Ask Erin: Does lucid dreaming interfere with waking life?

Question: I’ve been reading about lucid dreaming for a while and I’m really interested in learning to do it. I’m 25 years old and I never had a lucid dream before, spontaneous or otherwise. I can’t wait to do things I probably won’t be able to do in my real life ever, such as flying, visiting other centuries, or dating Jennifer Aniston. Although I’m really a beginner here (trying to improve my dream recall), I’m worried about one thing. Suppose I get to have lucid dreams. I’ll fly. I’ll travel in time. I’ll date Jennifer Aniston. Isn’t there a risk that real life just loses interest in comparison? Why do you keep living your real life if your dream life is so much interesting and just as vivid? I haven’t seen you or anyone else discuss this when talking about lucid dreams so the answer is probably obvious, but I’m curious. – Gabriel

Answer:  That’s a fair question.  When I first learned how to induce lucid dreams as a teenager, and then program the dream I wanted to have, it was intoxicating!  Every night before I went to sleep I would have to decide if I wanted to do something romantic with a hunky male movie star, or save the world as Storm from the X-Men, or work on astral projection, or try to contact my friends who were also lucid dreaming, etc.  I was practically living a double life because my night life was vastly different than my waking life.  I was becoming addicted to the pleasures of lucid dreaming just like Barclay on Star Trek: Next Generation became addicted to the holodeck on the Enterprise.

There even came a point where I would get home from school and immediately take a nap at 3:30pm just so I could get to my dreams faster.  I would sleep for 2 hours and then get up, do my homework, have dinner, chat with friends, and then go back to sleep around 11pm for some more action.  I began losing interest in my waking life because it simply wasn’t as exciting as my dream life.

That habit led to some unfortunate experiences, however.  The more I explored the dream world and different planes of existence, the less connected I was to my waking life.  This was not at all healthy.  It would take too long to explain everything that happened (I’ll probably save that for the book ;)) but suffice it to say, it nearly destroyed my sanity.  I eventually decided I had to plug back into my “real” life and leave some of the other world behind.  It took a couple of years to reconnect with the living instead of the astral.

As an adult, I don’t have this problem at all.  Firstly, I love my waking life with a passion, so living daily is a tremendous joy to me.  I no longer seek the world of dreams to escape.  However, I can still have lucid dreams when I want to, and I can still program dreams I want to have.  I just do it for different reasons now.  I have learned to totally separate my day time with my night time.

If you are experimenting with lucid dreaming, programming of your dreams, and even astral projection, please make sure you are grounded in the real world before you go out so far you can’t get back.  But enjoy yourself!  Take it for what it is … a chance to do things you can’t do while awake.  Be cautious out there!  Keep a firm grip on yourself at all times.  :)

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