a point where, in non-lucid dreams, you still act spontaneously, following the lessons learned from lucidity. For example, if you train yourself in lucid dreams to confront an oneiric character that terrorizes you, you will end up responding bravely to this person automatically, even if you are not having a lucid dream.
When in daily life, if a person, feeling, or thought appears repetitively, there is a greater chance we will dream of it; this happens because the content of dreams is very influenced by the content of our waking day. “El voyeur” (The voyeur) (Carles Baró, 1996).
This practice will give you the keys to discover all that worries you in waking life and ends up represented in worry dreams and nightmares. Upon practicing with oneiric lucidity, you will learn to reap maximum benefit from this source of inspiration and creativity.
In the box we show the steps to follow to train yourself in lucid dreaming. The information comes from the studies of Dr. Consuelo Barea that appear in her book El Sueño Lúcido, (The Lucid Dream), published by this same editorial.
Practicing lucidity gives us the keys to discovering everything that worries us and stalks us in nightmares.1. Development of induction techniques. Practice some of the techniques described earlier with the intention of having a lucid dream (for example, self-suggestion). You can practice it during the day, before going to sleep at night, or in the morning before a morning nap.
2. Gradually increase the level of oneiric astonishment.
The objective is to reach Level 3 through practice of the prior techniques.
3. Reality test. Once you’ve reached at least Level 1, you must get used to practicing the reality test in a dream. This can be visual, of laws of physics, or temporal. To do so, question for a moment the reality or coherence of that which you are seeing or what is happening, according to your notion of time and space. If you find something strange in the evaluation of one of these factors, it will set off an alarm for you.
4. Prolongation of lucidity. Once you’ve reached lucidity, you must extend the time as much as possible to better obtain more information. The way to do this is by internal dialogue with the people in the oneiric scene, and with the thoughts you have during the dream.
5. Control. When you’ve achieved lucidity for a while and it seems like it will continue, you can begin to practice control:
The Kabbalists associate dreams with the central symbol of their tradition: the Tree of Life. “Tree of Life” (Gustav Klimt, 1909).... The Big Dictionary of Dreams
Example: 4I had backed my car into a big yard, a commercial area. My wife, two of my sons and I got out of the car. As we stood in the yard talking I realised there was a motorbike where my car should be. I said to everyone, “There was a car here a moment ago, now it’s a motorbike. Do you know what that means? It means we are dreaming.” Mark my son was now with us, and my ex-wife. I asked them if they realised they were dreaming. They got very vague and didn’t reply. I asked them again and felt very clearly awake’ (William V). William’s is a fairly typical lucid dream, but there are features which it does not illustrate. During the days or weeks prior to a lucid dream, many people experience an increase in flying dreams.
The next example shows another common feature.
Example: In many of my dreams I become aware that I am dreaming. Also, if anything unpleasant threatens me in the dream I get away from it by waking myself (Alan). Lucidity often has this feature of enabling the dreamer to avoid unpleasant elements of the dream.
The decision to avoid any unpleasant internal emotions is a common feature of a person’s conscious life, so this aspect of lucidity is simply a way of taking such a decision into the dream. Some writers even suggest it as a way of dealing with frightening dreams. Avoidance does not solve the problem, it simply pushes the emotion deeper into the unconscious where it can do damage more surreptitiously. Recent findings regarding suppressed gnef and stress, which connects them with a higher incidence of cancer, suggests that suppression is not a healthy way of dealing with feelings.
Another approach to lucidity is that it can be a son of playground where one can walk through walls, jump from high buildings and fly, change the sofa into an attractive lover, and so on. True, the realisation that our dream life is a different world and that it does have completely different principles at work than our waking world is imponant. Often people introven into their dream life the morals and fears which are only relevant to being awake in physical life.
To avoid a charging bull is cenainly imponant in waking life. In our dream life, though, to meet its charge is to integrate the enormous energy which the bull represents, an energy which is our own but which we may have been avoiding or running away’ from previously. Realising such simple differences revolutionises the way we relate to our own internal events and possibilities.
To treat lucid dreams as if they offered no other attainable expenence than to manipulate the dream environment, or avoid an encounter, is to miss an amazing feature of human potential.
Example: ‘In my dream I was watching a fern grow. It was small but opened out very rapidly. As I watched I became aware that the fern was simply an image representing a process occurring within myself which I grew increasingly aware of as I watched. Then I was fully awake in my dream and realised that my dream, perhaps any dream, was an expression of actual and real events occurring in my body and mind. I felt enormous excitement, as if I were witnessing something of great importance’ (Francis P).
It is now acceptable, through the work of Freud, Jung and many others, to consider that within images of the dream lie valuable information about what is occurring within the dreamer, perhaps unconsciously. Strangely, though, it is almost never considered that one can have direct perception into this level of internal ‘events’ without the dream. What Francis describes is an experience of being on the cusp of symbols and direct perception. Considering the enormous advantage of such direct information gathering, it is surprising it is seldom mentioned except in the writings of Corriere and Han, The Dream Makers.
Example: After defining why I had not woken in sleep recently, i.e. loss of belief, I had the following experience. I awoke in my sleep and began to see, without any symbols, that my attitudes and sleep movements expressed a feeling of restrained antagonism or irritation to my wife. I could also observe the feelings were arising from my discipline of sexuality. Realising I did not want those feelings I altered them and woke enough to turn towards her’ (Francis P). After the first of his direct perception dreams, Francis attempted to use this function again, resulting in the above, and other, such dreams. Just as classic dream interpretation says that the dream symbols represent psychobiological logical processes which might be uncovered by dream processing, what we see in Francis’ lucidity is a direct route to self insight, and through it a rapid personal growth to improved life experience. Such dreams provide not only psychological insight, but very frequently a direct perception of processes occurring in the body, as the following example illustrates.
Example: ‘Although deeply asleep I was wide awake without any shape or form. I had direct experience, without any pictures, of the action of the energies in my body. I had no awareness of body shape, only of the flow of activities in the organs. I checked over what I could observe, and noticed a tension in my neck was interfering with the flow and exchange of energies between the head and trunk. It was also obvious from what I could see that the tension was due to an attitude I had to authority, and if the tension remained it could lead to physical ill health’ (Tony C).
An effective way to develop lucidity is frequently to consider the events of waking life as if they were a dream. Try to see events as one might see dream symbols. What do they mean in terms of one’s motivations, fears, personal growth? What do they suggest about oneself? For instance a person who works in a photographic darkroom developing films and prints might see they were trying to bnng to consciousness the latent—unconscious—side of themselves.
A banker might feel they were working at how best to deal with their sexual and personal resources. In this way one might actually apply what is said in this dream dictionary to one’s outer circumstances.
The second instruction is, on waking, at a convenient moment, imagine oneself standing within one’s recent dream. As you get a sense of this dream environment, realise that you are taking waking awareness into the dream. From the standpoint of being fully aware of the dream action and events, what will you now do in and with the dream? Re-dream it with consciousness.
For example the things you run from in your normal dreaming you could now face. See dream processing for fun her suggestions. ... A Guide to Dreams and Sleep Experiences