Wednesday, June 12, 2013

The Science and Psychology of Lucid Dreaming

They call themselves oneironauts, "dream sailors," those who can influence their own dreams, if not quite control them, to such a degree that sleep becomes an inner exploration, a virtual reality simulator for real life.

With roots in the rituals of Tibetan dream yogis, and links to unscientific paranormal research, the practice can seem a bit loopy.

But "lucid dreaming" – the state of being awake and aware that you are asleep and dreaming – is real, experimentally verified, and based firmly in evolutionary theory and current sleep psychology. The two fields are only beginning to understand the wondrous types of consciousness that can be produced during the sleep cycle, when the body is paralyzed and the mind is at play.

After decades on the fringes of psychology, with its existence denied by Sigmund Freud, lucid dreaming is now emerging as a natural explanation for out-of-body experiences.

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