October 12th, 2017
Awakening in Your Dreams
How do you know you are awake right now? Look around and ask yourself if you are awake or asleep. Seem silly? This is one of the ways dream expert Stephen LaBerge suggests you practice the art of lucid dreaming, or in other words becoming conscious in your dreams.
During a lucid dream the dreamer is aware that he/she is dreaming and is able to control the dream to some extent. Lucid dreaming can resolve inner conflicts, facilitate the process of integration, and help us feel more alive in our daily lives.
Here are two examples of lucid dreams:
Roberta, after feeling angry and disenchanted with her husband yet wanting a better relationship with him had the following lucid dream.
I am walking down a country road and decide to cut through a field, but there is a barbwire fence preventing me from going into the field. Suddenly I realize that I am dreaming and I am in control of my dream. It feels freeing to have no barriers and to be able to go right through the fence. As I am walking through the field, off in the distance I see a very attractive man working near his house. I decide to go over and talk with him. As I get closer I am surprised and thrilled to see that this kindhearted handsome man is actually my husband.
In a dream workshop that I facilitated there was a participant who had a recurring dream where a man is chasing her. She is terrified and each time she has the dream she wakes up perspiring and shaking with fear. She tells the following story:
I told myself that the next time I have the dream I would confront the man that keeps chasing me. Finally one night, I wake up in a dream while I am running. I stopped, turned around and asked him why he was chasing me. He looked at me puzzled and said, “I’m not chasing you I am trying to catch up with you.” After that the dream never recurred.
Stephen LaBerge in his book Lucid Dreaming, writes about the benefit of lucid dreaming and how to train ourselves to wake up in the dream. He writes, “Lucid dreamers can create and transform objects, people, situations, worlds, and even themselves …all while remaining soundly asleep, vividly experiencing a dream world that can appear astonishingly real.”
He tells of various ways to induce lucid dreams. Three ways that have been helpful to me have been:
1. Staying aware while drifting off to sleep. When images arise we can then enter the dream directly by focusing on the images while going into sleep.
2. Before going to bed write down the intention to wake up in the dream, and then, while drifting off to sleep, keep focusing on that intention. Also, if you wake up during the night and remember a dream, review the dream focusing especially on what was unusual in the dream. For instance, if in the dream you see a goat in the kitchen, then while falling back to sleep resolve that you will return to the dream and become lucid when seeing the goat again.
3. Periodically throughout the day practice by asking yourself if you are dreaming. The dreaming state is less stable than the waking state so watch for any inconsistencies. This method can help us recognize when we are dreaming. So, for instance, when you see something like a cup on the table, and then look away, when looking back again if it is no longer there you are probably dreaming.
LaBerge says that it is helpful to be able to recall dreams on a regular basis before trying to have a lucid dream. If you haven’t been remembering your dreams I encourage you to click on and read the blog for August 12, 2017 in the archives called Unraveling the Mysteries of the Dream World.
Spiritually we know that it is not helpful to use lucid dreaming to get back at someone or to engage in any destructive purpose, but rather to be pure in our intention and use lucid dreaming to let go of negative thoughts and habits.
Stephen LaBerge writes, “Lucid dreaming can easily be misused to perpetuate the problems we experience in our waking lives. For example, one might direct one's dream toward a gratifying encounter or a vengeful fantasy.”
What a person can learn from lucid dreaming is that by changing our thinking we can change the story line in our dreams. But it doesn’t end there! We can learn from the experience of waking up in the dream, and realize that we don’t have to stay stuck in a bad situation whether it is in a dream or in waking life.
To learn more about lucid dreaming I encourage you to read Stephen LaBerge’s book Lucid Dreaming: A concise Guide to Awakening in Your Dreams and in Your Life. Also, the CD Dream Yoga by Andrew Hoecek which is an American version of lucid dreaming and the Tibetan practice.
Next month’s blog will explore more on the spiritual benefits of lucid dreaming. We will see what the Tibetan monks say about the practice of lucid dreaming and its purpose.
Please feel free to share your experience of lucid dreaming in the comment box below, and pass this and other blogs onto others who may be interested.
Love and Peace,
Mary Mohs LVN, MA, RYT,