How many of you have had the experience of realizing that you were dreaming while in your dream? Maybe you were being chased by a monster and then told yourself, “hey!!..this can’t be real.. I have to be dreaming”. Most likely after that realization you did not know how to proceed with your new-found awareness and soon woke up.
Lucid Dreaming is the practice of becoming self-aware in the dream state and learning to consciously manipulate the dreamscape to a certain extent. To some people lucid dreaming comes very easy and with no effort, but to most people this experience happens very rarely, and if it happens most don’t remember their dreams the next day. But the reality is that with a little training, anyone can dramatically learn to increase their chances of a lucid dream and learn to interact with the dream.
Why Would You Want to Lucid Dream?
When you learn to become lucid in your dreams you are able to explore your inner self and the different aspects of consciousness. In the dreaming environment you really are only limited by your imagination.
Adventure and Excitement: One of my favorite things to do when I am in a lucid dream is to fly like superman to exotic locations that I make up. I usually end up going to places that look like the beaches of Thailand.
Insight: Let’s say you are having a conversation in your dream with your wife, how would you like to ask your “dream” wife a few important questions you have put off. In your dream it will feel as if you are really talking to your wife and she will respond as if it where really her. But your consciousness is the one giving you the replies. When you wake up in the morning, you might realize that you got some incredible insights that you had not contemplated about in your waking life.
Problems: If you have a problem and not really sure how to solve it, write it down as your goal that next time you have a lucid dream you are going to try and answer that problem. You might really surprise yourself with how creative your subconscious can be in supplying you with answers that in waking life you had not considered.
Social Practice: Once you get the hang of it you will come to find that lucid dreaming can be so vivid that it will actually feel like your normal waking life. This can come in handy in playing out different scenarios in your dreams. You can use lucid dreaming for rehearsal for social events, public speaking, difficult or awkward confrontations.
Just to give you an example, there was an incredibly attractive woman who I saw frequently at a coffee shop, but never had the courage to introduce my self. One night I had lucid dream and told my consciousness that I needed to act confident, and approach her in the best way possible. My conversation with her was a very casual conversation, and I even made her laugh.
In my dream I was thinking to myself “see this isn’t so hard, sure she is extremely beautiful but she is just a normal person”. In the dream I end up asking her out on a dinner date, and she agrees. This realization even in my dream had a very calming and reassuring effect on me. A few days later I was back at the coffee shop, when I finished paying for my coffee, I walked up to her and struck up a conversation similar to my dream. My conversation with her felt really natural and not forced, it was like déjà vu. After about 10 minutes I got her phone number and ended up dating her shortly after.
Creativity: Personally I use lucid dreaming to come up with new ideas. When I was younger I was really into “streetball” a form of basketball that revolves around being creative and coming up with new moves, kind of like an updated Harlem Globe Trotter. I would realize that I was dreaming and than I would transport myself to a gym and tell myself to come up with a move I have never thought of, and with no hesitation my dreaming personality would carry out my intent.
Increasing Dream Recall
Before you are ready to have a lucid dream you need to train yourself at increasing your dream recall. I suggest you get a notebook that will be used solely for your dreams. Keep it near your bed or under your pillow. Affirm to your self that when you wake up that you will remember your dreams.
When you awake in the morning, spend the first few minutes just laying in bed with out doing anything. Just focus on letting any dream imagery and memories come to the surface. Write down anything, doesn’t matter if it makes sense or not. Later in the day those clues can lead to you remembering the majority of the content in your dreams. Once you train yourself to remember your dreams almost nightly, than proceed to some lucid dreaming techniques.
Lucid Dreaming Induction Techniques
Suggestion: When lying in bed have an affirmation you keep repeating to yourself as you drift off into sleep. I use “tonight In my dream I will become aware that I am dreaming” and really focus on that being the last thought that is in my consciousness as I transition into the dreaming world.
Mnemonic Induction of Lucid Dreams (MILD)
Created by: Dr. Stephen LaBerge, Ph.D of http://www.lucidity.com
The MILD technique employs prospective memory, remembering to do something (notice you’re dreaming) in the future. Dr. LaBerge developed this technique for his doctoral dissertation and used it to achieve lucid dreaming at will. The proper time to practice MILD is after awakening from a dream, before returning to sleep.
1. Setup dream recall:
Set your mind to awaken from dreams and recall them. When you awaken from a dream, recall it as completely as you can.
2. Focus your intent:
While returning to sleep, concentrate single-mindedly on your intention to remember to recognize that you’re dreaming. Tell yourself: “Next time I’m dreaming, I will remember I’m dreaming,” repeatedly, like a mantra. Put real meaning into the words and focus on this idea alone. If you find yourself thinking about anything else, let it go and bring your mind back to your intention.
3. See yourself becoming lucid:
As you continue to focus on your intention to remember when you’re dreaming, imagine that you are back in the dream from which you just awakened (or another one you have had recently if you didn’t remember a dream on awakening). Imagine that this time you recognize that you are dreaming. Look for a dreamsign–something in the dream that demonstrates plainly that it is a dream. When you see it say to yourself: “I’m dreaming!” and continue your fantasy. Imagine yourself carrying out your plans for your next lucid dream. For example, if you want to fly in your lucid dream, imagine yourself flying after you come to the point in your fantasy when you become lucid.
4. Repeat until your intention is set:
Repeat steps 2 and 3 until either you fall asleep or are sure that your intention is set. If, while falling asleep, you find yourself thinking of anything else, repeat the procedure so that the last thing in your mind before falling asleep is your intention to remember to recognize the next time you are dreaming.
Tip: I like to set my alarm 1 hour before I normally wake up, so usually on the 7th hour of sleep, which also tends to be during the R.E.M (rapid eye movement) stage of sleep. During this phase of sleep is where the most vivid dreams take place. When my alarm goes off and wakes me up, I focus on remembering my intent and quickly try and go to sleep as I am still very groggy. If I am able to stay focused I will almost immediately find my self in a lucid dream as I go back to sleep.
Dream symbols can serve as triggers to let you know that you are dreaming. Just pick a person, place, or thing that will serve as your trigger. Several times through out the day I like to look at my watch and say to myself “tonight I will know that I am dreaming when I look at my watch”. Than if I am lucky, in my dream for some reason I will look at my watch, and right there like magic I realize hey I am dreaming.
Another weird thing you will find when you are lucid dreaming is that if you are reading something or looking at a clock, and you look away, when you look back again you will find that most of the time the words or the time has completely changed. This is also a good reminder to let you know that you are dreaming.
I really hope you enjoyed this short introduction into the world of lucid dreaming and hopefully interested you enough to try and have your own lucid dream. If you try and don’t succeed don’t give up it can take weeks to months to have your first lucid dream, but when you do it will be well worth it. The experience can have a profound effect on you. Lucid dreaming truly is one of the greatest learning tools we have available, and if you’re going to be sleeping anyway, might as well learn to live in that world as well.