dream control

Very simply put, a lucid dream is a dream in which you are aware that you are dreaming. So long as you remain conscious of this fact you remain lucid (‘lucid’ is synonomous with ‘aware’ or ‘clarity’.) Lucidity is a sense or more a ‘knowing’ of your participation in dream reality, brought about by the realization that you’re dreaming.

The degree of your lucidity will vary between lucid dreams. You may be dimly aware that this is a dream, you may be consciously participating in a ‘normal dream’, you may have partial recognition and control, or you may be fully aware and awake inside your own dream world. This last is what most lucid dreamers aim for.

You’re likely to experience each of these in stages as you learn lucid dreaming, and each experience is a kind of breakthrough into greater awareness. As you increase this dreaming awareness, the more fully lucid dreams happen more regularly. For this reason lucid dreaming does get easier every time, just as with any practice you can get good at.

Lucid Dreaming implies a certain degree of dream control, though this also develops over time. Mostly because it takes a while for it to sink into your conscious awareness in a usable way that you can do anything, that you actually are control. But once you ‘get’ that, the possibilities are limitless!

Remember how I said *anything* is possible in a Lucid Dream? Well, it is, but only if you *believe* that. What you believe in a Lucid Dream is very powerful, because your thoughts will create that reality virtually instantly. And this includes limiting beliefs too. As Henry Ford said: “Believe you can, believe you can’t; either way you’re right!” And don’t forget: “the impossible is achieved by those who believe it possible.”

For example, you might be merrily flying along and think, “but this is impossible” – only to find the next moment you are plummeting to the ground – because you just *made it* impossible! But wait, you rethink: “it was possible a moment ago, so it must be possible after all.” Ah, now you’re flying again! See what I mean?

This has more subtle implications when we start to attempt greater dream control. Initially we may need to use tricks like looking away and back again to convince ourselves that the change we desire is possible. With more practice however, we can focus the power of belief and *will* changes to happen as we’re looking at them. It’s more convenient and it’s more fun to watch. Because I have to say, morphing dream objects, characters and environments looks *really cool!* (As does creating out of thin air.)

In your initial Lucid Dreaming experiences, you *may* have only limited control, but this is mostly due to unfamiliarity. We have become accustomed to the limitations of physical life. But as you try a few things and you start to find anything is possible, your confidence builds. And what is confidence if not a *belief* in your own ability?

It’s important to be very careful what you believe about Lucid Dreaming, especially to begin with, as it will affect your experience. Don’t take all the information that you read on the subject at face value if it implies a ‘cannot’ – you could just be blindly picking up someone elses limiting beliefs.

For example, can you say your own name in a Lucid Dream? Yes! But an early dream researcher and author wrote that you couldn’t, and whoever believed him couldn’t either! But dream researcher Stephen LaBerge put this superstition to the test without believing it and of course succeeded. Like Stevie Wonder said: “If you believe in things that you don’t understand, then you suffer. Superstition ain’t the way.”

Another example I’ve seen online is “lucid dreamers do not have complete control over their dreams.” This is truly a terrible thing to tell beginners, because they might believe it and not even try! No, while it’s certainly true that not all lucid dreamers have complete control, I want to stress it is a *learnable skill*! I’ve had many Lucid Dreams where I’ve created the dream landscape *as* I’m walking through it, and countless others where I’ve changed *any* facet of the dream I like.

So that’s the Third Key to Lucid Dreaming: *BELIEF*. Use it, don’t be used by it.

The degree of lucidity you have in a lucid dream can vary according to a number of different factors. We must always remember that lucidity is awareness and it is not something that is ‘on’ or ‘off’, it varies as much as your waking consciousness does and often more so.

First, what is the strength of your conscious focus? Are you brightly aware or dimly? Do you feel tired or groggy, or have you never been more awake in your life? Both of these can happen and anywhere in between in a lucid dream, and can affect your ability to make lucid decisions. The sharpness of your focus can be affected by your mental energy.

Second, is the dream stable? If you are having to spend your time and attention on stabilizing a lucid dream rather than doing anything, it can be quite distracting. That said, it is undoubtably a necessary distraction if you want to stay in the lucid dream! Training your dream stability also trains your lucidity as you stay focussed on the fact you’re dreaming while using stabilizing techniques.

Third, how present is your critical faculty? Do you accept things at face value, or do they engage your curiosity and attention? Are you aware of what is possible in a dream? Are you able to form logical or complex thoughts? It is all very well to be aware that you’re dreaming sometimes, but when you want to use it for more indepth applications, learning to awaken your critical faculty more can be important too.

Fourth, how is your memory? Can you remember who you are in waking life? How you got where you are in the dream? Perhaps even what other dreams you’ve had recently. If you consciously exercise your memory while in a lucid dream, this will help you increase later recall by opening memory channels to your waking memory from the ‘other side’.

Finally, what is your ability to take control of the dream itself? Can you do ‘anything’ or are there things you don’t believe you can do. These beliefs can affect your dreaming abilities and dream control. What, you can float but you can’t fly? How strange. You can lift that trashcan with your mind, but you can’t lift that building? Hmmm… Maybe you aren’t as lucid as you think then… Remind yourself it’s a dream and you can do anything!