chapter  16
15 Pages

Physiological Studies of Lucid Dreaming: Stephen LaBerge

Myers then quoted a "curious dream" of his own, hoping that "its paltry commonplaceness may perhaps avert the suspicion that it has been touched up for recital":

workroom, where I first thought of going. As I walked downstairs I looked carefully at the stair-carpet, to see whether I could visualise better in dream than in waking life. I found that this was not so; the dream-carpet was not like what I knew it in truth to be; rather, it was a thin, ragged carpet, apparently vaguely generalised from memories of seaside lodgings. I reached the pantry door, and here again I had to stop and calm myself. The door opened and a servant appeared,- quite unlike any of my own. This is all I can say, for the excitement of perceiving that I had created a new personage woke me with a shock. The dream was very clear in my mind; I was thoroughly awake; I perceived its great interest to me and I stamped it on my mind-I venture to say-almost exactly as I tell it here. (pp. 241-242)

Although we are usually unaware of the fact that we are dreaming while we are dreaming, at times a remarkable exception occurs, and as in Myers' dream, we become conscious enough to realize that we are dreaming. Lucid dreamers (the term derives from Van Eeden, 1913) report being able to remember freely the circumstances of waking life, to think more or less clearly, and to act deliberately upon reflection, all the while experiencing a dream world that seems vividly real (Gackenbach & LaBerge, 1988; Green, 1968; LaBerge, 1985a). Of course, this is all contrary to the characterization of dreams as essentially lacking any reflective awareness or true volition (Rechtschaffen, 1978).