Do you dream in color?  Are you lucid in your dreams?  Are you able to actively dream while awake?

I have always dreamt in color while most people dream only in black and white.  It is difficult for me to explain the vivid color of my dreams to those who are unable to comprehend the power of real color.  Black and white provides history and distance while color is always hyper-real and blurs the line between the dream and awake states.

Nightmares in color are also terrifyingly inescapable. When you dream, are you lucid?  Are you able to move in your dreams and interact with people and events?  Or are you only a passerby?  Are you only able to watch your dreams unfold before you?

Have you ever flown your body in your dreams? While you’re awake, have you ever started to dream outside your current reality?  If you’re talking to someone, have you ever been able to also go outside and read a newspaper or start up a second conversation with the bartender across the street?

Some believe daydreaming or “spacing off” is lucid dreaming while awake — but lucid dreams are much more interactive than just dimming reality. Lucid dreaming while awake creates dual and triple realities and they all have meaning and consequence and sometimes our lucid dreams can get the best of us and create a never ending reality from which there is no escape.

36 Comments

  1. I naively assumed that everyone dreamed in colour like myself because it seems like it would be immediately obvious that you are dreaming if it’s in black and white. I have never had a black and white dream. I had a very vivid dream a couple of nights ago that involved a lot of dead people I have known in my life (well they were alive when I knew them better) and seeing the ghosts of both of my grandmothers together as they used to be when they were both alive. Weird, weird, dream.

  2. Ask around, Gordon. See how many people in your circle dream in color. Most will report they dream in black and white even though that may not be the case:

    In the 1940’s and 1950’s, many people in the United States appear to have thought they dreamed in black and white. For example, Middleton (1942) found 70.7% of college sophomores reported “rarely” or “never” seeing colors in their dreams. The present student replicated Middleton’s questionnaire and found that students in 2001 reported a significantly greater rate of colored dreaming than the earlier sample, with only 17.7% saying that they “rarely” or “never” see colors in their dreams. Assuming that dreams themselves have not changed over this time period, it appears that one or the other (or both) groups of students must be profoundly mistaken about a basic feature of their dream experiences.

    http://www.faculty.ucr.edu/~eschwitz/SchwitzAbs/DreamReportRepl.htm
    Some believe dreams are repressed wishes that come to life.

  3. I have always dreamed in full technicolour and surround sound. Recently I have been attempting to train myself to dream lucidly, with a few actual successes, although the first couple of times it happened I got so excited that I woke up immediately with my heart thumping.
    It’s a fascinating experience though and I reccommend it to anybody. I just hope I can increase the frequency of my lucid dreams.

  4. urbanspaceman —
    I’m beginning to think many of the regular commenters are going to be high-color dreamers! It makes sense, really, since we seem to understand each other so well!
    Lucid dreaming is definitely a heart-thumping experience. I have awakened heaving for breath and completely soaked in sweat. One time I dived inside my computer and couldn’t find my way out again since I’d just gone in through the side.
    One time I sort of awoke from the middle of a dream and saw a ghost-like reflection on the wall that seemed to be moving away from me. I closed my eyes, brought that image into the dream and asked some questions and took a little trip around the neighborhood together. I’m still not sure who or what he was doing there — he was dressed like an Arabian Knight — but he wasn’t dangerous and didn’t want to do me harm.
    It’s funny how if there’s a noise in the house or on the street that is loud enough to be heard, that sound gets incorporated into my lucid dreaming before the sound is made.
    One of the things I’m working on is the resumption of dreams once awakened. Usually, when something wakes you up, if even for a moment, it is difficult to go back and re-tether yourself to the dream you had to leave.

  5. I’ve managed to resume dreams once or twice but it’s a rare occurrence.
    Actually one of the lucid dreaming tips is that you shouldget up hearly (5am ish) and meditate for half an hour before going back to bed, since most lucid dreaming occurs shortly before waking – nobody seems to know why. Perhaps you need to have gone through a couple of REM cycles first.
    I have flown, levitated and moved through walls in lucid dreams. It’s certainly not dull ;). Last time I woke up when I tried to teleport …
    //Mike

  6. That’s a wild experience, jonolan! I agree that lucid dreams can be much more intensive and emotional than while we are awake — which makes me wonder about the meaning of wakefulness and alert interaction.
    Sometimes I prefer just to stay in an active dream state and let the body tap dance in the working dimension. 😀

  7. David,
    not really sure if i dream in colour or black and white. i’ve only had about a couple of WILD experiences though the ones that occur in sleep happen a bit more frequently. like urbanespaceman mentioned, they happen just before i wake up and recently they’ve become very insightful. or maybe they’ve always been that way, and i’ve only recently started paying attention?

  8. I guess the times need to be adjusted but from what I’ve read getting 7-8 hours of sleep a night increases your chances greatly as most lucid dreaming occurs towards the end of this period. I guess the idea is to get up around hour six and meditate for half an hour, whatever time that might be.
    Regarding the teleporting. I could see a large tower in the distance (interestingly, although it was so far away I could see the big sliding front doors very clearly, which were modern and totally at odds with the rest of the building, which seemed like it belonged in a fantasy novel). Anyway, I decided to try and teleport in front of them by will. I blinked my eyes in the dream, intending to be in the other place when the opened. Unfortunately what actually happened is that I woke up.
    Perhaps the moral is don’t blink in your dreams 😉
    There are a number of ways that you can stay lucid – spinning has worked for me, as has focusing on my hands, but you do need a bit of warning you might be about to wake up to use these techniques.
    Cheers
    Mike

  9. urbanspaceman —
    Thanks for the detail on the hours of lucid dreaming. That should be a great help to someone wanting to give it a try.
    Love the teleporting story! What fun!
    I’m glad you are able to enjoy the wonder of blended fractals! They can be a good portal into wondering, wandering and then entering the lucid dream state.

  10. Awesome topic David!
    I mainly dream in black and white, although a few times there has been color. And lucid dreaming, yes I have done that too. But I have to get enough sleep to be able to do this, otherwise I don’t dream at all (as far as I am aware anyways).
    And yes, oh yes, I have the flying dreams too! And what a wonderful feeling of freedom and weightlessness. It happened more as a kid though. In my dreams I would very deliberately lift myself from the ground, almost spring up, like, and take off, soaring over landscapes. And then suddenly I stopped being able to do it. And I used to really miss it. But recently, over the last few years, since actively trying open up my awareness, I’ve had a few of these dreams again. They are precious to me 🙂
    The color dreams that I have had, have seemed different to the others. More real. I’ve come to the conclusion that they are not dreams per se, but astral travelling.
    My hubby refers to regular dreams as being ‘mental-tainment’, generally meant for sorting out the thoughts and emotions swirling around in your brain. And then there are the dreams which are more than that. And for me anyway, they are the travelling dreams. Besides being hugely entertaining, I think lucid dreaming is a very useful tool for manifestation and changing your mundane reality.
    As an aside, here’s a question for you. When you close your eyes, what do you ‘see’? Black or colors? Solids or patterns? When I discovered (whilst doing Reiki for a friend) that she was seeing swirling colors, I was astounded. All I had ever know was black and maybe if I was lucky, some twinkling white lights. She said she always saw color, but that the Reiki had caused the colors to swirl and move about. I wonder if the people that see color when they close their eyes, also dream in color?

  11. Great comment, natzgal! Your dreaming is wonderful and the fact your confess to black and white is refreshing and makes me feel a little less absurd in my claim that most people I meet are B&W only dreamers.
    I see black when I close my eyes and if people are seeing flashes or colors they should see an eye MD ASAP! My eye doc in NYC claims seeing anything other than black when you close your eyes is due to some kind of inner eye damage or a sign your eyes are having some sort of trouble that needs to be immediately addressed and/or repaired.

  12. David, your claim in not absurd. I agree with you. I’ve done a few beginner type courses in Shamanism and when it comes to people learning journeying for the first time, of course the topic of dreaming comes up. Most say they dream in black and white. Of course, that is only a small sample, but extrapolate that out, and your theory holds true.
    Also, your comment regarding seeing colors when eyes are closed is confusing to me. Just because it’s the best awake example I can think of, during guided meditations (or shamanic journeying), do you see what you are told or do you merely imagine it? Some claim they actually see visions with their eyes closed. I myself have experienced that for one or two brief exhilarating seconds. Also, both my step-kids claim to see colors when they close their eyes and although one has thick glasses, neither has any kind of inner eye damage. Very curious.

  13. natzgal —
    I remember teaching over many years and asking my students if they dreamt in black and white or not and I’d say the vast majority 99% said they did not see color and none of them believed I did.
    When we were kids we used to close our eyes and press on them with our fingers to create colors and fireworks explosions. Very dangerous stuff.
    Afterimages are common:
    http://faculty.washington.edu/chudler/after.html
    Or hypnagogic imagery might be the cause:
    http://www.sciencemag.org/cgi/content/abstract/290/5490/350
    I was always taught by my eye MD that if you see colors or flashes with your eyes closed (and you don’t have floaters or flashers) you should get an eye exam to make sure everything is okay. If you’re talking about an active state of lucid dreaming, then of course I see colors, but I am seeing that with my mind, not my eyes.

  14. Hi David, I dream in colours and usually these dreams will be more vivid if I manage to clock in more than my usual average 5 hours sleep. The vivid dreams will increase in terms of “interactions” with whoever or whatever in it when I am facing a crisis or an issue that I need to deal with. It could involve running, walking talking or touching that someone or something. It is some sort of my own little therapy and usually the solution to my issue will present itself when I woke up!
    Sometime I will dream of something bad will happen – small accidents and even death of someone I know. The signs were all there in the dream. I usually will take heed and true enough, when it really happens it would be like a deja. Pretty amazing.
    This therapy dream has started when I was young but didnt realised and making full use of it till I was in my late 20’s and has served as some sort of guidance as well.

  15. Thank you for sharing your wonderful dreams, Hanie!
    When you dream of things that will be — do you share that with the person? Or do you keep it to yourself?
    What was the turning point between dreaming and realizing it was actually dream therapy?

  16. David, I would usually share with the person if I think hes in danger. Otherwise Ill let fate takes its course.
    The warning dream might come in two ways – either it will play the actual incident (in full surround system and technicolour no less) or metaphore. Say, I will see a friend who is usually dressed so smartly but in my dreams he would be dressed in tatters, all bloody, with half of his face gone..In my dream, I would clearly see his car plate, maybe a lorry too. Now, that would give me a good indication.
    The dream therapy is pretty obvious as it has all the elements of what Ive been worrying about. It could be a meeting that I dread to go, or of a person that I have been thinking of. There was once a new client that Ive been worrying sick to see as he has been known to be a difficult person. The night before the meeting, I had a dream of walking about in a huge market. Then, I saw a guy eating oysters in a bistro. I knew it was him, the new client. The next day we had an ice breaker, found out hes a foodie just like me. Loves oysters too. I got the account.
    I think Ive had enough dreams to sift through which is which, but David, sometimes I do get it wrong too 😉