Dreams have been studied and analyzed since time immemorial. In ancient Egypt, dreaming was likened to divine intervention and only special people with special powers could derive the message underlying the dream. Today “dream interpretation” is a small yet profitable industry. The world is apparently made up of vivid dreamers and these dreamers in turn are dying to know what their subconscious mind is trying to tell them. Heck the rate at which I dream, if I had to interpret every dream, I’d be in a straightjacket in a room with padded walls. 🙂
Now I dream in black and white as well as in color. I was told by a fellow color-dreamer that this is fairly rare and is usually experienced by people that are more color aware in their surroundings. If you took a look at my wardrobe, you’d quickly realize that I’m probably the most color aware person on the face of this earth! LOL. My closet is full of every possible color I can find, so no surprises there. I’m already feeling pretty special about my “dreaming in color” abilities and then not two weeks ago I’m listening to Tim Ferriss and he starts talking about lucid dreaming and how he is working on inducing it so he can manage his dreams. Wait what? Manage dreams? What in the world now is lucid dreaming??
Lucid dreaming, I’ve since discovered, is a concept where the dreamer is aware that he/she is in a dream state and is almost watching himself/herself in the 3rd person. Holy cannoli! I believe I have been lucid dreaming for years now except I had no idea such a concept existed. Hmm, time to invest in some R&D. Just my luck that there have been plenty of studies conducted on lucid dreaming. In fact there are 2 types of lucid dreamers – the natural born ones and the non-lucid dreamers who have developed the skill. The natural born ones are usually people who have a heightened sense of awareness. They are more attuned to their surroundings, more observant and more in the present than most other people. The non-lucid dreamers on the other hand can develop this ability by making themselves more aware over time and this will eventually allow them to realize that what they are experiencing, is different from real life and hence a dream.
Since lucid dreaming at the end of the day is only a dream, it can be used to facilitate therapeutic healing or simply to provide an avenue to experience something one might not otherwise pursue in real life. It’s also known to occur during the REM (rapid eye movement) cycle when your sleep is the most deep and your brain activity is at its highest. This means an experienced lucid dreamer can actually control and derive a more fulfilling outcome from the dream. Let’s say a person is scared of snakes. If they can channel their wakeful awareness to produce a dream with snakes in it, they can then in their dream play with those snakes, wrap them around their neck, swing them over their head and toss them across the room, or for real fun, ride a Hollywood-movie-sized anaconda like a cowboy. Heck it’s only a dream, so go for it. Kids, don’t try this at home without adult supervision!
My latest lucid dream was of me watching myself sleep in this room in a hotel I was staying at not too long ago. I can vividly recall every detail of the room right down to the color of the drapes framing the headboard and even the expression on my face as I slept. It’s a relaxed look and a half smile is playing on my lips. Wonder what I am dreaming about in my dream. Over the years, I’ve had several such dreams and while I’ve not acquired the ability to control them, just knowing it’s a dream and watching it unfold is quite an experience. While the idea of controlling how my dream plays out is enticing, I’m right now just enjoying being the spectator. Maybe someday I’ll grab the joystick and give my dream some direction.
I’m sure I’m not the only lucid dreamer out there, so if you’ve experienced the same and would like to share your dreams, go ahead and post into the comments section. Let the fun begin!