Ancient Accounts of Lucid Dreaming and the Benefits for Todays Best Life

Lucid Dreaming

Lucid Dreaming is the phenomenon of realizing that you’re dreaming, while still in the dream. This is a form of Metacognition, being “aware of your own awareness” but inside your ‘lucid’ dreams.

Frederik van Eeden coined the term: Lucid Dreaming in 1913… but how far back does lucidity in dreams go..?

Dream Incubation is a technique where people aimed to induce specific dreams for spiritual growth. Dedicated sleep chambers located within temples provided a sacred space believed to be conducive to receiving divine messages.

Moving to the East… in the Indian Upanishads (a collection of philosophical and religious texts) they contain references to lucid dreaming. These texts discuss a ‘state of consciousness’ where the dreamer is aware they are dreaming…

The philosopher Aristotle, in his treatise ‘On Dreams’, mentions realizing he was dreaming within the dream itself… describing this meta-awareness within the dream state… questioning the nature of reality within dreams.

“Often when one is asleep, there is something in consciousness which declares that what then presents itself is but a dream” On Dreams by Aristotle.

The coining of the name…

“The seventh type of dreams, which I call lucid dreams, seems to me the most interesting and worthy of the most careful observation and study” Frederik van Eeden in his 1913 ‘A Study of Dreams’.

“In a lucid dream the sensation of having a body… having eyes, hands, a mouth that speaks and so on… is perfectly distinct; yet I know at the same time that the physical body is sleeping and has quite a different position.”

Lucid dreaming stands out because its brainwave activity combines elements of both REM sleep and wakefulness…

Theta Brainwaves: When people are Lucid Dreaming there is often a strong presence of Theta Brainwaves, likely supporting the dream experience itself.

Beta Brainwaves: Unlike normal REM sleep, when people are Lucid Dreaming there is often increased beta brainwave activity, particularly in the frontal regions of the brain. Associated with concentration and critical thinking, skills crucial for realizing you’re dreaming and influencing the dream content.

Gamma Brainwaves (above 32 Hz): Lucid Dreaming also often involves the faster gamma brainwaves. These are linked to memory, learning and information processing… explaining the clarity associated with lucid dreams.

Interestingly, for thousands of years Zen Masters and Monks in deep meditation have experienced a similar blend of brainwave states: Theta (Inner Focus), Alpha (Relaxed Alertness) and the high Gamma (Heightened Awareness).

Reality Checks: Habitually checking throughout your day… questioning your reality by asking yourself “Am I dreaming?”. By doing so, the idea is, in your dreams you’ll also ask yourself this same question, prompting you to notice that you are.

Lucid Dreaming

Look at your hands… try pushing your fingers through your palm (something you can’t do in reality). Look at any written text, like a book or a sign, in a dream this action often produces abnormal, strange results… prompting you to realize you’re dreaming.

Kinesthetic Checks (Nose Pinch Check): Pinch your nose and try to breathe. In a dream, you might still be able to breathe despite having your nose pinched. Pinch your hand… does it hurt?

The idea is to perform ‘reality checks’ throughout the day i.e look at your hands… the more you do this, the more likely you do this in your dreams. That’s the moment you notice the abnormality and can enter the ‘waking dream’.

Dream Journals: Before sleep or upon waking, writing down your dreams or any dream fragments you remember strengthens your dream recall, making it easier to recognize dream signs later.

Intention Programming (hypnotic suggestion): Before falling asleep, or upon waking from a dream, say to yourself something like “I will remember that I’m dreaming”… this primes your mind for lucidity during sleep.

Lucid Dreaming isn’t just about wild dream adventures, with awareness in the dreamscape you can unlock many benefits:

  • Overcoming Nightmares, recognizing you’re dreaming allows you to change the dream scenario.
  • Enhanced Creativity, you can explore places you’ve never been… crazy sounding right! You can brainstorm ideas freely, and even practice creative skills… like playing music or painting.
  • Personal Growth, offering opportunity for exploration and self-discovery, you can confront anxieties in a safe environment and practice different outcomes…

These heightened awarenesses can translate into your waking life, allowing you to better understand your emotions, thoughts and motivations.

Editors Note

30 years ago when I owned a recording studio and produced EDM (Electronic Dance Music), I discovered Lucid Dreaming. In my dreams I wrote music, created new sounds and then made it real in the studio in the morning… or afternoon (musicians are night owls lol)

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