One of the greatest stumbling blocks for neuroscience is the question of consciousness. We know the mechanism of the way stimuli from the outside world passes through the neural tissue to the brain, but we don't know how this gives rise to a subjective view of the world. In the West two major philosophical schools currently attempt to explain brain function and tackle the nature of consciousness. There are of course many associated positions but to keep it simple we will stay with this major grouping.
Most Western approaches to dreams are constrained within a psychological paradigm – they are viewed as psychological responses, the processing of the mind. Dreams, in themselves, are seen as ''unreal'' – a subjectively distorted version of ''reality''. Jung's invaluable contribution to our understanding of dreams and the transpersonal field was his recognition of the presence of and inner archetypal realm in dreams, beyond the personal and emanating from a universal consciousness. We owe a great debt to Jung in widening the horizon of our dream world.
Lucid dreaming is the state of being consciously aware that you are dreaming while in the dream itself. Lucid dreaming has been known about and practiced in many traditions for centuries. In the West it was scientifically validated by Dr Keith Hearne in 1975 through the ocular-signalling method at Liverpool University and by Dr. Stephen LaBerge at Stanford University.