Two men looked out from prison bars;
One saw mud, the other stars.
There is an excellent and popular book on lucid dreaming titled Exploring the World of Lucid Dreaming written by Stephen LaBerge, Ph.D. and Howard Rheingold. The book begins by describing the sleeping process in detail. The book moves on to talk about lucid dreams, what they are, how do have them, suggesting on worthwhile things do while you have them (like self improvement), and many personal examples told by others about their lucid dreaming experience. The following will describe some of those experiences:
K.M., Rathdrum, Idaho 178
My first controlled dream I can clearly recall was when I was five or six. I used to dream that I was flying around the Earth in a rocket I had made from a garbage can. the bottom was glass and I had a lovely aerial view of the world as I flew wherever I wanted. When it was time to land (my rocket was not equipped for landing), during the descent I would tell myself, "Time to wake up," and I'd wake myself up. Though sometimes I would get perilously close to the ground, I was never afraid of the inevitable crash because I knew I was dreaming and could wake myself up at any time. I had a lot of enjoyment from this dream for about six month.
K.D., Lauderhill, Florida p234
I had a fear of death but cured it through a lucid dream. I was walking through a Hell-like environment and realized that this could not be, as I was asleep in my bed. At that instant, I was stabbed in the back. "Feeling" the pain, I decided to see what "dying" would be like. I felt myself in a catatonic state. I willed my dream "soul" to depart from my dream "body." It was a strange feeling to see my dream "body" beneath me. I also had a sense of all-pervading peace and calm. I said to myself that if this is what dying is like, it isn't so bad. From that day forward, I have had no fear of dying. I even remain calm in life-threatening situations.
D.T., Lindernwold, New Jersey p234-235
I was on top of a mountain at the edge of a cliff. I seemed to be a prisoner of two guys who had a dog and a lion with them. I felt they were going to throw me off the cliff, so I rushed them and knocked the two guys off the cliff along with the lion, but I went over too, into the water. I was all right and now my hands were free. I swan to the side and started to climb up the mountain but the lion was in front of me and he was angry because I pushed him into the water. I would not let me up. so I tried to scare him by throwing water and rocks at him. he just got angrier. He started to get closer to me and I moved back into the water. He started to roar and jumped in after me, but I jumped to the rocks. Now I was on my back and knew I couldn't get away, so I faced him, and as he attacked I said, "Come on." I put my hands out and suddenly I realized I was dreaming. In mid-attack his expression changed from rage to friendly and playful. When he landed on me I hugged him, and we play wrestled and rolled. I kissed him and he licked me. I felt really great that I was lucid and playing with a lion. The he rolled over and turned into a naked black woman. She was beautiful with large nipples on her breasts. I started to play with her, and was getting excited, but I had this feeling that getting back on the top of the cliff was more important, so I said, let's go back. As we started I woke up.
Paul Tholey, researcher of sports psychology 190
Tholey quotes a martial arts practitioner who found it difficult to retrain himself in the soft style of aikido after years of hard-style karate:
On this particular evening, after still not succeeding in wearing down the attacker and taking him to the mat, I went to bed somewhat disheartened. While falling asleep the situation ran through my mind time and again. While defending myself, the correct balancing movement collided with my inner-impulse to execute a hard defensive block so that I repeatedly ended up unprotected and standing there like a question mark... a ridiculous and unworthy situation for the wearer of a black belt. During a dream that night, I fell down hard one time instead of rolling away. that day I had made up my mind to ask myself the critical question in this situation: "Am I wake or am I dreaming?" I was immediately lucid... I went to my Dojo, where I began an unsupervised training session on defense techniques with my dream partner. Time and time again I went through the exercise in a loose and effortless way. It went better every time.
The next evening I went to bed full of expectations. I gain reached a state of lucid dreaming and practiced further. That's the way it went the whole week until the formal training period started up again. Even though I was totally relaxed, I amazed my instructor with an almost perfect defense. And even though we speeded up the tempo I didn't make any serious mistakes. From then on I learned quickly and had received my own training license after one year.
R.V., Aiken, South Carolina
I discovered in high school that I was a lucid dreamer when I learned that I could study complicated mathematical and geometry problems before going to bend and discovered that I was able to solve the problems when I awakened.
This phenomenon followed me through college and medical school. When I was in medical school, I began to apply my sleep-solving abilities to medical problems, quickly running through the questions of the day and usually finding useful solutions or useful additional questions in the process (even today I will occasionally wake up at 3:00 in the morning and call the hospital to order a special laboratory test on a problem patient, the possible solution of which had occurred to me in a lucid dream).
At this point, the greatest use to which I have been able to put this facility is in the practice of surgery. Each night before retiring I review my list of surgical cases and I actually practice these cases in my sleep. I have gained a reputation for being a rapid and skilled surgeon with almost no major complications. This surgical "practice" has allowed me from the very beginning to constantly review the anatomy and to refine and polish technique by eliminating unnecessary motions. I am presently able to perform most major complex procedures in 35 to 40 percent of the time taken by most of my peers.
A.L., Santa Clara, California 168-170
My ability to achieve orgasm is highly vulnerable to stress and anxiety. Recently, I seemed to have lost the ability to climax. I knew it wasn't related to my feeling about my partner, or anything he was (or wasn't) doing. The frustration ensuing from not being able to achieve sexual release added to the rest of my general stress. But, then, one night, I had the following dream:
I dreamed I was involved in the plot of a horror film. It involved a haunted house, or abandoned abbey, where I supposed awful things were to take place. I walk by what I take to be this haunted building, only it has been transformed into a large, cheerily lit department store. I think this is a neat trick, it will attract people whom it can submit to its horrors. I enter and mill about. Everything looks normal, but I am fearfully looking everywhere for the incipient danger.
But, then, the thought occurs to me that this is a nightmare, and therefore I should face anything fearsome. This thought radically changes my outlook, and with an open and curious attitude I turn to the scenery, now floating along, looking for challenges and anything interesting. I note that some people are operating a video camera at one side of the room and the video screen is on the other side. I am intrigued by the idea of getting my own image displayed and orient myself in front of the camera, while looking at the screen. The idea becomes sexual and I wish to display myself on the video screen. At first it is a struggle to get the screen to display anything other than my back from the waist up, clothed. But, eventually, I get the right zone on the display and begin to remove my jeans. I begin to experience sexual arousal which intensifies quite rapidly, and within five seconds I have a wonderful orgasm--the first I'd experienced in two months. I awaken immediately afterward, feeling delightful.
The very evening following this dream I easily experienced my first waking orgasm in two months. And in the few weeks following, though the rest of the anxiety-provoking situation remains, I have achieved climax whenever I desired.
D.M., Terre haute, Indiana p.169-170
I am an inmate confined in a federal prison. When I read the article about being conscious while in the dream state I became very interested in it for I was able to do the same thing. I have had such experiences while dreaming and have loved them. They have at times given me a way to escape from being confined.
In one such dream I started realizing that if I wanted to I could control the environment here, for this was created by my subconscious, therefore subject to my conscious will. I thought for a moment of what I would like to do. The first thought that came through my mind was the fact that I had not been with a woman in years and this is what I wanted most, for even though it was only a dream, everything there was just like here, there was no difference.
So as I sat there I looked at these two guys and told them that this was no more than a dream. I then told them that I have been in prison for a while now and that I wanted a woman to have sex with. Neither of them said anything but looked at me in a crazy way. I then repeated my desire and began to think upon it. The guy at the table then told me that I should go into the other room. So I got up, went to the door, and before entering concentrated on my desire.
I was then in the room. There on the bed was lying a woman who had been in the dream earlier. I took my clothes off and got into bed with her. Throughout the entire sexual act I kept concentrating on keeping in a conscious state of mind, because in previous such dreams I would panic or lose myself and fall out of the dream.
There was total awareness of every moment of our sexual act, from beginning to end. After we were finished I rolled over on my side. As my head hit the pillow I felt that drifting feeling coming over me and realized that I was getting ready to pass into the blackness that I always find myself in when I leave these types of dreams and wake up.