Photo by DP
David Sugalski, a man many know as The Polish Ambassador once observed, “we’ve gotten really good at learning how to celebrate as a culture, but how can we use this celebration to be a catalyst for something else?”. While TPA has a slightly different vision for his “something else”, we see Lucid University as another way to fulfill our attendees desire to go beyond celebration, by expanding your minds with knowledge! Bringing you intensive educational content from experts in five different areas of study, the goal is to send our Lucid Family back into the world more knowledgeable and inspired than when they arrived.
Continuing with our interview from Thomas and Laurel, who will lead the Lucid Dreaming Intensive, we explore what lucid dreaming is, how dreaming lucidly is as important as living lucidly, and common misconceptions about the nature of lucid dreams.
Many have not experienced lucid dreaming, and although science recognizes its existence, there doesn’t seem to be solid answers about what exactly is going on. What do you think are some of the most common misconceptions about lucid dreaming and what is your own personal definition?
Laurel: I think one of the top misconceptions is that one needs to decide to control the dream… so that they make it lucid. Any moment in a dream that lucidity offers itself to me, I do what I can to let that be a plus and I stop viewing and I start doing the dream. When I am doing the dream, the flow of ease and grace creates more lucidity… When one begins to recognize that they are dreaming/living in lucid fashion, I think the greatest thing would be to let it be.
I feel that many more people have experienced lucid dreaming than would know it, but due to the need to be uninhibited to recall even a regular dream, the lucid dreams vanish upon waking up… My own personal definition of lucid dreaming is that when my dreams are lucid, I am doing the dream instead of simply viewing the dream. In lucid dreaming and living, I actively participate without agenda or desire of outcome.
When hearing others discuss their experiences with lucid dreaming, they are often talked about as novel and fun, what are some deeper benefits to the individual?
Thomas: Being lucid is exhilarating. Imagine being free from all physical limitations, boundless in a world responsive to your thoughts, able to direct your intent to shape the world around you. It’s complete freedom. But more than that it can remind you that you are more than just a physical being. It can provide invaluable means for guidance and advice. Healing past traumas, limiting beliefs, and fears can be done with poise and confidence when you are lucid in a dream. Accelerated growth, profound insight, understanding are available to us during these nighttime journeys. To know, not theorize or believe, that you are a multidimensional being—this can change someone significantly.
Laurel: One of the deeper benefits is greater consciousness and awareness of oneself. One of the deeper benefits is a growth in ability to let go of outcome and allow process to be trusted. One of the deeper benefits is that our vast knowledge and wisdom chambers open to us from the previously untapped regions of our true being and from there, greater self discover is a promise. One of the deeper benefits is profound healing and restoration… Oh, I could roll out answers to this question all day!
Can you talk about the relationship between lucid dreaming and waking mindfulness?
Thomas: Yes! I know first hand that my practice with lucid dreaming created a desire to master this nighttime state while ignoring my waking life. I was obsessed and the freedom the dreamworld provided, the insights and level of clarity you can achieve was alluring. But I had missed the bigger picture. I had forgotten that this practice isn’t about sleep—it’s about waking up! It’s about strengthening awareness, it’s about presence and clarity in all aspects of your life—both waking and sleep. When lucidity permeates us in this way, we realize that every single moment is an opportunity to be lucid! That we can shape our bodies, our lives, and our circumstances to create this waking life, the same way we would a dream. Like two sides of the same coin, we learn that we’re talking about one awakening. The two are not separate.
How does music impact our dreams, either prior to or during sleep?
Laurel: Many years ago I utilized music to influence my dreams. I found that the organization of the music prior to laying down stayed in my consciousness as I went to sleep and my brain held onto anticipation for the music. The practice kind of screwed things up for me. I utilize aromatics as essential oils in a diffuser, herbal tinctures, teas and smudges to alter my sleep environment and therefore to alter me. I utilized mantras and affirmations repeated silently to program my thoughts while I go to sleep/slumber. Slumber is the upgrade of sleep, we all want to slumber rather than just sleep.
Thomas: Studies have shown that sound can affect our dream content. For example, we hear a skateboarder going down the street outside and we might project this as an airplane flying by. I used to use Hemi-syncs (binaural beats) early in my practice and during sessions of sitting. They helped me to induce deep relaxation while remaining aware… But here’s the beauty: you don’t need anything, no drugs, no technology, you don’t have to meditate in a cave for 30 years to master this… lucid dreaming is available to everyone. Guidance and instruction can help unlock this dormant potential but even this isn’t necessary.
Thank you to Thomas and Laurel for your insight to these questions. If you’ve enjoyed reading their responses and want more, you can sign up for “The Way of Lucid Dreaming and Lucid Living” !