By Dr. Clare Johnson © 2017
Maybe you only have occasional lucid dreams, or perhaps you’re already a frequent lucid dreamer. But have you ever wondered how you can become even more lucid? Are you intrigued about the possibility of “lucid dreaming while awake?” This is what we do when we engage in “Lucid Dreamplay”—we work with a dream while awake in ways that mirror the experience of lucid dreaming. For example, we can:
- Transform nightmares by re-entering them imaginatively while awake.
- Absorb healing imagery from our dreams into our body if we are ill or in pain.
- Imaginatively re-enter a dream of a deceased loved one and say all the things we wanted to say to them before they died.
- Unwrap the symbolism of our dreams to discover what we need to change in our lives and in our relationships with others.
We can do all of these things while we’re awake. Doing Lucid Dreamplay not only gives insight and meaning to our nightly dreams, it also teaches us to become adept at engaging lucidly with our unconscious—great practice for the next time we get lucid in a dream.
When we shine our conscious awareness onto any dream material, even our non-lucid dreams and darkest nightmares become lucid! Lucidity can transform the dream—even after we wake up from it.
The Healing Power of Lucid Trances
Lucid trances are incredibly useful for creative thinking, deepening our connection with our unconscious mind, and for healing. Some of the most effective Lucid Dreamplay techniques are done in a lucid trance state. Let’s look at two different techniques.
The Lucid Writing Technique
In 2003, I developed a transformative, healing technique: Lucid Writing. Basically, this involves focusing on a dream and allowing yourself to go into a light trance as you vividly re-enact the sensory and visual detail of the dream. Then take a pen and write without stopping to think or judge. Keep on writing as the dream goes beyond itself and transforms into something else. Astonishing insights can occur when we breathe new life into a dream by working with it lucidly in this way.
It’s common for Lucid Writing to reveal an insight, and the dream may spontaneously change into something healing. Steve, a man in one of my dreamwriting workshops, had a nightmare about a deadly poisonous viper in his bedroom.
In the dream he was frozen with fear. But when he re-entered his nightmare and wrote with the voice of the viper, he realised it had a gift for him! His fear vanished and in a flash of golden light, he and the viper merged into a giant tree of life. He understood that the gift the dream viper offered was that of life energy, and he felt connected to the entire cosmos.
The Healing Golden Light Nightmare Technique
Even the most unhealthy dream imagery can be transformed through Lucid Dreamplay so that it becomes healing and empowering. Svitlana, an experienced lucid dreamer, incubated a dream to find out what her biggest health problem was. She was shocked when she then had a disturbing lucid dream: I find myself lucid in a grey zone. It is heavy and gloomy . . . But then something animate emerges from the area of my stomach! It jumps out of me like an alien in the Alien films. It looks like a demon. It is a part of me. It is grey, threatening, and horrid. It jumps out of me and twists around and jumps into my face. I get scared and wake up.
When she woke up, Svitlana found that an oppressive sensation of danger and hopelessness remained. Alarmed by her dream, she didn’t share it with anyone.
When she got to the IASD dream conference at Rolduc Abbey, she worked on her dream in my “Healing Dreams & Lucid Dreamplay” workshop. I asked participants to close their eyes, relax, and conjure up a nightmare image, before sending warm, loving, golden light to the image and allowing it to communicate with them or transform into something healing.
When she did this, Svitlana intuitively linked the alien to her rheumatoid arthritis. She watched as the alien turned from grey to golden, and then became a ball of light energy located under her ribcage.
She reports: “Buzzing with golden energy, the ball became my energetic centre, a battery that gave my entire body energy.”
Svitlana felt invigorated by this healing Lucid Dreamplay that had given her insight into her health condition and simultaneously turned it into an empowering source of energy and joy. When we lucidly engage with our dreams and nightmares, we can turn them into healing images that carry powerful emotional meaning for us.
Live a Lucid Life
How can we bring lucidity into all areas of our life? We need to activate lucidity on all three of these levels:
- Cultivate mindfulness in sleep
- Get lucid in dreams
- Do Lucid Dreamplay while awake to bring deeper lucidity to all dreams
Dream Therapy (the US/Canadian version is titled Mindful Dreaming) is a new book that explores how to activate three levels of lucidity (mindful sleeping, lucid dreaming, and Lucid Dreamplay) for a happier, more creative life. It’s very practical, with chapters on getting lucid, exploring sexual dreams, healing from loss, resolving nightmares, improving pain and health, and even how to work lucidly with dreams in the dying process. It’s packed with exercises on how to bring lucid dreaming techniques into psychological dreamwork and create the life you would love to live.
What are we waiting for—let’s get lucid!