Lucid Dreaming and Dream Control
Do you want to have a lucid dreaming experience, but don’t have time or don’t want to do anything about it?
Well, even if you do nothing, the chances are pretty high that at least once in your lifetime you will have a spontaneous lucid dream.
According to different surveys, from 52% (Voss et al. 2013) to 83.5% (Stumbrys et al. 2015), of people have had at least one lucid dream in their life.
Moreover, the survey conducted by Snyder & Gackenbach in 1988, showed that there is about 20% of people (the lucky ones!) who report having lucid dreams once a month or more.
Lucidity is not so rare – many people who have never read anything about lucid dreaming and don’t even know the name of this phenomenon can be natural lucid dreamers.
Interestingly enough, lucid dreaming is especially common in young children (for example, see study 1 and study 2).
Not only do many young children report frequently becoming lucid in their dreams, but often they are also able to change the dream plot to end a nightmare.
Unfortunately, from the age of six the frequency of spontaneous lucid dreaming declines steadily, and after age sixteen, it drops sharply. To sum it up, the older we get, the fewer spontaneous lucid dreams we have.
Apart from children, gamers (compared with than non-gamers) are more likely to have lucid dreams, as Jayne Gackenbach, a psychologist at MacEwan University in Canada, found out.
Moreover, while gamers are used to controlling game environments, they are often able to intuitively direct and change their dream environments.
Maybe because dreams and games have something in common – they are both modified versions of reality.
Ultimately, you may have a lucid dream experience even if you do nothing at all (especially if you are very young and like playing computer games).
But in this case you will need to be patient and wait (a month, a year, years …) when your next spontaneous lucid dream happens.
Besides, your long-desired lucid dream is likely to be very short, as you haven’t worked on developing the skill to maintain and enhance the state of lucidity.
Furthermore, you will not get the most of that experience, as you won’t know how to direct your dream plot and work with dream characters.
Many people use “lucid dreaming” and “dream control” as interchangeable terms, but in fact, they mean quite different things.
Lucid dreaming is the ability to realize that you are dreaming while you are dreaming, while dream control is the ability to direct the dream plot and exert some degree of control over your dream content.
You may be lucid in your dream and have no control over what is happening in your dream – what characters you meet, where you find yourself, how the dream plot develops, etc.
A study by Ursula Voss et al. 2013 (mentioned above), showed, “that plot control is not automatically activated in lucid dreaming.”
So if you want to have a fantastic, mind-altering, prolonged lucid dreaming experience, you will need to learn how to:
- induce lucid dreams;
- prolong lucid dreams (because quite often a lucid dream only lasts a few seconds);
- maintain lucidity (because it is very easy to lose lucidity and return to the normal non-lucid dream);
- control and direct the dream content (plot, dream characters, settings, etc.).