Lucid dreaming is very often an acquired skill. Most lucid dreamers perform specific exercises to teach their brains to lucid dream. So, for most lucid dreamers, lucid dreaming is a learned skill. But, can lucid dreaming happen naturally or do you need to learn how to do it?
Lucid dreaming can happen naturally. About 55% of people have had at least one lucid dream that they remember. However, natural lucid dreams are not guaranteed and are often less vivid and controlled. If you have not experienced a lucid dream and want to have one you, you must train yourself to do it.
What is natural lucid dreaming?
Although it is believed that around 55% of the population will experience at least one lucid dream in their life, at least one that they remember, it is a much smaller percentage of the population that experience lucid dreams on a regular basis. It is an even smaller number that lucid dream deliberately.
Natural lucid dreamers will usually begin having lucid dreams in their early childhood and will, more often than not, consider it to be completely normal. In fact, most natural lucid dreamers consider the phenomenon to be so natural when they are children that they believe everyone can do it. This view is only altered when they became older and learn that it is fairly rare to lucid dream regularly.
The physical causes for lucid dreaming lie in the brain. These causes are the same for natural lucid dreaming and learned lucid dreaming.
From a purely physiological point of view lucid dreaming occurs due to physical activity that occurs in the brain. It seems there is increased connectivity between the frontopolar cortex and temporoparietal association areas during the REM sleep cycle during a lucid dream. This brain activity can happen completely naturally and spontaneously for some people leading them to have a spontaneous lucid dream without having to do anything to cause it.
How natural lucid dreaming differs from learned lucid dreaming
As we have seen there is specific brain activity that leads to the experience of a lucid dream. When the frontopolar cortex and temporoparietal association areas connect, it triggers conscious awareness during a dream which in turn leads to lucid dreaming – it is the process of becoming aware that you are in a dream which leads to full conscious awareness within the dream.
This brain activity can often occur with people who have a deeper conscious awareness during the waking state. I have covered both the physical and mental causes of lucid dreaming in a previous article and you should read that if you are interested in the mechanics behind lucid dreaming.
Although this brain activity happens to some people, thus leading them to enter lucid dreams naturally, most lucid dreamers had to learn the skill. Lucid dreaming is something most people have to work at in order to experience it. There are many different techniques used to induce lucid dreams and control the dreamworld which I will talk about later.
It is estimated that between 19% – 37 % of the population experience regular lucid dreams – at least one lucid dream every month. Most of these regular lucid dreamers have taught themselves the skill and are not natural lucid dreamers.
Can you have a lucid dream without trying?
“Lucid dreaming” is a term that is commonly used to represent different degrees of controlled dreaming. Although regular lucid dreamers will regard a lucid dream as a consciously controlled dream, on the Internet you will see people refer anything from very vivid dreams that feel real, to fully controlled dream sequences that are life-like and in which the dreamer has god-like powers, as lucid dreams.
It is possible to have a lucid dream without trying however this usually happens only to a small percentage of the population. Spontaneous lucid dreaming can also be less vivid and less controlled than a lucid dream experienced by a trained lucid dreamer.
Spontaneous lucid dreams are more often than not much less controlled than a lucid dream experienced by someone who has learned the skill of lucid dreaming. Why is this?
Well a person who experiences a spontaneous lucid dream will often not be aware of just how much control they actually have access to in the dream. Likewise, a very vivid dream, in which the dreamer thinks they are actually awake and doing things in the real world, is often called a lucid dream. However, because the dreamer thinks they are awake (even when strange things are happening) they fail to take full conscious control over the dreamworld and so they are not actually experiencing a controlled dream, only a very vivid one.
Of course there are natural lucid dreamers who have just as much control over their dreams as trained lucid dreamers, however they rarely have control over when and how many lucid dreams they have. A trained lucid dreamer can usually induce a lucid dream whenever they want to and will have complete control over the dreamworld and all the dream characters in it, in addition to having control over how the dream unfolds.
So, although it is possible to have a lucid dream without trying, the type of lucid dream experienced will usually be limited in its scope and these type of dreams will be irregular in their frequency. If you want to experience regular lucid dreams then you are much better off training yourself to do it so you can enter a state of dream lucidity whenever you want.
Why are all my dreams lucid?
Some lucid dreamers are concerned by the number of lucid dreams they have. A common question I hear from natural lucid dreamers is, “why are all my dreams lucid?”.
All your dreams are not lucid. You will have up to 5 dreams per night. Most of those dreams will not be lucid. Specific brain activity and levels of conscious awareness can lead to frequent lucid dreams but it will not make you lucid in every one of your dreams. If you have unwanted lucid dreams every night there are simple steps you can take to reduce the number or stop lucid dreaming entirely.
Many natural lucid dreamers believe that they have no control over when or how many times they have a lucid dream. However, the truth is that even if you are a natural lucid dreamer you do not have to experience lucid dreams if you do not want to. I covered in a previous article how to stop lucid dreaming. This post covers easy-to-implement strategies and exercises to stop lucid dreaming or to simply reduce the number of lucid dreams you have.
If you want to know the reasons behind the fact that you are experiencing very frequent lucid dreams, or want to know why you are lucid dreaming every night, then read this article.
Is lucid dreaming rare?
People who are first introduced to the phenomenon of lucid dreaming, and natural lucid dreamers who first realise that not everyone experiences lucid dreams, will often wonder if this experience is rare.
Lucid dreaming is not as rare as most people think. 55% of people will have at least one lucid dream in their lifetime while between 19% – 37% will lucid dream at least once per month.
Although not everyone is a natural lucid dreamer, anyone can learn to lucid dream. In fact, although there are a great many regular lucid dreams who lucid dream naturally most regular lucid dreamers had to learn the skill. Some people acquire the skill quicker than others but it has been demonstrated that anyone who follows specific steps and performs specific exercises will start to have lucid dreams as long as they are persistent in their efforts.
How to trigger a lucid dream
If you find that you are not a natural lucid dreamer and want to have lucid dreams, or you are a natural lucid dreamer but want to acquire the ability to induce lucid dreams at will, then there is good news. There are specific steps you can take to train your brain to lucid dream.
As I promised earlier I will give you an outline of lucid dream induction techniques. I have previously covered the top 5 lucid dreaming techniques for inducing lucid dreaming and if you read that article follow those techniques you will find that at least one of them should work for you.
You can also follow my simple steps for inducing lucid dreams which I cover in my free lucid dreaming course (no email required).
Be aware that you may have to be consistent in your efforts. It takes some people only one night to lucid dream while others must persevere for several months before they gain the skill. Most people fall somewhere in-between of those two extremes.
If you do find that it is taking you longer than the average time to have your first lucid dream, please don’t give up. The techniques used for lucid dreaming are simple and very easy to follow so you have nothing to lose by continually using them until you get results.
Alternatively you can use an advanced lucid dreaming course to speed up the process and to also gain skills for advanced control within the dream world. Such a course will still be of benefit to you long after you have had your first controlled lucid dream.