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Inception: A Lucid Dreaming Movie

July 21, 2010

Many are raving about the new movie “Inception“.  It was pretty awesome.  The idea of being able to wake up in your dreams and realize that you are dreaming sounds… strangely familiar.  It’s called lucid dreaming, if you didn’t already know.  “Inception” brilliantly shows us how a team of specialists use lucid dreaming to venture into the dreamer’s mind to steal subconscious ideas, or plant new ones to spark inspiration.  They are able to build or destroy cities by toppling and building sandcastles.  They can defy the very laws of physics.  It sounds like science fiction, but it’s real.

When we enter the Rapid Eye Movement (REM) phase of sleep, we begin to experience dreams.  Sigmund Freud said that dreams represent subconscious desires.  Ehh, that’s probably not true because I once had a dream that a man chopped my head off with a scythe.  In another one, I dreamt that I went about my entire school day, then I woke up and actually went about my entire school day.  2 days of school in rapid succession is definitely not one of my desires.

On a side note, don’t you hate it when you dream that something awesome happened, and then you wake up to find it wasn’t real?  When I was little I always dreamt I got a bunch of gifts, then I’d wake up and excitedly look around my house for them.  I digress.

In lucid dreams, you realize you are dreaming and are able to control any aspect of the dream.  You can fly, talk to sea monsters, control people’s actions; you can do anything you dream of (puns are fun!).  It’s pretty cool to know you have complete freedom.

It’s hard to actually know if you are dreaming because you believe that what you’re experiencing is real.  One time I had a dream that I was skiing down a dinosaur’s back.  It’s highly unlikely that I would ever ski down a dinosaur’s back, because I can’t ski.  But I didn’t realize it at the time.  I constantly have dreams that I’m breathing in water.  Why don’t I realize that it’s impossible? I don’t know.  But there are a few things you can do to heighten the chances of “realization”.

You have to do reality checks.  Keep checking to see if you are dreaming.  I know it sounds stupid, but it’s the only way.  Doing this during your awakened state becomes habitual, and the habit transfers over into your dream state.

Some of the reality checks you can do:

  • Constantly ask yourself if you are dreaming.
  • Try to fly. You can usually fly in the dream state.
  • Look at a clock.  Are the numbers all skewed in your dream?
  • Write an “A” on your hand for “awake” and keep checking it throughout the day. It probably won’t be there in your dream state.
  • Lean against a wall.  In your dream, you’ll fall through it.
  • Check your hand.  In your dream you will be missing fingers, or might have additional ones.
  • Try Steven Laberge’s Mnemonic Induction of Lucid Dreaming (MILD) technique.  You set your alarm clock to wake you up four, six, or seven hours after sleeping (amidst REM).  You remember as much of your dream as you can, and go back to sleep with the intent of lucid dreaming, while recreating the dream you just woke up from.  I find that imagining a spinning sensation allows you to drift back into your dream quicker.

I’ve been trying to do these reality checks whenever I remember.  People must think I’m crazy because I keep jumping up to see if I can fly.  I keep throwing imaginary balls of lightning into the air.  I keep counting how many finger I have on my hand while people are talking to me.  I walked into the break room today, not realizing that people were in there, and I said aloud, “Is this a dream?  Am I awake?”  I got a few stares to say the least.

Last night I was dreaming and out of habit, I checked my hand to see if everything was normal.  It turned out that my hands were glowing, so I realized I was dreaming.  I got so excited that I woke up.  Waking up is normal the first few times.  It’s not an easy feat, lucid dreaming; you just have to keep at it.

I believe the dream world holds many answers to life’s question.  The phenomenon of dreaming has captivated philosophers and scientists alike for many years.  Just think about it.  It’s remarkable.  Why does it happen?  I dream of things that I have never thought of, seen, or experienced in “real life”.  What if the dream is an entrance to a different realm?  A spirit realm that can only be explored by our spirit bodies, per se.  A peek into the afterlife maybe.  Only you can know what your dream awaits you.

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2 Comments leave one →
  1. Johnny permalink
    July 22, 2010 4:13 pm

    Very thought-provoking and all the more I’m moved to want to watch the movie. Makes me wonder if I’m awake right now…

  2. Radhika permalink
    July 23, 2010 9:37 pm

    So interesting. Dreams are insane that is for sure. The whole idea of “am I dreaming or am I awake?” just gets you thinking. The crazy part about some dreams is when you are sleeping you know you are having an amazing dream and then you wake up and you can’t remember it and you really want to cause you liked it so much. That sucks.

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