Lucid dreaming is in fact real. It’s the art or happenstance of being cognizant while dreaming. It does not give you magic powers. You won’t suddenly wake up and realize you can shape shift or some-such. It can however be a valuable tool. I have no idea, however, whether just anyone can lucid dream.
I’ve long forgotten how I learned. I was in my preteens though and prone to a viscous combination of nightmares and bizarre dreams that left little rest. There are two ways I know of to induce a lucid dream; a trigger or a scene. I’m fairly sure I used a scene to teach myself. Though I might have combined it with a trigger.
Through the use of a scene you focus so intently on a specific scene real or imagined that when you dream you find yourself there. You need to do it as you lay in bed trying to fall asleep. Once in your dream, and thus in the scene you basically manufactured, you can recognize the fact that you’re dreaming and thus take control.
Sounds simple but it can take time just to get to the part where you consistently dream of your chosen scene. The easiest way is to picture the same scene every night until you not only dream it without fail but recognize you’re dreaming. From there it might take a while to wrestle from your subconscious control the dream without waking upon realization that you’re dreaming.
Triggers are when you focus your mind on a specific trigger; a certain turn of phrase or object, even a person could be your trigger. For instance you could repeat to yourself as you try to sleep that if you hear your full name it means you’re dreaming. So as you attempt to fall asleep you think of your chosen trigger and repeat the steps from above.
The point of both techniques is that you know when you see your trigger or scene that you are dreaming.
Could there be more ways to achieve lucid dreaming? Perhaps but you’d have to discover them on your own. Remember, I was about 11 or 12 when I developed these techniques. The trick to my techniques is consistency. Use it every night and use the same scene or trigger. If you go to sleep thinking of your bedroom on night one make sure on night twenty-five you’re still doing it.
After I gained enough control to realize I was dreaming eventually I was able to remain asleep while in my dreams and control them. I could fly or go on mass killing sprees. It’s rather liberating. As I aged I stopped using my focal scenes and thus stopped actively lucid dreaming. But as in all things once something is learned it is difficult to unlearn.
This is what makes lucid dreaming a vauable tool. If you suffer from nightmares the benefits of lucid dreaming should be obvious. At the very basic level you tend to wake up once realizing you’re dreaming. So for someone who has nightmares that means that at the very least you’d wake yourself up, hopefully before it progresses from uncomfortable dream to nightmare. If you’re proficient enough you could control your nightmare thus controlling your fear.
As I said I eventually stopped having nightmares and no longer needed to lucid dream. So I stopped practicing. I discovered however two a side effects if you will. Everyone will have a nightmare sometime. So it was only a matter of time before I had another one.
What I found was that the nightmare no longer had emotion connected to it. It is not the scenes in your nightmare that make them so traumatic it’s the emotion in them. You could be dreaming of anything and it can become a nightmare if the emotions of fear or terror are behind it. Oppositely you can dream of the most horrific scene and if the emotion is lacking it’s not a nightmare.
Take last night for instance. I had a series of nightmares. In one I calmly ordered my finger to be severed as I watched it happen. My trigger has become the lack of emotion in a nightmare. I realized that my lack of fear in the situation was abnormal, thus I was dreaming and then as a result woke myself up upon realization. I was able to awaken just as the knife was laid across my finger. The dream never materialized into a nightmare.
The other side effect I noticed was I stopped remembering my dreams, most of the time. Honesty I prefer not remembering them to waking up. I spent a rather restless night having to constantly wake myself up. My mind was very intent of having a nightmare. I hadn’t realized that the story I was reading last night before bed had an unhappy ending. I’m a rather emotional person. Reading a sad story right before bed isn’t the wisest for me. It’s one of the reasons I avoid tragedies if I know ahead of time. I probably woke myself up at least four times last night.
But while less than rested I’m thankful that none of my dreams manifested into full fledged nightmares. I had none of the lingering terror or a racing heart. And I’ll be more careful over the next few days about what I read before bed.