Lucid Dreaming is something that many people have heard about. They may wonder; if it’s real, is it hard to achieve and is it dangerous? For the first question, the answer is “Yes”. For the other two questions, “It depends”. First of all, let’s take a look at what lucid dreaming actually is. Simply put, lucid dreaming is the realization of being inside a dream while that dream is taking place. At some point, you may have found yourself suddenly realizing that you are in a dream. You then may have been able to exert some form of control over the events in that dream. If so, you have experienced lucid dreaming.
The Nature and History of Lucid Dreaming
Although it’s been recently popularized in films such as “Inception”, the idea of lucid dreaming is nothing new. As a matter of fact, the earliest known record of lucid dreaming goes back to the Ancient Greek philosopher Aristotle. In his writings, Aristotle describes an instance in which he became self-aware in one of his dreams. In addition, Edgar Allan Poe once wrote; “All that we see or seem/Is but a dream within a dream.”
Of course, most of us who remember our dreams will recall feeling that they were in a ‘play’. Their role in the dreams was somehow ‘scripted’ and they had no way determining how the dream played out. This is understandable, since dreams are actually representations of our memories. They reflect our subconscious thoughts, joys and fears. However, there are ways to speak directly with one’s subconscious. One of those ways is through lucid dreaming.
Entering and Operating Within a Lucid Dream
Currently, there are a number of people who are avid practitioners of lucid dreaming. You can find a large number of articles and books that detail how to go about lucid dreaming. As a matter of fact, studies that have been carried out show that the phenomenon is quite common. For instance, a study conducted in Brazil surveyed 3,427 participants who had a median age of 25. The results of the particular survey indicated that 77% of the respondents had experienced lucid dreaming at least once.
While lucid dreaming can occur spontaneously, it can also be brought about through conscious methods. There are a number of ways to initiate a lucid dream but the most effective ones have something in common. That thing is intent. Here is an example. Throughout the day, you should periodically relax and reflect on lucid dreaming. In addition, just before sleep, you should repeat this to yourself; “I am going to have a lucid dream and I will look for my hand”. This mantra should continue until you are asleep.
Lucid Dream Dangers
Once you find yourself in a dream, and are aware of it, you should consciously raise your hand and look at it. At that point, your hand will become ‘fuzzy’ and unclear. Then, you should look away towards another object and then look back at your hand. Your hand will then be clear again. Then you can proceed with your dream while being able to take conscious action within it.
The “dangers” of lucid dreaming are extremely minimal. They all tend to revolve around spontaneous lucid dreaming and the person becoming frightened for one reason or another. However, this is rare. For the vast majority of lucid dreamers, the experience can be enjoyable and potentially helpful in overcoming fears and mental obstacles.