What’s the Point of Lucid Dreaming?

29 Aug

Next Dimension by H. Hoppdelaney

Next Dimension by H. Hoppdelaney

 

A friend casually asked me the other day:

“Why do I want to have Lucid Dreams?”

“What’s the point?”

I had the hardest time trying to answer her in a way that would convince her. It got me thinking about it and so this post is my own answer to these two questions…

My Gut-level response:

“What do you mean? The feeling of becoming consciously aware that you are dreaming, while you are dreaming, is fucking awesome!!”

My elegant response:

Imagine whatever it is you’re doing right now – look around at the people near you, the walls surrounding you, your hands – and think of what it would mean to you right now if this was a dream. What would you do?

Knowing our minds are capable of creating such an experience is of infinite intrigue to me. The immediate coolness of just experimenting in the dream world – flying, moving through objects, moving things with your mind, exploring the dreamscape, talking with dream characters – this is all awesome and why I’m interested in lucid dreaming, but it’s only half the equation.

The other half is this:

I want to use lucid dreaming as a means of understanding consciousness, the mind, and how our brain/mind works to process experiences into reality.

If we can become conscious within a dream and experience this world just like we experience waking life, what does it mean then about who we are and our source of awareness? What can the dreaming mind teach us about how we process and understand experiences? What do dreams tell us about reality?

Beyond this philosophical approach to lucid dreaming, there are a few specific reasons I do want to have lucid dreams. Here, I present to you my lucid dream to-do list.

Meditation and Mystical Experiences. I’ve read that people who meditate in waking life have had intense experience become lucid and then meditating in the dream. They report seeing fantastic colors and a sense of ballooning awareness, ego loss, and other mystical sensations. I want to experience this.

Tripping. I’ve had dreams where I took acid, been drunk, and been stoned. In each instance I was not lucid – it was just part of the dream. Each time, the resulting experience was much of what it would have been in waking life had it happened for real. Being able to have a realistic and mind-blowing psychedelic experience in a lucid dream has been confirmed to me by numerous people; somehow, our mind can recreate these experiences if we simply dream it up, consciously. This is amazing and I want to experience it.

Moving my sense of awareness beyond my body. I would very much like to attempt to ‘deconstruct’ my sense of awareness within the dream, becoming less and less of my body, and seeing what happens. I’ve heard about 360 vision – is this possible? This sounds morbid, but I wonder what would happen if I plucked one of my eyeballs out and tried looking around with it? What if I ripped my head off and held it with my own hand? It’s funny, because I know it’s all an illusion that my sense of awareness is coming from my dream head – how can I get past this? Could I project my awareness onto an object in a dream? Another character? Could I merge with another person? If I’m having a lucid dream, I understand that everything I’m experiencing is a projection of and contained within my own mind; how can I take my sense of awareness and expand it accordingly?

Flying & Soaring through the universe. Flying is a fantastic experience. What more is there to say?

Calling myself on the phone. Could I have a conversation with myself? What about other people?

Out of Body Experiences. While I am skeptical of OBE, there is an obvious connection to lucids and the OBE. I want to explore this connection and experience what is known as an OBE, even if it’s just taking place in my mind.

I’d like to know what you think.

Are my reasons similar to most? What’s the point of lucid dreaming for you personally? Why do you bother?

 

Photo by H. Hoppdelaney.

8 Responses to “What’s the Point of Lucid Dreaming?”

  1. Jacob Haqq-Misra August 29, 2007 at 11:23 pm #

    Strangely enough, my answer to your question was the subject of my blog entry today (and I wrote it before I read yours!).

  2. Ben August 30, 2007 at 1:28 am #

    Jacob,
    That’s a weird coincidence!

    I’ve responded to your post on your blog… & what a lovely post it was.

    I also just added you to my blogroll. 🙂

  3. Bill Perry August 30, 2007 at 8:33 am #

    Ben,
    I initially wanted to try out Lucid Dreaming for the “rush” of being able to control a dream. Having realized that control is a delicate process indeed, I then realized that it was far more beneficial to me at first to just let the dreams happen.

    I am now able to control the dreams somewhat, as far as characters. I have yet to really try control of setting/place of the dreams.

    My big thrill with Lucid Dreams now si the “rush” of connecting more fully with myself and seeing what my other-than-conscious mind is REALLY trying to tell me.

    I’m not to the stage of experimenting with Deep Trance Modeling in Lucid Dreams. And this so far is the trippiest shit I’ve done in a while.

    All in All, I rather enjoy lucid dreaming because it just feels good to be fully aware and connected.

  4. Kris August 30, 2007 at 9:01 pm #

    Hi Ben,

    My dream exploration is aimed at many of the same purposes you described — a means to understand consciousness, to explore different facets of awareness and perception, and to shed the ego and experience that sense of connectedness often achieved through meditation or other mystic practices. LOL, though, occupying many characters within the same dream sure shakes up the ego…Do I have a bigger ego because I acknowledge that I am all things and all people within the dream, or do I lose the ego for the exact same reason? 🙂

    Bill’s comment about connecting more fully with himself and learning more about the other-than-conscious mind also hits home. Many of my dream studies are for the purpose of exploring the whole mind rather than being limited to the part I have conscious access to in waking life.

    Plus we get to fly. And walk through walls. And converse with intelligent plants and animals. And make spouses endure long treatises on the many merits of lucid dreaming. It’s a win-win situation all the way around. 🙂

    ~ Kris

  5. Chris August 30, 2007 at 10:25 pm #

    Hi Ben, I while I haven’t gotten into lucid dreaming lately, I have had lucid dreams and I can relaete to some of your points.

    – Flying at will is awesome.
    – Experimenting with mental states, especially seeing what happens when I’ve tried to go deep in order to experience God.
    – On a purely physical level, there is the unique opportunity (for those inclined) to engage in random sex without negative consequences or even the idea that you are doing something morally wrong.
    – The opportunity to experiment with OOB experiences (unsuccessful so far) where I try to memorize a pattern on a wall that I haven’t seen before and see if it exists in waking life.

    But while these things can be fascinating for many people, for some people it holds no appeal or intrigue whatsoever. I have the same differences with my own wife. 🙂

  6. Oneironaught August 31, 2007 at 4:25 pm #

    Ben,

    It’s difficult to explain to anybody why dreaming is a passion, but your ‘elegant’ response is brilliant. I love the idea of calling yourself – that one never occured to me. My friends are usually sympathetic when I try to describe my dream adventures but they don’t seem to really catch on. The few times I’ve tried explaining the thrill of the experience to casual acquaintances they have looked at me like I had antenna growing out of my head. Sadly, dreaming (and inner exploration in general) are not very well respected in our society.
    I’m fascinate by every aspect of lucid dreaming but I’ve confessed before that the real thrill for me is that initial moment of awe and wonder when you first realize you are dreaming. It is a truly magickal sensation to realize that everything you are experiencing is a construct of your own mind.
    The potential is limitless.

  7. Ben September 4, 2007 at 7:34 pm #

    Absolutely. That initial moment of realizing that your experience is actually a dream, and is 100% contained within your own mind, is truly “magical.” (So much so that half the time we wake up right afterwards, gushing with excitement! 😉 )

  8. Ben September 4, 2007 at 7:38 pm #

    Chris I’m glad you mentioned lucid dream sex. I was too shy to publicly proclaim it on the front page of my blog. 🙂 I wonder what the stats are if everyone admitted how much lucid dream content is sexual. I believe it was famous lucid dream author Patricia Garfield who estimated that 80% of her lucid dreams were sexual. I’m reading Stephen LaBerge’s famous classic on LD’ing and he suggests that this is one of the first experiences dreamers seek out. He said something I thought was interesting – that it might be necessary for people to experience the world of dream sex before moving on to the other activities.

Leave a Reply