Prof. Thomas Metzinger, a philosopher and cognitive scientist, claims that we all feel that we are a kind of conscious being that resides somewhere inside the body, possibly behind the eyes, and that the body belongs to this being and carries out its orders. But, according to him, we are not. Metzinger claims that we are the entire organism, including the conscious – the model of the self in the brain included. But we have no self. There is no ‘self’ in the world at all. No one is ‘I’, and no one has a self. We are systems – not individuals – and, because we fail to recognize our model of selfhood, as a model, we mistakenly think we have selves. All this occurs because the systems that map out the world and ourselves are invisible” to us. We do not see the various mental operations that construct a world for us, but see through them. According to this, what we see is perceived by us not as a representation, but as reality itself.
When we observe the world we are not aware that we are perceiving representations that can be true or false. There are, of course, representations that we are aware to the fact that they are only representations. These are our thoughts, imagination, and lucid dreams. This is what allows us to doubt whether other representations are also not entirely true. Metzinger claims that the dream world and lucid dreams in particular are proof of this theory. When people dream, their brain perceives a three dimensional world, that include the dreamer within it. All this happens while the person is lying in bed paralyzed. In a lucid dream, where the person is aware of dreaming, one can experience the fact that experiences are constructed by the mind. This is a puzzling and enlightening experience and Metzinger recommends it to anyone interested in the study of consciousness. (Farisco T., 2008).
Like Metzinger, LaBerge describes the lucid dreamer’s experience as demonstrating the amazing fact that the world we see is made up entirely in our minds. This perception, which is deceptive in the waking world, is the cornerstone of spiritual discovery. The experience of lucid dreaming forces the dreamer to look beyond everyday experiences and ask “if this is not real, what is?” Lucid dreams carry with them a truth that many dedicate their whole lives to finding. Lucid dream experiences sometimes ignite spiritual questions among people who try lucid dreaming for much more earthly purposes. In this sense, lucid dreams not only lead to questions about the nature of reality but for many they are also a source of transpersonal experiences. Ecstatic states as well as experiences of great inner peace and a new sense of purpose in life are common in the world of lucid dreams (LaBerge, 2014).
In the spiritual traditions of the East and wherever spirituality exists, lucid dreaming is recognized as the most important source of guidance in regard to the survival of the soul after death and the conditions the soul encounters in the afterlife. The detailed account of states of the “bardo”, through which the soul passes after death, is presented in the “Tibetan Book of the Dead”; this account is based on the conscious dreaming experienced by generations of yogis. Shamanic dreaming originates in the world of the Tungusic people of Siberia. Shaman means “exalted person” meaning someone who can go into an ecstatic trance, an out-of-body journey. A shamanic dreamer is a conscious dreamer who has developed the ability to enter the world of dreams at will with the goal of communicating with dream guides, embarking on journeys across time and space and into other types of reality and bringing back gifts of healing and insight for the benefit of others. (Moss, 1996)
According to Robert Waggoner, practicing lucid dream meditation results in a connection to the “one” immediately. Robert talks about connecting to the expanded awareness of the dream that helped him understand the illusions of waking life: illusions of space and time and an understanding of how reality materializes. He describes his journey in the world of lucid dreams as one that started out of a desire to “have fun”, through experiences of controlling his dreams and developing into an investigation of the dream world and the waking world. (R. Waggoner, 2014)