What if you knew how to fly? Or be able to travel around the the world without your body leaving the bed? Well there is and its called lucid dreaming. The following powerful techniques may literally open your mind to a whole new world.
If you are reading this article you may be familiar with what a lucid dream is. In case you aren't this may still seem familiar. A lucid dream is "any dream in which one is aware that one is dreaming". That means you are still asleep and in your dream world, but suddenly realize that the world around you is not real and you are actually in your bed, sleeping.
First off, lucid dreaming isn't something that most people can learn in a day. It requires patience as lucid dreaming is a skill and like any other skill it takes time and dedication. Don't get discouraged when you don't see the results after a week or two but keep practicing. If you don't see any results after two months step away from lucid dreaming for a little while and then come back to it. Like the best things in life if you want it "too much" or want to force it, it will elude you. But if you are patient and willing to put the work in you will get there eventually.
Most people ask when you are finally aware of the dream does that mean you can do whatever you want in it? The answer to this is a bit vague: not necessarily. Some people are in control in their very first lucid dream while others can just watch it. Ultimately, everybody gains control.
The Road To Becoming a Lucid Dreamer
Once you are ready to embark on your lucid dreaming journey, it is time to figure out what is required to become lucid. There are only a few steps but they need practice.
Remember your Dreams
If you don't remember your dreams how would you know you had a lucid dream after waking up? The solution to this problem is actually very simple: When you go to bed, set the intention to remember your dreams. Additionally, try to visualize yourself waking up, remembering your dream and writing it down. If you consistently do that, your subconscious will pick up the cue, you will start remembering your dreams and they will gradually become more and more detailed.
Keep a Dream Journal
Once you start remembering your dreams, it is time to write them down. Have a notepad or notebook next to your bed and when you wake up try to write down anything that you can remember. Don't try to force yourself into remembering something or feel bad if you don't.
As mentioned before, in the beginning you will only remember small bits and pieces, maybe only just a word or two. Write them down anyway. The reason for that is once you start remembering small bits and pieces and consciously write them down, you will start to remember more and more different scenes from the same dream or a totally separate dream altogether. The very act of writing down your dreams also increases your ability to remember future dreams.
After you have done that for a while you will start recognizing recurring themes in your dreams. As Reddit user biozabb shared, noticing these scenes can help you tremendously in becoming aware of the fact that you are dreaming and become lucid.
Certain things are only possible in dreams or are profoundly different. Reality checks allow you to figure out if you are dreaming or if you are awake by performing simple actions that behave differently in dreams or are impossible in the real world.
You do these reality checks throughout the day while being awake, in an effort to make them a habit. When they become a habit, your subconscious will accept them as "normal" and will integrate them into your dreams.
According to Reddit user jujyfruiter:
Daily reality checks have contributed to becoming lucid after practicing for about 2 months. When you do these reality checks, really question your state. Ask yourself: "Is this a dream?". If you aren't convinced after a reality check, just do more. Two or three should usually be enough.
What kind of reality checks can you perform?
- Plug your nose and try to breathe in: When you are awake, you will not be able to. In a dream, on the other hand, it works fine, thus exposing the dream state.
- Clocks behave weird: In a dream, clocks are a weird thing to deal with. They never show you the correct time and when you look away and back, the time will have changed. Other times, the clock will have no hands or show weird symbols.
- Look at your hands: In a dream, your hands can look either very weird or you will be able to stick your finger through them.
- Levitation: Imagine your feet will be lifting off the ground. If you are in a dream, this will work. and you will start floating.
- Enter a mirror or a wall: Simply try to stick your finger into a mirror or a wall. If you are in a dream, your finger or hand will pass right through. Now, are you brave enough to step through the looking glass?
Inducing Lucid Dreams
There are many different techniques to induce lucid dreams that have been discovered over the years. Some of them are suitable for beginners while others should only be attempted by experienced lucid dreamers. As this article is aimed towards a beginner we will only have a look at one technique and briefly mention others.
MILD (Mnemonic Induced Lucid Dream)
This is arguably the easiest method for beginners. It was created by Dr. Stephen LaBerge during his dissertation at Standford University. The technique is very similar to how you start remembering your dreams: You intend to have a lucid dream.
When you go to bed, set the intention to have a lucid dream. Tell yourself: "Tonight, I will be aware of my dreams". Visualize yourself in one of your dreams noticing a dream sign. The moment you notice it perform a reality check and visualize becoming lucid. Make the visualization as vivid as possible. Do this every time you wake up at night and it will get easier over time.
Bonus: WBTB (Wake Back To Bed)
Wake Back To Bed is a method that can (and should) be used in combination with another one. The basic idea of it is this: After about 5-6 hours of sleep, you wake up, stay up for about 20-30 minutes and then go back to bed. While you're awake, think or read about lucid dreaming or read in your dream journal.
Your mind creates dreams out of your thoughts, so thinking about having a lucid dream right before going back to sleep increases your chances of having one. biozabb and jujyfruiter, both experienced lucid dreamers shared on the lucid dreaming subreddit, that this method has helped them with dream recall and becoming lucid.
When you are new to the topic of lucid dreaming all the new information can, and most likely will, be confusing. Even though no one but you can make the decision on what technique to use according to many lucid dreamers on Reddit WBTB is one of the more effective ones. Getting up and then going back to sleep about 45 minutes later does not just increase the dream recall but also results in more vivid, incredibly realistic lucid dreams.
If you want to learn more, head over to the /r/LucidDreaming subreddit, as it is a treasure trove of information and a great place to find like-minded people. And if you want to read a book on lucid dreaming, check out "Exploring the World of Lucid Dreaming" by Stephen LaBerge.