The term ‘lucid’ means ‘clear’. So, we can say, that a ‘lucid dream’ is one such dream in which the person is quite sentient of the fact that he or she is simply dreaming. The Dutch psychiatrist, by the name of Frederik van Eeden, coined the particular term. Suddenly in the mid of the dream, the dreamer begins to be aware that what he is seeing is not happening in real life.
A lucid dream can be of two basic types; a ‘dream-initiated lucid dream’ and a ‘wake-initiated lucid dream’. The former is one that starts of as a dream. The dreamer is sleeping; he begins to dream, and then realizes that he is actually dreaming. The latter is one in which the person is not sleeping; he is awake and then suddenly slips into a surreal dream-like situation, but surprisingly, with no definite change in his awareness.
Lucidity can be of varying degrees or levels. When the lucidity of the dream is at a high level, the person is perfectly conscious of the fact that everything that he is seeing, in the dream is taking place in his mind. He knows that there is no actual risk and that he will wake up soon. But, in lucidity of a low-level, the person may not be so aware. He might assume certain things to be happening in real life.
It is wrongly assumed that a person, who is capable of lucid dreaming, is also capable of dream control. The two have no correlation as such. It might always happen that a person is very lucid in the dream, but has no power over what he is dreaming about. It could also happen the other way around. The person might be able to control his dream to a great extent, without realizing that he is actually dreaming.
Even though the two are not interconnected, it has been observed that when in a lucid dream, the dreamer’s chances of controlling or influencing the dream content, increases. It is not a strange fact that in such dreams, the people try to fulfill their innermost desires, by doing things they can’t otherwise in real life. One example is that of flying.
It is usually assumed that a lucid dream is not something that has been accepted by science. But this is not the truth. Experts and scientists have undertaken a lot of research in this field. And in this respect we can mention the eminent scientist Allan Hobson, who has shown us a ‘neurophysiologic’ way of studying and analyzing dreams. And with this, the amount of mistrust, disbelief and speculation that lucid dreams were subject to, has decreased.
Lucid dreams are not a new concept. It was always there in ancient mythology, and philosophy, especially in the eastern and South-east Asian civilizations. We have found evidence of lucid dreams going back to the 8th century. These sorts of dreams were often used by the Tibetan and Buddhist monks. There is a concept in yoga similar to this, which is called dream yoga. But it is not that only the East used this idea. Even people living in western have often utilized the concept of a lucid dream.
The possibility of getting a ‘high’, that is, experiencing something exhilarating and out-of-the-world, is what pulls most people towards lucid dreaming. Research has shown that, in a lucid dream, people like to do extra-ordinary things, e.g., flying. Lucid dreaming also has therapeutic properties. It can cure people who tend to have horrible nightmares.
Lucid dreaming is a talent that one can build up, like learning a foreign language. It might happen that a few lucky ones may have been born with an innate capacity meant for achieving lucidity. But even others can learn how to achieve a lucid dream. And the others can learn how to make the most of such dreams.
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