Lucid dreaming is one category of dreams that many people experience. It occurs when the individual is dreaming and during that dream the individual is completely aware that they are dreaming. Some people report a low-level lucidity state where one is aware they are dreaming but not able to alter the content of the dream. Other people have experienced high-level lucidity where one is aware they are dreaming but are also able to alter the dream, and have the freedom to do whatever they desire within the dream.
Dreams are a fascinating phenomenon as they provide us with insights into a world full of experiences we cannot perceive or create in a completely conscious state, or can we?
Lucid dreaming is a documented phenomenon; researchers continue to explore it as it shows some very significant brain patterns and biological happenings within the body. A fairly recent example is a study conducted in 2009 at the Neurological Laboratory in Frankfurt. Research shows how Lucid dreamers produce the fastest brainwave frequencies ever recorded, gamma brainwaves that operate at 40Hz +(1).
This suggests that lucid dreamers are more self aware, and are more conscious in this state than compared to a normal state of wakefulness. We don’t operate anywhere near that frequency (with regards to brain waves) when in our normal wakeful state, and we operate at even lower frequencies during other sleep states. Research suggests that the existence of gamma brainwaves indicates a totally conscious experience (4), so the experience of being awake within a dream is a very real phenomenon. This begs the question, which state is actually real? Could what we perceive as being fully aware and awake be the real dream? Or are these just different aspects of reality that we are jumping to and from?
Is our ability to create our own reality easier in a state of lucid dreaming because our brain is functioning at a higher frequency? What would we be capable of if we were able to attain that frequency without lucid dreaming? Would we be able to have instant manifestations like we do in our lucid dreams? Gamma brainwaves are involved in higher mental activity and consolidation of information. Operating from this frequency allows our brain to link and process information from multiple parts of the brain(2). We use more of our brain when we are experiencing lucid dreaming than we do when we are fully awake.
Below is a list of brainwaves and the different frequencies they operate at:
Delta Brainwaves: These are the most pronounced brainwaves in premature babies. They are of a very low frequency and range from 0.5 to 2Hz
Theta Brainwaves: These are at a higher frequency, typically around 4 to 7 Hz. These brainwaves are characterized by light sleep, rapid eye movement sleep (REM), dreams and hallucinations.
Alpha Brainwaves: Alpha brainwaves are even higher in frequency. Their frequency range is approximately 8-12 Hz. These brainwaves are most prominent during relaxation, contemplation and a lack of visual stimuli. So when you are not distracted or focused on the external world, but rather in your own zone of contemplation, relaxation and awareness, you brain vibrates within this frequency range
Gamma Brainwaves: Gamma brainwaves are of the highest frequency. They range from 40 to 100 Hz, the fasted documented brainwave frequencies known to man.
It has been documented that our Electroencephalography (EEG) dimensions in humans increase with age and time, and also throughout human evolution. EEG is the recording of electrical activity along the scalp. It measures voltage fluctuations resulting from ionic current flows within the neurons of the brain. This is how they are able to measure the different brain waves and the different frequencies they dish out (5).
Not long ago, researchers led by Richard Davidson, a neuroscientist at The W.M. Keck Laboratory for Functional Brain Imaging and Behavior teamed up with a number of monks and volunteers. The Dalai Lama even dispatched eight of his most accomplished practitioners to Davidson’s lab to have them hooked up for EEG testing and brain scanning. These monks come from traditions of meditation for an estimated 10,000 to 50,000 hours, over time periods of 15 to 40 years.
The monks were fitted with a net of 256 electrical sensors and asked to meditate for short periods, and Davidson was particularly interested in measuring gamma waves, the highest frequency and most important known electrical brain impulses. The results showed that the electrodes picked up much greater activation of fast moving and usually powerful gamma waves in the monks (3). The movement of the waves through the brain were far better organized and coordinated.
Researchers suggest that the very existence of this synchronized gamma indicates that a consciousness experience is occurring. The gamma wave state is the most sensitive than any other state of consciousness measurable. Gamma brainwaves are associated with intelligence, compassion, self control and feelings of natural joy.
So what can we take away from these discoveries? The fact that brain activity during the lucid dreaming experience radiates a gamma frequency is extremely significant. It shows us that our brain is vibrating at a higher frequency, and functioning at a more clear, coherent and higher state of consciousness than it is when we are awake. Although the size of the human brain has remained unchanged for 200,000 years, brain wave frequency and states of consciousness have changed over time (6). Humans seem to increase the brain wave frequency, and operate at different brain wave states as we continue our journey forward. Imagine a race vibrating at the same frequency as one does in a meditative state, constantly illustrating the gamma brain wave state. The presence of gamma brainwaves illustrates that the people who experience high level lucid dreaming are having a totally conscious experience, within the ‘dream world.’
Who is to say that when we are lucid dreaming we are not experiencing an alternate reality that operates at a higher frequency? Maybe higher frequency states allow us to access alternative timelines, other dimensions or aspects of reality. There are many questions that dreaming, and more specifically lucid dreaming, brings to the forefront of our time. Very little is understood about the phenomenon, but what we do understand is that our dreams allow us to create our reality at a specific frequency. As quantum physics continues to elaborate on how consciousness directly shapes our physical/material world, imagine what possibilities exist in a reality resonating in the gamma frequency or higher. The human race’s potential is limitless.
(4)O’Nuallain, Sean. “Zero Power and Selflessness: What Meditation and Conscious Perception Have in Common”. Retrieved 2009-05-30. Journal: Cognitive Sciences 4(2).
(6)J Gebser, The Ever Present Origin. Ohio University Press, Athens, Ohio. (1985) pg 120-121
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