The Lucidity Institute was founded in 1987 by Stephen La Berge, author of Lucid Dreaming (1986), the pioneering work on the topic. La Berge received his Ph.D. in psychophysiology from Stanford University, where he began his study of lucid dreaming while a graduate student working on his dissertation. Although psychotherapist Frederik von Eeden had used the term early in the twentieth century, it was only in the 1980s that lucid dreams received any focused study leading to their use as a therapeutic tool or a means for gaining self-awareness.
Lucid dreaming refers to the act of dreaming while being aware that one is dreaming. A lucid dream usually begins as a normal dream during which the dreamer suddenly realizes that he/she is dreaming. On occasion the dreamer may encounter an absurd or irrational phenomenon such as meeting a person known to be deceased, but as often as not the lucid dream begins with no noticeable trigger. In the most clear of lucid dreams, when lucidity is high, the dreamer realizes that what is being seen and heard is a dream, that he/she is in no danger from anything in the dream and soon will awaken from it. In a dream of low lucidity, one may realize that he/she is in a dream, but believe that some of the elements of the experience are real. During lucid dreams, one may or may not have control over the content of the dreams.
At the Lucidity Institute, La Berge and his research associates have explored a wide range of issues relative to lucid dreaming from which they have constructed a program to teach people lucid dreaming and how to use it to overcome problems or for the sheer entertainment of the resultant dreams. They have also developed a variety of dream aids that may enhance the lucidity factor. Lucid dreams have proved useful in overcoming nightmares, problem solving, and healing.
Learning lucid dreaming has proved to be a matter of motivation (wanting to have them) and effort. Being able to recall normal dreams is an additional useful skill. The institute staff has also developed several machines that function during a person's dream cycle. During REM sleep, when dreaming occurs, they intrude upon the consciousness with a signal that reminds the person that he/she is experiencing a dream, but does not awaken them.
La Berge followed his initial work on lucid dreaming with three additional texts, Conscious Mind, Sleeping Brain (1988) with Jayne Gackenbach, Exploring the World of Lucid Dreaming (1990) with Howard Rheingold, and A Course in Lucid Dreaming (1995) with Lynne Levitan. These texts have inspired a number of additional books, all of which are used at the institute.
The institute, a small business founded by La Berge, provides information and education concerning lucid dreaming and its benefits. It sponsors a membership society through which people many participate in various programs, support lucid dreaming research, and receive a newsletter. The institute is located at 2555 Park Blvd., Palo Alto, CA 94306-1919. It supports an Internet site at http://www.lucidity.com/.
Gackenbach, Jayne, and Stephen La Berge. Conscious Mind, Sleeping Brain. Weisbaden, Germany: Plenum Publishing, 1988.
La Berge, Stephen. Lucid Dreaming. N.p., 1986. Reprint, New York: Ballantine, 1998.
La Berge, Stephen, and Howard Rheingold. Exploring the World of Lucid Dreaming. N.p., 1990. Reprint, New York: Ballantine Books, 1991.
Lucidity Institute. http://www.lucidity.com/. May 20, 2000.