PART II, Lucid Dreaming and Dream Control: A Peek into the depths of the Unconscious

October 04, 2014

By: Anna Agoncillo

Films like "Inception" and "Waking Life" tickled our curiosities to the possibility of being to able to control our dreams. Imagine being fully aware of what you’re dreaming, and being able to create objects, people, situations or even travel across multiple dimensions to the extent that it may seem real to you.

It sounds powerful, doesn’t it? The good news is that, with practice, even you can become a lucid dreamer. In addition, further application of lucid dreaming and various techniques can give you the ability to control your dreams.

Lucid dreaming is a learned cognitive skill that enables the dreamer to know that they are dreaming while they are dreaming (Zadra et al., 1992; LeBerge & Levitan, 2007). It is highly vivid and immersive in which you’ll experience multi-sensory hallucinatory effect (Snoozon, n.d.). In a sense, it feels like you’re awake but in reality, you’re sound asleep.

Lucid dreaming transcends physical limitations. It let’s you experience your wildest fantasies such as swimming with the dolphins, flying across the skies, having a pet dinosaur, being a mermaid, and so on. It let’s you explore your inner self and sometimes towards a deeper spiritual or existential level.

Contrary to popular belief, lucid dreaming and having the authority over one’s dreams are completely different concepts. In fact, you can be fully lucid in a dream and just experience awareness without controlling any aspect of it.

Since most of our dreams are controlled by unconscious processes, we must understand that they are always dynamic (Snoozon, n.d.). There is a possibility to manipulate your dreams, but not entirely. Various elements will change throughout the course of your dream even if you are unomniscient of it.

Tips on How you can Control your Dreams
(LaBerge, 2004; Kammerhofer, n.d.)

1. Be able to recall and be aware of your dreams by keeping a Dream Journal (guys call it Bro Log if you want haha).

The first step is to recall your dreams by writing them down as soon as you wake up. Since we have a series of dreams throughout our sleep, we can only remember some. You may even claim that you didn't dream of anything but you just don't remember them.

Write about what happened in your dream, the symbols or patterns, and the emotions or feelings caused. This will give you the awareness of your dream state. Furthermore, it will give you the validation and confidence that: "Yes! You can remember your dreams!".

2. Recognize patterns and dream symbols.

Since you've kept a Dream Journal, you'll have the opportunity to spot the common symbols or patterns that usually come up while you're sleeping. When you're lucid, you must do a reality check to make sure that you really are in a deep sleep. Use the dream symbols and patterns to aid your reality check.

What's more? You can interpret the meanings of your dreams and unlock your unconscious thoughts.

3. Stay calm and encourage yourself.

Now that you've checked the reality and recognized that you're definitely lucid, stay calm. If you're too excited, you might wake up. Observe the surroundings in your dream. Encourage yourself that you can be more aware and it will happen. Just believe.

4. Resist the urge of waking up and continue dreaming.

Usually, the people who are not used to lucid dreaming would just wake up. If you feel like you’re about to wake up; you’re supposed to close your eyes, imagine that you are looking down and spinning in your dreams (LaBerge & Rheingold, 1990; LaBerge, 2004).

5. Remember your lucid dream.

Command yourself to remember your dream. Your mind is stronger that you give it credit for (read more on self-fulfilling prophecy)! Write down your experience in your Dream Journal as soon as you wake up. You were successful! Give yourself a pat on the back.

6. Learn to wake up in a lucid dream.

As i said, it's only takes your mental effort to be possible. Command yourself to wake up and you shall. If not, assign some external stimuli such as setting up an alarm clock.

Too lazy to read?:P Here is a short clip by Discovery News:

Rewards of Lucid dreaming and Dream Control

1. Re-creating and transforming a dream from a negative to a positive experience

Goal-directed lucid dreaming seemed to be effective in reducing nightmare frequency and increasing the quality of sleep (Spoormaker et al., 2003).

2. Fulfilling your desires and wishes.
Be who you want to be, when you want to be!

3. Giving an alternate ending to a rather painful memory
Talking to a past lover in a dream whom you had ended things badly can give you the closure you needed. Surely, it will help you to forgive and let go.

4. Recreation and exploration purposes
Similar to the Waking Life movie, you can explore a dream and meet various people. Discuss the purpose of life and the world itself with them. Or, simply enjoy the ride.
Parting thoughts

We, as human beings, are in need of creation, exploration, catastrophe, autonomy and transformation. By being aware of our dreams (lucidity) and being able to control some of its elements, these needs can be met. Lucid dreaming transcends physical limitations. It let’s you create your wildest fantasies, explore your deeper self, transform the surroundings, and destroy some of the bad memories.

Personally, I've experienced lucid dreaming and dream control a number of times. It became a habit of mine to tell others about what I dreamt. I find them so amusing, weird, and hilarious that I had to share them. As my recollection got better, I began to manipulate some parts of my dream. 

We may be able to be fully aware of our dreams and manipulate some aspects of it but, there is a limitation. No one in world is omniscient (all-knowing) or omnipotent (all-powerful). Nevertheless, enjoy dreaming and go crazy with your fantasies! Sometimes, we deserve a break from reality!

Share your own thoughts!
Do you recall your recent dreams? If so, do you want to control them? What elements of the dream will you manipulate? Why? Do you think your dreams are representation of the deeper you, which you aren’t aware of? If so, do you believe that you can unlock that deeper self  by being lucid in a dream? Leave your answers in the comment section below. :)

Read the previous posts: Part I: Dreams and Dream Analysis: A Peek into the depths of the Unconscious 

5 Enjoyable Personality and Brain Short Quizzes for Everyone!

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Kammerhofer, S. (n.d.) A very very short guide to Lucid Dreaming. Retrieved September 23, 2014 from

LaBerge, S. (2004). Lucid Dreaming: A Concise Guide to Awakening in Your Dreams and in Your Life. Canada: Sounds True Inc.

LaBerge, S. & Levitan, L. (2007). Lucid Dreaming FAQ. Retrieved on September 19, 2014 from

LaBerge, S., & Rheingold, H. (1990). Exploring the World of Lucid Dreaming. New York: Ballantine. 

Snoozon. (n.d.). Ultimate freedom and play. Retrieved on September 19, 2014 from

Spoormaker, V., van den Bout, J & Meijer, E. (2003). Lucid Dreaming Treatment for Nightmares: A Series of Cases. Dreaming, 13, 3

Zadra, A.L., Donderi, D.C., & Pihl, R.O. (1992). Efficacy of lucid dream induction for lucid and non-lucid dreamers. Dreaming, 2, 85–97.

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