dream world

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!

A few years ago I had the experience of dreaming in Zen! For those unfamiliar with Zen stories, they are often short but insightful tales about experiences that have helped people realize the truth… (I recommend Zen Flesh Zen Bones by Alan Watts, a great collection of Zen stories.)

But I was fortunate enough to bring this one back from the dream world! I saw it from the eyes of the characters and third person simultaneously, but here is my attempt at a written version… Enjoy!

…A travelling zen monk was passing through a city one day, when he was approached by one of the locals seeking his help. There had been a number of deaths in the city by poisoning recently, and the man knew of the particular shopkeeper responsible for supplying it. He was, however, too afraid to approach the authorities for fear he might be next. The monk assured the man that he would look into it, asks directions to the shop and proceeds to it.

Upon entering the shop, he approaches the counter and politely says “I require one dose of your finest poison thankyou.” The shopkeeper is visibly surprised at such a request from a monk, but is not in the business of asking questions, and after all, this could be a disguised assassin who it would not be wise to refuse. He recovers his composure, bends down under the counter and shortly produces a small vial for examination.

The monk studies the vial, and satisfactorily pronounces, “Yes, that should suffice for everyone.” The shopkeeper is again taken aback, and says quite seriously, “Sir, I do not think you understand. As you asked, this dose is for one person. It is not sufficient for more.” The monk smiles and replies, “No, it will certainly suffice. For you see, I intend to take this myself tonight… and tomorrow, everyone else will be dead.”

At which, the shopkeeper is enlightened, and never sells poison again…

It’s actually quite tricky to use words to describe the sense of wonder that comes with a fully lucid dream… Well, let me try to explain anyway…

Once you’re lucid, the whole feeling and experience of your dream reality changes. All the colours become bright and vivid, and the sounds become crisp and clear. Both your mind and body are buzzing with inspiration and energy, and your dream world has amazing detail and clarity! Everything is as real as waking life, or more so.. The transformation is beautiful and instantaneous… The feeling of a lucid dream is nothing short of exciting, empowering and envigorating all at once!

Of course, not all lucid dreams are like this, the quality of lucidity varies, especially for beginners. But the great things is, as you have more and more lucid dreams, your dreaming focus and dreaming attention will improve consistently, which basically means just about every lucid dream you have is better and clearer. This kind of development stays with you, and once developed, will produce awesome lucid dreams on a regular basis!

Imagine the wonder and joy of waking up inside your own dream reality simply by realizing that you’re dreaming – knowing you can consciously create whatever experience you desire… and doing it, instantly. Now that’s what lucid dreaming is all about!