For Healing and Health, Dream On
In Your Dreams
Today many Westerners are exploring similar mental territory
through the practice of "lucid dreaming." The term was first coined in
1913 by a Dutch physician who spontaneously experienced alert dreams.
In a lucid dream your ordinary sense of self wakes up inside
the dream, explains Steve Whiteman, DCH. One way to train for lucid dreaming is
to look at something light, like a paper clip, and ask whether it's
"Do this many times a day; make a habit of it. Sometime
during the night the paper clip really will float, and you'll recognize you are
now in a dream."
When people first experience a lucid dream they may experience
a powerful energy and sense of freedom, Whiteman says. "Lucid dreams are
more fluid. You have a nightmare, you may see a monster or a bear. When you
realize you're awake inside the dream, you can ask that bear, Why are you here?
The response will always be relevant. The bear may say, 'I've been trying to
get your attention for years.'" Whiteman is a hypnotherapist in private
practice in Atlanta and Clarksville, Ga., and teaches a class in lucid
"Lucid dreams surprise you. Our habitual view of ourselves
and our world is far too narrow," says Charles T. Tart, PhD, author of
Mind Science: Meditation Training for Practical People.
Suppose you're having a conflict with someone. If you're able
to dream lucidly, you can invite them into your dream and talk with them in a
way you couldn't do in real life. "You get a different take on things,"
Tart says. "This isn't an instant cure. There are no guarantees. But so
many of our problems persist because we see them in only one way and keep
beating our head against the same wall. Lucid dreaming can be a way to open to
new insights." Tart is professor emeritus of psychology at the University
of California, Davis, and professor at the Institute of Transpersonal
Psychology, in Palo Alto, Calif.
Martin Lowenthal, PhD, has personally experienced the way lucid
dreaming can transform a nightmare into a joyous experience.