Our Loved Ones in Lucid Dreams

When we lucid dream of deceased loved ones, is it really them in spirit form? This question can be answered with a double entendre. One practically perceives the same mental model of them in a lucid dream that one perceived when they were alive. The same synaptic connections that transmogrify into a realistic impression of your loved ones can be posthumously reinforced with the practice of lucid dreaming. When they are alive and we perceive them, perception is constrained by sensory input, meaning that our mental models of them will mimic what they are doing in the objective world.

When we perceive them posthumously in lucid dreams, the mental model is more fluid because it is unconstrained by sensory input and therefore liable to transformations driven by unconscious quicksands of the mind, as it were. In this sense, it is correct to say that what is oneirically perceived is not our loved ones. Those lucid-dream doppelgängers are not our loved ones. They are loose emulations.

I am of the opinion that it is better to have the truth served cold than believe a consoling lie. I would never claim with absolute certainty that what we perceive in lucid dreams are the spirits of the dead. But I would maintain that those oneiric emulations of our deceased loved ones are still memory-based (synaptically retrieving impressions from when the real thing was perceived) at least in terms of form (physical appearance) which, of course, is always subject to shapeshifting as time elapses. What the dream characters say, however, tend to come from the realm of imagination and the schematic associations which the subconscious tends to make.

In this link, psychology professor Dax Urbszat talks about lucid dreaming. It is well worth watching the whole thing as it is quite educational and informative. At 15 minutes he talks about the experience of dead people in lucid dreams and mentions the Dalai Lama who believes the practice of lucid dreaming is a good rehearsal for 'the next life' :

Feel free to post your views on the subject here, and, if you wish, excerpts from your dream journal which indicate experiences you've had with the dead in altered states of consciousness.