Making your dreams come true

By Shannon Keough
October 11, 2007


Lucid dreaming is the basis behind the new movie “The Good Night.” For those who are unaware, lucid dreaming is when a person realizes they are dreaming and can guide their actions within the dream.

The movie is about a man who is unhappy with his real life so he decides to develop the art of lucid dreaming. It premiered on Oct. 5 and is starring Gwyneth Paltrow, Penelope Cruz and Martin Freeman.

An article in the New York Times discussed lucid dreaming and said this practice existed in the West since about 1867, but it is now becoming more of a trend in other parts of the country. Many people are interested in the lucid experience and are determined to train themselves. There are mental exercises that can be done, as well as workshops and chat rooms that discuss the practice.

Psychologists are also extremely fascinated with the research they have found. Sleep researchers and dream experts have confirmed that lucid dreaming does exist. A psychophysiologist, Dr. Stephen LaBerge, founded the Lucidity Institute, where he carries out research and teaches others to become lucid dreamers. “It’s kind of fun to do the impossible,” LaBerge said in an article for the New York Times.

Although it is becoming more known, many people are still clueless as to what lucid dreaming is. Some Cabrini students knew what is was, but others did not.

Michael Pio, a senior English and secondary education major, has heard of it but didn’t know what it was. He said he has never tried to control his actions in dreams, nor does he think about it. He has, however, done things in his dreams that he couldn’t do in real life, like fly or date a supermodel.

On the other hand, Kate Conahan, a sophomore exercise science and health promotion major, had never heard of it, but she has been aware she was dreaming. She said she can, “Make things go the way I’d like to in real life.” She usually realizes she’s dreaming just before she wakes up.

Lucid dreaming could be helpful for people that have nightmares. If a person could realize they were dreaming it might not be as scary.

Danielle Murphy, a junior psychology, sociology and religious studies major, said that she has lucid dreams and can direct the actions.

“When I have a repeated dream and I know something bad is going to happen, I try to do something different so the result will be different, but it usually just happens anyway,” Murphy said.

People are able to train themselves to be a lucid dreamer whereas others have always done it.

Dr. Jayne Gackenbach, a psychology professor that also does research on lucid dreaming, said in an article for the New York Times that, “adept lucid dreamers are excellent at remembering dreams,” and that, “they tend to have strong visualization and spatial skills.”

The New York Times article discusses ways that people can train themselves to be a lucid dreamer. One example would be reality checks that involve constantly glancing at the time. The article said, “The theory is that if a person does this regularly while awake, he or she will likely repeat it while dreaming and will recognize inconsistencies.”

Another method is to keep a dream journal. This will put into perspective the signs to look out for in a dream to know it’s not real.

For instance, if a person remembers seeing a monster in their dream and writes it in a journal, he will know that if he sees a monster again that he is probably dreaming.

Other movies that have incorporated lucid dreaming are “Pan’s Labyrinth” and “Vanilla Sky.” In addition, there are quite a few books coming out on this topic.

Shannon Keough

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