The definition of lucid dreaming is fairly straight-forward: Awareness of the fact that one is dreaming during a dream. But once you start practicing lucid dreaming, you’ll start to see how complex and profound the lucid state can be.
No two lucid dreams are alike and I’ve found that people tend to grapple with describing their level of lucidity, or how lucid they were during the dream. And understandably so — without any scale or frame of reference, how would anyone know how?
So, this article should help clarify the levels of lucidity as I understand them and have experienced them.
Lucidity has amplitude
First, lucidity IS awareness – mental clarity of the fact that you’re dreaming during a dream.
Think of your level of lucidity as a volume dial you can turn up or down while dreaming. So the higher the dial of awareness is turned, the higher your level of lucidity during your lucid dreams.
Thinking of lucidity this way should help you benchmark your skill level throughout your lucid dreaming practice. So here is a clear scale for the levels of lucidity as I understand it:
These are just your standard REM sleep dreams.
The content of the dream can range from pleasant, insightful, prolific, euphoric, to nonsensical, boring, frightening, or just plain weird. The memory of the dream when you wake up could be quite vivid; maybe you remembered all the details of the dream very clearly. But lucidity is about awareness in the present moment – So regardless of the content or how much you remembered, if you didn’t know you were dreaming during the dream, it doesn’t count – it’s a non-lucid dream.
Sub-lucid implies you were close but no cigar – Very common amongst beginners new to lucid dreaming.
These dreams are often characterized by searching for lucidity or talking to a dream-character about becoming lucid. The subject of lucidity comes up and you might be skeptical about whether you’re dreaming or not, but if you don’t explicitly realize it’s a dream at the time, it’s not quite lucid.
At this point, you’re interested, curious, and taking the right steps… but you’re just knocking at the door; it hasn’t opened yet – the dial is still turned down.
Mild lucidity is when you’re aware you’re dreaming, but it’s a faint awareness and can’t really change what’s happening. That “Ah-ha” moment has been achieved and you know it’s a dream, but it’s fleeting – the dream is hazy or shaky and you might lose lucidity immediately after you achieved it.
Definitely lucid, yes, but barely. You’re turning the dial a little bit – taking a peek in the door and getting a glimpse at what’s inside.
Now we’re talking. You know you’re dreaming, no doubt about it and the dial of awareness is turning up. You are awake inside your own subconscious mind and it is exhilarating, wonderous, and awe-inspiring. And at this level, you’d work on your ability to ‘control’ the dream, and prolong lucidity. Maybe you want to fly through buildings or plunge deep into the ocean and explore the depths… but how skilled are you?
At this moderate level, you’ll see there is an entire universe to explore, learning to be done, and skills to develop. How long can you maintain lucidity without getting overwhelmed and waking up? Or getting distracted and losing that sense of conscious awareness?
At the highest levels of lucidity, not only are you 100% lucid in the dream state, but you’re also more comfortable. The awareness dial is turned all the way up and you have full mental clarity. You feel a strong sense of familiarity here, and you are able to influence the course of events of the dream… Staying calm, focused and in-control come with the territory of the fully lucid dream.
The exhilaration is still here, but there’s more sense of purpose. This is the level of mastery in which you can make things happen at will; you feel strong, competent, and ready to achieve goals.
It takes practice to get to this point, much of which was likely spent in the lower levels of lucidity. So once this level is achieved, there might be more of a sense of respect and sincerity – honoring the practice and getting more meaning and value out of your dreams.
Learn to improve lucidity
Along your journey into your mind, it’s useful to have these benchmarks so you can identify your skill level and establish clearer goals. We deep-dive into how to improve levels of lucidity in the app.
What level have you been able to reach? Feel free to share your experiences in the comments or reach out with questions by subscribing below!