Self Improvement

7 Ways Lucid Dreaming Can Benefit Your Life

08/29/15

A lucid dream is defined as any dream in which you are aware that you are dreaming.

Lucid dreaming is fantastic. It is a form of dreaming that gives you so much more freedom and possibilities than a normal dream. It is a dream where you are running the show, where you can do and create whatever you want, where you can go wherever you want.

If we didn’t live in such a consumerist culture and people took the time to learn lucid dreaming, then the demand for virtual reality products and the like would completely disappear. Your brain is a built-in, fully immersive virtual reality universe, where the only limiting factor to what you want to experience is your imagination.

Our imagination is amazing. If you want to experience what yours can come up with, then try out lucid dreaming. Sure, it is quite difficult to get to the point where you can make elaborate dreams at will like riding a bike down the side of the great pyramid of Giza as it explodes into fiery flames behind you, but it is definitely possible.

Lucid dreaming has given me a lot to think about, and has been so immersive that I regard some of my lucid dreaming moments as ‘memories’. So without further ado, here are 7 ways that lucid dreaming can benefit your life.

LUCID DREAMING IMPROVES YOUR IMAGINATION

The act of becoming aware in your dream is a bit startling at first. You realize that you know you’re in a dream, and this is followed by – now what!? Doing and creating things in your lucid dream takes practice and thought, and can really challenge your creativity. It is like directly interacting with your imagination. You may try to conjure up some object, to realize that it isn’t really what you anticipated. The cool thing about lucid dreaming is that you can come up with an ingenious way to conjure that object up, which in other words is a method of actively improving your imagination.

For example, once I decided I wanted to see a specific celebrity in my dream. I turned around, imagined that there was going to be a door behind me in the brick wall when I turned back around. I turned around, and the door was there. I opened the door, and the celebrity I expected to meet greeted me.

You can really push your imagination to the limit in a lucid dream – and this will translate over into your waking life. This is a fantastic idea if you are in some type of creative industry, or are looking for inspiration. Lucid dreaming will help you find it.

ACTUALLY STARTING TO REMEMBERING YOUR DREAMS

A lot of us don’t remember our dreams, and some of us even remember exactly zero dreams every night. Before I started my lucid dreaming journey, I could only remember 1-2 dreams a night. After I started practicing lucid dreaming, I would write down in my dream journal all the dreams I could remember immediately upon waking. This helped me to remember 4-5+ dreams a night. Once I had 11 separate dreams in one night and I wrote them all down.

Typically lucid dreamers keep a ‘dream journal’ where they write all the dreams they have, whether they are lucid ones or not. This helps to create a general awareness of what your dreams are like, and helps improve your recall so if you do have a lucid dream you actually remember it.

Your relationship with yourself becomes much more fascinating when you are directly writing down all the strange things your mind comes up with when you are sleeping, which brings me to my next point…

LUCID DREAMING GIVES YOU INSIGHT INTO YOUR SUBSCONSCIOUS MIND

It is a well-known fact that to a large extent, your subconscious mind is what determines the content of your dreams. Our subconscious mind contains the majority of information we have taken in, our memories, our fears, hopes, dreams, desires, people we’ve met, conversations we’ve had, our deepest and darkest secrets. You can guarantee that if you are suppressing something emotionally, that it will show up somewhere in your dreams.

This is where lucid dreaming can become quite poignant for us. If you are aware you are dreaming, then you can observe what content your subconscious mind is serving up to you, and you can discover more about what it means. You can literally go up to someone in your dream (a.k.a dream character) and ask him or her what this dream means. They may tell you, or give you incomprehensible rubbish. Regardless, there is massive potential there. You are literally interacting with your unconscious mind when you go and talk to characters in your dream or ask to be shown various parts of your psyche in your dream.

There is such massive potential for therapy here that I’m surprised this type of thing hasn’t been converted into a mainstream form of therapy. Again, the time and discipline that lucid dreaming takes to figure out is a major deterrent to people seriously regarding this as a form of therapy. If you have some time and discipline, however, it can turn out to be invaluable. You can learn about things you never knew about yourself in your dreams, you can learn what might be holding you back in your life, how to go to the next level. What you really feel about that person, about your job, about your life. The potential for self-exploration and self-expression is truly limitless.

PRACTICING LUCID DREAMING MAKES YOU DISCIPLINED

For most of us lucid dreaming takes a lot of practice. There are many tried and a tested method to improve your lucid dreaming chances, and to carry them out takes quite a lot of discipline.

One of those feats of discipline is to write in your dream journal first thing in the morning when all you want to do is hit the pillow for 5 more minutes of glorious sleep.

Another is the ‘Wake Back To Bed’ (WBTB) technique, which I was remarkably bad at doing consistently. This involves waking up in the middle of the night for 5-30 minutes and then going back to bed with the intention of slipping straight into a lucid dream by attempting to keep your mind awake while your body falls asleep.

Getting a regular sleep schedule is discipline building already, and throwing in some lucid dreaming practices is like discipline on steroids.

Then there’s the reality checks. This involves doing the routine you’ve chosen that lets you know whether you’re in a dream or in reality (kind of like the whole totem thing from the movie Inception). Whenever you walk through a door, or every 2 hours or whatever, you will have to do this action. For me it was inspecting my hand carefully. This takes a lot of discipline and is also very tedious.

So there you have it. It has been touted many times that willpower is a muscle, and that if you exercise it more and more it will get stronger. All these things come together to make you challenge your willpower on a regular basis, and this will in turn make you a much more disciplined person, if you manage to stick to all of it!

LUCID DREAMING WILL IMPROVE YOUR WRITING

I’ve found that there are typically two styles of writing people adopt when writing in a dream journal. They are note-form and full-length prose.

I’ve written in my dream journal as if I were writing a novel. Detailing all the intricacies that I saw in my dream, following the plot of the dream and describing everything in a lot of detail. This is unnecessary, but if you tend to move towards this style of writing then your writing will undoubtedly improve. Daily practice is the key here.

If you’re more of a note-taker, then you’ll find that you get much better at picking out the major details of each dream you had and disregarding the rest. This is a really important skill to be good at if you are in college, school, the corporate world or anywhere that note taking is an important skill to have.

LUCID DREAMING HAS LIMITLESS POTENTIAL

Ponder what is doable in a lucid dream, and you will soon realize that there are infinite possibilities as to what you could do.

  • You could face your fears in your dream, and get over various phobias that you might have. Your brain won’t know the difference between reality and dream, because you will activate similar neural circuits whether you confront your fear in reality or the dream world.
  • You can learn/practice skills in your dream. Yes, this is actually a thing. It has been proven1 that if you practice a skill in a lucid dream, that you actually get better at that particular skill in waking life also. The potential for growth here is amazing, think about it! You could theoretically learn a new language in your dream, practice boxing, review how well you actually know that exam material, practice making risky decisions, practice public speaking. You name it, you can do it, and it will transfer over into your real life.
  • You can explore consciousness and reality with things like astral projection and out of body experiences. They are both slightly different, but can be done from a lucid dream. This is really boundary-pushing stuff, and may change your perspectives on life and death, and the nature of reality. I don’t have too much experience with this, but if you are interested in exploring the spiritual reality of this universe, then lucid dreaming is a great transition into that.
  • You can live out your wildest dreams. That’s right, feel free to go skydiving, deep sea diving, partake in whatever sexual escapade you would like, drive that supercar you want, create a zombie invasion and survive throughout it. In dreams, time can dilate, so you could feel like you’ve spent days in a dream when you’ve actually only been dreaming for a few hours. Go crazy here, why not build the house you’ve been planning and actually see it exactly as you want in real life. It boggles my mind at the sheer potential this could have for people in various professions, and just people in general.

It is well documented that Nikola Tesla had amazing imagination, and could design an entire mechanical invention in his mind and then execute it in real life and have it operate flawlessly. From his autobiography he writes:

Every night, (and sometimes during the day), when alone, I would start on my journeys – see new places, cities and countries; live there, meet people and make friendships and acquaintances and, however unbelievable, it is a fact that they were just as dear to me as those in actual life, and not a bit less intense in their manifestations. This I did constantly until I was about seventeen, when my thoughts turned seriously to invention.

Then I observed to my delight that I could visualize with the greatest facility.

I needed no models, drawings or experiments.

I could picture them all as real in my mind.

My method is different. I do not rush into actual work.

When I get an idea I start at once building it up in my imagination.

I change the construction, make improvements and operate the device in my mind.

It is absolutely immaterial to me whether I run my turbine in thought or test it in my shop.

I even note if it is out of balance.

There is no difference whatever, the results are the same.

In this way I am able to rapidly develop and perfect a conception without touching anything.

When I have gone so far as to embody in the invention every possible improvement I can think of and see no fault anywhere, I put into concrete form this final product of my brain.

Invariably my device works as I conceived that it should, and the experiment comes out exactly as I planned it.

In twenty years there has not been a single exception.

Why should it be otherwise?

A GREATER APPRECIATION FOR LIFE

Lucid dreaming can be so exhilarating that I have woken from a lucid dream before and have jumped out of bed in excitement at how epic the dream was and how real it felt. I wanted to tell everyone about what I got up to!

The exciting and interesting things that you do in your lucid dream and simply how real the dreams feel will make you appreciate life so much more. The vividness of these dreams and excitement you feel will translate over into your real life, and make you feel like the world is your oyster.

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References

  1. HBR.org
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