Dreams come in many types and forms. Whilst all types of dreamwork are effective analytical tools, lucid dreaming – a condition in which you become aware that you’re dreaming whilst in a sleep state, is a particularly powerful way of drilling down into the workings of the subconscious.
An Inner Guide
Clare R. Johnson has been studying lucid dreaming for over twenty years and is currently the Board Director and Vice President of the International Association for the Study of Dreams. She has spoken widely on the subject throughout the United States and Europe.
In her book Llewellyn’s Complete Book of Lucid Dreaming she takes her readers on an intensive exploration of lucid dreaming and begins by defining lucid dreaming as a process by which you become consciously aware whilst a dream is taking place and that as a result you are able to objectively monitor its progress.
Johnson argues that lucid dreaming is not only a particularly effective method for understanding the inner realms of the psyche but is one that offers a way of directly working with the material that the dream reveals. This effectively means that you have access to the heart of many personal problems along with an effective way to solve them before they arise to a conscious level.
Put simply it means that by intervening, observing or conditioning your inner experiences whilst connected more closely to you central being you can take greater control of your life.
Llewellyn’s Complete Book of Lucid Dreaming begins with Three Golden Tools for a Lucid Dreamer. Johnson explains here that basic strategies need to be developed with prior to engagement with the main work,.
This includes overcoming psychological blocks to the lucid dreaming process, releasing past resistances, working with visualization, and keeping a dream journal. The tools she recommends are;
- Intent – preparation for a lucid dream event
- Clarity – an attitude of observation and awareness
- Expectation – development of anticipation and belief
Subsequent early chapters of her book cover such topics as;
- How to trigger lucid dreaming
- The hypnagogic and hypnopompic states
- Control of our dreams
- Active ways of guiding dreams
- Guides, mentors and psychological projections
In part two of her book Johnson focuses upon the use and application of lucid dreaming work to aid creativity, enhance skills and raise levels of personal pleasure. Part three deals with lucid dreaming to assist night disturbances; including nightmares, whilst part four investigates the role lucid dreaming plays in self-healing and increased wellbeing. This includes the resolving of phobias, healing of pain and dissolving of illness.
In the fifth and final section of her book Johnson explores a number of psychospiritual aspects of lucid dreaming as well as integrating these practices with other popular self-development practices; such as meditation and mantras. The book closes with a glossary of terms, a bibliography, resources section, and an index.
Lucid dreaming therapy is markedly different from standard dreamwork practice. In traditional dream analysis the dreamer is concerned solely with observing the dream and of analyzing it after the fact,. Where lucid dreaming differs is that it is proactive, requiring the student to interact with it whilst it is taking place.
Llewellyn’s Complete Book of Lucid Dreaming is really aimed at those who have already mastered the first or traditional form of analysis and who are ready to progress on to taking charge of their dream experiences.
At 430 plus pages this book is worthy of the title ‘Complete’; for not only is it extensive but it is also authoritative. Johnson has clearly put her heart and soul into this work and this quality of care and attention to detail shines forth throughout its pages: making this publication a very impressive exposition on a subject which is pushing forewords the barriers to our understanding of how the human psyche works.
In addition its practical techniques, exercises, personal reflections and other myriad of additional details add great color and depth. As a working manual of instruction it is impeccable – often dealing its areas of dreamwork not previously covered in any other work I have previously read on the subject.
If you are even in the slightest bit interested in lucid dreaming and the benefits that it brings then here is a guide that drills down into the heart of the subject … and them some more. Llewellyn’s Complete Book of Lucid Dreaming is one of those titles on dreams that is on my must-have list.