Lucid Dreaming - Definition, Techniques and Instructions

Lucid Dreaming - Definition, Techniques and Instructions

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Review: “Lucid Dreaming: Controlling Dreams Consciously - Inspiring Creativity - Solving Problems” by D. Peisel
Dylan Tuccillo, Jared Zeizel and Thomas Peisel offer a manual for lucid dreaming. Just as there would be white spots on the map, we would again be "on the border to a new unknown world", our dream world. The theme of the book is to explore this and to be able to work with it.

Lucid dreaming means the ability to know in a dream that you are dreaming. Dreams could be explored and changed if free will, imagination and memory were preserved. Your book is supposed to be a guide to this world, the authors collect techniques, develop them and bring them into simple forms. They want to show how people can get back in touch with their dreams, experience lucid dreams, and what to do as soon as they appear.

"The journey starts"

The authors first discuss the discovery of the phenomenon of lucid dreams in modernity by the British scientists Keith Hearne and Alan Worsley in 1975.

Worsley and Hearne made a sign: If Worsley was consciously dreaming, he made a certain eye movement to signal his colleague: eight times from left to right. The results were clear.

Hearne wrote: “The signals came from another world - the world of dreams. It was so exciting as if they came from another solar system out in space. ”The EEG confirmed that brain activity corresponded to that in consciousness.

Further tests confirmed the knowledge: The scientific evidence for lucid dreaming was provided.

What is a lucid dream?

In a lucid dream, the sleeper realizes that he is dreaming. Often someone notices that something is wrong, so he has to dream: he walks through walls, he is in a foreign country or talking to animals.

Those who attain this clarity can fall back on memories of waking, the authors say. As a result, he can think logically, make decisions and "move in the exploration of the dream world as we would in the physical world."

Lucid dreamers can directly influence the complete dream and its content, according to the authors. In contrast to a normal dream, the mind is awake enough to determine what happens, for example "talking to dream characters, flying over a mountain range, breathing under water, effortlessly stepping through walls ..."

The perceptions of our senses are just as lively as in waking life: "We feel, smell, see, taste and hear just as well." The setting appears real, although it is a pure projection of the mind. Even more: “This place brings wisdom and guidance that can change your life.

The benefits of lucid dreaming

"Some claim that lucid dreams are the best they have ever experienced," the authors write, and many would simply indulge in them to do things that are normally impossible. The first thing that would be tried was to fly and have sex often.

Lucid dreams are perfect for living unbridled fantasies. The experiencer could “jump to a giant summit in one sentence, meet mythical creatures, talk to dead celebrities…”

You could alleviate nightmares by getting to the bottom of the cause of the horror and deliberately looking the monsters in the face.

They are also the playground for creative people. Those who are aware of their dreams will find access to “an incredible pool of knowledge and inspiration.” The authors write: “If we assume that the dream world is a product of our subconscious, it is the ideal place to let our creativity run free allow. Since she knows no restrictions, we can create pretty much anything in our minds. "

Tuccillo, Zeizel and Peisel themselves are good examples of the connection between lucid dreams and creativity: They work full-time as scriptwriters and filmmakers, where one or two lucid dreams will surely provide them with ideas.

These could be a test bed to test skills, get help and advice for everyday problems. The authors point out that dreams have been used as a means of psychological and physical healing for thousands of years, and this has been proven since the ancient Egyptians.

They are a means of self-knowledge, like a mirror to see ourselves. Lucid dreaming is a research trip to ourselves and allows us to "deepen the connection to our inner being"; So these are a "practical instrument for mental research" and "a way to get in touch with the deeper levels of ourselves".

What are dreams?

The next chapter is about what dreams are, what science knows about them (according to the authors, not much), what historical cultures related to them, generally about the nature of psychological activities during sleep.

According to the authors, these have always been part of our lives and inspired us in almost all areas. That is why almost all cultures "analyzed, recognized and practiced as an art" this special form of experience while sleeping at any time. They owe scientific breakthroughs, novels, inventions and works of art to them.

So Elias Howe would have dreamed that cannibals would attack him and their spears would have a hole below the top. This was the template for the sewing machine he invented.

Mary Shelley was also inspired by her dreams. In fact, on the night of a legendary meeting on May 13, 1816, she and her lover Percy Shelley, poet Lord Byron, and Giovanni Polidori dreamed of a student bending over a corpse that was beginning to move. This inspired her to write her novel "Frankenstein or the modern Prometheus", one of the great works of the Gothic Novel, published in 1818.

Everyone dreams

Every person dreams, on average around two hours every night, according to the authors. In a lifetime that is about six years of pure dream time. Nevertheless, even in our scientifically progressive times, we don't really know why this happens, what happens while we sleep, and where we go, according to the authors.

Understand dreams

The following chapter shows individual explanations. A classic was the “dream interpretation” by Sigmund Freud, who considered dreams to be a form of wish fulfillment that resulted from suppressed longings and conflicts. According to Freud, they are an attempt by the subconscious to resolve old conflicts.

To date, there would be no consensus on what dreams are all about. Science doesn't even know exactly what the purpose of sleeping is.

Theory 1) The computer brain

These theories assumed that dreams organized memories so that we could process new information in the morning.

Theory 2) Samples for the future

According to this theory, dreams provide a framework for making connections between different thoughts and emotions; in them we would prepare for future events and play through them.

Theory 3) Random events

The activation synthesis theory developed in 1977 assumed in them a reaction of the brain to biological processes that take place during sleep, that is to say senseless. Researchers Allan Hobson and Robert McCarley wrote verbatim: "Dreams are a by-product of accidental bombardment with neuronal signals ... and our cerebral cortex tries to make sense of the information it generates:"

The dream experience

According to the authors, it is fundamentally wrong to view dreams as “childish stuff” or “waste of time”. However, this view is widespread in western societies. If you decide to do this, you could develop your dream skills.

What we remembered from this was not this itself. Experiences in sleep, like real experiences, have a now moment. The aim of lucid dreams is to become aware of this now moment. To understand dreams, we would have to experience the moment they unfold.

A story of dreaming

The authors explain that in shamanic cultures, dreams were the key to realities that were hidden from the normal senses of waking. These other worlds were thought to be real worlds that overlapped with the physical world.

In these cultures they represented a connection to higher realities, a dream journey was the journey into the spiritual world. Those who had no access to their dreams were considered cut off from their souls with Native Americans. They were existential for people's lives.

The Sumerians already documented in the 4th millennium BC. u. Z. Dreams as prophecies from which mythical heroes in the waking world were guided. The ancient Egyptians considered it a direct access to the spiritual world. In this way, the free soul Ba was able to detach itself from the body in sleep and go on trips. Dreams served the knowledge and gave insight into otherwise hidden realities. The Egyptians had special dream temples in which they believed to experience enlightenment.

Greeks and Romans

The ancient Greeks also saw the experience of sleeping as a spiritual practice. They were sent directly by the gods, for example by Zeus, but also by Hypnos, the god of sleep and his son Morpheus, from whom the terms hypnosis and morphine are derived - a proof that intoxication as well as trance states than with dreams were considered related.

Aristotle, however, who founded the scientific thinking of later times, negated that these came from gods and denied their meaning. Artemidor von Daldis finally published a five-volume work in which he not only examined individual dream symbols such as the crocodile (murderer) or the hangover (adulterer), but also recorded the individual meaning of these symbols.

The Romans took the Egyptians and Greeks as models in their dream interpretation and also founded dream temples. They believed in conscious soul wandering and that spiritual masters could communicate with dreams - across time and place.

Hindus, Tibetans and Chinese

Finally, the Hindus considered the physical world to be a dream of the god Vishnu, and people, like other living beings, were figures of this dream. The world as we know it goes down when Wischnu stops dreaming. Hindus see dreams as more essential states of consciousness than the waking state.

According to the authors, Tibetans have been practicing dream yoga, a method of lucid dreaming, for at least 1,000 years. To do this, they developed techniques and learned to accomplish tasks during this state, whereby the challenges increased with the skills of the executor.

The tasks included changing the shape, talking to various animal species and other dream characters. The goal of this dream yoga is to recognize that life itself is just a dream. The clearer a yogi dreams, the more he approaches this goal, to understand the dream state means to gain absolute consciousness.

The Chinese sat down in 2000 BC. Chr intensely with her sleeping experiences apart. These dream travels shaped, on the one hand, the ancestral cult and, on the other, the belief in the gods. In ancient China there was the body soul and the spirit soul. The spirit soul went on a journey at night when the body was asleep, communicated with other souls and with the spirits of the ancestors. The Chinese believed that if the experiencer awoke too abruptly, the spirit soul could leave the body.

Indigenous peoples

The authors also use the term “tribal cultures” to bring together countless dream practices of indigenous peoples who believed that everything in the world was permeated with spirits and made dreams possible to travel into these usually invisible parallel worlds. These ghost worlds were as real as the material world and also accessible to everyone.

Dream interpretation was elementary for all questions that concerned the individual and the community, whether hunting, healing or war.


In Europe, both the Catholic clergy and Martin Luther banished sleeping experiences into the realm of the devil, according to the authors. Only the church should be able to spread divine messages, but the devil sends the dreams. In contrast, the holy scriptures of Christians are full of those that were considered to be God's messages.

Freud and Jung

In modern times, dreams played a shadowy existence, as immeasurable and unprovable, they came close to mental disorders. According to the authors, this changed only with Sigmund Freud, who tried to fathom the "unconscious" by analyzing dreams.

Freud's student Carl Gustav Jung went even further in that he saw dreams not only as a reappraisal of the past, but also as concrete information for the present. But Jung would have generally accepted Freud's theories about the dream language. Jung took up the shamanic ideas and believed in a “collective unconscious”, in dream symbols that reappeared collectively, the “archetypes” and in synchronicities that would not be accidental but would have meaning in people's lives.

Who is right?

After this brief outline of the assessment of dreams in different societies, the authors ask which approach is the right one. They do not answer this question, but see the different points of view on the topic as aids to thinking and call to open up to their own dreams and to find out for themselves “what they really are”.

Pack the suitcases

Consequently, part 2 “Packing a suitcase” is about practically preparing for clear dreaming. From their own experience with dream literature, the authors try to develop a common thread that serves as a kind of travel guide.

To do this, they first explain the rapid eye movement phase, i.e. the part of our sleep in which the eyes move quickly and in which we experience our epic dreams.

In these REM phases, our brain waves resemble the waking state. But instead of reacting to external stimuli, memories and thoughts now create the worlds of experience. This is immensely important for lucid dreams, because if we actively enter the REM phase, we could trigger lucid dreams.

The power of auto suggestion

Auto suggestions are crucial for this, i.e. thoughts that aim at very specific actions. The goal here is to become lucid in a dream. To do this, you should formulate your intentions as precisely as possible, in the present, for example, by saying "I am lucid and aware of my dream state before falling asleep."

You can recall recurring dreams and imagine them with all five senses. You should also imagine a lucid state, imagining that you are dreaming and at the same time gaining clarity.

You should also expect to have a lucid dream and prepare yourself for it. According to the authors, you have two hours of practice every night.

You should give top priority to the desired state of lucidity when you fall asleep, that is, the feeling of becoming clear last in your head while falling asleep. This would bring the wish into the dream world and could produce exactly what you wanted.

The authors summarize the autosuggestion in the sentence: "One of the greatest paradoxes is this: Just what we are looking for is crucial to find it at all."

Remember dreams

It is crucial to remember your dreams. The better it works, the more lucid dreams we have. It was therefore a matter of building bridges that strengthened the dream memory. There are strategies for that.

These begin with the resolution to say when I fall asleep, "I remember my dreams" and to bring rambling thoughts back to this point. You can visualize yourself waking up in the morning and remembering your dreams in vivid details. For this, you can keep a dream diary in which you write down and paint your dreams.

You should also try to imagine the feeling you have when you wake up from a vivid dream.

Healthy sleeping habits

In order to dream clearly, healthy sleep rituals are necessary. For example, you can take a shower before going to sleep, do stretching exercises, meditate, write a to-do list, and at least stop watching TV in the hour before going to sleep.

Going to sleep at the same time is just as important as a bedroom as a place of silence and peace, in which it is dark, comfortable and quiet. Alcohol, nicotine, marijuana, and coffee all negatively affected dreaming by suppressing the REM phase or prolonging the deep sleep phase.

Wake up

Just as important as a healthy sleep pattern, according to the authors, is waking up slowly without moving, picking up the fragments floating around in your head from the last dream, changing sleep positions if you feel blocked in your dreams Pay attention to their emotions when they wake up and write down what they have experienced.

Write it down

Systematically writing down dreams and rereading, associating and interpreting what is written is so important to the authors that they wrote an entire chapter about it.

They provide information on how to keep a meaningful dream diary and compare it with the travel diaries of researchers. In the first 5 minutes after waking up, people would have forgotten more than half of their dream content, and even 90% after ten minutes.

Therefore, in the first few minutes after waking up, you should write down in key words what you have in your dream pictures. This is the best way to remember them. It often happened that people remembered long and vivid dreams when they were keeping a dream diary.

You should put the dream diary on the bedside table so that you can write directly into it when you wake up, and enter the time and place at bedtime. This would subconsciously prepare you for a diary entry the next morning. If you wrote in the present, you could better dream yourself.

When you read it again, you could give the dream a title that summarizes the content. This helps with the interpretation and makes it easier to find older dreams again in later dream work.

You should also note whether the dream in question was lucid, what triggered this lucidity, and how long it lasted.

The following three parts are about "exploring a new world", "dominating the terrain", and "new shores". How can nightmares be defused, how can healing and wholeness be achieved, how do lucid dreams help self-knowledge? In the end there is even a vision for the future.


The great strength of the book is the understandable introduction to dream techniques that can be implemented chapter by chapter. If you want to dream lucid, you can check how you can achieve this and if you dream clearly how you can improve it and what results you can achieve. The authors convey these exercises in a vivid way and show again and again that dreaming is not a mandatory exercise, but an adventure.

Anyone who reads this book from start to finish can immediately begin to optimize their sleep rhythm and write a dream diary and, with a little discipline, will probably soon have clear dreams and remember them.

The practical exercises are also recommended for people who have already trained with yoga, techniques of shamanism, creative writing or other methods to activate pictorial thinking.

The book is particularly suitable for beginners who are confused in the labyrinth of dream theories and want to finally work with their own dreams. The great advantage of this work is that it creates a guide undogmatically. So it's not about which dream symbol means what, but what a person can do with their very own dreams and how they recognize them. The authors do not act as strict overseers, but take the dreamer by the hand to explore a nightly realm.

A weakness lies in the scientific basis. So our knowledge of dreams is by no means as thin as the authors present it. While there is still no solid foundation, such as Darwin's theory of evolution, for dream research, neuroscience and biology are constantly gaining new knowledge about the meaning of dreams.

The brain structures clearly show that the SEM phases probably occur primarily in mammals and are much more closely linked to individual experiences in humans than in other animals, while the particularly dramatic patterns of nightmares reflect age-old situations in evolutionary history: danger, attack or escape.

Such a differentiation between processing individual experiences and training in survival, or the interplay between the two, would be necessary in order to adequately appreciate specific lucid dreams. Is this a personal “fantasy story” or is a dream particularly clear because the potential danger is so dramatic?

The authors do not go into this point and leave the interpretation to the dreamer himself. Despite these critical aspects, the book is highly recommended for anyone who wants to develop awareness of his dreams and work with them. (Dr. Utz Anhalt)

Author and source information

This text corresponds to the requirements of the medical literature, medical guidelines and current studies and has been checked by medical doctors.


  • Dylan Tuccillo, Jared Zeizel, Thomas Peisel: Klarträum, Goldmann Verlag, 2015

Video: A Beginners Guide to Lucid Dreaming (September 2022).


  1. Kentigem

    I am am excited too with this question. Prompt, where I can read about it?

  2. Ricky

    Excuse, I have removed this message

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