What Lucid Dreams Look Like (the other bedtime hobby)


EXCERPT: . . . An occasional lucid dreamer myself, I’ve never developed the degree of control that some master lucid dreamers have, who can bend, Matrix-like, the fabric of their dreams to their will, night after night. Instead, my own version of lucid dreaming tends to consist on being in the midst of some horrifying nightmare, then having the thought that “this is just too awful to be real, so I must be dreaming,” and eventually grasping that that’s indeed the case. When that happens, I typically use my newfound awareness to wake myself up at once and be done with the whole thing. But in these two recent instances, I had an altogether different experience. Critically, I figured out that I was dreaming while having a neutral sort of dream, so I wasn’t compelled to seek an immediate exit. So my understanding of my unusual situation was a lot more matter-of-fact than in the majority of my prior lucid dreaming episodes.

On each consecutive occasion, I immediately decided on flying.[...] The experience felt as real as life, and my oculomotor system probably opined the same. A new study on lucid dreaming, published in Nature Communications last month, has found that we make certain kinds of eye movements when we dream that also occur when we view actual objects, but not when we imagine them.

The eye movements in question are called “smooth pursuit,” and as their name indicates, we use them to track objects in motion: a ball rolling on a playground, a boat sailing against the horizon, or a flock of birds flying in formation. One fascinating aspect of smooth pursuit eye movements is that you can’t fake them. You can use smooth pursuit to track an actual moving object, but not an imagined one.

[...] A team of researchers at Stanford University and the University of Wisconsin-Madison realized that–because people can’t perform smooth pursuit eye motions in response to imagined trajectories—they could track the eye movements of lucid dreamers to discover if dream imagery is more similar to our perception of actual objects (which can generate smooth pursuit movements) or to our imagination (which cannot). The question goes back to Aristotle, but had remained unresolved until now. [...] The eye movement data showed that smooth pursuit tracking during lucid dreaming was highly similar to the smooth pursuit that occurs during waking perception, while being qualitatively different from the saccadic tracking that takes places during imagination....

MORE: https://blogs.scientificamerican.com/ill...look-like/
I've woken myself up from nightmares. It usually takes the form of yelling something like "Wake up!" The counterpart in waking life is the zen gong of enlightenment. Interesting that sound is always the medium of awakening. Hearing is also the last sense to go on the hospice bed. The interneural connection of sound to fear. The jolting surprise. The bump in the night. And the calming sound of the human voice, white and pink noise, and music.

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