Sleep and dreams are integral parts of our life; both are essential for our wellbeing. If sleep provides rest to body as well as mind, dreams provide emotional release. Suppressing sleep or dreams is like suppressing hunger and thirst both essential indicators of body’s basic needs. Good or bad, dreams play an important role in life.
Lucid dreaming takes us to another level of sensitivity where we are consciously aware that we are dreaming in sleep. Normally we don’t have wakeful awareness when we are dreaming and are just powerless actor of the dream script. The presence of “awareness” makes dreams lucid and special because the “wakeful” consciousness offers us some power to redefine our role in the dream movie – that is very therapeutic and cathartic as well.
Dreams A Reality of Life:
“Dreams are more real than reality itself, they’re closer to the self” (Gao Xingjian)
Sometimes we wish for something to happen and it materializes in dream. We wake up to find that nothing has changed and we wish the dream to have lasted longer! This is the unreal reality of dreams. Pleasant dreams are fine but no one likes painful dreams; that’s why the popular phrase “avoid this like a bad dreams”. And when it comes to nightmares we almost give up and wake up totally terrified – so terrified that we escape by waking up! The so called strong and otherwise brave people also want to run away from nightmares – that is the strength of something that only exists in sleep!
What makes bad dream problematic is that we have to deal with it ourselves alone; we can’t call a friend for support or dial 911 when a monster is chasing us! Anyone can put on a brave façade when there is support around but only rare people can fight their own battle. But there is a way to get stronger and face even the most horrifying nightmare by developing right understanding about dreams and acting differently in the dream movie.
If we realize that dreams are both a barometer of our emotional health and a natural process of emotional release giving us opportunities for self-healing, the task becomes easier. They are truthful indicator of our current behavior pattern and emotional framework, some of which might require correction. Sometimes the pattern gets resolved when the dream percolates into the waking state and we knowingly or unknowingly adjust our response.
We can take Charge of Our Dreams:
If we somehow learn to maintain conscious awareness while dreaming, there is possibility that we can alter our response as a dream character. If we can shape our response we are no longer a helpless puppet or a mere “victim”. Lucid dreams provide this possibility when we know that we are dreaming while in dream. The whole idea is to develop “wakeful” kind of awareness in the dream phase of sleep. Fortunately, there are many ways to learn to get dream conscious and train to dream lucidly, here I suggest two simple ways based on mindfulness training and brainwave entrainment. Trying both simultaneously can only speed up the process.
The practice of mindfulness is a simple yet highly effective way of living borrowed from the East. It involves training to always live in the present moment with a nonjudgmental attitude. We are usually always lost in thoughts, most of which are unnecessary distraction from what we should be doing, and are ever ready to give emotional color to every observation. Mindfulness makes us objective and helps us act rather than react habitually. This helps us maintain the flow of consciousness with intentional awareness of everything happening in or around us. With systematic training we learn to remain ever alert and attentive; it even percolates into the sleep phase.
Brainwave Entrainment Audios for Lucid Dreaming:
Let us get some basic information on brainwave patterns associated with different mental states in order to understand how one can possibly use brainwave entrainment for lucid dreaming.
The brain controls all mental and emotional states, whether we are dreaming, sleeping, thinking, tense, or relaxed. And the brain, in turn, can be dictated by generating different brainwaves frequencies through music of the brainwave entrainment audios, depending upon which mental states we want to create. The brainwaves connected to dreams lie in the theta region, 4 – 7 Hz and the delta waves (1 – 4 Hz) prevail when you are fast asleep. When we are wakeful and relaxed the brain is dominated by alpha waves (7-13 Hz). All these are different from the higher frequency beta waves when we are busy with daily life activities.
The brainwave audios designed for lucid dreaming have frequency sequence to promote the dream state by entraining the brain in the theta waves. How then one creates wakeful awareness? The trick lies in adding some alpha wave frequencies for brief intervals of time and then quickly falling back to theta frequencies of dreaming. Good quality brainwave audios are carefully designed so that the wakeful state of mental alertness and the state of dreaming can coexist. In simple language, we are dreaming and are aware at the same time this is what lucid dreaming is all about.
Like any other skill, learning lucid dreaming is also a skill that needs systematic approach and persistent efforts. However, the time spent will be worth it once we realize how we can use this skill for a more fulfilling and happier emotional life.
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