A while ago I was interested in learning to lucid dream. The motivation petered out, but I still think lucid dreaming has a lot of potential as side interest. One area that would be worth exploring is using lucid dreaming as a staging ground for therapeutic purposes – essentially a safe environment to overcome trauma or work on social cues.
Lucid dreaming is the concept of controlling your dreams, or becoming self aware when you’re dreaming and being an active participant in your dream. Basically knowing that you’re dreaming while you’re dreaming. Imagine if you had full control over your dream, as if you were in a VR simulation. The practical applications would be immense.
Imagine you had a relationship that ended on bad terms. Let’s say, a parent. But then they died, so you never got a chance for closure. Now, getting closure in a failed relationship through a final meeting is a bit of a myth that people chase after, but in this situation, you can still get emotional closure through lucid dreaming. Imagine if you could say what you wanted to say to them and have the other person respond how you’d always imagined they would. You might know intellectually that nothing has changed, but on an emotional level you’re going feel differently about the relationship. Especially if you can repeat this process over a period of weeks or months, your feelings on the situation can change for the long run. Even though dreams don’t exist physically, they do exist in the capacity to affect our emotions and gut feelings.
There’ve been plenty of times where I’d wake up with tears streaming down my face or fright from falling off a mountain or something. Nothing actually happened, but my body was stimulated in response to my dreams. I’d be sweaty and my heart would be racing or I’d feel a genuine sense of mourning for something that I wouldn’t even remember after lunch. Dreams have the ability to affect you on a level more basic than the intellectual level. If you can control your dreams, you can potentially control your emotional regulation. Powerful stuff.