Most people have had at least one lucid dream in their lifetime, if not multiple. Lucid dreaming is a mental state where you are conscious while fully asleep. While lucid dreaming, you become aware that you are dreaming, and thus also gain some control over your dream. It’s often easy to manipulate the things, people and environment that you encounter, and change it according to your own will. Lucid dreams can be very fun, exciting experiences, but they can also be very useful in other ways as well. Not only are they deeply fulfilling, they’re also beneficial when it comes to psychic development, mediumship (both increasing mediumship ability as well as contacting energy beings and those who have crossed over) and personal development.
How Does it Feel to Have a Lucid Dream?
Though the lucid dreaming experience is different for everyone, many describe it as very magical and intense. You'll feel like you've entered another world when you become aware while in a dream. You can manipulate physical laws, and you can make your fantasies come true instantly. Your dream will react to your thoughts, which means you can do things like eat that food you're craving without worrying about the health risks. Speaking with a dream interpreter can help you find new ways to explore your dreams.
Are Lucid Dreams the Same as Dream Control?
Lucid dreaming and controlling your dreams are related, but they're not the same thing. You can be lucid and have little or no control over the content of your dream, or you can have a lot of control without actually being aware that you're dreaming. That said, becoming lucid will likely increase your level of control over the course of events. Many dreamers, once they realize they're lucid, decide to do something they can only do with the great freedom of the dream state. However, you still choose how much control you want to exert over your dream.
Are Lucid Dreams the Same as Astral Projection?
Lucid dreaming is to not be confused with out of body experiences (OBE’s). Out of body experiences differ from lucid dreaming in a number of ways, with the main difference being that lucid dreaming is a dream state where you’re conscious that you’re dreaming, and have contact with your subconscious as well as your higher self, while during an out of body experience, your consciousness is literally leaving your body and traveling, not confined by our normal limitations, as for example in a dream of flying. Out of body experiences are also referred to as Astral Projection when they happen voluntarily and by choice. Most people who experience out of body experiences, however, do so involuntarily and without trying, the same as with lucid dreaming.
Astral Projection is a wonderful, stimulating and exciting experience, and a technique that can be learned by almost anyone, for example, by utilizing guided meditations for astral travel. But it does take practice and dedication to learn. Lucid dreaming, on the other hand, can be equally as fulfilling and enthralling, and takes much less hard work to achieve. Many who lucid dream do so naturally and without trying, but there are several techniques that can be utilized to induce a lucid dream, which I will include below.
Why Have Lucid Dreams?
There are countless reasons to learn lucid dreaming. Many think first of adventure and fulfilling fantasies, and you can do that, of course. Lucid dreaming offers other benefits, though, like rehearsing for important events or achieving moments of transcendence. Lucid dreams also allow you to overcome fears or nightmares and even have the power for physical healing.
Lucid dreaming can lead you to greater physical awareness and have profound impact on your well-being. Learning to achieve lucidity in dreams will open up a new world.
How to Use Lucid Dreaming for Personal Development
When we have a lucid dream, we have contact with our higher selves, as well as our subconscious mind, and can work with both to achieve whatever the desired results are. While it’s easy to get lost in manipulating your environment (I often change the color of the sky to a bright pink color for example), you have a unique opportunity while lucid dreaming to face and heal from psychological trauma, to find solutions to difficult and challenging problems, and to isolate any personal challenges or blocks you may not be aware of.
If you are experiencing problems in your life, lucid dreaming can help. These problems could involve a situation where you just don't know how to handle the other person or make the right decision. Through lucid dreaming, it's possible to try out various resolution scenarios within your dream. Doing so allows you to explore the potential risks and rewards involved in the various resolution options. This can give you insight into a resolution that can offer the best outcome for your future.
Lucid dreaming can give you the confidence you need to take a step that you would not otherwise take. For example, you may be consumed with anger or fear about a life change. In your waking life, the options look bleak and the future dismal. Through lucid dreaming, you can explore what will happen in your life through various decisions or changes in a comfortable zone. This allows you to gain the courage to move forward because you know what may happen.
The most important tool is your intent. You may design your lucid dreaming experiments how you wish or ask your guides for suggestions.
One thing to keep in mind is that the language of your subconscious, as well as your intuition, is often one of imagery and metaphor. Not everything is as literal as it may seem. Try to take that into account even when in full control of your own lucid dream. Certain things that happen, pop up, or that you experience in a lucid dream that are not within your control are of key importance. People that you come across, places that you find yourself - anything that’s not created or expected by you should be noted. Any challenges you have in controlling your dream may also indicate areas where you may be struggling in reality. For example, if you decide you’d like to fly in your lucid dream, but cannot get yourself more than a few feet off the ground - you may have issues with letting go, of taking yourself too seriously, or you may find that you’re holding yourself back with your own thought patterns and anxieties (it is VERY common for our subconscious to tell us we are limiting ourselves, because we often are.)
Once you release yourself of those barriers, you’ll find that the things you want to achieve in the lucid dream are effortless - such as flying. Also, simply acknowledging those as being your issues can have that instant effect as well, but it varies. Thus, having this form of direct communication with your subconscious and higher consciousness through lucid dreaming is incredibly valuable for obvious reasons.
Of course, your lucid dreaming experience will differ from others, because we’re all individuals. Learning how your subconscious and higher self-communicate with you is extremely helpful, because as you take those lessons from your dream state, you may also notice those same methods of communication being used in your daily life.
How to Use Lucid Dreaming for Psychic Development
Lucid dreaming is wonderful for psychic development, as well as mediumship development! When it comes to approaching psychic development from a dream standpoint, it’s extremely helpful to have a direction prior to falling asleep in order to utilize your time in the dream (which will be short). It can be difficult to form a direction when sleeping, and in order to stay in your lucid dream state, you’ll have to keep your thoughts somewhat “light” and not weighted down or too focused. Knowing a general idea of what you want to accomplish can be extremely helpful in making the most of your lucid dream experience. Simply affirming what your goal is and what your desired result is can be extremely helpful.
One way to improve and affect your psychic development is by repeating, out loud or in your mind, what you want to achieve. If you’re able to do this in a lucid dream, you’re literally imprinting what you’re desiring onto your subconscious via an affirmation. If you’ve ever worked with manifestation before, you know that intention is a POWERFUL tool, and utilizing intention when you’re dreaming can bring about real, visible change. You can also try using that psychic skill that you want to develop IN your dream.
Sending telepathic messages, for example, is an excellent way to utilize lucid dreaming and practice a very real psychic phenomenon. One way of doing this would be to visualize the person you want to send a message to and create a mental image of what message you want to send. For beginners, try something basic and easy, like a visual of a puppy, a teacup, or a shoe. Focus on the visual that you’re creating in your mind, and then send it to the person you’re trying to reach.
How do you send it? ANY WAY YOU WANT!
I enjoy visualizing the image and “blasting” it mentally towards the person. I visualize waves of energy reaching out from my body towards that person, carrying my visual message. You can try other methods. An adorable method a friend of mine uses is to literally mail the image, in her dreams, to the person. The way you send it isn’t important, it’s the INTENTION that does the work.
When you’re consciously awake, you can reach out to the person you tried to send the message to and see if they received it, or if they bring up that image in conversation. This WILL take practice, but you’ll likely see results a bit faster than you would practicing telepathy as a beginner in a normal setting. You can also inform the person that you’ll be sending them a message before you go to sleep and try it that way as well. The possibilities for expanding and practicing your psychic abilities, while in a lucid dream state, are truly endless.
How to Use Lucid Dreaming for Mediumship
I can’t even begin to express how wonderful lucid dreaming is when it comes to mediumship. If you already have developed mediumship abilities, you’ll find this process even easier. Empaths will also find this method to be particularly helpful when identifying specific energies and people reaching out to them.
When I talk to people dealing with grief over the passing of a loved one, they’re often inconsolable. They may pick up on their loved one’s energy, they may feel their presence, and they may even have more viable contact such as physical touches, sounds, or other ways that the deceased may be reaching out. However, as anyone who has lost someone close to them knows - it’s often just NOT ENOUGH. We want more, we want visible and engaging contact. This is where lucid dreaming can really come in handy.
While lucid dreaming, it is VERY possible to communicate with spirit guides, ancestors, deceased loved ones, and other energy beings. When we dream, we open ourselves up, energetically and mentally. Many spirits will use dreams purposefully for this reason, as it’s easier to get our attention in a dream, as opposed to trying to get our attention during our conscious, waking state. It’s also useful for making meaningful communication, as opposed to just “I’m here! Notice me!!” contact.
Before falling asleep, identify who you’d like to reach out to. The more specific, the better. I’d suggest against “anyone who wants to contact me” and try more towards “My friend John Doe” or “Grandma Carrie” or the more general “my spirit guides.” Try to keep it as focused as you can, within your abilities. Create an affirmation indicating your intention and desired result in your lucid dream and prepare to recite it both before falling asleep and also repeat it in your lucid dream. Sometimes the words themselves can be difficult when in the sleep state, but keeping the name, the thought, or the intention in your mind is key, not so much the words themselves.
As you start to fall asleep, repeat who you want to make contact with in your mind. Form a mental picture of the individual if possible - or how you may envision them looking. Forming mental pictures is a great way of solidifying intention, so the more vivid and detailed your mental image is of who you’re trying to contact, the better. Remember the language of your subconscious and your intuition is often imagery. Using that to communicate energetically is extremely helpful. Try to maintain that image, repeating who you’re trying to contact as you drift off to sleep.
Upon realizing that you’re in your lucid dream, you have a couple of options. You can mentally create a space where the person or being you’re trying to contact can come and communicate with you (a GREAT choice for those who want to continue using lucid dreaming for mediumship contact long term, and advisable for those who are more well-versed with lucid dreaming) or, you can simply will them into your dream. When I say, “will them”, I mean to once again form your mental image, to the extent that you can within your dream, and call the person or energy being you’re trying to contact into your dream.
Just the same as when you were falling asleep, you can use intention, mental images, the specific name, or even the memory of the person’s energy as your tool to call them into your dream. You may find that you can call them into your dream using other methods (some psychics actually have rituals they perform within dreams that they enjoy using to make contact). A HUGE part of working with this kind of mediumship is getting to know you, and how YOU communicate with the energy world, not just the other way around. As opposed to beings trying to establish contact with you, you’re doing the opposite - trying to establish contact with them! So, finding out how YOU best communicate, when in your dream state, is a really valuable tool.
You can also expand on how you communicate, and, if you have difficulty, it may be an indication of an energy or an emotional block that has been inhibiting you from contact previously. Don’t get disheartened if the person or being you’re trying to contact doesn’t show up at the first try. But don’t be too terribly surprised if it works too! Once you get more comfortable with lucid dreaming itself, as well as learning how YOU call out and reach out to the “other side”, the easier this whole process will become.
Most people are able to establish SOME form of contact the first- or second-time trying mediumship through lucid dreaming. Those who struggle will usually find a reason WHY they are unable to make contact, which if you do have a block of some kind, you can address it at that point to remove it. Two of the most common blocks people have are fear and grief.
Grief IS a blocking emotion. It is an intense, powerful, and deeply moving emotion that is incredibly difficult to deal with and extraordinarily painful, but it also tends to block us from spirit communication. Believe it or not, grief serves a purpose as a transitionary period in which you’re adapting and growing, even when it feels as though the world is standing still. However, as it is also a period of time where we are aching and longing for contact with the person who has passed, grief acts as a small “bubble” around us and makes contacting those closest to us so much harder. That being said, once some of the more intense periods of grief have passed, the process of contacting and communicating with those who have passed will get easier.
How to Induce a Lucid Dream
Now that we have addressed a bit about how to use a lucid dream to promote psychological health and psychic development, as well as using them for mediumship purposes, it’s time to focus on HOW to induce a lucid dream itself. Luckily, there’s some scientifically tried and true methods for lucid dreaming and with a little practice and some dedication, you’ll find it easy to enjoy this wonderful dream tool.
What is Reality Testing for Lucid Dreaming?
Reality testing is a pretty simple technique that involves consistency in order for it to be effective, and is done during your daily normal, waking state. In short, reality testing is training your mind to notice your own awareness and your own consciousness. One easy way to start reality testing is to periodically, throughout your day, examine your surroundings, and take a moment to check yourself, your situation, and your environment. Optimally, you should try to do this 4-5 times per day, or more if you would like.
In dreams, details are obviously not nearly as vivid, certain situations and events don’t make sense, and by taking a moment to examine your surroundings in a dream, you’ll usually be able to identify if it’s reality or not. By taking a moment to examine your surroundings and situation during your waking day, you’re mentally training yourself to do so when you’re sleeping, so you can employ those same techniques to bring about consciousness during your dream. Once you realize you’re dreaming, you’ll be lucid dreaming - and have control over your dream.
The more you practice lucid dreaming, the more control you’ll have over your own dream world. Some things you can do to “reality test” can include reading signs or anything that has letters or numbers on it, checking your senses (what do you taste, what do you smell, what do you hear, what do you feel, etc.…), try to think about where you are and how you got to the place that you’re in, try to push on objects and see if they’re solid, etc. It may seem obvious when you’re awake that you’re conscious, but remember that it’s not that obvious when you’re in a dream, so getting into the habit of checking your surroundings and your own awareness is key, so that habit will also come about in your dream state as well.
Wake Back to Bed (WBTB) Method
The “Wake Back to Bed” method is a really great method to employ while using the reality testing method. You don’t have to utilize both methods (you can use one or the other) but using them simultaneously can really help to produce better, more consistent results. Wake back to bed is literally waking up and then going back to bed a short time later. Lucid dreams happen when you’re in the REM cycle of sleep, so this method helps to create the right mental state for lucid dreaming.
To use the “Wake Back to Bed” method, simply set an alarm for 5 hours after when you are expected to fall asleep. When you wake, participate in a light, non-stimulating activity (such as light reading, listening to music, etc.) for about 30 minutes, then go back to bed. When you go back to sleep, due to the interruption in the sleep cycle and the act of going back into sleep, you’ll be far more likely to induce a lucid dream. If you employ this technique along with the reality testing method, your chances at achieving a lucid dream are even higher.
Regardless of lucid dreaming, I recommend dream journaling to just about anyone who is interested in psychic development, their own subconscious mind, identity, or those who are simply curious about dreams and their interpretations. Dream journaling has several benefits, which includes improved dream recall as well as more vivid dreams.
It’s best to try dream journaling daily, as you want to create it as a habit. Keep a notepad or voice recorder next to your bed at night, and when you wake, immediately write down any dreams you had, impressions, or anything that you can remember from your sleep. Even if you don’t have much to write down, try to write down SOMETHING every time you wake up. It doesn't matter the type of dream or length, just record as many details as you can recall as well as the emotions behind the scenes which will help you not only with dream recall, but with the integration of your lucid and waking states of awareness. You’ll notice that your dream recall will improve substantially in a very short period of time, and the details of your dreams will be much more vivid.
When you dream journal, you’re also identifying things that can be indicators that you’re dreaming, also known as “dreamsigns”. By remembering what happened during your dreams, where you are, and anything that happens as well as things that appear in your dreams, it can help your cognition when you’re dreaming to notice those same things, and help bring about a more conscious state of awareness in your sleep.
Staying asleep is often a tricky part of lucid dreaming. It’s VERY easy to accidentally awaken yourself when lucid dreaming, because the more conscious you become, the more “awake” your mind and body will also want to become. Keeping your thoughts “light” can help. Try keeping any thoughts or images with a gentle focus. Don’t try to overthink things, and don’t get bogged down in too many details. If you feel yourself waking up, try relaxing and allowing your dream to take over again. It can feel like a tightrope walk, but it’s more about balance than anything else, and that comes with practice.
If you want to wake up from a lucid dream and are having difficulty, some easy ways that often help can be screaming or focusing on intense thoughts or sensations. Screaming helps stimulate your brain and body awake because you’re not able to produce the volume you should be, and your body will respond knowing something is wrong. Focusing on intense thoughts can also help stimulate your brain back to a full waking state because the more active your brain is, the faster your brainwaves vibrate, which brings you out of REM sleep.
For even more about dreaming, check out our helpful guide to help interpret common recurring dreams and nightmares.