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Monday, 16 August 2021

Meaning of Lucid Dreams (Benefits and Risks)

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Meaning of Lucid Dreams (Benefits and Risks) Associative picture from Pixabay

It is in human nature to search for meaning. Everywhere. Even for something as fundamental as nature – two thousand years ago, we would still attribute storms to the anger of gods like Thor or Posseidon and harmony to the peace and joy among all gods. But our conception of meaning itself has changed with the development of civilization.

Dreaming is no exception. Some have heard or experienced dreams like teeth falling and attributed a hidden meaning of changes in life and even death. Or maybe, being naked in public that according to dream books, signifies a lack of self-confidence. Is it true? It's hard to say. However, we know that people always require answers, even though it may seem that there is no logical explanation for it.

On the other hand, a lucid dream is a far cry from the usual sleeping experience. What is the meaning of lucid dreaming? It is way easier to respond to this question due to one's active, conscious mind. It is not sufficient to say that lucid dreaming means being cognizant while asleep. In fact, lucid dreams involve one's intent to control his dream, thus likeliness to project it.

Furthermore, this type of sleeping experience can undoubtedly be both beneficial and concerning. How it is creating a supernatural out-of-body impression evokes it to sound mysterious for some people. Meanwhile, others are still scratching their heads asked what they think about lucid dreaming or why they have them. Simply being aware of the idea is not enough. For it to be evaluated, we need to examine all pros and cons of conscious sleeping.


Benefits of Lucid Dreams

Associative picture from Unsplash

  •  Reduced nightmares

    Perhaps you have seen the 2021 psychological thriller series Behind Her Eyes. The main character, Louise, suffers from having night terrors, which symbolize and remind her of her mother's death. These nightmares occur almost every night. With the help of another important character, Adele, who shares a journal of her friend Rob, Louise is solving her nightmare problem. She is being introduced to something called astral projection and learns to separate her soul from the body. Having a guide on advancing in lucid dreaming helps Louise conquer her dreams, and she does escape the cruel terrors of seeing her mother dead.

    By being lucid, you can consciously control your dreams. Even though you might not have had a real lucid dream experience, it is possible that while in the state of dreaming, you understood that you were dreaming and thereby ended the dream if it was unpleasant. So, lucid dreaming is several, if not dozen times more effective in this case.

    • Heal after a traumatic experience

    Traumas do correlate with nightmares, but not all traumas turn into them. Some therapists recommend lucid dreaming as a way of inducing a greater sense of power over your feelings.

    Lucid dreaming can be the perfect temporary replacement for the harsh reality if one desires to find calm and peace when life circumstances might not allow him to do so.

    Into the bargain, this replacement or understanding of individual subconsciousness is vital for everyone. Conscious sleeping can approximate positivity, skills, or needs that could be found in reality.

    • A way to fulfill one's fantasies

    There is no necessity to have a vivid adult imagination to solve the equation: dream plus fantasy. Most of us find ourselves at the point where we come to the same conclusion: sexual dreams.

    Well, lucid dreaming can make erotic experiences even more realistic. But this is where we may need to halt. Discharging libido and sexual potential is acceptable in a lucid dreaming state, but it should not be the goal of one's conscious sleeping.

    Having sex in a dream satisfies our instinctive desires. But having the opportunity to purposely control it anticipates there is more than that to discover. Think of your top 5 goals in life or the places you want to visit. Enhancing sleeping skills can take you anywhere, but most importantly, it can be a rendering of your subconsciousness. You may not control your entire dream, but this is the beauty of it, bringing your subconscious mind to the light and getting to know oneself better.

    • Boosts creativity

    Many artists attribute their poems, paintings, and performances to dreams. Lucid dreaming is an opportunity to unify subconscious and conscious worlds, travel the globe, fly around, and dive into the ocean for hours. Perhaps, the most crucial segment of conscious sleeping is that we are not exerting total control. During the dreaming phasis, whether it alters consciousness or not, we can see the sky falling and pigs flying. Subsequently, lucid dreamers can suddenly recall forgotten memories, images, colors, and tastes just like in casual dreams, just a little more vividly.

    Taking notes about dreams can be a great source of artistic inspiration. Nonetheless, it can be a space to discover new formulas and start launching inventions. Look at Srinivasa Ramanujan, the best mathematician in the world, who recalled having had seen and solved theorems in his lucid dreams or, Nikola Tesla, who used his conscious sleeping to fulfill his passion for studying.

    • Technological perspectives for the future

    Scientists establish that communication with a lucid dreamer while he is in the state of sleep is possible. First of all, lucid dreamers often react to the changes in their surroundings. For example, bright lightening, which derives from sunshine, may affect the process of conscious sleeping. Some lucid dreamers claim that they experience changes within a dream akin to sensory changes on the outside world. So, if the sunshine rays are intense, the colors of a lucid dream may vary alongside.

    Furthermore, some neuroscientists have immersed themselves in the field of communication with conscious dreamers. Some researchers have found that lucid dreamers can abstractly detect differing facial expressions, eye movements of another person. That leads to one presumption. Sci-fi movies are turning into reality. It is just a matter of time and knowledge to answer when and how we will be able to communicate or learn during the state of REM. Matrix is no longer a daydream. It is slowly becoming our new realism. Conscious dreams can be a great implement to generate new ideas regarding technologies. It is also a beneficial tool that can be incorporated into high-tech development.

    • Acquiring new skills

    If you ever believed in manifestation, lucid dreaming is an even more effective technique for achieving your goals. And in case you never believed in it, then lucid dreaming will make it more convincing.

    As in manifestation, lucid dreaming involves visualization. It sends signals to your brain and subconscious mind. Nevertheless, performing sports or other tasks that require different motor skills in your head is not that easy in the daylight. On top of that when you can pursuit them in reality as well.

    But if you are obsessed with what you are doing or too hectic to learn during the daytime, science research brings extra hope. According to scientific studies, applying motor skills during the state of controlled dreaming results in activation of the sensorimotor cortex, a part of the brain responsible for movement. Various researches reveal that people who were training in lucid dreaming became better. In contrast, those who did not exercise while conscious sleeping improved less or showed no signs of progress. Thus, rehearsing motor skills is a significant consideration for those with physical disabilities.

    Despite motor skills linked to movement, people can try ameliorating their cognitive skills. Compared to motor skills, there are not many justifications for cognitive ones. However, we can presume that Nikola Tesla is the most prominent advocate of this situation. In his book "My inventions," he talks about lucid dreaming substituting models, drawings, and experiments, being one of the sources for his discoveries.


 Risks of Lucid Dreams

Associative picture from Unsplash

  • Risk to modify the perception of reality. Imbalanced memory

    One recommendation active lucid dreamers give is not to practice it on a daily basis. In other words, not to approach the physical world that you live in, in conscious sleeping. These could be events, people, environment, achievements. It would be better to avoid having conversations with beloved relatives, enemies, spending time in the ambiance of school, work, or home.

    • Can become addictive

    Once you start mastering and seriously practicing lucid dreaming, there is a whole new world in front of your eyes. You are keen to explore utopias, wonderlands, and extraordinary projections of the supposed to be reality. Like in the real world, when a practice like gambling or using drugs can bring a great sense of euphoria, lucid dreams can be an origin of uplifting emotions. And not in a facilitating way.

    Perhaps, you have seen the movie Inception? It is an exact depiction of what conscious sleeping can cause. Of course, it all depends on the purpose that you are using your lucid dreams for. As seen in the movie, the protagonist's Cobb's wife Mal, is prone to be depressed, exhausted, and tired of the world she is undergoing. Therefore, Mallorie Cobb got entangled with her lucid dreams so severely that she genuinely believed that reality was false. That the life she was living was another simulation and thus committed suicide. Bearing the idea in mind, stimulating conscious sleeping is concerning for people having mental health issues.

    One of the examples might be a schizophrenic disorder when people are psychologically trapped by unrealistic hallucinations occurring in their minds. Lucid dreaming could thwart the improvement of psychoanalysis on the disease being akin to the hallucinations. Lucid dreams can open the door to a new world, but to fully experience it and enjoy it, one has to endure the pure beauty of the truth and actuality.

    • Intensifies fears

    As mentioned earlier and judging from many people's experiences, lucid dreams do not mean total control. The fact is there are both benefits and drawbacks. Lucid dreaming permits sleepers to go into the depths of their subconsciousness. Regardless of its positive psychological aspects, allowing one to analyze emotions and thoughts, it can be frightening as well. Lucid dreams can unlock your biggest fears, chiefly if the person is already threatened or constantly suspecting what is about to happen in his dream.

    Be aware that conscious dreams are not called lucid by mistake. They are more eloquent and vibrant. After all, lucid dreaming is a method to overcome fears, but its vividness can be intense to people who are naturally more dreadful. It takes a lot of effort to change your mindset and avoid threats. It is crucial to work on your thoughts and fears while being conscious in real life because lucid dreaming is only an additional tool to work on yourself.

    • Disrupting sleep quality

    Conscious sleeping elevates brain activity. Thus, being lucid in your dreams may worsen the quality of your sleep if all you need is rest.

    Having frequent lucid dreams in which you are falling into and out of REM sleep could be a sign of not getting enough rest. Such lucid dreams disturbances can be evoked by sleeping disorders such as narcolepsy.

    Some parts of the brain perform alike in the state of being awake. That means these parts of the body are not fully relaxed. That is why some scientists call lucid dreaming a 'hybrid sleep-wake state' – a state when one's sleep is being interrupted and not profound enough.

    At the end of the day, each of us selects and generates the meaning ourselves. Lucid dreams can show you your inner self (your desires) or make you aware that you lack control in the real world (if you struggle to manipulate the dream world). It is also likely that we will be able to prescribe much more meaning to conscious dreams in the future.