To sleep perchance to dream!
…as the Great Bard wrote, referring to that Great Sleep from which no one awakes. Nor do they know what to expect in transit (a bit like our nightly ventures into dreamland, except that we do expect to awake but still never know what to expect) for dreaming can be risky.
As well, sleep can be elusive yet, when it finally comes, instead of bringing blessed oblivion it has the potential to introduce a plethora of dubious characters with equally unsavoury motives. Welcome to my nightmare!
But what if this could be different?
What if we could conjure up a scenario before we go to sleep and bring it to fruition as a dream?
Obviously not an ordinary, every night sort of dream but one with a substantial difference—i.e. the lucid dream. One where you are aware that you are dreaming, are in control and can dictate your terms throughout.
No flight of fancy, this is a well researched phenomena and experienced with amazement and pleasure by many people throughout the ages.
So, what is lucid dreaming and why might it be sought? Stephen La Berge and Howard Rheingold in their book, ‘Exploring the World of Lucid Dreaming’ have an explanation.
“The world of lucid dreams provides a vaster stage than ordinary life for almost anything imaginable, from the frivolous to the sublime. You could, if you chose, revel at a saturnalian festival, soar to the stars, or travel to mysterious lands….or you could use it as a tool for problem solving, self healing, and personal growth.”
My experience with the lucid dream came well before I had heard the term. It was spontaneous, highly emotional and unforgettable. Its effects stayed with me for years and brought comfort and healing both at the time and to the present.
My 19 year old son had died in ICU following a car accident. There had been no opportunity for farewell. He was just here one day then gone, leaving an emptiness and pain like no other.
Then, one night I walked into a secluded garden and there he was, alive, fit and well with a big welcoming smile and outstretched arms. We hugged each other and he felt so solid and real.
A thought sprang to mind….maybe he wasn’t dead….maybe it had all been a bad dream. Then another thought replaced it…maybe this was a dream and if so he would begin to fade away.
No sooner had this thought intruded than I felt him begin to drift away and I was once more, alone. But what joy that meeting had brought and to this day it is still a source of comfort.
At the time I was unaware that this had been a lucid dream and I have not experienced more than one or two since then but, after reconnecting with the subject, I am keen to have another go.
Reference: Exploring the World of Lucid Dreaming.
Authors: Stephen La Berge, Ph,D and Howard Rheingold
Dr Phil, how would you interpret my lucid dream?