The Jewish View on Lucid Dreaming and Some Cool Insights

Lucid dreaming is probably one of the most mysterious subjects of meditation and is a part of Jewish Tradition

The Jewish sages already taught us in Massechet Brachot, dreams are a taste of prophecy and therefore more than just fantasy.

They also taught that a dream without interpretation is like a letter left unopened. Science says we all dream every night even though we might not remember it. So, even though we lose our dreams most of the time, it’s safe to say it’s in our best interest to try to remember and live them while they last. This idea is very ancient and is found in many different cultures.

In Sha’arei Kedusha we find that they are one of the aspects of Hasagah. Great masters like the Arizal were able to ascend to the Metivta D’Rakyah (the Heavenly Yeshiva) to study in a night what in 80 years he couldn’t do it in this world.

As I was interested in the subject and wanted to explore this extravagant area, I’ve been reading quite a lot about it. Most specifically, lucid dreaming, namely, the art of becoming conscious in dreams.

I was quite surprised to know this is actually a very real thing and began investigating. I found out there is a whole branch of science that studies sleep and dreams and that achieving lucidity is a matter of training. This meant anyone, daydreamer or not, could do it. Apparently, someone who explores his dreams this way is called an Oneironaut.

I confess I haven’t been able to practice it so much lately, but thanks to the sources I’ve studied, I’ve had a few such experiences.

Continue reading this article and we’ll explore the following points:

  • The essence of dreams
  • How they can be beneficial
  • How to control dreams (AKA​​ “Lucid dreaming”)

The essence of sleeping

When a person sleeps many of his physiological functions decrease. The Zohar calls it Tardema, which means the mokhin go out of the mind. In other words, consciousness is temporarily lost (for the most part), and the body is immobile. Or is it?

Many studies on sleep and dreams in the past seventy years found many interesting results. It turns out sleep has cycles in which the brain functions differently.

As we know from the Zohar, the reality is a composite of many levels kind of like an onion. As we move further in, the sweeter things feel and the more they transcend the limitations of the mind. Consequently, the less logical language can explain them.

Pure and simple, no secrets. This could mean that what we perceive is a manifestation of our soul and that, the more we are able to access the deeper aspects of our soul, the more we will be able to apprehend reality. People perceive different things, in accordance with their life experiences and sensitivity. A pianist will have deeper feelings towards a certain piano than anyone else. He will be able to appreciate its real market value, evaluate its usage and some might even be able to tell whether it’s tuned in or not.

Spirituality and traumas

​We may not feel it except through training but we live in a sea of wisdom all around us.

God’s Light (a blissful state of expanding consciousness) is accessed by reducing the weight of physicality on our minds. As we sleep, we temporarily cancel out external stimuli from the body (seeing, hearing, tasting, and so on) and consciousness takes a different turn to experience the deeper aspects of the mind.

As we know, 1/60 of the soul goes “up” to the “spiritual worlds”. This happens so it can receive a boost of energy for the next day. In our physical world, we only see the body “regenerating”, hormones being produced, and all other physiological phenomena. While it might seem very compelling to dismiss the “spiritual part”, it’s important to know that our consciousness also gets a major boost by resting.

Childhood traumas, PTSD, repressed emotions, and many other psychological disorders all make a deep impact on the mind. Often, they can affect a person limiting her in many ways, and go untreated for a lifetime. As we know, the mind is the gateway to accessing the olamot haeliyonim, as it’s through it that we apprehend the higher planes.

In their book, Field Guide to Lucid Dreaming, Dylan Tuccillo, Jared Zeizel and Thomas Peisel explain that many such disorders have clinically been treated thanks to lucid dreaming. Of course, many of them cannot be treated through that, but it’s interesting to see how powerful our dreams can be.

How to control dreams with lucid dreaming

Learning how to control your dreams requires some measure of mindfulness during the day and being in a very good mood.

The most important part to achieve lucidity in dreams is to constantly conduct reality checks. So, every now and then during your awake moments, ask yourself: “Am I awake now?”.

With lucid dreaming you can be friends with a turtle

This is a very important mindfulness mechanism and it can trigger lucid dreaming. Despite sounding silly, when a person conditions himself to ask this during the day, chances are he will also ask it and then become aware he’s asleep.

Keeping a dream diary next to bedtime is also important. As you do, your brain will realize you “mean business” and that you want to be awake in your dream. As a person writes down all of his impressions, the brain will become more and more accustomed to remembering dreams. In the end, you will have more chances of becoming lucid (both of which are our goals).

Finally, when inside the dream, reinforce in your mind the desire to dream and live it while it lasts. The subject of the dream is also free and, of course, some immature individuals might try to live all their fantasies away.

There are many more techniques in the book (it’s available on Amazon), but we will have to limit ourselves here to these.

Concluding remarks

I personally am quite surprised that many people who follow a spiritual path neglect this amazing possibility to pursue. Great Tzadikim and Prophets throughout the ages were able to receive immense, transcendental knowledge from their dreams. The Arizal, in fact writes specific intentions in Sha’ar HaKavanot so your soul goes to Yesod D’Nukvah Kadisha D’Atzilut, where you can regenerate yourself faster and even merit an Ibbur. That means you also get your Tikkun faster.

One final piece which is interesting from the Field Guide to Lucid Dreaming:

Once you become lucid, you will have a complete memory of your waking life and will be able to think logically, make decisions, and explore the dream’s landscape in the same way you’d traverse the physical world.

Have you thought about the possibilities?

Yes, dreams can be very real for fantasies. That’s I guess what most of evil, misguided people do. However, that would be misusing a valuable gift for pleasures higher than we can imagine. For more information, see this article here on Wisdom and Understanding.

Remember to keep for yourself a dream diary and sweet dreams.

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Chaim Apsan

Chaim is a teacher and Kabbalah enthusiast. He loves helping Jews connect with true Torah teaching and enhancing their spiritual growth. With a focus on meditation, he guides individuals on transformative journeys of prayer, contemplation, and connection with Hashem. He lives in Jerusalem with his wife and kids, and is committed to sharing the wisdom and power of Kabbalah in a genuine way.

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