Lucid Dreaming is a term coined by Frederik van Eeden. Very simply put, a dream in which you are aware that you are dreaming is called a Lucid Dream. The term ‘lucid’ is thus synonymous with ‘conscious’ or ‘aware’. But the degree of your ‘lucidity’ can vary according to the strength of your conscious focus and its stability, the presence of the critical faculty and memory ability, and finally, your ability to take control of the dream itself.
Similar to Astral Projection, Lucid Dreams can be spontaneous or intentional experiences, yet they are somewhat more commonly remembered. Sometimes people become lucid in a dream seemingly without any particular reason, just suddenly realizing that they are dreaming. But mostly, lucidity is triggered by an incongruity which would not occur in physical life, such as flying, or being unable to turn off a light switch, or words rearranging themselves, or anything that ‘cannot’ happen in the physical world.
The great thing about Lucid Dreaming is that once you recognize you’re inside a dream, you can change or create whatever you like in the dream. By becoming aware and exercising your will to choose, you get to experience just what you want to experience! Consider that for a moment. Not many people ever get a chance like that, certainly not so easily. It really is your own ‘Personal Virtual Reality’, with a flexibility and realism far exceeding the most advanced computer simulation.
I think this is best thing about them – you can do anything in a Lucid Dream. And I mean anything! There are no limits or boundaries to your experience as there are in the physical world, nor is there any time delay to what you create – everything appears virtually instantly as you desire it. I’m not sure how else to describe this but to say it’s very fulfilling and freedom engendering. And really really really fun!
This deeply satisfying aspect of these experiences may be partly why the Astral Plane has also been called the ‘Desire World.’ And because dreams take place within the Astral Plane, by becoming lucid we find we are already in the Astral! If and when we want to ‘project’ from a Lucid Dream, we just stop creating stuff, make it all disappear, and try to see what’s there. We may find ourselves exploring or interacting with other conscious dreamers or projectors on the Astral. Or we can return to our bedroom for an instant Etheric Projection.
Another huge point that needs to be made is that dreams are totally realistic to us when we’re experiencing them. It is only upon later reflection we may call an experience ‘just a dream’. All our senses, emotions, thoughts, feelings in a dream are as though the dream were ‘actually’ happening. It is! It’s not less real, it’s just more dynamic and fluid. And, when we become lucid, we usually find the acuteness and sensational aspects of the experience increase many times over, similar or beyond peak alertness while awake.
“Some dream events are more vivid than waking ones. It is only when the personality passes out of the dream experience that it may seem unreal in retrospect.”
– Seth, Seth, Dreams and Projections in Consciousness p.219
And now for the real good news: you can induce Lucid Dreams too. One of these techniques is almost exactly the same as projection ones. In this case the difference in name is merely a technicality. But most Lucid Dreaming techniques involve learning to ‘wake up’ within a normal dream, at which point you decide what to do from there. There are a number of ways of doing this, some more effective than others, but I’ve made it my quest to explore and improve on them all.
Lucid Dreams can happen whenever regular dreams happen, and there are typically around four or five major dream periods in a single night, and each period can contain multiple dreams. So there is plenty of opportunity to make the most of our dreams. It’s actually quite hard to describe the sense of wonder that comes with Lucid Dreams! But okay, you convinced me, I will try…
To you – the self in the dream – the dream IS real, simply because that IS the ‘reality’ you are in. But at the same time you ‘know’ you are ‘dreaming’. From that inside perspective, it is your waking life that can seem like some kind of vague dream! It’s truly only a matter of perspective or focus as to what is ‘more’ or ‘less’ real at any particular time.
To use an analogy, it is as if you hold both hands out wide: one hand is your waking self and one hand is your dreaming self. If you turn your head and shift your focus from one hand to the other and back, is either ‘less real’? No way – both exist simultaneously. You remember the ‘opposite’ exists, but you are simply not focussed there. Just as both hands are ‘yours’, your waking and dreaming selves are both ‘you’.
By learning to dream with lucidity, we are blending our waking self and dreaming self identities in a way that will enrich the experience of both. We bring an ability to focus better consciously in the dream world and our creative abilities surface far more easily in waking life. And in the process we explore many new ideas and have a whole heap of fun!
Funny as it might sound, you can ‘induce’ a spontaneous Astral Experience. To do this you need to fill your mind up with Astral Projection and Lucid dreaming information by reading about it, thinking about it, discussing it. Some advocate becoming obsessed by these subjects to do this (I do not however. From experience I can say this information overload was more of a setback than a help. Concise quality information is a far better option. Meaning this course of course. 🙂 ) But basically by this you are just suggesting and prompting your subconscious to induce an experience during or after sleep, and there are far more effective techniques for doing this too.
In the end, intellectual knowledge only helps so much. Both Astral Projection and Lucid Dreaming are things you DO, and get better at. They involve intentional active practices, like learning to play an instrument or a sport. Knowing about something is not the same as experiencing it. You can’t become an expert by studying the Astral second-hand, any more than you can become a violinist by reading music. Real results are achieved by the right attitude and actually using the techniques you learn.