Lucid dreaming is one category of dreams that many people experience. It occurs when the individual is dreaming and during that dream the individual is completely aware that they are dreaming. Some people report a low-level lucidity state where one is aware they are dreaming but not able to alter the content of the dream. Other people have experienced high-level lucidity where one is aware they are dreaming but are also able to alter the dream, and have the freedom to do whatever they desire within the dream.
Dreams are a fascinating phenomenon as they provide us with insights into a world full of experiences we cannot perceive or create in a completely conscious state. Or can we?
Lucid dreaming is a well-documented phenomenon. Researchers continue to explore it as it shows some very significant brain patterns and biological happenings within the body. A fairly recent example is a study conducted in 2009 at the Neurological Laboratory in Frankfurt. Research shows how lucid dreamers produce the fastest brainwave frequencies ever recorded — gamma brainwaves — that operate at 40Hz + (1). This suggests that lucid dreamers are more self-aware, and are more conscious in this state than compared to a normal state of wakefulness. We don’t operate anywhere near that frequency (in regard to brainwaves) when in our normal wakeful state, and we operate at even lower frequencies during other sleep states. Research suggests that the existence of gamma brainwaves indicates a totally conscious experience (4), so the experience of being awake within a dream is a very real phenomenon. This begs the question: which state is actually real? Could what we perceive as being fully aware and awake be the real dream? Or are these just different aspects of reality that we are jumping to and from? Is our ability to create our own reality easier in a state of lucid dreaming because our brain is functioning at a higher frequency? What would we be capable of if we were able to attain that frequency without lucid dreaming? Would we be able to have instant manifestations like we do in our lucid dreams? Gamma brainwaves are involved in higher mental activity and consolidation of information. Operating from this frequency allows our brain to link and process information from multiple parts of the brain (2). We use more of our brain when we are experiencing lucid dreaming than we do when we are fully awake.
Below is a list of brainwaves and the different frequencies at which they operate:
Delta Brainwaves: These are the most pronounced brainwaves in premature babies. They are of a very low frequency and range from 0.5 to 2Hz.
Theta Brainwaves: These are at a higher frequency, typically around 4 to 7 Hz. These brainwaves are characterized by light sleep, rapid eye movement sleep (REM), dreams and hallucinations.
Alpha Brainwaves: Alpha brainwaves are even higher in frequency. Their frequency range is approximately 8-12 Hz. These brainwaves are most prominent during relaxation, contemplation, and a lack of visual stimuli. So when you are not distracted or focused on the external world, but rather, in your own zone of contemplation, relaxation and awareness, your brain vibrates within this frequency range
Gamma Brainwaves: Gamma brainwaves are of the highest frequency. They range from 40 to 100 Hz, the fasted documented brainwave frequencies known to man.
It has been documented that Electroencephalography (EEG) dimensions in humans increase with age and time, and also throughout human evolution. EEG is the recording of electrical activity along the scalp. It measures voltage fluctuations resulting from ionic current flows within the neurons of the brain. This is how they are able to measure the different brainwaves and the different frequencies they dish out (5).
Not long ago, researchers led by Richard Davidson, a neuroscientist at The W.M. Keck Laboratory for Functional Brain Imaging and Behavior teamed up with a number of monks and volunteers. The Dalai Lama even dispatched eight of his most accomplished practitioners to Davidson’s lab to have them hooked up for EEG testing and brain scanning. These monks come from traditions of meditation for an estimated 10,000 to 50,000 hours, over time periods of 15 to 40 years.
The monks were fitted with a net of 256 electrical sensors and asked to meditate for short periods, and Davidson was particularly interested in measuring gamma waves, the highest frequency and most important known electrical brain impulses. The results showed that the electrodes picked up much greater activation of fast moving and usually powerful gamma waves in the monks (3). The movement of the waves through the brain were far better organized and coordinated.
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Researchers suggest that the very existence of this synchronized gamma indicates that a consciousness experience is occurring. The gamma wave state is the most sensitive compared to any other state of consciousness measurable. Gamma brainwaves are associated with intelligence, compassion, self control and feelings of natural joy.
So what can we take away from these discoveries? The fact that brain activity during the lucid dreaming experience radiates a gamma frequency is extremely significant. It shows us that our brain is vibrating at a higher frequency, and functioning at a more clear, coherent and higher state of consciousness than it is when we are awake. Although the size of the human brain has remained unchanged for 200,000 years, brainwave frequency and states of consciousness have changed over time (6). Humans seem to increase the brainwave frequency, and operate at different brainwave states as we continue our journey forward. Imagine a race vibrating at the same frequency as one does in a meditative state, constantly illustrating the gamma brainwave state. The presence of gamma brainwaves illustrates that the people who experience high level lucid dreaming are having a totally conscious experience, within the ‘dream world.’
Who is to say that when we are lucid dreaming we are not experiencing an alternate reality that operates at a higher frequency? Maybe higher frequency states allow us to access alternative timelines, other dimensions or aspects of reality. There are many questions that dreaming, and more specifically lucid dreaming, bring to the forefront of our time. Very little is understood about the phenomenon, but what we do understand is that our dreams allow us to create our reality at a specific frequency. As quantum physics continues to elaborate on how consciousness directly shapes our physical/material world, imagine what possibilities exist in a reality resonating in the gamma frequency or higher. The human race’s potential is limitless.
6 Steps to Lucid Dreaming
Other suggested techniques for remembering your dreams and being conscious throughout your dreams include:
1. As mentioned above, throughout the day, remember to look at your hands for about 10 seconds. This will help you notice any changes in your hands in the dream.
2. Before you go to sleep at night say to yourself: “I am going to remember my dream tonight and I am going to dream about ________.” Repeat this over and over again and it will increase your ability to remember your dreams.
3. Ask yourself repeatedly throughout the day, “Am I dreaming?” Then (like the hands method) while you are dreaming you will ask yourself and hopefully become consciously aware that you are dreaming.
4. The good old fashioned “pinch test.” If you are unsure if you are dreaming, give yourself a pinch. If you are dreaming you won’t be able to feel this, so then you will know that you are dreaming.
5. Keep a dream journal. This is very important. Keep a notepad beside your bed and whenever you wake up, whether its 3, 6 or 9 a.m., write down whatever you remember about your dream and if you did become conscious, write down exactly how that happened, and then what happened after that point.
6. Set your alarm clock to wake you up about 5 ½ hours after you have fallen asleep. Studies show that if you are woken up during a dream you are more likely to remember them.
Lucid dreaming does take some practice so be patient. Sometimes the very shock of realizing that you are dreaming within a dream will wake you up, so just keep practicing. It is pretty incredible to be able to control your dreams, and when you learn this technique you can take control of your dreams and use them to your advantage. You can use them to help you try out new ideas and methods before implementing them into your waking life. You can virtually put yourself anywhere you want to be in any circumstance. You can even face some of your greatest fears all while getting a good night’s rest.
Our friends over at Lucid Secrets (www.lucidsecrets.com) have put together a comprehensive system to help master the art of lucid dreaming, including lessons on essential techniques such as astral projection, mind relaxation, meditation, and more. This program will tell you guys everything you need to know about the limitless world of lucid dreaming, and we highly recommend you explore this program.
Sources and more information:
(4)O’Nuallain, Sean. “Zero Power and Selflessness: What Meditation and Conscious Perception Have in Common”. Retrieved 2009-05-30. Journal: Cognitive Sciences 4(2).
(6)J. Gebser, The Ever Present Origin. Ohio University Press, Athens, Ohio. (1985) pg 120-121
The Art Of Dreaming by Carlos Castaneda
Adventures Beyond The Body by Cristina Zaccaria
Remembering And Understanding Your Dreams by Craig Hamilton-Parker
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