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Lucid dreams

"All that we see or seem is but a dream within a dream." - Edger Allen Poe

Since we are born, every night we enter into an unknown world, where we can be identical or different physically, even become the opposite sex. We can find people we know and don't know, alive or dead. We can visit different cities, countries, planets, and millions of other possibilities. While living in our dream state, we are not aware that we are dreaming, therefore, we experience pain, pleasure, anger, happiness, etc. Also, we can experience accidents and even die. When we become aware that we are in the dream, we are talking about lucid dreaming. Then we can realize that everything is an illusion, we are living only in our minds and we awaken our consciousness. But, what does it means to be awake? It is to be aware of the outside world, but a lucid dreamer is awake in his dream, then he becomes conscious of his inner world.

Lucid dreams can be used in a wide range of actions, starting with the hedonistic ones, we can travel, eat or love, what or who we want to. Also, it can be a practical tool for preparing for your waking life. There is scientific evidence that mental practice in dreams significantly improves the performance of any physical or intellectual activity, this concept is known as “flight simulators”. It also assists in creativity openess, not only in the field of arts but also in all knowledge areas, in that way we can find impressive solutions to problems by accessing this dream world. Many others use dreams to cure phobias and fears, because knowing nothing is real we have to fear only ourselves, therefore we can face our inner ghosts and defeat them. It can also be used to heal yourself both physically and mentally, we can resolve conflicts in the past or present life in dreams, which frees us from our problems. Finally, the most important aspect, is the use for self-knowledge, to become free from samsara, when we realize that everything we see is a mere reflection, our experiences, our friends, our problems, our world, we can ignore all this because it is only a reflection, then we can focus and finally meet this "I am" timeless and infinite, which dwells inside of everyone.

Sleep is not a uniform state, there are two phases, quiet and active, which are distinguished by several  biochemical, physiological, psychological and behavioral differences. In the quiet phase, the breath  is slow  and regular, the metabolic rate is at a minimum, and growth hormones are released to facilitate the restorative process. This phase is divided into 3 other stages: 1. somnolence or drowsy sleep, 2. Sleep spindle, and 3. Delta waves. This last stage is very popular in some Eastern mystical traditons as the state in which we establish contact with our innermost  consciousness and the "Ego" of waking consciousness drops away.

The active sleep phase called REM (Rapid Eye Movement) is characterized by rapid eye movement (closed), quick and irregular breathing with high brain activity similar to wakefulness, here is where lucid dreams occur. In this phase also body paralysis occurs, many times if we wake up in this state, the paralysis can continue and we are not able to move, then this can be a terrifying experience, but it is natural and harmless. REM phase lasts approximately 25% of total sleep time.

In the nighttime, a sleep cycle begins in the quite phase and after about 70 to 90 min, the first REM occurs and lasts 5 to 10 minutes, then another quite phase and another REM. It should be noted that the length of the REM periods increase as the night continues and the intervals between REM periods decrease from 90-70 min at the beginning of the night to 30-20 min at the end of the cycle. To become a lucid dreamer, it is advisable to know the sleep cycle, because you can take advantage of it. If, for example, we set our alarm clock around 4 am (REM is going to be more frequent and longer in duration), then we  increase our chances to reach the REM phase, and to enter into a lucid dream.