February 24, 2016
Dragging her finger along the wall, changing its color from green to purple, senior Kelley Reilley passes through a hallway. She then gets on a ski lift and rises to the top of a dark, snowy mountain. As she snowboards down, Reilley comes to a deserted ski lodge.
Reilley did not actually do these things; rather, they happened in a dream. Unlike a normal dream, however, Reilley was controlling what was going on.
Dreams like the one Reilley had are known as lucid dreams. According to Dictionary Reference, a lucid dream is “a dream state in which one is conscious enough to recognize that one is in the dream state and which stays in one’s memory.” Unlike normal dreams, which may seem fuzzy or hard to remember, you have greater awareness during lucid dreams.
These dreams are unique because you are “conscious” while remaining unconscious. You are asleep the entire time that you are dreaming, but when lucid dreaming you are aware of all of your senses, thus transforming the experience of dreaming.
Once you have mastered the ability to lucid dream and control elements of your dream, you can experience almost anything imaginable. From flying, to meeting superheroes, to walking through fire, lucid dreaming opens up a world of possibilities when you close your eyes.
Psychology Today recommends forming habit of studying the environment and your state of awareness during the day. If something in the environment is a little bit off in a dream, you may be able to recognize that you are dreaming. Making a mental habit of recognizing your awareness will then help you to do the same thing subconsciously while you sleep.
“Check clocks and your hands periodically throughout the day to form a habit so you’ll do that when you sleep too. This makes it possible to tell if you’re dreaming because when you look at your hands or clocks in a dream they’re very distorted,” Reilley said.
In addition to these techniques, World of Lucid Dreaming, a website for experienced lucid dreamers, recommends writing down at least one dream in a dream journal every morning, assuming you are able to remember your dream from the night before. According to the site, if you wake up in the middle of the night from a dream, jot down some notes about what happened.
It is important to remember that lucid dreaming is not expected to come easily. According to World of Lucid Dreaming, you need mental conditioning and daily practice to have your first lucid dream.
Lucid dreaming can be dangerous because sometimes it is difficult to wake up from a dream, which can be frightening. Reilley has experienced lucid dreams in which she tries to wake herself in the dream, but is unable. “I felt stuck and like I would never wake up,” Reilley said. If you want to wake up from a dream prematurely, Reilley recommends breathing deeply and heavily.
Once you have mastered the ability to lucid dream, you can experience almost anything imaginable from meeting superheroes to walking through fire.
Katie Sullivan and Lilly Stannard are In-Focus Editors for The Patriot and jcpatriot.com.