Lucid Dreaming – A guide on how to have lucid dreams
Let’s begin by defining lucid dreaming: Lucid dreaming is dreaming when you are fully aware that the experiences you are undergoing is not occurring in the day to day world of physical reality. How this awareness occurs for the first time is hotly disputed, because it’s a matter that occurs at the interface between consciousness and the netherworld of the great unconscious.
In my case I remember distinctly being over taken by a sluggish, grey mound of molten rock; it was white and grey and it followed me as I ran. Something snapped inside me and said (without words), ‘this is not real’!!!
From there I was able to gradually increase my periods of awareness by a range of techniques, until almost all of my dreaming became a controlled, lucid experience. But it took me years! Of course dream interpretation is a huge subject by itself – we will delve into that matter in future articles.
Lucid dreaming is now an important part of my life, as I deliberately explore my subconscious, sometimes in control, and sometimes just monitoring the events and places my mind produces. There’s an important distinction here though between being aware, and actually deciding on the contents of a dream.
When we simply watch our dreams, we are letting the brain do its job of integrating our experiences, worries and passions; but when we control the direction and content of a dream, we are actually creating an unnatural state that takes up time and can actually cause us problems. This is because the subconscious really needs to run free and operate naturally, forming our mental backdrop to the world and helping us to cope with day to day life.
We should NOT control our every dream even if we could. Bearing that in mind, anything is possible in a directed lucid dream if we are in control, and we can have a lot of fun!
Lucid Dreaming Techniques
There are many techniques available on the internet to develop lucid dreams, but most of them are pure quackery! To help you to sort out the wheat from the chaff, I have made a few notes on the absolute basics of this fascinating matter. Everything you need to learn how to lucid dream is here. There are three key techniques:
- Observer Techniques
- Dream control
Lucid Dreaming – Prerequisites
The first and foremost requirement is – Get enough sleep! – this cannot be over-stressed. Almost all dream experiences take place during REM sleep, and the longer you sleep, the greater the percentage of time your mind will allocate to REM sleep and dreaming. Ideally as an adult, you will be getting between seven and nine hours of sleep each night – without the distorting effects of alcohol or drugs. If you are battling with insomnia. then try a natural solution. There are many articles on this site covering this matter – I suggest you begin with a basic introduction.
Keep a dream diary
Write down your dreams as soon as you wake – keep a pen and paper next to your bed at all times. Ideally, you will keep a special dream diary, dedicated only to recording your dreams and nothing else. Make sure the book is special to you, and has a handsome, beautifully decorated cover that you will remember. You may find this cover design appearing in your dreams quite regularly.
Start Performing Reality Checks
This is the tricky bit! It starts by you asking yourself, through the day ‘is this real?’ You need to make a habit of this and do it frequently – every 30 minutes works for me – and more frequently as events occur and you meet people. It must become an almost constant check, as if you were expecting to ‘wake up’ at any moment.
What happens after a few weeks of this is that you will find that the check starts to happen in your dreams – and when it does, it will shock you! In fact, you’ll probably wake up immediately. And that’s just the start of a wonderful adventure.
Advanced Lucid Dreaming
Once you have the basic reality check working, you can move on to a creative and exciting exploration of your dreams. Whichever technique you use, it is important to stick with it. This is very much like learning basic yoga and body control – those who choose a position and then abandon it, choose another and so on never master the basic techniques.
A Mnemonic (pronounced nee – man – ik) is a simple pattern of letters or numbers or a simple image that trigger a strong recollection of something you need to remember. For instance, if I have trouble remembering people’s names, and I have a large number to remember because my job demands it, I can start using mnemonics to trigger those names.
Thus, a man’s face appears in front of me and I bring to mind the Star of David – his name is David! Or, a female face is associated with a tune – Bob Dylan’s ‘Sara’ – and there we are. This works because our minds find it much easier to recall objects with emotional resonance than mere names, numbers and places. Try it!
For lucid dreaming, it is the simplest, fastest and most effective way to obtain results. What you do is choose a sentence, such as ‘I will recognise I am dreaming’ and repeat it over and over again as you fall asleep. Your mind will take this as an instruction and push the fact you are dreaming right into the forefront of your mind, bridging the gap between conscious and unconscious experiences.
Another method is the use of hypnosis. This works well because a hypnotist essentially plants ideas and instructions in your subconscious and these surface in your dreams. It is possible although difficult to self-hypnotize for lucid dreaming.
Meditation Induced Lucid Dreams
This is a superb and valuable technique, but most people find It difficult without instruction and mentorship. Essentially, it involves a mental technique to keep your mind alert while you let your body fall into rest and sleep.
Again, this splits the conscious from the unconscious and it can be disorienting. Using this technique, you can actually move directly from being awake, into a dream state. This allows you to move directly from being awake into a dream. I suggest some basic meditation practice before attempting this.
Lucid Dreaming – Dream Control
It is important not to conflate lucid dreaming with dream control. Lucid dreaming is about being aware of your dreams while they happen; dream control is about controlling the content of your dreams.
As soon as you are aware that you are dreaming, you are in a position to control the contents of your dreams. However, when you are new at this, the realization that you are dreaming can be overwhelming and most of us wake almost immediately, up until we get used to the feeling and have it under control. So what do we do next?
Exercising Dream Control
The first Thing you will want to do is to simply STOP and start looking and listening to the dram world around you – explore passively what you can hear, see, fee, touch and smell. This will create a sense of calm and peace, even if the whole universe is revolving around your head (which it is!)
Now you need to hold firm to where you are and fight any tendency to become ‘lost’ in the dream and lose lucidity. To do this, try stamping your feet, rubbing your hands together and look around you until you can focus on one object. And keep saying to yourself –‘I am dreaming!”
Those are the basic techniques. Most of us prefer to have a guide of some sort, or a course and I recommend the one below.
Instant Lucid Dreams
This is a fully downloadable course which offers offer a range of video and written instruction to help you on your journey in lucid dreaming. I think the best thing about the offer is a money back guarantee – if you do not experience lucid dreams within a week of starting the course you can obtain a no-questions-asked refund. This is what they claim for their course:
You can click on the image in the box above to get more information on this product.