The ability to remain conscious in dreams is a skill that can be learned. Lots of people have experienced this lucidity without any conscious effort, but learning to lucid dream makes it more likely to happen and also provides greater control over the experience. This skill not only means the opportunity for amazing adventures while asleep, but it can also have practical value for waking life.
People have been developing techniques for achieving dream lucidity since at least ancient Egypt. The Buddhist monks of Tibet are credited with creating the most elaborate system, which is called dream yoga. More recently, the 2010 movie Inception led to a surge in the popularity of lucid dreaming. The individuals who do manage to develop this skill are technically referred to as ‘oneironauts’.
The benefit of becoming conscious in a dream is it means being able to exert some control over the experience. It opens up a world of possibilities, such as flying like a bird, time travel, going on a dream date, meeting historical figures, or visiting exotic places. Even the most skillful oneironauts are only ever able to exert a limited amount of control over their dream, but it is the unexpected twists that can make these nightly adventures so wonderful.
It’s not difficult to appreciate the entertainment value of becoming conscious in a dream, but it can also lead to benefits that impact waking life. This is why people like Nikola Tesla, James Cameron, and Richard Feynman have all recommended it as a life skill worth developing. People today can be incredibly busy, and there might not be much time for self-development. The great advantage of lucid dreaming is it a beneficial practice that people can do while asleep. Here are just eight ways that developing this technique could help people in their career:
1. It Can Give Your Creativity a Boost
It seems likely that in the future almost all jobs are going to involve some type of creativity. This is because most physical tasks can be automated, but there is an increasing demand for ideas. Dreams occur when the mind is being most creative, and oneironauts are able to harvest material that they can use in waking life.
Paul McCartney said the Beatles song ‘Yesterday’ came from a dream he had, and painters like Salvador Dali also became inspired this way. The sewing machine, the chemical benzene, and the theory of relativity all came from dreams.
2. You Can Face Your Fears
Lucid dreams can provide a safe and controlled environment for dealing with fears. One of the most effective ways this can happen is when the dreamer becomes aware in the middle of a bad dream and decides to take action. The classic example of this is when a dream of being chased is resolved by stopping and facing the pursuer. Dealing with a fear in this way can be a real confidence booster, and it usually provides clues about unresolved issues in real life.
3. You Can Solve Problems
Dreams can also be an excellent tool for problem solving. This is because it makes it much easier for people to think outside the box. Sometimes the solution to a problem requires some mental leaps that would be difficult to make under normal conditions. Lucid dreamers can set their intention to solve the problem right before going to sleep, and they can then use their lucidity to work on the problem.
4. You Can Practice Some Skills
All of the top athletes understand the benefits of mentally rehearsing their routine – Tiger Woods spends hours visualizing his swings. It appears that the brain doesn’t really differentiate too much between practicing in real life and practicing using imagination. This means that lucid dreaming can be perfect for developing new skills or improving old ones. Even practicing a skill for a few minutes in a dream can lead to significant improvements in waking life. Some skills are better for practicing in lucid dreams than others – learning a language can be difficult because the dream can produce imaginary words that don’t exist in the real world.
5. It Lets You Develop Your Intuition
Logic is an excellent tool for navigating life, but it has its limitations. Successful entrepreneurs, such as Steve Jobs, have described how some of their most important decisions were gut instincts rather than logical. Intuition seems to be related to the subconscious mind, and it may involve this part of the brain noticing connections or association. Intuition seems to occur more easily when the mind is not caught up in the concerns and problems of daily life, and this is why lucid dreamers can more easily develop it.
6. You Can Gain Insights From Your Subconscious Mind
If humans had to deal with all the data in their brain, it would become impossible to function. This is why the conscious mind is only concerned with what appears to be the most important data at any one time. The usual way to describe how this works is that the conscious mind is like the tip of an iceberg, and the subconscious mind is much bigger. Sigmund Freud is credited with promoting the idea that dreams could be used to access the subconscious. Oneironauts commonly report how their nightly journeys have allowed them to gain valuable insights into this part of their mind.
Some lucid dreamers claim to have had precognitive dreams. This is where they seem to have been able to see into the future. The evidence for this type of phenomenon is probably not strong enough to prove any type of paranormal ability, but it could be that the subconscious mind is just able to pick up on clues that the conscious mind misses. Some people describe things such as dreaming that a friend became pregnant and then it happened.
One possible explanation is that their subconscious mind picked up on some early symptoms of the pregnancy. There are other precognitive dreams that are much harder to explain logically, and it would be much harder to just rationalize these away. Whatever the ultimate cause, this ability to see into the future can be of great value to people in their daily life.
7. It Could Help You Prepare For Public Speaking
Public speaking is one of the most stressful things that people have to do as part of their job. Now that more careers involve sharing ideas and knowledge, the need to be able to speak publically has increased. A lucid dream can create a realistic simulation of this type of experience. It means that the person can practice their speech and develop some confidence, and this should reduce anxiety when it comes to doing it for real.
8. It’s A Nightly Break From Stressful Living
Wouldn’t it be wonderful to be able to go lie on a warm exotic beach at the end of a stressful day at the office? Not everyone is lucky enough to work on a tropical island, but lucid dreams can provide a way to experience this level of relaxation on a regular basis. The inability to manage stress causes people to develop burnout in their career or become sick. The opportunity to take a break from life through these nightly adventures is a wonderful way to escape this stress. It also means that people are likely to wake up feeling more refreshed and ready to tackle another day – it’s also a lot cheaper than actually going away on holiday.
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