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Are Lucid Dreamers Superintrospectors?

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On another thread StrictlyLogical wrote something that made me think.

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I have lucid dreams quite often ... I am all of me having the dream, not the character which experiences the dream as an individual experiences reality... I dream the protagonist the other characters and the dream reality, of course it is just a dream limited by the capacity of the dreamer.  Literally the part of me in the lucid dream thinking it is me is not the whole me.

I don't know what percentage of the population has lucid dreams, or if it's a skill that can be learned. Apparently some eastern religions try to teach it. But I don't think I've ever had a lucid dream. I've had some really vivid, memorable ones. But I'm fairly certain that I've never been aware that I was dreaming until I actually woke up. I've always been fully immersed in the dream world, believing it to be reality. I don't seem to possess the ability to introspectively identify a dream until after it's over and I'm fully conscious again. Which causes me to wonder whether lucid dreamers, who know that they are dreaming while they're dreaming, are actually superintrospectors, whose consciousness has evolved to achieve an even greater awareness of the mind.

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I have lucid dreams once in a while. The trick I use is to pinch one of my index fingers whenever something weird happens in real life. Sometimes I carry this habit to the dream world, and it makes me realize that I'm dreaming, because if you pinch yourself in a dream you don't feel physical pain.

The tricky part is to remain conscious of your 'discovery'. Sometimes I don't really care that I'm dreaming and just go back to an unconscious dreaming state. Since you can control what you do in a lucid dream, many lucid dreamers learn this skill in order to experience flying around like Superman, or dream-sex, but I never really had any specific things I wanted to do in my dreams.

Another challenge is to not wake up once you realize that you're dreaming. There are many techniques for this, such as rubbing your hands togheter, which makes the dream more vivid and anchors you to the dream state. With practice you can make most or all of your dreams lucid, but this is definitely a niche interest.

Edited by KyaryPamyu
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3 hours ago, KyaryPamyu said:

With practice you can make most or all of your dreams lucid, but this is definitely a niche interest.

Thanks for the tips. After you wake up from a lucid dream, is your recall of that dream any easier or clearer than after having non-lucid dreams? Thanks. 

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On 07.12.2016 at 1:35 AM, MisterSwig said:

Thanks for the tips. After you wake up from a lucid dream, is your recall of that dream any easier or clearer than after having non-lucid dreams? Thanks. 

Since lucid dreams are an unusual occurence (for people who don't have them often), they tend to stick in your memory. But if you want to remember your lucid dreams very vividly, you have to practice your ability to recall dreams in general. For this reason, many people who learn lucid dreaming start a dream journal in which they document their dreams upon awakening.

When I started my journal I really struggled with remembering dreams, they would dissapear from my mind almost immediately after awakening. I remember having to lay still in the position I woke up in and forcing myself to replay the dream in my mind.

I only did the dream journal thing for a few weeks, about 8 years ago, but since then my dream recall is pretty decent. I can effortlessly recall most of my dreams upon awakening, and if the dreams are really interesting or scary, they stick in my mind long after that. As I type this it's almost midnight and posting this made me remember the gist of what I dreamed of this morning.

I definitely remember my first proper lucid dream ('proper' means I didn't wake up upon realizing that I was dreaming). One sunny morning I woke up from a dream and rolled lazily to the side of the bed to check my mobile phone. It seemed like an overkill to pinch myself but I did it anyway. That's when I realized I had a 'faux awakening' - I was actually still dreaming. After that I got up and started exploring my appartment. Everything was incredibly realistic - I felt the texture of the rug under my feet, the furniture was placed exactly as it was in real life etc. It never became a big interest of mine, but I'm sure there are resources on the web that can turn anyone into a lucid dreaming master.

Edited by KyaryPamyu
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1 hour ago, KyaryPamyu said:

It seemed like an overkill to pinch myself but I did it anyway. That's when I realized I had a 'faux awakening' - I was actually still dreaming.

That term "faux awakening" brought back a memory of something weird that has happened to me a couple times. Once or twice, before fully waking up, I have felt like I was awake but couldn't move my head to look around. It was like I was frozen in my own body, stuck looking in one spot. I'm not sure how much of the room I was aware of, but I was definitely aware of being in bed. And I remember wanting to look around but being unable to do it. This state went on for a short time and then suddenly I realized that I was fully awake and could start moving again. I have no idea if that was a kind of lucid dream or not. I always chalked it up to being temporarily stuck in a stage of waking up.

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  • 2 years later...

My First Lucid Dream

I just woke up from my first lucid dreaming experience. In my dream I was being driven around a town. I looked out the window at various things, and I saw a familiar building with a familiar gate and two driveways. It reminded me of a local fire station, but it was something else. Also, I knew that the building did not look the way it does today in 2019. It looked like it did many years ago. This is when I realized that I was in the past.

It suddenly dawned on me that this was a great opportunity to take pictures of all the buildings, so that later I could compare them to how they appear now. And that's when I was struck by the notion that I had time-travelled somehow.

Now, in real life I don't believe in time travel. I think it's impossible. So this conflict between my real belief and my dream experience possibly helped shift my mind into the lucid dreaming state. I suspect it directed my attention to the thought that I must be dreaming.

Back to my dream. My focus changed to a passenger sitting next to me in the back seat of the car. It was a young Robert Redford, and he was talking to me. But I wasn't interested in his words. I was overwhelmed by how realistic he seemed. Suddenly I was impressed by how everything looked crystal clear and present, like actual reality. I was having these thoughts in my dream: that the colors, for example, were more vivid than any other dream I'd ever had before. It was exactly like reality. And that's what finally broke the spell. I became certain and fully aware that I was dreaming.

It was somewhat shocking at first. I kept telling myself excitedly, "I'm dreaming! I'm dreaming!" But I didn't wake up. Eventually another thought came to me, "What should I do?" And so I focused on what I should do.

In real life I've researched lucid dreaming, because I'm working on my views of consciousness and free will. Lucid dreamers have told me that it's a learned skill. Anyone can do it. So occasionally, over a year now, I've been giving myself standing orders while awake: to check my reality when I experience something that seems weird or impossible, and to give myself commands once I realize I'm dreaming. I tell myself that I should try to fly like Superman.

Once I realized that I was dreaming, and that I could do whatever I wanted, Robert Redford dematerialized and floated in air like a ghost. The car passed through him. He then rematerialized and landed on the street outside, where he stood watching me while the car kept going. It was like that scene with the twins in The Matrix Reloaded, only with Robert Redford.

By now I had snapped out of my initial confusion and excitement, and I was thinking that I should try to fly. I began tapping on the backrest of the front seats, repeating, "Stop the car! Let me out!" It was an older car with the bench seating up front. I didn't even look at the driver. I don't know who was driving me around town or why. My attention was concentrated out the windows.

We were in the town where I grew up. I recognized the intersection and knew the street names. To my right the city park looked the way it did in the 1980s. To my left was the Carl's Jr. restaurant. Tall trees lined the street. I noticed that the car had stopped, and I got out.

I walked into the intersection. No other cars or people were around. Lifting up my gaze, bits of deep blue sky could be seen in the distance through low-hanging scattered white clouds. Tree tops filled the lower periphery of my vision. I raised both arms like Superman, and summoning all my willpower, I ordered myself to fly. "Fly! Fly!" was my only thought.

At first it didn't seem like anything was happening. I kept willing and ordering. Then I realized that I was indeed off the ground, but I didn't want to look down and break concentration. I rose slowly. There was a little fear of losing control, but not much. Mostly it felt good, like I was in command.

As I flew higher and developed confidence in my new ability, I tried to level out with the ground, but I only achieved an angle of roughly 45 degrees. Still moving slowly, I glanced downward. The town was maybe a hundred or two hundred feet below. Quickly looking back up, I continued to focus on flying higher.

I looked at the local mountains, which were a few miles away to the north. Only sections of the broad range could be seen through the scattered clouds. Flying higher and higher at an angle, passing between the wispy, white masses, like in a movie, I headed up toward the blue expanse. Then I started wondering how high up I should go, and that's when the spell broke, and at last I woke up.

For a couple seconds I was disappointed that the lucid dream had ended, but then I was just extremely happy that it had happened, and that I could finally check off "lucid dreaming" on my bucket list. I immediately made a voice recording of the experience, while it was still fresh in my mind.

I consider my lucid dream to be a transformative experience. Before it I had never been detached and self-aware of an ongoing dream state. I had always been fully immersed until wakefulness, and so I had never been in volitional control of a dream. To me, this lucid dream represents a new state of consciousness, in which the dream, itself, became an object of my volitional awareness. It became a graspable thing within my control, like any other thing or object in reality. Just as I can observe and manipulate a rock by focusing and willing my hand to move, I have now seen and manipulated a dream--by focusing and willing my mind to move. I have spent many decades directing my mind while awake. Hopefully I'll now have similar success while asleep.

I thank SL and KP for your replies in this thread. They helped a lot.

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8 hours ago, MisterSwig said:

My First Lucid Dream

I just woke up from my first lucid dreaming experience. In my dream I was being driven around a town. I looked out the window at various things, and I saw a familiar building with a familiar gate and two driveways. It reminded me of a local fire station, but it was something else. Also, I knew that the building did not look the way it does today in 2019. It looked like it did many years ago. This is when I realized that I was in the past.

It suddenly dawned on me that this was a great opportunity to take pictures of all the buildings, so that later I could compare them to how they appear now. And that's when I was struck by the notion that I had time-travelled somehow.

Now, in real life I don't believe in time travel. I think it's impossible. So this conflict between my real belief and my dream experience possibly helped shift my mind into the lucid dreaming state. I suspect it directed my attention to the thought that I must be dreaming.

Back to my dream. My focus changed to a passenger sitting next to me in the back seat of the car. It was a young Robert Redford, and he was talking to me. But I wasn't interested in his words. I was overwhelmed by how realistic he seemed. Suddenly I was impressed by how everything looked crystal clear and present, like actual reality. I was having these thoughts in my dream: that the colors, for example, were more vivid than any other dream I'd ever had before. It was exactly like reality. And that's what finally broke the spell. I became certain and fully aware that I was dreaming.

It was somewhat shocking at first. I kept telling myself excitedly, "I'm dreaming! I'm dreaming!" But I didn't wake up. Eventually another thought came to me, "What should I do?" And so I focused on what I should do.

In real life I've researched lucid dreaming, because I'm working on my views of consciousness and free will. Lucid dreamers have told me that it's a learned skill. Anyone can do it. So occasionally, over a year now, I've been giving myself standing orders while awake: to check my reality when I experience something that seems weird or impossible, and to give myself commands once I realize I'm dreaming. I tell myself that I should try to fly like Superman.

Once I realized that I was dreaming, and that I could do whatever I wanted, Robert Redford dematerialized and floated in air like a ghost. The car passed through him. He then rematerialized and landed on the street outside, where he stood watching me while the car kept going. It was like that scene with the twins in The Matrix Reloaded, only with Robert Redford.

By now I had snapped out of my initial confusion and excitement, and I was thinking that I should try to fly. I began tapping on the backrest of the front seats, repeating, "Stop the car! Let me out!" It was an older car with the bench seating up front. I didn't even look at the driver. I don't know who was driving me around town or why. My attention was concentrated out the windows.

We were in the town where I grew up. I recognized the intersection and knew the street names. To my right the city park looked the way it did in the 1980s. To my left was the Carl's Jr. restaurant. Tall trees lined the street. I noticed that the car had stopped, and I got out.

I walked into the intersection. No other cars or people were around. Lifting up my gaze, bits of deep blue sky could be seen in the distance through low-hanging scattered white clouds. Tree tops filled the lower periphery of my vision. I raised both arms like Superman, and summoning all my willpower, I ordered myself to fly. "Fly! Fly!" was my only thought.

At first it didn't seem like anything was happening. I kept willing and ordering. Then I realized that I was indeed off the ground, but I didn't want to look down and break concentration. I rose slowly. There was a little fear of losing control, but not much. Mostly it felt good, like I was in command.

As I flew higher and developed confidence in my new ability, I tried to level out with the ground, but I only achieved an angle of roughly 45 degrees. Still moving slowly, I glanced downward. The town was maybe a hundred or two hundred feet below. Quickly looking back up, I continued to focus on flying higher.

I looked at the local mountains, which were a few miles away to the north. Only sections of the broad range could be seen through the scattered clouds. Flying higher and higher at an angle, passing between the wispy, white masses, like in a movie, I headed up toward the blue expanse. Then I started wondering how high up I should go, and that's when the spell broke, and at last I woke up.

For a couple seconds I was disappointed that the lucid dream had ended, but then I was just extremely happy that it had happened, and that I could finally check off "lucid dreaming" on my bucket list. I immediately made a voice recording of the experience, while it was still fresh in my mind.

I consider my lucid dream to be a transformative experience. Before it I had never been detached and self-aware of an ongoing dream state. I had always been fully immersed until wakefulness, and so I had never been in volitional control of a dream. To me, this lucid dream represents a new state of consciousness, in which the dream, itself, became an object of my volitional awareness. It became a graspable thing within my control, like any other thing or object in reality. Just as I can observe and manipulate a rock by focusing and willing my hand to move, I have now seen and manipulated a dream--by focusing and willing my mind to move. I have spent many decades directing my mind while awake. Hopefully I'll now have similar success while asleep.

I thank SL and KP for your replies in this thread. They helped a lot.

You are very welcome.  I am glad you have experienced something which you found enjoyable and exciting.

Upon reflection I think I may have squandered my times lucid dreaming, on frivolous things, which are perfectly fine in the beginning.

I’ve had the thought that advanced experienced lucid dreaming might provide a rare opportunity for self discovery... literally a world which you can have adventures in... or go on a quest perhaps to find something you have lost, or a pilgrimage to your hopes, or a quest for wisdom from or simply an encounter with your best self, or a way to learn of or even face your greatest inner demons even if you don’t know what they are, or a chance to experience closure with person no longer with us... 

All the best with your new skill... and if you feel like sharing please write about your inward journeys!

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  • 1 year later...

Styx just shared the story of his lucid dream. He says it was like "watching himself in third-person but still controlling himself." Not only that, but he could also "will the things around him to change."

The interesting part for me was his initial failure to will a person to appear in his dream. I wonder if using your will in a lucid dream is typically difficult at first. You struggle with it, like a baby trying to walk for the first time.

I had a similar experience willing myself to fly in my lucid dream. At first it didn't seem to be working, then I couldn't completely control the flight and woke up.

Styx couldn't control who or what spawned and despawned, and when his father suddenly appeared it distracted him and woke him up. 

Edited by MisterSwig
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Congrats on successfully learning how to do it!

 

I started lucid dreaming when I was a teenager.  As a child I used to have really awful night terrors about random things (I think one of the recurring ones involved "growling owls" I'd seen in some kid's movie) and although they became more infrequent, they never really stopped or became any less terrible as I got older.  But at some point when I was a teenager I realized in the middle of a nightmare that it was, in fact, just a nightmare.

It's funny; I can remember that dream but not what grade I was in at the time.  I was being chased around the house by this large feline-ish creature that was very intelligent and very hungry, and at one point it jumped into a wall and the wall didn't respond like wood would; it only rippled as the monster jumped through it.  That was when I realized I was dreaming.  I didn't immediately see all the implications (that I could've just decided to be on a beach in Tahiti or something instead) but I did realize I could turn around and punch the monster's stupid face.

I've never really figured out how to do it at will or anything, but throughout my adult life most of my nightmares have ended with me figuring out what's going on, deciding that whatever horrible thing it is should be ended in some suitably-amusing way and whisking myself away to Tahiti (or, most recently, to become the Supreme Overlord of Canada).

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55 minutes ago, Harrison Danneskjold said:

I was being chased around the house by this large feline-ish creature that was very intelligent and very hungry, and at one point it jumped into a wall and the wall didn't respond like wood would; it only rippled as the monster jumped through it.  That was when I realized I was dreaming.

Thanks for sharing your experience. Do you recall if in your dream you thought the wall was odd or if that was an evaluation you made after waking? It sounds like you realized you were dreaming because you thought the wall's reaction was not consistent with reality. I think that's sort of what triggered my lucid dream. I started realizing that my time-traveling wasn't possible in reality, so I must be dreaming.

Styx doesn't offer a theory as to why he became self-aware in his dream, but it sounds like maybe he was triggered by realizing that he could will things to change around him, which is impossible in reality. He does joke about accessing another realm in a quantum dimension, but I wouldn't give that idea much credence. I prefer to think of lucid dreaming as a semi-conscious state of introspection with partial, volitional control of a dream. You can direct the dream by focal choices on thoughts, like you can direct your conscious mind by focal choices on reality combined with thoughts.

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17 hours ago, MisterSwig said:

Do you recall if in your dream you thought the wall was odd or if that was an evaluation you made after waking? It sounds like you realized you were dreaming because you thought the wall's reaction was not consistent with reality.

Yep.  Even in the nightmare I knew that wood should not ripple like water when a solid object hits it and was able to work out that it had to be a dream-wall.

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