We are the authors of 'The Field Guide to Lucid Dreaming' here to take all your questions about dreaming. Ask Us Anything.
Hi everybody, we are the three authors of 'A Field Guide to Lucid Dreaming' - Thomas Peisel, Dylan Tuccillo and Jared Zeizel. We've been lucid dreaming since we were children and have become experts since reading every book on the subject so we decided to write our own. Here's the trailer for our book. Dreamlabs is our website where people can go become dream explorers or dream pioneers and learn how to be a part of dream experiments. You can check out our book here.
People have a lot of misconceptions or questions about lucid dreaming or dreaming as a whole. We're here to help answer those questions or help you start your lucid dreaming adventures.
Amazing question Mr. Nefarious. First off, no one knows for sure why we dream. Of course there are a lot of theories, and you point at one of them: dreams are a way to chill out for a few hours and recoup. While this may be true, we personally haven't found that lucid dreaming gets in the way of that. When you're actively experiencing a world of your own creation, having amazing adventures and trying to solve the puzzles of your own subconscious, you generally wake up feeling pretty groovy. So generally, in a lucid dream, our dream world has an effect on our waking minds.
This isn't an answer to a question, it's simply our shameless plug. We're allowed one of those right? First off, check out our two new videos, short films that take place in the dream world and show the moment of lucidity... Overcoming Nightmares Fantasy
Also, today marks the official launch of our book “A Field Guide to Lucid Dreaming”. Find it in Barnes & Noble, indie bookstores across the United States, and on Amazon, IndieBound and Audible. Hope you like it.
Time for us to step away from the computer for a little bit (Thomas has to go give a lucid dreaming talk), but we'll continue to answer questions over the next few days. Keep your quandaries coming! And thanks for checking out our IamA folks!
Does the movie Inception portray lucid dreaming accurately and is it actually possible to go into a dream within a dream?
Also if I may ask a second: Are there any psychological risks of lucid dreaming?
Yes and no. Unfortunately, there is no such device that puts you in someone else's dream. The accuracy seen in Inception is the conscious awareness that the characters have while in the dream. Their ability to explore and alter the dream is totally obtainable.
And yes! You can have a dream within a dream. A fun activity for expert lucid dreamers.
There are no psychological risks associated with lucid dreaming.
Thanks for doing this AMA.
1.) Do you personally believe there is any significant meaning or reason behind dreams?
2.) What is one tip you would offer someone who is getting started?
3.) What do you personally like to do in your dreams?
4.) Do you think lucid dreaming could have any therapeutic benefits?
5.) What is your take on the general notion of lucid dreaming (and dreams in general) being too subjective or "weird" to be given more serious scientific consideration and research?
And a question just to mess with you all:
6.) Are you sure you are lucid dreaming, and not just dreaming that you have control over your dreams?
EDIT: And another question:
7.) Which of the more popular methods do you recommend/use? (FILD, WILD, MILD, etc.)
1.) Do you personally believe there is any significant meaning or reason behind dreams? This is an awesome question, and from a scientific standpoint, we don’t know fully what dreams are or if/why they’re important. There are a lot of good theories. They seem crazy and weird when we wake up, right? Well with lucid dreaming, you have a clear awareness… enough to interact with the dream, change the content, and inquire into its meaning in real time.
2.) What is one tip you would offer someone who is getting started? Know that YOU ARE A DREAMER! There’s no special gadgets your need to buy, no drugs you need to take, you don’t need to meditate in a cave for 30 years to begin dreaming. Every single night (for about 2 hours each night) each of us access this incredibly rich and sophisticated inner world. Begin looking for them and they will become clear to you.
3.) What do you personally like to do in your dreams? In the beginning it was all about the possibilities for fantasy fulfillment. Now we use lucid dreaming to dive deeper into ourselves: to find clarity, guidance, to heal nightmares, and overcome our deepest fears.
4.) Do you think lucid dreaming could have any therapeutic benefits? Totally! Think about facing a nightmare (the darker aspects of yourself) head-on with poise and confidence. With awareness in the dreamstate you can see that you’re not separate from these ugly foes. You can ask them questions, engage them in real time, and get to the bottom of what’s plaguing you. This offers tremendous applications for healing.
5.) What is your take on the general notion of lucid dreaming (and dreams in general) being too subjective or "weird" to be given more serious scientific consideration and research? Dreams often seem weird, fragmented and foggy when we wake up, but it’s important to note that this is NOT the dream. This is just the MEMORY of the dream. The dream itself has a very real and vivid present moment. If you learn to become lucid, you can ask the dream in real-time what it means and of its significance. The subjective nature of dreams does make it difficult to perform scientific experiments, but not impossible. Figuring out a way to make dreams more quantifiable will help overcome this.
6.) Are you sure you are lucid dreaming, and not just dreaming that you have control over your dreams? Haha. Good question. Simply knowing that you're in a dream while the dream is happening makes it a lucid dream.
7.) MILD and WILD are our two favorites. MILDs paired up with a WBTB (Wake-Back-To-Bed) seem to be the easiest for beginners.
What are you guys saying or researching that hasn't been done by the likes of Stephen Laberge etc?
Also the stuff I can see on your website is pretty basic.
The format you've presented is pretty much a word for word rehash of some of the topics gone over in "exploring the world of lucid dreaming"
Also, have you had any experiences beyond the more mundane manipulations of dreams?
Now that I take a second look...
To be honest I'm quite disappointed in the content of your website/trailer.
I feel like you are more or less plagiarizing the format and content of previous work with no new or novel discussions on the subject.
What really qualifies you to write on the subject?
It's like expecting an athlete to write a good book on biomechanics, just because you can lucid dream doesn't mean that much as to your ability to discuss it.
No doubt about it that Stephen LaBerge, Robert Moss, Robert Waggoner (along with plenty others alive and deceased) have pioneered the way for this topic and without them we wouldn’t have a scientific foundation to stand on. But we believe we’re adding something unique to this subject, not only in making it accessible to those who’ve never heard of lucid dreaming but also in what these experiences can mean for our waking experience. You’re totally welcome to your opinion, and we’re sorry you are disappointed. Hopefully you’ve read our book and aren’t judging it by the cover. ￼:P
Can you make a nightmare pleasant and if so how?
Yes you can! When you are lucid something very interesting happens. You realize that you are not separate from the dream and its environment. You’re intimately connected to everything around you, the nightmare included. So next time you’re running away from Freddy Kruger realize that you may be the one running, but you’re also the one chasing. You ARE that nightmare. Turn and face it with compassion and see it as yourself. Often times our nightmares don’t want to scare us, they want to tell us something important and to be accepted. Love thy nightmare. ￼
Would you recommend going though the SP method. Also, are reality checks useful at all?
By “SP method” we’re assuming you mean “sleep paralysis”. For those who aren’t familiar this is a natural function our body does every night: essentially our body becomes paralyzed (except for our diaphragm and our eyes) so we don’t act out our dreams and jump out a window. This can be scary for some of us when we become aware of it. We’re in our bed seemingly awake and we can’t move! Eeek! Remember that this means you’re close to dreaming, surrender to it (easier said than done, right?) and stay calm. Use this as a springboard into lucidity, if you wait it out the next image to appear under your closed eyelids will be a dream.
Reality checks? Heck yes! Imagine asking yourself 3-5 times a day, “Am I dreaming?” and the answer always being “no”. Now imagine that same habit carrying over into the dreamstate. You ask the same question, “Am I dreaming?” “YES! I am!”. Not only is this a huge tool for becoming lucid, a reality check will bring your more awareness and presence into your waking state. Stop for a moment right now and look around, “Are you dreaming?”
I've been able to take control of myself in dreams, why do I lack the ability to control other things, specifically other people. Why can't I make the scenario whatever I want, since it's all generated by me.
Oh, this is a wonderful question! We’ve been there ourselves. Trying to change the dream environment, conjure up something out of thin air, or make a dream character (or a nightmare) disappear but to no avail. “I’m lucid dammit! Why can’t I control everything!?” What we found out, our egos didn’t want to hear. We can’t “control” the dream. We can influence it... we can make choices, sure... but we can’t control it all. One of the most profound realizations was this: If we wanted to change the dream (or its environment), we had to change ourselves. By shifting our own self (our thoughts, emotions, expectations, beliefs, etc) the dreamworld would effortlessly reflect itself back to us and change. Don’t try to change anything outside of yourself because in all reality, it’s not.
Sometimes I feel like I'm falling and then I wake up, why does that happen?
It's called a Hypnic Jerk. It's thought to be an evolutionary left-over from when we slept in trees. The body senses the muscles relaxing and takes it as falling from your branch, so it jerks you awake to grab back on!
chickenboy19, you are incredible. Well said brother.
I got into Lucid Dreaming over a decade ago when I read Stephen LaBerge's Exploring The World of Lucid Dreaming. While incomplete, there was great knowledge there, and I'm wondering how far our understanding has progressed on lucid dreaming in the last decade.
While scientifically there hasn’t been much headway, there’s been plenty of authors who have contributed to our understanding of dreams and the dreamworld. Check out writers like Robert Moss, Robert Waggoner, or Charlie Morely. Each of them offer their own unique perspectives which can help us all understand this dynamic and universal experience we call dreaming.
Hello! Do you wake yourself up in the middle of the night to do techniques for lucid dreaming? And if so, do you feel that it negatively affects your concentration/energy levels the rest of the day due to tiredness?
Edit: If you don't wake yourself up, are there any techniques you can do straight from going to sleep at night?
To be honest, performing a wake-back-to-bed sometimes is rough. Your bed is so cozy why do you want to get up for 20 minutes!? The answer: a WBTB will allow your to bypass deep sleep and enter directly into our dreams. With a focused intention beforehand, this is a killer technique for becoming lucid.
Are we sometimes tired from this? Yea, sometimes. If you have to be up for work early in the morning we would recommend practice a technique like this on a weekend morning. Or sometime when you can sleep in a little and not feel anxious about taking your time.
To answer your second question, yes! If you don’t want to wake up in the middle of the night, give a go at a WILD (wake-initiated-lucid-dream). This is a more advanced technique but essentially it involves putting your body to sleep while you (that is, your awareness) stays alert. You’ll watch as your body falls asleep and you’ll be able to enter directly into a dream without any lapse in consciousness.
How do foods, having a wank and the time you go to sleep affect the chance of having a lucid dream?
Yes, eating, timing, and “wanking” all have an effect on your dreams. Sorry to be a downer, but it's recommended that you try for a lucid dream without masturbating the night before, as our sexual energies are potent and can help in the lucid dreaming process! The Ancient Greeks, for example would go into their dream temples chaste. Also, try to go to bed at the same time every night without drinking alcohol or smoking marijuana. In general, see dreaming as an important thing that deserves your attention and respect. If you got that down, the specifics won't matter too much.
Have you gained any life-changing ideas or solutions to problems during any of your lucid dreams? All of mine simply turn into flying (which I personally don't have an issue with).
One of the most impactful ways lucid dreaming has affected us is that in the two hours in which we dream every night we can find clarity, inspiration, healing, guidance, even self discovery. But more than that, dreams can open us up to a bigger picture of who we are and show us THROUGH DIRECT EXPERIENCE that we are the creators of our lives both in the dream world and the waking world.
But we still love flying around, too. ￼
How long can you guys control yourselves in your dreams? I've had a couple dreams where I realize that I'm dreaming but within a couple of seconds I wake up. I would love to be able to roam around!
Waking up soon after becoming lucid is a very common thing for beginning lucid dreamers. I mean, who wouldn’t be excited to realize they’re dreaming! The thrill can sometimes be too much. We’ve devoted an entire chapter (chapter 10) to “Staying Lucid” and grounding yourself in a lucid dream. If you want to learn how to explore the dreamworld for long periods of time we recommend learning some of these tricks: spin your dream body, focus your attention on a tactile sensation, or examine the detail of your hands. Even calling out to the dream itself, “Stablize!” or “Clarity!” are great ways to stay lucid. Personally, it’s not uncommon for us to be able to stay in a lucid dream for what seems like hours (time being relative when in the dreamworld) but often times it’s not about staying in for long periods of time. Once we’re aware and awake we usually seek out a guide, our intention, or explore the environment right then and there. Once we’re done we usually induce ourselves to wake up. It’s important to note, if we stay in the dream for too long we run the risk of being “absorbed” back into the dream and losing lucidity all together. But yes, learning to preserve awareness take a mindful balance. Hope this helps!
We have a nice training guide to help beginners kick off their lucid dreaming adventure on our website. You can check it out here: http://dreamlabs.io/pages/training If you like the lessons we have there, we get a lot more detailed in our book 'A Field Guide to Lucid Dreaming' (which just launched today).
We're not fully versed on the Holographic Universe Theory, but it is definitely something that's up our ally. The Talbot book sounds awesome. We'll be sure to check it out.
I tend to wake up very easily when I become lucid. I can't seem to not think about my body and of my breathing. Any tips?
Also, have you noticed any link between lucid dreaming and sleep paralysis? I frequently wake up paralysed and it has occurred in conjunction with waking from a lucid dream.
Waking up soon after becoming lucid is super common. So much so that we devoted chapter 10 in our book to “Staying Lucid”. There are some really simple techniques to do once you’re awake in the dream state to preserve your lucidity. Number one? Stay calm. We’re right there with you, becoming lucid is unbelievably exciting! But an amateur lucid dreamer will soon find out that not controlling their emotions or getting too excited will wake them up. Try other things in the dreamworld that help to ground you and focus your awareness: spin your dream body, touch something, examine your hands or something in detail. The goal is to keep your attention on the dreamworld in front of you so you don’t shift over into thinking about the physical world.
Sleep paralysis is something most lucid dreamers will experience, yes. And it can be scary, right? We discuss this in the book on how we can use SP as a springboard to becoming lucid, but if you’re waking up with SP from a lucid dream, that’s another story. What has helped us is to stay calm and relaxed, know that this is a normal thing. Once you accept it, try moving something small like a finger or a toe. If your breath feels shallow, know that this is normal too. If all else fails, remember that you’re always safe and wait it out. Or use it to go back into a lucid dream! Hey, there’s an option. ￼
How many hours do you sleep, on average?
I'm gonna answer this one (Thomas here). It ranges, but typically about 7-9. But hey, sometimes it's 4, and then other times it's 11-12, lol. Sleep is my spiritual practice so I am all for sleeping in when I can and getting plenty of rest. :)
I have had the same dream 4 times over the course of my lifetime. What does it mean?
We often have recurring dreams over and over until we learn the lesson of the dream. Just like we’ll have the same circumstances, events, or relationships play themselves out in our life until we learn the lesson! If you find yourself having a recurring dream this is actually a great opportunity for becoming lucid. Try this: In your waking state, put yourself back into the dream (play it out in your mind and reenact it) Now tell yourself, “the next time I dream about ___ (this recurring element or event) I will realize that I’m dreaming and becoming lucid!”
does this work on weed? I tend to have WTWB the first few days when sobering up.
Everyone's body works a little differently. Some folks have had lucid dream after smoking a little pot, but the overall consensus is that both weed and alcohol extend deep sleep and shorten REM (REM is the period of our sleep cycle where we dream). No need to completely change your lifestyle around to lucid dream, but going to bed sober will definitely help.
Elite. For those who don't have an account yet: what sort of experiments are you running and what do you have in the pipeline over at Dreamlabs?
Dream Labs still has its baby teeth, or as us nerds would say in the “beta phase”. We've put a few experiments up there to test it out and we're still thinking about the best ways to expand the site, which experiments to dabble with. You can start an account quickly and join one of three experiments that are up there. You'd then go to sleep that night with a certain goal in mind, and report back in the morning with your results. Our site will show you the results from all the experiments, so we can compare the amazing, strange things that happen in dreams and hopefully shed some light on the mystery of dreaming. So the idea is to all become explorers, pioneers, and scientists.
We have some fun future experiments planned. One will focus on how we can improve upon the Wake Back to Bed Technique. Participants will set their alarms for about 6 hours after they go to sleep. They'll wake up in these wee morning hours and play a video on their computer, one that we'll specifically make for the experiment. The video will help them go to sleep again, and will hopefully prompt a lucid dream.
What's your perspective on astro projection? Is it almost the same as lucid dreaming?
Astral Projection to us is about separating our consciousness from our bodies and traveling through the waking world, while lucid dreaming also about separating our consciousness from our bodies, but is focused on exploring the dream world. The two are similar and can even have some cross over, but they aren't the same.
For example, you could be astral projecting and traveling to a place in this world and at the same time, you could be having a dream. The result might be you see a friend of yours playing tennis with a samurai sword. Seeing your friend on the tennis court is the astral projection part, while the samurai sword is a dream element that has replaces his tennis racket.
We're no doctors, but what you're going through sounds a lot like Sleep Paralysis. If this is indeed what it is, you're not actually dreaming, you're floating in between waking and sleeping, your body unable to leave the natural state of paralysis that happens when we go to bed. Google 'Sleep Paralysis' and read up on it to see if this is what you're going through.
According to our friends at Wikipedia, “The safest treatment for sleep paralysis is for people to adopt healthier sleeping habits. However, in serious cases more clinical treatments are available.”
About 6 months ago I started having lucid dreams pretty regularly(maybe once or twice a month). They happen randomly and without using any special techniques. Did your lucid dreams start in a similar way or did you have to employ special lucid dreaming methods? Also, what's the easiest way to increase the frequency of my lucid dreams?
Yes, our lucid dreams began spontaneously when we were young, and then we starting honing our skills as teenagers when we saw that there was a lot of advice on the topic. It's kind of like dancing: you may be an amazing dancer having never been taught a thing in your life. No pressure to learn more. But with more training and learning, you have the potential to be an even better dancer. Same with lucid dreaming. If you want easy tips and techniques, check out the free training area on our website www.DreamLabs.io or check out our book 'A Field Guide to Lucid Dreaming', which came out in stores today. You can buy our book on our website in the supplies area, if it interests you.
I been recently having trouble stabilizing my dreams, I tried rubbing my hands together but it had no effect. Most of my lucid dreams involves me floating in a dark void with a bury distant scenery. Any tips on stabilizing dreams, and improving the quality of it?
Sure thing. We outline a few stabilizing techniques in our book. It's important to interact with the dream. Not sure if you've tried this, but instead of floating in that void do something! Try flying through the air, thinking (passionately) “I'm flying! I'm lucid!” Stay engaged but don't get overly excited or lost in the experience, because then you're at risk of waking up. If that doesn't work try shouting words out loud such as “Lucid!” or “Stabilize!” A passionate thought goes a long way.
So how do I start myself with lucid dreaming?
Begin remembering your dreams (or at least one or two each night). Familiarize yourself with your dreams and make room for them in your life. Keep a pad of paper next to your bed and begin writing them down upon waking. You'll begin seeing patterns and recurring themes, people, or elements within your dreams. Once you've opened yourself and are remembering the dreams you're already having, you're ready to begin doing some lucid dreaming induction techniques. :)
Are lucid dreaming and astral projection in the same category, or are they completely unrelated? Can learning one help with the other?
Take a look at our response to kittycappuchino's question below...
I have 2 questions. I'm not sure if this is lucid dreaming or not, but does it mean anything special if you can
Wake yourself up when you're having a dream you don't like?
Change your current dream to a completely different one as easily as switching channels on a tv remote?
Both your question definitely relate to lucid dreaming. We wouldn't say that they indicate anything abnormal. They just shows that you exhibit a good amount of conscious influence over your dream state.
Waking yourself up is a nice safety net, if you're having a dream you don't like. It's an ability that we remind people of when the first start trying to lucid dream. Dreams can be intense and sometimes we need to step out for a second. We do recommend trying to lucidly confront the negative aspect of the dream that you might not like (when you're ready, of course).
This is a great skill. A lot of beginning lucid dreamers struggle with this at first. If it's coming natural to you, congrats! To anyone who wants to be able to do this, but can't yet, don't fret, it is a totally obtainable skill. We devote a whole section of our book to it.
Here's a couple thing one can try to change the scenery of the dream when they are lucid:
-Close your eyes (in the dream world) and image where you want to be when you open them. Now open. -Find a doorway and say to yourself, "When I step through, I will be in _________" -Perhaps you could even make a dream changing remote appear in the dream world. Click away!
Hello, I suffer from anxiety and depression. Almost two years ago I smoked pot 24/7, which only made my anxiety worse and caused me to suffer from depersonalization. I have wanted to try lucid dreaming, but am afraid that some depersonalization could come back. What do you think?
For us, lucid dreaming has only opened our hearts and minds to ourselves and the world around us. While it can definitely lead to escapism (I mean you have infinite possibilities available to you), its insights often times carry over into our waking lives leading us to be more present and more "lucid" in our waking lives.
How important if at all is meditation in learning to Lucid Dream?
While meditation is a great tool to help calm your mind and focus on being in the present, it is not required to learn how to lucid dream.
Lucid dreaming is incredibly fun, entertaining, and can be quite enlightening. I sometimes will "opt out" of a lucid cycle simply because I've made a direct correlation with feeling a bit groggy in the morning if I lucid dream too much. On nights where I'm really tired I'll tend to avoid them because of that.
You nailed it. Not only can lucid dreaming be incredibly fun and entertaining but it can lead us to a deeper awakening and open us up to some really transpersonal understandings. Tibetan Yogis believed that lucid dreaming was a stepping stone towards enlightenment. Finding enlightening while we sleep? Not to shabby.
-We're big fans of Neil deGrasse Tyson, Carl Sagan, Carl Jung, Michio Kaku, Robert Moss, Neil Gaiman, Jorge Luis Borges and plenty more.
-Can we say lucid dreaming? 'Inception' helped bring it into the public's eye, but there is so much room for growth
-Seeing this book come to life.
-That lucid dreaming is something that anyone can do, despite your beliefs.
-Don't worry so much about controlling the future, but focus on what you can do here in the present.
Hi, I have a question. I am prone to night terrors and hypnogogic hallucinations. Is lucid dreaming helpful for this?
We concur with LilyoftheRally
What do you think the simplest way to lucid dream is?
The simplest way to have a lucid dream, in theory, is just performing a WBTB and then pairing it up with a WILD. That said, this is not the easiest way or most successful way (for beginners at least), but it is probably the simplest.
The easiest way (for most people) is setting the intention to lucid dream, keeping a dream journal, doing your reality checks, performing a WBTB and using the DILD method to achieving lucidity.
Approximately, how long does it take for one to begin lucid dreaming if s/he is following a lucid dreaming program?
It could happen tonight, it could happen two months from now. It really depends on your focus before sleep and (for us) knowing WHY you want to lucid dream. Your intention's got to have heart. Saying I want to lucid dream to fly around is totally ok, but really FEEL it. Feel the wind against your face, the heat of the sun upon your back. If you want to become lucid to talk to a deceased loved one, heal a nightmare, or find clarity-- use this passion to catalyze your "dreaming program"...
My dreams are so vivid and lucid that I talk/ act them out and sometimes even sleep walk to them. Are these behaviors seen as characteristics of lucid dreamers or is sleepwalking/talking a different phenomenon?
Studies show sleepwalking takes place during Non-REM, while lucid dreaming would take place during REM sleep. Please be careful on any balconies! Have you always been a sleep walker?
Is it unusual to have strong sensations of smell when dreaming? I.e. giant spiders that smell like mothballs, bullets that smell like rotten salsa.
Being able to smell is not unusual when dreaming. In fact all your senses can function while dreaming.
A really fun lucid dreaming activity is finding different fruits (even ones that don't exist) and seeing what they taste like.
Edit: (Grammar) Since many people think of lucid dreaming as a visual experience, they don't expect to smell things. This can lead to them not remembering what things smelled like or even using that ability (it doesn't seem like you have this problem though).
Do you have any experience with any of the LED sleep masks like Remee, that are supposed to help you lucid dream? If so, do they work?
We have played around with some lucid dreaming tech. What we've found from experimenting ourselves as well as talking to other folks who've used them is that they can help, but aren't a "one stop shop". It seems that the experienced lucid dreamers benefited slightly from using LED sleep mask, but people trying to lucid dream for the first time, struggled a great deal.
Nowadays, when we lucid dream, we almost always go the sans mask. That said, we're always on the look out for new lucid dreaming devices (mask, apps, etc.) that can help one achieve lucidity.
Aside from entertainment what is the value in lucid dreaming and training ones self to do so? I see mention of facing nightmares, so is it possible that lucid dreaming can be used as a form of therapy for those with issues with unhealthy dreams?
I ask because I would think that one would want to invest the time to address issues by means of traditional therapy. This could include talk therapy and medication etc. However I'm curious to know if there is any data that shows that lucid dreaming and its use in a therapeutic manner would surpass traditional treatment for nightmares, night terrors, and other such issues.
We are in no position to recommend only using lucid dreaming for therapy but we will say this: Our dreams can be extremely powerful and transformative (nightmare or not). With lucidity we can actively explore our inner world, face and confront nightmares with poise, and integrate these "shadow" elements of our psyche. Personally, lucid dreaming has helped us overcome some really dark limitations, fears, past traumas and relationships, and has accelerated our personal and spiritual growth.
In addition to talking to a therapist (again, do this in conjunction with LD if it speaks to you) ABOUT your trauma or fear, imagine being able to talk directly TO this trauma or fear... all with the awareness that you are safe and present within a dream...
If you find yourself confronting a nightmare, remember, you may be the one running, but you're also the one chasing. You ARE that nightmare to some degree. Feel compassion and love for it, and transform it "out there" by finding acceptance and peace from within.
I hope you keep going and see for yourself how truly transformative these experiences can be. Thank you for such a lovely question!
How do I start dreaming? It is very rare that I remember my dreams in the morning and I would love to be able to start remembering them.
This is normal. First and foremost know that YOU ALREADY ARE A DREAMER! You don't need to buy any special gadgets, take drugs, or meditate in a cave for 30 years to begin dreaming. You're already doing it with or without your knowledge of it. For about 2 hours every night we each have access to an incredibly rich and sophisticated inner world. GET CURIOUS and begin looking for your dreams and they will blossom.
can you lose the grip on reality?
If you mean does lucid dreaming shatter some of our preconceived understandings that THIS waking world is the only real world and that YOU, yourself, are a solid and separate individual from everything else? Then yes, lol.
Lucid dreaming might force you to look at reality a little differently, but in our eyes, in a much more empowering way!
Hi there, I was wondering, is it possible that in a Lucid Dream an entire week can go by but IRL only 3 minutes will pass?
They actually did some interesting studies around measuring time in a dream, and they found that the time elapsed in a dream is roughly the same as in the waking world. HOWEVER! Have you ever had a dream between the 10 minutes of your alarm snooze that felt like it lasted hours? Time in the dreamworld can be subjective (just like time here in the waking world can be subjective- “time flies when you’re having fun” or time stands still when a mac truck is about to hit you, type of thing :P). Time is an interesting subject in the dreamworld though. Really, one could argue that it doesn’t exist at all! That our dreams take place beyond space and time, in one big eternal NOW.
Hum a lot of people have stories about monsters while they're lucid dreaming, is that true that you can have horrible experiences?
Hmm. A lot of people see monsters while they're having normal dreams too, often in the form of a nightmare. The advantage to lucid dreaming is that you can face your nightmares, instead of being unconsciously frightened by them and running. After all, you're running from a part of yourself, aren't you? I'd elaborate more, but we just posted a video on Youtube about this very topic. It's a CHOSE YOUR OWN ADVENTURE-style video, so have fun trying out the various options: check it out here
I have a rather good memory, but I hardly ever remember my dreams what are some possible reasons for that?
In our society today, we don't put a lot of importance on our dreams, so we often let our memory slip away when the sunrises. Also, most people forget 50% of the dream within 5 minutes of waking up and 90% after 10 minutes, so trying to remember your dreams over breakfast or on the commute to work will prove to be difficult. It's really important to remember the dream right after you wake up, even before you turn off the alarm.
Lastly, too many beers before bed will hurt your recall. Sorry to be a negative nancy.
The best ways to remember your dreams are to keep a dream journal and make it a priority to try and remember your dreams.
How long do you think it would take the average person to go from just tarting out to proficient lucid dreamer? Also do you have any tips for beginners?
Finally, thanks a lot for doing this AMA!
Thanks for being here!
It totally depends. For some it comes very naturally, for others it takes a bit of time. It’s not completely unreasonable to think that you could have a lucid dream tonight! Make room for your dreams in your life, wake up and write them down, begin getting curious about them and they will become more vivid and clear to you. It might happen tonight or it might happen 3 months from now, but when that moment of lucidity strikes, when you find yourself completely awake and inside your dream, all your preparation will be worth it.
Hey; firstly, thanks for doing this, I’ve been looking forward to this one for some time.
I have one principle question that I’ve been dying to ask. Do you ever regret your ability to lucid dream? Hear me out.
I have been lucid dreaming several times a week for 3 or so years now. I’m a WILDer (Wake-Induced Lucid Dream, I don’t know if the terminology is official or just internet lingo. I just walk right in from being awake into the dream, with a high risk of sleep paralysis and no real need for reality checks etc.), and my ability has begun to… make my brain feel weird. My ability is often linked to alcohol consumption (I go to sleep after a few drinks, wake up 4-5 hours later, and then enter the dream when I go back to sleep a few hours after awakening), but that only accounts for a little over half of my WILDs. When I’m tired, I begin to get snippets of dreams in my mind, like incredibly powerful daydreams. I quite simply need to go and take a nap, or else I cannot even slightly concentrate. The sensation of entering dreams can be terrifying; I hear powerful, low, rumbling noises, and if I try to kick myself out of it, I often just fall right back asleep and go through it all again. I feel as if my brain goes through a shredder every time that I WILD.
I also feel it can be psychologically disorientating; to spend sometimes upwards of half an hour in my own subconscious (I can often chain them together for long periods of time), with no sense of reality, can make things a bit confusing when I awaken, especially if I’m going through emotional difficulties for whatever reason. I’m never quite 100% in control when I lucid dream, I don’t think anybody quite is, and this means that I sometimes need to face things that strongly discomfort me.
I’m sorry for the long question; for those who can’t lucid dream as well as I can (or we can), it must seem weird that lucid dreaming could be something that somebody would actually complain about. But for me, considering how involuntary it can be, it certainly has its downsides.
Interesting question. We don't get a lot of complaints about lucid dreaming, but I can see that in your case it's become disorienting. The lawyer in my head is asking me to state that we are not doctors, just giving our two cents here. If I'm understanding you right, you began to have WILD dreams on purpose, but now they happen involuntarily? If I have this right, then my suggestion would be to normalize your sleeping patterns, trying for a regular 8 hour session. With your schedule now, by waking up in the middle of the night, you're performing a Wake Back to Bed and therefore making a lucid dream very easy. If you were able to sleep through the night this shouldn't be a problem. To derail your current sleeping habits and adopt new ones, you might try cutting down the drinking and/or seeing a psychiatrist or holistic doctor about sleeping aids. Hope that helps.
I keep dreaming of snakes!! HELP!!
Ooof! Like Indiana Jones, we're afraid of snakes ourselves. But something good to remember: in ancient dream temples (found in Egypt and Greece) through the inner temples there would be tons of snakes all around. They were harmless and were actually a symbol for healing and transformation (shedding the old self type of thing). So perhaps instead of being scared of them, you can inquire into what they mean WHILE in the dream. Who knows what kind of healing or guidance might come from that.
Do you have any tips on how to have a lucid dream. I can't for the life of me understand how to do it :/
We have a bunch of tips on how to lucid dream! It sounds like you're just starting off. The techniques that we tell all beginners can be found as a tutorial on our website. We could post it here, but it would a whole lot of text to digest. The tutorial goes through it at a much more pleasant pace.
You can check it out here: http://www.dreamlabs.io/pages/training
Also the subreddit /r/luciddreaming has a lot of great tips on how to begin your lucid dreaming adventures.
If lucid dreaming requires such deep sleep, why do i wake up instantly when I find myself in the midst of a dream?
Lucid dreaming would actually occur during REM sleep which is just "below" or "before" waking. We sink down into deep sleep (also known as slow wave sleep or dreamless sleep) many times each night, but really for us lucid dreamers, we're focusing on REM, a state very close to waking.
How vivid have your lucid dreams become? Is it like the waking world? Do you feel texture like wind, water or touch?
The dreamworld is just as REAL and vivid as the waking world. So much so that it often doesn't occur to us that we're in a dream. We can touch, taste, smell, hear, and see in our dreams-- a true multisensory experience.
It's unbelievably humbling and awe-inspiring to look around the dream world and know, "Yes, I'm inside of this dream, but more importantly this dream (and everything in it) is inside of ME!" In moments like those our identity expands and we can embrace the entire cosmos within us. It's beyond even these words being written.
Don't take our word for it though, know it for yourself THROUGH DIRECT EXPERIENCE.
Hey guys, You talk about being "absorbed" back into your dream, and losing your lucidity. Does this have an effect on memory for the dream? Does being absorbed back into the dream mean we will again have difficulty remembering the interactions when we wake up?
It can. Sometimes if we stay lucid too long (without continually anchoring or grounding yourself within the dream) we run the risk of losing lucidity and the dream becoming a "regular dream" (one without our clear self-reflective awareness). This can be unfortunate because we've then woken up and knew we were lucid but were unable to remember all the details. Also, if you might run the risk of sinking back into deep sleep and losing the memory all together.
We recommend to stay engaged in the dream but don't get hung up on one thing (even flying, whilst incredibly exhilerating, can run the risk of us losing lucidity if we're doing it for too long). Get it, get lucid, do your thing, and then induce yourself to wake up once you're finished. That's how we've been doing it lately.
What do you recommend to somebody who experiences every dream almost as if it is a lucid dream? For example, every time they go to bed, the dream they experience feels almost as long as they are sleep. During the dream, my friend has said that he sometimes has control, but from some discussions it seems like a lucid dream that he is observing. Besides from the experience being tasking, typically he has nightmares. and He purposefully stays up late, watching tv, to try and avoid sleeping.
I'm interested in lucid dreaming. I heard if you create a dream journal, it makes it easier to lucid dream. I'll check out your book.
Sounds like you're a natural dreamer. Anytime you have clear (self-reflective) awareness while in the dreamstate you're lucid dreaming. It doesn't mean you necessarily have to go around changing or influencing the environment. For us, sometimes we simply observe with awareness.
But what's really cool is that with this clear awareness in the dreamstate comes choice, and with choice? Freedom. Boundless Freedom!
Look forward to hearing more about your experiences.
I'm a sleep walker, also I rarely remember what I dream about. I was wondering how LD would work with sleep walking, have you ever seen an example of this?
Studies show that sleep walking takes place actually during Non-REM sleep so it's likely that there are no dreams happening when you're sleep walking. And good thing. We don't want you jumping out of any windows thinking you can fly (physically, that is).
There are some cool audios, guided meditations, and binural beats that can help prep the mind and activate a lucid dream, but if you're talking about regular music... hey if you can still fall asleep while listening to dubstep all the more power to you! :)
Studies do show though that audio can carry over into our dreams and manifest itself as dream content. In other words, you're listening to Frank Sinatra, don't be surprised if he shows up in your dreams.
Hey! There's a nice trigger to tell you you're dreaming.
- If I gain lucidity in a dream, what can I do to hold on to the dream?
- Do you have any psychological expertise? What is your perspective on symbols and such in dreams?
There's nothing more frustrating that becoming lucid and then losing awareness (or waking up) soon after, right? We know the feeling. Chapter 10 in the book is all about "Staying Lucid" and we cover some of the most efficient ways to anchor yourself in the dream and stay lucid for longer periods of time. Some things include spinning (your dream body), touching your fingers (or anything), looking at something in detail, or even yelling out to the dream itself, "Stabalize!" or "increase lucidity!". Sounds crazy, but the dream world is intimately connected to us so it's possible to even command "the dream itself" to stay lucid.
We are no psychologists, sorry. We believe that symbols are intimate and personal to you. You're the final authority on what say, a crow means. A crow to me might be different than a crow to you. And a crow to me 5 years ago might be different than how i see it today. It's always best to look within and feel what associations come when these symbols arise.
I've had challenges this past year with nightmares that can last for what seems like ages in dream time. Sometimes weeks and even months can pass in the dream and I return to a familiar environment such as my home & I lose track that I'm in a dream and can't get myself out of it. I've had lifelong challenges with apnea, and noticed as a teen that when I go to sleep in a dream, I stop breathing in real life, so I trained myself to scream at myself "BREATHE!!!" when I fall asleep in the dream. It worked until this past year when the dreams went on so long I no longer realized I was dreaming. How can I not lose track even in super long dreams so that I can help myself breathe again when I've stopped? Also, some of the nightmares are beyond horrifying and I've hoped to explore lucid dreaming as a way to stop the nightmares and reroute them into positive dreams. Do you have any advice as to how I can stop a nightmare and take control? The nightmares have left me wary of sleep and I'd appreciate advice. Thanks!
We're right there with you LaSage. Dreams can be emotional potent and downright terrifying. Our advice isn't about "controlling" them. Our nightmares often times aren't out to scare us, they are trying to show us something, get our attention on an important matter, or are in desperate need for love and acceptance. Sounds like hippy mumbo-jumbo but lucid dreaming can be extremely helpful in confront our nightmares. If you are lucid, you can face these ugly foes with poise and confidence. You can know that you are not separate from this "shadow", that it IS you! (they don't call it a shadow for nothing). Next time you find yourself facing off with a scary monster, stop where you are. You're likely to still be scared out of your mind, even if you're lucid, but do your best to feel compassion and love in your heart and project it out towards this nightmare. Love thy nightmare. Ask it what it wants, and how you can help it. Stay relaxed and know that you're always safe.
I often become aware that I am dreaming, but when I do I always think of this vicious monster which proceeds to attack me and I wake up. Do you know any way around this?
This is a great opportunity for healing and transformation. We could recommend ways to avoid it, but why not get lucid and confront this nightmare. When we confront our nightmares, we conquer them. Remember that you're always safe! You might be the one running from this nightmare, but you're also the one chasing. You are that nightmare. Open your heart, and hear what it might have to say. <3
I have started to have a lucid dream on a few occasions. However, I notice that I am on the verge of waking up because my mind is reeling from knowing it is dreaming.
The few times this happens and as soon as I get in control I lose it and wake up. Any tips on not abruptly waking up?
Try focusing your mind on something in the dream world. Pick something up, examine it, look closely at the detail of your hands. Staying lucid requires a mindful balance. You want to "be IN the dream but not OF it" so to speak. In other words, engage the dream with all your senses, but don't be so involved that the dream absorbs you and you forget that you're actually in a dream.
Totally. SP would be retaining awareness while you're body is essentially asleep (or paralyzed). One of our favorite authors and good friend, Ryan Hurd is an expert in this field and his philosophy is that SP can be great opportunities to induce a lucid dream. We highly recommend his book(s)!
If you have a photographic memory and are an expert lucid dreamer, can you skim through a book and then read it in your dream?
Whoa! Interesting question. Lets just say this: when we dream we have access to a reservoir of knowledge and experience. Even if you didn't read the book in waking life, do you think it's possible to seek out that same information and find it in your dreams? Hm. Thanks for blowing our minds.
Do you think that habitual lucid dreaming can have a negative impact on the psyche?
If "normal" dreaming is a way for the subconscious to alleviate stress from waking life, then what are the implications of greater presence of your waking psyche in your sub/unconscious?
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