Five Benefits of Lucid Dreaming

Lucid dreaming—when you realize you are dreaming but remain in the dream—has a number of remarkable benefits. Here are five benefits of lucid dreaming that can encourage you to learn to master the art of waking up in your dreams.

1. Lucid dreaming cultivates greater awareness.

That’s what lucidity really means—being more aware. Becoming aware of the fact that you’re dreaming means that you’re extending awareness into the dream state. This awareness is a heightened sensitivity of the contents of your own mind (what else is a dream made of?). By becoming increasingly aware of your mind when you dream, you’re also becoming more aware of its contents while awake. It’s the same awareness manifesting in two different states of consciousness. And what doesn’t improve with increased awareness?

Instead of always acting out from your thoughts and emotions during the day, which is actually being non-lucid to them (you’re lost in your thoughts and emotions, just like when you’re lost in a non-lucid dream), you start to “wake up” and relate to the contents of your mind. Relating to your thoughts and emotions instead of from them is a monumental shift. It can keep you out of a lot of trouble, and instill peace of mind.

2. Lucid dreaming gives you more control over yourself.

When you’re more aware of what’s going on within you, you’re no longer a helpless victim of your thoughts and emotions. Lucid dreaming is not fundamentally about controlling your dreams; it’s really about learning how to control your mind. With this control, you can replace reactivity with “response-ability.” Instead of always reacting to things, you can more intelligently respond to them. This is a more “awake” way to lead your life.

3. Lucid dreaming can banish nightmares.

What makes nightmares so terrible is feeling that you’re a helpless victim of what’s happening. When you become lucid in a nightmare, you realize that it’s just a bad dream. You can then change the bad dream into a good one. If you can’t do that, you can still change the way you relate to the dream because you know it’s not real. The nightmare loses its power.

4. You can explore the creative power of the mind.

In a lucid dream, you are the sole creator of your world. By waking up within the dream, you can explore the power of your mind to change your world. You can change a tree into a flower, a boat into a car, a house into a lake. You can literally learn how to change your mind. Then you take that insight and apply it to your daily life. You learn how to change bad states of mind into good ones, lousy moods into cheery ones, because you’re learning that you are the creator of your personal experience.

5. You discover the power of choice.

When you’re in a lucid dream, you realize you have a choice. You can watch the dream unfold, and elect not to change anything, which is called a witnessing dream—you watch it like a movie, without getting sucked into its contents (which would make it non-lucid). Or you can choose to change certain aspects of the dream—creating a better ending, for example. Either way, you are exercising the power of choice. Then you take that power and apply it to your daily life. Getting mad at your boss? That’s your choice. You have the power to change your mind, to alter the way you relate to things, to wake up and take control over your life.

The way these five benefits come together is in the discovery that whether you know it (are lucid to it) or not (are non-lucid to it), you are always working with your mind. By learning to work with your mind in your dreams, you have the potential to transform your life. Same mind, different state. Take the insights gleaned from your dreams, and your new, lucid relationship to them, and apply them to “outsight.” Wake up in your dreams to learn how to wake up to your life.

Find out about upcoming programs with Andrew Holecek at Kripalu.

This article was originally published on Andrew's website.

Andrew Holecek has completed a traditional three-year Buddhist meditation retreat and offers seminars internationally on meditation and dream yoga.

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