Lucid Dreaming: Why You Should Try It
As a child, I was fascinated with dreams. I can still remember some of my earliest nightmares. For having such a great childhood, I had some DARK nightmares. Probably because of trash television? As I got older, I lost interest in dreams a little bit and even believed for a few years that I just didn’t dream at all.
Most people are in the same boat. They may dream every once in a while, but for the most part don’t dream at all. Or so they think. Apparently we dream every single night. It’s all about remembering the dream after you wake up. If you forget, might as well have never happened. From what I understand, about 70 minutes into sleep you enter your first REM cycle of the night. REM stands for rapid eye movement. This first cycle will last maybe 5 minutes and then you fall back into REM-less sleep, or deep, dreamless sleep. As the night goes on, the REM cycles become longer and the dreamless sleep cycles become shorter. REM sleep is where most of the dreaming happens. I’ve heard that you can dream in between REM cycles, but REM sleep dreams are the real deal. This is where Lucid Dreaming can be experienced.
In the late ’70s, Dr. Keith Hearne scientifically proved the experience of lucid dreaming could be induced at will, and in the early ’80s Steven LaBerge got equally astounding results with a similar experiment where a subject went to sleep with a pre-arranged pattern of eye movements. In the dream, the subject performed the exact pattern with his physical eyes during a REM cycle. Contact with the dream world is made! Lucid dreaming is the experience of waking up in your dream. In other words, you simply realize the dream for what it really is: an illusion. And from there VAST implications arise.
You can fly in your dreams. You can hang out with sick guys. You can have conversations with people and improve your social skills. You can play a piano and improve your playing. All the neural path ways that you use and or create in the dream are real physical connections that are made in your brain. Your dreaming experiences can be used to improve your waking life and your waking life can be used to improve your dream experience. I imagine a life where dream and waking life are one continuous cycle of experiences and mind expansion — that’s what is so fascinating to me. And this isn’t some new age stuff. This is real science!
LaBerge came up with a few techniques known in the lucid dreaming world as WILD and MILD. WILD stands for wake initiated lucid dream. The basic idea as that you can follow steps to go straight into lucid dreaming as soon as you fall asleep. MILD stands for mnemonic induction of lucid dream. This is more of a beginners starting point. Mnemonic is a general term for anything that is aiding your memory. With MILD you are implanting cues into your subconscious. Doing reality checks during the day so that in a dream, if you so happen to remember to do a reality check, you might just realize that you’re dreaming.
A lot of this stuff can be overwhelming to people. It seems to me that the best starting point would be to start keeping a dream journal. Even if you only remember one small detail about the dream, write that down. Your journal entries will become longer and more detailed with time. I’ve filled up whole pages of my notebook before. Just the conscious effort of working on your dream recall might even induce a lucid dream.
Here is some source material that I’ve come across:
The Lucid Dreaming Podcast – Episode 14 with Andrew Holecek is really awesome. There is so much good stuff here.
Steven LaBerge Lucidity Institute website