We've been dreaming like it's nothing since we were babies, living through the ups and downs of glorious flight, having all our teeth fall out, meeting our favourite celebrities and realising that yet again we're naked in front of the whole school. Such are the turmoils of the unconscious dreamer.
But have you ever tried to control your dreams, exploring the edge of your consciousness? We spoke to expert Tree Carr about the enriching benefits of lucid dreaming, and just how to go about it. With her ten steps, a little effort, and a lot of dedication, you too could be travelling through the dream scape, getting in touch with your conscious self and maybe even sharing dreams...
Get your tickets here for "Dreams: Consciousness exploration as you sleep" on the 13th of August.
Get your tickets here for "Conscious dreaming workshop" on the 18th of August.
So first up, how on earth does someone get to be a dream expert?
By actively embracing the exploration as an oneironaut (dream explorer) on a daily or nightly basis. By experimenting, documenting, and learning about sleep, dreams and the liminal realms. Basically, by becoming an obsessive dream freak.
I've been engaging in a conscious dreaming practise since I was a teenager. Over the years, through my own personal learning process, it would appear that I seem to know a thing or two about dreams. I first stepped out on social media, by sharing old dream journal excerpts and I ended up getting an onslaught of people messaging me asking for advice on dream exploration. From there I branched out to do workshops, retreats, talks and a book!
How easy is lucid dreaming? Can anyone do it?
Some people have found that they spontaneously lucid dream. Especially children. But for the most part, lucid dreaming is a daily practise. I believe that anyone can do it. It’s like going to the gym to train your body. You don't get a six pack from just a week at the gym. With lucid dreaming, you commit to engage in a series habits every day and night. These new habits help to train your brain and expand your consciousness in order to become fully present within the dream-state.
I believe the key to lucid dreaming is actually lucid living. When we are more present and aware in our waking life, we have much more of a chance of becoming aware in our dream life.
What are the motivations behind lucid dreaming? Why should we be doing it?
We spend about a third of our lives asleep and dreaming. That's approximately 25 years. A lot can get done in 25 years! With lucid dreaming you can be inspired with new creative ideas or concepts, problem solve, heal emotional wounds, expand your consciousness, overcome phobias and generally bring more magic into your life. I see it as an exploration of yourself within the multiverse.
What’s the craziest thing that’s ever happened to you with Lucid dreaming?
One of my most memorable lucid dreams was connecting to my higher self. A fellow oneironaut suggested I try it. So the next time I felt myself going lucid, I called out: "I connect to my higher self NOW!"
And as soon as I spoke the words, I was sucked up into the air through a cascade of brilliant light and colour. As I was rushing upwards, the energy I felt in my dream body was incredible. I exploded into a complete euphoric presence of unconditional love, joy and unified oneness. It was completely boundary dissolving and I woke up buzzing with freedom and a true sense of wonder.
What’s your favourite thing about your job?
Being able to witness a person evolve and connect more deeply with their dreams, bringing more magic, healing and inspiration into their waking lives. Also getting an email or message from someone I'm guiding, where they tell me that they've had their first lucid dream.
That sounds like such a great moment. We want in! Can you talk us through how to get there?
You get there through a combination of intent, mindfulness, reflection, record keeping, plant work and lifestyle changes. You'll then find yourself connecting more deeply to your dreams and eventually breaking through to becoming a lucid dreamer.
Decide that you want to become a lucid dreamer and set an intent that you will be committed to being more conscious in your dream realms.
Understand your sleep cycle. It’s really helpful to be aware of the physical and biological aspects of sleeping and dreamtime. Get to know the five stages of sleep, the five brain wave oscillations, and the amazing liminal stages of Hypnagogia and Hypnopompia (drifting in and out of sleep). You'll begin to understand the optimum times during your sleep cycle in which to help trigger lucidity. Most lucid dreamers find they will naturally wake up for about 5-10 min just before their final REM cycle and when they go back to sleep, they usually go lucid. You can experiment with this by setting your alarm to wake yourself up earlier than normal, then go back to sleep again.
Improve your sleep hygiene. Make sure you get between 7 and 9 hours of sleep each night. Avoid electronics in bed, avoid caffeine/sleeping pills/alcohol before bed. Create an optimum space for sleep dreaming in your bedroom. If you have clutter in your room, remove it. Basically, if the objects in your bedroom having nothing to do with sleep, dreaming or sex, then put them in another room. Let your bedroom be your dreaming sanctuary.
Connect more with your inner-worlds either through quiet reflection, writing, meditation or spending more time in nature. You can bring nature into your home by having air quality improving plants. These are great to have in your bedroom as they help promote healthy sleep.
Embrace self-awareness by observing, studying and analysing your day to day environments. This can help you create a mental habit of reality checking. By implementing more awareness in your daily life, you will soon find that this carries through in your dream realms and lucidity within a dream is more likely to happen.
Set 10-20 minutes aside each day to connect with your mind’s eye through Hypnagogic Meditation. What you observe in your HM can be quite surreal and random, but it’s helpful in training your consciousness to observe dream imagery and symbolism and it is also a great pathway into Wake Induced Lucid Dreams. (WILD)
Start a dream journal and record your dreams daily. This is the most important foundation of conscious dreaming. The more you record your dreams: the more you improve your dream memory recall and trigger more dreams. It also creates a long view picture of your dreaming themes and helps you connect the dots of what is going on in your unconscious realms. It helps you see clearly the different genres of dreams you experience. Plus, it also creates a great record and proof if you are experiencing precognitive (psychic) dreams.
Work with oneirogens (dreaming plants). Making these herbs into tea and consuming them in a bedtime ritual not only prepares your mind for dreamtime, the herbs themselves help activate more vivid dreaming and increase the potential of lucid dreaming.
Set goals, intents, mantras before sleep. Perhaps it is to find your hands in your dreams, or a doorway. Perhaps it can simply be: ‘I will go lucid in my dreams’.
Dream sharing! Connecting with other dreamers through dreaming circles and social media groups helps trigger more dreams and helps with support and encouragement with your practise. Plus, it gives you some dreaming buddies that you can experiment lucid mutual dreaming with.