What is lucid dreaming? Since I’m not written on the topic before, I should begin with some explanation. Have you ever been in a dream in which you suddenly realized that you were dreaming? Often this results in waking up. But sometimes, with luck or training, we can manage to stay “lucid” (clear-headed and conscious) in our dreams, and begin to control what occurs in them. With practice, this can become great fun. We can give ourselves super powers, or summon up great historical figures to talk to. We can visit other planets and destroy or befriend the monsters of our nightmares.
Not only is this tremendous fun, but many esoteric teachers believe it’s an important exercise. The Tibetans apparently believe that if you can develop the power to stay completely lucid in your sleep to its ultimate potential, the same consciousness and control we develop in our dreams stays with us after death. At the point of death, we find ourselves with the consciousness to understand what it happening to us and control it. We are then able to pass by the dangers of the afterlife that various “books of the dead” warn us about and ascend to higher realms.
Would you like to add years to your life? How much time to you spend asleep and completely unconscious? If you can extend your consciousness to your dreams, it’s like living a whole new life in addition to the one you live while awake. And this life can be extremely fulfilling and useful.
Lucid dreaming is also extremely helpful for those who wish to learn astral projection. The most successful out-of-body experiences I have had began as lucid dreams. How do we develop lucid dreaming ability? There are a number of techniques, ranging from simple affirmations to complex machinery designed to “almost” wake you up at just the right moment. But the first order of business, if you don’t do it already, is to begin to remember and journal your dreams.
It’s a matter of scientific fact that everyone dreams. Many of us, however, don’t remember them. Several things contribute to our inability to remember dreams. First of all, we simply aren’t in the habit of remembering them. We have conditioned our minds to believe it isn’t important. Secondly, we may be used to waking up too abruptly. If we have an annoying alarm clock, or tend to jump out of bed abruptly, the fragile mental state with which we wake up (and which contains our dream memories) is dissolved. Within a few seconds of jumping out of bed, all our dream memories will be gone.
To begin to remember your dreams, then, put a notebook, a pencil (so you don’t have to sit up to write) and a light next to your bed. Make sure your alarm, if you use one, is gentle. Affirm to yourself several times as you go to sleep that you will remember your dreams. As you wake up, DON’T MOVE. Gently think back on what you remember from your dreams. When you have as much detail as you think you are going to get, grab your notebook and write it down. The first few times, you may forget and start to jump out of bed. Let the notebook on your bedside remind you, and write down whatever you remember. If all you remember are vague feelings, write that down. If you really don’t remember anything, take a GUESS at what you might have dreamed and write down the guess. Your mind will start to realize that you are serious about remembering your dreams, and you will remember more and more each day.
If you get up during the night, try to remember your dreams and write them down before you get out of bed. Some people have luck with setting their alarm for the middle of the night and recording their dreams at that time. In any case, if you are patient, within a short while you will remember more and more dreams.
Don’t slack. Write down everything you can. This serves several purposes. First of all, you can begin to use your dream journal for interesting analysis. Secondly, your consciousness will begin to develop itself. Soon you will start finding yourself being aware of your dreams while you are still IN them. This is one of the best roads to lucid dreaming.
There are a number of other techniques to increase your ability to have lucid dreams which I may write about soon, but dream journaling is, in my opinion, the most important.