The word “lucid” is often used in the sense of clarity, or more specifically, mental clarity. The term “Lucid dreaming” was created by the 19th/20th century Dutch writer and psychiatrist, Frekerik Van Eeden. The definition: when one realizes what they’re experiencing is a dream rather than an event in reality.
Lucid dreams have often been associated with a controversial and baffling phenomenon known as “Out-of-Body Experience” or O.B.E.
An O.B.E. typically involves the sensation of floating outside of one’s “physical body” and in some cases being able to perceive the sleeping body itself. This practice is also called: Astral Projection, Soul traveling, and Spirit Walking. Researcher, Waldo Viera described O.B.E.s as a “projection of consciousness”.
Some claim that lucid dreams are potentially hazardous to our health. One theory is that the person can become stuck in their own subconscious and are unable to awake; another even more disturbing theory is the possibility of one’s death within a dream causing their death in real life. Unfortunately, if the latter theory holds any truth, we’ll probably never know, will we? And though there might be potential for danger in lucid dreams, the majority are mild, sometimes upsetting, but with the added possibility for excitement. Most have yet to be thoroughly studied and proven in any way.
So, can lucid dreaming contribute positively to our lives? Take a moment to consider the possibilities once an individual becomes aware of a dream. The laws of physics and society would no longer apply, allowing him or her to explore a world in which all boundaries are subject to his subconscious and conscious imagination.
One of the most popular uses for lucid dreaming is the possibility to experience adventure and fantasy. The sense of flying, sex with a celebrity or otherwise someone who the dreamer considers beyond their reach.
Lucid dreaming is without a doubt the most effective therapy for overcoming nightmares. When one becomes aware of the dream, it’s logical then to recognize that nothing within that dream, no matter how visually horrifying to the dreamer, is capable of causing any real harm.
Because the surroundings from within a lucid dream are so limitlessly vivid, the dreamer is actually able to practice or rehearse whatever they please in order to do better in their waking life. For example, public speaking, difficult confrontations (breaking up with your boyfriend or girlfriend), artistic and/or athletic performances, etc. Because the activity in the dream state is the same as during the actual event, neuronal patterns of activation necessary for a skill (snowboarding, ballet dancing, showing horses) can be established in preparation for performing in reality.
Overcoming phobias, coping with grief, decreasing social and sexual anxieties, and achieving greater self-confidence in general are all significant contributions which lucid dreaming offers to our lives. In fact, the overwhelming majority of lucid dreams are positive and rewarding experiences; even dreams involving one’s death can be insightful in relation to “life, rebirth, and transcendence”.
Learning how to lucid dream is comparable to learning a foreign language or any other skill which requires regular practice and effort. Some possess a natural talent for intentional lucid dreams, but it comes easy to very few, and no one can master the skill without motivation and discipline. If you are struggling to overcome some of the difficulties mentioned here in your life, or are simply curious, lucid dreaming might be something to think about.