The other night I experienced a lucid dream. In the dream I was sitting gazing into our fish aquarium. I peered in closely, examining our spotted suckerfish. I often gaze at him or her because he never moves much in the daytime. I watch him to see if he is O.K. As I stared at him, suddenly I noticed there were two more suckerfish! They were identical to the original.
At first I was startled and shocked, surprised that there were more. Then I wondered where they could have come from. As I pondered this I abruptly realized that I must be dreaming! "Of course!" I said. That explains this. I jumped up and looked around. There were other people in this dream with me. I had a husband, a son and a dog. Before looking at the fish, I had been going along, living my daily life in a mundane fashion. The last thing I had remembered doing was feeding the dog and kissing my little boy on the head while he played on the kitchen floor.
As I looked at these people, I realized it wasn't my real husband or either of my real children-I excitedly blurted out at them that we were all dreaming. My husband looked at me perplexed. I yelled again "WE ARE DREAMING!!!" As I became even more self-conscious, I announced that I could test my theory by flying.
If this really was a dream, I should be able to fly! So I jumped up and flew to the ceiling. I can still see the look on that man's face as he watched me float up to the ceiling. Unfortunately, as I watched the fear and doubt on his face, I began to fall. I sank all the way back down and landed with a thud on the floor and fell down hard. When that happened, I began to doubt my own perception and lost my awareness as I fell back into a regular dream state. Before waking from the dream, I remember gazing at my hands and noticing that they were an odd shape.
The above is an example of lucid dreaming. Lucid dreaming is the state of being conscious in your dreams. You are aware that you are dreaming, while dreaming. If you have ever had it happen to you spontaneously, you understand how exciting it is, the heart races with excitement at your prospects.
Gazing at something in your home or on your body, such as your hands during your regular workday is a technique used by dream researchers to induce lucid dreaming. Another technique is to continually ask yourself throughout the day if you are dreaming. If you develop these habits, if you happen to be in a dream state while looking at your hands, you will be tipped off when your hands look odd. On another occasion just before becoming lucid, I noticed that my kitchen cupboards were the wrong color, which tipped me off. The duplicated fish are another example.
Stephen LaBerge the pioneer of lucid dreaming research suggests that once you can become lucid, there is no limit to what your imagination can create in a dream. It truly is amazing, from flying, to inventing, to art. You can even try out things you've always wanted to try and see what it is like. It has been discovered, and my experience supports this, that when you do become lucid, it is extremely difficult to stay that way. Research has shown though that the more you do it, the better at it you get and the better your control is. Often a few seconds of lucidity is all that is manageable. It is still a thrilling experience.
A person who is experienced at lucid dreaming can actually set up scenarios with which to learn or solve problems in their lives. Did you want to try something but were afraid of injury or expenses? How about downhill skiing or asking your boss for a raise?
Stephen LaBerge also sees lucid dreaming as a solution to high anxiety dreams or nightmares. He points out that lucidity in the midst of a nightmare enables a person to gain control of the situation and redirect the circumstances to their liking thereby facing the situation creatively. He has found this helpful with children's nightmares as well.
A technique developed by Stephen LaBerge is to count to your self as you fall asleep: "one, I'm dreaming, two, I'm dreaming, three, I'm dreaming etc. Until by the time you reach 48, I'm dreaming, you really are dreaming. Even though there are various techniques to help you become lucid in your dreams, he believes that the simple intention of wanting to become lucid is often enough to make it happen.
Science has only just begun to examine the possibilities of the phenomenon of lucid dreaming. Some researchers view it as an evolutionary development of our species and our consciousness expanding. Whether or not we are evolving or have always had this ability, we certainly are not taking advantage of all it has to offer. If we could become more disciplined with our dream work we would have many more avenues with which to learn and grow.
Learn more about lucid dreaming in Stephen LaBerge's book entitled Explore the World of Lucid Dreaming Click Here.