Could we solve problems in a dream?

Lucid dream; to be precise. We humans really don’t understand why we dream. We do know that sleep is necessity and not an option. We understand that sleep deprivation leads to mental and physical health problems, ultimately with fatal end. We can measure sleep cycles and stages of sleep. But why we dream stays mysterious.

Now imagine yourself preparing for a sleep and then very next moment you actually “wake up” inside a dream?

Photo by Harry Quan on Unsplash
A lucid dream is a dream during which the dreamer is aware that they are dreaming. During lucid dreaming, the dreamer may be able to have some control over the dream characters, narrative, and environment.
Wikipedia

Apparently not everyone can induce such out-of-body experience. But I believe this is possible for anyone who is interested in exploring their dreams. Lucky me, I discovered it accidentally and I was simply amazed with the impact that it had on me. Here are some tips and tricks from my experience.

Hacking yourself

A Lucid dream state is usually triggered during a power nap (a short sleep used to supplement normal sleep). Because dreaming has no beginning, and you don’t realise when your dream has started, how do you “know” that you are dreaming? Tricky, indeed! For that, you have to train yourself to question if you are dreaming. In a dream everything feels real, so you are not tempted to question your reality, but depending on your imagination you might be able to realise that something is not quite right. What triggers my attention is of a personal matter, something that I know for sure if it is true or not. In other words I am kind of a looking for a bug. Suddenly this feeling of awareness (that I am actually “awake” in a dream) overwhelms me. My first reaction is OMGWTF and then I go into a limbo only to slowly accept this new state of mind.

Leonardo DiCaprio in the movie Inception, using spinning top as his totem to figure out if he is dreaming. © Legendary Entertainment

I just hacked myself, now what?

In a lucid dream you will experience time dilation and collect hours of memories during only 20–30 minutes of a nap. Over there the time runs much slower than “real time”. It is hard to say exactly how slow, but something like an hour for several minutes.

Now, what can you do with all that extra time? I would say almost anything, but you are limited to your existing life experiences. For example, if you want to play the piano you would need to have at least some related memories, not necessary you playing a piano but some reference hidden in a subconscious level from which your mind can recreate the experience. The power of subconsciousness is very strong, far more than your conscious mind. Your brain keeps stored everything your senses pick up as you live your life, but your mind has a very limited focus so you don’t realise the amount of information that comes in. Think about people with photographic memory; they have the ability to recall everything they saw with great detail.

With that said, there are many possibilities. You could write a book, work on an existing project, do a side project, etc. Or improve skills in art, acting, sport, etc. However, I doubt programming would work because of unpredicted output depending on complex software calculations.

Once out from the lucid dream your memories stay with you, so you will be able to recall them just like they happened a moment ago.

How to exit the program?

Easy. You might be scared to think that you are stuck in a dreamland, but you just have to think about waking up. It is also possible that your dream goes into multiple levels so when you wake up you are awake in another dream. That might feel like a nightmare. But eventually you wake up in “this” reality.

A telephone in the movie Matrix used as an exit, which Neo uses to return his consciousness to his body. © Warner Bros

Conclusion

Power napping is proven to be beneficial for your health. It triggers a system reset followed with a burst of energy and alertness. Do it, enjoy it. Add lucid dreaming and the possibilities are endless. Just imagine that you could work on your problems while sleeping and wake up with solutions.

Now consider that we are all right now actually living in a dream and eyebrows get raised.

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