Lucid Dreaming

 The average person sleeps between 7-1/2 to 8 hours per night. Almost half of this is dream time. This means that in a 24-hour period, the average person spends 16 hours awake in the waking world, and 4 hours dreaming in the dream world. That's 28 hours of dream time every week, 120 hours of dream time every month, for a grand total of 1460 hours of dream time every year.

If you are one of the majority of people who do not recall dreams, this means you are missing out on the equivalent of three months of your life every year. Dreaming is something you cannot escape. Everybody dreams, whether you remember it or not. Every night you dream. If you don't dream one night, you will dream twice as much the next night to make up for it. If you cant dream twice as much the next night, you will dream more each successive night until the deficit is recovered. You can get by on less sleep, but your dream time will not be reduced. You can recover a missed night of sleep with less than a full 8 hours of extra sleep, but your dream time will not be short-changed. Even if you manage to stay awake for many days in a row, you will eventually begin to dream. Even if you do not fall asleep, you will dream. Nobody can escape their dreams.

Why is dreaming so important? Even after extensive study, scientists are not sure why we sleep, and are even less sure about why we dream. In studying sleep and dreaming, scientists have determined that there are two kinds of sleep which are called s-sleep and d-sleep. Each is represented by different brain wave patterns and seems to have different functions. S-sleep is synchronized sleep, also called orthodox sleep or NREM (non rapid eye movement) sleep. There is no formal dreaming in this stage of sleep. In this stage of sleep the body regenerates itself and builds up energy. If we don't get enough sleep we feel lethargic and tired, our bodies become deficient in proteins because our amino acid utilization drops, DNA and RNA production drops, and we experience poor healing, poor growth and have less pain tolerance. D-sleep is desynchronized sleep, also called paradoxical sleep or REM (rapid eye movement) sleep. This is the dreaming stage of sleep, hence the rapid eye movement.

In this stage of sleep, the mind regenerates itself and seems to recover from everyday stress. If we do not get enough sleep we experience poor memory, irritability, emotional problems, paranoia, delusions, ego problems, anxiety, and an inability to concentrate. When falling asleep, a person typically goes through four stages of s-sleep until finally d-sleep is reached. In stage 1 of s-sleep, the brain waves are at about 10 cycles per second. This is the alpha-state, which is the deepest conscious state, or the lightest sleep state. This also corresponds to the hypnologic state and also the level of most trances.

In stage 2, spindles appear on the brain waves as measured by an EEG (electroencephalogram). These are short bursts of brain activity reaching 14 cycles per second. These bursts of consciousness cause the series of images that are often experienced while going to sleep.

In stage 3, slower delta waves are added at 1-2 cycles per second.

In stage 4, the alpha waves and spindles totally disappear, and the brain waves are dominated by the slow rhythm of the delta waves. After stage 4 of s-sleep is reached, a period of d-sleep or dreaming occurs. Dreaming occurs about every 90 minutes. During the first cycle, only about 10 minutes of dreaming occurs. This increases to about 20 minutes in the second cycle, 30 minutes in the third, until finally a person typically has an hour of solid dreaming just before waking up in the morning.

The first step to becoming more aware of dreams is to remember them in the first place. Everybody dreams, but most people forget their dreams within minutes of awakening. This is because dreams are created in a temporary memory environment. Images and events in dreams are only maintained as they are occurring, but are not stored thereafter. This is much the same way that a person driving a car will remember where other cars are located in relation to their own as long as they are driving, but will quickly forget the events after reaching their destination. The images are maintained in the mind only as long as they are needed, but are discarded as unimportant as soon as the need disappears. Dreams in temporary memory are remembered immediately upon awakening, but are forgotten in minutes. This is why persons will wake up and remember that they had a dream, but will not be able to recall it a few minutes later. What they really remember is their own thoughts about the dream which occurred in short-term (conscious) memory, but not the dream itself which occurred in temporary (unconscious) memory. To transfer the dream from temporary (unconscious) memory to short term (conscious) memory, the dream must be recalled immediately upon waking up.

Go through the dream recalling each detail to yourself. This will move the images and memories to short term (conscious) memory. The memories thus recalled will not fade in a few minutes and can be recalled at a later time.

The second step to becoming more aware of dreams is to become lucid within your dreams. The process of lucid dreaming occurs when you realize that you are dreaming while the dream is still occurring. Most people passively experience dreams as they occur, assuming that the events are occurring in waking life. Upon waking up, the dreamer is surprised to find out that the events were actually taking place in the dream world. A lucid dreamer is aware that dreams are dreams as they occur. This represents a higher level of consciousness than passive dreaming because the dreamer is more fully aware of what is actually happening.

There are many ways to become lucid while dreaming. This can occur spontaneously when a recurring dream (often a nightmare) occurs, and the dream is recognized as such. Often certain places, objects or persons will be recognized as being out of place or as being dream images. It is also possible to test whether you are currently dreaming. Close your eyes and try to visualize a different setting for your dream. If you are able to change the dream setting, you will then realize that you are dreaming. You also can try to make object move around, or try to make yourself float up into the air. Do this as often as you think of it. Make it a habit to test yourself to see if you are dreaming. After a while this habit will start occurring in your dreams as well, and soon you will find yourself detecting your dreams as they occur. This will start you on your way to lucid dreaming regularly. After you have been lucid dreaming on a regular schedule, you will find that you will be able to feel the difference between waking life and dream life. With experience, you will automatically realize that you are dreaming as soon as the dream begins, and will not again be fooled by thinking that dream events are actually waking events.

After lucid dreaming becomes a regular part of your life, you can then begin exploring the dream world. At first it may seem that experiencing an extra few hours a day cut off from the ÒrealÓ world is not very useful, but soon you will find it to be a wonderful gift. For starters, imagine having the spare time to spend a few hours every day relaxing in the most luxurious settings you can imagine! There is no better way to escape the daily stress of work and a busy life style than to experience and remember hours of recreational free time every day. The recreational possibilities of dreams are endless. You have your own personal virtual reality, or a Star Trek holodeck available in you own brain. You can visualize any setting or activity in a dream and then open your eyes to find yourself there. Imagine flying with dragons above the clouds, or swimming with dolphins in luminous waters, hiking through primeval forests or looking over unpolluted mountains.

For mystical experiences, the dream world has historically been an important setting that has been neglected by modern explorers. Imagine a huge temple with marble floors, and pillars reaching to the sky. See symbols drawn in the air actually glowing with power. Observe images actually appearing in three-dimensional brilliant colour. Visualize anything you need or want, and it become real within the dream universe. Exploring the unconscious mind is much easier in the dream world as well.

Consider asking a dream character any question you want, and hearing the spoken answers out loud. There is no vague perceptions of the mind, or blurry impressions that may or may not have been consciously generated. These words are directly given to you with no conscious effort or interpretation. This technique works well for prayer, ESP, or other mystical forms of external communication. Just think about hearing words, seeing images, or reading words, that seem as real as any real-life experience. The dream state is a perfect state for experimenting with any of the paranormal psychologies. The body is already relaxed to the fullest extent possible. The brain is already slowed down below alpha waves, to the delta waves rarely possible during waking time. The mind is already detached from awareness of the body and is focussed on the matters at hand, and the subconscious is already in full gear and allowing full visualization. This is the ultimate state of consciousness sought after by mystics and magicians throughout the ages for experimentation and exploration. Such an event is rare in the waking world, even after years of training and discipline, but it is available every single day to each and every one of us. This tremendous gift is not an rare ability inborn in a few advanced individuals, but is an opportunity provided to all human beings who wish to partake of this experience. This neglected ability is available to everyone, everywhere, every single day, with no special tools or abilities required.


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