Sleep and Consciousness


How to Have a Lucid Dream


You may be now asking, "how can I have this thing?" There's various ways to think about lucid dream induction. Research has found that you might do some things before sleep and/or during sleep or naps. Before sleep, you may want to try simply suggesting to yourself that you will know you are dreaming that night. "It sounds interesting. Let's give it a shot."

To facilitate this you might ask a question while you're awake, "Am I dreaming?" I do not recommend this if you have any problems with identifying what's real. We can go on and on about nothing's real and get lost in the whole philosophy of it but let's put that aside. If you are reasonably confident that you know what's real and what's not, that is on an emotional level it does not create strong anxiety, then you might ask that question every time a light blinks. So when you stop at a stoplight a light blinks. Turn a light on in a room that's a light blinking. At these times say to yourself, "Am I dreaming?" Of course the next question is, how the heck do you test if you are dreaming? Because if you think about it when you are in a dream you usually can't tell that it's a dream. One of the things you might do is look at your watch, look away and then look at your watch again. If when I looked at my watch it said five to seven and when I looked again, it said five to seven then I am awake. But if I looked again and it said ten to nine then I'd strongly suspect that this was a dream.

One thing that's gotten a lot of attention over the last few years is a biofeedback sleep mask designed by Stephen LaBerge. With it your eye movements are monitored when you're in REM. When there feedback is received of a blinking light which is placed in this mask that you wear as you sleep. When you see a blinking light in your dreams you have trained yourself while awake to then ask, "Am I dreaming?" With sufficient motivation, LaBerge has found success with the mask in helping to induce lucid dreams.

Two other presleep activities may contribute to the increase in dream lucidity, the practice of meditation and the cultivation of high dream recall.

When it spontaneously occurs to you that you are dreaming without all the effort of practice and electronic gadgetry, it is likely to occur in one of three ways; nightmares, incongruities, or you simply knew from the beginning of the dream. For instance, the bogeyman may be chasing you and you suddenly realize it's only a dream and are quite relieved. By incongruities I mean those oddities in dreams that do not occur while awake. For instance, I once had a dream of an old man with a tin can growing out of his head. It occurred to me upon thinking about this oddity in the dream that this may be a dream. All too often we blindly accept these strange events in our sleep. Finally, subjects who spontaneously report lucidity tell me that they just new from the onset of the dream. Thus there was nothing that specifically triggered the awareness. I believe this third manner of recognizing the true state of mind in sleep may be an indicator of the development of higher states of consciousness.


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