Why Try to Have Lucid Dreams?
In a culture that pays little attention to dreams, the question may naturally arise: "Why try to lucid dream?"
When I was a teenager I learned about lucid dreaming, in part through Carlos Castaneda's books (whom, by the way, probably made-up most of what he wrote about Mexican sorcery practices). I began to keep a dream journal at an early age (I HIGHLY recommend anyone else do this as well, it is a wild thing to look back at your dream life over a period of many years!). I wanted to have lucid dreams but at the time not much was known about induction techniques.
I never did succeed at achieving full lucidity when I was a teenager. For one thing, I smoked A LOT of cannabis (this interferes with REM-sleep and dream recall), and the human brain does not "fully" develop the areas required for "big" lucid dreaming until the early to mid-twenties (there are exceptions, and today the techniques discovered by lucid dreamers for "hacking" the dream-system definitely can act as short-cuts).
Then, when I was 25, I had a lucid dream one night, without intending to do so. At that time I had just taken a break from regular weed smoking (and this leads to a strong REM-rebound affect) and I was taking supplements for weight-training which heighten dreaming (although this is usually considered a side-effect). Also, I was sleeping in a new place that fateful night (another dream-hack) and I was especially pro-active and goal-oriented during the day.
That dream changed my life. I already knew that dreaming could be an interesting thing to pay attention to, but becoming fully-lucid was mind-bending. I did what all newbies do and flew around, explored the dream-environment, and felt super-human and especially clear-headed. I had already been well-familiarized with psychedelic drugs and I had been skydiving, hang-gliding, world-traveling, etc. Lucid dreaming isn't like any other experience available to humans. A brief lucid dream, where-in you wake-up right after realizing what's going on, may not give one a clear idea as to what this thing can be like. With knowledge of stabilization techniques and specific goals on what to do in the lucid dream, this phenomenon can be incredibly exciting. Ever wonder what super-power you would want to have in real-life? Of course you have. In lucid dreams, you can do things that you could never do in waking life. And the possibilities for psychotherapy, physical-healing (by way of unprecedented directed-imagery), and entertainment are only being scratched at so far. Once more people have easier access to lucid dreaming, we will see how far we can take this thing.
What will you do?