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 Lucid dreaming
4 min

Lucid dreaming

Written by: Eva Zonneveld

What are lucid dreams?

Lucid dreaming means that during a dream you are aware of the fact that you are dreaming. This awareness not only enables you to recognize your dream but also to actively direct and adjust it. This allows you to experience unique and special worlds and situations, all while comfortably lying in bed.

History of lucid dreaming

The term 'lucid dreaming' was introduced in 1913, but the phenomenon is as old as humanity itself. Various ancient cultures recognized and valued it. In the ancient Hindu practice of Yoga Nidra, awareness during dreaming was emphasized. Tibetan Buddhists also integrated it into their dream yoga. Aristotle, the Greek philosopher, already made remarks about lucid dreaming, and there are letters from Saint Augustine from 415 AD describing a lucid dream.

Recent research on lucid dreams

In the 19th and 20th centuries, lucid dreaming attracted attention from the scientific community. Researchers like Keith Hearne and Stephen LaBerge conducted experiments proving lucid dreaming is a measurable and genuine phenomenon. This was supported by data, such as eye movements recorded during REM sleep.

Benefits of lucid dreaming

Lucid dreams have various benefits. They can, for example, assist in solving problems that seem too complex in a waking state. They can also be a source of creative inspiration. Some people use lucid dreams to control nightmares or confront personal fears in a controlled environment. It's also suggested that lucid dreams can provide access to deeper layers of the unconscious mind.

Tips for beginners wanting to lucid dream

If you're interested in lucid dreaming, starting a dream diary is a good first step. Write down what you remember from your dreams every morning. By doing this, you train your brain to recall dreams better and can identify patterns or signals indicating a dream state. This awareness can help you become lucid in future dreams.

Reality checks during dreams

The ability to control your dreams is both exciting and confusing. It can be hard to determine whether you are genuinely in a dream state or awake in reality. Imagine asking yourself: "Am I experiencing this moment, or is it a dream?" To combat this confusion, several techniques and methods can help differentiate between dream and reality.

  • Am I truly awake? Although this seems like a basic question, it's crucial to ask it frequently. Take a moment and look around. Is everything normal? Does gravity function correctly? Do shadows behave logically according to light sources? Can you float when you jump?
  • Can I breathe? We breathe continuously, often without giving it much thought. But in dreams, breathing can become strange. Test yourself: try stopping your breathing by covering your mouth and nose. If you can still breathe, it's a sign you're dreaming.
  • Do I recognize my hands? Oddly enough, hands in dreams might look different. They could have more or fewer fingers or just not appear as you're accustomed to. A quick glance at your hands can reveal if you're dreaming.
  • My reflection: Looking at your reflection in a dream can be revealing. In dreams, your reflection might be distorted, show someone else, or even be absent. A swift glance in a mirror can be helpful.
  • Reading skills in dreams: Texts in dreams can change continuously. Try reading something, look away, and read it again. If the text has changed, it's highly likely you're dreaming.

Support of Dream Herbs

Lucid dreaming can be facilitated with certain herbs used by traditional cultures. Some recommended herbs include Calea Zacatechichi, Entada Rheedii, and Silene Capensis.

Tools and methods for dream recognition

The first step to lucid dreaming is recalling the dream itself. Here are some techniques:

  • Understanding sleep patterns: Knowledge of REM (Rapid Eye Movement) and non-REM sleep can be beneficial.
  • Limit late-night snacks and stimulants: This allows the brain to focus on dreaming.
  • Be prepared: Set an alarm and keep a dream diary.

Techniques for lucid dreaming

  • The MILD technique: Developed by Stephen LaBerge, this helps train the brain to recall dreams.
  • The Nap Lucidity technique: Combines being awake with napping to promote lucid dreams.
  • The Waggoner-Castaneda technique: Focus on your hands just before sleeping to promote awareness in dreams.

Potential issues during lucid dreaming

It's possible to encounter issues during lucid dreaming:

  • Loss of sense of reality: This can be countered by regularly doing reality checks.
  • Sleep paralysis: It can be frightening, but stay calm, and it will soon pass.

Keeping these techniques and warnings in mind, you can begin or further expand your journey in the world of lucid dreaming.

Eva Zonneveld
Meet Eva, an author who merges her literary talent with a deep fascination for magic mushrooms, crafting stories that unravel the hidden realms of consciousness and the mycelium's wisdom.