Dream Your Way to Success

Written by Sierra Alvis

Lucid Dreaming: the benefitslucid dreaming benefits

What if you could close your eyes and enter a dream world of your choosing? A place where you were consciously aware of your surroundings, whether flying through the sky or having lunch with Marilyn Monroe.

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Read Keelin's journal from The Lucidity Institute's Dream Camp.

It's called lucid dreaming, a technique that puts you in the driver's seat of your subconscious. For enthusiasts, becoming lucid means more than exploring fantasies or breaking the laws of physics. It's the ultimate multi-tasking coup: a chance to improve your waking life while fast asleep.

Keelin, a graphic cartographer from Napa, Calif., has been lucid dreaming since she was a child. Shortly after her father's death, Keelin, who uses only her surname, started having conversations with her father in her dreams. "At the time, I knew I was dreaming, but that never made a difference," she says.

Looking back, Keelin believes it was her ability to become lucid that allowed for an easy transition out of her grief. She's been lucid dreaming ever since. "It's a wonderful place to work out problems in your waking life," she says, "but also it's a place to have fun. What you can do in your dreams can't be outdone anywhere else."

Pursuing adventure or fantasy, having uninhibited sex without fear or climbing Mount Everest is definitely an appealing aspect of lucid dreaming. But, says Keith Garcia, the manager of the Lucidity Institute in Palo Alto, Calif., there are much more practical benefits as well.

By dreaming with consciousness, says Garcia, you can gain mastery over nightmares, increase your mental or athletic confidence, solve problems creatively, and even, in theory, achieve transcendence.

"In real life, your mind is constrained by the external world," says Garcia. "But when you go into dreamland, you are forced to problem solve on a completely different level."

Garcia compares lucid dreaming to the visualization techniques used by athletes to help improve their games, except that in dreams the outcome is much more effective.

"When you dream of doing something," Garcia says, "physiologically, as far as your brain is concerned, you're doing it."

This opens up several possibilities in terms of using your dreamtime to help achieve a specific goal. Whether it's training for a marathon, rehearsing a big speech or overcoming a phobia, when you gain confidence in your sleep, it carries over to your waking life, says Garcia.

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