Lucid dreaming is the art of knowing that you are dreaming while you are dreaming. It opens up the possibility to experience things that would otherwise be impossible. Around the world people are using it to explore themselves, explore reality and just have a lot of fun.
Our Lucid Dreaming Expert
|Ryan Hurd is a Lucid Dreaming and consciousness researcher. He is the owner of www.dreamstudies.org where he shares his experiences and insights. In this lucid dreaming expert interview we discuss Ryan’s history as a dreamer and how that can help you as a Lucid Dreamer.|
Having this interview with Ryan was a lot of fun. No matter if you are a beginner or veteran, the interview touches on interesting and helpful elements of the Lucid Dreaming experience.
Have any questions as a result of the interview? Leave them in the comment section.
Table of Contents
In this section the separate questions are presented as audio. Below the recording there are bullet points with what I found the take aways. Use this section if you want to hear specific parts.
- Polyphasic Sleep
- Lucid dreaming techniques
- What is your favorite lucid dreaming induction style or technique? (5:51)
- What is your opinion on recurring dream signs that a lot of people have? (3:18)
- How do you develop dream control? Are there specific techniques you recommend? (5:52)
- What is you experience with dream character control? (3:30)
- What is your opinion and experience on dream aids like herbs, supplements and machinery? (4:31)
- Lucid dreaming and lifestyle
- Ryan’s experience
- What are your favorite things to do in a dream? (1:58)
- Is it hard to stay lucid when going with the flow? (3:20)
- Do you have a piece of golden advice, a takeaway from 20 years of experience? (1:48)
- How many lucid dreams do you have in a typical week? (3:07)
- What is the longest lucid dream you’ve had? (1:15)
- In what way can lucid dreaming be exhausting? (1:57)
- Do you have any final remarks? (1:38)
Audio and main points
Alright, so ryan. How about a short introduction of who you are and what you do. Just for the people that don’t know you?
- Ryan Hurd
- Dream researcher, educator author
- Recently published ebooks and books
- Workshops in the US and internationally
How did you get into Lucid Dreaming?
- Sort of snuck up, always had an interest on the back burner
- Family openly discussed dreams, which was foundational
- Had strange sleep experiences like sleep paralysis, lucid dreams and out of body experiences
- In the 90′s found Stephen LaBerge
- Education: creative writing, archeology, consciousness studies
- Started dreamstudies.org 5-6 years ago and has been working in the field ever since
Are you familiar with the everyman sleep cycle?
- It’s a polyphasic sleep schedule
- Very individual thing, doesn’t work so well for Ryan though his baby now forced him into it
- Great Lucid Dreams in a napping setting
- The extreme version won’t work for most people
- Consider it if you are already sleep phase independent, or a night owl
How does a Polyphasic Sleep Cycle tie into Lucid Dreaming?
- You remember more dreams in a Polyphasic lifestyle because of more awakenings
- You dream constantly, not just in REM sleep
- N-REM dreaming is less visual
- Give it a try for at least two or three weeks, which will suck for the first bit
- Claudio Stampi did research into the polyphasic sleep, suggested that it works for some people under some circumstances
- Less extreme versions will work better than an Uberman style schedule
How does lucid dreaming and the question of consciousness tie into society?
- No ready answer, it is a very individual thing
- There is a movement going
- LD almost became a household word, pop culture like inception makes it more popular
- Becoming lucid in dreams goes hand in hand of being more lucid in life
How much of lucid dreaming is an innate ability and how much can be learned?
- It is definitely a learnable skill, La Berge showed this very clearly
- Some people will have an easier time
- Light sleepers have an advantage because of more awakenings
- Frequent lucid dreamers often meditate, have developed their emotional intelligence (awareness) and have a good sense of where the body is in relation to the environment (like balance)
- High end gamers also have more lucid dreams that the average
- German researchers proved that you can learn within 2 weeks
- Some people have lucid dreams naturally in crossroads life situations or other highly emotional events
- It is like personal evolution, an opportunity to have a look at your internal realms
- Lucid dreaming can be a very powerful tool in life
How would you suggest people start off?
- Keep a dream journal
- Use the journal next to the bed and only for dreams
- Give yourself a moment before the day starts to reflect on your dreams
- In the beginning write everything down, but don’t spend hours in bed writing
What is your favorite lucid dreaming induction style or technique?
- Strong intentionality, which is very hard to explain and teach
- Use dream signs and signals to remind you that you are dreaming
- It is a form of prospective memory, “remembering something you will do in the future”
- Use repetitive dream imagery, called dream signs
- It is more effective to use existing signs that to create new ones
- Reality checks don’t work for everyone because they are not emotionally charged
- Looking at your hands is a nice reality check
- Reality checks can result in unconscious execution
What is your opinion on recurring dream signs that a lot of people have?
- This ties into the anthropology of dreams
- We seem to be hard wired for certain topics
- A lot of stresses exist in many people regardless of culture
- The same sign can mean something else in different places
- Dream symbolism is not static, it changes
- Dream interpretation is very complex and very personal
- Reflect on your experiences and emotions in the dream world
How do you develop dream control? Are there specific techniques you recommend?
- The term dream control can cause trouble
- Complete dream control doesn’t exits, and it is not desirable
- The dream world is alive and complex
- Self control is very interesting in dreams (like flying for example)
- The dream world is a very reactive place, some things work one time and doesn’t the other
- It is easier to do things that are in line with what the dream wants
- Play around, mess with your dream but go with the flow
- Make room for your dream to play out, don’t try to be a puppet master
- If you try too much control the dream will resist
What is you experience with dream character control?
- There is different types of dream figures, some are just like extras in a movie while others have more of a will
- Some people know and feel different things when they change dream bodies
- Ryan doesn’t try to control the characters out of respect, unless out of mental defence
- Meeting anger and danger with calm and compassion often diffuses dream situations
What is your opinion and experience on dream aids like herbs, supplements and machinery?
- A lot of herbs are very effective, galantamine for example
- Don’t expect to pop a pill and lucid dream
- Build a secure container, prepare your mind for lucid dreaming
- LD supplements often work by making dreams more bizarre, so preparation is needed not to get lost and scared
- Be in a good mental space when you take dream herbs or else you are basically inviting nightmares
- You don’t need to spend a lot of money on these kind of things, all you really need is a dream journal
What is the relation between sleep amount and lucid dreaming?
- Short term restriction can give you more lucid dreams because of the REM rebound effect
- It is not a sustainable technique, you will be sleep deprived your entire life
- Polyphasic sleep is an example of what can work on the long term
- Many people have lucid dreams after drinking alcohol, also because of the REM rebound effect
- Sleep disturbance like WBTB is a good long term tool
Do you recommend any waking life habits to lucid dreamers?
- The art of wandering, and getting lost to break free from a mindless daily flow
- Remind yourself that life is an adventure
- We ask our dreams to be lucid when our lives are not
Do you recommend Lucid Dreaming to everyone?
- If you have an interest, definitely yes
- If you want to found the boundaries of your belief systems and go beyond them, yes
- If you feel a pull towards finding out more about your internal world, yes
- Make sure you have some support in your daily life like friends, family etc
- Some people are just not interested, which is fine as well
What are your favorite things to do in a dream?
- Flying is one of the favorite things
- Recently I created a challenge to stay put, basically meditation in a dream
- Follow the dream and let the dream give you experiences you would never have thought of
Is it hard to stay lucid when going with the flow?
- Yes, but it is a great challenge
- Getting lucid is a skill, staying lucid is as well
- You can do things to improve your concentration like meditation or playing video games
- Video games have been shown to be good for lucid dreamers, Ryan likes Minecraft
- Developing dream concentration is an advanced skill
- 30 to 60 second lucid dreams are very common for people with untrained concentration
- Sometimes you will have to deal with the shadow element of the dream world, which can be very invigorating
Do you have a piece of golden advice, a takeaway from 20 years of experience?
- Patience is probably one of the most important things
- You have your entire life to dream and explore the dream world
- There are dream cycles over decades, lucidity is a great tool to explore them
- Keep your dream journal going
- Find people who lucid dream as well
- There is no ultimate end goal, so enjoy the game
How many lucid dreams do you have in a typical week?
- Ryan: 0.3 of lucid dreams
- It is a personal choice
- I only have some a month unless I actively decide to incubate them
- Had two of them last week
- The amount right now is a good amount from a mental processing perspective
- Some people have 5 or 6 lucid dreams a night
- Travel can bring on lucid dreams
What is the longest lucid dream you’ve had?
- The 45 to 60 minute hour range
- Time is hard to judge in a dream
- These were very intense narrative dreams
- Sometimes you lose and regain it
- Lucidity is a spectrum, not an on and off switch
- A typical one is several minutes
In what way can lucid dreaming be exhausting?
- In a processing kind of way
- The techniques during the day and such can be quite intense
- Sometimes strong emotional material can cause psychological exhaustion
- If a dream brings something up it doesn’t mean it is true or good for you, but it can be intense nonetheless
- Find a community to help you explore psychological elements in your dreams
Do you have any final remarks?
- If you are new, have the patience and set up a secure container
- Let your housemates know that you are doing this
- Make requests if you need certain things
- Create space in your life for lucid dreaming rather that doing it half baked
- Consider the lucid dreaming blueprint ebook by Ryan
So what now?
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