Lucid dreaming and building your wonderland
Article by Dániel Turner
Dreams, another universe. Every time you go to sleep you pass through that magical door to another world. To a world, where rules are nothing alike to this world’s rules. Most of the time, it is hard to catch the details of a dream. Everything seems blurry and shady, even unrealistic sometimes, and yet, when we are in the dream we tend to believe everything. Our mind deceives us. However, in your dream, in your world, YOU make the rules.
First things first, one might ask the question reasonably: why do we dream? At first sight, the nocturnal illusions seem unnecessary biologically. We go to sleep, we rest, and our body rests. Isn’t that enough? In reality, it is not. There are many theories out there about the functions of dreaming. There are three main categories.
The first one is related to memory. Although it is natural for us to gather and experience all the sensations and happenings during the day, for our brain, it is a deep process. Certain memories are processed during the time of dreaming. Many times, we face the information from three or four (or even more) days before. This is what we call a dream lag.
Nevertheless, we do not only dream to remember, we also dream to forget. Some data is not necessary to be stored in your brain. Luckily, the only thing you have to do in order to delete them is to go to sleep.
The second one is about emotional processing. Sigmund Freud was the first to analyse dreams in detail and make psychological connections to emotions and desires. He claimed that every wish of ours finds a way to be present in our dreams in symbols. Have you ever thought of the snake that appears in your nightmares? It may have a meaning.
The third one is connected to practice. Throughout the night you step into a fantastic practice room to prepare yourself for the real world.
All these features mentioned are unconscious works of our mind. We tend to forget our dreams, and often we do not even think about them during the day. But is it possible to bound the real world to your world of fantasies? Is it possible to be conscious in your dreams? The answer is definitely yes. You are also able to control them.
When you are aware of dreaming, we talk about lucid dreaming. Some people experience it, some people don’t, but there are ways to achieve it on purpose. There is recent research on the topic emphasising the connection between dreams and meditation.
Meditation enhances mindfulness and consciousness in general. Surrendering to your inner imagination and shifting your focus to the breath helps you anchor in the moment. During the practice, you learn to be aware of your surroundings, thoughts and feelings with acceptance. It means you do not react to them, you only observe. This process is a preparation to be conscious with ease in every part of your life, including dreams.
Some research found that people who practised meditation were more likely to experience lucid dreams at night. The benefits of meditation on dreaming are promising. Meditating regularly brings you less dream anxiety and negative dream qualities. Furthermore, the positive aspects of dreams grow, for example, meeting characters from your life who are welcome.
On the pathway of forming your own fantasy world, observing and realising the dream state is the first step. The next step is to experiment. Once you are aware, you can add elements to your dream, and you can build your own wonderland.
Apart from meditation, here are two other tips to recognise that you are dreaming:
• Ask yourself the following question during the day: ‘Am I awake or asleep?’. Look around you and make the conclusion for yourself. Doing this on a regular basis consolidates this habit and you will also start to ask yourself during your dream.
• Start to note down your dreams after waking up. Remain laying down after waking up and try to remember! Try not to move and make the transition slowly from sleeping. It helps you to recall and then write down what happened. Recognising patterns and returning elements will help you catch them in your dream.
Whether you are awake or dreaming, consciousness is an aid for you to solve your problems. Widening the perspective from reality to your fantasies and unconscious elements might even help you become a better version of yourself.
Goodbye nightmares, welcome peace!