Lucid is Stupid

November 26, 2012

Torah Kachur

Night after night I lay awake with ridiculous dreams such as out of body experiences, vivid rape scenes, boring scenes of me making lunch or doing exceptionally bizarre things like handstands while cooking in an upside down kitchen.  These dreams drive me mental and make others seriously question my competence if I ever need to decompress to discuss them. 


I finally spoke with my doctor about them, he was unfazed and looked at me like 'ummm...yeah...and you want me to do what exactly?'.  Needless to say, he's useless.  So I consulted my other doctor, the internet.  Turns out that, since as long as I can remember, I have had lucid dreams.  Where I am actually awake but my mind is dreaming, I've always called them waking dreams and thought I was normal. 


Apparently most people don't have lucid dreams and they want them!  Are you crazy?  Don't these people realize that I thought I was an alien because I could fly?  I was completely convinced that almost every night, when no one was watching, I would fly around the neighborhood, visit my grandma's house, play in the park and wonder where everyone else was.  Apparently, this is a desirable feeling, to have the confusing existence of never knowing what is real and what is a dream.



The physiological existence of lucid dreams wasn't confirmed until 1980 by Stephen Laberge as part of his PhD project.  Since then, there has been evidence that suggests lucid dreams occur when one awakes from REM sleep but maintains physiological sleep patterns, despite being cognizant that it is a dream.  Most people can maintain respiratory and muscular control while they are dreaming and can respond or at least communicate with the dream researcher to actually map their dreams.


Now, medical researchers have another tool, the functional MRI (fMRI) which allows researchers to map which exact locations of the brain are stimulated in waking dreams.  Which offers us the first glimpse into the mechanism of how we dream, why we dream and what we dream about.  Most importantly, this was the first real evidence that dreams are not a passive mechanism to watch our day on repeat and process the information, but rather active processes where your body is responding to stimuli without the associated movement or reaction. 


One of the most important distinguishing features of my freakish real lucid dreams and your boring I-can-barely-remember-them dreams is that lucid dreamers maintain conscious control over the direction of their dreams.  Something I didn't know if it wasn't for the trusty internet.  Thankfully, this has given me hope to avoid the all-too-realistic dreams of my murder or home invasion or anything else that keeps me awake for days on end.


Sexual activity is commonly reported during a lucid dream.....if that happened to me, maybe I'd like them better.



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