Will lucid dreaming make me crazy? I don’t want to think I’m dreaming and run into real life traffic.
I don’t want you to do that either. Generally, don’t worry about it. Our common delusion is habitually mistaking our dreams for real life, not the other way around. Greater awareness in your dreams will improve your ability to identify the contrasts between your dreams and your waking life.
Talk to a qualified mental health professional before attempting lucid dream related mental exercises if you have pre-existing mental health issues. Here is a sobering example of someone with a mental illness that does not appear to have been helped by his interest in lucid dreaming.
Lucid dreams tend to be very positive experiences, but you may occasionally encounter some repressed or unpleasant material. Long-term, it is usually healthy to come face-to-face with this stuff so it can be integrated. Some purposely incubate dreams with this material for self-knowledge and personal growth, but it can be destabilizing when it pops up unexpectedly.
So what’s the point? Seems like a lot of work.
At first, the effort required was a turn-off for me as well, but I have come to appreciate that things that take a lot of work are actually great. The more of them you do, the easier it gets to apply effort in every area of your life.
A rich, active dream life has tremendous mental and emotional benefits. Although he is not talking specifically about lucid dreams, Dr. Rubin Naiman wrote a fantastic article about depression and insomnia that addresses this.
In my experience, all the benefits of dreaming the good doctor touches on in that article are magnified when some of those dreams are lucid.
What do you do?
I have an Honours BA in English from the University of Toronto and I work in communications for an insurance company.
I also DJ underground house and techno.
Lucid dream-wise: I help out with the editing of the quarterly Lucid Dreaming Experience magazine and did some editing work for Snoozon in exchange for access to their course. Keep this in mind if I write about these sites or the other works of Robert Waggoner (from the Lucid Dreaming Experience). I have never received any financial compensation for my work and I feel comfortable writing honestly about them, but I do have a preexisting relationship with the people that run these sites and l admire them quite a bit.
Are you a believer?
I’m a regular practitioner of Mindfulness Meditation and Dream Yoga techniques I learned through books and audio programs by Vajrayana Buddhist practitioners, particularly Andrew Holecek. A year of these practices has improved my life significantly, and I have tremendous respect and admiration for the tradition. However, I am not a member of any religious community, Buddhist or otherwise, or even a meditation centre for that matter.
Are you a believer in psi?
This comes up a surprising amount when talking about dreams. My honest answer is ¯\(°_o)/¯?
I have had some anomalous experiences and dreams that, in hindsight, seem to have portended things. This “things” in question ranged from somewhat significant (a friendship taking a brief romantic turn), to mere interesting occurrences (“holy shit, I had a dream about a plant that looked just like that one a month ago, I can’t believe it actually exists!”).
While these were cool experiences and I hope they continue, I cannot, in good faith, point to anything I have experienced as proof in the objective reality of telepathy, precognitive dreams, remote viewing, or anything like that.
Do you have to be a believer to lucid dream?
I don’t think so. Lucid dreaming can be a very spiritual experience insofar as it poses interesting questions about identity and the nature of experience, but I don’t think it requires any pre-existing beliefs other than, “I can do this if I work at it and have a sense of humour about myself.”
If you lean towards atheism, agnosticism, or skepticism in regards to religion or the paranormal, you may prefer the work of Daniel Love to something like Tibetan Dream Yoga material. Actually, his work is fantastic no matter how you lean.
Why should I listen to anything you say on the subject?
You will have to answer that yourself. I’m not a scientist or a psychologist, and anyone on the internet can claim to have had a ton of lucid dreams. Ideally, something here either resonates with your experiences or sounds enticing enough to try.
What’s the difference between a lucid dream and an out of body experience (OBE)?
I don’t know. I’ve never had an experience I would classify as an OBE, so I am reluctant to weigh in. It is one of the few topics in the lucid dreaming community where there is no broad consensus. Are OBEs just a type of lucid dream? Do you actually leave your body? People have strong and dissenting opinions on these questions.
Is Lucid Dreaming a form of Astral Projection?
I don’t think so. I was once on the receiving end of a series of frustrating lectures about the need to protect myself from hostile entities from the astral plane while lucid dreaming. While I acknowledge my ignorance about 99.9% of the nature of reality, I find the idea of dreams as projections of our own minds much more convincing. Also, if we understand dreams to be expressions of our own minds, we tend to take a much more open and productive stance towards anything “hostile” we encounter in them, working to integrate these repressed aspects of ourselves.