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Lucid Dreams

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Dreams are for some an amusing footnote to our nightly sleep cycle, but for others they are an intense experience worth studying. For most dreams are not caused by the the dreamer and they must live the experience without any control over the scenario or their relationship with the dream. But most people may be missing out on the most introspective and important part of their psychology life. Lucid dreaming is different: It is the awareness that one is dreaming while the dream is occurring, sometimes combined with the ability to control the dream. Lucid dreams are the virtual reality of all dreams, a landscape where the strange is real and the real is strange.

Lucid dreaming has been recognized since ancient times. There are different levels of lucidity, from a simple awareness of being in a dream to completely controlling the events and outcome of a dream. Some people have a lucid dream every now and then, and others have lucid dreams almost nightly.

In ancient times lucid dreams were valued because they could be used in magic, or as direct ways to reach the gods. Healing dreams incubated at the great dream temples were often lucid. In modern times lucid dreams are believed to be an advanced dreaming skill that people can learn for the purposes of creativity and healing.

Lucid dreams overlap with astral travel dreams and also psychic dreams. A lucid dream may feel like an out-of-body trip or may look into the future. People usually enjoy lucid dreaming because they experience a sense of great freedom and power.

HISTORY

The term “lucid dream” did not come into being until the turn of the twentieth century. The term was created by Frederik Willem van Eeden, a Dutch psychiatrist. Prior to that, lucid dreams were known by their unusual characteristics or were simply called dreams.

The earliest known written account of lucid dreaming in Western history is contained in a letter written in 415 by St. Augustine, a pagan who was converted to Christianity and became one of the most important fathers of the early Christian church. In the letter Augustine described the lucid dream of a physician, Gennadius, who lived in Carthage. Gennadius had two dreams in which a spirit guide in the guise of a young man took him to a beautiful city and lectured him about the truth of life after death.

Lucid dreams, as well as dreams in general, lost their importance in the development of Christianity. Instead, they found their place in occultism and alchemy. Lucid dreaming is important in Islamic mysticism and in the complex dream traditions of Buddhism and Hinduism. Tibetan Buddhism has a sophisticated dream yoga in which the yogi learns to have lucid dreams at will in order to understand the illusions of both waking and dreaming states.

When psychology and psychical research emerged in the late nineteenth century, dreams and lucid dreams became the subjects of study. The Marquis d’Hervey de Saint-Denys, a French professor of Chinese literature and language, documented more than two decades of experiments he conducted in learning how to control his dreams. Sigmund Freud acknowledged the existence of lucid dreams but had little to say about them. Carl G. Jung not only acknowledged lucid dreams, he had many of them himself. For Jung, dreams were an important tool for exploring the psyche.

The fields of parapsychology (the modern term for psychical research) and psychology brought renewed attention to all kinds of dreaming. Modern scientific interest in lucid dreams was stimulated in the late 1960s, especially by the publication of books such as Lucid Dreaming (1968) by Celia Green, an overview of the history of lucid dreams. For the most part the scientific establishment has been skeptical about lucid dreams, believing them to be either impossible or else part of occultism. Nonetheless, interest grew in scientific study and testing of lucid dreams.

The state of lucid dreaming was demonstrated in the laboratory in 1970s in independent studies conducted on both sides of the Atlantic. Lucid dreamers were able to give signals with special eye movements during REM stages of sleep, thus demonstrating that they were asleep and aware at the same time.

Lucid dream research is conducted internationally. Stephen LaBerge is one of the leading researchers in the field and is founder of The Lucidity Institute in Palo Alto, California. As a result of studies done by LaBerge and others in the 1970s, many scientists changed their minds about the possibility of lucid dreaming.

Researchers found that lucid dreamers repeatedly could communicate with the outside world by moving their eyes in certain ways while they were in lucid dream states. In all cases the dreamers were in REM stages of sleep when these signals were given. Thus, it was possible for scientists to chart the physiological changes associated with dreaming.

LaBerge’s subjects were measured to show correlations between actions in their lucid dreams and physiological changes in their bodies and in brain wave activity. Dreamers were given tasks to perform, which were then measured during their dreaming sleep. According to LaBerge, lucid dreaming thus opened the way for new approaches to mind–body relationships.

Lucid dream studies have demonstrated that some, but not all, individuals can learn how to cause themselves to dream lucidly or can increase their control over their lucid dreams. Research shows that women who meditate may be more likely to have lucid dreams than men who meditate and that people who are easily hypnotized are more likely to dream lucidly. People who have had near-death experiences (NDEs), which share many characteristics with lucid dreams, also have more lucid dreams than other people.

Slightly more than half of the adult population has at least one lucid dream during life, and about 21 percent have more than one lucid dream each month. LaBerge’s subjects report that with practice, they can increase the number of lucid dreams they experience on a regular basis. Those who experience lucid dreams believe that the skill of lucid dreaming can be applied to creativity, problem solving, relationships, health, and getting rid of nightmares.

There may be other, more mysterious sides to lucid dreams as well. Physicist Fred Alan Wolf has suggested that lucid dreams—and maybe dreams in general—are visits to parallel universes: small holograms within a larger cosmic hologram. Wolf calls the ability to lucid dream “parallel universe awareness.”

Some lucid dreams seem like mystical experiences, involving a sense of connection, or oneness with, the divine. These lucid dreams often feature spiritual figures such as angels, saints, guides, and divine beings. Some modern researchers believe these dreams are signs of the spiritual evolution of humanity. Perhaps their purpose is to gently introduce people to realms in other dimensions.

CHARACTERISTICS OF LUCID DREAMS

How does one know he or she is dreaming while experiencing a dream? The answers are not always obvious. Lucid dreamers experience certain conditions that clue them in to real-time dream awareness. Here are 10 of them.

1 Knowing a dream is progress. The dreamer realizes that he or she is in a dream while it is happening. The realization may come in a false awakening. The dreamer thinks he or she wakes up, while in fact he or she is still dreaming.

2 The ability to change the course of a dream. Lucidity enables dreamers to control their dreams in different ways. Sometimes dreamers can decide exactly what is going to happen, such as the actions of themselves and other characters in a dream. They can also rewrite people vary in their ability to have lucid dreams. Some people have lucid dreams almost every night, while others have them infrequently. Researchers have learned how to teach people to in-crease the number and frequency of their lucid dreams, usually by fol-lowing the trial-and-error mental experiments recorded by dreamers throughout history.

For about the past 50 years, people have also experimented with technological devices that supposedly provide that extra helping hand better than any visualization or thought process. Some of the devices for aiding lucid dreaming are:

Masks and goggles. These devices are designed to alert a sleep-ing person when he or she starts to dream, usually by detecting the fluttering of their eyelids during rapid eye movement (REM) sleep. When those stages occur, the masks either flash soft lights or make sounds through tiny speakers. The cues are not supposed to wake the person completely, but alert them to a dreaming state. The idea is that the dreamer can deliberately gain lucidity or awareness in the dream.

Headphones. These pump in brain wave entrainment signals, such as pulses of sound that are designed to alter states of consciousness. The sounds help a dreamer stay in a prolonged state of borderland sleep. Through this method it is hoped that lucid dreams will be more likely to occur.

Hypnosis. Tape or CD recordings of hypnotic suggestions are played while falling asleep. The suggestions instruct the dreamer to become lucid while dreaming and to remember the dreams upon awakening.

Do dream tech devices work? Results are as varied as the natural abilities of dreamers. Some dreamers say their success rates dramatically increase, while others say the devices do not work well, or not at all, for them. Bottom line: An individual simply doesn’t know until he or she tries them. Not all lucid dreamers have total control. Sometimes it is possible to alter only a small part of a dream.

3 The ability to feel physical sensation. Touching objects in a lucid dream feels as real as it does in waking life.

4 Unusual abilities and actions. Lucid dreamers often feel weightless. They fly, float, and levitate.

5 A strange “atmosphere.” Lucid dreams have a different “feel” to them. For example, the atmosphere may feel heavy, like being underwater, or else have an electrical quality, like the supercharged air just before a thunderstorm.

6 Brilliant light. Lucid dreams may be flooded with intense white light, sometimes enough to make dreamers squint or shield their eyes.

7 Vivid colors. Colors in lucid dreams are exaggerated. They are exceptionally bright, sometimes fluorescent. Some lucid dreamers say the colors are “not of this world.”

8 Intense emotions. Like colors, emotions are exaggerated and heightened. Lucid dreamers report feelings of euphoria and excitement.

9 Mental sharpness. Lucid dreamers feel they have increased brain-power and are able to understand complex things and find solutions to problems.

10 Out-of-body sensations. Strange sounds in the ears, such as ringing, roaring, and buzzing, as well as electrical sensations in the body, are sometimes experienced at the start of lucid dreaming. People who have out-of-body experiences report the same sensations.

While these characteristics appear in many lucid dreams, they do not guarantee a lucid dream. All lucid dreamers must learn over time what signals a lucid dream to them.

HOW TO HAVE A LUCID DREAM

Lucid dreamers experiment to find the best ways to encourage lucid dreaming. Many find that meditation before going to sleep is one of the best techniques. They quiet their minds and concentrate on an intention to have and remember a lucid dream: “I will have a lucid dream tonight and I will remember it when I wake up.” It is necessary to relax one’s body as much as possible and focus on calm breathing. Let go of thoughts about the day.
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Another technique is to decide on a symbol that will help awaken one to lucidity whenever it appears in a dream. For example, one might say, “Whenever I see a dove, then I know I am dreaming.” The symbol should be something that will stand out and be noticed.

Some people discover that sleeping in certain positions is helpful; these vary according to individuals. Sleeping on one’s back or on either side is more successful for most than sleeping on the stomach.

Some lucid dreamers experiment with techniques for WILDs, or Wake-Initiated Lucid Dreaming. Some prefer to sleep first, then wake up and focus on having a lucid dream through self-suggestion. Others have more success during the day at times when they feel like taking naps.

WAYS TO STAY LUCID

One of the most difficult aspects of lucid dreaming is staying in the dream. For many dreamers, as soon as they realize they are lucid, the dream ends. Researchers have learned a few methods of retaining lucidity that work for many people.

1 Focus on something solid. Focus on an object, the ground, or the body. Touch something solid. Hold your hands up in front of you.

2 Spin around. This is a favorite technique of LaBerge. As he or she spins, the dreamer should say, “The next object I encounter will be in the dream,” and then stop spinning.

3 Stay calm. It’s exciting to be in a lucid dream, but the heightened emotion may actually be a dream killer. One way to stay calm is to repeat, “This is a dream” or “I am dreaming.”

WHAT TO DO IN A LUCID DREAM

The first thing to do in a lucid dream is direct the action, which will be determined by the dream itself. It is fun to experiment by trying to levitate or fly. With practice, lucid dreamers attempt more complicated tasks. They may ask for a creative idea or a solution to a problem. They may visit specific places and people on earth or travel around in other dimensions. They may seek to be healed of fears, phobias, injuries, and illnesses.

Researchers and lucid dreamers agree that it is important to act responsibly and not do anything in the dream world that would not be proper in the waking world.

Lucid dreaming is one of the most exciting frontiers in dream re-search. By studying lucid dreams, people may learn more about the reasons for dreams and how dreams work.

Steve Hawk

Source: http://tipsdiscover.com/the-virtual-reality-of-lucid-dreaming/

The Creative Dreams

The dreaming mind has creative capacities beyond what the waking mind can fully come to terms with. Like full-blown hallucinations, in dreams a deep part of our own mechanics can put together places, people, and situations. And the dream-generator does this in real-time. The construction of entire worlds, at least, the appearance of a world from the vantage of a viewer – you (usually). It is thoughtlessly repeated all-over that waking imagination is like dreams. But it’s not. When we close our eyes while awake and attempt to envision something, this is a very pale comparison to the hyper-realistic perceptions and complete emersion of the dream-state. What predominates in dreams are the ancient concerns of our lineage. Survival. For early humans, running from other human men and beastly animals was an important scenario to rehearse. In dreams we did this rehearsing. We dreamed of falling, and connected a terror to it – preparing us to perceive an imminent threat of falling and avoiding it while awake. We dreamed of the territorial imperative, the all-pervasive understanding all animals have that there exists property lines, and we would dream of being on the wrong side of these lines or “the other” infiltrating onto our side. Our forefathers dreamed of dangers to their resources and to their social standing. Mother’s-to-be had similar dreams, and dreams of pregnancy complications. And today, we still have the same dream architecture, and basically the same dreams.

Eureka Moments

Along with being chased and having a difficulty in getting away, teeth falling out, monsters in the night, we also dream of issues in the modern world – computers and phones not working properly, being late for a meeting, cannot complete a paper for school. And yet, amidst all of this seemingly “negative” content and thematic structure, dreams have given humanity many of our Aha! moments – the crucial breakthroughs that made it possible to invent and bring into the world that which was needed but not already present. It is likely that in the majority of trials and simulations run by the dream-machine, the average person will not perceive the missing ingredients that will lead to enormous scientific discoveries. As creative as dreams are, they require your day-time devotion to a craft or endeavor in order to weave together during sleep something of lasting use to the world.

Accessing Genius

In REM-Sleep, the dreaming mind has the capacity to make connections, like metaphors on steroids, that the waking mind would rarely conjure. But to make these connections the raw materials must be present. While awake, the work and effort must be put in, the devotion to doing all we can to figure-out how to reach a goal. It can take years of hard work before a breakthrough is reached. In the examples of dream inventions and discoveries below, the people behind the dreams had already put their 10,000-hours in. They had already been at their grind, practicing, tinkering, re-evaluating. It takes an expert to not only accumulate those raw materials which the dream-generator would need for its combinatory magic, but to also recognize a gem of an idea when the dream projects one. But if you put the requisite time in during the day, dreams can provide the glue that bridges problem with solution, and this is true for many fields of endeavor – music, literature, cinema, science, and technology/invention.

Music in Dreams

Music in dreams has always been especially powerful to me. I have had soundtracks playing during lucid dreams, mood-setting melodies accompanying my flying or other adventuring. I have created all-new rhymes or witnessed my favorite rappers freestyle. Sometimes during the dream it seems as if these are songs I already heard, but upon further inspection after awakening it is apparent that this was all new material. I wouldn’t be surprised of a good deal of music, at least in part, was first heard in dreams. Keith Richards dreamed the guitar riff for “(I Can’t Get No) Satisfaction.” Paul McCartney dreamed the tune for “Yesterday”, and when he woke it took a while to realize that this wasn’t a song in his memory that he just couldn’t place but was an entirely new song. In fact, “Yesterday” is so perfectly catchy and resonates on such a deep level that it is the most covered (copied) song in modern history, maybe ever.

Fantastic Stories

In the world of literature dreams have proved very fertile ground for plots and details. Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein was taken from dream, starting with “It was a dreary night in November…”  Stephen King takes information from dreams for parts of his novels; the plot for Misery was dreamed up. Robert Louis Stevenson claimed that dreaming was a regular source of material for his writing, and he would form entire stories with this medium. Dr. Jekyl and Mr. Hyde were dreamed up after two days of Stevenson racking his brains for a plot. More recently, parts of Stephenie Meyer’s Twilight series were drawn from her dreams, including the sparkling-in-the-sun vampire skin.

Hollywood Dreams

And how much of Hollywood’s silver-screen entertainment has come from visions in sleep? James Cameron dreamed-up “The Terminator” while sleeping with a fever – the steel juggernaught emerging from fire “dragging itself across the floor with kitchen knives.” Before dreaming this seedling-scene, Cameron was broke and living in hotels. After…well, you know.

Discoveries from Dreams

The realms of science have been profoundly touched by dreams. Some of the most famous dream discoveries came about after gargantuan brain-storming in the day couldn’t satisfy solutions. Otto Loewi had a dream which ultimately resulted in our understanding of the chemical transmission of nerve impulses. When he awoke, Loewi new how to begin triggering chemical release in frogs and transferring the liquid products between frogs, commencing a series of experiments that would alter a fundamental understanding of how the nervous system operates (although the full series of experiments afterward took many years to convince all skeptics). Loewi won the Nobel Prize for Medicine in 1936 as his reward for recognizing his dreams and acting on them. The scientist Kekule realized the ring structure for the benzene molecule when he saw snakes biting their own tails in a dream, ushering in the foundation for much of modern chemistry. Dmitri Mendeleyev created the periodic table in its entirety after falling asleep to chamber music and dreaming about how chemicals are related to one another as are the components of music. With some dream inspiration, Frederick Banting isolated insulin. Albert Einstein better conceptualized his Theory of Relativity based on a dream about sledding.

Technological inventions have on occasion received their breakthrough in design from dreams. A famous dream invention includes Elias Howe’s sewing machine; in a dream Howe was taken captive, and as the natives danced around him with spears in hand, he noticed the spearheads had holes near their ends – that’s it! The sewing needle should be threaded from near the tip. Larry Page “spent the night scribbling out the details” after dreaming up the idea of indexing the entire internet, and the idea for Google was born. Floyd Ragsdale had a dream about putting springs in tubes, which when applied improved the manufacturing of Kevlar fiber (the bulletproof material).

It could be assumed that most seminal religious inspiration was the product of dreams and/or dream-like hallucinations. Many wars and battles were first seen in a dream had by a general, and then executed deeming the visions as divine province. Today, we invent new varieties of aliens and abduction experiences in disturbing dreams.

Dreams are also inventive when it comes to producing beautiful scenery and even comedy. Especially in lucid dreams, I have been raptured and wrapped up in awe at the majesty of the sky – clouds catching and refracting sunglow brilliance or moonbeam shimmer. I’ve also seen ground-level vistas of noble nature at her best and grand cities representing no architect or builder other than my own imagination. When it comes to jokes, I have to hand it to the comedian that is the sandman – whether rapid-fire and brief or taking the more pronounced trajectory of a longer setup and unexpected (but perfectly timed) delivery, humor has a home in dreams. And don’t think that a little comedy takes away from the threatening nature which I claim predominates in dreams – what we find as “funny” is very often the release valve attached to our fears; we laugh to temper the harshness of a situation or description.

As a creative and inventive species, humans should neither refute the fact that dreaming is filled with threats, nor believe that these disturbing hallucinatory worlds offer us nothing for our modern existence (which has done a good job of mitigating the threats most haunting our ancestors). Stories – in cinema, in books, as musical progressions – are well-suited to the macabre and frightful titillation of dream inspiration. Even embedded in a capture and threat dream as was Elias Howe, clues to a cultural breakthrough may be apparent. First, we must try and try again to achieve our creative aspirations while awake, and then, every now and again, the prepared eye or ear will capture a glimpse of that next-level invention in a dream.
SOURCE http://www.theluciddreamsite.com

Edgar Cayce and Astral Projection

Today scientist and the medical world have verified the reading of one of America’s most remarkable men, Edgar Cayce. Cayce discovered at a young age that he could go into hypnosis and travel to other dimensions to obtain psychic information on any subject. He claimed that anyone could do what he did with the proper training and attunement.

When Cayce would go into a hypnotic trance, he would go through a process practically identical to what has been described by Astral Projection practitioners. Here’s a verbatim account of Cayce’s waking description of his journey in the trance state, taken from comments he made at a public lecture:

“I see myself as a tiny dot out of my physical body, which lies inert before me. I find myself oppressed by darkness and there is a feeling of terrific loneliness. Suddenly, I am conscious of a white beam of light, knowing that I must follow it or be lost.

“As I move along this path of light I gradually become conscious of various levels upon which there is movement. Upon the first levels there are vague, horrible shapes, grotesque forms such as one sees in nightmares. Passing on, there begins to appear on either side misshapen forms of human beings with some part of the body magnified. Again there is change and I become conscious of gray-hooded forms moving downward. Gradually, these become lighter in color.

Then the direction changes and these forms move upward and the color of the robes grows rapidly lighter. Next, there begins to appear on either side vague outlines of houses, walls, trees, etc., but everything is motionless. As I pass on, there is more light and movement in what appear to be normal cities and towns. With the growth of movement I become conscious of sounds, at first indistinct rumblings, then music, laughter, and singing of birds. There is more and more light, the colors become very beautiful, and there is the sound of wonderful music. The houses are left behind; ahead there is only a blending of sound and color. Quite suddenly I come upon a hall of records. It is a hall without walls, without ceiling, but I am conscious of seeing an old man who hands me a large book, a record of the individual for whom I seek information.”

On other occasions, Cayce “felt himself to be a bubble traveling through water to arrive at the place where he always got the information” according to records in the A.R.E. library. In another instance, he “went up and up through a very large column”, passing by all the horrible things without coming in contact personally with them, and came out where there was the house of records. Cayce stated that as he ascended the column, there would be beings on either side of him calling out to him for help or trying to get his attention. Cayce knew that any deviation from the column and the beam of light would mean he would not be able to return to his body. It, the column, wound around on a wheel like the Rotarians have. Ultimately, Cayce felt very secure traveling that way.

Edgar Cayce was talking about passing through the lower astral planes. This can be done by anyone, according to Cayce, if the proper “attunement” is made. Cayce also mentions that this is done by everyone when they fall asleep and enter the realm of dreams, only it is done subconsciously not consciously. It is a place where a particular desire has been overemphasized while in physical life. Because Edgar Cayce had approximately 14,000 of these experiences, it is very likely that Cayce holds the record for the number of near-death experiences in one lifetime.

THE EDGAR CAYCE PRIMER

One of the best practical guides to Edgar Cayce was Herbert B. Puryear Primer where it discusses: The sources of psychic development, reincarnation, Karma and grace, dreams, meditation, prayer, personal health (including diet and exercises, ) holistic healing, sexuality, spirituality, rejuvenation, religion, spiritual psychology, and much more. Cayce offers us the keys to insight, enlightenment, and total fulfillment.

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