Access to mystical realms is not reserved for the sages alone. Each night in dream time you have an opportunity to transcend the mundane and fly among all creation. Sleep is the state that unites all beings. A delicate respite of vulnerable slumber that we must all succumb. It is a mini death, entering the unknown landscape and the rebirth that morning brings. For those adventurous enough to transcend the material world, a portal to the universe awaits.
The most basic of human functions is the need for sleep. Yet deep within this nebulous state, awaits an opportunity for profound healing and spiritual evolution.
Lucid dreaming is a gate on any consciousness explorer’s journey.
To ignore this obvious avenue of connection would be foolish. Lucid dreams offer the quickest and most direct pathway to our spiritual destiny.
"The power to dream is the power to participate in creation itself." - Alberto Villoldo
What is Lucid Dreaming?
Lucid dreaming is a state of consciousness, when we are aware that we are dreaming. Some might suggest it gives us the ability to control our dreams; this view is driven by ego. Lucid dreaming is best understood as a spiritual state present within each of us that heightens our human experience.
Dreams are our birthright and grant us access to the most potent channels of healing and spiritual enlightenment.
The wondrous news is dreaming is freely available to us all! No special skills, no dogma, no fancy equipment required. It is a competency that you can develop with simple practices of awareness and dedication.
Shamans and Lucid Dreaming
Shamans are healers who walk between the worlds to bring back knowledge and healing that benefits the community. The shamanic state is a waking dream. Shamans train in every lineage to use dreams to continue the work performed during the day.
In the shamanic journey, drums are used to induce a trance like state. The brain is bored by the monotonous tones and the spirit is free to explore. The most important thing I like to share with students is the brain doesn’t know the difference between waking and sleeping. Moreover, the brain corresponds no differently to our imagination versus our perceived/accepted reality. This is the aha of the shamanic journey-- whatever you experience is as real as if you did it.
The goal of the shaman is to awaken within the dream, to recognize that all life is an illusion. When we awaken to this truth its then at our discretion to create reality as we choose. This gives us an active hand in shaping reality and supports the conscious evolution of the planet.
"Lucid dreaming is actually a shamanic skill, a method of heightened awareness in the dream that allows healers, medicine men and soothsayers access to information, insight and energetic powers. Lucid dreaming doesn’t require technology: it is the technology." - Reality Sandwich
Why Practice Lucid Dreaming?
As shaman, every moment of my professional life is being in these in-between spaces of reality. I travel to other planets, retrieve and heal past life traumas, and remove energy disruptions from the body. I allow my sleeping hours to be a place of rest, a place to restore from my waking reality. I recognize this now as naive and even a bit selfish. How much growth am I blocking by passively allowing my dreams to choreograph themselves?
Dreams are a nebulous human function. We all take part though science can offer no quantifiable reason why this state is necessary. This uncertainty only implies that dreams must serve a spiritual purpose beyond reason.
Benefits of Lucid Dreaming
Popularized by shamanic explorer Carlos Castaneda, lucid dreaming was a pop culture phenomena in the 1970s. It gathered many a devoted following and has matured as the early nighttime explorers have deepened their paths. Thanks to their passion, much research exists which validates its use for sincere spiritual development.
One need not be a shaman to reap the blessings of lucid dreaming. Beyond the delight of directing your dreams there are countless benefits.
Nikolai Telsa (arguably the greatest mind of our time) was an avid lucid dreamer. Through his “dream experiments“ he would build and design his paradigm shifting inventions. Tesla relied on his dream state to perfect his illustrious technologies.
Many of us have had the experience of going to bed with a problem only to find a solution clear when we wake. To actively engage this space during trauma or uncertainty offers immeasurable blessings.
Andrew Holecek shares “When we fall asleep, we drop below the dualistic ego. We temporarily disconnect from the superficial layers of mind and connect to our shared awakened nature. You can go to sleep confused and wake up transformed.”
Increased Competence at a Skill
Lucid dream researcher Stephen Leberge shows that during lucid dreams “neurological, respiratory, cardiovascular, and other physiological functions” are activated. The brain responds to the dream as though it is happening in reality!
Research confirms that to practice physical activities during the lucid dream, we actually enhance our waking performance. It is a technique used by athletes and professionals alike to achieve greater success.
Success & Accomplishing Life Goals
Dreaming offers us a space to transcend our goals and visions for ourself. Daydreaming is a trusted pastime to relax the mind and explore new possibilities! Lucid dreaming then is day dreaming turned to 11. To use lucid dreams to experience life goals actually aids us in achieving them. Think of it like a training ground of your greatest desires.
In a lucid dream we can try out being who we want to be. When we allow ourself to model the big goals in dream time we can more easily step into them in the waking state. The brain knows not the difference, and we can use the lessons of the dream landscape to overcome obstacles with ease. Much like the tarot is used to perceive possible pitfalls, the dream landscape can be used similarly to play with scenarios and outcomes to avoid missteps.
Healing Psychological Trauma
Of the most impactful benefits of lucid dreaming is the ability to heal. We can use the lucid dream to revisit events from our past. There we can confront the perpetrator and regain our power. In the case of grief, dreaming also allows us to have closure with the loved ones we have lost.
The most documented therapeutic benefit involves those with recurrent nightmares. In the lucid dream we have control to change the situation. This is a powerful transformation that reminds us we create our reality and can overcome any adversity.
Enhanced Psychic Abilities
The practice required for effective lucid dreaming lies in our increased awareness of the world around us. To heighten our sensitivity naturally parlays into the psychic arena as well. Many fascinating experiments ask dream participants to acquire information in the dream state they would have no way of knowing. Consistently people return with information and details which can be proven. This establishes lucid dreaming as slipping between the realities just as shamans do.
Lucid dreaming gives us the ability to explore the unused parts of our brain. When we recognize our ability to see and sense beyond the waking state, the pineal gland stimulates and our higher psychic functions activate. The more we practice our psychic prowess the more readily it can spontaneously come to us during the day.
As the brain plays in these multi-dimensional spaces, the faster our spirits evolve. The bounds of reality begin to dissolve and we reclaim our true co-creative nature. We experience our ability to affect the dream and exercise it in our waking state. If we recognize the world is an illusion of our own creation, we begin to write better stories for our current lives.
Once you learn to navigate through dreams, you will navigate through life with ease. This is the blessing of our conscious evolution. And it is yours for the asking!
7 Steps to Lucid Dreaming
1. Keep a Dream Journal
Track your dreams to learn the themes and landscapes. If you dream of a passed relative or your childhood home, your mind recognizes this as a dream. The goal is to become cognizant of these motifs so your brain can alert you to your sleeping state.
It is best to write down your dreams upon first waking to capture as much as you can. Also, don’t jump out of bed in the morning. To record the most vivid details, stay in the same space and wake gently.
2. Set an Intention & State Verbal Affirmations
Before sleeping state “I will remember my dreams. I will have a lucid dream.” This affirmation sets within your brain and body the fertile possibility for it to occur.
When you can enter into sleep with a clear intention of what you want to experience, your brain can easily conspire to orchestrate this in lucid dream time.
3. Get Enough Sleep
If your body and brain are tired, you won’t have enough time in the REM cycle to explore the spaces where lucid dreams occur. Go to bed a bit earlier to honor the sacred space you wish to traverse.
4. Set an Alarm
Lucid dreams happen during the REM phase, a few hours before waking. Set an alarm to go off 1-2 hours before you normally wake. Stay awake for 15-30 minutes in a calm space and one which you can gently return to sleep. This will aid you in being more aware that you are dreaming.
Fascinatingly, as I’ve been writing this article my interest in lucid dreaming has piqued. Spontaneously I am waking right before REM and can program my mind to re-enter sleep with greater recall!
5. Lucid Dream Tools
There are many aids that can improve our chances of a lucid dream.
Quartz is a great stone for memory and can help you recall the details for your dream journal. If you want to up your likelihood of a lucid dream, scolecite and danburite when combined are powerful allies to trigger this state.
Binaural beats are sound frequencies that aid the brain by playing tones at slighted altered intervals. Specific waves to induce REM and our theta state have assist in lucid dreaming when played at the right sleep cycle.
Let Technology Help
A plethora of apps exist to alert you when you are in REM and prepare you consciously for your lucid dream time. The Aurora Dream Headband goes one step further to detect brainwaves and flash mild lights when you reach REM. None of these will guarantee a lucid dream but they will significantly up your chances!
Sacred plants have long been a boon to the spiritually aware. There are many herbs to support lucid dreams including valerian root and mugwort. Your best bet is ready made blends you can find online and will save you countless trips to the apothecary.
6. Reality Checks
Performed while awake, these playful tests will bleed over into your dream state to trigger the awareness that you are actually asleep.
Push hands together – in a dream your hands will go through each other
Pinch nostrils to stop breathing – in a dream breath will be unaffected
Look at a book – in a dream, the words will change or be indecipherable
Count – in a dream, easy brain functions like math and numbers don’t compute
State “I am awake” – in a dream, state “I am dreaming”
7. Dream Yoga
When you want to move into the deep study of your dreams for healing and total transformation, dream yoga is the graduate level. It is an ancient practice employed by the Tibetan Buddhists. This observes the spiritual development that lucid dreams offer. As shamans honor the dream space for their continued work, so too do the yogis revere this time for continuing their mindfulness training.
Holecek states “The purpose of these practices is to integrate lucidity and flexibility with every moment of life and to let go of the heavily conditioned way we have of ordering reality, of making meaning, of being trapped in delusion.”
Chances are you have already had a lucid dream but may not have recognized it. Sometimes we wake before our alarm or you have woken yourself from a bad dream. Admittedly these are not advanced techniques from dedicated practice, but they are spontaneous ways you have exerted some control over your dream state.
Your dreams are safe, they are the storehouse of you and can offer tremendous healing. To consciously work with your dreams in lucid dreaming, you are in no true danger. Rather it is the shadows that dwell inside of you that may finally be evicted.
We are all dreaming the world into being. This is the mastery of shamans and yogis alike. When we actively participate to bring our conscious mind to this state we have the power to shift the world. Dreaming is an act of creation itself. Quite simply, knowing your dreams is to know yourself. Allow the lucid dream to be your gateway to become more present within your world and grant yourself the power to birth a new reality.