Lucid dreaming is an extraordinary technique where you become conscious while in a dream state. But creating wild and exhilarating experiences within your dream is just one of the many benefits of lucid dreaming.
There are other incredible benefits of lucid dreaming that can spill over into your waking life because it offers a rare opportunity for your conscious mind to come “face-to-face” with your unconscious mind.
In fields like art, spirituality, science, sport, music, and more, some of the most extraordinary people have used lucid dreaming to create world-changing ideas.
Sparking Inspiration and Creativity
One of the most famous lucid dreamers is the famous surrealist painter, Salvador Dali.
Salvador Dali became famous for his surreal “dream-like” paintings. To this day, people around the world admire these works. The visions he had in his dreams inspired many of these art pieces.
Dali even used a particular technique that allowed him to slip into a dream state, and tap into the limitless creativity reservoir of his unconscious mind for inspiration.
He called it “slumber with a key.”
This involved relaxing in an armchair with both his hands hanging at the edge of the arms of the chair.
On one hand, he would gently hold a key. Directly below on the floor, he would place a plate.
As he’d slip into unconsciousness, he would naturally let go of the key, and the noise of the key hitting the plate would wake him up.
It was during these precious few seconds that he’d be able to remember his dreams and find inspiration for some of the most recognizable paintings in the world.
Inspired by a lucid dream, “The Persistence of Memory” is by far one of Dali’s most recognizable paintings.
Boosting Physical Performance
When 21-year old golfer Jack Nicklaus turned professional, he took the world of golf by storm.
He broke records, won Rookie of the Year, and became the youngest player at the time to win the Masters tournament. Time featured him in their magazine.
Then in 1964, Nicklaus experienced a significant dip in his performance, and he stopped being the force he once was.
But as quickly as fell out of form, he returned to dominance just as abruptly.
The unusual thing is what Nicklaus credited for the sudden boost in his performance — a vivid dream of him practicing golf swings.
Jack Nicklaus claimed to improve his golf swing by practicing it in his dreams. Here’s how he explained it:
“Wednesday night I had a dream and it was about my golf swing. I was hitting them pretty good in the dream and all at once, I realized I wasn’t holding the club the way I’ve actually been holding it lately.
I’ve been having trouble collapsing my right arm taking the clubhead away from the ball, but I was doing it perfectly in my sleep. So when I came to the course yesterday morning I tried it the way I did in my dream and it worked. I shot a sixty-eight yesterday and a sixty-five today.”
Today, Jack Nicklaus is widely regarded as the greatest golfer of all time.
The science behind the phenomenon
But was this just coincidence? Or could science explain this phenomenon?
In an eye-opening study by Dr. Daniel Erlacher of the University of Bern, researchers set out to see the effects of lucid dreaming on physical performance.
Subjects were first tested on their ability to toss a coin in a cup placed two meters away.
They were then divided into the following groups:
1. Practice the toss physically
2. Practice the toss in a dream
3. Do nothing (control)
The subjects returned to do the same test again.
And the results were fascinating.
Subjects were tested on their ability to toss a coin in a cup from two meters away
Yes, those who physically practiced saw an improvement of 15%. But those who practiced it in their dreams, and had never practiced it physically, also saw an improvement by 8%. The control group improved only by 0.5%.
This begs the question — What other skills could you practice and rehearse in your dreams, and have it spill over into your everyday life?
Could you improve other things such as public speaking, speaking a foreign language, or even overcoming a phobia?
In the arena of your own mind, you have an incredible opportunity to experiment with new things within a safe environment, affording you the luxury to test your limits without the fear of injury or embarrassment.
Solving Complex Problems
Are regular lucid dreamers better problem solvers than non-lucid dreamers?
The Researchers from the University of Lincoln set out to answer these questions.
Three groups of subjects were brought in to complete certain problem-solving tasks:
1. People who had never experienced a lucid dream
2. Occasional lucid dreamers
3. Frequent lucid dreamers
As one of their tasks, they played a word association game to test their lateral thinking. For example, subjects saw three words, and they needed to figure out the one common word that could pair up with these three words.
Take the words “age,” “mile,” and “sand.” The one common word for this would be “stone.” i.e. stone age, milestone, sandstone.
By the end of the experiment, the results were clear, lucid dreamers were significantly better at solving these puzzles than the non-dreamers.
Why a Futurist Does Most His Work in Bed
Futurist Ray Kurzweil has arguably one of the most innovative minds in the world today, and he has a mind-blowing list of inventions to his name to back it up.
But his phenomenal creations are not the result of tinkering away at his inventions for hours a day.
In fact, his most creative work is done in bed through a lucid dreaming process.
Kurzweil explains that he would regularly assign a problem to himself just before bed. It could be anything from a business decision to a particular invention he’s stuck on.
This process, according to Kurzweil, is a way of, “seeding your subconscious to influence your dreams.”
He finds that as he sleeps, potential solutions drift in and out of his dreams.
But when he becomes lucid of this, that’s when the magic really happens.
By combining the rational aspect of his conscious mind, with the uninhibited flow of ideas of his unconscious mind, he is able to identify which of the countless solutions his unconscious mind is coming up with can solve the problem at hand. Here’s how Kurzweil explains it:
“The most interesting thing about dreams is that you don’t consider it unusual when unusual things happen, like a room floating away…
You accept this lack of logic. And that [irrational] faculty is needed for creative thinking. But you also need to be able to apply a critical faculty, because not every idea that’s different and out of the box will work.”
How dreams cultivate your creativity
In terms of cultivating imagination and creativity, is there anything more imaginative than a dream?
If you can attain lucidity in your dreams, your imagination creates an entire dream world. Where else does imagination become a reality to this extent?
As you can see, lucid dreaming is an absolute feast for the imaginative mind.
In the safety of a lucid dream, which is a controlled dream, we can work with our deep-seated beliefs, fears, experiences, and blocks, and transform them in ways we may not otherwise be comfortable with.
Dreaming has always been an elusive, enigmatic state of consciousness that humans have tried to understand and influence.
By practicing the art of lucid dreaming, you will be able to deepen your awareness of your consciousness, accelerate your spiritual growth, and access your inner fountain of creativity — impacting all areas of your waking life.