Written by Naiya
What is a Lucid Dream?
Being lucid means knowing that you are dreaming while you are still within the dream. This is the only requirement for a lucid dream.
False Lucidity is a term that gets floated around DV from time to time, referring to dreams where the dreamer is not sure if they were truly lucid or not. There is no such thing as a false lucid dream. This is not a term used by any dream researcher, and it often used by dreamers to express frustration at a dream which did not live up to their particular expectations of a lucid dream. To clarify:
- You do not have to intentionally induce a lucid dream for it to be lucid. Many lucid dreams are completely spontaneous.
- You do not have to be lucid throughout the entire dream for it to be a lucid dream.
- You do not have to have ANY control over the dream whatsoever for it to be a lucid dream.
- You do not have to be able to think as clearly as you would in your waking life for it to be a lucid dream.
Here are some examples of lucid dreams:
You do a reality check in a dream, and you conclude that you are dreaming. However, you get so excited that you wake up. This is a lucid dream, but one in which the dreamer did not have enough stabilization technique to keep the dream going.
You have a false awakening, do a reality check, and conclude that you are dreaming. You run off to explore the area, but you get lost in the dream plot and completely forget that you are in a dream. This is still a lucid dream, but one in which you have lost your lucidity.
You realize you are dreaming and decide that you want to do the Dreamviews Task of the Month. You can't remember what it was, so you decide to log onto your computer to find out. It does not occur to you that your dream computer will be inaccurate. You do the task you find on your dream computer and wake yourself up so you can record the dream without forgetting any details. This is a perfect example of a lucid dream with very low clarity of thought and illogical thinking, also known as a low-level or low-quality lucid dream. Being lucid does not always guarantee that you will think clearly. This is why it is very important to keep thinking logically even AFTER a successful reality check. You may have a poor awareness of your surroundings, but you still know it's a dream.
You recognize one of your dream signs and realize that you are dreaming. You decide that you want to try a classic--flying. You run to your balcony, climb up and jump. Only to fall flat on the ground. Even thought you know it's a dream and that you should be able to fly, you just can't seem to get up in the air. This is a lucid dream in which there is little or no dream control.
Control vs Lucidity
Dream control is one of those difficult things for most people. Some are better at passive control, while others are better at active control. Some people just need to get more ideas; it is different for everyone, so if your control wasn’t perfect, or not even present, again, that’s just normal. A lot of people I know that have had a lot of lucid dreams still have problems with control. It doesn’t mean they weren’t lucid, just that they were unable to control the dream. Why? Well, that’s up to the dreamer to find out.
Are there "levels" to Lucidity?
Generally, you either know you are dreaming or not. If you are aware on some level it is a dream, but not conscious of this, you may be pre-lucid, but you are not yet fully lucid.
The level of lucidity is defined by the quality of the lucidity and clarity of thought. While you may know you are dreaming, you may not always have clarity of thought.
For example, you may know you are dreaming, but when you see a UFO, you fear that the aliens will be able to hurt you physically. Or you may meet a dream character and assume that they are their real-life counterpart. This is a lower quality lucid--while you know you are dreaming, you may not be aware of all of the implications of this knowledge. This is why so many lucid dreamers will stress the concept of awareness--it is very important to teach ourselves to constantly be aware of our surroundings and think logically.
The most confusing when it comes to lucidity is likely awareness. For example, in a dream you may say something like “Yeah, it’s like that because we're dreaming” to a DC. It is one thing to say something, and another thing to understand it. Here you may not have been aware of what you said, so it meant nothing. If it meant nothing, then it was NOT a lucid dream.
But what if you did understand it? In this case, you were lucid, whether you were able to change the flow of the dream, have good clarity or not, is not important to this; you may be able to next time.
It is difficult to explain to people how to differentiate if they were aware of what was said or not, so this is completely up to the dreamer to decide.
Another problem with awareness is that people sometimes take for granted what the dream tells them, like when you treat a DC as you would treat a real person when you didn’t intend to (Or at least not once you wake up). For example, let’s say your dream mom, asks you to wash something, and maybe you live with your parents, maybe not; but even so you still will see this as an obligation and do it, right? That you weren’t aware of the fact that it was only a dream and it didn’t matter whether or not you did the action means your awareness wasn’t good, but won’t change the fact that you were lucid. This I think, goes hand-to-hand with the logic problem, but should be treated separately from being lucid, just as dream control is.
Are there Lucid Nightmares?
Yes. Since being lucid does not mean you will always have control or be able to think logically, there may be times where you know you are dreaming and you are unable to overcome your nightmare through dream control.