Lucid dreams—everything you need to know and how they can change your life for the better

Lucid dreams are an incredible phenomenon that, with a little work, you can incorporate into your life says expert Tree Carr

Surreal colorful desert with straight road heading to stunning big sun.
(Image credit: Artur Debat/Getty Images)

Lucid dreams are something you may have heard of, perhaps in passing, and something you'd like to understand more. If you're new to the party, your mind is about to be blown by this unique phenomenon.

Many of us are interested in the meaning of dreams and what they represent. However, there's so much more you can tap into after falling asleep.

Imagine flying through layers of vibrant, ethereal colors of light as euphoric energy resonates throughout your entire body only for you to land in an alien world made of luxuriant crystalline structures, all whilst being completely conscious, aware, sober, and present. 

It sounds like a scene from a script of the latest sci-fi Netflix series, or a mind-bending psychedelic trip—yet remarkably it is neither of those. This is a description of a lucid dream.

"Everyone is capable of achieving a lucid dream. If you have a brain and a consciousness, then you can experience lucid dreaming."

Tree Carr

As a small child, I would have this lucid dream. My lucidity would be initially triggered by a nightmare that I was having. I worked out that I could ‘wake up’ in a dream if it was too frightening. 

Once I woke up in the dream I could change it and make the scary monsters go away and then fly into the layers of colorful light to the peaceful world of loving energy. Having the ability to do this brought me peace and comfort in the throes of a nightmare, as I knew that I could take control of its outcome. 

Everyone is capable of learning how to lucid dream. If you have a brain and a consciousness, then you can experience this incredible state. Some people experience them spontaneously and others work at it in a dedicated practice incorporated into their bedtime routine.

What is a lucid dream?

Lucid dreaming is when the dreamer becomes conscious and aware that they are within a dream. They can then proceed to interact with their dream environment with their conscious free will, interacting within their dream environment or conversing with dream characters in complete and vivid awareness. 

People wondering how to get to sleep fast might be confused by the idea of such an awake experience, but it's restorative in a wholly unique way.

Lucid dreaming is like experiencing virtual reality without the headset and technological gear. As awe-inspiring as all of the amazing advancements of modern technology are, we human beings still don’t realize that the greatest technology ever is hidden in plain sight—in the form of consciousness itself. 

The potential of a built-in virtual reality through lucid dreaming can hold great entertainment value for some dreamers. Imagine trying your favorite sex position with a celebrity crush, or engaging in extreme sports. However, it is also a form of spiritual practice for others. 

It can feel quite spiritual for people because it is an exceptional experience of consciousness. In other words, it falls outside of our ideas of a perceived reality and can fall within the category of ‘mystical experience’. So you can add that to your weekly horoscope and tarot card reading as a form of holistic and mystic self-care!

Besides entertainment or the psychological escape from the mundane realities of everyday life, there are many benefits of lucid dreaming. These include problem-solving, creative insights and overcoming fears, trauma, self-limiting beliefs, and PTSD. 

A lucid dream can evoke a distinguished notion of oneness with an infinite universe of infinite possibilities which can, in turn, have positive and transformative effects on a person. 

"Besides entertainment or the psychological escape from the mundane realities of everyday life, the benefits of lucid dreaming include: problem-solving, creative insights and overcoming fears, trauma, self-limiting beliefs, and PTSD."

Tree Carr

Where does lucid dreaming come from?

Human beings have been lucid dreaming for thousands of years with accounts recorded in the ancient Hindu tract called The Vigyan Bhairav Tantra. Central to both the ancient Indian Hindu practice of Yoga Nidra and the Tibetan Buddhist practice of dream Yoga, it’s been part of a spiritual path for consciousness explorers since the days of antiquity. 

As well as being recognized in some of the best bedtime yoga practices, documentation of lucid dreaming is also found in Ancient Greece: the philosopher Aristotle once wrote 'often when one is asleep, there is something in consciousness which declares that what then presents itself is but a dream'. 

Although people have been experiencing lucid dreams for thousands of years, it was only in 1975 that it was scientifically proven in a sleep lab by British psychologist, Dr. Keith Hearne. 

Dreams are the blueprints of the unconscious mind therefore when you ‘wake up’ in a dream you have the opportunity to interface with your own unconscious mind. This can become deeply transformative because as the dream unfolds you can be shown its meaning in real-time. 

They are like mini-films that get projected every night from your cinema of the unconscious. These micro screenings grab our attention through their surreal content in order to prompt us to look at areas in our waking life that need balance, care, or transformation. 

When you carry over insights and messages from your lucid dreams into your waking life, you can find that the guidance helps you to grow as a person. 

Now that you know what it's all about—are you ready to learn how to lucid dream

Tree Carr
Dream guide, death doula, and divinatory guide

Tree Carr is a published author who works in the esoteric realms of dreams, death, and divination. Her published books include 'Conscious Dreamer' and ‘DREAMS: How to Connect With Your Dreams to Enrich Your Life'.

Tree is also a CPD Crossfields Institute Certified Death Doula. Her work as an End of Life Guide involves helping people spiritually, emotionally, existentially and practically at the end of their lives.

As an intuitive empath, she is self-taught in divinatory guidance: The Tarot, Rune Stones and Astrology and has facilitated readings, rituals, classes, and courses spanning a wide variety of esoteric subjects.