December 1st, 2010

Are You Sleepwalking Through Life? How Lucid Dreaming Can Lead to Living in the Present

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If you spend the day spaced out and caught up in the elaborations of the conceptual mind, you are likely to do the same in dream. And if you are more present when awake, you will also find that presence in dream.

-Tenzin Wangyal Rinpoche, The Tibetan Yogas of Dream and Sleep

A lucid dream is a dream in which you are aware that you are dreaming. There are many reasons people decide to try lucid dreaming. Here are a few of the more popular reasons:

  • Fun (ex. flying, superhero abilities)
  • Treatment for nightmares
  • Rehearsing an activity for your waking life (ex. sport, musical performance)
  • Self knowledge and personal growth

These are all great reasons, but most dreamers have not considered another positive side effect to lucid dreaming. When you become lucid within a dream, you practice living in the moment and maintaining awareness of your dream state. If you let your thought patterns slip into autopilot mode in a lucid dream, you will likely forget that you are dreaming and lose lucidity. Early lucid dreamers often lose lucidity or get excited and wake up from the dream. But experienced lucid dreamers learn to maintain awareness in the dream.

Taking Advantage of Your Senses in Waking Life

Somewhere along my lucid dreaming journey, I started to notice a lot more around me than before in my waking life. Before lucid dreaming, my waking life thoughts and tasks would be leave me in autopilot mode more frequently. I would be stuck deep in thought, not taking advantage of my senses, not enjoying the moment and my external environment.

As it is, I would say about 80 to 90 percent of most people’s thinking is not only repetitive and useless, but because of its dysfunctional and often negative nature, much of it is also harmful. Observe your mind and you will find this to be true. It causes a serious leakage of vital energy.

-Eckhart Tolle, The Power of Now

What I Learned about Lucid Dreaming and Living in the Present

The lucid dreaming habit of maintaining awareness in the dream state seems to flow into waking life. Lucid dreaming foundational practices helped me become more conscious in waking life initially. For example, performing reality checks (asking myself “Am I dreaming?”) throughout the day initially led to more consciousness of the present. Also, practicing dream yoga techniques such as “recognizing the dream-like nature of life” helped. But overall, experiencing lucid dreams and prolonging the dreams by maintaining awareness has made the biggest impact.

Just as your habits you have in waking life are reflected in your dream world, the reverse is also true. The habits you develop in your dream world are reflected in your waking life.

Learn More About Lucid Dreaming

To learn more about lucid dreaming, sign up for your Free Lucid Dreaming Starter Handbook.

This post is part of the Dream Evolver Series

Creative Commons License photo credit: ~FreeBirD®~

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