Slowly the Chinese man walks in my direction. I know he wants to kill me and I feel an oppressive fear. In the past I would have fled, or woken myself up by screaming. Now I realize that I am dreaming, while my body sleeps. I choose to surrender to the dream, let the man come to me, observe how fear flows into my dream body, and let the man do what he wants to do. Suddenly the man takes me to a totally different dream scene. The fear is gone. When I wake up I feel strong and realize that my core is immortal. These kinds of dreams have not only changed my dream life, but also my waking life for the better. And they can change your life too!
What are lucid dreams?
Lucid dreams are dreams in which a person is aware that he/she is dreaming while sleeping. The word lucid is derived from Latin (lucidus) and means luminous, clear and bright. The term lucid dreaming was coined in 1913 by the Dutch psychiatrist Frederik van Eeden, who often dreamed lucidly. Lucid dreaming has been scientifically proven, among others by Dr. Hearne and Dr. LaBerge.
Why would you want to have lucid dreams?
Your subconscious determines for approximately 95% your life, including thoughts, feelings, emotions and actions. Lucid dreams offer you the possibility to stand eye to eye with your subconscious and communicate directly with it.
In a lucid dream you can exercise influence on a dream. Lucid dreams help you to let your unconscious work to your advantage during the night and during the day, so that you can have a pleasant (dream) life.
Approximately 33% of your life is spent sleeping, of which approximately 25% is spent in the dream state. When you reach the age of 90 you will have been dreaming for an average of 7,5 years. How do you want to organize this time? There are several reasons for lucid dreaming, these are connected to the advantages of lucid dreaming.
Advantages of lucid dreaming
Lucid dreams have numerous physical, emotional, mental, relational and spiritual benefits, these are some examples:
General benefits of lucid dreaming
Lucid dreams can give you strength and inspiration, help you to wake up pleasant and energetic and give you a grip on your dreams.
With a lucid dream you can discover the meaning of your dreams. The meaning of a dream can be very different from what you have thought up with your conscious mind in your waking life, because you are now communicating directly with your unconscious.
Furthermore, lucid dreams can help you to be more creative, to make your daily life easier and to experience a more pleasant daily life. They can provide insight, for example in how you use a talent (such as high sensitivity) better or what energy guzzlers are and how you get more energy.
In addition, in a lucid dream you can support yourself on a deep, unconscious level with energetic healing on a physical, emotional and mental level. Mr. S. had 22 years of chronic pain, which completely disappeared after a lucid dream. In case of complaints, always consult a doctor.
Physical benefits of lucid dreaming
Lucid dreams have physical advantages. For example, in a lucid dream you can be engaged in activities that you cannot do in waking life. If you have a physical limitation, you can often make use of what limits you in your daily life in a lucid dream. Think of limitations of your eyesight or limbs and such.
Furthermore, in a lucid dream you can learn to improve skills from your waking life, such as playing sports, making music, giving a presentation or practicing an important conversation like a job interview. Research shows that practicing motor skills and sports in a lucid dream can lead to improvements in these skills in waking life.
You can also plant energetic seeds that will help you attract abundance in your waking life.
Emotional benefits of lucid dreaming
In a lucid dream you can do what you like and enjoy it. Lucid dreams can help to create emotional balance. For example, you can resolve worries, transform emotions such as fear and gloom and overcome nightmares. Some scientists suspect that lucid dreaming is a good remedy for (recurring) nightmares. There are studies that confirm this thought (like this study and this study). With lucid dreaming you can increase self-confidence, overcome shyness and find happiness.
Mental benefits of lucid dreaming
Lucid dreams have mental advantages. They can support you to make choices that really suit you and solve problems. A study found that people who dream lucidly are better at solving problems in the waking world. Lucid dreaming can help you profoundly transform your mind and limiting beliefs and create more flexibility and adaptability.Furthermore, you can develop your focus and concentration skills. If you like to meditate, then you can improve your meditation skills.
Relational benefits of lucid dreaming
With lucid dreaming you can improve relationships and resolve any conflicts, even with people who have passed away. You can help others. You can also develop empathy and compassion; for others and yourself.
Spiritual benefits of lucid dreaming
Lucid dreams can help you to develop your consciousness, to experience oneness (instead of loneliness and separation), to come to yourself, to ‘anchor’ in yourself and to live from your core.
Some people experience through lucid dreaming that there is more between heaven and earth, which helps them to transform fear of death.
Furthermore, with lucid dreaming you can thoroughly purify karma (such as undermining thoughts, emotions, actions and habits). Furthermore, lucid dreams offer you the possibility to experience contact with light beings (such as angels and ascended masters) on a subtle level and to receive inspiring teachings from them. In a lucid dream you can also communicate with deceased people and help souls who are stuck or confused in the afterlife.
History of lucid dreaming
Lucid dreaming has been taught and applied in many cultures and religions for centuries, for example by the ancient Egyptian civilization, various ‘primitive’ tribes and Hindu, Taoist and Buddhist religions.
Tibetan Buddhism (such as the Dzogchen tradition) considers dreams very important: they see lucid dreaming as a possibility to develop consciousness, through which one can become enlightened. For Tibetan Buddhists, developing this mastery is the main purpose of dreaming.
After lucid dreaming was scientifically proven around 1980, more and more research has been done on it over the years. Sleep clinics around the world are interested in these dreams. They train dreamers to have these kinds of dreams. The science surrounding lucid dreaming is relatively in its infancy. The studies that have been done are often promising and invite further research.
Misunderstandings about lucid dreaming
There are many misunderstandings about lucid dreaming. Some people think that taking the lead in dreams goes against a purpose of dreaming – learning something and gaining insight into yourself/others. This is a misunderstanding: lucid dreaming is a natural phenomenon. There are even people who only lucidly dream. Lucid dreams give you the possibility to be in direct contact with your subconscious, to get insight in it and to learn something from it. In this way you can get to know yourself.
Sometimes the objection is raised that one can get stuck in a lucid dream, that one would rather dream than be in the waking ‘real’ life, or that one can no longer distinguish well between the waking life and the dream life. This is where you have a choice.
There are people who think that lucid dreaming costs a lot of energy and makes one tired, this can only happen if you don’t dream lucidly in the right way.
Besides that, some people are afraid that lucid dreaming will make them ‘floaty’. When you’re lucid dreaming in the right way, you keep both feet on the ground.
There is no scientific evidence that these dreams are dangerous.
These dreams help you to live life to the fullest and to get the most out of the time that you are on earth (during the day and night).
Fear in lucid dreaming
Furthermore, many people cannot cope well with fear in their lucid dream. This can manifest itself, for example, in running away from or sending away what they are afraid of.
It also happens that people know they are dreaming and are afraid of something in their dream, think that what they are afraid of is “real”, and then don’t want to dream or sleep at all to avoid fear. This is not an effective way of dealing with fear.
After all, the thing that evokes the fear continues to exist. It can cause the fearful dream to return. Anxiety is there for a reason: it is important to investigate this thoroughly and resolve the reason for the anxiety.
How to have lucid dreams? 3 steps!
Everyone can learn to dream lucidly, it only requires motivation, perseverance and time. About one out of five people is a highly sensitive person (HSP). Highly sensitive persons have a relatively open aura/energy field and a strong intuition. They have a predisposition to work easily with subtle dimensions (such as the dream dimension) and to train their thoughts and consciousness. This will help you learn to dream lucidly.
Even if you don’t have any or hardly any dreams, you can learn lucid dreaming.
The only people who sometimes cannot lucid dream are those who have had a stroke.
Keep in mind that learning to dream lucidly is not suitable for everyone. If you have mental complaints such as a depersonalization disorder or complaints in which you lose the feeling of reality (for example a psychotic disposition or dissociative disorder), then consult a mental health professional whether you can engage in lucid dreams.
As an addition (not a replacement) to the regular health care you can sometimes use lucid dreaming to support yourself with psychological and psychiatric complaints. Do this only with the help of an expert. Some people use lucid dreaming for example to support themselves to solve a trauma or depression, or to better deal with their personality disorder.
Be patient: often it takes time to get lucid dreams. About 20% of the population has an average of one lucid dream per month. An average practitioner has on average one lucid dream a week, a single intensive practitioner can have it daily.
You get these dreams when you are ready. Choose a dreaming method and vision that fits you and feels good. Many methods consist of tricks. Below you’ll find a global step-by-step plan that will help you to lucid dream.
Step 1: Ask yourself why you want to dream lucidly.
Maybe you want to have lucid dreams:
- to develop yourself and your dream skills?
- to get new ideas that you can apply to your waking life?
- to experience more control, for example over nightmares.
Step 2: Learn to remember your dreams.
Keep a dream journal and record all the dreams you remember for about two weeks.
Step 3: analyse your dreams: what comes back often?
Write it down in your dream journal.
Step 4: Go to sleep prepared.
Before you go to sleep, say to yourself in your mind, “If I have to deal with topic X again (something you dream about often), I’ll remind myself that I’m dreaming.” This will help you become lucid.
From a spiritual point of view, lucid dreams are more than a trick; they offer you the opportunity to get in touch with your essence and develop yourself.
Can you use substances to get lucid dreams?
There are several external agents that support, stimulate and give lucid dreaming. Examples include gemstones, sleeping masks and electrodes that can be stuck on specific places on your head. There are also resources that you can take, such as herbs.
Substances that you take or stick on your body to dream lucidly have disadvantages. Herbs and electrodes can be experienced intensely by people and can also cause (long-term) side effects, for example if you are (unconsciously) intolerant to an herb.
Moreover, in this external way you create lucid dreams when you might not be ready for them. Compare it with wanting to experience relaxation: you can learn this yourself with your mind, without resources. There are people who take external resources to experience relaxation, such as alcohol. There is no need to ingest or apply any drugs to lucid dreaming to dream lucidly.
From a Tibetan Buddhist view, the atmosphere when you are dead is very similar to the dream atmosphere. Tibetan Buddhists train their mind and consciousness so that they are lucid and recognize that they are dreaming at the moment they dream. The applicable idea behind this is that over time you will also recognize more easily that your body is dying/dead, making it easier for you to go to the light and achieve enlightenment. Also, when you transition to another state of being, you don’t have herbs and the aforementioned physical means with you.
Your mind is powerful enough to learn lucid dreaming on its own. You can train your mind and learn lucid dreaming with a course that suits you and by surrounding yourself with like-minded people who are into this. That is a safe and nourishing way.
This a free translation of the dutch article ‘Lichter leven door helder dromen’ in ParaVisie Magazine (a dutch magazine about spirituality).
You can find more information about the research of LaBerge here: LaBerge S.P., Nagel L.E., Dement W.C., Zarcone V.P. Jr. Lucid dreaming verified by volitional communication during REM sleep. Percept Mot Skills. 1981 Jun;52(3):727-32. doi: 10.2466/pms.1922.214.171.1247. PMID: 24171230.
About Femke de Grijs
I teach high-sensitive how they can feel more alive. Lucid dreams are a practical and profound instrument for this.
I love to work with lucid dreaming and have been trained in this. I like to share my knowledge with you, for example in the dutch lucid dreaming course for HSP. Do you want to know more about this in English? Contact me.