Written by David Ngo & Kevin Morton
“For often, when one is asleep, there is something in consciousness which declares that what then presents itself is but a dream.”
Each and everyone of us spends around a third of our lives asleep–thousands and thousands of hours mostly away from the world of consciousness. But what if you could add to your conscious time–practice your skills, play out your desires, overcome your fears–in the dream world? What if you could extend your full consciousness into your sleep?
For skilled lucid dreamers, this is exactly the case. A lucid dream is a dream where you become aware that you are actually dreaming. Once this awareness occurs, lucid dreamers can often control the course of the rest of their dream.
Has this ever happened to you? Have you ever taken control of your dream? Maybe you are already a skilled lucid dreamer yourself? Whether you’ve known you dream lucidly or just found out that you can, share your lucid dreaming experiences with us and our visitors! We always love to learn from your perspective.
Not a lucid dreamer but want to be? Share your questions, thoughts, trials, successes, or concerns with us too!
The “First” Lucid Dreamers
According to Dr. Stephen LaBerge, the world’s leading expert on lucid dreaming, the earliest lucid dream report in Western history is preserved in a letter St. Augustine wrote in 415.
More accounts are continuously sprinkled throughout history until in 1867 the Marquis d’Hervey de Saint-Denys published a remarkable book, Dreams And How To Guide Them, documenting the 20 year development of learning how to control his dreams.
The implications for this dream control are profound. Imagine if you had an extra hour of consciousness every night to do whatever you pleased in a world unconstrained by reality. What could you do?
Well, we’ll ponder the possibilities in a bit, but first let’s learn a bit of the history behind lucid dreaming.
Dr. D’s Sleep Book Says…
Dr. D’s Sleep Book Says…
The scientific community owes the term “lucid dream” to Frederick Willens Van Eden, a Dutch psychiatrist and well-known author. Van Eden did serious research into lucid dreaming and used the term in a paper presented to the Society for Psychical Research in 1913, describing 352 dreams in which he knew he was dreaming.
A few years later, Mary Arnold-Forster discusses in a remarkable book her “super dreams” in which some difficult problem was solved or in which she had abilities such as speaking languages or doing mathematics that she did not have in the waking state.
What is Dr. D’s sleep book?
The advice to “sleep on it” is common in society, but Arnold-Foster alludes to a whole new level of solving problems during sleep. If one is able to control the scenarios that one is in, as a skilled lucid dreamer can do, one can put oneself in situations conducive to solving problems, or even overcoming anxieties.
For instance, say you had a fear of public speaking. In your dream you could place yourself on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial, tens of thousands of people sprawled out across the National Mall in front of you (put them in their underwear if you want). Soon enough, you find yourself speaking with the confidence and eloquance of rhetoricians who have occupied the same space before you, and you carry that confidence with you over to the waking state.
Can the same type of “practical dreaming” be applied to other facets of life? How about practicing languages? Solving math problems? Even shooting three-pointers?! Heck, you don’t even have to be “practical” with the ability. You could just do cool things like fly through the skies or dive with whales in the ocean. The possibilities are endless, just about literally. You are completely unrestricted by sensory input or “real world” laws. In other words, you can see what you want to see, feel what you want to feel, regardless of what you have been physically exposed to before.
What would you want to do with your lucid dreams?
So what is lucid dreaming? As you’ve probably now been convinced, it’s an experience where your imagination is the limit, where the world is at your hands, and where anything is possible. Lucid dreaming allows the seemingly impossible to become reality. And it even may allow you to develop your skills and abilities for use in the waking world.
How Can I Lucid Dream?
We spend a third of our lives sleeping in bed. Why not optimize this part of our life and explore a world where the seemingly impossible becomes reality?
We’ll have a lot more to say about this as this site expands, but for now, know that you can learn to have lucid dreams at will. It is most definitely an acquirable skill.
For starters, you can check out Dr. Stephen LaBerge’s book filled with how-to strategies and guides. As mentioned above, Dr. LaBerge is the world’s leading expert on lucid dreaming. In Sleep and Dreams we are fortunate to have him give a lecture series to us each year on the subject, and his extensive knowledge and experience is immediately apparent. His book, Exploring The World Of Lucid Dreaming, is pictured at right. You can also check out his website for loads of more resources at Lucidity.com.
You’ll also definitely want to check out the World Of Lucid Dreaming site written by our friend and experienced lucid dreamer Rebecca Turner. Her knowledge and insight on the subject is astounding, and the beauty and organization of her site makes mining that knowledge a joy. In particular, make sure to check out the intro animation she’s got up on the homepage. It’s a brilliant depiction of the possibilities of lucid dreaming we have been talking about above.