Awake & Asleep

I was always envious of those kids in the commercials of cream cookies where everything was made up of sweets. The trees would be replaced with huge purple candies, and the clouds would be masses of vanilla ice cream, and the rivers would be full of melted chocolate, while the waterfalls would pour flavoured milk into a large lake of white chocolate. And then the kids, with broad grins across their faces, would come soaring through the sky sitting on the cookies and tasting everything along their way. I used to crave for a world like that. It was an awesome fantasy. A figment of imagination, which I would have loved to experience.

We fantasise about a lot of things. Fantasies are infinite. There’s no end to our wants. Wouldn’t it be cool to be able to live in an imaginary world that satisfied all that we yearn for?

Did you know that a few people believe that the author of the story Alice in Wonderland Lewis Carroll had a lucid dream based on which he went on to write a story about Alice and the anthropomorphic characters? Which brings me to my topic for the day – Lucid Dreaming.

We all have wondered what it would be like to possess magic. To be able to fly through the sky. To teleport to the all the awesome places. To run through the streets naked shouting out our favourite songs and not be judged. Okay, maybe not.

What if that was actually possible?

There is a lot more to dreams than meets the eye. Did you know that  the occurrence dreams basically related to acidity? (Although the exact cause is still debated about.) You will most likely have very clear dreams when the acidity level in your stomach is relatively high. While the other times, your dreams will seem to be hazy and blurry.

All of us dream, although some of us don’t remember our dreams at all. In fact, we have an average of four to five dreams every night, and are most abundant during the Rapid Eye Movement stage, or REM sleep. As the name indicates, that is the time our eye balls move very rapidly in all directions.

Lucid Dreaming
So You Can Do Whatever (Or Whoever!) You Like

A lucid dream is a dream where you wake up inside your dream. That’s basically your Inception shit. You regain consciousness, and realise that whatever’s happening isn’t real. And when you do realise that you are in a dream, you can control it. You can make anything happen. Pretty awesome, eh?

Lucid dreaming isn’t simple though. I have only had one lucid dream until now and that lasted for a very short while. All I did was jump really, really high. The excitement caused me to wake up.

Let me brief you out how to Lucid Dream.

How To Lucid Dream

You have to train your brain to recognise a dream. That means frequent reality checks during the day. Ask yourself – ‘Am I awake?’ I know, it sounds stupid, but repeatedly asking this question will help form a habit, and one wonderful night, the brain will automatically ask this question in a dream.  And that’s the first step to lucidity.

That is not the only thing. You need to keep a dream journal. Keep some material close to your bed where you can quickly jot down your dream as soon as you wake up so that you don’t forget it. I keep my dream journal on my iPod. After recording a considerable amount of dreams, you can analyse them and search for some things that have been occurring more than a couple of times. These then become your dream signs. So the next time you dream and are about to maybe kiss your crush, ask yourself whether it is actually happening.

Now when you’re lying on the bed and going to sleep, choose a very comfortable position and keep all of your muscles relaxed. Start counting till 100, and each time repeat to yourself, ‘I am going to lucid dream’. Do not move any muscle at all. Even if you’re itchy or feel like scratching. If you’re doing it right ad concentrating hard enough, you will start hearing weird noises, and feel like an iron weight has been dropped on your body. This is the phase where your body is asleep, but you are mentally awake. You are very close to lucid dreaming. This phase is also called as sleep paralysis.

Another method is setting an alarm at about 4 or 5 hours after you sleep (which is usually when you are in your REM sleep) and when you wake up, try remembering every detail of the dream if you are having one and write it all down. Go back to sleep with the dream scene in your mind.

These methods are called WILD (Wake Initiated Lucid Dream) and DILD (Dream Induced Lucid Dream) and MILD (Mnemonic Induced Lucid Dream) techniques, I don’t know which ones are which.

Thinking about lucid dreaming every night before going to sleep helps a lot too.

How to recognise a Lucid dream

1) Check your hands – they almost always look unreal. Count the number of fingers, or observe the colour of the skin, or check if the skin is stretchy.

2) Pinch your nose and check if you can breathe out of it. If in a dream, you will be able to breathe out of it.

3) Check the time, look away and check the time again. It would be very different from what you initially observed. Or, the numbers wouldn’t make sense, like 54:79 am.

4) Switch the lights on and off – nothing will happen if you’re n a dream.

5) See yourself in a mirror, you won’t be able to see yourself ninety nine percent of the time. Not just the mirror, but any screen won’t function normally.

When You Realise You’re in a Dream

1) Try your best to stay calm. It’ll be very difficult initially, but you should get better slowly.

2) Touch your surroundings and try to get a connection with your dream.

3) Move in circles – this will engage that part of your brain which wants to wake up and you may just maintain the lucid state.

There isn’t anything harmful in lucid dreaming. The only thing, and it doesn’t happen for many people, is that it can mess up your memory. The brain actively forms memories when we’re sleeping. So if we lucid dream during this time, the brain may be tricked into thinking that the dream is real, and store it in the for of a memory. However this is very rare.

Remaining calm is the key because that helps us stay in dreams. And if you’re lucky enough to have a full blown lucid dream, start with small things, like talking to a friend. Immediately flying in the sky will be too exciting and you will pop out of your dream.

Dreaming is a very intriguing phenomenon. No scientist has been able to find the exact reason for dreaming. Hallucinations, Sleepwalking, Dream sharing, Lucid Dreaming, Deja Vu, all of them have their roots down to dreams.

If this article was interesting enough, check out GizEdwards on Youtube to further know about lucid dreaming.

Happy Lucid Dreaming!

Onto my Songs of The Week (or Month) –

1) House of Cards – Radiohead

2) Hope Leaves – Opeth

3) The Tempest – Pendulum

4) Wide Eyes – Local Natives