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How To Control Your Dreams

Posted on 16 June 2016

Ever woken to the feeling you were in control of the dream you just had?  That you were able to consciously see, hear, smell and feel things occurring in your dream as you would in real life?  If you have then you’ve experienced the phenomenon of Lucid Dreaming.

In normal dreaming, your self-awareness is shut down resulting in fuzzy recollections of your dreams on awakening that become distant the moment your mind is distracted.  Lucid dreaming occurs when your conscious brain switches into waking mode inside a dream, transforming it into a living alternate reality.  In your virtual reality dream world you’ll feel your stomach drop as you don your cape and take unsteady flight between skyscrapers…  or perhaps feel the pyrotechnics singe the back of your neck as you belt out your favorite power ballads to a capacity filled stadium… 

Whatever inner workings of your unconscious mind become the subject of your dreams, lucid dreamers have the ability to think clearly and act intentionally within their dream.  Those who frequently experience lucid dreams may attempt to take control of the dream and manipulate its outcome, which begs the question, can anyone lucid dream?

The experts believes yes since we all have the ability to dream as well as the ability to become conscious within them.  There are certain measures one can take to trigger and enhance the ability to activate lucid dreaming….

1. Be observant and pay closer attention to your experiences while you are awake. By observing the minutiae of life, you’ll be better able to recognize any breaks from reality (which indicate when you’re dreaming). During sleep, you’re then able to spot dreams quickly and, eventually, attempt to take control.

2. Adjust your behavior.  Before falling asleep, spend some time thinking about what you want to dream about.  Whatever it is, focus on that thought as you drift off to sleep. This practice is called predetermination, and it will help increase your chances of entering into a dream that you are then able to experience and control in ways you desire.

Problem Solving in your dreams

Because lucid dreamers dream vividly, they have the ability to find solutions to visually represented problems whilst dreaming, where conventional ‘awake’ wisdom just doesn’t seem to cut it.  For example 19th century German organic chemist August Kekule was faced with the problem of determining the molecular structure of the atoms in Benzene.  He continuously came up with arrangements that were straight lines and side chains which simply weren’t working.  Then whilst dreaming he visualized the atoms in ring formation - much like a snake with its tail reaching around to its mouth.

If you want to problem-solve whilst dreaming here is a checklist of how to best prepare:

  • Think of the problem before you get ready for bed.  If it can be visualized as an image, take a mind snapshot and let the vision be the final thing you see before dozing off.
  • When you wake up try to lay there and recall the details of your dream.  Distractions will lead to losing your dream content quite rapidly.  Once you feel you have grasped the details, write them down immediately.

So next time you want to ace John McEnroe in a nail-biting 5-setter at Wimbledon or simply want to solve a lingering problem that’s been weighing on you for quite some time, try waking up within your dreams…

Happy lucid dreaming…

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