Along with that excitement comes an adrenaline rush, which makes it challenging to remain within the dream. In order to stay lucid, most people have to learn techniques advised by lucid dream experts such as Stephen LaBerge, Ph.D. of the Stanford University Sleep Research Center. One described technique is to concentrate on your "dream hands." Another is to make your dream body do somersaults in the air, or twirl around like a ballerina. This serves to get your focus off of the excitement, and quell the adrenaline so it doesn't cause you to totally awaken, which feels a lot like being sucked backwards up through a vacuum cleaner. Some people experience this sensation as falling off a cliff. Gives new meaning to the term, "falling asleep," doesn't it?
Once able to stay within the dream and yet still be aware, you can focus your attention on what is going on around you inside your dream. It is like being inside a fantasy world...which you are, actually! Colors are more intense, you can feel sensations and hear sounds...many report that they have never felt more alive than when they lucid dreamed, and I myself certainly found that to be true in my case. It is an incredible experience, and one never forgets their lucid dreams.
I'll give an example of a lucid dream I had:
I was walking down a corridor in a hospital ward. I recognized this ward as one that had been shut down years previously, and changed into administrative offices. I heard people breathing and realized that now, there were patients back in the rooms. This didn't suprise me, but it was pitch black and I couldn't see where I was going. I knew that hospitals always have floor lights on for this purpose, so I thought that famous thought to myself, "I MUST BE DREAMING!" and became lucid. Great! I felt the excitement build and the adrenaline rush, and realized I had to try out that somersault trick to stop myself from waking up. I seemed to have some trouble getting started, but finally managed to stabilize myself in the dream, so I concentrated on my surroundings. Even though it was dark, I was still able to see. It was almost an infra-red type vision, except everything was simply muted and not that hazy orange or green hue seen through infrared. I walked down to the end of a hall to find a livingroom set up, which does not exist in waking life. It had a high ceiling, and I decided to try to fly. As I looked at the ceiling, I reminded myself that it was an illusion, and I would be able to fly right through it. I put my arms up but my doubts seemed to hold me back. I decided to "kick off" and pushed off with my feet a little, and sure enough--I went gliding easily through the ceiling! I saw everything that was in the ceiling...the paint, drywall, wood beams, insulation...then, just as quickly, I was outside in the night air. What a glorious feeling! I flew around my small town, looking at all the city lights and feeling incredibly free. It was so exhilirating! The air was not like normal air...it was very thin. No gravity feel to it. When I flew, I made no noise in the wind...it was quiet as could be, and very peaceful. Everything seemed to have this heightened energy to it, and there was this great feeling of joy, like I belonged here more than in my waking life.
I decided to fly
out into space, and it was more incredible than I ever
imagined! I flew to a planet that was the color of
terra cotta clay, and touched down next to a woman who
looked like some sort of shaman. She was sitting on
the side of a clay-colored mountain, at a small table.
There seemed to be no one else on this planet, just
her. She never said a word, but smiled and handed me a
symbol that had a heart in the middle and wings on either
side. I didn't consciously know what this symbol
meant, but knew I did somehow on a deeper level. (I
still haven't found out, so anyone who can shed some light
on this symbol, please email me!) It was like there
was a veil of forgetfulness, just out of my reach. As
I looked intensely at this symbol, I woke up out of the
dream because it affected me so much.
- - End of dream.
Lucid dreams can be used to problem solve any challenges one has in their waking life. You can confront your boss and ask what his/her problem is with your work; you can talk to a lost relative that you have been grieving over and finally come to terms with their death; you can work on a math problem you haven't been able to "get" in waking life; you can make ammends with someone you'll never see again; you can ask for an angel to appear. The possiblities are endless!
If you have any fears, they can also manifest in your lucid dream, just like they would in a regular dream. You should remember that the dream state is an illusion, and confront this fear. If it's in the form of a stranger who chases you menacingly, turn around and ask point-blank why they are chasing you! You will receive an enlightened answer, or the fear will show itself for what it really is....nothing.
have been experts at this dream state at least since the 8th
century, A.D., and are said to consider it a prequisite to
spiritual enlightenment. They believe it should be
one's goal to resist the allure of this fascinating dream
state, in order to reach the true levels of
enlightenment. Once a person lucid dreams, they
realize that there are other forms or perceptions of reality other than one's waking life, and life can become like a house of mirrors unless we can differentiate between what is real and what really matters, and what is fluff. After a long time inside it, even a house of mirrors isn't any fun anymore, and most of us long for something more spiritually meaningful and productive. Otherwise, we tend to feel like we are just a mouse in a wheel, spinning around yet going nowhere.
What does a lucid dream feel like? Remember watching the old "I Dream of Jeanie" and "Bewitched" shows on t.v., and wishing you could just wiggle your nose or toss your ponytail, and make whatever you wish happen? This is it! You are like a genie in your lucid dream; able to do anything you wish...keeping in mind that this is a dream, and quirky things will happen. I had a friend who tried to make elephants appear in her front yard, and instead got zebras. Her umbrella was opened upside down on the counter with rain falling into it. Quirky things like that. It's very easy to get caught back up in the drama of the dream, which usually happens much sooner than the dreamer would like, until they master ways to stay lucid.
One thing is for sure...once you have had a lucid dream, you'll never forget it!
information on lucid dreams, check out the
author's web site. ( UPDATE: This site has been down for
many, many years but the archive is still worth looking at
A must read for dreamologists, dreamterpreters, and enthusiasts.