Wikipedia describes a lucid dream as one in “which the dreamer is aware of dreaming.”. This happened to me as a teenager while I was experiencing a repetitive dream at such a frequency I become determined to change what was happening in my dream. I wasn’t even aware it was possible, I was just so fed up having the exact same nightmare every 2-3 nights.
Aware of Dreaming
Wikipedia also states, “During lucid dreaming, the dreamer may be able to exert some degree of control over the dream…”. I can say, it certainly feels that way when it happens. It was my determination that led me to discover this ability. All I wanted to do was change the dream by fighting the things that caused me fear. I thought about how I wanted the dream to play-out when I put my head on the pillow and it worked.
Determination Discovered Lucidity
Please understand that I wasn’t trying to achieve lucid dreaming because I had no idea what lucid dreaming was as a young boy. I wasn’t trying to take full control of my dreams either but I did feel a slight possibility of changing things each time the dream occurred. The minor changes encouraged me and gave me the desire to change the entire outcome of my horrible dream.
Each time I had my repetitive dream my will to fight back and get my own way grew. The more I fought back the more I could change things, but only very slightly. It was the lack of progress in this nightmare I was stuck with that caused me greater frustration. I could feel changes but the end results were always the same. Until that night I experienced true lucidity and it was amazing!
I would describe lucidity as having the ability to do what you want in your dreams but only within the context of the dream. I think a repetitive dream helps to highlight the differences between what our mind wants us to experience and what we achieve through lucid dreaming.
What is especially different when lucid dreaming is that the awaken memory of a dream is stronger. I would wake up and be amused at what I got up to in my dreams because I would do what I wanted. Not what my mind wanted. I should mention that “what I wanted” was always within the confines of the location and not once have I experienced a lucid dream that led to changing the scenery.
My Ghostly Nightmare
My repetitive nightmare involved ghosts behind my bedroom curtains. I would wake up, get out of bed, the ghosts would chase me, I would run through to get my sister, we would both be chased downstairs by ghosts, we would…just…make it into the living-room…eventually.
Initially, the ghosts would pull me back up the stairs and I would be clinging onto the stair rails for my life. Doing that night after night becomes annoying. My lucid dreaming kicked in and in a single dream, it all changed.
I got out of bed, pulled the curtains down and made fun of the ghosts. I had no fear, it was just a dream. I didn’t run through to get my sister, it’s just a dream. This gave me the time I needed to get into the living-room and close the door. Those ghosts tried to get in but gave up and went out the front door. I even watched them going along our street.
I stopped having the repetitive nightmare and I learned a lot about fighting fear. A few bullies at School were to get a surprise by my sudden change in mindset. So maybe dreaming, especially lucid dreaming, is important for our realities!
Final Lucid Dream
My final lucid dreams were during basic training after I joined the Black Watch Infantry and trained in Edinburgh. I was able to do more than changing the dream my mind started. I was able to decide what I wanted to dream and most nights I was able to clearly remember my dream experiences. I was able to do what I wanted for decent amounts of time and on a level that felt superhuman…
- I revised training material while I slept. I didn’t do this too often because I could actually feel it draining me. I revised bulleted lists and key pieces of information the night before a test/exam. I would wake up very confident and always passed everything.
- I even stripped the SA80 rifle and re-built it about ten times, the very night after we were introduced to the weapon and stripped it down a couple of times. I actually got faster in my sleep and to prove it to the other recruits I tested myself by closing my eyes. I managed to strip and re-assemble my rifle quickly.
- I put myself through the CS chamber for CBRN (Chemical, Biological, Radiation, Nuclear) training. A first-time visit allowed me to experience it in my dreams and I enjoyed the challenge. It was no nightmare for me and I always volunteered to go first. Doing it in my dreams removed all nervousness of breathing in CS gas. It didn’t reduce the effects…I’m not a Jedi!
Years Later: Maybe Health Matters
I’ve not had a lucid dream for over 10 years. I strongly believe that I was able to experience a high level of lucidity because I was at the peak of physical and mental fitness. I had trained daily for three years and looked after my body with a great diet. I would say that my mind reached a peak level of focus and calmness. I may never experience that again…the stresses of life probably won’t allow me to achieve that mindfulness.
I decided to blog about it because…Halloween is coming and my dreams were ghostly! I also strongly feel our productivity could be increased if we could all rehearse while sleeping.
Read this guide to lucid dreaming if you’re interested in reading more.