Anyone who has heard of lucid dreaming will be aware of the exciting possibilities it offers to the dreamer. Being able to fly, go anywhere you want, with anyone you want and having full control over what happens is an enticing prospect. But, unless the dream feels like real life surely this makes a lucid dream no better than playing a video game. So, do lucid dreams feel real?
Lucid dreaming can feel as real as real life. A trained lucid dreamer can do anything they want in a lucid dream and it will feel just as real as if he or she were experiencing it in the real world. The better trained a lucid dreamer is the more control they have over the dreamworld and the more real they can make it feel.
How real do lucid dreams feel?
When you think about flying through the air without wings, just like Superman, it can be difficult to believe that the experience could ever feel real. You may be thinking that at a very base level surely flying about the sky like Superman could not feel real simply because you have never experienced it before. I mean how could something in a dream feel real if you do not know what it feels like in real life?
In fact, even being able to do things in a dream that you have experienced in real life, and having those things feel just as real as real life can seem impossible at first.
Well, if you think lucid dreaming, where you can control your dreams and experience them as though they were real, doesn’t sound very likely or even possible, then you are not alone. Before Stephen LaBerge proved the existence of lucid dreaming through scientific experiments he conducted in the 1980’s, scientists didn’t believe it was possible either!
The truth is simple though.
For most lucid dreamers, lucid dreaming feels every bit as real as real life.
During a lucid dream the dreamer is fully conscious and able to interact with their dreamworld just as they would if they were experiencing the same environment in the real world.
If you have ever seen the film Inception then you will have some idea of just how real a lucid dream feels. Just as the characters in the film interact in the dreamworld and experience everything as though it were real, a lucid dreamer interacts with the dreamworld in a similar way.
However, unlike the characters in Inception, a lucid dreamer has full and total control over everything and everyone that is in the dream.
There is also a huge misconception that was introduced by the film Inception, in that many people now believe you can be hurt in a lucid dream, or even die in one, because the dream feels so real. This could not be further from the truth.
Even though the entire dreamworld and everyone in it feels real when you are lucid dreaming, nothing can harm you in a lucid dream because everything is under your control. There is no reason to be afraid to lucid dream. Even nightmares can be changed or used to learn something new about yourself or to deal with and eliminate a long-held fear.
Simply put; nothing bad can ever happen to you in a lucid dream because you have full control over everything in the dream.
Another huge misconception that took hold after Inception was released was the belief that, because a lucid dream feels so real, you can get stuck in one. You can’t!
Likewise, lucid dreaming cannot put you in a coma either.
How “real” is real?
If you trawl the forums you may come across some lucid dreamers who claim their lucid dreams are hazy, glass-like or foggy. For some lucid dreamers their controlled dreams can have a fog-like, or glass-like, look to everything. They state that they see things in the dreamworld as though they are viewing them through slightly cloudy glasses. However, everything stills feels real to them. It is just the visuals that are hazy.
If you want to know what this type of hazy lucid dream is like then imagine you are wearing a set of clear-glass spectacles that are smudged or that you are wearing slightly grimy safety glasses. This is the type of way these “hazy” lucid dreamers see their dreamworld.
Entering into a hazy lucid dream is not uncommon. In fact it even happens to experienced lucid dreamers. However, most lucid dreamers can reify this situation instantly and turn the dreamworld from hazy into clear and vibrant.
The reason for the continued hazy look that some lucid dreamers experience is simply down to a lack of understanding of just how much control they have over their dreamworld. It is also due a lack of training in lucid dreaming techniques.
For these lucid dreamers the world is viewed through a type of hazy fog simply because they have not trained themselves in the type of lucid dreaming techniques that would allow them to instantly change anything in the dream they want – including its visual clarity.
There are advanced lucid dreaming techniques, taught in at least one lucid dreaming course, which are actually really simple to use, that can be implemented within a hazy lucid dream to make everything come alive instantly. These same techniques can then be used to alter the dreamworld in any way the dreamer wants.
Having said that, for trained lucid dreamers, and also for most spontaneous lucid dreamers who lucid dream every, lucid dreaming feels just as real as everyday real life and looks just as real, without them having to do anything to make it so.
To let you now exactly how real lucid dreaming feels let’s do a quick little easy experiment.
Wherever you are right now reading this article, I want to take a few seconds to look around you, after you read the next paragraph. Read the next paragraph and follow the simple instructions then come back to this article.
Looking up from this article start to notice everything around you. Rotate your head in a normal way to take a panoramic view of your surroundings. Listen to all the sounds and notice any people nearby and if they are having any conversations. Run your fingers over something nearby or simply feel the device, you are viewing this website on, in your hand. Take a deep breath through your nose and try to catch any surrounding smells even if it is just fresh air. If you have something to eat or drink then take a bite or take a sip. Then come back to this article.
The way you just experienced the world around you is exactly the way you will experience a lucid dream when you have one. It looks, sounds, smells, tastes and feels exactly the same. The only difference between how you experience a lucid dream and how you experience the real world is that you are in charge of everything in a lucid dream and you can change anything and everything in it.
Do all lucid dreams feel real?
All lucid dreams feel real. Sometimes people get confused about the nature of lucid dreams because there is some conflicting information on the subject.
So why do some sources claim that lucid dreaming feels just as real as the real world while others claim lucid dreams are merely very vivid dreams?
Well, the answer lies in history.
The term lucid dreaming was originally coined by the Dutch psychiatrist Frederik van Eeden in his 1913 article A Study of Dreams. The original meaning of the term lucid dreaming referred to any type of dream that was very vivid and not necessarily a consciously controlled dream or a life-like dream in which the dreamer is conscious.
However in modern times, due to an explosion of interest in the topic, and after several scientific studies on it, the term lucid dreaming has come to mean a very specific type of vivid dream. Lucid dreaming now refers to a state of dreaming where the dreamer is fully conscious, and in full control, of their dreamworld which they experience as clearly as if the dream were happening in real life.
As I outlined previously in this article, some lucid dreamers will experience a lucid dream as feeling real but will find that it looks hazy or fog-like. This usually occurs early on in a lucid dreamers controlled dreaming experiences and is actually very easy to fix using the correct techniques. But even when this hazy world view occurs in a lucid dream, the entire experience still feels very real.
Why do lucid dreams feel real?
The reason lucid dreams feel real lies in the brain of the dreamer.
There are measurable brain changes that occur during a lucid dream. Areas of the brain that are usually only active during full consciousness, when everyday activities are being experienced, become activated during the REM state of a lucid dreamer. These brain areas are associated with higher cognitive functions such as strategic thinking, recalling memories and being aware and conscious of what what is around you and what you are currently doing when engaged in an activity.
These are areas of the brain that are usually only active during wakefulness. However, these areas of the brain are activated in lucid dreamers and a side-effect of this heightened activity is becoming conscious during the dream.
Becoming aware that you are dreaming is all that is required to kick-start a lucid dream. Once conscious in the dream the conscious mind takes over and the subconscious drops back into the background as it does in the state of wakefulness. Although the subconscious mind created the dreamworld, as is responsible for carrying out your wishes in a lucid dream, it does not know the difference between an imagined event and a real one.
So, when your conscious “wakes-up”, your brain believes that the signals it is receiving, via subconscious activity, are just real life because the areas of the brain that are active are only usually active in the waking state.
I covered this very subject matter in the article why do lucid dreams feel real. If you are interested in a more in-depth explanation behind the reasons for the reality-feeling of a lucid dream I suggest you read that article.
If you want to know what causes lucid dreams in the first place read this.
How to take advantage of this real-feeling but fake world
There are so many benefits to lucid dreaming that I needed to write an entire article on the subject.
But maybe, and arguably, the most astounding and enthralling benefit of learning to lucid dream is the fact that your lucid dreams can actually affect your reality. Yes, it’s true, you can use lucid dreaming to affect the everyday real world in some amazing and very positive ways.