Thursday 22 July 2010

Is lucid dreaming like the film Inception?

Lucid dreamers like myself have been looking forward to the new 2010 blockbuster film Inception from Christopher Nolan. It stars Leonardo DiCaprio and if you enjoy action packed films with a good story you should certainly give it a try.

This post is for people who have watched Inception and wonder if the type of experiences shown can be relived through lucid dreaming.

Detailed Environments
Inception shows dream worlds as detailed as real life that can be experienced with all your senses. This is true of lucid dreams. It would be possible to touch the floor and know what material the carpet is made of. You can walk through imaginary cities and worlds and really feel as though you are there.

Dream World Manipulation
Inception is a big budget film that includes scenes such as cities folding in on themselves at the will of a dream architect. Lucid dreamers routinely play with their dream reality. We blow things up, create objects or creatures and invent our own locations. We can and do experience some of the big budget effects that you witness in the film.

Time In Dreams
It is difficult to gauge time in a dream. You can't use a watch or clock because they behave erratically. The concept of having a dream within a dream forcing your brain to work faster and time to slow down is a great concept for the film, but not something you should expect to experience in a lucid dream. However, time can seem much longer in a dream because your mind takes short cuts to progress the story. For example, when dreaming about driving to work, in reality it may take 30 minutes but in the dream it may take seconds if there is no story to play out during the trip.

Independent Dream Characters
The film shows dream characters created by the dreamers subconscious that act independently and unexpectedly. This is also true of lucid dreams. People will appear (some that you know, some that you don't) and interact with you. Although your mind creates them you have no idea what they will do next. You interact with them as though they are real.

But There's More
In Inception the dreamers are limited by physical constraints. Lucid dreamers have no constraints. We can jump in to the air and fly, toss a car down the road, walk through walls. We are only limited by our imagination. Let me also reassure you that dying in a dream is not dangerous and you do not end up in limbo :)

I hope this gives you some insight in to lucid dreams and how you can use them to create your own blockbuster experience. You may not be able to hook in to each others dreams like in Inception, but you can always share them in our lucid dreaming forums instead.

Saturday 11 July 2009

Reading my way into a lucid dream

I woke early this morning as I often do. I think it's the bright light coming in to the room through the blinds that brings me around.

A few factors lead me to believe that I could have a lucid dream if I went back to sleep.
1) I didn't start thinking about work or the day ahead when I woke. That is always sure to make my mind too alert and wakeful.
2) I still had a good hour or more before I needed to get up.
3) A few seconds after closing my eyes, random images entered my mind. This is always a really good sign. My mind was still in the state where it randomly churns out inspirational images, or scenarios to fuel my dreams.

I put on my sleep mask to block out the light that had woken me and let myself drift off. I had various short dreams and daydreams but nothing lucid at first.

Then, laying on my right side, I imagined I could see through my sleep mask. In front of me was a piece of paper with a 6 digit code. I slowly examined the code one number at a time. As expected in a dream, the code didn't remain consistent. I didn't try hard to remember the numbers but just noticed that it was slightly different each time I read through it.

After a couple of minutes I noticed that I couldn't just see the code any more, I could see the whole bedroom around me. My imagined scenario had become my dream reality - I was in a lucid dream :) It was fortunate that I noticed the clarity of my surroundings and realised I was lucid, otherwise I may have wasted the experience by just staring at the code.

1) It was useful to recognise that my mind was in an ideal state for lucid dreaming.
2) My sleep mask helped by stopping the bright morning light from keeping me awake.
3) Reading the short code held my concentration as I drifted in to a dream state, and it reminded me I was dreaming by it's inconsistent behaviour.
4) My sleep mask also helped me confirm that I was dreaming because I knew I hadn't removed it and yet could still see.

I will definitely try this approach again.

Saturday 4 July 2009

Unpredictable Dream Characters

Dream characters are really interesting creatures. Although they are created from your own thoughts you never know what they will do next. You may see old friends who you haven't thought of for years or meet people that you can't ever recall seeing before.

Until this morning I thought that all dream characters had one thing in common. If you ask them if you are dreaming they will dismiss the idea or try to tell you that you can't be dreaming. This can be an obsticle to becoming lucid if they talk you out of questioning your dream reality.

In my lucid dream this morning I was in an unfamiliar location and my mum was showing me her new TV that allowed you to change channel via hand or body gestures (an upcoming feaure on the Xbox 360). Suddenly both the TV and us were in a different room. This kind of thing happens all the time in dreams but we just go with the flow, but when you are on the verge of becoming lucid its a strange experience. I was totally baffled but still didn't know I was dreaming. My mum didn't notice the change of location but when I talked to her about it she seemed to believe me and joined in trying to figure it out.

Finally, it struck me and I said, "This must be a dream.", "Maybe your right" my mum said.

Now I was lucid and ready to go and enjoy myself :)

So, the one behaviour of dream characters that I thought was consistent (their insistence that you are not dreaming) can also be upredictable. Now if only I could get them to go out of their way to point out when I'm dreaming I could be having lucid dreams every night :)

Monday 6 April 2009

Findings So Far

Food and Lucid Dreaming
On the rare occasion I've experienced lucid dreams over the previous months I've been considering what I was doing and eating prior to the lucid dream in the hope of spotting a reproducible pattern.

A couple of lucid dream followed eating large amounts of ice cream or chocolate before bed, others followed overeating generally (which I normally don't do). However, simulating the same conditions did not provide further lucid dreams.

I don't think food is going to be the key, and its likely that eating sugary foods or large quantities prior to bed simply led to a disrupted sleep pattern. It's already known that having your sleep pattern disturbed can help invoke lucid dreams.

My personal conclusion is to avoid using food or drink to try to invoke lucid dreams. I think there are better more controllable and healthier ways to effect sleep patterns.

Abstract Dreams Stop Lucid Dreaming
I often have very abstract dreams that are related to work or problem solving. While there is imagery in the dreams there is no environment or people, just repeating images that represent work I am conducting or a problem I am trying to solve. I believe that the absence of people and environment makes it practically impossible to have a lucid dream.

I know it's the pressure of work that causes these abstract dreams. My partner Kelly is under the same pressure but she has normal dreams and also has great dream recall. The difference is her ability to switch off from work and focus on other things at night.

I still believe (as I mentioned in an earlier post) that increasingly using my imagination in inspiring ways can help me to have better quality dreams. If I promote fantasy based dreams I am sure that lucid dreams will follow, but my work is against me at the moment.

I have an idea how we can all help each other inspire great dreams. It's going to take me a few months to get my ideas ready, but when I do you will find a new feature at my website My codename for the project is "the guiLD" and I can't wait to get started.

To end on a positive note, I had my best ever dream a couple of weeks ago and funnily enough it wasn't event a lucid dream, just very vivid and an unbelievable experience. I may describe it in a later post if I can find the time :)

Tuesday 17 March 2009

Quick Update

I can't believe it's been so long since I last posted. I just wanted to write a quick entry to say that I haven't stopped lucid dreaming and will be posting again soon. Unfortunately I have been too busy working to make any proper blog posts, but I do have a couple of things to report and will be back on again soon.

Friday 5 September 2008

Getting Back To Basics

A couple of weeks ago my dream recall became poor again. This was disappointing after previously seeing some good improvement. It's been quite a while now since I had a lucid experience and feel as though I am going through one of those dry spells.

It's times like this that people often give up on lucid dreaming. However, I remember going through the same thing when I first attempted lucid dreaming. I kept struggling, giving up for a while, and then starting again. Eventually it worked!

I still don't know what eventually made it work for me, but maybe those rest breaks were important in some way. I do think that trying too hard to have lucid dreams can be detrimental and it certainly shouldn't get in the way of having good quality sleep.

I am still regularly working on my website because it is my hobby and I find it interesting. I am also doing my regular reality checks because they are easy. But, other than that I have started to give myself a break. I have stopped drinking water before bed to cause me to get up during the night to pee and stopped waking a couple of hours early to practice the wake-back-to-bed technique. The interesting thing is that since giving myself a break about 4 nights ago, I have managed to recall 2 good quality dreams.

When I first re-started my lucid dream attempts I jumped straight in, trying anything and everything to make progress. I know how great they are and I'm an impatient person at the best of times. I think that this may be part of my problem. When I used to have lucid dreams more regularly I remember them coming with less effort.

So, I am going back to basics. My plan is to:
1) Try to find out what makes me recall dreams by keeping a journal of my daily routine including what I eat & drink, how many hours I work, walk, workout. What programs and films I watch and what my general mood is like etc.
2) Introduce experiments one at a time to see how they effect my dream recall.

My first experiment relates to exercising my imagination.
Experiment 1 - Imagination & Dreaming
When I was younger I used to day dream every day for quite long periods. This continued to my mid 20's at least. I don't have time to daydream any more and I wonder how exercising my imagination in that way could help my dreams. Adding fuel to this idea is the fact that my girlfriend recalls dreams every night. We live, eat, sleep, work and relax together so have exactly the same routine. But Kelly is very much a day dreamer.

So, I plan to have periodic brakes from my work to have short day dreaming sessions. I will report back on any effect this has.

Monday 11 August 2008

Progress with Dream Recall

My dream recall is slowly improving using the techniques mentioned in my last blog posting. I have been under pressure to meet some timescales recently so haven't had as much time to commit to lucid dreaming as I would have liked. Hopefully this will change again soon.

I still don't remember a dream every night, but it's not far off now. I have found that when using the MILD technique I have been waking in the middle of the night after some dreams. Unfortunately I am still in a confused state and sometimes don't make the connection that I have just woken after a dream and am supposed to be updating my dream journal.

It does appear to be very important that you shouldn't move before trying to recall your dream. I have forgotten a few dreams because I decided I could still remember it (as it only just happened) and set off to the bathroom. Even if it still feels recent, you should lie in bed and run over the dream a few times before you move and then write it down straight away.

I am enjoying recalling my dreams. They seem to be getting more vivid too. Now I just have to turn them in to lucid dreams.

I did manage another short lucid dream this week. I found myself in a game I play called Halo 3 on the xbox 360. The visuals were really clear and I was looking forward to trying using the weapons and man cannons that shoot you through the air but unfortunately I woke up. I am really excited about visiting this place again, so I have added to my Dream To Do List to ensure I don't forget it.