Pro and cons of lucid dreaming
Lucid dreams are surely a wonderful thing, but I want to point out some dangers of lucid dreaming.
First of all, lucid dreams are those dreams where we realize we are dreaming. The result is the possibility of piloting our actions as if we were awake. Or even to choose what we want to dream about.
It would seem a wonderful thing … and formally it is! We are in fact given the opportunity to fly, to visit spectacular imaginary worlds, to seduce our favorite actress. However, in my opinion there are some dangers of lucid dreaming, related in particular to artificially induced lucid dreams.
The dangers of artificially induced lucid dreams
Here are some dangers related to lucid dreams, which I try to summarize in four points:
1) They can become a “virtual” heaven preferable to “real” life.
2) Having full control within the dream (= being conscious), we gag the free expression of the unconscious. It is an occurrence that can be dangerous for our mental balance. The unconscious is as important as the consciousness, especially in compensating for our one-sided conscious attitudes. In the lucid dream these attitudes could be strengthened. On the contrary, we could give way to “hypercompensating” attitudes that are foreign to our Ego. In practice, it would mean to identify with your own Shadow.
3) In the lucid dream we can, at our leisure, escape or destroy everything that we do not like or frighten us (= the Shadow). Again suffocating our unconscious and refusing to accept those parts of us that ask to be reintegrated into our totality.
4) The dream is, from the physiological point of view, a sort of “automatic back-up” of our system. A safeguard of the “restore point” to continually hang up on our primordial essence. It is a system designed to cushion shocks and distortions occurring during the day. The work of consciousness that we would like to impose on the engine of the dream even during the night could interfere with this system. I use the conditional because the physiological environment is not really my field, nor am I aware of any studies on the harmful physiological effects of lucid dreams; I speak from a Jungian perspective to dream interpretation.
By this I do not intend to demonize lucid dreaming in itself. But the use that can be made of it, in particular when it is constantly induced with “artificial” techniques. See for example the “MILD” techniques.
Natural lucid dreams and the Hanged Tarot
The case of natural lucid dreamers is quite different. Or more generally, of the lucid dream that is naturally granted to us by the mysterious engine of dreams.
When we are lucky enough to find ourselves in a lucid dream, let us strive to abandon ourselves completely. Let us immerse ourselves passively in the dream events. Let us be inspired by the Hanged Man Tarot.
Let’s enjoy in pure consciousness the wonderful scenarios and characters that the unconscious freely proposes to us. What better opportunity to embrace our beloved Shadow or our Anima / Animus? For a definition of, Anima and Animus, according to Carl Gustav Jung’s approach, click here.