Lucid dreaming tips
Normally a dream is like a movie with a first-person perspective – you may see through your own eyes, but you can’t control what is going on. Sometimes you helplessly make decisions that you wouldn’t make in a conscious state. But in a lucid dream, you take that control back. You “wake up” within the dream, and you’re as conscious as you are right now.
You can do anything you want in your dreams, and with practice, you will be able to control the physical environment, summon specific characters, and develop super powers like the ability to fly. It’s a difficult skill to master, but with these techniques, you can be on your way within a week.
1. Keep a dream log
Keep a notepad and pen by your bed, and every time you wake up, whether it’s through the night or in the morning, immediately grab the pen and start writing about the dream you were just having. Go into as much detail as possible.
After you’ve done this for a while, you’ll find that you have much better recall of your subconscious content, and you’ll also start to notice themes and patterns — places in which your dreams often take place, objects that usually appear, recurring characters, and so on. These common features are your “dream signs.”
2. Create an intention
It’s important to keep in mind that the reason you’re keeping this log is to have a lucid dream. Saturate your mind with the concept of lucid dreaming. Read books and blogs about it and watch movies and YouTube videos about it. This is especially important right before you fall asleep.
Then, as you’re lying down in bed, form the intention to have a lucid dream that night. Repeat in your mind “I will have a lucid dream tonight,” mentally go over your dream signs, and think about what you will do when you go lucid. Your subconscious mind will get the hint.
3. Conduct reality checks
Lucid dreams are initiated when you realize that the dream is in fact not real. In order to do this, you can conduct “reality checks” in your daily life — you check for something that only occurs in dreams and not in reality. Since we tend to dream about actions we regularly take, if you do this enough in your waking life you’ll eventually do it in a dream, fail the test, and go lucid.
Every day, two or three times per hour, plus any time you encounter one of your dream signs, ask yourself, “Am I dreaming right now?” Then do the following tests to check whether you are:
4. Check some writing
Look at some text, look away, then look back at it. If the text is the same, you are awake. If the text has changed, you’re dreaming. Obviously, you need to use static text like on a magazine and not on a TV, which can change in real life too. Look away and look back three times to make sure.
5. Look at your eyes
If you can locate a mirror in your dream, look into your eyes. Compare what reflects back with your reality. Example: If you hazel eyes and this color is mirrored back, you are awake. If you have blue eyes and the reflection comes back something different, you are likely asleep.
6. What was I just doing
As Leonardo DiCaprio’s character, Cobb, states in Inception, “you never really remember the beginning of the dream, do you? You always wind up in the middle of what’s going on.” This is true. Your dream doesn’t start from your bed, it starts wherever the dream takes place.
So ask yourself, just as Cobb asks Ariadne: “How did I end up here?” Scan your memory, do you remember how you got to where you are? If you can clearly trace your movements, you’re awake. If not, you’re dreaming.
7. Break up your sleep
Dreams occur in REM (Rapid Eye Movement) sleep, and REM phases of sleep get longer as the night goes on. Furthermore, if we wake up during a REM sleep phases, we tend to go straight back into it when we fall back to sleep again. We can use this to our advantage. Set an alarm for about 75% into your normal sleep period, so if you sleep eight hours, set it for 6 hours after you expect to fall asleep.
When you wake up, first write in your dream log as usual. Then get up, walk around and use all of the methods above. Do lots of reality checks. Read articles about lucid dreaming and meaning. Go over your dream signs. Create a strong intention. Go back to bed after 30-60 minutes of this, again forming the intention to have a lucid dream as you fall asleep.
Keep at it!
Although there are reports of people having lucid dreams spontaneously and without any deliberate induction, this is rare. Generally, people have lucid dreams because they put a lot of work in, every day. It is quite intrusive to have to write in a memory log after waking up, or to wake up in the middle of a comfortable rest. But if you stay persistent, you’ll reach the point where you can have a lucid experience almost any night you want.