Lucid dreaming – the act of becoming consciously aware inside the dream world – is a lot more common than you may think. Studies suggest that we will all lucid dream at least once in our lives by sheer accident, and that a lot of children teach themselves to lucid dream as a way to control and escape nightmares. But what if we want to learn how to control our dreams every night? Is lucid dreaming really something that we can all tap into, whenever we want?
The answer, quite simply, is yes. And you don’t have to become a Buddhist monk to attain the kind the mental clarity required for lucid dreaming (although it helps). You may have already experienced lucidity without knowing it; perhaps you were having a particularly ludicrous dream when something in the back of your mind clicked: “Hang on, pigs can’t fly – I must be dreaming!” The result is a semi or fully lucid dream, where your focus of the dream becomes enhanced to lifelike realism, and where you have the ability to control your actions and certain elements within the dream.
The fact that we can stumble across this exhilarating phenomenon by accident means that it is truly not that difficult to become lucid. Indeed, with the right techniques, we can learn how to achieve lucidity whenever we want…
Planting The Subconscious Seed
Some people have their first lucid dream the very same day they discover the concept. That’s no exaggeration – I expect this article to inspire lucid dreams for the first time in many people tonight. We have the subconscious mind to thank for that. Because throughout the day, your subconscious mind is taking in billions of bits of information about the world around you. And tonight, during your 100 or so minutes of dream time, your brain will filter through the day’s events and likely trip over this article and inspire The Question required to induce lucidity: “Is this a dream?”
However, we don’t have to rely on luck to enter the conscious dreamscape. There are a number of highly effective techniques for inducing lucid dreams. Practicing them regularly is a matter of commitment – the more you practice and focus on your intention to recognize when you are dreaming, the more likely you are to have lucid dreams. On average, beginners may expect to have one or two lucid dreams per month, whereas advanced lucid dreamers enjoy the thrills of dream control every night. How quickly you progress is up to you.
Types of Lucidity
All lucid dreaming techniques fall into one of two categories:
In this article, I’ll explain the most popular DILD technique which you can being right now. A DILD is a normal dream, in which many details are fuzzy and illogical, but then you are spontaneously triggered into conscious thinking. For a brief moment, you question your reality and ask yourself: “Is this real?” Recognizing that you are simply dreaming, your conscious brain fully awakens within the dream and you become lucid. You gain control of your self awareness in the dream – meaning you can control where you go and what you do.
As a beginner you may have difficulty controlling your awareness at first – your brain is not used to this new heightened state of awareness in dreams. But with practice you will rapidly learn how to move and manipulate a lucid dream. You’ll see it is all about changing your beliefs about what is and isn’t possible. A DILD is an ideal lucid dreaming technique for beginners or anyone who is not practiced at meditation.
(In my next article, I’ll explain a more complicated WILD technique which you can use to have lucid dreams on demand.)
The MILD Method for Lucid Dreams
When he was a student at university, the famous lucid dreamer Dr Stephen LaBerge was writing his thesis on lucid dreaming and needed a way to induce lucid dreams on a regular basis. So created the MILD method – which turned out to be very successful. MILD stands for Mnemonic Induction of Lucid Dreams, because it relies on waking memory. This method increases your self-awareness during the waking day, thereby making it easier to remember to test your reality when you are dreaming. It also involves setting the subconscious intention to lucid dream as you fall asleep.
Step One – Start a dream diary -
Keep a notebook by your bedside and write down your dreams in detail as soon as you wake up. This will naturally improve your dream recall and even make your normal dreams more vivid. Try to stay still and avoid any distractions while you do this, otherwise motor neurons will fire in your brain and quickly overwrite the fading memory of the dream. If you like, identify recurring themes and symbols – these will become triggers for lucidity later on.
Step Two – Perform reality checks -
Throughout the day, ask yourself if you are awake or dreaming. At the same time, try to do a small impossible act – like pushing your hand through the wall or floating a few inches upwards. Of course, nothing will happen. But soon you will do this in a dream and your hand really will pass through the wall – leading to instant lucidity. The key is to do regular reality checks throughout the day. If you keep forgetting, you can set your watch to chime every hour, draw a big L for Lucid on your hand, or associate reality checks with opening doors. Even better, ask “Am I dreaming?” whenever you look at the time. This is a useful reality check because clocks (particularly digital clocks) rarely work in dreams.
Step Three – Set the intention -
Do this step while you are falling asleep, or when you wake up in the night (ideally 4-6 hours after going to bed, when the REM stages become longer). As you drift off, repeat the phrase “Next time I’m dreaming, I’ll realize I’m dreaming” over and over in your head. This is almost hypnotic in nature, and will send a direct message to your subconscious mind: to recognize the dream state. Your subconscious mind is a powerful tool – focus on what you really want, and it will come to you. Repeat that phrase (or similar) until you fall asleep or feel it is completely ingrained in your mind. The single most important goal of your subconscious is now to have a lucid dream.
At the same time, imagine what it would feel like to suddenly realize you are dreaming and can do anything your desire. Re-live the ending of your last dream, or simply place your awareness in an imaginary dream scene. But this time, instead of waking up, become fully conscious of the dream. Look closely at your hands, feel awareness in your dream body, lean down and touch the ground, smell the fresh air, do everything you can to place your awareness firmly in this imagined reality. You may even decide to act out your lucid dream intention – whatever that may be. Many people choose to fly in their first lucid dreams, creating a sudden rush of mental and physical freedom. I have been lucid dreaming for over a decade and still don’t tire of rocketing through space, flying over cities, or merely floating wherever I go…
About the Author
Rebecca Turner is a keen lucid dreamer and has been researching the nature of dreams and consciousness since her teens. She is the author of World of Lucid Dreaming, a popular website which teaches anyone how to lucid dream on demand, as well The Art of Lucid Dreaming, the definitive 175-page ebook guide to lucid dreaming for beginners.
Please share with us your experiences with Lucid Dreaming – tell us about your first experience – or your most memorable. Tell us what techniques work for you – and tell us how long you practiced before you became successful. Conscious Lucid Dreaming is something I still haven’t mastered – and I expect it’s the same for many others. By sharing your experiences you will motivate and help all of us who want to play in the World of Lucid Dreams. And to show our appreciation we will be gifting random comments with a free download of one of our products. Thank You