Archive for October, 2009

Dreams are powerful.  We may awaken from one feeling exhilarated, confused, amazed, terrified, distressed or not even remember it at all. 

So What Is Lucid Dreaming?

The medical dictionary definition of lucid is ‘a period of relative mental clarity between periods of irrationality.’ This describes a lucid dream very well, because dreams aren’t lucid all the way through.  The lucidity doesn’t usually kick in until the middle of a dream.

Lucid dreaming is simply realizing, during a dream, that you are dreaming and not awake.  This realization can vary greatly.  Sometimes, you will realize that you are dreaming for no particular reason.  At other times, you may be dreaming – with the dream appearing ‘real’ to you – and then something bizarre may happen in the dream which makes you realize that this scenario is so crazy that you must be dreaming.  Lucid dreams fall into two main categories:

  • High Level Lucidity  You know that everything in the dream is just a dream.  You know that you are safe and will wake up soon.
  • Low Level Lucidity  You may realize that you are dreaming but not enough to know that anything or anyone in the dream are not ‘real’.  You may not recognize that you are in no danger or that you will awaken safe in your bed.  Vivid nightmares fall into this category.

Confused?  You may think that if the dream is very vivid, you would be dreaming at a ‘high level’.  Don’t forget it is the lucidity that is being graded here – not the quality of the dream itself.  More awareness is ‘high level’ and less is ‘low’.

Is Lucid Dreaming The Same As Controlling Your Dreams?

Yes and no.  You may have a lucid dream in which you have little or no control over the actual content of the dream.  Or, you could have a dream which you are able to ‘control’ and yet still not be aware that you are dreaming.

Can Anyone Learn To Have Lucid Dreams?

Yes – it’s a skill that can be learned.  Most people have infrequent, spontaneous lucid dreams but can be trained to have them whenever they want.  The few people who have frequent lucid dreams can learn to get more from them.  Researchers say that you will find it easier to learn dream techniques if you find it easy to remember your dreams – but even if you don’t, you can be taught how to, so that you can still learn to lucid dream.

Why Would I Want To Have Lucid Dreams?  Here’s a list of reasons:


When you’re asleep and dreaming, the only limit is your imagination.  A common pleasure for lucid dreamers is experiencing the ‘genuine’ feeling of being able to fly.  You could fulfill all of your fantasies in your dreams.  Lucid dreamers report an ecstatic, exhilarating feeling of complete freedom with no consequences to anything that happens in the dream.  It’s the ultimate playtime!

Curing Nightmares

If you are plagued by nightmares, this could help you.  The danger that you encounter in a nightmare is obviously not real but the fear is.  Dream experts say that the only way to get rid of this fear is to confront it.  However, nightmares are ‘low level’ lucidity.  Remember this means that you wouldn’t realize that you are dreaming so how could you confront what’s scaring you?  Try the techniques later in this article.  Change your nightmare to a lucid dream and get rid of it!

Lucid dream ‘dry runs’

Lucid dreamers report that it is great for practicing upcoming occasions such as public speaking, interviews, appearing on stage or athletic events.  This is because the brain activity during a lucid dream is the same as it would be during the real event.  So you can start laying down brain (neuronal) pathways in preparation.  By the time the real event comes up, you’re well rehearsed, primed and ready to go!

Increase creativity and solve problems

We dream during Rapid Eye Movement / REM sleep.  During this phase, our brains are extremely active and functioning at a purely ‘thinking’ level because there is little or no sensory input from everyday activities.  The natural ‘bizarre’ nature of some dreams can help to pop an idea into your head that you would never think of during your waking hours.  This is supported by a research study which showed that 29% of people who were given a simple word association test after being woken from REM sleep, answered with highly unexpected words.

Sleep can help to heal

We all know the benefits of a really good nights’ sleep.  And our bodies force us to rest and sleep when we’re ill as part of the recovery process.  Combine that with the recognized benefits of visualization and lucid dreaming is a winner.  Lucid dreams have been used to combat phobias, alleviate grief, lessen social anxiety, help with sexual problems, increase self esteem and self confidence and improve body image.  When lucid dreaming about their body image, subjects were able to speed up physical healing.

Meditative qualities

Our minds inhabit our bodies.  How we see the world is dictated by how our brain works.  This is the basis of many spiritual paths.  People seeking enlightenment report that lucid dreams can bring a feeling of peace and a connection with a safe, loving higher power.

OK – You’ve convinced me of the benefits.  How do I learn?

You need to be motivated and prepared to put in some effort.  Remember we said it’s easier to learn how to lucid dream if you find it easy to remember your dreams?  Even if you do remember them, try this:

Learn or optimize your memory of your dreams 

You need to be able to do this for two reasons.

  1. You will start to recognize recurring themes and patterns in your dreams.  This will help you to recognize them as dreams while you are actually dreaming.
  2. If you can’t remember your dreams, how will you know if they’re lucid or not?

Your dream journal

Keep a notebook by your bed and as soon as you awake from a dream, (even in the middle of the night) write down everything that you can remember.  The memory fades so get it down on paper before it’s lost.  You need to be remembering and transcribing at least one dream each night before going on to learn how to induce a lucid dream.

Are you awake or dreaming?  Repeat these several times each day:

  1. Get a grip on reality by really noticing as much as you can when you look in the mirror, travel, walk around your home etc.
  2. Look at your digital watch or read some words.  Then look away from the watch or book.  Now look back and read again.  Have the numbers / words changed or now don’t make sense?  Dream researchers say that during a dream, they should change 95% of the time.  You’re dreaming!
  3. When you’re awake, imagine that you are dreaming.  What would your surroundings look like now?  What bizarre things might happen?
  4. What would you like to do in a lucid dream?  Imagine it in your waking hours until you can see it clearly.

Induce a lucid dream

You are now ready to try to lucid dream.  The best time to try this is after you have just awoken from a dream and are about to go back to sleep.  Researchers also say that doing this during an afternoon nap brings the best results.

  • When you go to sleep for the first time, tell yourself you will remember your dream.
  • As you go back to sleep, tell yourself that you will recognize that you are dreaming.
  • Continue focusing and imagine that you are back in the dream that you just awoke from but this time you know it is a dream.  Tell yourself that once you realize you are dreaming, you will do whatever it is you wish, such as flying etc.
  • Repeat all the steps until you fall asleep.  When you wake up, write it all down as usual.

As soon as I lucid dream I wake up!

This is common for beginners.  It’s due to the excitement of realizing what is happening.  Stay calm.  While still dreaming, make yourself spin around or move suddenly.  You are not physically spinning but your brain knows that pattern and is distracted from waking you up.  This may take a few tries and you may experience dreaming of waking up – when you are still asleep.  Just persevere and you will be able to lucid dream without waking. 

Keep practicing and your dreams will take you to a whole new level.  Enjoy!

How to Care for Your Crystals

There are all sorts of ways to take care of crystals.  Unfortunately over the years a lot of bad advice has come out that can cause more harm than good. Since we all want our crystals to be pure and charged let’s look at a few ways to cleanse, purify and care for them and some of the no no’s as well.

Sea salt has long been considered one of the best ways to cleanse, purify and recharge a crystal. While it can work, there are some risks associated with it. Salt itself has a crystalline structure. This means that you run the risk of scratching a particularly soft crystal.

The same goes for spring water or sea water. Some crystals are water soluble this means they can erode or soak up the water. This can make the crystal dissolve, think of placing a sugar cube in a glass of water.

Even sunlight can be damaging. The sun has a natural bleaching effect this means that darker colored stones may fade over time if left exposed to direct sunlight.

Here are a few safer ways to care for your crystals:

Burying your crystal in earth is a good way to ground and center it. Use soft dirt like a potting soil that you’ve spread out to dry for a few days. Then bury the crystal in a clay flower pot.

Use moonlight instead of sunlight. You get the same energy but without the risk of bleaching. Just leave the crystal sitting exposed on a full moonlight and it’s ready for use.

To store your crystals it’s a good idea to wrap them individually in a soft cloth like velvet. This will keep them from clinking together and possibly chipping.

These are just a few of the do’s and don’ts of crystal care. The best way to know what works best is to study and learn about each individual crystal’s properties. You’ll be able to adapt your rituals and storage to exactly fit the needs of the stone.

How to Use Crystals in Meditation

If you have a hard time focusing when you meditate then it might be worth a shot to consider using crystals in your mediation. Think about it. Fortune tellers use a crystal ball to clear their minds and put themselves into a trance. You can do the same thing with a piece of clear quartz or other gem stone.

There are several different methods available for meditation. If you just need a focal point then a deep clear crystal will work well to draw all your attention to a single point. This will let you block out external stimuli and concentrate on the meditation.

Place the crystal at eye level and allow your eyes to relax. You want everything else to blur and all your attention to focus only on the crystal. Work your way through the crystal from the surface to its depths. Try and visualize each different level of the crystal structure. Try imagining the entire lattice work of the crystal and how it’s molecularly held together.

If you’re focusing on a particular issue such as love or money then try choosing a crystal that represents those particular energies. A greenstone such as jade will work for money while a rose quartz will work well for love.

The meditation process is about the same. Focus your attention on the crystal and let your eyes relax. But instead of trying to see through the crystal instead focus on its colors. Let the color associated with your meditation be foremost in your mind.

These are just a couple of the options you have available when using crystals in meditation. Almost any crystal can be used as a focal point. Just suit what works well with your mind state and what you wish to meditate upon. With continued practice you’ll be able to drop into a meditative state easier and easier each time you try.

I think most of us have read The Diary of Anne Frank and if you haven’t it is probably worth your while getting a copy.

It’s the true story of a young girl in Germany who is forced to go into hiding along with her family to escape the persecution inflicted upon them during World War 2.

The Anne Frank House has just released the only existing film of Anne Frank as she is leaning out of a window watching a neighbours wedding.

Take a look:

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