Inception: A Dream Within A Dream

We’ve all seen “Inception.” And even if you haven’t, you know exactly what it’s about (shout out to imdb for the movie poster featured in this post). Dreams within dreams within dreams. It can be quite hard to follow and comprehend, but this is Christopher Nolan we’re talking about, is anyone really surprised? But that’s beside the point. The topic of my second and third projects is going to be dreaming. More specifically lucid dreaming. For those of you who do not know what this is, fear not. I had no idea what a lucid dream was when I had one a few months back. Essentially, a lucid dream is a dream in which you are aware you are dreaming. Weird, right? It was like nothing I have ever experienced before, that’s for sure. The interesting thing about lucid dreams is that they can go one of two ways:

1. Stephen LaBerge, the expert on all things lucid dreaming (check this out for more info), says that once you can learn how to control lucid dreams and even induce them, the possibilities are endless. The main two actions, however, that most people partake in during their first few lucid dreams are flying and sex. Out of all the things you could do, sex? Really? Just to be clear, that is not how my lucid dream went down. And that brings me to the second way a lucid dream could play out.

2. When I woke up from my dream, I was sweating, my heart was racing, and I was terrified. For what seemed like an eternity, I was trapped in my dream. And by that I mean that I was aware I was dreaming and I wanted to wake up, but I couldn’t. What’s worse  is that every time I had thought I was awake, I found out that I was actually still dreaming. That’s how realistic lucid dreams are. It was awful and if you don’t know what’s happening, this could very well happen to you.

Yes, my first experience with lucid dreaming was not the best experience, but once I did some research, I became fascinated. Since then, I have been trying to induce lucid dreaming so as to have the opportunity to control it, to use it to fulfill some desire of mine that has been on my mind for a while. Dr. LaBerge is said to have from 1-4 lucid dreams per night. How is that possible you might ask? Well here are some of the steps to increase the likeliness of lucid dreams. Notice how I say “increase the likeliness.” There is no formula. No step-by-step instructions. No guaranteed results. But there are a few techniques you can practice that will make such a rare phenomenon much more likely to occur.

1. Make a dream journal. As soon as you wake up, write down everything you remember about your dream. Even if you think you did not dream or will not remember, try. This will help will your dream recall and make it easier to remember your dreams.

2. Reality Checks. If there is a piece of jewelry or watch that you always wear, check to see if that is present. If it is, you’re fine, if not, you could be dreaming. If you see a pattern of any kind (wallpaper, bricks on a building) look away then look back. If there are perceptible changes, you could be dreaming.

3. Nap. Research shows that lucid dreams are more likely to occur when you are sleeping for shorter periods of time. The more you take hour or so naps, the more you increase your chances of having a lucid dream.

(For a comprehensive list with a few more steps I myself am not following, check out this website)

I have been working on these three steps for a week or so now. No lucid dreams yet, but I remain hopeful. Regardless of my results, it is fascinating to learn about the vast capabilities of our own minds. It’s nice to know that sometimes, you can be limitless, even if just for a moment.

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