Sunday, 11 August 2019

The Lucid Spectrum

Lucidity is not a single state, but rather exists on a spectrum with different levels of lucidity. While conscious awareness is the basis of a lucid dream, your lucid dreaming experience depends on what level of lucidity you manage to achieve. The level of lucidity you experience in a lucid dream impacts on intensity and vividness of the lucid dream; clarity and stability of the lucid dream; the amount of dream control and manipulation you can exert on the lucid dream; and the length of the lucid dream.

Level 0 - Normal Non-Lucid Dream
This is the default dream state, where the dreamer is not consciously aware that they are dreaming and is unable to control any aspect of the dream. Even if your normal, non-lucid dream is very intense and vivid, you accept the dream as reality and do not question it. Normal, non-lucid dreams are created entirely by the subconscious, and are based on real life waking memories, thoughts, feelings and sensations. 

Level 1 - Pre-Lucid Dream
A pre-lucid dream is the very beginning of the lucid dream process. During a pre-lucid dream, the dreamer will question whether they might be in a dream, but may not come to the correct conclusion. The term 'pre-lucid' was coined by Celia Green in Lucid Dreams (1968). Earl Vickers developed a checklist of situations which are common in pre-lucid dreams:
  • Misinterpreted dreamsigns - the dreamer notices incongruous or uncanny events, objects or thoughts which suggest they are in a dream, but instead of becoming fully lucid, draw an alternative explanation of the dreamsign
  • Failed reality checks - while something (i.e. recognition of a dreamsign) leads to a reality check, failure of the reality check (i.e. the outcome is either the same as the real life waking outcome, or the dreamer fails to successfully use the reality check to become lucid) confirm the mistaken belief that the dreamer is awake and experiencing reality
  • Pseudo-lucid dreams - the dreamer is aware they are dreaming, but fails to become consciously aware they are actually asleep and dreaming in reality
  • The dreamer tries to convince a dream character they are dreaming while failing to recognise they are themselves in a dream
  • Normal, non-lucid dreams about dreaming, without the dreamer being consciously aware they are in a dream
  • False awakenings where the dreamer is unaware they are actually dreaming, and believes they have actual woken up and are experiencing real life
Level 2 - Semi-Lucid Dream
Beginner lucid dreamers often experience semi-lucid dreams, typically as a result of a DILD (Dream-Initiated Lucid Dream). The dreamer may experience conscious awareness that they are in a dream, but will be unable to exert any form of dream control over the lucid dream. Semi-lucid dreams are characterised by lack of clarity and stability - this is a very precarious and hazy lucid state. It is very easy to lapse from a semi-lucid dream back into a normal, non-lucid dream. 

Level 3 - Fully-Lucid Dream
In a fully-lucid dream, the dreamer is absolutely certain they are experiencing a dream and therefore have complete conscious awareness. This is the level of lucidity in which it becomes possible to control and manipulate the dream.

Level 4 - Dissolved Dream
Within Tibetan Buddhism, there is a state of lucidity which surpasses and goes beyond the fully-lucid state. Dissolving the dream refers to the ability to move beyond the physical sensations of the dream and any sensory data in order to reach a higher plane of consciousness of the purest form.

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