Understanding Lucid Dreaming
by David L. Kahn
Whether we remember or not, we all have several dreams each night. Isn’t it a shame that most people simply “misplace” this part of their lives? If you had an extra few hours during the day, I’m sure you would put that time to good use. You are no less alive during the night, and in fact your ability to tap into your creative or problem-solving skills may be at their best while your body takes some time off.
Take a few moments and imagine yourself in the following environment. You have a bit of spare time, perhaps a few minutes or maybe up to forty-five minutes or longer. There is no work to be done. Your office, bills, and household obligations are not accessible to you. You have no cell phone, computer or other means of communication with anyone other yourself (the characters in your dream being aspects of your own personality). Nothing physical in this environment can be taken with you. There are no consequences for your actions. The laws of physics do not exist. Anything you want is yours for the taking. No stress, no obligations. Freedom.
When you awaken from an experience of freedom and joy, your day naturally moves in a more positive direction. The exhilarating feelings from a lucid dream can last for hours, or even days. There is one thing that you can (and do) take with your from your dreams whether you recall them or not, and that is the emotions tied in with them. Ideas and creativity also may be taken from dreams. Wouldn’t it be nice to take a problem that’s been bothering you for some time and wake up with the answer? What better time or place to work out your struggles? The term “sleep on it” is more than just a figure of speech. It is a process of bringing resolution to your life’s issues.
As you continue to imagine what you might do with the entire universe at your disposal, it probably isn’t too hard to understand at least some of the benefits of lucid dreaming. The question you are probably asking yourself at this point is, “How do you do it?” Like most questions, there is more than one answer ranging from simple to long-term commitment. I’ll focus on the simple. I have little doubt that once you experience one lucid dream, you’ll want to experience more and therefore will look to find additional books and articles on the subject to further your abilities.
Take an interest in lucid dreams. Yep, it can be as simple as that. If you read about them, you are much more likely to succeed. Spontaneous lucid dreams commonly occur after a person has read about them. So, head to the library or bookstore and check out some online lucid dreaming resources such as The Lucid Dream Exchange (www.dreaminglucid.com). Reading about other people’s lucid dreams will help to put you in the right frame of mind. Consider doing your reading before bed.
Think about what you want to do if and when you have a lucid dream. Imagine yourself flying, asking a dream character what they represent, or asking the dream to provide you with an answer to a problem. Not only do these kinds of thoughts often help to spark a lucid dream, but you are likely to remember your intention when you do have a lucid dream.
Keep a dream journal. Write down your dreams and read through them often. This will help you understand what your own dreams are like. With that knowledge, you are more likely to recognize a dream while you are still in it. You may also see patterns over time, such as the same people, places or situations showing up in your dreams in a short period of time. If, for example, your uncle Bob has shown up in your dreams a couple of times this past week, take note of that. The next time that you see Uncle Bob you may question if this is the real one or a dream version.
Have patience. Impatience will hinder your ability to achieve your goal. Keep your intention firm, but allow yourself the luxury of no-pressure. Most people that intend to have a lucid dream eventually do, but the timeframe can vary significantly.
David L. Kahn is author of A Dream Come True: Simple Techniques for Dream Interpretation and Precognitive Dream Recognition (Cosimo, 2007) and columnist for The Lucid Dream Exchange. He is a member of the International Association for the Study of Dreams (IASD) and the World Dreams Peace Bridge, and was a presenter at the 2007 IASD PsiberDreaming conference. His website is www.dreamingtrue.com.