El Chalten will always stay in my heart as a place where I felt in …
Lucid Dreaming – Enjoy a brand new world each night
Lucid dreaming is the ability to make your own dreams. It is one of those activities that not many people heard of and even fewer can do properly. When you are a lucid dreamer you can decide what you want to dream of that night while sleeping and your dreams seem real. When you first hear about lucid dreaming, it can sound like a super power, but in fact it is just another channel to make you more conscientious and enjoy your life even more.
The idea of consciously recognizing and controlling our dreams has been always present into the human narrative. From the Hindu Upanishads to Aristotle’s On Dreams, people have been puzzling out the mysterious of lucid dreaming. Nowadays it does not get nearly enough attention as it deserves although movies like Inception definitively brought it back to public awareness.
Many of us complain that we don’t have enough time or money to enjoy life fully, work on evolving our potential or travel. We’re extremely busy during the day but unconscious for most of the night. On average we spend 8 hours asleep but we usually don’t remember what happened in our dreams. In fact, most people forget their dreams and claim not to have any. This simply isn’t true.
When we sleep our brains digest all the information from our day and we dream. Our brain goes through different phases, processing emotions and experiences gained during wakefulness. In fact, during the REM phase our brainwaves intensify to wakefulness levels, causing us to dream vividly. REM sleep is similar to wakefulness and is consider the third state of our existence, next to standby and deep sleep. That’s why our dreams often feel as if they were real.
Most of us accept that we spend the third part of our life completely unaware and not productive. It doesn’t have to be this way.
What are the benefits of lucid dreaming?
Improve your sleep quality
Have you ever felt tired after a long night of sleep? Those who practice lucid dreaming usually feel more rested in the morning. Like mediation and other relaxation techniques, true rest occurs when you’re able to relax and maintain consciousness.
We say we’re relaxing when we watch TV, scroll through Facebook, or randomly browse the internet, but is that really relaxing? In reality we’re simply getting more stimulation and feeding our minds with unnecessary things that overload us and keep us from a restful nights sleep.
When you’re able to control your dreams, nightmares occur less frequently. You’ll sleep better and more deeply. There are examples in psychotherapy where doctors have applied lucid dreaming to their treatments for insomnia. Tests performed by Spoormaker, van den Bout, and Meijer on eight people revealed that research subjects experienced fewer nightmares and improved their sleep quality.
Fulfill your unsatisfied desires
If you could fulfill your desires and try things you’d never be able to in real life, isn’t lucid dreaming worth giving a shot? Maybe your desire is to kiss your favorite musician, or fly over your hometown, or even explore a fantasyland full of dragons and fairy tale creatures – you can do it all! When you’re lucid dreaming, you’re only limited by your imagination.
Think of what you have locked up inside you, potential to be released, skills you aren’t even aware of. Before you go to sleep think of something you find inspiring in your waking life – your favorite paintings, beautiful landscapes etc. Create an intention for inspiration and tell your mind, “Impress me! Show me something amazing”.
Improve real life skills
Practicing in your dreams will influence you real performance. You can refine and polish new skills and techniques with lucid dreaming. When you dream the precision muscle movements you make become ingrained in your brain – just as if you’d been training in the real world.
A lucid dreamer has an endless ability to craft his or her own world with utmost focus, leading to reduced performance anxiety and increased confidence during real life situations.
Change your personality
Sometimes you can be so caught up in the troubles you are experiencing in your life you cannot even get away from the stress in your dreams. You never get away from the negativity and it seems to perpetuate itself. If you could find a way to change your dreams, you could put a stop to the cycle and make your life better. A lot of who you are and what you do in life starts with your own self-image. Once you have a good one, things start to get better all around.
You have heard of the power of mind over matter right? That is what Lucid Dreaming is all about. You are stuck in your own opinion of yourself and it is not the person you always wanted to be. Taking charge of how you see yourself starts in your subconscious mind. By dreaming of yourself being what you want to be, your mind starts to change its opinion of who you are. Now you can take action and actually become that person.
How to train yourself to recall better your dreams ?
Get enough and high quality rest
Our brain doesn’t work on command and under the pressure. You have to get enough rest to lucid dream. While you’re in bed try saying things to yourself like you’re going to rest properly, that you feel safe, and everything is well. Always see yourself as part of a “big picture” look at problems from a distance, where your everyday troubles seem tiny, temporary and not worth worrying about. While falling asleep, be present right here and right now. Think about your body, which is slowly relaxing, listen to your breath.
Awareness brings clarity. You’ll be captain of your mind, sailing through fantasies and adventures. Meditation is the oldest and best-known tool in the world for improving self-awareness, and it’s and excellent method for learning how to direct your mind into a lucid dream.
Add new habits to your regular routine:
1. Keep a dream journal
Buy yourself a nice notebook and keep it right next to your bed. Just after waking up write there down your dreams. After sometime you may observe a pattern which will let you know when you are dreaming. Keeping a daily dream journal where you note down every morning the dream you had the night before is the fastest and most efficient way to recall your dreams.
2. Pay attention to special objects
Things such as book covers, clocks and mirror are blurry in your dreams. Pay attention to them during a day, so you recognize that they are blurry when you are sleeping.
3. Do reality checks
By performing reality checks in real life, your brain will get into the habit of performing them in your dreams as well, and when they fail you will realize that you are actually dreaming and you will become lucid.
Think that you want to lucid dream tonight
Believe it or not, just by saying to yourself, I am going to lucid dream tonight –increases your chances significantly of lucid dreaming. But you can take it one step further, and it’s recommended to do so if you are looking for a fast solution. You need to decide what are you going to lucid dream about, and establish what other people call a visualization ritual: it has to be a vivid depiction of what you want to be dreaming about, with as many details as possible.
Then when you go to sleep, visualize that ritual as detailed as possible while trying to stay awake. By repeating to yourself what you want to dream about, once you will be sleeping you will be reminded to dream that scenario, which we’ll help you realize that you are actually dreaming and begin being lucid. This technique is called ‘induced lucid dreaming’. It happens when you first dream and then you realize you are in a dream and become lucid as opposed to wake induced lucid dreaming where you go from being conscious to lucid dreaming directly.
Prepare your body for lucid dreaming
The easiest way to lucid dream guaranteed is to break your normal sleep cycle routine or deprive yourself of sleep. Because when your sleep cycle is broken (either you stayed awake way too much, or you woke up earlier and want to get back to sleep) your body wants to go into REM (rapid eye movement) sleep as soon as possible, and that’s the sleeping stage responsible for dreaming.
This is very important though, you need to stay awake, semi alert during this stage just for a couple of minutes and you will reach a half conscious half dreaming state responsible for dreaming. It’s better if you do not move during this time, for a couple of minutes, stay on your back and take deep relaxed breaths while trying to avoid falling to sleep and visualizing your routine.
Then, with your mind already prepared for lucid dreaming and the visualization routine you ensure you have a lucid dream instead of a normal dream. Most of the lucid dreaming tips I mention get more effective the longer you practice them, so if it’s not working for you tonight do not despair, keep practicing them because lucid dreaming is so worth it.