Over the recent years, lucid dreaming has become an increasingly popular topic. Numerous books have appeared on the subject, and indeed many people have discovered the fantastic playground that dreaming can be. We might vividly remember those occasional and exceptional flying dreams from our childhood, but somewhen during adolescence most of us have unfortunately lost the ability to enjoy dreamland. But what exactly is a lucid dream?
Essentially, a dream becomes lucid when you become aware that you are dreaming.
We often become aware, or lucid, in the middle of a dream, when something strange, out of the ordinary happens. When things turn bizarre, we might question the matter of the dream, realising we‘re in a dream. For most of us, spontaneous lucid dreams still occur naturally from time to time, without any efforts made.
But it is important to note that becoming lucid in a dream does not necessarily imply that we have control over what is going on - that is a more advanced achievement. In the early stages of dream awareness, it is common to realise that you are in a dream but still be swept along with it - remaining a just spectator instead of an active participant. Dream control is absolutely possible, but it requires some effort.
As a consequence, there are different levels of lucidity. In higher levels, you might completely realise your freedom to roam around and materialise what you want. In a lower level of awareness you might be more of a spectator, watching the movie of your dream.
Frequently dropping in and out of of awareness is also common in basic levels of lucidity.
Lucid dreaming is nothing new, in fact, it‘s most likely as old as our brains. While it might be something new for many people nowadays, dream awareness has been a very important part of the spiritual life of many „primitive“ societies. It might well be that during the times of inquisition also the knowledge about this treasure of the human mind was eradicated, along with much wisdom of spiritual matters. In any case, in Buddhism the discipline of dream yoga has been handed down for generations and is considered an advanced tantric technique. Also, South American and African shamans were well aquatinted with dreamscapes, and particularly with the herbs that induce them.
Lucid dreaming is an art that needs to be cultivated over a period of time. There‘s a number of skills that need to be sharpened, one of them is dream recall. Good dream recall is essential to fully appreciate a lucid dream - you don‘t want to wake up to have forgotten what you experienced. But even more important, good dream recall becomes very important to even have lucid dreams in the first place.
Lucid dreaming be both fun and profoundly revealing. Dreams are a way to explore our unconscious mind and learn about the nature of reality. It‘s a healthy process and there‘s absolutely no danger do lucid dreaming. Best of all - it‘s completely legal.