Even people, who don’t believe they do dream, dream.
In fact, researchers say that people spend a majority of their time asleep dreaming, but we just don’t often remember our dreams after we awake.
Not only that, but researchers tell us that most of us dream almost a dozen times while we are asleep.
Making matters worse, not only do we not remember our dreams, but we might even be wasting considerable time and energy not paying attention to our dreams.
It’s possible to turn things around with a technique called lucid dreaming.
What is Lucid Dreaming?
In its most basic terms, lucid dreaming is what we are doing when we are aware of our dreams.
But it goes further than that. You can control your dreams.
This can be done by giving yourself a pep talk before you go to sleep saying something like this: “If I have that dream again, I’m going to try to remember that it’s only a dream and try to be aware of that.
When you are finally aware of the fact that you are dreaming while you are in a dream, you can achieve the ability to steer yourself away from the nightmare and towards something that is more pleasant, into the arms of of your celebrity crush, for example.
When Did Lucid Dreaming Start?
To say exactly when and where lucid dreaming began with any certainty is difficult, but one of the first instances of it was described by the Greek philosopher Aristotle, who said, “Often, when one is asleep, there is something in consciousness which declares that what then presents itself is but a dream.”
Since that time, many researchers have studied the process of lucid dreaming, in which participants perform predetermined physical responses while experiencing a lucid dream.
Skeptics disagree with this theory, stating that instead of sleep, those who experience this phenomenon are not in periods of sleep, but instead as having “brief periods of wakefulness.”
Others believe that the only way to truly evaluate the phenomenon of lucid dreaming is to ask the dreamers.
We Can Control Our Dreams
Most people believe that their dreams are something they can’t control, that they are just something that happens when they are asleep.
In reality, these assumptions have been proven to be very wrong.
In fact, in a recent study conducted on the subject, 64.9 percent in a population of 3,000 participants reported being aware of a dream as they were dreaming it, which is precisely what lucid dreaming is.
Further, 34 percent of these respondents reported that they can control their dreams as they are having them.
Everybody Can Do It
Most researchers agree that lucid dreaming is not only something that everyone can do, but with practice, it can be a regular part of our sleep patterns.
These researchers believe that there are two ways to achieve lucid dreaming. The first is via DILD, or a dream initiated lucid dream, or a lucid dream that begins as a normal dream, with the dreamer concluding it as a dream.
The second type is what is called a WILD, or a wake initiated lucid dream, where the dreamer goes directly from a waked state to a dream with no apparent loss of consciousness.
The common element of these two states is the ability of the dreamer to determine while dreaming whether they are awake or dreaming.
Uses of Lucid Dreaming
Although the uses of lucid dreaming remain controversial, there are certain applications of the ability that have attracted widespread support.
While it is impossible to determine with any degree of certainty which part of the technique was most effective, as a whole participants reported both a reduction in the number of nightmares as well as a lessening of their severity.
Many psychotherapists report that besides the treatment of nightmares, lucid dreaming techniques hold considerable promise in the treatment of such problems as depression, self-mutilation, and other problems of waking life.
Again, many professionals would debate this understanding since most people would report that they are not aware that they are dreaming, even when they are dreaming.
Further, these researchers agree that most dreamers would not be able to tell you that they are dreaming unless they were awakened while they were dreaming, which would defeat the entire purpose of the exercise.
Obviously, there is no logical rebuttal to this problem.
Certain studies have shown that just as is the case with many psychological phenomenons, the approach of “seeing is believing” is the best one to take when describing any mental state.
After all, whether something is truly real with great clarity and intensity, it will be believed to be real by the brain, whether it really is real or not.
Another problem when evaluating the validity of lucid dreaming is the problem of hallucinations.
Many dreamers, when confronted with these issues, will side with the reality of lucid dreaming, even going to the point of inventing a false memory, but even this remains to be seen with greater and more study.
Regardless of where someone stands on the issue, it most probably will boil down to what you believe.
Was it real, for example, when you dreamed about a human with two heads?
Suppose you learn later on that a particular person is a conjoined twin, which will make what was thought to be an unrealistic and even absurd dream into reality. The truth will, no doubt, remain to be seen.
Have you managed to lucid dream?