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This page answers questions about, what lucid dreaming is, how real it feels, what its like to first become lucid, what you can do when lucid, the varieties of lucidity, can anyone do it and is it safe. At the bottom of this page are links to similar webpages outside this site about lucid dreaming and places to discuss LD's, if you want to skip this page and learn how to achieve lucidity in the first place click here for the HOW TO PAGE.

 

Before I continue I have to get you to check if you are dreaming or awake. Although may sound stupid your mind is easily capable of memorizing this website and recreating the experience in the dream you might be having right now!

 

 

What is a lucid dream? The short answer is any dream in which you become aware that you are actually having a dream (click here for the Science of Lucids page if you want the history and science behind becoming aware in your dreams).

You don't "have" to be dreaming or even asleep but lucidity its most commonly experienced in REM dream sleep. As we all know in regular sleep your conscious mind is no longer in control of your body and major muscles are paralyzed to prevent you acting out your dreams.

When you become lucid your unconscious mind that was going along with whatever bizarre dream you were having suddenly realises that this is not reality and you become aware you are dreaming! Instead of waking up your mind does NOT get control back of your body, in fact the mind finds itself cut off from its usual senses. In this confused state the mind substitutes the visions and senses you were experiencing as a dream and uses these as the new form of reality. What you "were" experiencing as a dream now is interpreted as your new reality.

Let me be very clear, this is not like a realistic dream, look around you as you are sat at your computer, touch the objects you see, get off your chair and move around, use your free will...... this is what I mean about real!

lucid dream image "Your body is asleep and paralyzed but in your brain your mind is bright and awake and awareness in now in your brains own created dream world."

 

How real does it feel? It can seem indistinguishable from waking reality. False awakening can be a common instance of a lucid dream, this is where you "think" you've woken up and got out of bed. Many people get ready for the day and leave for work or school before, shockingly waking up in their beds. Look about you when you read this. Looks real doesn't it? Feel the objects around you, lift some you can feel the weight and texture can't you. You could do this in a "high" lucid dream and you'd never be able to tell the difference!

What is different (usually) is the multiple input from the senses, your mind tends to focus on one thing and the rest becomes not so important. This situation can be reversed in the other similar states like astral projection where your awareness seems to surpass the waking senses. This page has accounts of how it can feel in a lucid dream along with whole examples of lucid dreams.

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What's it like when you first become lucid? I had some lucid dreams as a kid but of course back then I could never name them. I remember one time I had this present machine that I could ask for anything I wanted and I got it, I must of spend half the night lucid playing with all these great toys, I was distraught when I awoke!

My first lucid in my adult life, when I actually understood what was happening was like a bolt of lightning. I was normally dreaming about an old house I use to live in when I was a kid, the dream was vivid but I wasn't yet lucid. I was in my sisters room and noticed that it layout was different to my memory and that when it hit me. "I WAS DREAMING" bam it felt like I was rushing though my own body and then I'm there in the room as real and as life like as you could ever imagine. It was so surreal being there, feeling the solidity and reality of your surroundings but knowing, 'this is all in my head!'

Its very hard to fully capture a lucid in an image as it affects many senses at once and many intertwine, however I took this photo at the British museum and it comes close. The light in a lucid tends to have a soft diffuse quality and shadows are muted. There is a stillness, like a frozen slice of time to the air, imagine stepping into a museum on an empty day and that is a glimpse of a lucid.

What can I do when lucid? Anything you can imagine and many things you never thought were possible. There are no limits, only your logical mind, and believe me that can get in the way. For instance one of the top activities to do when lucid is to fly, however I find it very difficult, my logical mind just can't get over the fact that there should be gravity.

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You might find you automatically gain extra abilities or find weaknesses in waking life are perfect in the dream world. For example I'm slightly short sighted but in my dream world I can see perfectly. My vision can be used to zoom into far off objects if I want or used like a microscope to see even the individual atoms that make up a structure. (depends on your level)

Full control in the dream world is what all lucid dreamers aspire to, we want to be become lucid then change our dream environment to what we fantasize about, this is not so easy but its one of the things that the Crossroads makes easier with its dream doors.

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Are all lucid dreams the same? No, in fact you don't even need to be dreaming! The altered state of consciousness that is required for your mind to recreate "reality" can be cultivated from certain types of meditation and forms of awake-to-lucid forms of practice. It very hard to separate different modes of these altered states and the boundaries between them seem to overlap rather than being distinct edges where one is radically unlike its neighbor. Many people actually see no distinction between the states of lucid dreaming, astral projection, passive lucidity, to them they are merely trickery of the mind. You might have to experience these states for yourself before you can add to the debate. Next I'll describe the major hallmarks of each experience.

Lucid dreaming ranging from low to high - Its hard to pin down a 'normal' lucid dream as they can have many facets and come in bands of awareness from low to high or any shade in the middle. LOW level lucidity could be very much like a normal dream, you might have gained awareness by realising your dreaming but you're not really focused on much more than following or exploring the dream world around you. Imagine coming off a plane after 10hrs, your jet lagged and you haven't had enough sleep. Your just taking things in but not really processing them properly, you might enjoy running around or flying but you won't really question anything too deeply. You just want to have fun or are happy just being lucid, I tend to rush upto dream people and yabba on about "look I'm lucid and your not real etc etc" instead of remembering to do some of the cool things I wanted to do when lucid like visit the Crossroads dream space.

 

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In HIGH level lucids your brain is far more switched on and connected, you have full memory recall and you feel bright and in control. You are fascinated with what you see and can notice far more detail in large complex scenes than you might have done in a low lucid dream. Everything feels far more real than it did in the slightly mentally dulled low level state in fact it may feel more real than normal consciousness. This more real sensation is can only be paralleled in waking life by peak moments such as adrenaline fueled experiences, a car crash, falling or I imagine jumping from a plane. Its that sharpening of the senses, that feeling of being very alive, you might also get this from fearful situations in life, or extreme happiness.

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leaving body

Astral Projection - Astral projection (out of body experience, etheric projection) is when the astral body, light body or spirit can separate from the body and travel in the astral planes. I have a page devoted to this state as it is even more sort after than lucid dreaming and in most peoples experience, harder to achieve. To follow are the three major points of view that are taken in reguard to astral projection.

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1. Astral Projection is merely a very high lucid dream that feels like you have left your body (this is the explanation favored by classical science). Reports of near death experiences do seem to challenge this view point but it is assumed that information must be being gathered in other more conventional ways. Detailed descriptions of the operating room and procedures by the resuscitated are explained by other senses, such as hearing sounds and forming a mental picture of operating procedure etc.

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2. You aren't really separating from your body, but your consciousness is, your mind makes sense of this by giving you the sensations of being a spirit freed from the body (an explanation favored by some unconventional scientists and parapsycologists). Your freed consciousness can surf dimensions that science hints at in its as yet unproved theories about our universe, this state can be used to gain information that would seem to many to be only explained by paranormal powers

3. You really do have a another vessel (spirit) that contains your consciousness and this vessel is able with the correct focus to be able to roam planes of existence. These planes are what many cultures would regard as the afterlife, as an astral projector you will only be able to navigate a few planes that exist near our earthly plane of existence. The highest plane is the source, the Atmic plane, oneness, the light... god.

I can't tell you which one, if any, is the correct view. I can however say that astral projection does feel different from a high lucid, I'd say that you never get the clearly beyond waking awareness operations of the mind that occur in an astral in a high lucid.

For example, in an astral I had, I bounded up some steps and as I looked out of my eyes I also saw my body from the side, above and every different angle, not in small boxes or over lapping but as if I were a million me's all appreciating and able to rationally think about what I was experiencing. I often find that in these astral states of being my mind is razor sharp and my knowledge seems expanded, imagine the best you can ever be and then multiply. I struggle to express an astral state properly, no earth bound sensation comes within a whisker and no drug can take you to the heights you achieve all in perfect clarity.

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Passive Lucidity - Buddhists and Zen mediators would call this "witnessing dreaming" or "clear light state". In passive lucidity you do not interact with the minds created environment. Your mind is infact a perfect blank although confusingly this does not mean you do not have thoughts or are unable to appreciate this state. Its difficult to fully describe, it can be like not existing at all, like being part of everything in a room and appreciating the whole.

passive lucidity

I personally listened to a documentary on the radio for over half an hour about the nature of reality, science and spirituality whilst in this state. Of course I wasn't really listening to the radio (it wasn't on) and at one stage my thoughts came back to my individual being and I thought I better write some of this amazing stuff down and that's when the state broke and I shifted to an etheric projection. (By the way if your wondering, when came back to waking reality my mind could not even recall one fragment of what I listened to, this is very different to astrals and lucids where I have full recall). Some practitioners of this passive lucidity say that the fabric of reality is revealed to them via abstract shapes which eventually are revealed to have a universal meaning. This state is rarely discussed on the internet and its not very easy to achieve as it never comes from natural sleep, only from meditation or in my case zoning out when I'm in an empty headed mood. It is however a truly beautiful state, you'll never feel as relaxed and calm as you do when you experience passive lucidity.

Can anyone do it? Yes, some take longer than others to achieve lucidity, it can come with the first dream or it can take months. Sometimes when you've been trying so hard for so long, you give up and it just happens. I personally think that some people have the right brains for lucid dreaming, its a bit like being good at the guitar, everyone can learn but some do find it easier than others.

Is it safe? Well you cannot be harmed in your lucid dreams, you are the dreamer, you and only you are in control. That being said, I can't guarantee that your mind might not recreate the feeling of pain if you get injured in a dream. I've never heard of anyone who's felt real serious pain in a lucid dream. Also the old wives tale goes that if you die in your dream you die in real life! Well I've heard lucid dreamers say they died in the dream world and they woke to tell the story.

Psychological impact? This is more difficult subject,although many people lucid dream to actually over come fears in real life, fear of heights for example. Lucid dream your self to the top of a tower block and tightrope across to another, believe me you'll get the same fear but you know you can't be hurt so you can overcome it more easily.

You can feel very scared, in fact your levels of fear can really go off the scale in some situations, this mainly happens in lucid nightmares. I personally think lucid nightmares are much less scary than normal nightmares because you are in control and can banish anything that might threaten you.

You may feel differently when faced with a legion of the undead chasing you and it all feels as real as waking life. I have an example of a lucid nightmare later on in the dreams section, I have to admit I was so scared that even though I knew I was dreaming I tried to run for it, but having mastered myself I did stand and attempt to confront the giant werewolf I could hear in the bushes. Just remember your in charge, you make the rules and nothing can harm you, I was once attacked by hundreds of zombies Yankee soldiers (don't ask), I just ignored them as they attacked me and walked away.

 

how its done page

Click left to see the next page, methods that describe how to lucid dream and explores techniques like WILD!

Places to discuss issues on this page

Ld4all forum - largest lucid forum on the net, for all your lucid needs and questions.

Astralpulse forum - again mainly for astral posting but you can talk about lucidity in the Welcome to Dreams section.

Other relevant pages at the Crossroads

science of lucids

astral projection page

crossroads guides

Pages on the internet similar to this one

Lucidity institute frequently asked questions

What is lucid dreaming, definition from spinal injuries website

Dreamemporium take on lucidity

Dream central stations in depth view of dreaming & LD's

Other lucid websites on the internet

Consciousdreaming , Sleep Paralysis, Healing Dreams

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