Is it possible to live out any of your fantasies? While technology has yet to give a vehicle to take you to your wildest of fantasies, the mind is eons ahead. While one is lost in the world of dreams, it is very possible to control your dreams and conjure up anything you desire. This is in the state of lucidity. So what exactly is a lucid dream (LD)? This is a dream in which the dreamer is aware that they are dreaming. In this state of consciousness, the dreamer is able to be an observer to the dream or has the power to change the course of the dream or shape the dream itself. One is also able to interpret the dream as well as participate in it in any role that they desire.
The Depth of a Dream
While the depths of lucidity are still under study, a neuroscientist by the name J. Allan Hobson puts forward that to get to this kind of dreaming, the first step is to be conscious that you are dreaming. The next step is to let the dream proceed on while being able to either passively or actively participate in it. Studies have shown that this dreaming is most prevalent during the ‘rapid eye movement’ (REM) of sleep. This is because it is the deepest form of sleep. Research indicates that these eye movements may correspond with the direction the dreamer is looking at in the land of dreams.
The Journey to Lucidity
Sleep is a four stage journey that can take you to the REM stage, which is the fourth stage. The first and second stage will take up right about thirty minutes or less. In this time, you are in a light sleep in the first stage, able to be easily roused from sleep. The second stage is a more peaceful stage where you are able to block out background sounds and activities. This leads to the third stage which is longer than thirty minutes but less than an hour and a half. Here, you are able to dream, though you may not clearly remember the dreams as you are in a hazy state. After that, you get into fantasy land in stage four. Dreams become vivid and engaging. You are able to remember them and become participative in them.
Learning the Art of Lucidity
This dream gives you the ability to enjoy any manner of things impossible in the real world. You can be a king or a superhero, a superstar or an alien, all in a night. Go on a date with the girl of your dreams because you are in your dreams. You can be able to tap into the power of L.D. by learning to be conscious while you sleep. While this is a natural occurrence, you can always learn to control it and dream lucidly whenever you choose to.
While scientific studies show that it predominantly occurs in the REM stage of a dream, lucidity can also occur straight from a wakeful state into it without breaking the state of consciousness. This is called a wake initiated lucid dream (W.I:L.D). This has led to studies being carried out on this type of dream by inducing it and by also teaching the subjects under study how to control it. Ursula Voss is one such researcher who has pioneered the enablement of lucid dreaming through the safe use of electric currents. Psychotherapists like Victor Spoormaker and van den Bout in 2006 took nightmare sufferers through lucidity exercises after teaching them to master the technique of dreaming.
The Benefits of Lucid Dreaming
In a paper published online on the 11th of May 2014 in “Nature Neuroscience”, Ursula Voss et al. says that there is great potential in the treatment of post traumatic stress disorder and other forms of psychological issues like phobias and nightmares. The beauty of this dream is the ability you get to control your environment, whatever it may be. With this same understanding, psychologists like Milan Colic of Australia are engaging this form of treatment to benefit nightmare sufferers as well as those combating other psychological issues like self-mutilation and depression. Lucidity is seen to give better understanding and control over one’s life making it easier to combat fears and anxieties. This enables you to have more peace and gain better rest even when sleeping.
It is also possible that through lucid dreaming, you are able to tap into creativity more. Tasks that had perturbed you may get solutions in this state; whether or not those solutions are workable, remains up to you. So much potential is yet to be realized from this higher level of consciousness.