Active Imagination as an Alternative to Lucid Dreaming: Theory and Experimental Results

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Abstract
Lucid dreaming (LD) is a fun and interesting activity, but most participants have difficulties in attaining lucidity, retaining it during the dream, concentrating on the needed task and remembering the results. This motivates to search for a new way to enhance lucid dreaming via different induction techniques, including chemicals and electric brain stimulation. However, results are still unstable. An alternative approach is to reach the lucid dreaming-like states via altered state of consciousness not related to dreaming. Several methods such as guided visualization, internal dialog, creative writing, hypnosis, hypnagogia, daydreaming, DMT trips, voice dialog, shamanic journey, rebirthing, and “forcing” tulpas can help in attaining such states. One of the most promising of them is Jungian “active imagination” (AIM) technique, which allows unconscious content to build up inside some mental frames. This article explores the hypothesis of replacing lucid dreaming research with active imagination, and the conditions and ways to accomplish it. Method: An open label pilot experiment was performed in 2004-2005 in Moscow, Russia with 100 participants. Results: The results show that there are two groups of people: ones with “visual imagination screen” and others have “mental imagination screen”. AIM works perfectly as a replacement for lucid dreams only for the first group of people. For the second group, it created interesting content, but not visual or emotional intensity equal to enter lucid dreaming like state. No known instruments helped to move the person from one group to another. The first group consisted of young females, while the second mostly contained males with rational and mathematical type of personality. Conclusion: AIM partly works as a replacement for LD, as it works great only for half of people, and it requires a sitter. However, AIM outperforms LD in reliability and availability in any circumstance: it could be performed even by text chat or in a crowd. It is also better than LD in retaining concentration on topic and the easiness of memorizing the results (which could be recorded). Self-performed AIM is less effective. AIM can be improved by intelligent chat bots as sitters and weak brain stimulation that can increase the probability of attaining something like hypnogogic state.
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Archival date: 2021-05-06
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