According to Owen Flanagan (Professor of Philosophy and Neurobiology at Duke University) there are four major philosophical questions about dreaming:
- How can I be sure I am not always dreaming?
- Can I be immoral in dreams?
- Are dreams conscious experiences that occur during sleep?
- Does dreaming have an evolutionary function?
Great minds of philosophy have always been fascinated by dreams, including Aristotle who had written about his experiences with lucid dreaming before there was even a term for it.
Lucid dreaming is a peculiar form of mind wandering where you are able to wake up while still in dream state.
The term ‘lucid’ means ‘clear’, and this clarity of perspective can sometimes happen when a person who is in the middle of a normal dream state gains some form of consciousness and suddenly realizes they are dreaming.
This phenomenon is based on our sense of perspective awareness in which the more conscious we are that a dream will take place, the greater the chances we have to experience that dream from a conscious state.
The process of lucid dreaming has been described as a unique opportunity to visit the deepest parts of the mind.
How is this possible?
Dr. Matthew Walker, the director of a sleep lab at Berkeley, discovered a potential link between the lateral prefrontal cortex and the possibility of lucid dreaming. This is the part of the brain that deals with logic.
During REM sleep, this part of the brain is supposed to be "asleep," but when focused attention is placed by the subject at a certain moment referred to as hypnagogia while drifting off to sleep, it becomes possible for this part of the brain to "wake up.” This seems to cause dreaming and logic to become simultaneously active in the brain.
Controlling the Dream World
Lucid dreams have been demonstrated in a study that used sensitive equipment to track brain activity during deep sleep. The ability to gain control while lucid dreaming is what remains a topic of debate.
Some people attest to being able to have some degree of control over their 'dream self’, resulting in a much more vivid experience.
Gaining control while lucid dreaming would mean being able to travel to any place on earth, visit another planet, or even spend some time drinking tea with Leonardo DaVinci and Albert Einstein — the options are limitless.
Stephen LaBerge is a psychophysiologist who leads the Lucidity Institute, dedicated to uncovering the practical applications of lucid dreaming. He agrees that it is very possible to acquire control while in a lucid dream.
According to LaBerge, advanced lucid dreamers can:
- Remember their identities while in dream state.
- Think clearly.
- Act intentionally.
- Attempt to control or manipulate the outcome of a dream.
But being able to enter a lucid dream in the first place is a process that requires a certain type of practice.
Yoga Nidra Meditation to Induce Lucid Dreaming
In ancient Buddhism and Tibetan meditation practice, lucid dreaming is induced by deep meditation. Yoga nidra is a form of meditation that touches on deep sleep consciousness.
The experience of dream yoga was taught by ancient sages for the purpose of exploring deeper realms of existence and believed to hold the power of enlightenment.
In this type of advanced meditation you remain conscious while allowing thought patterns, emotions, sensations, and images to be observed. However, in yoga nidra meditation — practiced while lying flat on the back (corpse pose) — you are leaving the waking state, going past the dreaming state, and gently into a state of deep sleep, while remaining awake.
Benefits of Lucid Dreaming?
Except for the fleeting rush of feel-good that follows a deep sleep, here are some added benefits that have been related to the ability to induce lucid dreaming.
Lucid dreaming has been proven to be helpful in improving a dreamer's cognitive memory.
Generally, normal dreams will strengthen episodic memory while at the same time deep rejuvenating sleep will solidify your semantic memory.
Episodic memory is that part of your memory muscle that you use to learn a new language, new stuff and also perfect skills that you already have.
Semantic memory on the other hand, is helpful in helping one remember facts and figures easily.
Some of the other benefits that have been associated with the ability to induce lucid dreaming include:
- Spontaneous problem solving
- Enhanced creativity
- Discover a deeper personal meaning to life
- Ability to vividly travel though locked away memories
- Practice and refine real life skills
- Ability to work through fears and limitation that can be translated into life
How to Induce Lucid Dreaming
World of Lucid Dreaming is one of the best resources when it comes to learning how to induce lucid dreaming and eventually learn how to develop the ability to control your dreams.
The digital training package includes a detailed program where you will learn some of the sciences involved in lucid dreaming as well as what it takes to be able to induce lucid dreaming.
The ‘Full Spectrum of Lucidity' illustrates some of the best methods a beginner can use to induce lucid dreaming — from learning how to enter deep states of meditation, to being able to influence what types of dreams you can enter using various visualization techniques.
Here you will learn in length and depth the science behind this exciting kind of illuminating episode that the majority of people will never be lucky enough to experience.