A lucid dreaming definition based on characteristics

How to define lucid dream

The nocturnal practice known as lucid dreaming has become a popular phenomenon in our modern culture. Although the topic has been around for years in New Age circles, it has become more well-known with the proliferation and publicizing of smartphone apps related to the practice. Most of these apps are simply a way of setting your phone to play certain sounds, music or commands at a set point during your sleep cycle. These sounds or commands are meant to function as stimuli for your sleeping brain, resulting in a certain kind of state known as a lucid dream. But what exactly is this special mental state supposed to be like? The best way to define lucid dreaming is by looking at 3 specific qualities  or characteristics agreed on by experts in the field.


The first stage and the most difficult to achieve is the state of being aware inside the dream. In Carlos Castaneda's books about his apprenticeship with a Mexican Indian sorcerer, his mentor told him that he had to practice one thing to become conscious in his dreams: he had to look for his hands, and remember having done so. Once he had been able to directly see his hands inside the dream, he needed to hold his gaze steady on them. After he was able to steadily keep his hands in his dream field of vision, then he could move on to the next step, which was to look away at his surroundings quickly, then to redirect his gaze back to his hands.  All of this sounds easy on paper, but it took Carlos several years and all kinds of setbacks before he was able to follow these steps.



The next function that needs to be accomplished is the quality of control. Apparently, while it's not a simple matter to learn to be aware in your dreams, it is easier to learn to control the dream once you can achieve full consciousness. Being able to control a dream means that you can choose a setting or location, choose who will be in the dream (to a certain extent), and that you can move freely within the confines you have chosen. For some mystifying reason, you have to learn the characteristic of control be be truly free in your lucid dream state. Once you can control the dream, you can relax that need for control when needed so you can explore and discover.



Once a state of control has been achieved, the next phase is the quality of being creative. The term as it is used in lucid dreaming is not quite the same as in everday life, but is similar. A lucid dreamer can not only choose where to go and who to see, but can interact with other beings in the dream. In this interaction is the key to creativity. The dreamer can decide how to influence and manipulate events or beings, based on what the dreamer needs or wants from a given situation, or on questions he or she is seeking answers to. By creating the necessary setting and characters, then acting in that arena, the lucid dreamer creates another world that somehow intersects with the waking world.


Bonus C: Challenge
If you define lucid dreaming by stages that are supposed to happen, you will arrive at a point where you are faced with a challenge. That is, you may be tempted to use information or influence in a way that could cause harm or pain to another person. The way you meet that challenge will determine how you will advance in the lucid dream state thereafter. The ancient wisdom is that if you do only good and not evil, you will find yourself completelt free from earthly constraints, and that you will find your waking life transformed.