How to Control Your Dreams

Wish you could make all of your dreams come true? Some people can... sort of. It's called lucid dreaming (LD), and it's the act of being consciously aware that you're dreaming while you're dreaming. Essentially, you're watching '- and sometimes manipulating '- your dreams.

Sounds simple enough, but LD isn't mind control. Just because you choose to fly in a dream doesn't mean you know that you're actually safe in bed inventing the whole scenario. And just because you're aware that you're dreaming doesn't mean that you necessarily have any say in what happens next.

The good news is that once you understand this distinction, you can learn how to get lucid. Just imagine: a dream directed by and starring you, a dream where anything goes '- but without any real-life consequences to muck up your fantasy.

What would you do in such a dream? Climb Mount Everest? Get even with your childhood nemesis? Wreak havoc in Willy Wonka's chocolate factory? Nope. You, and just about everyone else, want to have sex.

But, say experts, there are nobler uses for lucid dreaming. According to Dr. Stephen LaBerge, today's foremost authority on LD, author of Lucid Dreaming, and founder of The Lucidity Institute in Palo Alto, CA, purposefully connecting to your unconscious can improve your life in ways that your mind is normally too cluttered to address. LaBerge's research has found that LD and dream clinics can be used to heal physical symptoms, overcome fears and nightmares, tap into one's creativity or spirituality, experience freedom from one's illness or disability, and, of course, have sex.

"Some people say, oh that's so common, that's so low base, but I think there are some really good reasons to enjoy sex in dreams," said Keelin, LaBerge's assistant at The Lucidity Institute. "If your introduction to sex and sexuality was a bit of a bumpy road or if you had a rude awakening, it's a way, especially for women, to feel self-empowered. If you have awareness that it's your dream, you can initiate sex with a dream character."

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