Lucid dreaming is an extraordinarily vivid form of mental imagery, so realistic that the trick is to realize it is a mental construct. It is no surprise, therefore, that many people use lucid dreaming to rehearse for success in waking life. Examples of such applications include public speaking, difficult confrontations, artistic performance and athletic prowess. Because the activity of the brain during a dreamed activity is the same as during the real event, neuronal patterns of activation required for a skill (like a ski jump or pirouette) can be established in the dream state in preparation for performance in the waking world. See EWLD for examples.
2.1.4 Creativity and Problem Solving
The creative potential of dreams is legendary. The brain is highly active in REM sleep and unconstrained by sensory input, which together may contribute to the novel combinations of events and objects we experience as dream bizarreness. This same novelty allows thought to take on forms that are rare in waking life, manifesting as enhanced creativity, or defective thinking depending on one's point of view (As Roland Fisher put it, "One man's creativity is another's brain damage."). The claim of enhanced creativity of the dream state is supported by LI research: One study found word associations immediately after awakening from a dream to be 29% more likely to be uncommon compared to word associations later in the day (NightLight, 6.4, 1994). Another study comparing a variety of kinds of experience including daydreams, memories of actual events, and dreams, found that dreams were judged as being significantly more creative than both daydreams and memories (NL, 4.1, 1992). In any case, many lucid dreamers report using dreams for problem solving and artistic inspiration; see EWLD for a variety of examples.
The effects of visual imagery on the body are well-established. Just as skill practice in a dream can enhance waking performance, healing dream imagery may improve physical health. Medical patients have often used soothing and positive imagery to alleviate pain, and the dream world offers the most vivid form of imagery. Thus, some people have use lucid dreams in overcoming phobias, working with grief, decreasing social and sexual anxieties, achieving greater self-confidence and by directing the body image in the dream to facilitate physical healing. The applications, which are described in greater detail in EWLD, deserve clinical study, as they may be the greatest boon that lucid dreaming has to offer. Other potential healing applications of lucid dreaming include: practice of physical skills by stroke and spinal cord injury patients to encourage recovery of neuromuscular function, enjoyment of sexual satisfaction by people with lower body sensory loss (fully satisfying dream sex requires only mental stimulation!), more rapid recovery from injury or disease through the use of lucid dream imagery, and an increased sense of freedom for anyone who feels limited by disability or circumstance.
3.1 CAN EVERYONE LEARN TO HAVE LUCID DREAMS?
Lucid dreaming is a skill you can develop, like learning a new language. A few individuals may have an innate talent for achieving lucidity, yet even they can benefit from instruction and practice in making the most of their lucid dreams. Many more people experience lucidity as a rare spontaneous event, but need training to enjoy lucid dreams at will. The best predictor of success with lucid dreaming is the ability to remember dreams. This, too, is a skill you can develop. With specific techniques, you can increase the quantity and quality of your dream recall, which will in turn greatly increase your ability to have lucid dreams.
3.2 HOW DO I LEARN TO HAVE LUCID DREAMS?
The two essentials to learning lucid dreaming are motivation and effort. Although most people report occasional spontaneous lucid dreams, they rarely occur without our intending it. Lucid dream induction techniques help focus intention and prepare a critical mind. They range from millennium-old Tibetan exercises to modern methods developed by dream researchers. Try the following techniques and feel free to use personal variants. Experiment, observe, and persevere - lucid dreaming is easier than you may think.
3.2.1 Dream Recall
The most important prerequisite for learning lucid dreaming is excellent dream recall. There are two likely reasons for this. First, when you remember your dreams well, you can become familiar with their features and patterns. This helps you to recognize them as dreams while they are still happening. Second, it is possible that with poor dream recall, you may actually have lucid dreams that you do not remember!
The procedure for improving your dream recall is fully detailed in EWLD and A Course in Lucid Dreaming in addition to many other books on dreams. A brief discussion of the methods involved is available on the Lucidity Institute web site. The core exercise is writing down everything you recall about your dreams in a dream journal immediately after waking from the dream, no matter how fragmentary your recall. Record what you recall immediately upon waking from the dream; if you wait until morning you are likely to forget most, if not all, of the dream. In A Course in Lucid Dreaming we advise that people build their dream recall to at least one dream recalled per night before proceeding with lucid dream induction techniques.
from the website http://www.lucidity.com
the grouch - dreamer 2000