Have you ever been aware that you’re inside a dream while you’re dreaming? In lucid dreams, you know you’re dreaming, and make decisions to direct your dream in the ways you want to experience it. You can use lucid dreaming to experience more wonder and grow spiritually.
I was able to turn a nightmare into a healing dream through lucid dreaming and prayer. Several times, I had experienced the same nightmare – missing a flight because I neglected to pack my suitcase on time, causing me to arrive at the airport too late for my trip. I watched my plane take off without me, and felt waves of disappointment wash over me before I woke up. That recurring nightmare didn’t make any sense to me at first, because I love to plan and am hardly ever late for anything. I wasn’t even planning a real trip during the time when I had the nightmare, and the nightmare didn’t specify any specific destination. But after praying for God’s help to interpret that nightmare, I came to understand that it represented FOMO (the fear of missing out). God was showing me through that recurring nightmare that I had a pattern of FOMO and needed to learn how to be content. Once I understood the goal, I worked toward it by focusing on being more content in my waking life. I also tried lucid dreaming, to see if I could intentionally change the nightmare when I was experiencing it – and it turned out that I could! When I recognized that nightmare while it was happening, I told myself to trust God more so I could be content, no matter what. Then the nightmare changed: When the plane took off without me, I wasn’t upset and simply went back home at peace. After a while, I stopped having that nightmare completely.
Here's how you can try lucid dreaming yourself:
Set a goal to accomplish in your dreams. Choose one goal to focus on at a time while you’re dreaming. Then pray for God’s guidance to help you in the process. Learn the steps for doing so in my blog on how to how to dream with purpose.
Train your mind to recognize when you’re dreaming. Gradually, you can train your mind to become aware that you’re dreaming, through practicing a simple exercise with your hands. Push one finger into the palm of one of your hands several times a day when you’re awake, and at bedtime, set the intention to do so during your dreams. You’ll notice that your finger stops at your palm while you’re awake, but it goes all the way through your hand while you’re dreaming. Through this hand test, you can recognize whether or not you’re dreaming. Every night as you drift off to sleep, tell yourself silently that you will become aware of your dreams, and look forward to doing so.
After you wake up from a dream, focus on what you can remember from it and then try to go back to sleep. Reflect on your dream as you back to sleep. Imagine yourself continuing that dream to work on the goal you’re trying to accomplish through your dreams.
Pray about your dreams regularly. Every experience you have in any dream – a lucid dream, or just a regular dream – has the potential to teach you something spiritually valuable. As you communicate with God about your dreams, you’ll gain more clarity about how to interpret them and apply what you learn from them to your waking life.
Learn more about dreams in the lifelong learning chapter of Wake Up to Wonder.