Tim Post on Lucid Dreaming at TEDxTwenteU (Full Transcript)

Tim Post

Watch and read the full transcript of Tim Post’s TEDx Talk: Lucid Dreaming at TEDxTwenteU conference.

Listen to the MP3 Audio here: lucid-dreaming-by-tim-post-at-tedxtwenteu


Tim Post – Lucid dreaming instructor

Thank you. When I was seven years old, I had this recurring nightmare. I dreamt about this huge and boundless space. There were no trees, no buildings, even no other people in the dream; there was just me. And I was locked up in a tiny iron cage by the old, and awful, and scary-looking Snow White witch not from the fairytale with the poisonous apple.

Now, in that dream I felt truly terrified. So, as soon as I woke up from the nightmare in the middle of the night, I ran to my mom. I was crying. I woke her up, and I told her about my nightmare. And she would always reassure me of the simple fact it was just a dream, that the old witch was just part of my dreaming mind, that there was no real physical danger, that these were just dreams.

And so feeling a bit more reassured and safe, I’d return to sleep, but at one particular night, at the exact same nightmare, in that following sleep period, so, suddenly, I found myself again in that iron cage, holding on to the iron bars, and looking to the old witch, while remembering what my mother said to me just a few hours ago, “Tim, this is just a dream.”

Now, interestingly, that realization did not wake me up, so I knew that I was dreaming while still being in the dream. And I can still vividly recall how I looked around in the dream, had a sense of my own dream body, which felt incredibly real, although I knew that my real physical body was actually lying in bed asleep in some other place called waking life. It was a stunning, very profound experience, and at the same time, I didn’t feel scared by the old witch, because I knew she was just part of my dreaming mind. So, I really felt empowered and free.

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Now, as a seven-year-old kid, I had no idea that these kinds of dreams in which you know that you are dreaming are scientifically referred to as lucid dreams, and that these lucid dreams seem to almost exclusively occur in a sleep stage that we call REM sleep, rapid eye movement sleep. And that’s a stage in which we experience our most vivid, most immersive dreams. And so these are not your typical one-dimensional, daydream-like experiences in which you’re just visualizing something, and you still have a sense of your own physical body, and you’re just imagining stuff.

Now, in these REM sleep dreams — that will be true for our lucid dreams as well — we are provided with this fully immersive, three-dimensional, multi-sensory hallucinatory experience. So, it feels like almost being absorbed into your imagination. You own this dream body that you can use and move around with, not just to look at your dream surroundings, but, for example, to touch the dream ground, its texture, its hardness. That’s how real our dreams are each and every night in REM sleep. It’s incredible. You could listen to dream music, or someone’s voice in a dream. You could even smell or taste dream food. Wow!

Now, at the same time, the lucid dream provides for limitless flexibility, as our dreaming mind is continuously listening to and giving shape to our thoughts and intentions while we are dreaming. And so, once you turn lucid in a dream, you could consciously and reflectively refocus your thoughts and intentions in order to reshape the entire dream, and dream about anything that you could imagine while you are dreaming. So, you could allow an entire dream city to appear, or your favorite sports car, or you could give yourself any kind of superhero power that you can imagine, like flying or walking through walls, or you could just consciously decide to explore the dream while knowing that it is a dream, just go to the left, or go to the right, or just leave the dream as it is.

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