Lucid Dreaming Isn’t Useful; The Real World Matters Much More

The rain was falling out of the sky in dense sheets like it was being poured from some buckets.

I was under the roof of a flat-roofed house of the kind I had cared for 35 years before when I was a student at the university. In real life, the building was one of several that housed a program called Casa De Los Niños that helped little kids in trouble. For two semesters in college, I worked as a gardener and laborer there.

Coming off the roof, rain cascaded into a trench around the house, preserving it, holding it. In the dream, it wasn’t a trench as you’d see with permaculture, where the water collects into a catchment basin. Rather, this was a medium-sized trench dug on the periphery of the house.

Recently, I had decided to study lucid dreaming techniques in order to understand them better. Rather than seek to interact and control my dreams as a lucid dreamer does, I usually observe, contemplate, and record. That night, however, I didn’t.

In the dream, I grabbed a shovel and started digging out the trenches surrounding the house. I quickly realized I was dreaming and could have anything I wanted there. Why not a swimming pool? I enjoy swimming and could have any manner of luxuries in a dream.

Digging a trench.

As I was improving the trench, I stopped to think. What did the pool matter if it was a dream? This awesome swimming pool, however it turned out, wouldn’t matter outside of my head. What the greater question was–as it always is–why did my subconscious choose to dream about a flat-roofed house from long ago, and why was it raining and why was there a trench around the house to collect the rainwater?

This awesome swimming pool, however it turned out, wouldn’t matter outside of my head.

Conscious minds take note!

You can’t both consciously build out a fantasy in a dream AND fully understand it.

The act of creating in a dream obscures the meaning. Lucid dreaming requires conscious/unconscious interplay. Creativity is good and useful in real life. Creativity in dreams rightly belongs to your subconscious. Your subconscious mind is, rightly, a backseat driver. Let it be free!

Is lucid dreaming bad? Is it a sin? I don’t know that it is either of those things, though I know that it isn’t useful.

Reflection of real life

Dreams often reflect our real lives. No, make that usually. Third-party content isn’t all that common, though many people who are able to remember their dreams have experiences where they learn things in their dreams that they had no way of knowing from real life.

For me, this dream about the flat-roofed house was a dream about the solar system I had installed on my real-life house. It took eight months. That it was just eight months represented no small achievement.

First, post-pandemic, there was a problem getting the panels and battery backup system.

Second, there was the fact that the company we hired had never installed a solar system. Our technicians got bonuses from their boss for learning how–he made sure they were sufficiently motivated, it was just a matter of acquiring new skills.

Third, both the city and the power company had to approve the installation. They, too, had never seen a solar system with a battery backup.

When I okayed and started, I had no idea that my kind of system was going to be so new. There’s a particular hassle in being an early adopter of anything. While the Enphase battery backups were second to market, there was the Tesla Powerwall before. But no, they were different enough to make the installers check and double-check everything.

Consciously, I was seething about the delay. I didn’t yell at anyone. That would do no good. I kept my cool because everyone seemed like they were trying to do a good job. A faulty wired electrical system can be a fire hazard. You don’t want to bully someone into doing something that is going to result in you and your family, potentially, dying. That’s just not smart. And I try to act like a smart person would.

It was reasonable for me to be upset about the amount of time that the solar system took to install. The local utility has punitive rates during the summertime when there’s a high demand for electrical power. Electricity bills skyrocket during the summer to more than four times what they are during the winter. I had missed saving on several months of the summer rates because three groups of people involved in installing my solar system couldn’t agree on how it was to be done. And then, how the installation was to be labeled. It was a slow-moving bureaucratic morass.

I stopped lucid dreaming

When I stopped trying to lucid dream, the important point of the dream came clean. I was pleased the system was working. Further, I had been patient and was assured it had been installed safely. Furthermore, everyone involved: the installers, the inspectors, the company, had all gained valuable experience. Other Phoenix households were likely to have a smoother experience.

The electrical grid had won. I won. Everyone had won.

And now I’d stop paying too much because of demand pricing.

Since it’s only been a couple of days since my system has been turned on, I don’t know how much I’m going to be saving, but I’m sure it’ll be worthwhile over time.

People who are thinking of solar systems always ask others who have them about them. Instead of complaining, I’ll be able to give them a better picture of what it’s like.

Dream symbols

The flat-roofed house to me represented sustainability because the yard was designed to catch precious desert rainwater and use as little groundwater as possible.

The trenches represented resource banking like my Enphase solar battery does with energy from the sun.

A home solar battery system.

The rain represented a resource from nature.

If you have these symbols in your dream, they might mean something else to you. That’s what these things represent to me.

Real life

For a few days later until the solar installers could return, the battery stored the excess power but wasn’t reporting the amount to the online tracker. A minor detail that didn’t really affect the utility of the system. The installers didn’t return for a few days to get it straight.

Some things of inutility provide recreation, an exercise with practical application outside of its domain. For example, something like golf gives you an excuse to talk with friends on the course, to walk, to get some fresh air, to relax. So do other sports and activities.

Life should be savored and enjoyed. It’s a gift, really.

Does lucid dreaming do this? Yes, you can suppose so. Yet it also represents an intrusion of the conscious mind. The subconscious doesn’t get to express itself, to make the connections. Ultimately, this can diminish your effectiveness and happiness. Lucid dreamers become just another group of people who aren’t able to make connections with different points and meanings in their life.

If you’re trying to avoid dealing with your traumas and your anxieties, that’s an attractive proposition.

On the other hand, if you’re trying to prosper by having strong relationships, personal growth, and creativity, then focusing on lucid dreaming isn’t the way to go.

I could have enjoyed the experience of creating an ideal (for me) swimming pool in my dream. That would have obscured the purpose of the trenches collecting the rainwater in my dream.

Relevant blog article:

How To Dream

Is Lucid Dreaming a Sin?

Can One Uncomfortable Night Stop You From Dreaming?

Also on the blog:


James Cobb, RN, MSN, is an emergency department nurse and the founder of the Dream Recovery System. His goal is to provide his readers with simple, actionable ways to improve their health and maximize their quality of life. 


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