Lucid Dreams
August 5, 2005 3:06 PM   Subscribe

Lucid Dreams. Being able to remember and control your dreams. Also see this Ask Metafilter.
posted by Suparnova (58 comments total)
posted by abcde at 3:24 PM on August 5, 2005

I lucid dream on occasion and it's about as close to a god-like feeling as you can get. Wanna fly? Three running steps and you're Superman. Or just wave an arm and make a volcano erupt from the ground. Sweet.

One down side is that you often have a not-entirely-complete awareness of the fact you're dreaming. For example, in one dream I bet my best friend $100 that I could turn a clear blue sky into a raging storm. I did it and woke up feeling smug and slightly richer, then realized, "Hey, how the hell did I think I was going to collect?"
posted by Mr Pointy at 3:30 PM on August 5, 2005

I never get away with lucid dreaming. Sometimes, I'll be in a dream and become aware that I'm dreaming. Either right then, or right when I start trying to take advantage of that fact, the dream is ruined by my awareness. It's like my dream won't allow me to cheat.

So if I'm in a car in a dream, I won't drive all recklessly and over crazy obstacles, because I wouldn't just go and do that in real life. But if I become aware that I'm dreaming and I try to do that stuff, the dream becomes much, much less intense and I start to feel half-awake.

It basically feels like I'm just daydreaming or "using my imagination" like I would when awake at that point.

The fun ones are where, for some reason, in a normal dream, where I'm unaware that I'm dreaming, my dream-consciousness grants me the ability to fly (it's always some kind of skill that's very difficult to master - but I'm getting better the older I get) or have sex with that girl that I normally couldn't. Those dreams rule.

I really wish I could realize I was dreaming while dreaming, do crazy stuff, and not start waking up.

I've never read about people feeling this way. Does this happen to anyone else?
posted by redteam at 3:40 PM on August 5, 2005

I often jump off of high places in my dreams knowing full well that I'm dreaming and that I won't actually hurt myself.

My big fear is that one day I'll convince myself I'm dreaming when I'm really wide awake.
posted by mudpuppie at 3:45 PM on August 5, 2005

I have neither exceptional powers of recollection (although it's exceptional how much I forget, ask my ex-girlfriends) nor a great imagination, and I'm not prone to mystical experience. I've still had a couple lucid dreams. And Mr. Pointy, I've had a similar experience. The worst part was when for a split second later that day I expected my friend to remember the conversation.
posted by solotoro at 3:48 PM on August 5, 2005

I don't know what it says about me, but my lucid dreams regularly go wrong.

The first time I had one I thought "Great! A lucid dream! Let's try this out!" and promptly conjured up a wall with the intention of walking through it. So I set off into the wall confidently and gave myself a painful bump. I succeeded on the second attempt.

Since then I've had a number of others, and on several occasions I've taken to the air and have crashed a few minutes later when I've lost control, and similar examples of rather disastrous partial control of dream-reality have also occurred.
posted by edd at 3:56 PM on August 5, 2005

I've suffered from bad dreams since childhood and truly horrific nightmares and night terrors since since my early teens. I frequently lucid dream, and now wonder if I have trained myself to do this to cope with very bad dreams. I don't recognise Mr Pointy's descriptions of superhuman powers, but when I do dream lucidly it comes with a moment of realisation - "oh, right!". From there I have choices (don't open *that* door), rather than complete control, and things tend not to be so bad. On a couple of occasions, though, when lucid dreaming, I've dreamt I've woken up, so any horrors that occur after that are entirely out of my control again, and I think they're real.
posted by nthdegx at 4:01 PM on August 5, 2005

redteam: Does this happen to anyone else?

Often when I begin to recognize a lucid dream, the dream begins to fade and everything seems to turn orange...much as if I just had my eyes closed in a bright room. And then I will generally awaken; if not I lose self-awareness and drift back into a normal sleep.

Less often, I am actually able to function within the lucid dream; however I am usually inable to remain lucid for long. Flying and walking through walls remain difficult stunts, though I have found that flapping my arms helps me to remain airborne.
posted by malocchio at 4:02 PM on August 5, 2005

"I've taken to the air and have crashed a few minutes later when I've lost control"

Bizarre. I was talking to someone about this today. A recurring dream I have is of being able to fly, but of having no control of it. I float up and up over mountains or cities, knowing any minute I am going to come crashing back down to earth -- usually painful. This dream is never lucid, though...
posted by nthdegx at 4:03 PM on August 5, 2005

nthdegx: I should perhaps add that the crashing has never been painful. That wall on the other hand...
posted by edd at 4:06 PM on August 5, 2005

I have pretty much the same experience. It only really happens when I have nightmares, I can realize its a dream and at first all I could do was wake up but then I heard about this and strated making them good dreams. If I like a dream, and wake up, I can go back to sleep and continue it. But if I do this to much with the same dream I feel wierd.... like bland or kind of empty is the closest I can come.
posted by Suparnova at 4:16 PM on August 5, 2005

Mr Pointy: "Hey, how the hell did I think I was going to collect?"

This is very much something I get in dreams. For instance, I will, in the dream, be trying to achieve something such as solve a problem I've had, or find something I've lost, and I will achieve it and feel really good for it when I wake up. Sometimes it can take a while to realise it wasn't real, and I feel cheated.

Other times, I will do something or something will happen in a dream, and even though it wasn't real, it will actually affect reality. For instance, I once had a dream about a girl I never thought would like me which was so vivid that convinced me to ask her out (it didn't work out). It's like because you experience it, it becomes real, you make it real. Okay, it might not have really happened, but does that stop it affecting reality?

A lot of my dreams are lucid, in that I feel I can control them, but I am not necessarily free to do what I want, and like others have said, once you realise you are dreaming, it all comes apart (a similar feeling can be applied to life in some senses, but that's another days' FPP). I think you can change the way you dream; once upon a time I would have loved to have been able to dream sex in a way which is realistic, but now it happens on occasion through a sort of 'willing it to happen' frame of mind.

Dreams. What strange windows to the mind they are.
posted by Acey at 4:54 PM on August 5, 2005

I remember reading LaBerge's book (or first book, anyway...he may well have written others by now) back in college. Because I was reading it and therefore thinking about lucid dreaming a lot, I had a couple lucid dreams that week, but probably only a couple more in the (many) years since then. I tend to have a problem like those described above, where the realization that I'm lucid-dreaming is so exciting that I wake up, or -- worse -- dream that I wake up, and realize later (when I do wake up), that I lost a chance to keep going. Unlike the author of Straight Dope, I think Berge is right that it is learnable for most people. Even remembering dreams is learnable: the received wisdom is that if you write your dreams down every morning, or at least spend some time going over them in your mind, your recollection will get much better. (I've even found that one gets rapidly better at crossword puzzles after a week or so of daily practice -- wouldn't you think "ability to remember trivia" was something more settled?) LaBerge also gives some good tips on how to become lucid and how to stay lucid (I'm not pimping his book, or anything...I'm sure all this stuff is out there on the net by now, anyway).
As for personal growth, I don't remotely have enough experience to testify, but considering that it's a state where the conscious mind (self-awareness and volition) is directly in contact with the unconscious (which is producing a detailed full-immersion simulation of waking experience), I'm sure there are some possibilities there. As I recall, LaBerge discusses a Tibetan Buddhist tradition that uses lucid dreams (unless I read that somewhere else).
Always a good thread topic, even if it's been touched on before...hey, maybe I'll even have a lucid dream tonight!
posted by uosuaq at 4:57 PM on August 5, 2005

I have lucid dreams once in a while, but I never think of doing super-human things when it happens. I just become a lot more aware of my surroundings and focus on exploring and talking to the people around me. In a non-lucid dream, going off on my own is out of the question (and they're usually horrible work anxiety dreams, anyway.) The odd thing is, a lot of the time I don't become lucid until I've been 'killed' in the dream. That's usually the point where I realize, "Hey- I've just been run over/shot/ fallen of the top of a building and I'm sitting up. Must be a dream."
posted by maryh at 5:11 PM on August 5, 2005

Yeah, one of my lucid dreams started when I got mad and banged a pot against the cupboard (I was "in" the "kitchen" at the "time"). I suddenly realized: hey -- that's not somthing I'd do!
You're smart (or lucky) not to do anything more than just become aware and look around -- I didn't put it this way above, but when you try to "take control", you lose it. You can assert yourself a bit, but don't try to write the screenplay, I think.
posted by uosuaq at 5:14 PM on August 5, 2005

The Straight Dope's version is an OK overview of lucid dreaming... up until it just turns, well, ignorant:

The simplest explanation for conscious control of dreams is that the dreamer is in fact close to consciousness, and that practitioners have merely mastered the art of dancing on the thin line between wakefulness and sleep. LaBerge doesn't buy this, telling me, "Our research indicates that lucid dreaming takes place during deep, intense REM sleep." We might debate whether higher central nervous system involvement = deep sleep, but let's leave that for later.

This reflects a lack of understanding of sleep research. Levels of sleep are largely defined by brainwave activity. REM sleep, which involves the eye muscles, is still considered deep sleep. Lucid dreaming occurs most often in this phase, not in anything close to near-waking levels. It's fine to have your own opinion about the implications of lucid dreaming, but facts are not something "we might debate."

More relevant for present purposes is whether lucid dreaming can be learned. LaBerge says yes, but I'm not convinced it's something everyone can do. Even a casual reading of first-person accounts suggests that lucid dreamers have exceptional powers of recollection.

A casual reading does not, then, reflect reality, as dream recall is something that can be fostered and developed, and lucid dreams definitely occur in people with only average dream recall. What makes this a bit obnoxious is that the ability to generate lucid dreams is partially based on one's own expectation, and this guy, through ignorance, is helping to make it harder for some people who might have wanted to try it.

I merely suggest that a knack for lucid dreaming seems a lot like perfect pitch--cool if you've got it, but not the end of the world if you don't.

Well, again, no, it's more like an inverse of perfect pitch - there does seem to be a small percentage of people - similar to those with perfect pitch - for whom lucid dreaming is too much of a struggle to achieve. For most of us it happens spontaneously at least a few times throughout our life. And if attended to, most of us can have a lucid dream. That doesn't mean we'll master it, but maybe it's not something meant to be mastered.

Sorry to go on for so long, but I wanted to make sure those points didn't slip by in an otherwise fine summary of the topic.

You can assert yourself a bit, but don't try to write the screenplay, I think.

This is well spoke. Sometimes you may be granted godlike powers, but usually if you demand them you'll get some trickery instead.
posted by soyjoy at 5:39 PM on August 5, 2005

i had lucid dreams much more often when i was younger. Flying is just like swimming. I've talked to someone who says she has lucid dreams every nite. I also have varying degrees of lucidity. Sometimes i lose lucidity or the dream stops if i try to control things. I can also wake up from dreams when i want to. This came in handy when, as a kid, i would dream about taking a test at school. In one dream i remember having as a kid, i wondered if i could dissapear from the dream world by waking up, and then reappear by going back into it. I said to a girl in class- "I bet you i can dissapear." I momentarily opened my eyes. I saw my bedroom. I closed my eyes again and went right back into the dream. "There, i dissapeared for a second," i said. "No you didn't," she replied. Oh well.
posted by TechnoLustLuddite at 5:42 PM on August 5, 2005

That's hilarious, TLL, because I'm sure to her you didn't! But I wonder if you saw your actual bedroom or the dream just helpfully filled that part in so you'd believe you'd jumped out and back in. "False awakenings" are common right after lucid dreaming. (I always think of the dreaming self as saying "Oh, look at Mr. Smarty Pants! Waking up in a dream! Yeah, you're 'awake' all right")
posted by soyjoy at 5:48 PM on August 5, 2005

Have you ever had a dream, Neo, that you were so sure was real? What if you were unable to wake from that dream? How would you know the difference between the dream world and the real world?
posted by rswst8 at 5:52 PM on August 5, 2005

hey did you guys know that if you die in your dreams YOU DIE IN REAL LIFE!?!?! be careful!
posted by Satapher at 5:52 PM on August 5, 2005

This is very true! I forget much of what happens in my dreams and the circumstances of them happening, but I have had dreams where I wake up within the dream. One in particular involved me experiencing a whole day before waking up for real, and then really not being up for another re-run. I was told this week that during REM sleep, you can experience things in high-speed on recollection... for instance, you can experience a lot more that 5 minutes of events in only 5 mins REM sleep. Is this true?
posted by Acey at 5:56 PM on August 5, 2005

The question is, how can you tell the diffrence between a Lucid Dream, and a dream about being omnipotent?
posted by delmoi at 6:09 PM on August 5, 2005

Oh lucid dreams. How I miss them.

I used to have quite a number of lucid dreams when I was about 15 or 16...I'd recognize them as lucid because everything moves so slowly, like in slow motion, and I start hovering and softly bouncing on the ground. It felt like an out-of-body experience, only in a different world.

I've had those "dream of waking up" moments. Couple that with a period of night terrors (you're awake, you just can't move a muscle) and it gets really confusing.

The last lucid dream I remember having was that I was on this cliffs in Ireland (or someplace like it) which were full of grass and had a staircase-like formation on the side. It was a clear but windy day. There was something really magical about the place, like it was the center of a great religion or ritual. I remember going up the cliff to the top, and then having the realization that if I choose to stay, I can never go back to the real world. I got down, and I woke up.

I wonder what would have happened if I decided to stay.
posted by divabat at 6:12 PM on August 5, 2005

delmoi: Lucid dreams are when you realize you are dreaming. You could be omnipotent in a dream, but you may not necessarily know you're dreaming - you'd think you're still in real life somewhere.
posted by divabat at 6:13 PM on August 5, 2005

I actually have a pretty strange relationship with sleep. I'm not sure if it's that I stay "conscious" or "recording memories" longer then normal or what, but I almost always remember my dreams (at least for a while) and definitely remember that I had them. I don't even try to write them down or "go over them" to myself anymore.

But lately I've been having a lot of 'small' lucid dreams where I'll be working or struggling to do a specific task (I don't remember anything specific) and I'll suddenly say to myself. Well, I'm dreaming so why don't I just 'set' this task to done, and then it's done.

And example would be getting into a car, fastening the seatbelt and everything else you need to do before driving. Suddenly I'll realize I'm dreaming and everything will already be completed for me. But it isn't wonderful or even that interesting.

I've had a lot of dreams where something 'bad' was happening, usually involving me getting into some kind of trouble, and I'd just wake up.
posted by delmoi at 6:20 PM on August 5, 2005

I used to experiment with clary sage oil for lucid dreaming. It was pretty intense; magical realism in the comfort of your own bed. I should've heeded the warning about not using it after drinking, tho'. The result was heart-stopping full-on 3D lucid nightmares.
posted by scruss at 6:27 PM on August 5, 2005

I'm the guy in my group of friends who's known to have the weird dreams. My dreams are always very cinematic, with notable editing and change of camera angles, etc., and often a dramatic arc (although it also often derails into absurdity, but that's dreams for you, I guess).

I also tend to have a lot of nightmares, but strangely, I often enjoy them. Waking up panting and sweating from a nightmare is kind of like the kick you get out of horror movies, and I really like horror movies.

I've had lucid dreams a few times, but they're kind of depressing to me. When they're going on, they're great, of course, but afterwards they just make my life seem dreary and mundane in comparison. But I guess it's a way to live out those really impossible sexual fantasies, at least.

I also died in a dream once, being hit by a train, in very slow motion. It was odd to feel my bones break and my whole body being smashed, but it wasn't really painful. I was quite alive when I woke up, though.
posted by Joakim Ziegler at 6:33 PM on August 5, 2005

I *hate* lucid dreams. I never have a good one. I find myself in a dream and I *know* I'm dreaming and I know what horrors I have planned and I want to opt out but can't.

The most recent one I can remember was about a gang of people who were preparing a great big mass murder that would be headquartered in this perfectly harmless-looking suburb. I know what's going to happen. I know that they're going to grab a random person off the street and start with them. So of course a little kid ambles up and wants to peer in the windows, right? And I'm like, dude, no, go home. Don't come near here, you hear me? But does he listen? No. Because my lucid dream wants to torture me by making me watch it happen and be helpless to stop it.

At that point I opt to take off. I don't want to be involved in this fucked up situation. I don't want to hear this kid getting tortured and killed, and I know it's going to happen. So I walk away. I can walk away from the scene, but I can't seem to stop hearing it.

And yes, I know the kid isn't real. Or the nice lady across the street who also fails to listen to my warnings while I'm hiding beneath her coffee table. I know they're not real but that doesn't make me any more willing to listen to them while they die. It's like I'm fighting this war against my own ideas, in the part of me I can't access just then. I can only access it enough to know exactly what's going to happen, and that I'm dreaming. I know I won't be hurt, I know nothing is real, and that if I want to leap tall buildings in a single bound I can. Somehow while I'm dreaming those things don't seem to interest me. No matter how omnipotent you are, you just can't seem to convince those dream people not to walk into their own certian deaths.

Those dreams only end when I will myself awake.

I'm freaked out just thinking about it. Everyone else seems to get this sense of power and omnipotence from these dreams, but I never do.
posted by Hildegarde at 6:36 PM on August 5, 2005

My preferred method for inducing lucid dreams... leave my nicotine patch on while I sleep.

Boy howdy... those dreams are somethin' else, I tell you what.
posted by mosch at 6:44 PM on August 5, 2005

Neat how many people are at least occasionally lucid dreamers.

I am the LEAST spiritual person you will ever meet, and I could care less about enlightenment, personal growth, etc. But I do know that lucid dreaming is real, because I do it 2-3 times a week. I am definitely asleep, I am definitely dreaming, and I definitely know both facts. Usually I don't direct the dream unless something bad starts up, and then I change it. But sometimes I feel kinky, and so toss in a few naked celebrities. WTH. :)
posted by bairey at 6:55 PM on August 5, 2005

This is a good point: There are also a minority of people for whom lucidity seems to be a very common state in dreams, without their even trying, and that may be analogous to perfect pitch, at least in terms of proportion of the population.

Hildegarde, I'm not a psychologist or anything, but if you are truly lucid in these torturous dreams, can you try addressing your lucidity, and your conscious control of your own dream body, to the situation? Since you know the murderers or whoever aren't real threats to you (even if they are to the other dream characters), could you make yourself approach them and dissuade them, physically if necessary, from carrying it out? I'm not generally in favor of starting fights with your dream characters, but it sounds as though your dream ego is kind of caught in a recurring, self-perpetuating pattern with these recurring scenarios, and might benefit from assertion in that context. It's possible you could break this cycle and come to enjoy lucid dreams.
posted by soyjoy at 7:14 PM on August 5, 2005

I think that the "dream waking-up" is from you telling your self to wake up, because you know its a dream, and you control your dream by "waking up" if this happens to you alot you could probobly try saying "ok i now its a dream so turn good". I did this and after a while it worked. Now I dont "dream wake-up" and I now have a better understanding of how to control my dreams.
posted by Suparnova at 7:22 PM on August 5, 2005

In the morning hours, particularly on weekends when I'm rather foolishly devoted to sleeping in a bit later, I'll often have "replay dreams," in which I'm dissatisfied with my dream and decide to re-run it with a better storyline or outcome. Again and again.
posted by five fresh fish at 7:27 PM on August 5, 2005

I "taught" myself to lucid dream by first working on remembering as many dreams as possible and then focusing on going lucid before falling asleep. I worked on it for quite a while but eventually had my first lucid dream. It was neat but short. Since then I have them occasionally, especially when I am having a nightmare I want to get out of. If I get too emotional in a dream I usually go lucid and realize I'm dreaming and I can either change things (after which I usually lose the lucidity and return to non-lucid dreaming) or wake myself up.

One side effect: I noticed that my sleep paralysis got worse after I started working on lucid dreaming. Not good at all.
posted by LeeJay at 7:30 PM on August 5, 2005

control your dream... control my dreams

BTW, I'm with the crowd that suggests calling it something other than "controlling" your dreams. Very infrequently does lucidity lead to anything that could really be called "control" over the dream, and that's probably a good thing. The point of lucidity is not really being able to reshape the dream according to your wishes, but being able to choose and direct your own behavior consciously in the dream.
posted by soyjoy at 7:35 PM on August 5, 2005

Well if I could chose between chosing paths in the dream and completly controling the dream, I would work toward controlling it. Its better to do Brad Pitt then to chose between doing 2 other guys
posted by Suparnova at 7:50 PM on August 5, 2005

Great thread, everyone.

Where's the line between lucid dreaming and night terrors? I've never had a nightmare that I didn't realize was a nightmare as it was happening. The down side is that it's not always easy to wake myself up, and I often have to scream pretty loud, which scares the hell out of anyone who happens to be sleeping within hearing range. So I have some ability to recognize my conscious state and alter it, but it's hard, and it's pretty limited in regards to the actions I'm able to take (like, for instance, I never consider the possibility of turning the axe murderer into Salma Hayek).

For a brief derail, here's my most entertaining lucid/night terror story: Once in college I had a dream that some archaeologist translated an ancient prophesy that said that the Devil would one day try to kill me (absurdly specific, I know, but that's dreams for ya); I soon realized the situation was too absurd to be real and began trying to make loud noises, on the theory that I would wake up my girlfriend (who was sleeping next to me) and she would wake me from the dream. Sure enough, she woke me up, and I told her about the dream, and she told me everything would be all right, then proceeded to transform into Satan. Right there next to me in bed. It made me scream so loud I woke myself up.

My girlfriend slept through the whole thing.
posted by hifiparasol at 7:55 PM on August 5, 2005

(hildegarde, I don't know if this'll help, but I was plagued by the same sort of dreams throughout my 20's, usually involving crazy guys with knives stalking some person who I couldn't quite see. The dread of being a helpless witness to a violent act was completely unbearable, and the dreams would leave me shaken for days afterwards. The change came for me when, in a lucid moment, I just walked into the scene and let myself be killed- which I realize sounds nuts, but once I knew I was 'dead' in the dream, the violence stopped, the 'murderers' left, and I was able to get up and continue on. And then the dream got really interesting from there...
If you can face the worst in a dream, where you can't really get hurt, it might keep the scenerio from recurring.
On preview, what soyjoy said, too. Good luck to you.)
posted by maryh at 8:10 PM on August 5, 2005

I used to dream about people chasing me, like ninjas or something, through molasses, then during a lucid moment, I turned around and punched them right in their noses and took their weapons. They never chase me anymore.
posted by Balisong at 8:18 PM on August 5, 2005

Once I was in this like clear pudding stuff..... it was cool and I was like floating...
posted by Suparnova at 8:21 PM on August 5, 2005

Reminds me of Waking Life, a pretty good movie if you're in the mood for it.

I did a film studies project on the movie and learned during my research that one way you can become lucid in more of your dreams is wear a digital watch in your day-to-day life and look at it often, making a concentrated effort to make out the numbers. The idea is that you have the same habits in your dreams as you do in your waking life. Since digital displays are often impossible to read in dreams, you should realize that your display is screwed up and jolt yourself into lucidity.
posted by craven_morhead at 8:47 PM on August 5, 2005

craven_morhead, the trick I've always used is to look at a light in real life and try to turn it off with my mind, several times a day. Obviously, this doesn't work. However, it has become habit, and when I do it in a dream, the light turns off, signalling that I'm sleeping.
posted by Jairus at 9:17 PM on August 5, 2005

Ah, no time for this thread tonight!

But yes, it is fun.

The wiki page is actually very good on the subject, though there are numerous books (some of which are quite dubious -- beware the new-age "meeting other dreamers" approach).

But a clarification since there seems to be some confusion. "Lucid" dreaming is not just "doing something sensible" in a dream, nor "realizing that you're asleep". When you become lucid, you adopt the waking present-feeling and control over yourself in the same way -- you are no longer simply watching yourself do things. Awareness of dreaming can still be an artifact of the dream. (google "dreamsign" to see what I mean)

I've become quite adept at not disturbing the dream state when I realize what it is, and experimenting with the confines of the dream. Try "suggesting" elements of the dream to start. "Hey, I bet over that hill I'll find..." Next up for me: I'm planning on "finding" a library of my own subconscious. May not work, since I seem unable to recall things (like foreign language lessons) that I can when normally asleep (verified upon awakening) when I'm in the lucid state. I don't seem to be able to tap into that potential while directing the show.

Oh, and a traditional dreamsign is the inability to read the same piece of writing twice, or the same time on a clock twice. For some reason, your mind can't latch on to this and makes it up instant to instant. (that was actually used in an old Batman & Robin episode, and it's true) Practice spotting dreamsigns during the day, and you'll repeat them in your dreams out of habit... and awake.
posted by dreamsign at 9:43 PM on August 5, 2005

Its true that lucid dreaming isn't realising that your dreaming, but thats the fundemental core of it. I'm willing to bet there are just as many people don't know they're dreaming as those that do. It would be interesting to see a statistic on what percent of the population can truely control their dreams
posted by Suparnova at 10:22 PM on August 5, 2005

Realizing is the start but it's not the core, anymore than knowing that you're watching a movie is like directing it.

It would be interesting to see a statistic on what percent of the population can truely control their dreams

Only a small percentage learn how, but I'm sure it doesn't have to be that way.
posted by dreamsign at 1:05 AM on August 6, 2005

I've posted quite extensively about lucid dreaming on livejournal.

Drop a comment if you want more links, anyone.
posted by Eideteker at 3:18 AM on August 6, 2005

Where's the line between lucid dreaming and night terrors?

In my experience, it's not a line, it's a no man's land a mile wide. Night terrors are a sleep disorder, and although their is clearly a relationship with (or maybe a causal effect from) dreaming, night terrors occur in a seemingly awake state, similar to sleep-walking (which I did as a child, too).

The worst night terror I had was in my early teens having watched an excellent episode of Inspector Morse (it was called Masonic Mysteries, and Ian McDiarmid -- the Emperor from Star Wars -- plays a guy that fakes his own death)... the episode wasn't particularly scary but I think it had a few ideas that decided to hide in the dark corners of my imagination until I went to sleep.

I don't remember if or what I dreamt about, but I have vague recollections of what followed, but most of it comes from reports from my parents. They came into my bedroom because I was screaming. I was seemingly completely awake and freaking out in my bed. I didn't recognise either of them but was aware of their presence. I was convinced they were there to kill me and so only got more alarmed.

My Dad seemed to be the most sinister presence for some reason, and they soon deduced things would be better if he left the room, which I think calmed me a little while my Mum attempted to calm me down. I then started frantically knocking and tapping the walls and entering into a conversation/explanation with my Mother about the menacing "them".

The episode ended when I requested that she "pass the radio". She did, I removed the electrical cable from the back, declared "I've won" and promptly went back to sleep. I don't remember the details but I do remember the sense of terror. I definitely did not realise what was going on and certainly had little control over the proceedings. It almost seems the opposite of a lucid dream rather than being closely connected.
posted by nthdegx at 3:42 AM on August 6, 2005

Nothing quite so terrifying as my spelling, though... "although *there* is clearly"
posted by nthdegx at 3:48 AM on August 6, 2005

I've only had one flying dream and one lucid dream (by which I mean I realized "oh wow, I'm dreaming, I bet I can make X wonderful thing happen" and it did and then I just kept going, feeling like God). Both happened more than 30 years ago. Both were among the greatest moments of my life.
posted by CunningLinguist at 4:07 AM on August 6, 2005

I keep having these dreams about this guy who looks like Samuel Jackson, with a shaved head, and he keeps offering me pills.

I think I'll have a nice juicy steak for breakfast. Mmmmm...
posted by mecran01 at 6:17 AM on August 6, 2005

ya, like they said in "waking life," printed type and controlling/not controlling light levels are signals that you're dreaming. I often read right before i fall asleep, and sometimes i dream that i'm still reading the book. It will pick up where i left off, and often go onto some strange tangent. I can read a sentence just fine, but if i go back and re-read it, it will be different.

Something else richard linkletter said in another movie, slacker, is true for me too. I sometimes have dreams that are much more "hi-res" then others. There's an incredible amount of detail. I'll often be exploring some old victorian house and the walls and moldings are intricatley detailed.

Oh, and sometimes dream imagery happens before i'm fully asleep. I'll still be aware of my surroundings, i can hear things going on outside. I can feel the bed under me, but i will start to see swirls of color and shapes that eventually turn into images, as if i'm watching it on a tv with no sound. However, this state of mind is often short-lived, because it's easy to just drift into sleep.
posted by TechnoLustLuddite at 7:51 AM on August 6, 2005

Whenever I wake up after having a lucid dream I usually feel guilty and depressed. I am not quite sure why it makes me feel this way, but I almost feel like I let reality down.
posted by Bengston at 8:17 AM on August 6, 2005

Whenever I have a lucid dream the first thing I do is try to fly. Annoyingly though there's always overhead wires which I have to worry about navigating through. Once I'm through those I zip about pretty fast.
posted by leibniz at 9:38 AM on August 6, 2005

How high/fast is lucid dreaming flying? Is it more like an airplane flying high, or superman zipping super low?

Also, since Neo seemed to only get his flying ability in the second movie, I hope there is a fourth Matrix which is as good as the first where he realises the second and third movies were just horrible lucid dreams.
posted by parallax7d at 10:25 AM on August 6, 2005

The psych take on night terrors, circa 1993, was that night terrors actually revolve around a single, still image, and your mind makes the rest up around what you fear in that image. "Bad dreams" or dreams of other kinds actually have a sequential order to them. The first is a snapshot, the second a video. (very counterintuitive -- it's not a still image you remember)

This may change, however, now that they've discovered that dreams do not take place in mere seconds but actually can have quite a duration.
posted by dreamsign at 10:44 AM on August 6, 2005

Ya know, despite all my attempts, I can only fly as high as other rooftops, treetops, and such. I can fly around high rooms, near the celing, when the ninja's are clawing at me from the floor, or I can fly up from the ground to the roof, but my lucid self never seems to try for higher,
posted by Balisong at 7:19 PM on August 6, 2005

i know this thread is dead by now, but i just had to say- all this talk of lucid dreams in the past two days must have been what made me have one last nite! I realize now that i notice i'm dreaming quite often, but never take advantage of it. I don't remember all the details, but i stole a car to take it on a joyride. (too much GTA?) I thought to myself, hmm. this isn't something i'd do in real life, i must be dreaming. Driving it around for a bit, i decided to see if i could make it fly. Pulling back on the steering wheel like an airplane's yoke made it take to the sky! I rose above the trees and flew around for a bit. But the dream ended soon after that. Anyway, i think there's some truth to the whole "thinking about lucid dreaming and dream recollection before going to bed" thing.
posted by TechnoLustLuddite at 5:54 PM on August 7, 2005

Thats odd cause in GTAVC theres a cheat to make cars fly kinda like that. but they dont stay flying they come back down after a while.
posted by Suparnova at 2:23 PM on August 8, 2005

« Older Heavy Metal Wonder Woman   |   Not something you see every day... Newer »

This thread has been archived and is closed to new comments