Comments on How Lucid Dreaming Progresses
Throughout this site, we will return again and again to the myriad of reasons why lucid dreaming and the other nocturnal practices are worthwhile. We will cover the physical, spiritual and other benefits of lucid dreaming. As science continues to produce studies on lucid dreaming, more and more benefits are coming to light.
I believe that lucid dreaming represents the pedagogy of the future. It’s a type of higher education, an evolved form of “night school.” When its potential is fully realized, lucid dreaming can revolutionize the way you relate to sleep and dream, and more importantly, your daily life. Below are just a few initial reasons for why someone might pursue lucid dreaming.
Take Advantage of the Third of Our Lives that We Spend Sleeping
Lucid dreaming allows us to take advantage of a big part of our lives that is otherwise wasted.
- We spend about a third of our lives sleeping, and about one month each year dreaming.
- If you live to be 90, you’ve spent about seven and a half years in the dream state, and entered the dream world up to half a million times.
- Think about how much you could learn if you had an extra 720 hours a year, or even just a few years of those seven and a half years.
Lucid Dreaming Helps You Accommodate Experience
In addition to “adding years to your life,” lucid dreaming develops a flexibility of mind, which can help us accommodate experience, especially when things get difficult. As the popular saying goes, “Blessed are the flexible, for they are never bent out of shape.” Lucid dreamers develop a fluidity of mind, and a healthy ability to “go with the flow,” to adapt and relate in a more receptive way to life circumstance.
As directed by the inscription at the Temple of Apollo at Delphi, lucid dreams provide us a unique opportunity to become more transparent to ourselves. With the deeper levels of lucid dreaming, which are designed to keep your inner eyes open for extended periods of time, you start to see things about yourself that were previously hidden in the darkness of your unconscious mind. By being brought into the light of consciousness, you have the precious opportunity to relate to them in a fresh way and be free of them.
Opportunity for Expanded Awareness in the “Dark”
Here’s an analogy that I have found helpful. In daylight, the pupils of our eyes contract and shrink down to a virtual point. In a similar way, our sense of identity during the day shrinks down to the “point” of a very contracted sense of self. When our eyes accommodate to the dark, the pupils relax and dilate. To see in the dark we have to open our eyes – literally and metaphorically. In lucid dreaming, this relaxation and opening is symbolic of the enlargement that is required to see our deeper Self. A “dilation” or expansion of consciousness that allows us to see further into the deepest recesses of who we truly are.
Taking It Deeper
In practices like dream yoga and sleep yoga, that build upon lucid dreaming, you can come to discover who you truly are in the deepest spiritual sense. The deeper aspects of lucid dreaming can take you to these gateways to your truest Self.
Lucid dreaming can eventually show you that everything you’ve been looking for is actually within you. Lucid dreaming has the potential to bestow an unconditional happiness that comes about from realizing you already have everything you could want. This is one way to talk about enlightenment. So at the deepest levels, lucid dreaming can become a complete path to spiritual awakening. In the Tibetan tradition, the great master Tusum Khyenpa, also known as the first Karmapa, attained his spiritual enlightenment through lucid dreaming and dream yoga.
Some Reflections on the Power of Lucid Dreams
“Powerful lucid dreams stay with us for the lifespan, and may even permanently transform the personality structure.” – Ryan Hurd, dream researcher and author
“That night—the results were immediate and life changing . . . How could it be so easy to have such a powerful experience? . . . most people who lucidly dream have the potential in short order to have experiences of their innermost selves that are consistently meaningful, inspiring, pragmatically useful, and potentially life-altering.” – Ted Esser, professor of consciousness studies
“By deliberately changing elements in your dream life, you can learn to confront many of your problems at their origin—in your own mind, rather than years later in the therapist’s office” Patricia Garfield dream researcher and author
“From a scientific perspective, lucid dreaming offers a kind of distilled consciousness, a way to examine consciousness in a preparation unmixed with current sensory input” -Philosopher Evan Thompson
“[Transformation] which can take years in waking physical reality, can be greatly accelerated as the psyche understands this process inwardly within a single dream” – Mary Ziemer, Manager of the Dream Research Institute in London
“When we make good use of the dream state, it is almost as if our lives were doubled: instead of 100 years, we live 200.” – Tarthang Tulku Rinpoche