Dreams are successions of images, ideas, emotions and sensations occurring involuntarily in the mind during certain stages of sleep. The content and purpose of dreams are not yet understood, though they have been a topic of speculation and interest throughout recorded history. The scientific study of dreams is known as oneirology. Throughout history, people have sought meaning in dreams or divination through dreams. Dreams have also been described physiologically as a response to neural processes during sleep; psychologically as reflections of the subconscious; and spiritually as messages from gods, the deceased, predictions of the future, or from the Soul. Many cultures practice dream incubation with the intention of cultivating dreams that are prophetic or contain messages from the divine. Recent studies indicate that dreams could be controlled by a learning response. Just imagine that for an instant. It looks feels and sounds exactly the same as ‘normal’ reality, except that you know that it isn’t. You know that you are perfectly safe; you cannot die or get injured, that is Lucid Dreaming. There are no normal rules and regulations about what you get up to! It is truly your own ‘Individual Virtual Reality’, with a depth of realism far beyond the most sophisticated computer imitation. Let’s see how.
10. Motivation & Set the Intention
Lucid Dreaming is the ability to have vivid self-awareness while dreaming. On entering this scientifically proven state of heightened consciousness, you can experience and control your dreams with surprising richness and intensity. Imagine waking up in your dreams with the ability to do anything, meet anyone, go anywhere… and all in vivid detail with your five senses fully alive. It is an exhilarating experience where all your dreams vividly come true. Everybody has the capacity to learn how to have lucid dreams – it just takes motivation and practice. The more skilled you become at meditation and entering altered states of awareness on demand, the easier it is to go lucid at will. And once you make the decision to become conscious in your dreams, it has the potential to completely change your relationship with your inner self forever.
9. Your Sleep Posture and Relaxation
Close your eyes and lie on your back. Take three deep breaths in and out. Feel your body sinking into the bed, and let go of all the tension in your muscles. Enjoy the feeling of relaxation, and focus on your intention to control your dreams. Allow any thoughts to pass you by, without interacting with them. Keep your body totally relaxed and still. Repeat over in your mind: “One. The next scene will be a dream. Two. The next scene will be a dream. Three…” etc. This will set your intention and keep your mind alert while your body slowly drifts back to sleep.
You can have more success with certain sleep postures over others. Best would be the common fetal position (on side, with knees and elbows tucked in) as well as flat on back. It can be strange to be walking around in a lucid dream one moment, then lying curled up in bed the next. Sometimes you even wake yourself up because you’ve moved your arm in the lucid dream and accidentally triggered real life arm to move and hit the bed. This can be disorienting and cause a sudden shift in awareness from one body to the next, but if you stay still and close eyes again, you can often return to the same lucid dream from the exact same place you left off.
8. Spontaneous Lucidity
Until you have your first lucid dream, the whole concept may seem too elusive, causing people to give up before they’ve begun. So I thought it would be helpful to define exactly how to enter the lucid dream state. This is the most common kind of lucid dream in beginners. In fact, your first lucid dream was probably caused by spontaneously lucidity. This occurs when you suddenly realize “I’m dreaming!” for no apparent reason. Or perhaps your dream became so strange that your conscious self awareness kicked in. Spontaneous lucidity relies mostly on luck. However, by increasing your self awareness during the day time you can train yourself to recognize the dream state better, and thereby learn how to become lucid in dreams with ease. Through regular meditation and lucid dreaming, you can become a lot more self aware. This helps to recognize the dream state even when it is mimicking real life, because you can pick up on more subtler clues.
7. Dream Characters
The prevailing wisdom says that dream characters are part of your unconscious psyche (as opposed to conscious beings interacting with your dream). So this method relies on your subconscious mind helping you out. Here’s how it works. I set the intention to lucid dream by meditating before I go to sleep and firmly telling my subconscious “I will lucid dream tonight.” I wake up around 5am (naturally, or with an alarm clock) and repeat my intention. For the next 2-3 hours I’ll have long periods of REM sleep with vivid dreams. This is when I’m most likely to lucid dream, and if I’m lucky, a dream character will tell me so. For instance, once a psychology professor came up to me in a dream and said “let’s try some lucid dreaming now.” It worked! The professor triggered my conscious self awareness into action and my dream became lucid.
6. Dream Themes
This is similar to the concept described above. Simply do some lucid dream incubation before you go to sleep (meaning, tell your subconscious that you want to recognize the next time you are dreaming). Then go to sleep thinking about what you might do inside your next lucid dream. When a dream event triggers you, it’s usually because you are dreaming about lucid dreaming! You may not have this kind of self awareness in dreams yet, but as you improve your dream recall and have more conscious dream experiences, you’ll find this is a neat way to become lucid in dreams.
5. Increase your Self-Awareness by Reality Checks
Throughout the day, ask yourself whether you are awake or dreaming. This is called a reality check. A reliable way to do this is set your digital watch to chime every hour. When it beeps I look at my hands and ask myself “am I dreaming?” Then I try to push my hand through a wall or desk. When you habitually do this in a dream, your hands will appear in high definition, and you will be able to push them through any solid object. The sudden increase in self awareness will instantly trigger your lucidity!
This technique is great for a first lucid dream. Doing reality checks programs self awareness into your regular dreams, thereby creating spontaneous lucidity. A reality check is simply trying to do something impossible in the real world – like pushing your hand through the wall. Making this a force of habit will create reality checks in dreams, giving you the opportunity to recognize the dream state. (In a dream, if you try to push your hand through the wall, it will go straight through.) Reality checks are probably the easiest way to have lucid dreams. They are not the only way – and certainly aren’t 100% reliable – but they don’t require any skill and quickly teach your subconscious mind to learn lucid dreaming. Using this system, you will never wake up in a dream! Your subconscious mind can’t test the same principles as your logical conscious mind. It’s the reason you have normal dreams every night, instead of clear, conscious dreams. In order to have self awareness in a dream, you need to have that “eureka!” moment. Something that jogs your conscious mind into waking, so you have the capacity to say “hang on, this is a dream!” Reality checks will provide that cue. Perform your reality checks every couple of hours throughout the waking day. It’s best to combine two together. Soon they will occur in a dream automatically, and when they do, you will become fully lucid. You may even lucid dream tonight. Some examples are: Breathing – can you hold your nose and mouth shut and still breathe? Jumping – when you jump, do you float back down? Reading – can you read a sentence twice without it changing? Vision – is your vision clearer or blurrier than normal? Hands - can you push your right fingers through your left hand? Time – can you read a clock face or digital watch? Magic - can you fly, shape shift, or walk through walls? Lights - do light switches work properly? Mirrors – does your reflection look normal in the mirror? Memory – what day is it and what are you doing now? Logic – can you add up two numbers for a correct answer?
4. Observe Your Hypnagogic Imagery
After 5-10 minutes you will see hypnagogic imagery. This is the beginning of the dream state! Blobs of color will swirl around behind your closed eyelids. Observe it if you like, but also be aware of other sensations beyond your field of vision. Let your inner voice go quiet. As the dream state deepens, you will be aware of voices and sounds. This is normal – they are coming from inside your own head. Hold on to this state of blissful relaxation, while focusing on your intention to recognize the dream state when it occurs.
3. Fall Asleep Consciously
Remember you are tricking your body to fall asleep consciously. So hold on to that thin strand of conscious awareness as your mind goes deeper. This is the great secret of meditation. It is not easy at first, but practice makes perfect. When your body falls asleep, you may hear a loud vibrating or humming sensation in your head. It’s exciting at first, and may ruin your early attempts. This is the point of transition: from waking to the dream state. If you try to move now, you may find your body has naturally entered sleep paralysis. This is normal and occurs every time you go to sleep – you just aren’t usually aware of it. It’s a weird sensation but nothing to worry about. Most people don’t even notice this state when practicing. Sleep paralysis is a naturally occurring mechanism that begins when we fall asleep each night. It prevents us from acting out our dreams, by blocking the brain signals that tell the muscles to move. This is vital to keep us out of harm’s way when we are unconscious – and if we want a good night’s sleep.
2. Enter the Dream World
By now, your mind is aware but your body is asleep. Whether you followed your hypnagogic imagery into the dream state, or the images came from beyond your natural field of vision, you will notice a dream scene emerging in front of you. There are two ways to enter your lucid dream now. First, you can simply step into the picture, so that it becomes 3D around you. To do this, simply push your awareness deeper into the dreamscape. Alternatively, you can “climb out” of your physical body. In your mind’s eye, imagine you have two bodies; a physical body and a dream body. You can roll, sink, or float off the bed, but be careful not to move your physical body by accident. Or simply imagine yourself in a different location. This movement out of body is what finally releases you from the waking world to a lucid dream world.
1. Control and Explore your Dream
The final part is the most fascinating. After stepping into lucid dream, the single most important goal of your subconscious is to control your dreams. Now, imagine what it would be like to realize you are dreaming. Imagine you are back in the last dream you can remember and re-live the ending. But this time, become conscious within the dream. Look around you and see everything in high definition. Smell the scent of the air. Feel the ground underfoot. Engage all your senses. This is the key to increasing self awareness in dreams. This powerful visualization technique is excellent for becoming lucid, especially if you do it as you fall asleep. Sometimes you will find the dream world literally unfolds around you. Other times you will fall asleep and dream of this memory later on in the night. That is the secret to Lucid Dreaming. The very last thought you have before falling asleep is about lucidity.