Monday, 12 August 2019

The Benefits of Lucid Dreaming

Lucid dreaming is a rewarding, awe-inspiring and liberating experience, which many personal benefits. Lucid dreams are largely free from real-world consequences and allow dreamers to indulge in fantasies without fear, inhibition or reprisal. Lucid dreaming permits us boundless escapism, creating a natural high and sense of power, opening our eyes to the fact we can 'hack' our own minds and harness a set of cognitive skills from within the dream world. Lucid dreaming also enables us to have profound insight into ourselves, encouraging us to question the nature of reality and consciousness.

However, the benefits of lucid dreaming are not just present in the dream world - there are many benefits for real waking life too! One of the overall greatest benefits of lucid dreaming is the fact that we are able to incubate or create lucid dream scenarios in advance, by focusing on what we most desire or wish for in a lucid dream.

Experiencing the impossible
Lucid dreaming enables dreamers to experience the impossible - you can literally do anything in a lucid dream as the limits are as far as your imagination can stretch. The laws of physics don't constrain you!

One of the most popular lucid dreaming experiences sought by lucid dreamers is the ability to fly in lucid dreams. All you need to do is believe that you can fly like a bird, and you will find yourself soaring through the sky, weightless. 

Lucid dreamers might also experience the impossible in terms of obtaining super-human powers, travelling through time or exploring the far reaches of the universe, meeting fictional or historical characters - there really are no rules as to what is possible in a lucid dream.

Sexual intimacy
Imagine a scenario where you can summons any sexual partner - real, fictional or imaginary - and indulge in any form of sexual intimacy you so desire. Lucid dream sex is one of the most popular experiences sought out by lucid dreamers, because it enables not only fantasy sex with someone who might not be available in the real life, but also has little to no repercussions in waking life. I say 'little' - as it depends on whether you are using lucid dream sex to break sexual taboos (which might lead to desensitisation or normalisation of those taboos) or indulging in acts you feel guilty about in waking reality - these can obviously have the potential for some effect on your psychological well-being in some circumstances. 

Lucid dream sex is not a form of 'infidelity' - I'd argue it is no different in concept to fantasising while using pornography as a stimulus; the difference is that the stimulus exists in your mind and requires no extrinsic aids or human interaction. If you have any concerns about how your partner might feel about lucid dream sex with another person, you could discuss it in advance or simply choose to keep your lucid dream sex fantasies/experiences as a secret - there's no way you can get caught out!

Lucid dream sex is a great way for lonely people to experience sexual intimacy which might be lacking in their waking reality. The experience of sex in a lucid dream can be a very intense and satisfying feeling - the fulfilment of primal urges without inhibition or the need to abide by social norms. It is possible to experience incredibly powerful orgasms through lucid dream sex. 

Increased self-awareness & insight
Due to the nature of lucid dreaming, it is possible to explore the inner self, stripping back the core beliefs or preconceptions that have been instilled in us from childhood. In Robert Waggoner, Lucid Dreaming: Gateway to the Inner Self (2008), the author refers to a separate consciousness which exists within, which can be accessed through the lucid dream. In the lucid dream, you can converse directly with your subconscious mind and discover deep truths about yourself which might not be accessible or comprehensible in waking reality. You can guide this discovery process by asking questions of your consciousness within the lucid dream and examining the answers provided, which may enable you to gain levels of self-awareness and insight not possible in your waking consciousness. 

You might also use lucid dreaming to discover deep personal meaning in life - by talking to your subconscious and asking it to show you your life's purpose. This can enable you to evolve your life's meaning and purpose with a new form of conscious awareness, and the advantage here is that such insight is not reserved for those with spiritual beliefs. You are finding meaning within yourself, rather than having to look beyond for a 'greater' meaning.

Enhancing real life skills
In Stephen LaBerge, Exploring the World of Lucid Dreaming (1990), the author provides a testimonial from a surgeon who reported the ability to improve and refine his surgical skills from within his lucid dreams - which enabled him to reap the benefits in his real life profession. Indeed, such improvement of his skills were much quicker than would be expected in real life. Athletes and musicians have also reported using lucid dreams to enhance their real life skills. This is because the tangible experience of performing and practicing certain physical activities in the artificial world of lucid dreams can transfer to real life muscle memory. In addition, lucid dreamers can realistically rehearse mental and emotional responses which have some benefit in real life.

Problem-solving & decision-making
Lucid dreaming is a great way of 'thinking outside the box' when it comes to problem-solving and decision-making. Not only can you seek help within the lucid dream by asking for possible solutions, but you can act out the various solutions to a problem or tough decision within the lucid dream and check the results. It is possible to incubate a lucid dream by 'implanting the seed' of that chosen/desired dream using highly effective dream incubation techniques, which work for both lucid and normal, non-lucid dreams. All you need to do is focus your waking mind on the question or problem you require help with.

Exploring creativity
Lucid dreaming is a fantastic means of exploring inner creativity and tapping into new channels of creativity which might not be readily accessible to the conscious, waking mind. This is due to the free-flow of ideas that occur in a lucid dream. Lucid dreaming provides an extraordinary way of finding inspiration - you can simply ask your subconscious to show you something to inspire you, or you could actively seek to travel to a place of inspiration or summons a particular visionary genius of your chosen field, as a dream character, and use them as a mentor. 

Artist Salvador Dali (1904 - 1989) famously used lucid dreaming to increase his creativity and inspire his art. He referred to this process as 'slumber with a key' and spoke of channelling the fluid space between wakefulness and sleep. The creative associations he made between memories, fleeting thoughts and concepts and imagery occurred during the hypnagogic stage of sleep and therefore are likely to be forms of microdreams. One of his most popular and recognisable paintings The Persistence of Memory (1931) was inspired through this process. There are many other notable examples of creatives/artists or scientists/inventors using lucid dreaming and hypnagogia to formulate new ideas and tap into new sources of creativity and inspiration.

Coping with grief & bereavement
No matter what your beliefs, faith or worldviews on death and the afterlife, lucid dreaming is an excellent way to reunite with dead loved ones. When coping with bereavement, there is often a feeling that matters have been left unresolved, especially if the death of a loved one was sudden and unexpected, or certain things were left unsaid when the person was alive. Lucid dreaming enables the dreamer to reunite and interact with their dead loved one and deal with unresolved matters by seeking closure or finality - or simply enjoy the experience of spending time with them in the dream world. The benefit of this is that the lucid dream provides some form of psychological or emotional therapy, allowing capacity for grieving and healing. Lucid dreaming can help us keep the memories of our dead loved ones alive in a very realistic sense, even if we are fully aware that they are a projection of our own psyche and subconscious.

Overcoming phobias, fear & trauma
Lucid dreaming is a great way of confronting and overcoming phobias, fear and trauma in a safe way with no real life consequences or risk of harm. Clinical Psychiatrists and Psychologists have reported that lucid dreaming provides a therapeutic benefit for sufferers of post-traumatic stress disorder, as the experience of confronting the source of trauma in a lucid dream creates new neural pathways in the brain which can help in overcoming the fear in real life. 

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