In the eighties Dr. Stephen LaBerge founded the Lucidity Institute at Stanford, in California, for the study and research on the phenomenon Lucid Dream.
According to LaBerge this “discipline” involves various fields of study: psychology, spirituality, art itself. If applied methodically can really be of help at different levels: self-esteem, development of creativity, ability to deal with fears, inhibitions and the achievement of liberation and harmony.
"We can describe this as an awakening in sleep. In practice, you are experiencing a lucid dream in your sleep when you can say “I’m dreaming.”
How to experience a lucid dream
One of the things needed to experience lucid dreams is that of being able to remember the dreams. The method recommended is to keep a dream journal, to write every morning immediately after waking up. You will note that, by writing the dreams you have every day, your attention during the dream journeys will become more acute and you will experience a lucid dream in a natural way without using other techniques.
This is to pay attention, several times during the day, to things that get changed in the dream, so that to realize that you are dreaming. For example you could check the time several times (usually when checking the clock in the dream and you recheck after a few seconds, the time is changed), or you could stare at scene or room several times (when it is done in the dream usually the scenario is completely different), control all the things that have to do with the numbers (time, arrays of numbers, departure and arrival of trains or aircraft etc …). Ensure that this attitude of “control” of reality becomes a habit in this way it will also ensure that in the dream the awareness will increase.
CAT, the cycle adjustment technique
The CAT, which stands for cycle adjustment technique, is an effective technique, developed by Daniel Love, a British scholar. It consists of calibrating your own sleep cycle with the purpose to increase the probability of waking during its last part. You will have to wake up 90 minutes before the normal time that you put your alarm, until the sleep cycle will adjust itself on the new conditions. After you have achieved this, alternate the old and the new conditions of the alarm. On days with Wake-up time to normal, the state of alert will increase to make lucid dreaming more likely.
MILD, mnemonic induction of lucid dreaming
This technique is one of the most used and it consist of lying down with the intention of recognizing in the dream, unusual or impossible situations that can’t occur in real life. It is a very simple and quick technique to be applied but not so effective if applied alone: usually is used in combination with one of the other to obtain a synergy effect.
WBTB, Wake Back To Bed
This technique is applied to one of the above methods, and is very effective; in fact, it results in a 62% increase of lucid dreams. The technique consists in going to sleep and waking up about 5/6 hour later, stay awake for an hour focusing thoughts on lucid dreaming (just thinking about it or reading some book that you mention it) and then go back to bed, trying to make the “MILD”. This procedure greatly increases the odds of having a lucid dream. This is due to the fact that REM sleep stages (those in which we dream) stretch with the prolongation of the night. As much longer is the REM sleep, the more likely to gain clarity within it.
WILD, Wake Induced Lucid Dreams
This technique is to start the dream, but “not sleep” this can be possible by completely relaxing the body and keeping the mind alert and focused on it. The lucid dream is reached by passing through several stages: you can feel a small shock going through your body, to be gripped by a particular sleep paralysis (harmless but some times terrifying), witness the materialization of particular hypnagogic images in front of your eyes (closed ), and then find yourself in a dream-like atmosphere then going from “spectator” to “actor” protagonist of the scene.
Induction by external stimuli
Some scholars have experimented acoustic stimuli on subjects when they entered the REM phase, like listening to a tape with phrases like: “This is a dream.” Moreover, in the market there are devices that are masks to be worn like glasses when you go to sleep. The sensors present in the equipment notice when the subject comes into REM and send the stimuli through LED (sometimes can also be programmed with sounds and / or recordings). Then, if the sleeper will be able to chatch them and interpret them correctly, will achieve clarity in the dream.
Some benefits of lucid dreaming
- To develop greater awareness, both in the waking and during the dream phase;
- Get rid of nightmares;
- Solve problems;
- Experiment with alternative actions without fear of the consequences, developing the capacity for self assertive, taking deliberate actions;
- Speed up the activity of the immune system;
- Increase the ability to make decisions and change the lives while awake;
- Integrate the conflicting aspects of the self, to integrate the personality;
- Explore the creative potential of the mind.