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TUCoPS :: Wetware Hacking :: Others :: lucidfaq.txt

Lucid Dreaming FAQ





Here is the Lucidity Institute's FAQ:

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                       LUCID DREAMING FAQ

(Answers to these frequently asked questions on lucid dreaming 
brought to you by THE LUCIDITY INSTITUTE.)

Contents:

Q. What is lucid dreaming?
Q. If you are lucid, can you control the dream?
Q. Does lucid dreaming interfere with the function of "normal"
   dreaming?
Q. Does everybody dream?
Q. Why would you want to have lucid dreams?
Q. How do you have lucid dreams?
Q. Is there a way to prevent yourself from awakening right after
   becoming lucid?
Q. How can I find out more about lucid dreaming, or get involved
   in lucid dreaming research?

                           *   *   *

Q. What is lucid dreaming? 
A. The term "lucid dreaming" refers to dreaming while knowing that 
you are dreaming. The "lucid" part refers to the clarity of 
consciousness rather than the vividness of the dream. It generally 
happens when you realize during the course of a dream that you are 
dreaming, perhaps because something weird occurs. Most people who 
remember their dreams have experienced this at some time, often 
waking up immediately after the realization. However, it is 
possible to continue in the dream while remaining fully aware that 
you are dreaming.

Q. If you are lucid, can you control the dream? 
A. Usually lucidity brings with it some degree of control over the 
course of the dream. How much control is possible varies from 
dream to dream and from dreamer to dreamer. Practice can 
apparently contribute to the ability to exert control over dream 
events. At the least, lucid dreamers can choose how they wish to 
respond to the events of the dream. For example, you can decide to 
face up to a frightening dream figure, knowing it cannot harm you, 
rather than to try to avoid the danger as you naturally would if 
you did not know it was a dream. Even this amount of control can 
transform the dream experience from one in which you are the 
helpless victim of frequently terrifying, frustrating, or 
maddening experiences to one in which you can dismiss for a while 
the cares and concerns of waking life. On the other hand, some 
people are able to achieve a level of mastery in their lucid 
dreaming where they can create any world, live any fantasy, and 
experience anything they can imagine!

Q. Does lucid dreaming interfere with the function of "normal" 
dreaming? 
A. According to one way of thinking, lucid dreaming _is_ normal 
dreaming. The brain and body are in the same physiological state 
during lucid dreaming as they are in during most ordinary non-
lucid dreaming, that is, REM sleep. Dreaming is a result of the 
brain being active, at the same time as the sense organs of the 
body are turned off to the outside world. In this condition, 
typically during REM sleep, the mind creates experiences out of 
currently active thoughts, concerns, memories and fantasies. 
Knowing you are dreaming simply allows you to direct the dream 
along constructive or positive lines, like you direct your 
thoughts when you are awake. Furthermore, lucid dreams can be even 
more informative about yourself than non-lucid dreams, because you 
can observe the development of the dream out of your feelings and 
tendencies, while being aware that you are dreaming and that the 
dream is coming from you. The notion that dreams are unconscious 
processes that should remain so is false. Your waking 
consciousness is always present in your dreams. If it were not, 
you would not be able to remember dreams, because you can only 
remember an event you have consciously experienced. The added 
"consciousness" of lucid dreaming is nothing more than the 
awareness of being in the dream state.

Q. Does everybody dream? 
A. Everybody dreams. All humans (indeed, all mammals) have REM 
sleep. Most dreams occur in REM sleep. This has been demonstrated 
by awakening people from different stages of sleep and asking if 
they were dreaming. In 85 percent of awakenings from REM sleep, 
people report having been dreaming. Dreams are rarely reported 
following awakening from other types of sleep (collectively called 
non-REM sleep). REM sleep alternates with non-REM sleep in 90 
minute cycles throughout the night. In a typical 8 hour night, you 
will spend about an hour and a half total time in REM sleep, 
broken up into four or five "REM periods" ranging in length from 5 
to 45 minutes. Most dreams are forgotten. Some people never recall 
dreams while others recall five or more each night. You can 
improve your ability to recall dreams. Good dream recall is 
necessary for learning lucid dreaming. There are two basic things 
to do to get started with developing dream recall. Begin a dream 
journal, in which you write everything you remember of your 
dreams, even the slightest fragments. You will remember the most 
if you record dreams right after you awaken from them. Before 
falling asleep each night, remind yourself that you want to awaken 
from, remember and record your dreams.

Q. Why would you want to have lucid dreams? 
A. The laws of physics and society are repealed in dreams. The 
only limits are the reaches of your imagination. Much of the 
potential of dreams is wasted because people do not recognize that 
they are dreaming. When we are not lucid in a dream, we think and 
behave as if we are in waking reality. This can lead to pointless 
frustration, confusion and wasted energy, and in the worst case, 
terrifying nightmares. It is useless to try as we do to accomplish 
the tasks of waking life in dreams. Our misguided efforts to do so 
result in anxiety dreams of malfunctioning machinery, missed 
deadlines, forgotten exams, losing the way, and so on. Anxiety 
dreams and nightmares can be overcome through lucid dreaming, 
because if you know you are dreaming you have nothing to fear. 
Dream images cannot hurt you. Lucid dreams, in addition to helping 
you lead your dreams in satisfying directions, enjoy fantastic 
adventures, and overcome nightmares, can be valuable tools for 
success in your waking life. Lucid dreamers can deliberately 
employ the natural creative potential of dreams for problem 
solving and artistic inspiration. Athletes, performers, or anyone 
who gives presentations can prepare, practice and polish their 
performances while they sleep. This is only a taste of the variety 
of ways people have used lucid dreaming to expand their lives.

Q. How do you have lucid dreams? 
A. There are several methods of inducing lucid dreams. The first 
step, regardless of method, is to develop your dream recall until 
you can remember at least one dream per night. Then, if you have a 
lucid dream you will remember it. You will also become very 
familiar with your dreams, making it easier learn to recognize 
them while they are happening. If you recall your dreams you can 
begin immediately with two simple techniques for stimulating lucid 
dreams. Lucid dreamers make a habit of "reality testing." This 
means investigating the environment to decide whether you are 
dreaming or awake. Ask yourself many times a day, "Could I be 
dreaming?" Then, test the stability of your current reality by 
reading some words, looking away and looking back while trying to 
will them to change. The instability of dreams is the easiest clue 
to use for distinguishing waking from dreaming. If the words 
change, you are dreaming. Taking naps is a way to greatly increase 
your chances of having lucid dreams. You have to sleep long enough 
in the nap to enter REM sleep. If you take the nap in the morning 
(after getting up earlier than usual), you are likely to enter REM 
sleep within a half-hour to an hour after you fall asleep. If you 
nap for 90 minutes to 2 hours you will have plenty of dreams and a 
higher probability of becoming lucid than in dreams you have 
during a normal night's sleep. Focus on your intention to 
recognize that you are dreaming as you fall asleep within the nap.

External cues to help people attain lucidity in dreams have been the focus
of Dr. Stephen LaBerge's research and the Lucidity Institute's development
efforts for several years. Using the results of laboratory studies, they
have designed two portable devices so far, the DreamLight and the
DreamLink, for this purpose. The DreamLight monitors sleep and when it
detects REM sleep gives a cue -- a flashing light -- that enters the dream
to remind the dreamer to become lucid. The light comes from a soft mask
worn during sleep that also contains the sensing apparatus for determining
when the sleeper is in REM sleep. A small custom computer connected to the
mask by a cord decides when the wearer is in REM and when to flash the
lights. The DreamLink is a simpler version of the DreamLight which gives
the same type of cue after a specific delay which can be preset by the
dreamer before going to sleep.

Q. Is there a way to prevent yourself from awakening right after 
becoming lucid? 
A. At first, beginners may have difficulty remaining in the dream 
after they attain lucidity. This obstacle may prevent many people 
from realizing the value of lucid dreaming, because they have not 
experienced more than the flash of knowing they are dreaming, 
followed by immediate awakening. Two simple techniques can help 
you overcome this problem. The first is to remain calm in the 
dream. Becoming lucid is exciting, but expressing the excitement 
can awaken you. Suppress your feeling somewhat and turn your 
attention to the dream. If the dream shows signs of ending, such 
as the disappearance, loss of clarity or depth of the imagery, 
"spinning" can help bring the dream back. As soon as the dream 
starts to "fade," before you feel your real body in bed, spin your 
dream body like a top. That is, twirl around like a child trying 
to get dizzy (you probably will not get dizzy during dream 
spinning because your physical body is not spinning around). 
Remind yourself, "The next scene will be a dream." When you stop 
spinning, if it is not obvious that you are dreaming, do a reality 
test. Even if you think you are awake, you may be surprised to 
find that you are still dreaming!

Q. How can I find out more about lucid dreaming, or get involved 
in lucid dreaming research? 
A. Contact the Lucidity Institute, an organization founded by 
lucid dreaming researcher Dr. Stephen LaBerge to support research 
on lucid dreams and to help people learn to use them to enhance 
their lives. The Lucidity Institute's mission is to advance 
research on the nature and potentials of consciousness and to 
apply the results of this research to the enhancement of human 
health and well-being. The Lucidity Institute offers a membership 
society, whose quarterly newsletter, NightLight, discusses 
research and development in the field of lucid dreaming, and 
invites the participation of members in at-home experiments. 
Workshops and training programs are available periodically. The 
Institute sells books, tapes, scientific publications and the 
DreamLight. 

Write or call: 
The Lucidity Institute
P.O. Box 2364
Stanford, CA 94309 
(415) 321-9969

For additional information: 
LaBerge, S., LUCID DREAMING (Los Angeles: Ballantine, 1985).
LaBerge, S. & Rheingold, H. EXPLORING THE WORLD OF LUCID DREAMING 
(New York: Ballantine, 1990). 


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