Lucid dreaming, also known as an out of body experience or astral travel, is the practice of mentally waking up during a dream. People who practice this through Meditation and Dream Yoga are able to gain conscious control over the elements within a dream. Tibetan Buddhists believe work done during a dream helps gain skills to meet challenges presented to the soul upon death, therefore lucid dreaming is of utmost importance to a Buddhist’s overall wellbeing.
In order to reach this heightened state of lucid dreaming, one must develop discipline to train the mind and body. The most basic technique of achieving lucid dreaming is to view everything during the day as if it were a dream. This helps the brain to learn what it feels like to be conscious instead of just assuming it. By being aware of this conscious state, it will be easier to stimulate the state of lucidness within dreaming.
Another, more specific technique is dream recollection. Tibetan Buddhists believe that during dreams the self travels to places it has been and repeats past experiences. For this reason, it is an important practice to meditate upon recent experiences and dreams. During this time the body must remain perfectly still since any movement will disrupt the astral body, causing the mind to lose the memories. When training the mind and body to undergo lucid dreaming, it is important to not give up or lose patience. The mind must be free of all dissuading thoughts and able to let go of negativity.
Lucid dreaming has occurred for over 1,000 years and is known by Tibetan Buddhists as dream yoga. They use it to achieve a heightened sense of being and to awaken the consciousness in the dream state. During this awareness, their ultimate goal is to harness the power within lucid dreaming in order to move onto the next level on their path by completing several steps.
Once the power of lucid dreaming is harnessed Tibetan Buddhists aspire to practice sadhana, obtain empowerments and initiations, travel to different places, correspond with an enlightened being, meet with others, be able to fly and shape shift into different forms.
It is believed that by apprehending the dream and becoming consciously aware, the body is removed of any physical stimuli and the mind is removed of conceptual stimuli usually provided by the dream. In this state, one can reach the purest form of conscious awareness.
Anyone can experience lucid dreaming by meditating and learning how to recall past memories and dreams. It takes practice, but nothing worth achieving is easy to obtain.