Lucid Dreaming Essay Research Paper Roughly onethird

Lucid Dreaming Essay, Research Paper

Roughly one-third of our lives are spent sleeping, and a significant amount

of this time is spent dreaming. You have the ability to be conscious, awake, and

well.. lucid, in your dreams.

Lucid dreaming is dreaming while being aware of being in a dream state.

The term ?lucid,? coined by Frederik Van Eeden in 1913, is used in the sense of

mental clarity. The basic definition of lucid dreaming is nothing more than

becoming aware that you are dreaming, of which many people have experience


However, among these people, the amount of control and clarity varies

greatly. A low-level lucid dream is one where you know you?re dreaming, but

that?s it. In experiencing a higher level lucid dream, you have the power to

control, influence, and react to various events and contents of the dream.

For those who achieve the state of lucidity, the benefits are potentially

enormous. It gives you the chance to experience adventures unsurpassed in

everyday life. You can, literally, do anything you wish; the only limits you are

bound to are set by your imagination. Lucid dreaming gives us the ability to tap

the power of the unconscious, and subconscious mind, giving us a valuable insight

into our daily lives. By learning to make the best of the worst situation

imaginable, you can overcame nightmares and fears in the waking world.


There are several techniques for inducing a lucid dream, and The Lucidity

Institute, Inc., founded in 1987 by lucid dreaming researcher Dr. Stephen LaBerge

to support research on lucid dreams and to help people learn to use them to

enhance their lives, has created special devices to assist people in achieving lucid

dreams. Inducing lucid dreams takes concentration, effort, and time, which some

people may not be wanting to sacrifice to learn what they perceive as a ?pointless?

skill. The key is perseverance, and you will be successful.

Some people have been able to have lucid dreams on the very first night of

attempting to do so, however, it has taken others up to a few weeks. This varies

greatly from person to person, as people who remember their dreams with

greater ease tend to find it easier to have lucid dreams when compared to those

who remember only a few every month. However, all is not lost if you fall into the

latter category, as increasing dream recall is a fairly easy task to accomplish. One

of the best ways to advance your dream recall ability is to keep a journal of

dreams, and record them when you first awaken, doing so will train yourself to

remember dreams for more than a mere thirty seconds. (LaBerge)

Many people confronted with the chance to learn of lucid dreaming ask

themselves, ?Why would I want to lucid dream??. The most common use of lucid

dreams for those who have achieved the skill is for pure fun and adventure.

Unlike reality, you are not restricted by the laws of physics, or even the

government. There is no need to be afraid of social consequences, because they

are non-existent. You can fly, visit other worlds, other times, or even have sex with

the most desirable partner you can imagine. There are no limit to the possibilities,

except by your imagination.

Entertainment is not the only use of lucid dreaming. Because of the strong

link between the mind and body during dreams, there is evidence to suggest that

dreams can be used for mental and physical healing. (Ziesing)

?Does lucid dreaming interfere with the function of normal dreaming??

Lucid dreaming is normal dreaming. The body and mind are in the same

physiological state as in ?normal? REM sleep. Dreaming is the result of high

activity in the brain, but at the same time exists sleep paralysis, which stops us

from acting out our dreams, or sleepwalking, by paralyzing our muscles. Your

mind creates experiences based solely on your thoughts, fantasies, concerns, and


Having the knowledge that you are dreaming allows you, simply enough,

to direct the dream experience, like you direct your thoughts while awake. The

thinking of dreams being an unconscious act is a close-minded one. Your

conscious-self is always present in dreams, if it weren?t, you would not be able to

remember your dreams, as you can only remember events that have been

experienced consciously. Lucid dreaming adds nothing more than the awareness

of being in a dream state.

?If I am going to be conscious and awake in my dreams, won?t that leave

me tired when I awaken?? Some people claim that they find lucid dreaming

mentally tiring, but for the majority of people, lucid dreams are no more tiring

than non. Your mood, however, will reflect your actions within the dream.

(Ziesing) If you battled to the death with an archvillain, you will probably feel more

tired upon awakening. If you achieved some personal goal or aspiration in a

dream, you will probably carry over the feeling of great joy and fulfillment into

reality upon awakening.

While learning to become lucid, you will most likely spend more time

waking up in the middle of the night to record dreams, and to practice induction

techniques. This may leave you feeling more tired and spent than usual, so you

should be sure to get enough sleep while learning lucid dreaming. Don?t force

yourself to learn it if you haven?t the free time to do so, wait until you are less

stressed, and have the time to devote.

The two most effective methods of inducing a lucid dream are reality testing

and mnemonic induction of lucid dreams (MILD). For these techniques to succeed,

you must have faith that they are going to work. Don?t force yourself, and try too

hard, this will only result in utter frustration. If you feel you are gaining nothing

from the technique, change or give up for a couple of weeks. (Ziesing) People

often start having a lucid dream after giving up, oddly enough.

Reality testing is the assurance, and constant question, of whether or not

what you?re experiencing is indeed reality. Several times a day, ask yourself, ?Am

I dreaming?? You may be quite surprised of the answer some day. (Van de

Castle) Another good test of reality is to carry a watch, or note, read it, look

away, and see if it?s the same when you look back.

Mnemonic Induction of Lucid Dreams (MILD) is a technique developed by

Dr. Stephen LaBerge, and is used by him to induce lucid dreams at will during his

Ph.D. study. The steps to lucid dreaming via MILD are to set your mind to awaken

from dreams and recall them as completely as possible. After you have recalled

it, concentrate single-mindedly on your intention to remember to recognize that

you?re dreaming. Say to yourself, ?Next time I?m dreaming, I want to remember

I?m dreaming.? Try to feel that you really mean it, and focus your thoughts on this

idea alone. At the same time, imagine you are back in another dream you had

recently, but this time you recognize it as being a dream. Repeat these until you

have your intention firmly set in your mind, and it is the last thing on your mind

before you fall asleep. (LaBerge)

A lucid dream induction device is another technique to achieving a lucid

state while dreaming. Developed through laboratory research at Stanford

University, the basis of these devices is to remind someone of their intentions while

dreaming. It has been observed that some sensory events are incorporated into

ongoing dreams on occasion, such as your clock radio, or neighbor?s lawn-mower

appearing disguised in your dream, rather than awakening you. For example, a

tape recording of a voice saying ?You?re dreaming? played while a person is in

REM sleep will on occasion come through and remind the person to become lucid.

The Lucidity Institute settled on using flashing lights as a lucidity cue, as they have

less tendency to awaken people, and were easily applied. The DreamLight and

NovaDreamer work by detecting the rapid eye movements of REM sleep, and

alerting the wearer with a light cue. There has been much discussion, but the tests

have consistently shown that these devices give a 73% higher success rate into

lucid dream induction. (LaBerge)

I see lucid dreaming as a playground for the imagination, and though I

only have one or two a week, it is the ultimate vacation for the mind. I can see no

ill side effects to lucid dreaming, at least, not until there is a %100 success rate to

lucid dreaming, as that?s when you may have people becoming severely

anti-social. I would suggest for anyone to give lucid dreaming a fair chance, they

won?t regret it.

1. The Lucidity Institute, Dr. Stephen LaBerge (President), 2555 Park Blvd., Suite 2, Palo

Alto, CA 94306-1919. Tel: 1-800 GO LUCID. WWW:

2. Control Your Dreams, Jane Bosveld and Jayne Gackenbach, New York: Harper & Row,


3. Our Dreaming Mind, Robert L. Van de Castle, New York: Ballantine Books, 1994

4. Fabianweb, Fabian Ziesing, WWW:


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