This FAQ is a brief introduction to lucid dreaming--what it is, what it takes to do it, and what can be done with it. Please note that this is not the full extent of knowledge available in this area. References to more comprehensive sources are given below. If you are serious about learning to have lucid dreams yourself, then consider taking advantage of the excellent resources.
The goals of the Lucidity Institute are to make lucid dreaming known to the public and accessible to anyone interested, to support research on lucid dreaming and other states of consciousness, and to study potential applications of lucid dreaming. We have a membership society with a quarterly newsletter (NIGHTLIGHT) and a product catalog to keep interested people informed of the latest developments, and to enroll them in participating in ongoing research. You are invited to get involved! Email comments and inquiries to email@example.com.
*** WHAT IS LUCID DREAMING?
Lucid dreaming is dreaming while knowing that you are dreaming. The term was coined by Frederik van Eeden (see Green, 1968), using the word "lucid" in the sense of mental clarity. Lucidity usually begins in the midst of a dream, when the dreamer realizes that the experience is not occurring in physical reality, but is a dream. Often this realization is triggered by the dreamer noticing some impossible or unlikely occurrence in the dream, such as meeting a person who is dead, or flying with or without wings. Sometimes people become lucid without noticing any particular clue in the dream; they just suddenly realize they are in a dream. A minority of lucid dreams (according to the research of LaBerge and colleagues, about 10 percent) are the result of returning to REM sleep directly from an awakening with unbroken reflective consciousness.
The basic definition of lucid dreaming requires nothing more than becoming aware that you are dreaming. However, the quality of lucidity varies greatly. When lucidity is at a high level, you are aware that everything experienced in the dream is occurring in your mind, that there is no real danger, and that you are asleep in bed and will awaken shortly. With low-level lucidity you may be aware to a certain extent that you are dreaming, perhaps enough to fly, or alter what you are doing, but not enough to realize that the people are dream representations, or that you can suffer no physical damage, or that you are actually in bed.
Lucidity and control in dreams are not the same thing. It is possible to be lucid and have little control over dream content, and conversely, to have a great deal of control without being explicitly aware that you are dreaming. Nonetheless, becoming lucid in a dream is likely to increase your deliberate influence over the course of events. Once you know you are dreaming, you are likely to choose some activity that is only possible in dreams. You always have the choice of how much control you want to exert, and what kind. For example, you could continue with whatever you were doing when you became lucid, with the added knowledge that you are dreaming. Or you could try to change everything--the dream scene, yourself, other dream characters, etc. It is not always possible to perform "magic" in dreams, like changing one object into another or transforming scenes. A dreamer's ability to succeed at this seems to depend a lot on the dreamer's confidence. If you believe that you cannot do something in a dream, you will probably not be able to.
On the other hand, the easiest (and perhaps wisest) kind of control to exert in a dream is control over your own behavior. This comes in especially handy in nightmares. If you become lucid in a bad dream, you could try to do magic to escape the situation, but many times this does not work very well. It is generally much more effective, and better for you psychologically, to recognize that, because you are dreaming, nothing can harm you. Your fear is real, but the danger is not. Changing attitude in this way usually defuses the dream situation and transforms it into something positive.
*** IN WHAT STAGE OF SLEEP DO LUCID DREAMS OCCUR?
Lucid dreams usually happen during REM sleep. Sleep is not a uniform state, but is characterized by a series of stages (1, 2, 3, and 4, and REM) distinguished by certain physiological markers. REM sleep, stands for "Rapid Eye Movement" sleep, and is pronounced to rhyme with "them", not "R. E. M." Stages 1 through 4 are often lumped together under the label non-REM (NREM) sleep. Stages 3 and 4 are both referred to as "delta" sleep, for the large, low frequency brain waves evident in these stages. Although this is certainly a gross oversimplification of the complexity of the physiological and mental events in sleep, research has demonstrated that most vivid dreaming occurs in REM sleep. It is characterized by an active brain, with low amplitude mixed frequency brain waves, suppression of skeletal muscle tone, bursts of rapid eye movements, and occasional tiny muscular twitches.
The sleep stages cycle throughout a night. The first REM period normally happens after a period of delta sleep, approximately 90 minutes after sleep onset, and lasts from about 5 to 20 minutes. REM periods occur roughly every 90 minutes throughout the night, with later REM periods occurring at shorter intervals and often being longer, sometimes up to an hour in length. Much more REM sleep occurs in the second half of the night than in the first.
How do we know that lucid dreaming happens in REM sleep? Dr. Stephen LaBerge and his colleagues at Stanford University proved this with deliberate eye movement signals given in by lucid dreamers during REM sleep. Most of the muscles of the body are paralyzed in REM sleep to prevent us from acting out our dreams. However, because the eyes are not paralyzed, if you deliberately move your "dream" eyes in a dream, your physical eyes move also. LaBerge's subjects slept in the laboratory, while the standard measures of sleep physiology (brainwaves, muscle tone and eye movements) were recorded. As soon as they became lucid in a dream, they moved their eyes in large sweeping motions left-right-left-right, as far as possible. This left an unmistakable marker on the physiological record of the eye movements. Analysis of the records showed that in every case, the eye movements marking the times when the subjects realized they were dreaming occurred in the middle of unambiguous REM sleep. LaBerge has done several experiments on lucid dreaming using the eyemovement signaling method, demonstrating interesting connections between dreamed actions and physiological responses. Some are described in his books (see below).
*** WHAT PURPOSES CAN LUCID DREAMING SERVE?
Upon hearing about lucid dreaming for the first time, people often ask, "Why should I want to have lucid dreams? What are they good for?" If you consider that in dreams, *if* you know you are dreaming, you are in principle free to do anything, restricted only by your ability to imagine and conceive, not by laws of physics or society, then the answer to these questions is either extremely simple (Anything!) or extraordinarily complex (Everything!). It is easier to provide a sample of what some people have done with lucid dreaming than to give a definitive answer of its potential uses.
The first thing that attracts people to lucid dreaming is often the potential for adventure and fantasy fulfillment. Flying is a favorite lucid dream delight, as is sex. Many people have said that their first lucid dream was the most wonderful experience of their lives. A large part of the extraordinary pleasure of lucid dreaming comes from the exhilarating feeling of utter freedom that accompanies the realization that you are in a dream, where there will be no social or physical consequences of your actions.
Unfortunately for many people, instead of providing an outlet for unlimited fantasy and delight, dreams can be dreaded episodes of limitless terror. As is discussed in the books LUCID DREAMING (LaBerge, 1985) and EXPLORING THE WORLD OF LUCID DREAMING (EWLD) (LaBerge & Rheingold, 1990), lucid dreaming may well be the basis of the most effective therapy for nightmares. If you know you are dreaming, it is a simple logical step to realizing that nothing in your current experience, however unpleasant, can cause you physical harm. There is no need to run from or fight with dream monsters. In fact, it is often pointless to try because you have conceived the horror in your mind, and it can pursue you wherever you dream yourself to be. The only way to really "escape" is to end your fear; as long as you fear your dream, it is likely to return. (For a discussion of reasons for recurrent nightmares, see p. 245 of EWLD.) The fear you feel in a nightmare is completely real; it is the danger that is not.
Unreasonable fear can be defused by facing up to the source, or going through with the frightening activity, so that you observe that no harm comes to you. In a nightmare, this act of courage can take any form that involves facing the "threat" rather than avoiding it. For example, one young man dreamt of being pursued by a lion. When he had no place left to run, he realized he was dreaming and called to the lion to come on and get him. The challenge turned into a playful wrestling match, and the lion became a sexy woman (NIGHTLIGHT 1.4, 1989, p. 13). Monsters often transform into benign creatures, friends, or empty shells (see Saint-Denys, 1867/1982) when courageously confronted in lucid dreams. This is an extremely empowering experience. It teaches you in a very visceral manner that you can conquer fear and become stronger thereby.
Lucid dreaming can also help people achieve goals in their waking lives. EWLD contains many examples of ways that individuals have used lucid dreams to prepare for some aspect of their waking activities. Some of these applications include: rehearsal (trying out new behaviors, or practicing them, and honing athletic skills), creative problem solving, artistic inspiration, overcoming sexual and social problems, coming to terms with the loss of loved ones, and physical healing. If the possibility of accelerated physical healing, suggested by anecdotes from lucid dreamers, is born out by research, it would become a tremendously important reason for developing lucid dreaming abilities.
*** IS LUCID DREAMING LEARNABLE?
The ability to have lucid dreams may be within the reach of most human beings. Research on individual differences has not turned up any factors of personality or cognitive ability that substantially predict lucid dreaming frequency. So far, the only strong predictor of frequent lucid dreaming is high dream recall. This is good news for would-be lucid dreamers, because it is fairly easy to increase dream recall (more below).
One question frequently asked about learning lucid dreaming is: How long does it take? The answer, or course, is that it varies depending on the individual. How well does the person recall dreams? How much time is available for practicing mental exercises? Does the person use a lucid dream induction device? Does the person practice diligently? Is the person's critical thinking well developed? And so on. Case histories may provide a more tangible picture of the process of learning lucid dreaming. Dr. LaBerge increased his frequency of lucid dreaming from about one per month to up to four a night (at which point he could have lucid dreams on demand) over the course of three years. He was studying lucid dreaming for his doctoral dissertation and therefore needed to learn to have them on demand as quickly as possible. On the other hand, he had to invent techniques for improving lucid dreaming skills. Thus, people starting now, although they may not be as strongly motivated as LaBerge, have the advantage of well-developed techniques, complete training programs, and electronic biofeedback aids that have been created in the 16 years since LaBerge began his studies.
Lynne Levitan, staff writer for NIGHTLIGHT, describes her experiences with learning lucid dreaming as follows: "I first heard of lucid dreaming in April of 1982, when I took a course from Dr. LaBerge at Stanford University. I had had the experience many years before and was very interested to learn to do it again, as well as to get involved in the research. First I had to develop my dream recall, because at the time I only remembered two or three dreams per week. In a couple of months I was recalling 3 to 4 or more per night, and in July (about three months after starting) I had my first lucid dream since adolescence. I worked at it on and off for the next four years (not sleeping much as a student) and reached the level of 3 to 4 lucid dreams per week. Along the way, I tested several prototypes of the DreamLight lucid dream induction device and it clearly helped me become more proficient at realizing when I was dreaming. In the first two years we were developing the DreamLight, I had lucid dreams on half of the nights I used one of these devices, compared to once a week or less without. In considering how long it took me to get really good at lucid dreaming, note that I did not have the benefit of the thoroughly studied and explained techniques now available either, because the research had not yet been done nor the material written. Therefore, people now should be able to accomplish the same learning in far less time, of course, given sufficient motivation."
DEVELOPING DREAM RECALL
As mentioned above, the most important prerequisite for learning lucid dreaming is excellent dream recall. There are probably two reasons for this. One is that if you do not remember your dreams, you are unable to study them to discover what about them could help you realize that you are not awake. Another is that you might have lucid dreams without knowing it, because you do not remember them.
The procedure for improving your dream recall is fully detailed in EWLD, and A COURSE IN LUCID DREAMING (see below) as well as many other books on dreams. The core exercise is keeping a dream journal, and writing down everything you recall about your dreams, no matter how fragmentary. You must not wait until morning to take notes on dreams recalled in the middle of the night because, no matter how clear they are at the time, they are apt to disappear entirely from your memory by the time you get up in the morning. You also should write them down first thing in the morning, before you even think about anything else. In A COURSE IN LUCID DREAMING we advise that people build their dream recall to at least one per night before proceeding onto lucid dream induction techniques.
Another dream-recall related exercise introduced in EWLD, and further developed in A COURSE IN LUCID DREAMING is identifying "dreamsigns." This is a word coined by LaBerge referring to elements of dreams that indicate that you are dreaming. (Examples: miraculous flight, purple cats, malfunctioning devices, and meeting deceased people.) By studying your dreams you can become familiar with your own personal dreamsigns and set your mind to recognize them and become lucid in future dreams. The COURSE also provides exercises for practicing noticing dreamsigns while you are awake, so that the skill carries over into your dreams. This exercise also relates to lucid dream induction devices, which give sensory cues--special, artificially-produced dreamsigns--while you are dreaming. To succeed at recognizing these cues, you need to practice looking for them and recognizing them while you are awake (more below).
*** LUCID DREAM INDUCTION TECHNIQUES
THE REALITY TESTING TECHNIQUE
This is a good technique for beginners. Assign yourself several times a day to perform the following exercise. Also do it anytime you think of it, especially when something odd occurs, or when you are reminded of dreams. It helps to choose specific occasions like: when I see my face in the mirror, when I look at my watch, when I arrive at work or home, when I pick up my lucid dream induction device or the NIGHTLIGHT. The more frequently and thoroughly you practice this technique, the better it will work.
Carry some text with you or wear a digital watch throughout the day. To do a reality test, read the words or the numbers on the watch. Then, look away and look back, observing the letters or numbers to see if they change. Try to make them change while watching them. If they do change, or are not normal, or do not make sense, then you are most probably dreaming. Enjoy! If the characters are normal, stable, and sensible, then you probably aren't dreaming. Go on to step 2.
If you are sure you are awake, then say to yourself, "I may not be dreaming now, but if I were, what would it be like?" Visualize as vividly as possible that you are dreaming. Intently imagine that what you are seeing, hearing, smelling, feeling is all a dream. Imagine instabilities in your environment, words changing, scenes transforming, perhaps you floating off the ground. Create in yourself the feeling that you are in a dream. Holding that feeling, go on to step 3.
Pick something you would like to do in your next lucid dream, perhaps flying, talking to particular dream characters, or just exploring the dream world. Continue to imagine that you are dreaming now, and that you try out the thing you plan to do in your next lucid dream.
MNEMONIC INDUCTION OF LUCID DREAMS (MILD) TECHNIQUE
(Modified from EWLD, p. 78)
Developed by LaBerge and used by him to induce lucid dreams at will during his Ph.D. study, MILD is practiced during the night.
Setup dream recall. Set your mind to awaken from dreams and recall them. When you awaken from a dream, recall it as completely as you can.
Focus your intent. While returning to sleep, concentrate single-mindedly on your intention to remember to recognize that you're dreaming. Tell yourself: "Next time I'm dreaming, I want to remember I'm dreaming." Try to feel that you really mean it. Focus your thoughts on this idea alone. If you find yourself thinking about anything else, let it go and bring your mind back to your intention to remember.
See yourself becoming lucid. At the same time, imagine that you are back in the dream you just woke from (or another one you have had recently if you didn't remember a dream on awakening), but this time you recognize that it is a dream. Look for a dreamsign--something in the dream that demonstrates plainly that it is a dream (see NIGHTLIGHT 1.3 & 1.4 for more about dreamsigns). When you see it say to yourself: "I'm dreaming!" and continue your fantasy. Imagine yourself carrying out your plans for your next lucid dream. For example, if you want to fly in your lucid dream, imagine yourself flying when you come to the point in your fantasy that you "realize" you are dreaming.
Repeat until your intention is set. Repeat steps 2 and 3 until your intention is set; then let yourself fall asleep. If, while falling asleep, you find yourself thinking of anything else, repeat the procedure so that the last thing in your mind before falling asleep is your intention to remember to recognize the next time you are dreaming.
*** LUCID DREAM INDUCTION DEVICES
The Lucidity Institute offers several electronic devices that help people achieve lucid dreams. They were developed through laboratory research at Stanford University by LaBerge, Levitan, and others. The basic principle behind all of these devices is as follows: The primary task confronting someone who wishes to have a lucid dream is to remember that intention while in a dream. We often remember to do things while awake through reminders: notes, strings around fingers, alarms, and so on. However, such reminders are of little use in dreams, although there are other kinds of reminders that are in fact helpful. The observation that some sensory events are occasionally incorporated into ongoing dreams (like your clock radio or the neighbor's saw appearing disguised in your dream rather than awakening you) led to the idea of using a particular sensory stimulus as a cue to a dreamer to become lucid. For example, a tape recording of a voice saying "You're dreaming" played while a person is in REM sleep will sometimes come through into the dream and remind the person to become lucid. In our research we settled on using flashing lights as a lucidity cue, because they had less tendency to awaken people than sound and were easy to apply. The DreamLight and NovaDreamer devices also have a sound cue option, which is useful for people who sleep more deeply.
The DreamLight, DreamLink, and NovaDreamer all work by giving users flashing light cues when they are dreaming. Users work with their devices to find an intensity and length of cue that enters their dreams without awakening them. In addition, device users should practice mental exercises while awake for the best preparation for recognizing the light cues when they appear in dreams. The devices are based around a soft, comfortable sleep mask, which contains the flashing lights. The DreamLight and NovaDreamer detect the rapid eye movements of REM sleep, when the wearer is likely to be dreaming, and give cues when the level of eye movement activity is high enough. The DreamLink lacks the eye movement detection circuitry; the user sets its timer to trigger the cues at times likely to coincide with REM periods.
These lucid dream induction devices offer a second method of lucid dream stimulation. This method arose out of the discovery that while sleeping with the DreamLight, people frequently dreamed that they awakened wearing the device, and pressed the button on the front of the mask to start the "delay," a feature that disables cues while you are drifting off to sleep. Ordinarily, the button would cause a beep to tell you that you had successfully pressed it. However, people were reporting that the button was not working in the middle of the night. Actually, they were dreaming that they were awakening and pressing the button, and the button did not work because it was a dream version of the DreamLight. Dream versions of devices are notorious for not working normally. Once people were advised that failure of the button in the middle of the night was a sign that they were probably dreaming, they were able to use this "dreamsign" reliably to become lucid during "false awakenings" with the DreamLight. This "reality test" button turned out to be so useful that it became an important part of all the lucid dream induction devices developed by the Lucidity Institute. Research suggests that about half of the lucid dreams stimulated by the devices result from using the button for reality tests.
FEATURES OF THE LUCIDITY INSTITUTE LUCID DREAM INDUCTION DEVICES
Eye/Body movement sensing EYE & BODY NONE EYE
Color of light cue WHITE RED RED
Sound cue option YES NO YES
Cue brightness adjustment YES YES YES
Cue duration adjustment YES YES YES
Cue rate and style adjustment YES NO YES
Dream Alarm (helps recall) YES NO YES
Data storage All sleep data NONE Cues given
Digital readout YES NO NO
Power AC AAA-cells AAA-cells
Approximate cost (1/95) $990 $95 $275*
(* Lucidity Institute Student Member price: $175)
All three devices come with A COURSE IN LUCID DREAMING, EWLD, and membership in the Lucidity Institute, with subscription to the NIGHTLIGHT, and telephone (and Email) product support.
HOW WELL DO LUCID DREAM INDUCTION DEVICES WORK?
The Lucidity Institute's lucid dream induction devices are designed to help people achieve lucidity by giving them cues while they are dreaming and a reliable means of testing their state of consciousness. They do not *make* people have lucid dreams any more than an exercise machine makes people have muscles. In both cases the goal, muscles or lucid dreams, result from practice. The machines just make it easier to get the desired results. Several factors enter into success with one of these devices. One is how well the device (or in the case of the DreamLink, the user) catches REM sleep with the sensory cues. Another is how reliably the cues enter into the dream without awakening the sleeper. A third factor is how well the device user does at correctly recognizing cues in dreams and becoming lucid. Finally, the user's commitment to performing reality tests every time upon waking up wearing the device has a lot to do with success. All four of these factors are, to some extent, controllable by the device user: adjustment of eye movement sensitivity to catch REM sleep, selecting a cue that enters dreams without causing awakenings, mental preparation to recognize cues in dreams, and resolution to do reality tests. Therefore, it is difficult to obtain a truly representative measurement of the effectiveness of the devices. Nonetheless, research with various versions of the DreamLight have shown that it definitely helps people have more frequent lucid dreams.
The most recent study was done with the current model of the DreamLight. A complete write-up of the experiment is in NIGHTLIGHT 5.3. In brief, fourteen people who were well-versed in DreamLight use compared two conditions. They believed they were trying two different types of cues. However, in fact in one condition they received no cues at all, as a sort of "placebo" condition. It was possible for the subjects to not know they were not getting any cues, because the DreamLight generally does not give cues when the wearer is awake (the result of the body movement sensor). Thus, the study examined how much the DreamLight's light cues contributed to the achievement of lucid dreams. Nights on which the DreamLight gave cues were called "CUED" and no-cue nights were called "PLACEBO".
The average number of lucid dreams per person in the CUED nights was 0.17 (one lucid dream per 6 nights) versus 0.06 for PLACEBO nights (one lucid dream every 17 nights), a statistically significant nearly three-fold increase in lucid dreaming frequency. Clearly, the DreamLight cues help people to become lucid. Altogether, the subjects had a total of 32 lucid dreams, 22 in the CUED condition and 10 in the PLACEBO condition. Eight of the lucid dreams were the result of reality tests with the button, as described above. More reality-test button lucid dreams happened on CUED than on PLACEBO nights (six versus two) even though the button was fully functional under both conditions. A possible explanation for this is that DreamLight cues sometimes caused false awakenings. Subjects reported about nine times more cue incorporations on CUED than on PLACEBO nights (CUED: 73 total, 0.90 per night average; PLACEBO: 9 total, 0.11 per night average). Dream recall was also higher on CUED nights; subjects recalled an average of 3.2 dreams per night in the CUED condition, versus 2.6 per night in the PLACEBO condition.
An earlier study with a different version of the DreamLight showed a five-fold increase in lucid dreaming frequency when people used the Mnemonic Induction of Lucid Dreaming (MILD) mental technique in conjunction with the device, compared with using no device and no mental technique. Using the device without mental techniques worked about as well as just using the mental technique, which was in both cases an improvement over using nothing.
In summary, at this stage the lucid dream induction devices can definitely help people learn to have more lucid dreams, or to have lucid dreams in the first place. Important factors contributing to success are good dream recall (and the DreamLight and NovaDreamer also can be used to boost dream recall), diligent mental preparation by the user, and careful adjustment of the device by the user to fit individual needs for cueing and REM detection. No device yet exists that will *make* a person have a lucid dream.
*** DREAM SPINNING
Q. Is there a way to prevent yourself from awakening immediately after becoming lucid?
At first, beginners may have difficulty remaining in the dream after they become lucid. This obstacle may prevent many people from realizing the value of lucid dreaming, because they have not experienced more than the flash of knowing they are dreaming, followed by immediate awakening. Two simple techniques can help you overcome this problem. The first is to remain calm in the dream. Becoming lucid is exciting, but expressing the excitement can awaken you. Suppress your feeling somewhat and turn your attention to the dream. If the dream shows signs of ending, such as a loss of detail, vividness and apparent reality of the imagery, "spinning" can help bring the dream back. As soon as the dream starts to fade, before you feel your physical body in bed, spin your dream body like a top. That is, twirl around like a child trying to get dizzy (you don't get dizzy during dream spinning because your physical body is not spinning around). Remind yourself, "The next scene will be a dream." When you stop spinning, if it is not obvious that you are dreaming, do a reality test. Even if you think you are awake, you may be surprised to find that you are still dreaming!
*** WHERE TO FIND LUCID DREAMING TRAINING
Over the past decade, exercises, techniques and training materials have been developed and refined to the point where most anyone should be able to learn to have more lucid dreams if they are willing to give it some time and effort. The Lucidity Institute offers lucid dreaming training through several modalities. To start, most bookstores carry (or can easily get) the book EXPLORING THE WORLD OF LUCID DREAMING by LaBerge and Rheingold (Ballantine, 1990), or you can order it from the Lucidity Institute. It presents a stepby -step training program with exercises and an introduction to the various possible applications of lucid dreaming. The basic structure in this book is greatly expanded and augmented by the Lucidity Institute's workbook A COURSE IN LUCID DREAMING. The course is five units, taking a minimum of 4 months to complete, and it guides you through completing a series of progressive exercises to build up your lucid dreaming ability. It uses EWLD as a textbook.
An intensive overview of lucid dreaming techniques is presented at Lucidity Institute Lucid Dreaming Training Programs. These workshops are often offered as a package with the purchase of a Lucidity Institute lucid dream induction device (DreamLight or NovaDreamer). So far, most of the Training Programs have been held in California, but the Lucidity Institute will give one wherever there is enough interest. Dr. LaBerge also gives weekend seminars at the Esalen Institute in Big Sur, California about once a year, as well as occasional lectures and workshops at other venues. To find out about upcoming events, contact the Lucidity Institute (via Email at firstname.lastname@example.org or telephone at 415-321-9969).
*** RECOMMENDED BOOKS ON LUCID DREAMING
This is a selection of some recommended books and tapes on lucid dreaming. The titles marked with an asterisk (*) are available from the Lucidity Institute.
*LUCID DREAMING, by Stephen LaBerge, Ph.D., (Ballantine, 1986) This is the seminal work that first brought lucid dreaming to the attention of the general public and legitimized it as a valuable field of scientific inquiry. It is still the best general reference on lucid dreaming, and a pleasure to read. The phenomenon of lucid dreaming is explored from many angles, beginning with the history of the practice in human cultures. LaBerge describes the early days of the scientific research and tells the story of his successful challenge of the established school of thought in sleep research, which held that awareness while dreaming was impossible. He discusses many methods of lucid dream induction, including the way he taught himself to have lucid dreams several times in one night. Other topics covered include: applications of lucid dreaming, the relationship of lucid dreaming to out-of-body and near-death experiences, and the possibility of lucid dreaming serving as a gateway or stepping stone on the path to spiritual enlightenment.
*EXPLORING THE WORLD OF LUCID DREAMING, by Stephen LaBerge, Ph.D. and Howard Rheingold (Ballantine, 1990) A practical guide for lucid dreamers. The first half of the book establishes a basic understanding of sleep and dreams, followed by a progressive series of exercises for developing lucid dreaming skills. These include cataloging "dreamsigns," your personal landmarks that tell you when you are dreaming, the ReflectionIntention and MILD techniques for becoming lucid within the dream and methods of falling asleep consciously based on ancient Tibetan Yoga practices. After presenting the lucid dream induction techniques, Dr. LaBerge explains his understanding of the origin of dreams, founded on current views in the sciences of consciousness and cognition. This provides a foundation for the methods of employing lucid dreams to enhance your life, which are detailed in the second half of the book. The applications considered are: adventures and explorations, rehearsal for living, creative problemsolving, overcoming nightmares, healing, and discovery of expanded awareness and spiritual experience. Many delightful and illuminating anecdotes from lucid dreamers illustrate the use of lucid dreams for each application.
*CONSCIOUS MIND, SLEEPING BRAIN, edited by Jayne Gackenbach, Ph.D. and Stephen LaBerge, Ph.D. (Plenum, 1990) Nineteen dream researchers and other professionals contributed to this scholarly volume. It represents a wide spectrum of viewpoints in the field of lucid dreaming study, and is an essential reference for anyone interested in studying lucid dreams or applying them in clinical practice. Topics include: literature, psychophysiology, personality, therapy, personal experience, related states of consciousness, and more.
LUCID DREAMS, by Celia E. Green (Hamish Hamilton, London, 1968) This is the book that inspired Dr. LaBerge to begin his studies of lucid dreaming. Green reviews the literature on lucid dreaming up through the 50's, including the Marquis de Saint-Denys' work described below. She also presents case histories of lucid dreamers and well characterizes much of the phenomenology (subjective experience) of lucid dreaming.
DREAMS AND HOW TO GUIDE THEM, by The Marquis d'Hervey de SaintDenys, edited by Morton Schatzman (Duckworth, London, 1982) A great pioneer of the art of lucid dreaming, the Marquis first published this exploration of lucid dreaming in 1867, yet this is a very modern, and, yes, lucid, thesis. He describes his personal experiments, and the development of his ability to exercise control in his lucid dreams.
PATHWAY TO ECSTASY: THE WAY OF THE DREAM MANDALA, by Patricia Garfield, Ph.D. (Prentice Hall, 1989)
Delightfully told story of Patricia Garfield's transcendent and erotic adventures with lucid dreaming.
*CONTROLLING YOUR DREAMS, by Stephen LaBerge, Ph.D. (Audio Renaissance Tapes, Inc., 1987, 60 minutes) This audio cassette tape captures the essence of Dr. LaBerge's public lectures on lucid dreaming. It is highly informative and inspirational. Use it as an excellent introduction to the topic or a concise refresher. Dr. LaBerge begins by portraying the experience of lucid dreaming. He then presents methods for learning the skill, including the powerful MILD technique. The descriptions he gives of possible applications of lucid dreaming, from creative problem solving and rehearsal for living, to overcoming nightmares and achieving greater psychological integration, will encourage you to learn this valuable skill.