What Exactly Is Lucid Dreaming?
Dreams represent some of the most complex operations of the mind and form the most mysterious messages and images inside of our brains. They embody our inner-most desires, conflicts, and wishes that we often choose not to consider during the waking hours of our lives. It is possible, however, to “wake up” in the middle of a dream and shape it as you see fit. This process is known as lucid dreaming, a technique that allows people to, in a sense, take control of their dreams.
As with many topics concerning dreams, lucid dreaming isn't a well-known subject. Many people have experienced it, yet have no clue what actually occurs during the dream itself. Lucid dreaming is being aware that you are dreaming; it's considered existing between reality and the projections brought on by the subconscious. Many times when a person dreams, the dream is vivid, and the person is unaware that they are dreaming until they wake up, realizing that what they just experienced was not reality but a realistic fantasy. Many people can recall what happened in their dreams, but few can actually control what happens in the subconscious realm. By learning to control your consciousness while in a dream, it is possible to explore and shape them at your will.
The act of lucid dreaming requires a great deal of concentration. One of the first steps needed to master lucid dreaming is learning how to meditate. Often, when someone wakes up from a dream, the memory of what happened rapidly deteriorates until it is completely forgotten. Once a person regains consciousness, the idea that they've returned to reality quickly settles in, and the day to day routines begin playing in their heads, taking over much of the space that housed the dream. Meditation allows the dreamer to, in a way, practice clearing the mind allowing an easier transition into dreams. Another useful way to prevent forgetting dreams is to keep a dream journal.
Dream journals are incredibly useful tools that document various elements associated with your dream habits. The journals work best when the person notes what happened in the dream as soon as they wake up, as they will be able to write down everything that happened before their brain wipes it from their memory. Using this method will help the dreamer recognize certain habits and recurring themes involving their subconscious and allow them to take steps toward being aware of those themes while asleep to induce lucid dreaming. Of course, keeping up with a journal is difficult if a person's sleep schedule is sporadic. Not getting enough sleep or sleeping at random periods of time hamper the brain's ability to hold onto and memorize what goes on during sleep. It is important to ensure that a proper sleep schedule is a part of the daily routine, not only for lucid dreaming but overall health factors as well.
There are many benefits to lucid dreaming. Becoming “aware” inside of a dream is an experience unique in itself. Normal dreams are constructed by the complex patterns of memories and desires organized by the subconscious, while lucid dreaming involves the awareness of such workings. Becoming self-aware in the dream world allows for substantial creativity while providing people with the ability to shape things the way they want to. Dreamers can can retrieve questions form the subconscious exploring various possibilities they are consciously unaware of when they're awake. However, though it's not common, those who wish to practice lucid dreaming should be cautious about mixing reality with fantasy. Though non-frequent, losing one's grasp on reality is a possibility that results from “overdoing it”. It is important that the dreamer establishes what its real and what is not when practicing self-awareness in dreams.
Taking control of your dreams presents an interesting concept, as dreams are a direct link to the subconscious. Though not widely known, practiced or without risk, lucid dreaming is one of the best keys to figuring out one's real subconscious desires.