Wouldn’t it be great if you could simply lie down in bed and in complete comfort and without any stress to your physical body you could travel the world. What about traveling the universe or even the multiverse? Advocates of lucid dreaming say that you can do anything in your lucid dreams but does that include going anywhere you want?
You can go anywhere in a lucid dream. This includes earthly locations, alien worlds, other dimensions and imaginary locales. However, you will not go there physically or physically. Although they look and feel real, lucid dream locations are only subconscious creations within your brain.
Can you visit real places in lucid dreams?
There is no place in existence, or outside of it, that is not accessible to you in a lucid dream. If you can hold an image of it,even as just a hazy concept, then you can visit it in a lucid dream. hOwever there is one slight caveat. Although it is true that you can go anywhere you want to go in a lucid dream this doesn’t mean that you can go there in a physical sense or even as a disembodied psychic body for that matter.
In the same way, and for the same reasons, that you cannot visit someone else in a lucid dream (in a physical sense at least) neither can you visit physical places. But luckily, that doesn’t mean these places are closed off to you completely. You can still go anywhere you desire. I know that sounds like an oxymoron but its not. Let me explain.
You can visit any place you desire in a lucid dream but it won’t be real. It will be a subconscious representation of the real place.
If you have visited the place previously in real life then the dream version will be very accurate to reality. However, if you have never visited the place in real life then the lucid dream version will differ greatly from the actual physical location. It may closely resemble what you know about the actual place, or what you believe it is like, but it will only be a representation. The location will be recreated as closely to what you know of it as possible and then your subconscious mind will fill in the blanks.
Because lucid dreams are under the control of the dreamer anything is possible within the dream. But these possible impossibilities are limited to the dreamworld. What you experience in a lucid dream may feel like real life but it is very much just a product of the brain. And, what happens in the brain stays in the brain (just like Vegas).
The problem with the lifelike and vivid nature of lucid dreams though is that they feel so real, that many lucid dreamers find it difficult to believe that what they are experiencing is not real in some sense. This is often the case when we interact with other people in lucid dreams, especially when these dream people display the same characteristics and personality traits and even perform similar idiosyncratic actions as the real person does in real life.
For some people the sheer vivid realness of a lucid dream makes it difficult to believe that at least some aspects of it are not real. This can be dangerous. Getting caught up in the belief that what is happening in a lucid dream is real can lead to some serious consequences, albeit for only a very small group of lucid dreamers. False memory syndrome is one such consequence.
However, it is when some lucid dreamers visit specific locations in their lucid dreams that they find it most difficult to believe they are not seeing a real actual physical location. I mean how could you be experiencing this rich, vibrant and detailed environment unless it was real? Right?!
Lucid dreams may feel incredibly real, and they are incredibly detailed, but at the end of the day they are just a product of the mind and nothing more. Lucid dream worlds are a creation of your subconscious mind in just the same way that regular dreams are.
Your subconscious mind is unbelievably powerful. It has no problem populating a dream scene with both large and small items and give them a real feel. This includes even the tiniest of dream details – such as millions of tiny grains of sand on a beach with a multitude of stars in the heavens shining down on a moonlit beach with hundreds of party-goers doing their own thing.
Testing the reality of lucid dreams
Rest assured, if you wondered about the possibility of astral-like travel to real places via your lucid dreams before you read this article, you are not alone. You are not the only person in the world who has wondered if you could go to real places in a lucid dream. Some very famous lucid dreamers have wondered the same thing.
One of the first western pioneers of lucid dreaming was a French nobleman called Hervey de Saint-Denys, titled Marquis d’Hervey de Saint Denys. This famous lucid dreamer is purported to be the first person in the western world to write about his scientific approach to lucid dreaming (though Tibetan Dream Yogis were keeping journals and writing their own sacred texts about lucid dreaming experimentation thousands of years before the west even heard of it).
The Marquis conducted extensive research into the potentials of lucid dreaming and documented his studies in detail in his dream journals and then later in his book.
In one account he visited Brussels, Belgium, in a lucid dream. Now, he had never visited the city physically and as he lived in the early 19th Century detailed pictures were not readily available. He only had engravings of the church in the city and very little other information about it. So he decided to conduct an experiment.
The Marquis d’Hervey wanted to test if the city of Brussels in his lucid dream would be a completely random place, or a replica of the real city (even though he didn’t know what it was like) or if the city would be actually real (i.e. would he be really visiting it physically or psychically via his lucid dream?).
Although he held the view that the dream city of Brussels would be a mere fiction, his scientific mind lead him to explore the possibility that his lucid dream may in fact be a portal the real city or at that perhaps his subconscious mind would be able to replicate the real city in detail in his dream.
While he visited Brussels in a lucid dream de Saint-Denys took in as much of his surroundings as he could paying particular attention to a store he came across in a shopping district. He wanted to remember the shop, its name and its colorful banner. He wanted to remember these details so he could check later in the actual physical location of Brussels to see if the shop existed.
When he eventually visited Brussels a few months after his now famous lucid dream, he exhaustively searched for the store throughout all the shopping districts of the city and was unsurprised to find that it didn’t exist. This shows that his subconscious mind merely populated its lucid dream version of Brussels with imaginary filler as it did not know what the real Brussels was like.
He cites similar experimentations in his short book.
You can read his full account of this experiment and his other writings on lucid dreaming in his book Dreams and the ways to direct them: Practical observations. I offer a pdf version of his book on this website which you can download for free here (direct link, no email required). If you prefer to read it in kindle format you can get it here.
Hervey de Saint-Denys’ experiment has been duplicated many times by many different lucid dreamers (including myself) and their experiences mimic his. This clearly indicates that we do not physically visit places in lucid dreams but merely experience a subconscious representation of them.
The subconscious mind may be powerful but it is not omnipresent. It will replicate a place as best it can within a lucid dream with the information it has available to it. This means we can only visit a likelike complete replica of a place that we are already familiar with – if we have never visited the place or seen detail images of it, our lucid dream representation will be very different from the real thing. The better we know a place the closer will be our lucid dream representation of it.
We do not know if Hervey de Saint-Denys ever visited Brussels again in his lucid dreams but we can, from present time case studies, conclude that had he revisited the dream city it would have better represented the physical city he eventually visited in person. Such is the power and wonder of lucid dreams.
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