Lucid dreaming is a pretty cool skill to have. Not only does it allow you to live out your fantasies but many lucid dreamers will attest to the fact that the things you do in a lucid dream are not always restricted to the dream world. What does that mean … can lucid dreaming affect reality?
Lucid dreaming can affect reality in positive and negative ways. Lucid dreams can create false memories and make you tired during the day. They can also help you develop physical skills you can use in real life. They can also be used to deal with uncomfortable memories and phobias and for uncovering mental blocks. Some esoteric teachers claim that lucid dreaming can be used for manifesting real things.
- Does the lucid world affect the real world?
- 2 real world negative affects of lucid dreaming
- 2 real world positive affects of lucid dreaming
- Manifesting with lucid dreaming
Does the lucid world affect the real world?
Lucid dreaming can affect several aspects of the real world. It can create both beneficial and negative effects in your waking life.
Before I venture into the many real world benefits lucid dreaming offers the lucid dreamer, I will first cover the negative real world effects that lucid dreaming can have. Luckily, these negative effects are rare and are only experienced by a very small percentage of lucid dreamers.
Those lucid dreamers who are unfortunate enough to experience negative real world affects from lucid dreaming will only usually experience one of the following affects and not all of them.
There are also ways to counteract these negative affects which I will outline in each section.
2 real world negative affects of lucid dreaming
There are pros and cons to everything in life. Lucid dreaming is no different.
Although the positive affects of lucid dreaming well outweigh the negatives you should be aware that some negative affects do exist. However, as I outline all the possible negative side-effects of lucid dreaming below I will also give you ways to combat those side-effects if you find that you are one of the rare lucid dreamers who encounters them.
1. False memories and how to avoid them
One possible negative side-effect from lucid dreaming is a faulty memory caused by false memories.
This is by far the most serious of all negative side-effects when it comes to lucid dreaming.
If you have never experienced a lucid dream then you will be unaware of just how real they feel. If you are an experienced lucid dreamer, or have had at least one lucid dream in the past, then you will already be aware of just how real these dreams feel.
So, it stands to reason that if you perform some action, or have some experience, in a lucid dream then the memory of that event will have the same structure, and feel, as a memory of an event that occurred in the real world. To your brain both events are just as real as each other. It is you, as a conscious thinker, that must maintain the understanding of the difference between the two.
If you cannot differentiate between the memory of a lucid dream and the memory of a real world event, this can have some disruptive effects on your waking life.
Of course you will never have the same type of disorientation encountered by Leonardo DiCaprio’s screen wife in Inception, where she got confused between the lucid dream world and the real world. But your memories of real life and your lucid dreams may get mixed up and become confused.
Imagine performing some action in a lucid dream and then at a later stage when you recall it you are not sure if it was a dream or a real life event. Sometimes this happens with normal dreams but because lucid dreams feel so real the risk of this phenomenon occurring more often, with more important events, is increased.
Not only can you confuse memories of lucid dreams and real life events but real world memories and lucid dream memories can become mixed-up and intertwined with each other making your memories of certain events confabulated and confused.
Luckily, there is a pretty easy way to totally avoid false memories happening. Actually there are two ways and you probably already know how to use them!
How to avoid creating false memories
To avoid developing false memories, or having real world memories become mixed-up with lucid dreaming memories, you just need two things. You will most likely already have experience using these two things, if you had to develop your lucid dreaming skills yourself and are not a natural spontaneous lucid dreamer who lucid dreams every night.
The 2 things you need to prevent false memories from lucid dreams are:
- Reality checks.
- A dream journal.
Reality checks are not just useful for causing lucid dreams. By using reality checks within a lucid dream, even when you are already lucid, you help to train your brain to memorize the experience as a dream rather than a real life event.
How does this work?
Well, by pushing your fingers through your hand, or lifting off from the ground and hovering, or doing anything else that is impossible in the waking world (as you would do with a reality check) you will reinforce the fact that you are dreaming. This will help you remember the event as a lucid dream rather than a real world event because you can’t break the laws of physics in the real world.
If you find that you are confusing your lucid dream memories with real world memories then start to use reality checks much more often when lucid dreaming especially at the beginning and end of your dream. Do a reality check as soon as you become lucid. Then, when you feel the dream is beginning to fade perform another reality check and tell yourself you will remember this experience as the lucid dream that it is.
Putting a reality check at the beginning of the dream and at the end will help to force the brain to process the entire event as a dream and store it in memory as such.
Using a dream journal is not just good for learning how to lucid dream, it can also help you to prevent false memories.
By filling in your dream journal directly after waking from a lucid dream you will twin the memory of filling in the journal with the dream itself making it much more likely that you will remember it as a dream… “Oh yes that was a dream because I remember writing it down in my journal”.
You will also have a written account of the dream for future reference if you need to test that your memories are accurate and not from your lucid dreams. For this reason it is a good idea to give each journal entry a good descriptive title for later perusal.
2. Disrupted sleep and tiredness
Some lucid dreamers find that having a lucid dream disrupts their sleep. This has less to do with the actual dream and more to do with the wide awake state that follows it.
Everyone wakes after a dream, whether it is a lucid dream or normal dream. Most people simply do not remember waking up after a dream because they fall back to sleep again before becoming fully awake.
As we have several dreams during a prolonged sleep we will wake up several times during the night. This is not a problem if you fall back into the sleep state quickly but some lucid dreamers stay awake and this causes problems the next day. When you stay awake after each dream for a prolonged period it can feel like you have not had a proper night’s rest the next day.
Disrupted sleep leads to lethargy, mental slowness and physical tiredness. If it continues over a period of time it can lead to emotional distress, anxiety and make you short-tempered.
How to overcome disruptive sleep due to lucid dreams
If you are using deliberate lucid dreaming techniques to become lucid in your dreams the obvious fix for disruptive sleep is to stop using them. Only use techniques to enter lucidity in dreams when you do not have to get up at a specified time in the morning or if you can have the opportunity to have a prolonged sleep and lie-in the next day.
If you are a spontaneous lucid dreamer, with no control over when you have a lucid dream, read my article how to stop having lucid dreams as it gives tips for restricting the amount of lucid dreams you have and for eliminating them completely, if that is what you want.
2 real world positive affects of lucid dreaming
There are many, many more potential positive real world side-effects of lucid dreaming. Below are just a two of the main ones.
1. Develop real world skills in dreams
Because lucid dreaming feels just as real as real life, these dream sessions can be used to help develop real world skills. Yes, it’s true … skills that you develop in a lucid dream are transferred, to a large extent, to the real world.
Just as visualization, called Visual Motor Rehearsal by NASA, is used by astronauts and Olympic athletes to help them ingrain certain physical movements into the brain and body, so too can lucid dreaming be used in a similar way.
Dr. Denis Waitley stated that, “using this program [Visual Motor Rehearsal], Olympic athletes ran their event –but only in their mind. They visualized how they looked and felt when they were actually participating in their event. The athletes were then hooked up to a sophisticated biofeedback machine, and its results told the real story about the value of visualization. The neural transmitters that fired were the same that actually fired the muscles in the same sequence as when they were actually running on the track.”
So, the bodies and brains of Olympic athletes reacted in the exact same manner to visualizing training and competing as they did when the athletes were actually training and competing. And, the good news for lucid dreamers is that lucid dreaming is like visualization on steroids!
Listen to what Dr. Waitley has to say about visualization in the video below then consider how much more powerful this technique is when you actually perform the actions within a lucid dream rather than just visualizing yourself performing them. And in a lucid dream you never have to make a mistake, so you are programming your brain and body for total success.
Dealing with uncomfortable memories and mental blocks
Lucid dreaming has proven itself to be a fantastic tool for self-exploration and this includes dealing with past hurts.
Let’s face it, unless you are a Tibetan monk or Indian Fakir you probably are like the rest of us and have some emotional issues hanging around. I know I do. Well, lucid dreaming can really help to uncover mental and emotional blocks so you can deal with them and stop them for affecting areas of your life once and for all.
How do you do this?
While in a lucid dream the dreamer can simply ask for a deeper understanding of any recurring events that happen in real life. Likewise he/she can ask for a better understanding of any blocks that they are experiencing in the real world (like recurring failed relationships with the same type pf people or stunted career growth for example).
Alternatively, the lucid dreamer can simply conjure up a representative of a famous psychologist (like Carl Young) and allow the dream character to analyze them.
As the subconscious mind creates the dream, as well as the dream world and all the dream characters that inhabit it, (a lucid dreamer can only direct a dream not create it), this deeper part of your mind already knows all the questions and has all the answers and the solutions to all your problems. So, the subconscious mind can reveal your inner blocks easily, within a lucid dream, and also help you overcome them and any and all internal obstacles and past hurts.
2. Eliminate phobias
You can also use lucid dreams to help you overcome fears and phobias.
To help deal with phobias all you have to do is ask the dream what they represents and why they cause fear in you.
Some lucid dreamers will recommend that you call up your phobia in the dream, like a spider or scary clown, but I don’t recommend this, at least not at the start. Remember, lucid dreams feel real and conjuring up your worst fear in a world, where it could end up being twice its normal size and a whole lot scarier than it is in real life, is not a good recipe for phobia elimination.
Begin by calling up a physiologist or therapist and asking them to explain to you what the phobia represents and how you should best deal with it. Take whatever action is recommended and watch as your fear lessens.
Once you have made some progress with lessening the fear, associated with your specific phobia, you can begin to play with interacting with its representation within your lucid dreams.
Start small. Conjure up a small spider or a friendly-looking clown for example before moving on to bigger and badder ones.
If you have a fear of flying you could simply take off yourself and fly around a room. Over several dreams build-up to a point where you can fly higher and higher until you can calmly fly beside a Jumbo jet. Do the same thing inside a plane.
If you have a fear of heights use a similar small step-by-step approach by starting off by looking down from a small wall and building up until you can look off the edge of a skyscraper within your lucid dreams.
A quick note: before you confront a fear or phobia in the dream world be sure to complete a reality check first – i.e. do something impossible. This way you will not only reconfirm that you are in a dream and in total control of how it unfolds but you will also realize that none of what is happening is real which will give you more confidence in what you are doing and a heightened sense of safety.
Manifesting with lucid dreaming
As a final note I should point out that there are esoteric and law of attraction teachers who claim that you can manifest things, and experiences, in the real world by first experiencing them in a lucid dream.
Is this really possible?
You see there are two schools of thought when it comes to manifesting real world things through lucid dreaming.
The first states that:
All real world events are the result of how we think, feel and act.
If we feel like we are not good enough and are are unworthy we will start to think in terms of defeat. As we think of defeat we unconsciously take actions that often lead to defeat. Therefore, if we have a goal or desire that we want to achieve but feel that we cannot achieve it, then we will think in terms of not achieving and will, in turn, take unconscious actions that ensure we never do achieve it.
Alternatively, if we feel that we are capable of achieving a certain goal and we constantly think of ourselves as being able to achieve it, or having already achieved it, then our actions will be much more in-tune with a successfully outcome than an unsuccessful one. We will take unconscious actions that are more likely to result in success.
How can lucid dream help with that?
Well, we can get into that positive mental and emotional state by first experiencing the goal/desire as having already been achieved, within a lucid dream. This makes the goal much more “real” and will make it feel much more attainable thus helping to create the positive emotions and thoughts that lead to the actions that create success.
If you believe in the power of visualization for manifesting things in real life then the second school of thought related to manifesting through lucid dreaming will be of great interest to you.
The second school of thought states that:
Lucid dreaming is a form of enhanced visualization.
Most metaphysical teachers claim that visualizing things creates them. Some metaphysical teachers go a step further and claim that lucid dreams are powerful forms of visualizations that can create reality. They say that by continually immersing ourselves in a specific dream world, which reflects a specific scenario/event/circumstance or the accomplishment of a specific goal/desire, and by repeating those lucid dreams every night for several weeks or months the real world will start to reflect the lucid dream world.
Have I ever tried this?
No I haven’t!
Does it work?
I have absolutely no idea!
As I have never tried to manifest something though lucid dreaming I can make no personal claims as to whether or not you can manifest in the physical real world through lucid dreaming.
However, I never completely dismiss any theory, no matter how far out of left field it is, until I have tried and tested it myself (if it is something I am interested in). I try to keep as much of an open mind as I can.
As with all lucid dreaming techniques I strongly suggest you test this manifestation theory for yourself rather than relying on other people’s opinions. Prove it, or disprove it, to yourself. Test the efficacy of the belief that you can create reality through lucid dreaming the only way you can – by trying it for yourself.
If you do decide to test this theory out for yourself I would be very, very interested in hearing your story. Anyone who tests this, regardless of the results you get – positive or negative – I would love to hear from you. Please use the contact form on the website to contact me with your story.
I think this is a fascinating subject that we lucid dreamers really need to explore so we can confirm its validity or reject it from further consideration.