Awake inside your dream: lucid dreaming

Imagine, you’re asleep and suddenly in the middle of a dream you become aware of the fact that you are dreaming.
Maybe you’ll try to guide your dream, maybe you’ll try to fly, or to change the world around you, but it’s more likely you’ll just wake up. Dreams in which you become aware that you’re dreaming are called ‘lucid dreams’. Lucid dreams are dreams in which you can create your own world, which can have a significant impact on how you live your life.
Lucid dreaming is a wonderful experience, according to Jan Benckhuijsen, an Amsterdam-based psychiatrist and coach. He had never had a lucid dream until he attended a workshop in London last year, presented by dream experts Charlie Morley and Sergio Magaña. Right after that he experienced a lucid dream in which he could fly. He decided to learn more about the phenomenon.
You can learn how to evoke lucid dreaming. Lucid dreams can help you change fears into strengths, and show you how better to deal with big changes in your life. You also learn to trust in your inner strength, says Benckhuijsen. The psychologist Carl Jung wrote about Shadow Integration, an active and conscious seeking out of our shadow side; those parts of us that we push away or deny. With lucid dreaming you can try to integrate those shadow sides of yourself. Jung speaks of self-actualization or individuation.
Stephen LaBerge, the psychologist who first, with the help of brainwave monitoring, was able to prove the existence of lucid dreaming, was himself an experienced lucid dreamer. He had a recurring nightmare in which he would encounter a terrifying monster. Thanks to his waking consciousness he was able to transform the monster into something harmless.
Steps to take to evoke lucid dreams:
First, according to Benckhuijsen, is to learn to remember your dreams. Everyone dreams, but you don’t remember it all. Upon waking, lie still for a moment longer and don’t think about all the things you’ll have to do that day. Ask yourself what you dreamed about and rewind that film. Write down what you remember or record it on your smartphone, thereby creating your own dream log. Don’t worry if you have strange or scary dreams. People who have nightmares are often able to learn lucid dreaming more easily, and nightmares offer good material to work with.
Step two is to increase your awareness during the day. Be mindful, notice out of the ordinary things and wonder about them thereby seeking out dream signals. During the day ask yourself: What is actually happening here? How did I get here so quickly? By doing this during the day you’ll start to notice in your dreams that you can quickly move from one place to another.
For more information take a look at this Tedx Talk presented by Charlie Morley
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