Paul M. Helfrich

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A Lucid Dreaming Overview


What are the Benefits of Lucid Dreaming?
Continuum of Consciousness (Modes of Perception)
First Steps – Self-Evaluation Exercise
Next Steps – The Awakening
What are Some Other Beginning Techniques?
What to Expect – the Anatomy of a Lucid Dream
Steps to a Successful Lucid Dream!
Elias-related information
Lucid Dreaming Web Links
Recommended Reading


“Your imagination is your preview of life’s coming attractions.” – Albert Einstein

Out-of-BodyLucid dreaming is an ancient art form, experienced by all human cultures throughout recorded history. Other monikers include “astral projection” and “out-of-body experiences” (OOBEs). As there are literally dozens of terms used to describe this phenomenon, the important thing is that they all refer to a spectrum of consciousness that we each experience every day and night. For most of us though, our natural ability to consciously engage this spectrum has atrophied. When sufficiently motivated to explore lucid dreaming, you’ll discover that it really isn’t very difficult at all.

One leading researcher, Dr. Stephen LaBerge of Stanford University, has coined a term oneironauts (o-NIGH-ro-knots) to describe modern lucid dreamers as “explorers of the dream world.”

On the other hand, one leading source of channeled information, Seth/Jane Roberts, has coined the term dream-art scientist to describe the same thing.

Whether your interests lie in science, religion, mysticism, or just self-realization without all the belief systems, lucid dreaming can help open your doors of perception without drugs, scientific, religious, or mystical dogma, based upon your own direct, personal experience.

What are the Benefits of Lucid Dreaming?

  1. Greater awareness of reality
  2. Personal verification of our immortality
  3. Accelerated personal development
  4. Decreased fear of death
  5. Increased psychic abilities
  6. Increased desire for answers
  7. Realizations concerning death
  8. Accelerated human evolution
  9. Spontaneous healing
  10. More expansive self-concept
  11. Increased spirituality
  12. Accelerated psychological change
  13. Obtaining personal answers = “why settle for beliefs when answers are available through personal experience?”
  14. Increased respect for life
  15. Increased self respect, self-responsibility, and inner dependence
  16. Reduced hostility, violence, and crime
  17. Increased knowledge and wisdom
  18. Profound sense of knowing based upon direct experience instead of believing
  19. Inner calm
  20. Increased zest for physical life
  21. Increased intelligence and memory recall; enhanced imagination
  22. Sense of adventure

Continuum of Consciousness (Modes of Perception)

  1. Physical waking consciousness – “cognito ferma”
  2. Hypnagogic state, meditative states, creative visualization, hypnotic
  3. Dreams
  4. Lucid dreams
  5. Spontaneous lucid dreams
  6. Near death experiences
  7. Controlled lucid dreams within various states of consciousness

First Steps – Self-Evaluation Exercise

  1. Self Concept – describe yourself in detail.
  2. Personal viewpoints – what are your beliefs about lucid dreams?
  3. Motivation – be specific, why do you wish to pursue this experience?
  4. Safety – do you believe if you pursue lucid dreaming that you’ll get lost or die? What are your fear levels about entering the “unknown” reality?
  5. Special ability or talent – do you believe a special talent is required for lucid dreaming?
  6. Importance – on a scale of 1-10, how important is this type of exploration to your personal development?
  7. Desire – what benefits or information are you seeking? Do you possess the inner desire and drive to follow through?
  8. Commitment – are you willing to commit 30 minutes a day for a month?
  9. Fears – identify your anxiety levels about engaging this pursuit. Do you fear the dark? The unknown? Are they logical or based on lack of information?
  10. Religious beliefs – is this a spiritual experience for you? Do you believe in “demons,” “devils,” or “evil spirits”? Angels, essences, guides, teachers?
  11. Degree of Difficulty – do you believe that this is natural and easy to achieve? Why do you feel this way?
  12. Confidence – are you confident you can achieve your goals?
  13. Expectations – What are your personal expectations? Do you expect positive results?
  14. Personal Issues or limits – are you aware of any personal issues that may limit your ability to have a lucid dream? If so, write them down.
  15. Goals – is this exploration a firm personal goal? Is it a written goal? Is it an important goal? Is it a priority?

Next Steps – The Awakening

  1. Identifying and recognizing your beliefs about the dream and waking states – what is your definition of consciousness? How are your waking states like your dream states? What’s the difference? How do you consciously know when you are in each?
  2. Improving your dream recall – begin keeping a daily dream journal. Write down as much detail as you can, notice EVERYTHING, objects, emotions, people, sounds, smells. Engage ALL of your senses. This activity helps you to learn to recognize your own personal imagery and provide motivation for accomplishing.
  3. Begin to recall your dreams every time you wake up. Don’t move as this helps you stay focused inwardly. Learn to retrace your mental steps and notice the details. Then write them down or record them to get more details and transcribe later.
  4. Begin noticing and listing your personal dream triggers and focal points. These are important sign posts for becoming lucid at will:
  • Dream triggers are the sign posts that let you know you’re in dream state, or waking state.
  • Focal points are the worm holes or portals to other “areas of consciousness.” They are literally a “projection zone” that you can learn to consciously identify.
  1. MILD technique (Mnemonic Induction of Lucid Dreaming). This is a state checking technique. Begin to regularly ascertain your mental state – am I waking or dreaming right now? Notice all five of your physical senses in the Now. The purpose is to help tune your noticing of waking and dream state.
  2. Begin to practice relaxation techniques of choice – yoga, energy centers, breathing, whatever seems to work best for you. These techniques are useful in willfully falling asleep, falling back asleep after several sleep cycles, or just relaxing while in your waking state.
  3. Use your hands as a simple dream trigger to test dream state/waking state recognition until you settle on a trigger or set of triggers that work better. Look at your hands 10-12 times a day and notice your state. Ask yourself something to the effect of “am I in waking or dreaming state?” How can you really tell the difference? The point here is that it can be confusing initially in dream state, which can be easily confused for waking state.

What are Some Other Beginning Techniques?

One of the best times to induce a lucid dream is after 3-5 hours of sleep, 2-3 REM (rapid eye movement) cycles.

These five can work together in various combinations, be observant and explore how your own body works.

  1. Visualization – “we come to recognize that our ability to create is limited only by our ability to imagine.” W. Buhlman. Targets based on Sight, Touch, Smell. Mirror technique to enhance visualization skills, use it as a totally focused in the NOW exercise, notice what all five of your physical senses are perceiving and how seamlessly they are blended by you!
  2. Dream conversion – your dream state is a natural gateway. Acknowledge the importance of your dreaming self. Keep a journal. Express your desire for increased clarity and awareness in your dreams. Affirmation “as I fall asleep I remain aware.” Expect your requests to be granted. Many dream symbols and actions like floating, bridges, tunnels, elevators, class rooms, etc. can serve as triggers for becoming lucid.
  3. Affirmations – “Now I’m out of body!” “Now I project from my body”

Keys are to increase the emotional and intellectual intensity as you approach sleep. If you drift off, regroup and continue. Remember, “you get what you concentrate upon!”

  1. Hypnosis – this is a useful tool for self-improvement exercises. “Internally we have accepted a rigid concept of ourselves and placed limits on our abilities. These subconscious limits are the walls that hold us from our unlimited potential. One of the most effective ways to dissolve our self-accepted limits and fears is to confront them directly.” W. Buhlman. Self-hypnosis techniques include relaxation and suggestions for clarity and desire to engage the lucid state.
  2. Sound (binaural beats) – The Monroe Institute, in Faber, VA, has developed a process called Hemi-sync, a 4 vibrations per second difference tone (104 – 100 = 4) that represents the brain’s predominant frequency at the moment of becoming lucid in the dream state.

The use of sound as a dream trigger is found in many ancient meditation techniques used by yogis (chanting OM, listening to bell tones, etc.).

What to Expect – the Anatomy of a Lucid Dream

  1. Vibrational stage – this stage occurs only when you project from a semi-waking state. The body must be very relaxed and just on the edge of REM sleep. You will literally feel some sort of energy, buzzing humming, roaring sounds, occasional numbness (sleep paralysis, which is harmless and intended to keep the physical body from participating in dream activities). The vibrations and sound are not physical events, but an altered awareness of our higher-frequency form/body as it projects from or moves out of phase with, our physical body.
  2. Projection stage – you will experience some type of lifting, floating, or rolling out sensation as you “separate” or project. After projecting, all vibrations and sounds cease.
  3. Exploration Stage – this stage may also be entered directly from the sleep state, without any of the effects of the vibrational stage. Your “energy body” is a duplicate of the physical body but consists of a higher frequency form. This “body” is extremely thought-responsive. You can fly, float, hover, or instantly beam up to your destination. In more advanced stages, you may not limit your experience to a body form at all. As pure consciousness, you manipulate through your thoughts and desires.
  4. Reentry Stage – the reintegration of your “energy body” and physical body. This automatically occurs by simply thinking about it. There may be a temporary period of numbness (sleep paralysis) that quickly wears off. Or you may just lapse back into a sleep state.

Steps to a Successful Lucid Dream!

  1. Remain mentally and emotionally calm.
  2. Incorporate the habit of automatic self control – learn to notice everything as you go through the stages of the experience. Expect new sensations and perceptions and encourage them (remember you are really an indestructible form of pure consciousness). Learn to notice even the smallest sensations and encourage them to develop. Notice everything. Engage your periphery! Each experience doesn’t have to make complete sense in terms of your waking experience, trust that you will experience what is important for your own knowing. Learn to relax and go with the flow.
  3. When projecting from a semi-waking state, direct yourself away from your body – in the beginning stages it’s best to leave your body behind. It’ll be there when you wish to return. If you think about it or worry about it, you will instantly return!
  4. Maintain your focus completely away from your body! – the success and duration of your experience will be determined by many things, including your intent, ability to concentrate and maintain a stable focus. Issuing a mental command like “clarity now!” or “everything is clear!” will get an instant response in this thought-responsive environment.
  5. As you get more experienced, some techniques for prolonging lucid dreams include mental commands, “clarity now!” or spinning like a whirling dervish, or focusing on your hands to allow clarity of thought and focus.

The only things that hold us back are limiting beliefs about how our consciousness really works and our fears of what we don’t yet understand. Once addressed your success is guaranteed!

Elias-related information

Elias offers a lot of information that can be useful for understanding the nature of consciousness, how we create our own individual reality, and projections of consciousness.

  1. Digests: accepting self
  2. Digests: altered states/projections of consciousness
  3. Digests: dream mission
  4. Digests: dream triggers
  5. Digests: focal points
  6. Digests: imagery
  7. Digests: objective/subjective awareness
  8. Digests: out-of-body experiences
  9. Digests: Regional Areas of consciousness; an overview
  10. Digests: waking state/dream state
  11. Digests: you create your reality
  12. Exercises: clarity
  13. Exercises: focal points – projection of consciousness
  14. Exercises: SNAP – a beginning course in out-of-body projection
  15. Exercises: viewing alternate realities
  16. Exercises: noticing symbols: thoughts, impressions, and feelings

Lucid Dreaming Web Links

Out-of-Body Experience Frequently Asked Questions – a thorough overview on the origins of the out-of-body phenomenon in Western culture, with a sprinkling of Eastern roots, and a healthy measure of science and parapsychology by Jouni A. Smed.

Lucidity Institute – founded by Stepen Laberge, Ph.D., dedicated to the advancement of research on the nature and potentials of consciousness an to the application of the results of this research to the enhancement of human health and well-being.

Lucid Dreaming FAQ – a brief introduction to lucid dreaming – what it is, how to do it, and what can be done with it. There are several excellent sources of information on lucid dreaming, the most extensive of which is the Lucidity Institute website.

Annotated Comments to Lucid Dreaming – annotated comments to his book on lucid dreaming by Stephen LaBerge, Ph.D.

The Monroe Institute – a nonprofit research and education organization based on membership. They promote the evolution of human consciousness through personal experience using an auditory-guidance process called Hemi-Sync.

International Institute of Projectiology and Conscientiology – a non-profit Brazilian institution dedicated to applied consciousness research. The Institute, founded by Waldo Vieira, M.D., studies the consciousness (spirit, soul), placing special emphasis on the out-of-body experience (OBE, astral projection) and bio-energy (prana, chi).

World of Lucid Dreaming – an informative website covering lucid dreaming that allows dreamers to network with each other, post dream journals, and much more.

The Lucid Dream Exchange – an independently published quarterly e-zine dedicated to educating and inspiring lucid dreamers everywhere. Run by Robert “Dream Bob” Waggoner and Lucy Gillis.

DreamGate – the Electric Dreams Community encompasses and serves many other communities online. DreamGate provides resources and support for many of the Communities activities, with bestserv mail lists, E-zine publications, Global News publications and Web sites.

The Frank Kepple Resource – a detailed overview of Frank Kepple’s model for Astral Reality, or what he refers to as the Wider Reality. Frank’s findings concerning a range of related issues has also been included so as to provide a one stop resource for those who wish to learn about Frank’s contribution to afterlife research. If the theories presented here are of interest to you, then I recommend that you look up Frank’s posts on the Astral Pulse discussion forums where all of this information and more, can be found.

Articles on Dreaming – various articles have been written to introduce to the world of dreams and dreaming.

The Alchera Suite – a software tool for dream interpretation and dream journaling.

How Does Lucid Dreaming Effect Sleep Quality? – by Sleepopolis. An overview with lots of recent brain research included.

Dream Guide: Benefits, Interpretations and Types of Dreams – by Tuck Sleep. An overview of dreaming and its benefits, includes resources on the science of sleep, resource guides designed to help people with physical and mental illnesses sleep better, research on sleep disorders, reviews of products that claim to promote healthy sleep, etc.

Recommended Reading

Bruce, Robert, Astral Dynamics: A New Approach to Out-of-body Experience, Hampton Roads, Charlottesville, VA, 1999.

Buhlman, William, Adventures Beyond the Body, How to Experience Out-of-body Travel, Harper Collins Publishers, San Francisco, CA, 1996.

Castaneda, Carlos, The Art of Dreaming, HarperCollins, New York, NY, 1994.

Das, Lama Surya, Tibetan Dream Yoga: A Complete System for Becoming Conscious in Your Dreams, Sounds True, Boulder, CO, 2000.

Evans-Wentz, Walter Y., Tibetan Yoga and Secret Doctrines: Or Seven Books of Wisdom of the Great Path, Oxford University Press, New York, NY, 1958.

Fox, Oliver, Astral Projection: A Record of Out-of-the-Body Experiences, Citadel Press, NJ, 1962.

Freud, Sigmund, The Interpretation of Dreams, Avon, 1983.

Gackenbach, Jayne, and Jane Bosveld, Control Your Dreams, Harper and Row, New York, NY, 1989.

Garfield, Patricia, Creative Dreaming, Ballantine Books, New York, NY, 1974.

Green, Celia, and Charles McCreery, Lucid Dreaming: The Paradox of Consciousness During Sleep, Routledge, 1995.

Harary, Keith, and Pamela Weintraub, Have an Out-of-the-Body Experience in 30 Days, St. Martin’s Press, New York, NY, 1989.

Jung, Carl, Memories, Dreams, and Reflections, Vintage Books, 1989.

LaBerge, Stephen, and Howard Rheingold, Exploring the World of Lucid Dreaming, Ballantine Books, New York, NY, 1990.

LaBerge, Stephen, Lucid Dreaming, Ballantine Books, New York, NY, 1985.

Magallón, Linda Lane, Mutual Dreaming, Pocket Books, New York, NY, 1997.

Mindell, Arnold, Dreaming While Awake, Hampton Roads, Charlottesville, VA, 2000.

Monroe, Robert, Journeys Out of the Body, Doubleday, New York, NY, 1971.

Monroe, Robert, Far Journeys, Doubleday, New York, NY, 1985.

Monroe, Robert, Ultimate Journey, Doubleday, New York, NY, 1994.

Muldoon, Sylvan, and Hereward Carrington, The Projection of the Astral Body, Rider & Co., 1929.

Norbu, Namkhai, Dream Yoga and the Practice of Natural Light, Snow Lion Publications, Ithica, NY, 1992.

Rinpoche, Tenzin Wangyal, The Tibetan Yogas of Dream and Sleep, Snow Lion Publications, Ithaca, NY, 1998.

Roberts, Jane, Adventures in Consciousness: An Introduction to Aspect Psychology, Sethnet Publishing, Eugene, OR, 1997.

Roberts, Jane, Dreams, “Evolution,” and Value Fulfillment, volumes 1 & 2, Amber-Allen Publishing, San Rafael, CA, 1997.

Roberts, Jane, Early Sessions, Book 2 of the Seth Material, New Awareness Network, Manhasset, NY, 1997.

Roberts, Jane, Seth, Dreams, and Projection of Consciousness, Stillpoint Publishing, Walpole, NH, 1986.

Roberts, Jane, Seth Speaks, Amber-Allen Publishing, San Rafael, CA, 1994.

Roberts, Jane, The “Unknown” Reality, volumes 1 & 2, Amber-Allen Publishing, San Rafael, CA, 1996.

Sparrow, Gregory S., Lucid Dreaming, The Dawning of the Clear Night, A.R.E. Press, Virginia Beach, VA., 1976.

Stack, Rick, Out-of-Body Adventures, Contemporary Books, Chicago, IL, 1988.

Tart, Charles, ed., Altered States of Consciousness, HarperCollins, New York, NY, 1990.

Waggoner, Robert, Lucid Dreaming: Gateway to the Inner Self, Moment Point Press, Needham, MA, 2008.

Watkins, Susan, Dreaming Myself, Dreaming a Town, Kendall Enterprises, New York, NY, 1989.

Wilber, Ken, No Boundary: Eastern and Western Approaches to Personal Growth, Shambhala, Boston, MA, 2001.

Wilber, Ken, A Brief History of Everything, Shambhala, Boston, MA, 1996.

Wilber, Ken, Integral Psychology, Shambhala, Boston, MA, 2000.

Wolf, Fred Alan, The Dreaming Universe, Simon and Schuster, New York, NY, 1994.

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