In ancient times, the world had a very different view of dreams than the one we currently share. It has been reported by historians that reverence for the world of dreams dates all the way back to the ancient Sumerians. In the fertile crescent of Mesopotamia, dreams were regarded as guidance and used to chart events and solve problems. In the modern era, we’re taught to think of our nightly escapades as random imaginings, or the processing of our daily experiences. While those explanations may have some truth to them, one thing is ubiquitous – we choose not to pay attention to our dreams. Whether you think dreams are guidance from the subconscious; a magical world of fancy; or even just coincidental nonsense; science has given us proof that dreams can be just as useful as they are mysterious. Today, we’re going to explore the tip of the lucid dreaming iceberg as I explain how lucid dreaming can be an invaluable writing tool.
Lucid dreaming, also known as Oneironautics [ah-nayr-o-not-iks], is the practice of traveling consciously through your dreams. Inside our dreams, we’re offered the opportunity to explore a world that our mind alone creates. Masters of lucid dreaming are able to create and experience sumptuous and breath-taking worlds of fantasy. Anything you can imagine is possible inside your mind, and once you’re able to make full use of your lucid dreaming skills, you can experience any conceivable dream as vividly as if it was reality. You may already have some ideas as to how you might like to use an incredible power like universal manipulation, and I encourage you to explore your dreams in any way that feels right to you. However, if you are a writer like me, this sort of ability becomes a tool for creativity, exploration of the mind and psyche, and a method for personal discovery that goes far beyond mere curiosity.
Many people believe lucid dreaming is something that is beyond their grasp, an un-attainable goal that they’re better off forgetting. But lucid dreaming is a concept and practice that is older than recorded history, and some researchers would suggest that lucid dreaming is our natural state. That modern culture has forgotten something that once came so easily to us all. Many cultures, including the Ancient Greeks and the Ancient Egyptians, believed that dreams were the gateway to the Spirit World. They believed that there was a world beside ours, one that we could only access through the act of dreaming. The Egyptians described dreaming with the word ‘resut’ which meant ‘to come awake’, and they knew that to enter the world of dreams was to become awakened to new realms of possibility. They knew that they could receive guidance and answers to questions far beyond their own understanding, if only they could harness the power of the Dream World. The world has been aware of the practice of Oneironautics since the dawn of time. This leads many people, including myself, to believe that lucid dreaming is a behavior coded inside of our DNA. As you can see, the capacity to master Oneironautics rests inside every person’s mind, all we need to do is awaken ourselves to the possibility. I believe very deeply that lucid dreaming can offer each individual an opportunity to become more awakened, empowered, and alive. Any person can lucid dream, as long as they have the intention, the will, and the courage to do so.
As someone who has recently begun my lucid dreaming journey, every day I find more ways in which this practice can help me mentally and physically. As a writer, anything that offers me the chance to unlock my hidden creative potential, and allow me to more vividly experience my creations, is a gold mine in my mind. This specific subject is the one on which I want to focus for right now. If lucid dreaming is a gateway to a world where we can experience anything we can imagine, then can you imagine being brought face to face with the characters of your novel? To be able to speak to them, travel with them, experience them in a way that is deeper than any daydream could hope to be. The benefits of this practice go even farther down the rabbit hole when you consider the psychological ramifications of exploring dreams. Perhaps you experience frequent writer’s block, or your vision of a character is a hazy diamond in the rough. Lucid dreaming is an excellent way to unlock the secrets of your subconscious mind, and release information that is hidden or has been locked away. If we can use our dreams to dig deeper into our minds than we have access to during waking hours, we could potentially uncover a treasury of ideas and details to be used in creating more in-depth and refined work than ever before.
So far, on my journey, I have only managed to induce lucid dreaming a few times. But because of these experiences, I can vouch first hand for the fact that our dreaming world can be experienced as vividly and realistically as reality. The touch, taste, sound, sight sensations are as clear and effective as any waking world experience. These experiences can even feel so intensely real that you may forget to question the reality of the situation at all. Now imagine you were able to step into your dreams and ask to speak to your main protagonist character. Imagine you could ask them any question, converse about any topic, or explore their whole body with your eyes, or your hands, creating an image of them that is so clear upon waking, you feel you’ve truly met them. This is a priceless tool in the art of storytelling. It allows us to extract every minute detail of information needed in order to create the clearest and most concise written words possible. You can use this skill, in the style mentioned above, to meet and discuss interesting topics with your characters. Or, once you’re skilled enough, you could create the fictional world, or even the real world settings, that occur in your novels and explore them in your dreams. This method would allow you to explore so many details; homes, forests, parks, shopping malls; as if you were seeing these things in your “real” waking life.
There are many benefits of lucid dreaming, and writers have access to even more benefits than most. We are lucky enough to have whole worlds locked up inside of our minds, just waiting to be explored. So go explore; taste, touch and smell your world; because when you awake, it’s time to use those sensations, and put your world to paper in the most concrete and detailed way you could imagine. The things I have mentioned today are not the only benefits to lucid dreaming; they are not even the only benefits to writers. There are many other experiences, revelations, and topics to explore while lucid dreaming and I plan to record and share as many as I can while I practice to become an expert in Oneironautics. Below are some links to the basics of lucid dreaming that you can use to get yourself started at home. And I invite you to check back here for updates, articles and conversations regarding lucid dreaming, and how you as a writer can take full advantage of this amazing opportunity. Come along with me as we go on an expedition into the deep subconscious of the mind and unlock the mysteries and answers that are every writer’s dream.
What is lucid dreaming: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lucid_dream
How to begin lucid dreaming: http://www.lucidipedia.com/lucid-dreaming-techniques/
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