In a lucid dream, you're aware that you're dreaming...so you can transform your dreams into fabulous adventures. From flying to traveling through time to visiting loved ones in spirit form, this book makes it easy for you to experience anything you wish.
Popular author Mark McElroy presents a simple and effective 90-day plan for achieving lucid dreams. Along with step-by-step instructions and practical tips, Mark shares entertaining and enlightening stories from other lucid dreamers. Once you've mastered self-awareness while sleeping, you can use lucid dreaming to:
- Live your fantasies
- Improve health and wellness
- Discover past lives
- Consult dream guides
- Enhance your spirituality
- Solve real-life problems
- Explore alternate realities
About the Author
After purchasing his first Tarot deck in 1973, Mark McElroy began terrorizing other neighborhood nine-year-olds with dire and dramatic predictions.Today, he calls Tarot "the ultimate visual brainstorming tool," and shares techniques designed to help others ask better questions, see more options, and achieve their goals.
He is the author of Putting the Tarot to Work, Taking the Tarot to Heart, What's in the Cards for You?, and the new I Ching for Beginners (all Llewellyn). He is also the author of The Absolute Beginner's Guide to Tarot (Que).
Mark holds a B.A. and M.A. in creative writing and composition from the Center for Writers at the University of Southern Mississippi. He has more than two decades of experience as a public speaker and corporate trainer. He has written, produced, and hosted classroom, video, and online training for some of America's biggest companies, including SkyTel, MCI, Office Depot, Staples, and many others. Today, he works as a writer, voice actor, and creativity consultant; samples of his work are available at www.hiremark.com and www.tarottools.com.
Mark lives and writes in Mississippi, where he shares a home with his partner, Clyde, and two cats, Tiger and Lilly.
Read an Excerpt
In this chapter, you'll discover:
What lucid dreams are, and what having a lucid dream is like
How dream cues can help you recognize that you're dreaming
How you may already have more control over dreams than you realize
The real-world benefits of lucid dreaming
Are You Asleep?
Right now, at this very moment, are you awake . . . or dreaming?
"What a silly question," you say. "I'm reading this book!
Of course I'm awake!"
Okay, you're awake. For a moment, though, let's pretend you're asleep. Do whatever you have to do to embrace this idea. Tell yourself firmly: "I'm asleep. This is a dream. I am not reading Lucid Dreaming for Beginners. I am dreaming of reading Lucid Dreaming for Beginners."
Testing Your Reality
Now that we've established that you're dreaming, take a good look around.
If you're at home, look at the furniture, the knickknacks,
the books, the clock on the wall. Is everything where you left it? Do any items seem out of place? Is there a long-lost toy from your childhood in the corner? Has the room changed color, size, or shape? As you strive to see this familiar place with new eyes, pretend you're being tested. One item in your room is wrong: out of context, out of time, out of place. Can you spot it?
If you're away from home, explore the setting you find yourself in. What sounds do you hear? Are all of them appropriate?
Look at the people around you. Are they all strangers? Do any of them seem oddly familiar? Are they dressed as you would expect?
And what about the world around you? Do any features strike you as unusual? Do clocks and watches possess the faces, hands, or numerals you would expect? Check lettered signs: on restroom doors, above restaurants, at street corners. Read them twice. Do they say the same thing both times?
And what about the text of this book? Does the paragraph above say what it said a second ago? Look and see,
just to make sure. For that matter, does the text of this paragraph make sense, saying what you expect it to say, or does it garrulous concept ratchet clone, a meal in gusset hammer?
Grading Your Dream Test
Think fast: when you came across the nonsense words in that last sentence-how did you feel? Was there a split second of confusion? Did you do a double take? Did you reread the nonsense, trying to make sense of it?
Did you wonder, even for a moment, whether or not you might, indeed, be dreaming? If so, congratulations: you've just taken your first step toward having your own lucid dreams.
What Is a Lucid Dream?
Lucidity: A Simple Definition
Put simply, lucid dreams are dreams in which the dreamer becomes aware that he or she is dreaming, and achieves a degree of control over the content and direction of the dream.
Once an experienced lucid dreamer recognizes that she's experiencing a dream, she is able to tailor the setting, the characters, and the action to suit her personal tastes.
Lucid Dream Cues
In a typical lucid dream, a dreamer notices some small detail-
generally referred to as a dream cue-that alerts her to the fact that she's dreaming. Dream cues vary from person to person and from dream to dream, but typical dream cues include:
Unusual clock faces
Clocks without hands
Clock faces with unusual numbers
Clocks with blank faces
Clocks with faces that spin or rotate
Books with unusually difficult or illegible text
Headlines or signs with shifting or changing words
Newspaper pages filled with nonsense text
Objects used or made in unusual ways
A snake used as a shoestring
An appliance that needs no power cord
A square umbrella
An elevator keypad without buttons or labels
Impossible actions and occurrences
One person or place suddenly being exchanged for another
Deceased relatives restored to life
Old friends who haven't aged
More Real Than Reality?
In my own experience-and in the experience of other lucid dreamers-lucid dreams are unusually vivid and intense.
They are easier to recall than other dreams. For several minutes after waking from a lucid dream, the real world, for several minutes, may feel less "real" than the dreamworld! This confusion fades quickly, though, and is replaced by a mild euphoria that follows the dreamer throughout the day.
If you've never had a lucid dream of your own, though,
the very idea of a "controlled dream" can sound bizarre . . .
or even frightening. With an eye toward helping you better understand the experience, here's a record of one of my own lucid dreams, experienced while researching and writing this book. It possesses many of the qualities common to lucid dreams-qualities you'll eventually come to recognize in lucid dreams of your own.
A Typical Lucid Dream
I am sitting in an unfamiliar restaurant, surrounded by a crowd of happy strangers. At a nearby table, a woman feeds her baby spoonfuls of bright-green peas. A couple near the sunlit windows holds hands and giggles softly. Waiters in white shirts, starched aprons, and dapper slacks wander the room, carrying huge trays topped with stainless steel domes.
The atmosphere is pleasant enough, but I am concerned with the menu. Instead of being printed on a sheet of paper or bound into a folder, the menu is posted to a massive electronic board (like those Arrival/Departure boards in American airports or European train stations) that runs the entire length of the restaurant. Whenever new dishes become available or the kitchen runs out of a daily special, the board updates itself. As the entries change, a deafening clatter fills the entire space, disrupting conversation and causing us all to put our hands over our ears.
Every time I try to read the board, an update occurs. Appetizers come and go, main dishes appear and disappear,
and the list of desserts moves from one end of the board to the other. Casey, a friend I haven't seen since college (still in his twenties, despite the passage of two decades), walks up and hands me a printed menu. "Try this," he says, waggling his bushy eyebrows. "You'll like it better."
Looking down, I discover the entire menu is printed in a bizarre cursive font. Letters loop and curl; worse, the text has been formatted into a series of spirals, requiring the reader to spin the menu in order to read it. I struggle to make a choice, but the items themselves keep shifting:
shrimp scampi becomes filet mignon becomes chicken becomes Soup of the Day.
I sigh. By the time I manage to place an order, I'll be late for work. I check my watch, and I'm surprised to see it has no hands. Instead, the entire face of the watch pivots, compass-
style, each time I flex my wrist.
And then it dawns on me. Shifting text. Friends who haven't aged. Odd timepieces.
The realization is almost enough to wake me. The room fills with gray fog. Features become indistinct, and sounds become hollow. People vanish.
I struggle to stay in the dream, but the harder I fight to stay in the restaurant, the faster the scene crumbles. Just in time, I remember an important technique: instead of struggling,
I stand up, stretch my arms out to either side, and start to spin around in circles.
Spinning doesn't restore the restaurant-the space around me shifts unpredictably, becoming a bedroom, a mall, and an office in rapid succession-but it does plant me firmly in the dream state. Once reasonably sure I won't wake up, I stop spinning and pause to get my bearings.
The room I've landed in is a remarkable replica of the living room in my childhood home. The dining room table,
the green recliner, and the bulky couch are arranged exactly as they were in the 1970s. The low coffee table is decorated with knickknacks I haven't seen in years: a wax rose in a glass sphere, a yellow candy dish, a floral vase. Even the carpet is worn in all the right places.
Tonight, though, I'm not interested in visiting my home.
I take a moment to focus on my goal, then cross the room to the coat closet. To my delight, I find the door opens on a sunny meadow carpeted with soft grass-the perfect spot for a flying lesson. Even before I spread my arms, I start bobbing skyward. With each step, I rise several feet above the ground before falling gently back to earth.
A sudden flash of insight reminds me that, before flying,
I have to hunch my shoulders and straighten my spine in a very specific way. Seconds later, I'm sailing effortlessly through the air, looking down at the treetops, completely free.
The Lucid Dreaming FAQ
Can I really learn to control my dreams?
While dream control may strike us, at first, as far-fetched,
most of us will admit, with some reflection, that we can and do possess some (often unintentional) ability to influence certain aspects of our dreams:
Bringing waking stress to the dreaming world. At work, Riccardo's team is under tremendous pressure to meet an aggressive deadline. Riccardo and other team members come in early, work all day, and stay late. At home, Riccardo collapses on the couch-
and, almost every night, endures restless dreams:
distorted images of his workday. He struggles to organize files and assemble his part of the report;
despite his best efforts, though, the files and reports transform into meaningless chains of illegible words.
The next morning, he's exhausted and angry-even when sleeping, he can't escape his stress!
Extending an intense experience. After skipping television to invest four hours in focused study, Bashir relaxes and rewards himself by playing his favorite video game. Two hours later, he climbs into bed. The minute he closes his eyes, it seems, he sees the video game again. "I kept seeing the screen, the characters,
the falling rocks. I'd wake up with my hands twitching,
just like I was using the controller. And I would get so angry, telling myself, 'You're not playing the game any more. Just go to sleep!' But the minute I
drifted off, I would see the game again. This went on all night!"
Processing fears through symbolic nightmares.
Patricia, having lost a good job, is having trouble finding a new one. "I'd been interviewing for weeks,
with no end in sight. People would promise callbacks that never came. When I'd check back with an interviewer who said I sounded just like what his company was looking for, he wouldn't return my calls. Meanwhile,
my savings account was dwindling every day."
Once in bed, Patricia began having startling dreams:
intruders bursting into her bedroom. "They were coming to take the furniture," she says. "I laugh about it now, but when these dreams were going on, night after night, it was terrifying. I dreaded going to sleep,
because I knew, an hour later, those men would burst into my room." Two weeks later, Patricia got a job; the dreams ended abruptly and never returned.
Disrupting dream cycles with late-night eating.
Angelique had been on a strict diet for several weeks,
but "fell off the wagon" for a friend's birthday. "We went out late and I had the first pizza I'd eaten in six weeks. Let's just say I had a lot of pizza, okay? When
I got home, I had terrible heartburn. When I tried to go to sleep, I kept having terrible, confusing dreams:
having babies, being buried-and this really weird one about going running with a tight, tight girdle on.
I could barely breathe. Needless to say, no more latenight pizza for me."
Influencing dream content with meditation or attentive focus. Shandra set herself a goal of reading the entire Bible in the course of one year. She kept the book beside her bed and read each day's designated quota of words like clockwork. Soon, she found the practice relaxed her and put her in a good frame of mind for sleeping. "And then, almost before I knew it, I started dreaming these Bible dreams. I would be in these desert places, with camels and tents and women carrying water pots. I would see characters and say to myself, 'Oh, that's just Jacob' or 'Oh, there goes Abraham.' The detail-the roughness of fabrics or the smell of cooking meat-amazed me. When I'd have these dreams, I'd feel very much at home. I'd wake up and be surprised I was back in the twenty-
Moving from accidental influence to conscious control may, at first, seem like a monumental task. The fact is,
though, that achieving lucidity-assuming conscious control of our dreams-is a skill that can be learned and, with practice, honed and perfected. With little or no effort on our part, mundane daily events can exert unintentional control over the content of our dreams. Moving to the next level-
dream control-is simply a matter of pairing deliberate fo-
cus and practiced awareness with the dreamworld's natural tendency to reflect what most occupies our thoughts.
Is learning to lucid dream difficult?
I have found my own lucid dreams to be exciting, exhilarating,
and surprisingly easy to achieve. This book, Lucid
Dreaming for Beginners, is a lucid dreaming primer. In addition to information about lucid dreams, their history, and the research investigating them, it provides a simple, stepby-
step system for engineering your own lucid dreams.
The book reflects my sincere belief (a belief supported by a growing body of scientific evidence!) that lucid dreaming is a skill. And while some people will have more of a knack for lucid dreaming than others, almost anyone should be able to use the information in this book to start having lucid dreams within ninety days or less.
How common is lucid dreaming?
In the course of writing this book, I asked many people about their experience with lucid dreams. Almost everyone
I spoke with had, while dreaming, realized they were in a dream. Of those people, quite a few could recall at least one or two lucid dreams; many others reported having experienced them on and off for years.
A query to one online community produced dozens of letters from people who claimed to have lucid dreams on a regular basis. Some of these people apparently have a natural affinity for lucid dreaming; others have worked to increase the frequency and quality of their lucid dreams over time.
But for the vast majority of people, the dream state is entirely passive-they go where their dreams take them.
To these people, controlling a dream-changing the setting,
editing the content, creating or eliminating characters at will-sounds like something out of a bad 1980s horror movie (Dreamscape, anyone?).
What are the benefits of lucid dreaming?
Live your fantasies. Let's cover the most obvious benefit first. For lucid dreamers, dreamtime is playtime. The act of lucid dreaming transforms any dream into your own personal theatre of indulgence.
Visit third-century Rome. Go skydiving-without a parachute. Give yourself magic powers. Buy everything your heart desires. Meet your favorite celebrity. (Heck, seduce your favorite celebrity!) Interview a goddess. Change your age, your weight, your hair, your clothes . . . your gender!
In a lucid dream, the only limits are those imposed by your own imagination. Who wouldn't be interested in a nightly visit to a universe where real-world consequences don't exist and the laws give way to your personal preferences?
If wish-fulfillment were the only benefit, lucid dreaming would have a lot to offer. The good news, though, is that there's a lot more to lucid dreaming than the opportunity to remake the world in your own image!
Table of Contents
Preface: In Search of the Conscious Dream xi
one Introducing the Lucid Dream 1
Are You Asleep? 1
What Is a Lucid Dream? 3
The Lucid Dreaming FAQ 8
Chapter 1 in a Nutshell 26
What’s Next? 27
two To Sleep, Perchance to Dream 29
The Nature of Sleep 30
A Guided Tour of a Good Night’s Sleep 31
Embracing Sleep 57
Chapter 2 in a Nutshell 59
What’s Next? 59
three Your Lucid Dreaming Profile 61
Lucid Dreaming . . . Gift or Skill? 61
What to Expect from the Lucid Dreaming Profile 62
The Lucid Dreaming Profile 63
Evaluating Your LDP 69
Boosting Your Lucid Dreaming Potential 70
Chapter 3 in a Nutshell 86
What’s Next? 87
four Lucid Dreaming in the Lab 89
Does Lucid Dreaming Exist? 90
The First Objective Evidence of Lucidity 93
More Insights from the Lab 96
Pursuing the Evidence: Why Bother? 107
Chapter 4 in a Nutshell 108
What’s Next? 109
five Mr. Sandman, Bring Me a (Lucid) Dream 111
Encouraging Lucid Dreams 112
Dream Buddies 112
Dream Mantras 124
Dream Meditations 125
New Sleeping Patterns 126
Dream Tokens 136
Chapter 5 in a Nutshell 142
What’s Next? 142
six From Awareness to Lucidity 145
Making Dreams a Priority 145
Two Simple Tools for Boosting Awareness 147
Achieving Control 171
Chapter 6 in a Nutshell 181
What’s Next? 182
seven In Their Own Words: Tips and
Techniques from Lucid Dreamers 183
Gina: The Relaxed Approach 184
Johanna: Images and Insights 188
Neal: Overcoming Fears 191
Melinda and Ketutar: Cautious Control 196
Mark: Enthusiastic Experimentation 200
Chapter 7 in a Nutshell 202
What’s Next? 202
eight Applications of Lucid Dreaming 203
Explore Alternate Realities 204
Travel Beyond Your Body 206
Communicate with the Dead 210
Consult Dream Guides 214
Experiment with Dream Communication 217
Dream Analysis 220
Heal Yourself 223
Nightmare Management 225
Recover Past Lives 229
Practice Anything 232
Take a Walk on Your Wild Side 235
Chapter 8 in a Nutshell 238
What’s Next? 239
nine Interpreting Lucid Dreams 241
A Brief History of Dream Interpretation 241
Simple Dream Interpretation, Step by Step 246
Interpreting Lucid Dreams 251
Chapter 9 in a Nutshell 260
What’s Next? 261
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
Lucid Dreaming for Beginners was a fairly helpful book that opens to the reader up into the practice of lucid dreaming. The book not only does over how dream work and how to better one¿s chances for a lucid dream, the book also goes into how dreams in general affect our waking life. The suggestions and ideas in this book are good for beginners or even for people who just what to touch-up on their techniques. A pretty interesting book on lucid dreaming overall.