By Charlie Morley
Wake up and change your life.
A couple of months before my 12th birthday, it all started. It was a Sunday and I was bored. I started sifting through the papers looking for the gadgets leaflet I loved and came upon an advert for a ‘NovaDreamer’; a computerised sleep mask for lucid dreaming. “Mum! I do this sometimes! When you know you’re dreaming! I do what this mask does! Mum, I know what I want for my birthday!”
For me, the journey began that Sunday. I never did get the NovaDreamer but the seed had been planted and began to sprout. As a teenager, the free accessibility of lucid dreaming was one of its selling points. There was no equipment, no initiation, no club. It only required sleep and determination. It was also great place to have a lot of dream-sex and as a teenager, that was my driving motivation!
Later on, I got into Tibetan Buddhism. I came across ‘Dream yoga’ and began training in it. Dream yoga is made up of lucid dreaming, conscious sleeping and what in the West we refer to as, “out-of-body experience” practices; aimed at spiritual growth and mind training. Dream yoga goes beyond our Western notion of lucid dreaming as recreational or fun. If we translate the Sanskrit word ‘yoga’, meaning ‘union’, we get a clue as to what dream yoga is about; the union of consciousness within the dream state.
Within the context of dream yoga, we use the lucid dream state as a place to engage in spiritual practice. Spiritual practices carried out in the lucid dream state are said to be so powerful that we have the potential to reach full enlightenment while we sleep.
Lucid dreaming ‘Need to Knows’
- A lucid dream is a dream in which you know you’re dreaming and can direct and co-create the dream at will.
- Lucid dreaming was first scientifically proven in 1975 at Hull University. The experiment involved a sleeping subject hooked up to a brain scanner who had a lucid dream and communicated this through a series of pre-arranged eye movements!
- The lucid dream state is so realistic that the brain thinks it is real life and behaves as if it where awake. This forms the basis of ‘lucid dream learning’ in which the brain creates new neural pathways based on the actions performed in the dream.
- Lucid dreaming has been proven to help cure nightmares, encourage physical healing responses and is even used by German Sports scientists to train their athletes while they sleep!
I teach something called Mindfulness of Dream & Sleep which is a holistic approach to lucid dreaming within the context of mindfulness meditation and Tibetan Buddhism. This new approach hopefully serves to fill the gap between the often superficial scope of Western lucid dreaming practices and the often unattainable mysticism of dream yoga.
Lucid dreaming ‘How to’
- Dream recall and keeping a dream diary is the foundation of lucid dreaming practice. The first step is to start remembering and recording your dreams. The more conscious you are of what you’re dreaming about, the more likely you are to become conscious while dreaming.
- Motivation and strong intent are the next step. Fall asleep saying to yourself, “Tonight I recognise my dreams, tonight I know that I am dreaming as I am dreaming.”
- We often dream about what we spent our day doing, so anytime something dreamlike happens in your daily life, ask yourself, “Am I dreaming?”. If you do this enough, you may start dreaming about asking the question which may then lead to a lucid dream.
Read Charlie’s full article, including ‘Need to Knows’ and ‘How To’ tips, in the Winter issue of Positive Life. Find your stockist here or subscribe online to have the magazine delivered direct to your door. The perfect gift for a loved one – or for yourself!
Charlie runs retreats and workshops and gave the ever first TED talk on lucid dreaming. His book, ‘Dreams of Awakening’ has just been published by Hay House and is available to buy online, along with his CD, ‘Lucid Dreaming, Conscious Sleeping’, a collection of guided meditations into the hypnagogic, lucid dream and conscious sleep states.