The Out of body experiences, often cited as a literal "exiting" of the physical body in soul or ethereal form, is superbly explained by a certain type of lucid dream. Many of us might experienced many vivid O B E and the process has even been replicated under laboratory
conditions. So, is this proof of the spirit? The afterlife? Alternate dimensions?
Not quite. As lucid dreamers know, we are entirely capable of creating a perfect replica of the real world inside our dreaming minds. When we are dreaming consciously, this can even look, sound and feel as vivid as waking life. This is the great appeal of lucid dreaming.
A lucid dream is any dream during which the dreamer is aware that they are dreaming. During lucid dreaming, the dreamer may allegedly be able to exert some degree of control over the dream characters, narrative, and environment. The term 'lucid dream' was coined by Dutch author and psychiatrist Frederik van Eeden in his 1913 article A Study of Dreams, though descriptions of dreamers being aware that they are dreaming predates the term, and is closely related to ancient meditative praxis originating in India. Lucid dreaming is your chance to play around with the extraordinary abilities buried in unused parts of your brain. Regardless of whether your are superhuman in real life or not, lucid dreaming is a way for you to put the deepest areas of your brain to good use while you’re sleeping. You can be a Jane Doe while awake and superman while sleeping. All the obstacles of reality can be set aside, as you make trips to the sun or the interior of the earth or test your craziest science experiments on your worst enemies, for example, taste fire or fly to the sun. More and more experienced lucid dreamers are realizing the benefits of lucid dreaming. You can use it to explore the boundaries of your own agency and the limits of the universe. The earliest references to a phenomenon comparable to that now signified by the term 'lucid dream'
There are at least four levels of lucid dreaming:
1. Knowing that you are dreaming
2. Being able to control your own dream actions in a wake-like fashion
3. Being able to manipulate your dream surroundings
4. Being able to manipulate the dream actions of other people in your dreams
Paul Tholey, a German oneirologist and Gestalt theorist, laid the epistemological basis for the research of lucid dreams, proposing seven different conditions of clarity that a dream must fulfill in order to be defined as a lucid dream:
1. Awareness of the dream state (orientation)
2. Awareness of the capacity to make decisions
3. Awareness of memory functions
4. Awareness of self
5. Awareness of the dream environment
6. Awareness of the meaning of the dream
7. Awareness of concentration and focus (the subjective clarity of that state).
Later, In 1992, a study by Deirdre Barrett examined whether lucid dreams contained four "corollaries" of lucidity:
• The dreamer is aware that they are dreaming
• Objects disappear after waking
• Physical laws need not apply in the dream
• The dreamer has a clear memory of the waking world
A lucid dream can begin in a number of ways including:
1. A dream-induced lucid dream (D.I.L.D.) starts as a normal dream, and the dreamer eventually concludes it is a dream
2. A wake-induced lucid dream (W.I.L.D.) occurs when the dreamer enters REM sleep with unbroken self-awareness directly from the waking state.
Neuroscientist J. Allan Hobson has hypothesized what might be occurring in the brain while lucid. The first step to lucid dreaming is recognizing one is dreaming. This recognition might occur in the dorsolateral prefrontal cortex, which is one of the few areas deactivated during REM sleep and where working memory occurs. Once this area is activated and the recognition of dreaming occurs, the dreamer must be cautious to let the dream continue but be conscious enough to remember that it is a dream. While maintaining this balance, the amygdala and parahippocampal cortex might be less intensely activated, To continue the intensity of the dream hallucinations, it is expected the pons and the parieto-occipital junction stay active.
Using Electroencephalography (EEG) and other Polysomnographical measurments, LaBerge and others have shown that lucid dreams begin in the Rapid Eye Movement (REM) stage of sleep, Berge also proposes that there are higher amounts of beta-1 frequency band (13–19 Hz) brain wave activity experienced by lucid dreamers, hence there is an increased amount of activity in the parietal lobes making lucid dreaming a conscious process.
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