When you first hear about lucid dreaming, and the possibilities it offers, it can feel exciting. Imagine being able to do anything you want, with anyone you want, in any place you want. And, what’s more you are told that these experiences feel like real life. But is that really true? What is lucid dreaming really like?
Lucid dreaming is like having a real life adventure without the restrictions of real-world mechanics and consequences. In a lucid dream you can control all aspects of the dreamworld and you can defy the laws of physics. Lucid dreaming is like having God-like powers in a real world of your own making.
- What does it feel like to lucid dream?
- What can you do in a lucid dream?
- What should you not do in a lucid dream?
- Lucid dreaming feels so real it can help you in the real world
What does it feel like to lucid dream?
So, lucid dreaming sounds pretty awesome, right?! I mean being able to control your own world and everyone in it would be like having the most amazing super power in existence. After all you are all-powerful in a lucid dream.
In a lucid dream you have God-like powers over the dreamworld and everyone in it.
But, having all this power is only slightly interesting because a dream never feels real. Right?! I mean what’s the point of it if you can’t fully enjoy it because everything feels dream-like?
Almost everyone remembers at least some of their dreams and, although in a normal dream we are unaware that we are dreaming and think that the dream is actually happening, dreams still don’t feel real. When you wake up the memory of the dream is of a hazy state that is far-removed from reality. That’s just the way dreams are.
Many people think lucid dreams are the same; that although you have control over the dreamworld it still just feels like a dream. Is this true?
What does it feel like to lucid dream?
A lucid dream feels just as real as real-life. Because you have complete control over the dream and everything in it, the feeling of lucid dreaming can be exciting and exhilarating. As well as being able to experience your fantasies as though they were really happening, you also get the rush of being in full control over the entire world and everyone in it.
Lucid dreaming feels very real to the dreamer. There is no difference between how you feel in the waking world and how you feel in a lucid dream.
Even though the entire experience is only happening in your head, a lucid dream feels just as real as real-life.
The reasons that lucid dreaming feels so real are covered in this article. However, it is not necessary to understand the mechanics of lucid dreaming, and what causes them to happen, in order to take advantage of the many benefits lucid dreaming offers.
So, in a lucid dream, you get to be in control of a world that feels totally real and in which you can do anything you want.
Lucid dreaming feels like complete and total freedom
Because there are zero restrictions placed on a lucid dreamer within a lucid dream, the experience of lucid dreaming can feel very freeing.
Until you experience complete and total freedom you don’t really understand just how restricted we are in everyday life. We have to be constantly vigilant about following societal rules and we must observe cultural, governmental and even self-imposed regulations as we go about our everyday lives.
A great majority of these restrictions and regulations are beneficial to us and it is necessary to have them. For example, you can’t just go around speeding through red lights, ignoring no-walk signs and singing at the top of your voice in a library.
Society needs rules to function correctly. But we all feel the oppressive presence of rules even if we have become accustomed to it. But as human beings we naturally want to rail against these rules albeit at an unconscious level most of the time. Of course this is something we cannot do, and that is a good thing for the most part.
In order to feel relief from the constant weight of rules and regulations some people will move to remote areas, such as the Alaskan wilderness or remote areas of New Zealand.
Although the allure of complete and total freedom in such areas does sound somewhat appealing to me, I think I would miss my Starbucks soya latte and easy-access to vegan food (and Netflix) that the modern world offers me. The freedom of a new lie in the wild is outweighed by the hardship such a life entails. I prefer to feel my freedom in easier ways.
In a lucid dream there are no restrictions or regulations. You are free to do whatever you want.
In the world of a lucid dream you are free to do whatever you want whenever you want with whomever you want. Want to walk across the freeway at rush hour – no problem. Want to drive a jet powered motorbike down the highway in the wrong direction – go for it. Hell, do you want to sail a pirate ship in the caribbean and bury your loot on a tropical island – all too easy!
But the lack of restrictions in a lucid dream are not limited to the lifting of manmade rules. You also get to lift the rules of the Universe!
You can easily defy the laws of physics in a lucid dream. Want to jump off a 50 story building and land safely – you can. Prefer to take to the skies and fly like Superman – you can do that too – in fact, you can even grow wings if you’d rather fly like a Carnival Row fairy. Or maybe the water is your prefered mode of travel as you swim through it at top speed like Aquaman.
There are no rules in a lucid dream except those you impose upon it yourself. Absolutely nothing is impossible in a lucid dream. You are only limited by the limits of your imagination.
What it feels like to lucid dream (video)
Below is an old YouTube video that is designed to show you what it feels like to lucid dream. This is an old video and the quality is not the best as it predates the high quality clips we have come to expect from YouTube.
However, I cannot find any other video that is better at giving you a visual illustration of what lucid dreaming is like and what it feels like.
So, hopefully you can get past the inferior production quality and enjoy the video. Allow yourself to really “get” what this video is telling you about the lucid dreaming experience.
Website link from video.
What can you do in a lucid dream?
So, what exactly is possible in a lucid dream?
You can do anything you want in a lucid dream. There are no restrictions on what is possible. You are only limited by your own imagination. Although the subconscious mind is responsible for building the dreamworld you can alter, change or manifest anything you want simply by intending it to happen.
Nothing is impossible to the lucid dreamer in a lucid dream. Not only are lucid dreamers in total control of the dreamworld environment, they can also conjure up whatever they want and whomever they want . In fact a lucid dreamer can even be whomever they want.
A simple act of will, or by openly asking for it to happen, is all that is needed to make something happen within a lucid dream. Doing either thing will ensure that the subconscious mind immediately makes it happen. You can do anything you want in a lucid dream without restrictions!
What should you not do in a lucid dream?
Although all things are possible in the world of lucid dreams, there are some things you should avoid doing.
Here is a list of 5 things you should not do in a lucid dream:
- Don’t do overly exciting things before you are an experienced lucid dreamer.
- Avoid repeating the same dream that replicates real world events.
- Don’t waste the experience by being aimless in the dream.
- Do not wake yourself up from a lucid nightmare.
- Don’t run away from scary things in your lucid dreams.
I will cover each of these “don’ts” in more detail below.
Why should you avoid doing these things when lucid dreaming?
Let’s look at each of the things you should not do in a lucid, that I mentioned above, more closely.
Don’t do overly exciting things before you are an experienced lucid dreamer
This may seem like a strange request. I mean the main reason the majority of people learn how to lucid dream in the first place is so they can live out their fantasies – which are by their very nature going to be exciting for you. But there is a good reason to avoid becoming too excited in your first few lucid dreams.
Becoming very excited in a lucid dream can cause you to wake up from your dream, at least until you learn some advanced lucid dreaming techniques (that are surprisingly easy to learn and use), that will allow you to keep yourself in the dreamworld.
One of the most common reasons for inexperienced lucid dreamers waking up in the middle of a lucid dream is due to over-excitement.
So, while you are a fledgling lucid dreamer try to keep your lucid dream experiences limited to exploring the dreamworld and doing simple things. Your dreams don’t have to be boring but you should refrain from very exciting activities and doing things that you have badly wanted to do for a long time, until you have at least 5 lucid dreams under your belt.
This means avoiding things like having an affair with your Hollywood crush, looping through the clouds while you dogfight with a Mig 21 or speeding through the sky at the speed of a bullet like Superman. Keep it simple at the start, like having a relaxing beach walk on an alien planet or talking to a dragon in Mordor, and you will have a better chance of staying in the lucid dream.
After some time lucid dreaming gets easier and you will be able to indulge all your fantasies no matter how exciting they are.
Avoid repeating the same dream that replicates real world events
Regularly and repeatedly performing actions that are very close to real world events can cause a strange phenomenon known as false memory syndrome.
As lucid dreams feel just as real as the real world it is all too easy to create false memories of things that never actually happened if you keep doing the same “normal” type things over and over again in your lucid dreams. This means not having a full blown “real life” reality-tv type affair with your next door neighbour in every lucid dream you have, for example.
I covered this phenomenon here explaining why is can be very problematic for you in life and I also give you concrete, but easy to use, techniques to avoid developing false memories even if you do ignore my previous advice and keep nipping in next door to say “hi”.
Of course most lucid dreams will never cause false memories because … well … how many times do you ride a dragon into battle against white walkers in the real world?
Don’t waste the experience by being aimless in the dream
Although in the early stages of your lucid dreaming adventures you should avoid doing anything that will over-excite you (so you don’t wake up), that doesn’t mean you should do nothing at all.
Do not waste your opportunity to experience a world without limitations in your lucid dreams by being aimless. Embrace the dreamworld and enjoy it.
Even if you have no set agenda, or desire that you want to satiate, in a lucid dream you should still use the time productively. Ask the dream to show you something interesting or to reveal something profound about yourself. Then delve in deeper.
Don’t wake yourself up from a lucid nightmare
Before you freak out and start worrying about whether you should try lucid dreaming because it can be scary (you should not be scared to lucid dream), be aware that lucid nightmares are rare events.
A lucid nightmare also only happens when you become conscious during an existing nightmare. The lucidity does not cause the nightmare. The nightmare is already happening and you just find yourself “waking up” (becoming conscious) in the middle of it. A lucid dream will not suddenly turn into a nightmare!
Becoming lucid in a nightmare is actually a very positive thing because it gives you the opportunity to change it, stop it and/or learn from it. It also gives you the opportunity to ensure it never happens again by dealing with whatever it represents.
Although a lucid nightmare can be a truly terrifying experience when you first “drop” into one, you should avoid waking yourself up it – which is usually your initial response. Nightmares, both normal ones and ones that occur within a lucid dream, usually have a reason for being.
Instead of waking yourself up from a lucid nightmare you can simply take control over it and either change it or ask the dream what the nightmare means. Changing the dream will immediately remove the fear while allowing your space to learn what the dream is trying to tell.
Learning what a nightmare means and why you are having it will ensure you never have that nightmare again and will disclose an inner aspect of yourself that helps you to grow emotionally.
Don’t run away from scary things in your dreams
This lucid dreaming “don’t” is closely related to the previous one.
When we encounter scary things in a lucid dream the natural reaction is to run away. However, we should view them as an opportunity to grow emotionally as a person.
Scary things in dreams are often representations of fears that we have in the real world. By facing those fears and learning from them we can grow and expand ourselves and this can only help us in life.
The moment you encounter something scary in a lucid dream do not immediately change the dream. Do not run away to a different dream location or eliminate the scary thing through an act of will. Instead take control of the situation.
If need be restrain the scary thing by placing it in a cell or putting a glass cube around it. Likewise, if it is an object or entity you can shrink it and give it a funny voice. Make it wear Mickey Mouse ears or a clown nose. Take the sting out if it. Get creative.
Then ask the scary thing what it represents and why it is in your dream. You will be amazed at what it has to teach you.
Once you learn what you need to learn from a lucid nightmare, 9 times out of 10 the scary thing will disappear or change into something more appealing, all on its own. It it doesn’t just tell it to go away in peace and it will. You can then go back to creating a new dream.
While confronting scary things in your dreams just remember that lucid dreaming is in no way bad and nothing bad can happen to you while you are in a lucid dream.
There are a lot of myths about lucid dreaming. So to put the record straight:
- A lucid dream cannot hurt you.
- A lucid dream cannot put you in a coma.
- You cannot get stuck in a lucid dream.
- Nor can you die in a lucid dream.
So remember, no matter how scary something is in a lucid dream it cannot harm you but it can teach you something about yourself that will make your waking reality that much better.
Lucid dreaming feels so real it can help you in the real world
Lucid dreaming feels so real that you can use it to help you in various areas of your waking life.
Believe it or not, lucid dreaming feels so real that it can actually affect reality in some amazing and wondrous ways.
A good example of how you can use lucid dreaming to help improve your normal waking life is when you use it to develop or perfect real-world skills.
Having trouble maintaining consistency when shooting hoops? Not quite able to nail that guitar solo? Maybe you are having trouble with trigonometry at school or you are struggling to acquire those work skills that would earn you a promotion.
Well, in your lucid dreams you can practice any skill. As long as you have some real-world knowledge of how the skill or action should be performed correctly, then you will be able to practice it in an environment that feels real – just as though you were practicing it in the real world, only doing it right every time.
NASA trainers and Olympic athletic coaches have taught a mental technique for improving physical skills for many years now that works in a similar way to lucid dreaming skill-practice. They get their trainees to use this mental technique as an aid to reaching higher performance levels. It is called “visual motor rehearsal”.
Visual motor rehearsal is a proven technique for developing, strengthening and improving skills. We know it simply as “visualization”. By visualizing themselves performing certain actions a trainees is able to teach their mind and muscles how to perform an action correctly. This is proven to improve skill levels much more than simply physically practicing a skill.
So, if visualization is so powerful for improving real-world skills when you are only imagining performing a skill correctly, imagine how powerful it would be to actually perform those skills in the most powerful VR simulation available.
Practicing a skill or action in a lucid dream is like visualization on steroids.
Lucid dreaming as a skill-improvement vehicle goes way beyond just helping you get better at doing certain things and improving physical skills though. There is strong evidence to suggest lucid dreaming can make you smarter as well!
So what are you waiting for? Go learn how to lucid dream and open up a whole new world of possibilities for yourself.