As lucid (i.e. conscious) dreaming becomes more popular, there are increasing reports of shared dreaming, as well as information gathering via dreams and dream-related practices like remote viewing. There is also ongoing research about what practical benefits are possible, what risks are present, and how dream-related technologies can help induce what may quite possibly be the most important and exciting area of mind-body exploration for humankind.
Explains Webb, “A growing body of dream reports and other evidence points to something akin to an invisible ‘Innernet’ that connects us all, much as the Internet links us in the physical world, and shows that more and more people are using dreams and lucid dreaming to explore this fascinating inner frontier and tap its huge potential.”
Lucid dreams allow the dreamer to be not just an unconscious actor as in most dreams which are remembered only after waking, but instead to consciously guide the action, to varying degrees, while the dream is happening, like becoming director and producer in their own nightly movie.
With over a thousand lucid dreams of his own, Webb who is Executive Director of the non-profit DREAMS Foundation, conducted a study with over 1000 participants, showing that a somewhat surprising 70% have experienced lucid (i.e. conscious) dreams, with the 73.5% of all the male dreamers that have become consciously aware during a dream at least once, being slightly higher than the percentage of females (65.5%) that have dreamt lucidly.
While involved with pioneering Stanford University lucid dream research, Webb designed interactive/lucid dream technology now used worldwide called the NovaDreamer. The device is a sleep mask that monitors a dreamers’ rapid-eye-movements (REM) and gives visible and auditory feedback cues with two goals in mind. The first is to improve dream recall by awakening the dreamer after a dream is detected. However the main and perhaps most interesting function of the mask, somewhat like the PASIV device in the Inception movie, is to trigger lucid dreams without awakening the dreamer. In this powerful state of lucid dreaming, like Leonardo DiCaprio and other characters enter into in the new movie Inception, many surprising benefits and some little-known risks come to light. Benefits include learning new skills, resolving nightmares, healing, gaining new creative insights, solving problems, and enjoying unparalleled adventure. Risks include the possibility of privacy invasion, and not being as solidly grounded in normal waking life.
“A device is not necessary to learn lucid dreaming, and although it can sometimes be helpful, there are various mental techniques one can use,” explains Webb who has consulted for major motion pictures, Fortune 500 corporations, and others. He adds that, “Once someone becomes conscious in a dream, they realize that physical life may really be just one station on the larger dial of total possible experience. With this discovery comes great potential and some risks. It’s important to explore what’s possible and also to proceed wisely at a balanced, organic rate.”
With practice, focus, and the right techniques, it has been demonstrated that lucid dreaming can be learned by virtually everyone. Whether people will take advantage of this powerful tool of mind for beneficial goals or for less positive pursuits remains to be seen, but most people including clients that Webb works with such as professors, best-selling authors, CEOs, and celebrities have found concrete ways to apply dream skills to improve their lives and to help others.