Lucid dreaming is the art of awakening within the dreamworld, realizing that you're dreaming and then controlling the dream. Anyone can learn to lucid dream and it's mostly safe.
Lucid dreaming offers an array of benefits – both in the dreamworld and while awake. Some of these benefits are surprising and non-intuitive (like the enhanced ability to learn new skills) while others are obvious (like the joy of flying, and wish fulfillment). No matter if you're a beginner or advanced lucid dream practitioner, there is a lot to gain by learning to work with our dreamworld.
These are our favorite lucid dreaming benefits:
Humans sleep for more than 30% of their lives. In total, the average human is in the dream state for about 6% of their lives, or about 5 years. If we're not aware of these experiences, we're missing out, literally shortening our effective lifespan.
One of the easiest ways to live more fully – with greater awareness and presence – is to begin to lucid dream by keeping a dream journal. Simply the act of remembering dreams and writing them down expands our array of experiences. This increases the amount of fun, lessons, and self-growth available to us in our lives.
It's not everyday that we find a simple, behavioral intervention that adds 5 years to our lives. Lucid dreaming does exactly this.
Lucid dreaming is often used to overcome fear, nightmares, and anxiety. When aware of the nature of the dream, fear more easily shifts into curiosity and a willingness to confront the dreamworld. Lucid dreamers report the source of their fears dissolving and fading into something more benign – such as a monster becoming a friend, or a dangerous height turning into something safe and manageable, or a stressful event going well. Advanced lucid dreamers can practice fear-inducing events (such as public speaking) with a feeling of calm and confidence.
In waking life, lucid dreaming changes the way fear is perceived. Since lucid dreamers are used to things changing and fears dissolving, real life anxieties have less of a grip and compulsive responses are reduced. This associated open-mindedness makes threats in waking life more manageable.
Since the dreamworld is a safe space, dreamers have ample opportunity to experiment and overcome challenges.
Some of the first actions many lucid dreamers perform with their new skill is wish fulfillment. Flying, surfing, going somewhere, meeting someone – these experiences are easy to manifest for the skilled lucid dreamer. All that's required is becoming lucid, staying lucid, and then willfully expecting the wish to be fulfilled.
Expectation kicks off a chain reaction in the mind, resulting in whatever is expected to manifest. This happens whether or not dreamers control their imagination. What makes lucid dreaming special is how it allows dreamers to take control of this natural fulfillment-of-expectation process.
Having fun in the dreamworld can be more than just pure indulgence. Performing any targeted dream action has the benefit of opening the mind and cutting through self-imposed limitations.
The human brain is most plastic – that is, most apt to change – when in a playful mood. One of the easiest ways to get better at something is to have fun while doing it. Lucid dreaming is a highly playful way of interacting with the mind and the substance of the dreamworld, and this quality of playfulness carries into the waking state.
More broadly, lucid dreaming induces a feeling of open-mindedness and flexibility that makes accessing new knowledge and new skills considerably easier. The habit of questioning reality with state tests and reality checks is one of the keys that unlocks the open, flexible mind that becomes so valuable when learning new skills and trying new approaches to the challenges we face.
Learning to lucid dream makes learning anything considerably easier – an incredible upgrade to our minds.
In the dreamworld, anything is possible. Rock climbers can train for difficult climbs and discover new movements, surfers can rehearse turns on waves, and gymnasts can practice a routine completely safely. Even software engineers have encountered architectural solutions to real life computing problems.
Dream events have a real life physiological effect. Performing an event in the dreamworld not only builds confidence and allows for a safe space to explore difficult methods, it also rewires the nervous system for enhanced performance in the waking state.
Everything that takes place within a dream is an expression of the mind. Even before gaining skills as a lucid dreamer, simply being aware of dreams enhances self-understanding and provides clarity in how different thoughts and feelings interact within the space of the mind. For this reason, starting on the path of lucidity by recording dreams in a dream journal is already an incredible step for leveling up and upgrading the mind.
As lucid dreamers gain experience in the dreamworld they gain insights into reality. Lucid dreamers see both the dreamworld and the waking reality with flexibility and openness, aware that anything is possible. The consistent practice of state tests and reality checks instills an understanding that reality is rarely as it first appears, an insight that pulls lucid dream practitioners deeper into their lives.
The practice of lucid dreaming ultimately becomes a practice of curiosity. Lucid dreamers consistently ask themselves: What is the fabric of reality? What is the fabric of the mind? Why do these thoughts and feelings arise? How can I better work with these experiences/places/beliefs?
Lucid dreaming expands our effective lifespan through dream awareness. It helps us overcome fear, learn new skills, and train for high-performance activities. Lucid dreamers have ample access to fun and play within the dreamworld, and this translates to feelings of openness and possibility in the waking state.
Best of all, these benefits are accessible early in the journey of learning to lucid dream. You don't have to be an expert to tap into the power of the mind. Even the first step of learning the art of lucid dreaming yields immense benefit – both while asleep and while awake.