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Friday, September 13, 2019

Mystery: Lucid Dreaming

My first truly paranormal/supernatural mystery blog. I hope it came out well!


Dreams are, to put it very lightly, something of an enigma. They can reflect the previous day or recent events, bring to life come of your greatest desires or wishes, or show you some of your greatest fears.


To some, dreams hold a very deep, significant meaning that can help shed light on oneself. To others, they are nothing but fragmented memories that happen while we sleep. Either way, they're interesting to me—even if I fall on the side of the latter when it comes to a deeper meaning.


There is, however, one thing related to dreams that I can't deny doesn't make sense to me. Something that doesn't feel like simple “fragmented memories” from the day prior or recent events.


It's simply known as lucid dreaming.



Dream With Me: The Mystery of Lucid Dreaming





Lucid dreaming is a phenomenon wherein the dreamer is aware they're asleep and, likewise, dreaming. This allows them to manipulate the dream and influence it. This isn't to be confused with a vivid dream, which I will get into later as it relates to something I'd like to discuss.


It's unknown how or why lucid dreaming occurs—though that's obvious given this is in a mystery blog entry. I digress, the concept to lucid dreaming has been a personal favorite of mine as it's something that's opened up the possibility for many grandiose stories and story possibilities. We all, deep down,have our desires to be heroes or to do things we normally could never do. The realm of dreaming is where we can, to some degree, do this. Though only within a lucid dream can we do so.


So if that's the case, how can we know we're dreaming? That's the million dollar question and it's one that I can't exactly explain. Admittedly, I didn't do research for this entry as I wanted to discuss it in a very writer-to-reader manner. Lucid dreaming has been something I'm very interested in solely due to the… near God complex one can have while experiencing it. More on this later.


But for some, they have their own way of knowing they're dreaming. Whether it's a certain sight, a certain phrase, or a certain event (like a red ball bouncing by).


In my case, personally, I've developed a sort of power that let's me when I'm dreaming. Generally, if something goes wrong, I'll turn back time and redo whatever happened so it doesn't go wrong. I said something or did something stupid, I'll simply turn it back. I got shot, redo. Whatever the case maybe. This has had two effects on me. The first is I don't wake up knowing I said something stupid to friends or a girl. The second is that this has allowed me to know I'm dreaming. The concept of lucid dreaming is, after all, knowing that you're dreaming. This will allow you to control how your dream flows.


And in my case, let me not feel like a moron in the one place I'd hope I can't be embarrassed.


Now, it's high time I actually get into a few more… “deep” aspects to lucid dreaming. But first, there's one very important difference to know.


Lucid dreaming is not the same as vivid dreaming.


This is something I cannot stress enough as even I've confused the two one more than one occasion.


A lucid dream is one in which you know you're dreaming and can directly influence it. For all intents and purposes: you're God in this dream and you can do whatever you want and warp it however you want.


A vivid dream is one where you can remember it clearly and experience it in an almost story like format. However, you don't have direct control over it. You interact with people and objects, but you can't, say, make a rhinoceros appear and shoot ice cream from its horn at that one kid you hated in school.


With that out of the way, the concept of lucid dreaming isn't something new or recent. It dates back to Ancient Greece when Aristotle wrote about it. Presumably, it's grown more prevalent due to the Internet where people can share their experiences with others and the Christopher Nolan film Inception among others.


Not all lucid dreams have you in control of it however. While it may seem a bit self-centered to give my own personal experiences as examples to lucid dreaming, I'm not really interested in sharing the dreams of others here as many may relate to personal matters. As such, I'd rather merely share mine.


Anyways, what I mean is this: you're aware that you're dreaming and attempt to take control, only to fail. I call these lucid nightmares and I've a few. One of which happened a week ago to the day this blog was posted. Some readers may know of his that day went. To those who don't, let's just say that it's best left unspoken about.


Lucid nightmares are easily the most intense dreams I could ever describe as they do two things. The first is they impose an extreme sense of anxiety and hopelessness onto you, which in my experiences can lead to some of the most unbelievably terrifying episodes of sleep paralysis. The second is a lucid dream can be related to something you desire or want in life, but can't have. Love, family, friends, and many other things. The feeling of knowing you're dreaming and being unable to even control that is one of the worst feelings ever and is crippling in the way it makes you feel.


With all of that said, I'm hoping you have a decent idea as to what a lucid dream is and what the concept of it is all about. If not: I'm sorry. Let's move onto the theories section though.


Theories


1: REM Sleep


As I stated, I didn't do research for this blog. There's a lot of scientific research that has been done however and most of it I'm sorry to say: I simply don't get. That said, there is one but I did get.


REM sleep is when you generally dream and likewise has been linked by some to be when one experiences a lucid dream. Others have tied it to micro-awakenings or false awakenings (basically waking up slightly or falsely believing you've woken up; I've had both of those before).


That said however, dreams are something that attract a lot of unique and at times thought-provoking theories and concepts..so. Let's take a gander at the more enigmatic ones.


2: The world of dream is another plane of existence and you realize it


Dreams can often feel… odd. What we know of this world isn't something that applies whatsoever to the dreaming world. I've dreamt of traveling to and from Pluto with no helmet on on the outside of a tiny rocket, breathing underwater, and flying through cities.


None of those are possible, yet “dream logic” dictates otherwise. In a dream, anything is possible. But what if the dreaming world is more than merely an escape from reality? What if its own realm?


This theory—like most of the others—has no one origin, or so I know. It has been used in many stories and videos games however, such as the Emerald Dream and Emerald Nightmare in the Warcraft universe.


As for where this plane/realm exists, that's harder to elaborate upon. I'm not so done who's read about extra dimensional planes, realms, or, well, dimensions. The most I can gather is that they're similar to the concept of the spirit realm as opposed to something like the Afterlife.


Or, to put it in simpler terms: we can't see it as we've not evolved to do so. Presumably however, Psychic Mediums have what could be a sense that will become more common as we evolve as a species.


Whether or not this is true is purely subjective in my eyes. I’m not going to touch the concept of Psychic Mediums however as that’s a topic for another day in the near future.


3: Vivid and Lucid Dreamers are all connected in another plane of existence


Similar to the last one, but this expands upon it slightly. This one essentially says that every vivid and lucid dreamer are all dreaming the same thing/scenario. This I've heard of with nightmares and I experienced something similar. I dreamt of a school I'd never been to, yet the people I interacted with felt like friends I'd known for my entire life. It was saddening when I awoke.


But I digress. This concept is probably the most popular among those who believe that dreams are bigger than we as a species realize. I'll admit that I'm someone who believes we don't understand anywhere near as much as we think and perhaps one day I'll elaborate on this. But in my eyes, I can't say I believe this theory. I do understand its appeal however. There are stories that make me think there could be truth to it, but until we have a better understanding of dreaming itself, I'm not buying it.


4: The realm of dreaming is paranormal


Some believe that the realm of dreaming is tied strictly to the spirit realm in some capacity. Admittedly, I had a rather… odd coincidental dream ones where I dreamt of my deceased grandfather and awoke to discover that two-years to the date he died. I wasn’t even aware of that. Perhaps it was subconscious coincidence or perhaps my grandfather actually visited me in my dream.


I digress however, the idea that dreams are a way for spirits to communicate with the living isn’t something abnormal. Those who’ve lived in haunted houses have claimed that the spirits that reside there have “haunted” their dreams, whether they be benevolent or malicious in nature. Indeed, demons have been said to torment people in dreams. Yet again, I’ve had an experience like this. I dreamt of a demon that attacked me when I was out in the backyard with my girlfriend; it proceeded to dream me inside and ripped me apart. At one point, I said, “We had a deal!”


Both of those dreams were also lucid in nature.


I’d be lying if I said I didn’t have a bit of a biased opinion that this is possibly or even likely possible. However, one can also argue that me being Roman Catholic is biased enough. Either way, this isn’t the theory I subscribe to—merely one that I think is plausible on its own accord.


5: You're a God in while you dream and you realizes this


I made this one up because it's something that I often find myself doing when I have a lucid dream. I write (shocker) and as such, I love to create worlds and subject my characters to trials and tribulations to have them grow. While my body of work to those familiar with it would never assume this (I write primarily absurdist comedy), it's an interesting way to spend a dream. The idea of being in full control offers a lot of possibilities, especially since mine tend to always take a turn for the worst.


My point is this: perhaps lucid dreaming is nothing special. But, perhaps, deep down, it feels special since we know we're in control and consequences don't exist. Much in the same way that there are those who will play Grand Theft Auto or Saints Row to be a dick, lucid dreaming is merely special because we can create and craft a dream however we wish.


It's virtual reality until we can have it like in something out of Ready Player One.


My Take


As stated at the beginning, I'm not one to think that dreams mean a lot. I've gone through quite a few very stressful periods this year and have had many vivid nightmares. Likewise, I've had a few lucid nightmares where I've fought to regain control and have lost. However, I don't believe there to be any deeper meaning to them no matter which way they're cut. At best, they can be metaphorical.


Likewise, I don't think there's a very complex explanation for lucid dreams. Exactly why we dream is another mystery in of itself, but that's a topic for another day. But to finally get to the point: I think lucid dreaming has to do REM sleep and nothing more. I'm not well read on this however, so for all I know: this is pseudoscience. If it is, call me out please.


Until next time, have a great day. There will be many, many more mystery blogs in December. Hopefully.

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