Today, there’s a lot of buzz about mindfulness, which is wonderful. But we often neglect our sleep and dreams. Imagine how much more your life could transform if you brought mindfulness into the third of your life that you spend asleep!
When we are mindful, we focus our awareness on the present moment and become fully conscious of our thoughts, emotions, and experiences. This helps us to wake up in our lives.
The more awake we become in our everyday life, the higher our baseline level of awareness becomes in our dreams, too.
Lucid dreaming is when we are aware that we’re dreaming while we are dreaming. Lucidity is simply a raised level of awareness during the dream state, and it’s a learnable skill.
If somebody offered you a wellness experience where you could float blissfully in a luxury spa pool, go on wonderful adventures, fly through the sky with no fear of being hurt, and return feeling refreshed and pampered without missing even one minute of work, would you take it?
This wellness experience is available to all of us every night, no matter if we’re rich or poor because it’s an experience we can create in our own bedroom while we sleep and dream. Lucid dreaming is one of the few things in the world that doesn’t cost a penny.
Our dreams are like a movie reel of our own deep unconscious imagery. Dreaming belongs to everyone, and since we all do it every night anyway, nobody can argue that we are ‘wasting’ time by choosing to experience dreams mindfully. On the contrary, we get much more out of life when we engage lucidly with our dreams, as they can help us on the emotional, physical, spiritual, and social levels.
Recalling dreams and working with them while awake is a huge step forward for mindful living and a pathway to lucid dreaming, as it connects us with the deepest part of ourselves and hones our conscious awareness.
Why settle for being only two-thirds mindful when there is so much benefit from being mindful of what is happening in our unconscious during the third of our lives that we spend asleep?
Dream mindfulness and lucid dreaming are incredibly enriching and can propel us into profound healing experiences.
Here are some tips on how to become lucid in your dreams:
- Cultivate mindful awareness by day. Ask yourself many times a day: “Am I dreaming right now?” How do you know you aren’t? In our night dreams, for the most part, we blindly accept the dream as reality, no matter how bizarre it becomes. Test your reality by day, question your state of consciousness, and you’re more likely to do this during a dream and so realize: “Aha, this IS a dream!”
- Attune yourself to beauty and invite moments of high lucidity into your day. Whenever you experience beauty (or ugliness, or strangeness, or surprise), allow this to propel you into a higher state of consciousness. Do a reality check, such as trying to put your finger through the palm of your other hand (if it goes through, you’re dreaming!), or jump into the air to see if you float.
- Keep a dream journal to connect you to your dreaming mind. Notice common themes and images. Tell yourself: “The next time I dream of my brother/purple clouds/my childhood home, I will recognize that I am dreaming!”
Why Meditate in a Lucid Dream?
Have you ever had a spontaneous experience of immersive light while dreaming?
Or a dream so luminous that it seems to show you the very nature of life, death, and the universe?
Dreams can light up a dark night of the soul and show us a glimpse of the eternal. Carl Jung called such life-changing dreams “the richest jewel[s] in the treasure-house of psychic experience”.
Have you ever tried meditating in a lucid dream?
When we become lucid in a dream, our heightened awareness enables us to seek a spiritual experience within the dream state. As a life-long lucid dreamer, I‘ve experimented with many different ways of reacting within lucid dreams, and I’ve found that the fastest way to reach a spiritual state of interconnected oneness is to meditate in a lucid dream.
Why does lucid dream meditation take us so deep, so fast?
Since we are not in our physical body, we don’t have the distractions and discomforts of the body. Since we are already experiencing dreaming consciousness, it doesn’t take much to expand into an even deeper altered state.
Once lucid, how do we go about meditating?
Meditating in a lucid dream doesn’t have to involve sitting cross-legged and closing our eyes. This can be a helpful entry into meditation, but simply intending to meditate and then closing our eyes in the lucid dream is usually enough to dissolve the dream imagery, dissolve our dream body, and send us into an incredibly deep state of being.
What happens when we meditate in a lucid dream?
We may initially be sucked down wormholes of rainbow light, or we may fall into the lucid void and float in black light, or we may simply find ourselves bathed in luminescence.
It’s good to stay calm and be open to whatever occurs. As with anything new, it may not work out exactly as you hope the first couple of times. Be patient and trust that it will get easier as you learn how to stabilize the lucid dream and enter the right relaxed, alert mindset for meditation.
Often, lucid dream meditation results in an experience of what I refer to in Llewellyn’s Complete Book of Lucid Dreaming as the Lucid Light.
What is the Lucid Light?
After researching this light through my own experiences and those of many other experienced lucid dreamers, I theorize that the Lucid Light is the all-encompassing light from which all form and matter emerge; it’s our baseline state of consciousness, always present, yet most easily accessible in lucid dreams. The Lucid Light may be light of any color. This is the light we emerged from at birth and return to when we die. It’s the source light, and mention of it is made in the dream yoga texts of Tibetan Buddhism as well as in other major religions of the world.
Timeless interconnected oneness and transcendence
Have you ever experienced the Lucid Light in non-lucid dreams or out-of-body experiences, lucid dreams, or the waking state? When we lose the lucid dream body and then lose the ego-self, merging with the Lucid Light, this timeless experience is incredibly regenerative and refreshing, like plugging into the source.
Some deep lucid dreamers feel that Lucid Light experiences teach them to die. We transcend the physical body every night when we fall asleep and take on a dream body. Then we transcend the dream body and become a point of pure consciousness. Then even that sense of self is transcended when we merge with the Lucid Light. It is a beautiful experience of oneness that shows us that death is merely a transition: a return to the light of being.
How can you invite an experience of the Lucid Light?
- In any dream, move towards the light. This may be the dream moon shining above you or dream sunlight sparkling on a dream puddle. It may also be any dream animal, person, or nature scene glowing with life and vitality. When we move towards the light in our dreams, we move towards a place of power in the dream. This also establishes our intention to move towards illumination in our life.
- In your dream journal, note down any experiences with light or luminous nature that occur in your dreams. Chart your progress in this way, noticing that more of these experiences will naturally happen when you show an interest in cultivating them.
- In your next lucid dream, try calling out a request to the dream: “Show me the light!” Or: “I would like to experience the divine!” Word your request in any way that feels right.
- Meditate in waking life, and meditate in your next lucid dream. Invite spiritual experiences into your life and your dreams with an open heart.
Enjoy the exhilarating world of lucid dreaming. Clare Johnson’s course Introduction to Lucid Dreaming takes you step by step through powerful practices to help you get and stay lucid, explore the dream world, and have meaningful interactions with dream guides, animals, and symbols. Dive in to experience the wonder of illuminating your dreams with lucid awareness.
Dr. Clare Johnson, PhD, was the first person in the world to write a PhD on lucid dreaming as a creative tool. A life-long lucid dreamer, she is the most recent past President of the International Association for the Study of Dreams.More Posts by Clare Johnson