Dream Reality: Concious and Lucid Dreaming


Perception of a dream as a side product of someone's consciousness only moves a person away from exploration of the dream magic. Such person is unable to use the dream world as a reality. This reality simply does not exist for him.

Well, here is a postulate number one: The dream reality is real. It's just another reality. Many people treat it as an illusion, and this opinion is true to some extent. But our physical world is an illusion too.

If a person is really hurt in a car accident, his or her feelings are quite real, aren't they? The same happens to dreams: a dream is an illusion from the common point of view. Yet this illusion is hardly greater than all our physical existence. Those who have ever experienced pain in a dream know perfectly well that it hurts indeed!

Why do I give an example of pain? Because pain is something that cannot be ignored. You have to notice it. If you are sleeping or feeling sleepy you may purposely pinch yourself, but pinch in a dream aches too :-).

Someone may say: No, this is our mind that creates an illusion of pain. Do you really think that the pain is something fixed by our physical receptors and brought to the brain, and nothing else? Even if we take some analgesic, the signal generated by damaged tissue is still perceived by the receptors. In this case the brain analyzers provide no "pang message" due to suppression of certain chemical reactions by medication. That is, pain is something perceived subjectively. The source of pain is another issue. According to the physiological data, every headache is a phantom pain. But the head aches. It really aches.

Even the sky above us is not blue - we see it blue due to our eye receptors and brain analyzers. The saying that the color of the sky is blue is an illusion. But it is evident for us that the sky is blue, not green. Certainly, if your eyes are all right.

That is why I state that
a) any feeling is subjective,
b) any subjective feeling is real.

I believe the attitude to a dream as an illusion just because of illusory dream feelings is incorrect. We do have feelings. We experience feelings in reality. Do physiologic processes produce such feelings or our feelings represent the result of our psychic activity? It is different question. The answer to this question in no way deprives a dream of the reality.

Yet there is another objection of the dream word reality - usually the dream world communicates with us by our own symbols created by our associations. Telepathy and generation of intention employs the same principle, i.e., the information is transmitted as images created by the personal contiguity. Yes, we can communicate with the dream world by mental images only. If some reality talks to you by mental images, how we can deny the reality of this reality? (Sorry for a pun!)

So, I take the dream world being no less real than the usual physical world around us as a starting point. The dream world has its own laws. They are quite different from the physical world laws, but they are no less real. Your capability of action in the dream world depends on how consciously you treat your dreams (Do not mix conscious attitude to dreams with conscious dreams - the latter is discussed below). Similarly your capability of action in this usual world depends on your. The matter is whether you are awake or sleeping with open eyes.

Here we come to -

Conscious Dreams and Lucid Dreams

Please be aware that I am not a dreamer in the Carlos Castaneda way. I do not proclaim the point of view of Castaneda fans provided that our understandings of dreams may be very different.

First of all, you have to differentiate conscious dreams and so-called lucid dreams, though they are mixed up very often. When having a lucid dream you know exactly that your are sleeping and you are free to modify everything around you by a click of fingers. The characters of your dream say things you want them to speak, and act accordingly to your plans and intentions. This is the lucid dream. The puppet show. Yes, such dreams are a fun, a kind of an interesting attraction. You can have a rest, cheer up, fulfill some wishes that cannot be fulfilled in the usual world (very often this is related to some kinds of having sex). But you do not get any important information in such dreams, because you are the playwright and the creator of actors.

Let me tell you a story of my own dream. When I was a child I had a scary dream provoked by problems in my family. The main line of this childish night thriller was my escape from an awesome creature. Later on this scenario settled and repeated quite often.

Then, after a while this plot lost its importance. This dream stopped telling me about my unconscious problems but did not let the stress it caused out. Yet this dream remained. I tried to figure out the source of this dream (the repeated horrifying dreams always tell us something important). So I analyzed and analyzed, trying to understand the reason for this constantly returning fearsome dream.

I was not afraid, though this dream can be generally called a sinister one. This dream was different from nightmares which I rarely have and which are always more emotional. Moreover, in my dream I always knew that I was sleeping, that I would do this or that, and knew what that creature would do. The creature in my dream obediently followed all my ideas (If I wanted it to do something it did), and I was running away enjoying this escape.

Have you noticed the key word? - "Enjoying". :-) This was a lucid dream. The scenario emerged from the reality and stayed with me, because this plot was like a switchback ride.

Are you all "serious people" who never rode switchback? Really? :-)) Never entered The Dark Castle in the park? Never watched horror movies, with an itchy exalted feeling somewhere in your stomach? Never told scary stories to your summer camp mates, your head under the blanket? Stop your little lies… :-)

This scenario is a kind of such attraction which moves you away from your everyday troubles, the usual bustle, and shakes you emotionally :-). Yet such attractions give you an emotional shake and nothing else. They are no more informative that a childish "touch-last" game.

Like many people I have other dreams where the characters tell things different from my script. These are the dreams that bring me important information though such dreams are not "lucid". That reality cannot be switched by a click of your fingers.

So, what is conscious dream and what is the difference between conscious and lucid dreams? The conscious dream supposes recognition of your being in another reality. Sometimes this is understood by the very edge of your mind. Anyway, you remember that you are able to do some things by your choice according to the laws of this reality. Your free will is preserved. You can change something. The key word here is "something", not "everything". This does not happen all the time, though. You do not have a permanent ability to modify things in your dream.

Roughly speaking, you realize the conscious dream as another reality like you realize the physical world as it is. But self-conceiving in your everyday life does not mean you keep telling to yourself: "I am in the physical world! Physical world!! Wow!!!" You are accustomed to this physical reality. You cannot think solely of this. The idea of your being in the physical world does not occupy your whole mind. You just do something, think about something, and make some decisions by the circumstances. But you never really break the outline of reality.

The same concerns dreams - there is no need to tear the whole picture of your dream reality. However, the conscious dream supposes your ability to analyze your actions, to make a decision, to response to the circumstances. It never means constant muttering, "I am in the dream! In the dream!!! The universe will be created again!"

Despite all your conceiving abilities, you cannot turn a physically existing stone before you into gold bullion by simple effort of your will. But you are quite able to walk away, if the situation does not constrain you (!). This is not a violation of the physical reality outline. The laws of the dream reality are somehow different: you can possibly turn stone into gold, without breaking the dream reality outline. Yet according to the same laws you can never change anything else. For example, you are driving a car by the road and you cannot turn. In the lucid dream you use your intention to make the road and turn successfully. Then you enjoy this attraction and your illusion. The conscious dream supposes your attempts to understand where this road goes, to recall your previous drives by this road, and your efforts to remember the details of this road. Possible modification of the surrounding reality is not a criterion of the conscious dream. The conscious dream includes your conscious behavior in response to the changing (sometimes very strange and even constraining) situation.

Sometimes this happens in the physical life, right? Sometimes we are tied by circumstances, and unable to break through. If we manage to go though a constraining situation consciously, we have the right to speak about "conscious life".

Sometimes in our dreams we act as if controlled by a robot pilot - but sometimes we do in the same way in our usual life. We cannot keep our "conscious alertness" all the time, neither in the physical life, nor in the dreams.

I believe, a dream is conscious, if:

1) when dreaming, you can still realize by some edge of your mind, that this is another reality with its peculiar laws, and you are free to do this or that (certainly if you have a choice in your dream);

2) you keep memories of your past dreams in the present dream;

3) you remember that the physical reality still exists. In your dream, two realities just trade their places. In the daytime the physical reality comes first, and the dream reality is conscious by the periphery of your consciousness. In the nighttime they change the roles. The dream reality is more important at night, but your memory tells you that the physical reality still exists;

4) you consider the results of your actions;

5) you remember perfectly well that you can wake up.

You may think that all dreams match the above definition. No. All criteria meet in one dream not so often than it may seem. One needs experience, practice and intention to put them together more frequently.

Are Conscious Dreams Necessary?

When do we need to make an intention of the conscious dream? Intention presupposes motivation (Frankly I cannot give you an example of intention generated without motivation). The intention is always based upon some need. Sometimes great enthusiasm and desire to experience something provide enough energy to bring this "something" to life. However, this is a temporary effect, and when the emotional rise is over the effect vanishes.

Possibly this is the reason for inability "to look at hands" in a dream. Some people come across this problem trying to get a conscious dream. Those who have a need for conscious dreams, manage to do this. Those who are on the wave of enthusiasm, manage to do this as well. Those who have "a watcher" in the dream, and whose dreams are controlled by the consciousness (though they may not realize it as a conscious dream), simply forget about it, similarly like a person forgets to do something not urgently required. No motivation.

What can be a conscious dream used for? Not for fun, I suppose. There are lucid dreams for your entertainment. Conscious dreams appear if you really have an interest to research. Or if you have a vital necessity to preserve consciousness in a dream. This necessity is not so frequent as you may think.

Certainly, the words "conscious dream" sound cool. But let us gain an understanding of this matter: a conscious dream allows you to do something. That is, in the conscious dream you can get the information, explore the surroundings, think the situation over and make a decision, create something, reject some pointless actions caused by your mind inertia, remember properly what is happening... go to the place you usually avoid and find something your are seeking for. At last, you can wake up, if you are too scared.

Conscious dreams can help you to solve problems without drawing these problems to your consciousness.

Actually all above actions can be performed without constant clear recognition "I am dreaming". I have told you already that being in the physical world you do not convince yourself of this fact all the time. But this does not prevent your efficient actions.

I am convinced that a conscious dream cannot become an aim only because it is conscious.

Sometimes there is a good reason to do without clear conceiving of the dream. Let me explain this point. Dreams are one of the most important sources of information. Dreams give us things that cannot be provided by awake mind, dreams minimize the mind censorship of the incoming information. Actually, you receive the most complete, uncut information that can be figured out (decrypted) when you wake up. The information incoming your wakeful mind is cut and censored, and you get only some pieces that your mind allows into your consciousness. If you try to apply a total consciousness to your dream, you actually stop up the channel of essential information. First, you will lose the information, and second, it may be dangerous for your psyche.

There is an opinion that conscious dreams must not happen every night (and they never do), one should take a rest.

The recognition of your dream by the "edge of your mind" does not always play into your hands. For example, in our dreams we often come across rather emotional situations requiring a right solution. Sometimes a crisis in the dream forces the dreamer to make a decision, go through this crisis, and get an understanding of a certain problem. Suppose, in your dream you are aware of the "toy" nature of the problem; you are sure that you will wake up soon, and this problem will never happen. What's the use of it, then? It is the "total" going through the situation that brings an option to change your life, and, sometime, your karma. Would the problem be solved if a person knows that he or she loses nothing making a choice, because he or she wakes up soon and the choice has no consequences? No, it would not. Even if this dreaming person treats his or her choice with respect. There would be no emotional experience, which is necessary to reckon the attempt of conceiving.

Imagine a man afraid of death. He has a dream that may possibly change his karma: he will be killed in the dream (no matter why, let us just think that this man is not supposed to escape but stay and take his death with dignity). If this man is able to quiet his mind, then he passes the "exam" and would not come across such situation in his real life. Just because this situation will be no more necessary for his "bringing up". Dreaming such dream is a kind of training simulator, though the dreamer does not know that. If such training is experienced as reality, the "exam" will be passed. But our imaginary man knows that it's just a dream. He knows that he will wake up. Though his death in a dream brings no positive emotions, the man takes it rather easily. He is scared a little bit but he has no "physical consequences" of such death. And our imaginary man agrees to be beheaded.

This is an example taken from a real story, by the way.

Then he continues to dream, wakes up and goes to his work. What has changed? Nothing. No exam, the exam was cancelled. No emotions, no catharsis. No damage, no benefit. No more than an attraction.

Conceiving your dream does not always do you good. You have to experience the entire training situation of your dream (if any), but not a part of it.

It is really necessary to conceive a dream when the dreamer communicates with strangers from alien worlds. Being different from guiding "friendly spirits" such creatures would rather eat the dreamer with delight. However, this rarely happens to the beginners, and when the dreamer comes to this point, his or her "conscious dream" mechanism usually works automatically, as an alarm system. :-)

One should not state that conscious dreams are better than not conscious. Everything is good at the right place and at the right time. Both types of dreams serve for their own purposes.

How should you treat your dreams? Dreams require conscious attitude, even if you are plainly overwhelmed by the flow of your dream, and you do not remember yourself. If you, woken up, make a thorough analysis and take your dream seriously, it is a conscious treatment of your dream necessary for the dream magic.

A few words about dream magic:

There is a habitual opinion that a person should have in mind that he or she is sleeping in order to do something in the dream. Supposedly this idea should shine in your mind like a neon light. This is not true. Almost any intention to do something in the dream is formed BEFORE dreaming. And then the dreamer sinks into the dream and accepts the dream laws. The intention (generated beforehand) will bring the dreamer where he or she wishes. This never means that the dreamer has to repeat "I am dreaming! I am dreaming!" over and over again.

Just make your intention and trust the flow.


(с) Zau Targiski

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