Lucid Dreaming Essay, Research Paper
Dreams in which [people] become aware that they are dreaming are referred to as lucid dreams (Fisher, 177). Lucid dreaming is easily achieved with the assistance of books, technology, and professional guidance. Lucid dreaming allows the person the opportunity to play an active role in self-exploration and problem solving. It is a rarely explored skill that can be easy and beneficial for the dreamer.
According to the Lucidity Institute, founded by Dr. LaBerge from Stanford University, Lucid dreaming is, dreaming while knowing that you are dreaming. Lucid dreamers are depicted back to the time of the ancient Greeks and Romans. They would interpret their dreams as, messages from the Gods (Bosveld, 27). Marquis Hervey de Saint-Denys, a French professor of Chinese Literature, initiated the first Western study on controlling dreams, in 1867. In 1913, Dutch physician Frederik van Eeden, coined the term lucid dreaming , based on personal experience. Hugh Calloway, an English contemporary, conducted further research on the aesthetic contours of the lucid state of dreams (Bosveld, 28).
Frederik van Eeden studied his own dreams and the dreams of others for over 16 years. He documented more than 500 of his personal experiences. Eeden presented his paper to the British Society for Psychical Research, explaining and defining his lucid dreams. This preliminary work lead to the production of his novel entitled, The Bride of Dreams. Both works go into great detail explaining lucid dreaming experiences. He conveys his active role in dreaming and the effects of those actions. By sharing his pleasurable, beneficial experiences, others became eager to learn his strategy in hopes of a similar experience through lucid dreaming.
Eeden classified his dreams into nine categories. Each type of dream was distinct. He described his varied experiences as, free, fresh, dissociative, demonical, erotic, indescribable, and harassing (Eeden). These diverse reactions were desired by many. Although effects of lucid dreaming seem appealing, it should only be pursued with the assistance of a professional.
Amateur lucid dreamers often relish their newly found power to control their dreams. While this seems ideally perfect, the object of lucid dreaming is not to gain power, but insight. The mistake of dominating dreams can prove deceptive and ultimately damaging.
As stated by the Lucidity Institute, It is possible to be lucid and have little control over dream content, and conversely, to have a great deal of control without being explicitly aware that you are dreaming. The goal of lucid dreaming is not to modify dreams in order to achieve a desired outcome, but to examine and learn from the situation at hand. By confronting a negative, upsetting, or even frightening dream, the dreamer can better understand the importance of the undesired feeling.
Dreams often serve as an outlet for subconscious or suppressed thoughts and emotions. When the dreamer alters the unfavorable situation, they alter its meaning and may be deceived by its unnatural outcome. For this reason, a licensed professional is crucial for truly successful lucid dreaming. Psychologist Gale Delaney believes, it is often better to awaken terrified from a nightmare than to awaken calm from a lucid dream they have sugar coated (Bosveld, 28).
The assistance of a therapist or psychologist offers the dreamer objective insight to an otherwise subjective experience. Professionals can aid in the interpretation of the true meaning of elements in a dream. While the dreamer maybe distracted by literal meanings of their dreams, an outsider can present symbolic significance of their dreams. Although lucid dreaming has countless benefits, the dreamer can gain a more realistic understanding, of their dreams, with professional guidance.
According to the Lucidity Institute, this interactive approach to dreaming offers various benefits to the dreamer. Since dreams are only limited by the imagination of the dreamer, the possibilities for adventure and fantasy are endless. Some lucid dreamers are able to utilize dreaming as a sort of rehearsal for waking experiences. These practice sessions allow the dreamer to build confidence in their capabilities. Dreams also force the dreamer to face their fears. The fear you feel in a nightmare is completely really; it is the danger that is not (L.I., 4). When nightmares are confronted intelligently, the dreamer can gain true insight to their strengths and weaknesses.
Lucid dreams can also serve as a source of creativity and inspiration. Once again, the dreamer is only restricted by their imagination, so surprising new possibilities become apparent. Dreams can act as a healing process as well. Lucid dreamers are enabled to make amends within themselves and with those around them. Some advanced lucid dreamers can inspire religious awakenings that would otherwise, go unnoticed. The numerous benefits of lucid dreaming can bring the dreamer closer to a true sense of happiness and understanding.
Technology has contributed to encourage lucid dreaming. Such inventions as The Dreamlight and the NovaDreamer aid beginners in lucid dreaming. These devices prompt the dreamer, with sounds or flashing lights, to recognize when they are dreaming. Software has been created to further advance the sleepers ability to recognize the dream state. The P.E.S.T. (Programmable Electronic State Tester) offers daytime practice of mental processes utilized in lucid dreaming. These are only a few technological advances, allowing lucid dreaming to become more accessible.
Through self-education, professional guidance, and technological cues, lucid dreaming can be a truly rewarding experience. The dreamer can view situations and themselves, from an entirely new perspective. Although forms of lucid dreaming have been evolving for years, we still do not fully understand the complexity of our dreams. Through further research and self-exploration, we bring ourselves closer to enlightenment.