What Can You Do in a Lucid Dream?

by | Dream Yoga

Once you wake up to the fact that you’re dreaming while still in the dream, people often ask “Now what?” or “What can I do?” There are two levels of answer. The first level I’ll deal with now, and this relates to the question of how much control you can have over your lucid dream. The second level, which I’ll deal with in the next blog, relates to what sorts of things you can do, like how to work with the lucid dream for psychological or spiritual growth.

Depends on How Lucid Your Dream Is

What you’re able to do depends on several things. The first thing to know is that lucidity ranges from barely lucid, where you have some sense that you’re in a lucid dream, to hyper-lucid, where your dream experience is even more vibrant and “real” than your waking experience. If you’re barely lucid you obviously won’t be able to do a great deal. If you’re hyper-lucid, you can do a lot.

What Aspects of a Lucid Dream Can You Control?

Let’s say you’re in an average lucid dream. Most Western approaches to lucid dreaming say that there are limits of dream control, what you’re able to do, and that you can’t control every aspect of the dream. In this view, you can control the aspects of the dream that you elect to focus on, and that you are therefore overtly conscious of. But the background of the dreamscape itself is beyond your control. That’s still run by the unconscious mind that churns out the dream altogether.

It Depends on Your Relationship to Your Mind

In the Tibetan view, however, as you gain complete control over your mind with extensive meditation, and bring all the unconscious aspects into conscious awareness, you can have total control over your lucid dream. It makes sense. What else is a dream but the play of your own mind? Control every aspect of your mind and you will be able to control every aspect of your dream. So the second thing to know, in terms of what you’re able to do in a lucid dream, is that it all depends on what you’re able to do with your mind.

A Door to Dream Yoga

This leads directly to a key point in dream yoga (which remember, is a step beyond lucid dreaming). As we’ll see in my next blog (which addresses the second level of our question “What can I do in a lucid dream?”) many of the stages of dream yoga practice involve transforming the contents of the dream. But what is that irreducibly about? It’s about transforming your relationship to the contents of your mind. So the real point of dream yoga is not to control your dreams, but to control your mind.

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