Statistics show that in one-third of initial lucid dreaming experiences, a practitioner is faced with a degree of fear that forces a return to the body. Periodically, even experienced practitioners face situations that require an abrupt return to wakefulness. This presents a number of concerns.
In and of itself, returning to the body is almost always unproblematic; remembering and thinking about the body often suffices and within moments the practitioner is returned to the body from whatever location in lucid dreaming. Admittedly, it is advisable during this type of situation to shut the eyes and abstain from touching anything. As a rule, when these actions are performed, simply standing up in the physical world is all that is required to complete a return; however, this is not always simply achieved.
Sometimes after reentering the body, the practitioner suddenly realizes that physical functionality has ceased due to the onset of sleep paralysis, or the sensation that the body has been switched off. During sleep paralysis, it is impossible to scream, call for help, or even move a finger. In the majority of cases, it is also impossible to open the eyes. From a scientific point of view, this is a case of an abrupt, unnatural interruption of the rapid eye movement (REM) lucid dreaming of sleep, during which this paralysis is always present, and it can persist for some time after lucid dreaming is interrupted.
This is where it gets interesting. People in the physical world are accustomed to an important rule: if you wish to achieve something, then do it, and do it as actively as possible. This rule, though good, is not always applicable to certain conditions linked to lucid dreaming, and applies least of all to exiting lucid dreaming. Sometimes extreme effort makes it possible to break through sleep paralysis and resume movement, though most of these efforts tend to exacerbate immobility.
Due to the unusual nature of a negative situation following a deliberate, fear-induced return to the body, the depth of lucid dreaming may greatly increase because of the body’s natural, protective inhibition of functions originating in the cerebral cortex; this results in even greater agitation and greater fear. The paralysis grows stronger. This is a vicious circle that leads to unpleasant feelings and emotions, which may evaporate any desire to practice lucid dreaming.
Ignorance of correct procedures has led to the widespread opinion that such adverse situations may make it impossible to come back from lucid dreaming at all. These opinions suppose that it is, therefore, dangerous to get involved with the practice. However, the solution to this problem rests in very simple actions and procedures that can prevent a large number of negative experiences: