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Lucid dream

The meaning of «lucid dream»

A lucid dream is a type of dream where the dreamer becomes aware that they are dreaming. During a lucid dream, the dreamer may gain some amount of control over the dream characters, narrative, or environment; however, this is not actually necessary for a dream to be described as lucid.[1][2][3][4] Lucid dreaming has been studied and reported for many years. Prominent figures from ancient to modern times have been fascinated by lucid dreams and have sought ways to better understand their causes and purpose. Many different theories have emerged as a result of scientific research on the subject and have even been shown in pop culture. Further developments in psychological research have pointed to ways in which this form of dreaming may be utilized as a form of sleep therapy.

The term lucid dream was coined by Dutch author and psychiatrist Frederik van Eeden in his 1913 article A Study of Dreams,[4] though descriptions of dreamers being aware that they are dreaming predate the article. Van Eeden studied his own dreams between January 20, 1898 and December 26, 1912, recording the ones he deemed most important in a dream diary. 352 of these dreams are categorized as lucid.[4]

Van Eeden created names for seven different types of dreams he experienced based on the data he collected:

He said the seventh type, lucid dreaming, is "the most interesting and worthy of the most careful observation and study."[4]

Cultivating the dreamer's ability to be aware that they are dreaming is central to both the ancient Indian Hindu practice of Yoga nidra and the Tibetan Buddhist practice of dream Yoga. The cultivation of such awareness was a common practice among early Buddhists.[5]

Early references to the phenomenon are also found in ancient Greek writing. For example, the philosopher Aristotle wrote: "often when one is asleep, there is something in consciousness which declares that what then presents itself is but a dream".[6] Meanwhile, the physician Galen of Pergamon used lucid dreams as a form of therapy.[7] In addition, a letter written by Saint Augustine of Hippo in 415 AD tells the story of a dreamer, Doctor Gennadius, and refers to lucid dreaming.[8][9]

Philosopher and physician Sir Thomas Browne (1605–1682) was fascinated by dreams and described his own ability to lucid dream in his Religio Medici, stating: "...yet in one dream I can compose a whole Comedy, behold the action, apprehend the jests and laugh my self awake at the conceits thereof".[10]

Samuel Pepys in his diary entry for 15 August 1665 records a dream, stating: "I had my Lady Castlemayne in my arms and was admitted to use all the dalliance I desired with her, and then dreamt that this could not be awake, but that it was only a dream".[11]

In 1867, the French sinologist Marie-Jean-Léon, Marquis d'Hervey de Saint Denys anonymously published Les Rêves et Les Moyens de Les Diriger; Observations Pratiques ('Dreams and the ways to direct them; practical observations'), in which he describes his own experiences of lucid dreaming, and proposes that it is possible for anyone to learn to dream consciously.[12][13]

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