1-Sentence-Summary: Exploring The World Of Lucid Dreaming is a practical guide to dreaming consciously which uncovers an invaluable channel of communication between your conscious and unconscious mind.
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The reality you experience during waking hours is not always easily bent to your liking. Chances are, there are aspects of your life that you struggle with like difficult relationships, work challenges or other seemingly insurmountable problems. It is natural to sometimes feel powerless in the face of adversities.
But in the world of dreams? You can literally create your own reality. Because the dream world is constructed entirely by your own mind, you can be in control of what happens there.
The authors – Stephen LaBerge and Howard Rheingold – are both renowned thinkers, teachers, and researchers involved with Stanford University. LaBerge also founded The Lucidity Institute, which serves as a research center promoting lucid dreaming. With this book, they offer you both practical guidance and scientific background to bring more awareness into your sleeping time.
Here are 3 insights into the world of dreams that I took away:
- The mind’s activity during waking hours impacts the capacity for lucid dreaming.
- You can enter a dream state consciously by using hypnagogic imagery.
- Lucid dreaming can improve your mental health, creativity and all kinds of skills.
Ready to explore the fascinating land of your sleeping mind? Then let’s do it!
Lesson 1: By choosing where you engage your mind during the day, you can enhance the chances to lucid dream.
The starting point to understand lucid dreaming is recognizing that it is the same mind that operates the dream and awake states. This means that the sensory information you collect throughout your days is stored in your conscious or unconscious memory. Then, it is used as the “building blocks” of your dreams.
There are two important implications of this. For one thing, it means that the creation of your dream landscape depends solely on your mind. Whatever is stored in there can be used for generating the fabric of your dream.
The other consequence is that the activities of your mind during waking hours impact your ability to lucid dream. Thanks to this, there a few exercises you can engage in during the day that will increase the likelihood of becoming lucid at night.
One is dream journaling. As you choose to record whatever you remember from your dream adventures, you give your unconscious mind a signal that these experiences are important. With practice, it enhances your chances of “waking up” within a dream.
Another exercise that you should do throughout the day if you want to become a lucid dreamer is “reality checks.” This simply means asking yourself “Am I dreaming?” as often as you can. Once this becomes a habit of the mind, you will eventually end up asking that question while dreaming – which is exactly what you need to prompt lucidity!
The approach of evoking awareness when you are already in a dream world is one way to lucid dream. However, there is also an alternative.
Lesson 2: It is possible to transition from awake to dream state without losing consciousness.
The other option to lucid dream is by simply maintaining consciousness as you fall asleep. Sounds wicked? Maybe, but it is definitely possible!
According to LaBerge and Rheingold, there are two major approaches to invite conscious awareness to dreams. The first is what I was describing in the section above: dream-initiated lucid dreams (DILD). This method implies that you lose consciousness upon entering the dream world, but then you regain it, thanks to appropriate training.
However, some people find that the second approach works better for them. In wake-initiated lucid dreams (WILD), the point is to fall asleep without losing consciousness in the first place. One way to achieve that is through the hypnagogic imagery.
Hypnagogia is the scientific term for the transitory phase between being awake and asleep. In this “limbo-like” state of consciousness, we often experience flashes of light and various images showing up in our mind’s eye. If you want to enter a lucid dream straight away, you should keep your brain active by focusing on those images – while also maintaining a relaxed body and breathing.
As you ease into the hypnagogic imagery, the scenes you perceive will gradually start integrating themselves into a complete dream landscape. If you practise this long enough, you can teach yourself to go through this phase without losing consciousness – and enter a lucid dream immediately after falling asleep.
Lesson 3: Lucid dreaming brings practical benefits to your waking life.
By now you may be thinking: ok, all of this sounds really cool, but are there any tangible benefits of lucid dreaming, other than just the fun of experiencing them?
The answer is a definite yes. Although the research in this field is relatively young, there are solid premises to believe that dreaming consciously can improve various aspects of your waking life.
One of them is mental health, and more precisely: accepting the parts of your personality that you suppressed for whatever reason. According to Carl Jung – with LaBerge and Rheingold supporting his idea – the “shadow” parts of our personalities often show up in a symbolic way through dreams. If we learn how to recognize the symbols, we can use lucid dreaming to integrate those “shadows.”
Another example of how your life can benefit from more conscious dreams are improved creativity and skills of your choice. Once you become in charge of what happens in the dreamland, you can choose to practise things like playing an instrument or riding a snowboard. Studies have shown that this kind of “imaginary practice” can have a real impact on your abilities in waking life!
There is plenty of other examples of how you can literally transform your life through lucid dreaming. But I cannot include them all here – so to realize what’s possible, you will need to check this book for yourself!
Exploring The World Of Lucid Dreaming Review
Exploring the World of Lucid Dreaming is indeed a gateway into a whole new world. It makes you realize – if you haven’t yet – that the inherent power of your mind to shape your reality is just enormous. Because the book comes from two academics, it seems safe to trust their guidance and try lucid dreaming for yourself.
Who would I recommend the Exploring The World Of Lucid Dreaming summary to?
The 26-year-old self-improvement geek who wants to use their mind’s capacity to the absolute fullest, the 37-year old psychologist intending to explore the power of dreams in their work with clients, and anyone interested in the workings of the human mind.