Lucid dreaming, or a “lucid dream,” is a dream whereby you know you are dreaming. Most of us have experienced this phenomenon to a degree, but not purposefully.
It's typically a surreal realisation, whereby a situation occurs in the dream that makes you question your presence within the dream itself, and suddenly you are aware that you are in dreamworld and not in the physical world – though things can appear physical by way of touch and form.
However, a dream is only lucid if you are aware of the dream. Some say you must be able to dictate its direction and outcome for it to truly be considered a lucid dream, but by definition, some awareness makes it lucid.
For this reason, it is considered an out of body experience of sorts, because unlike a standard dream, you are experiencing an alternative realm and have awareness/control over it, just like in the real world – whichever that may be 🙂
Excited? You should be!
Dispelling 4 Common Lucid Dream Myths
Before we get on to techniques for lucid dreaming, let's dispel a few of the main common myths that prevent most people getting started:
1. Lucid Dreaming is for Hippies
Although lucid dreaming sounds “new age,” it has been around for thousands of years and has been documented scientifically as a real phenomenon.
Lucid dreaming is when a person is fully present and aware of the dream such as flying or meeting a deceased person. Lucid dreaming is essentially “mental clarity” in your sleep; a conscious awareness akin to that of real life.
Anyone can have a lucid dream, not just someone who eats vegan and cares about the planet. If you open your mind and allow yourself to think about possibilities beyond the physical world, you are already a third of the way to being able to lucid dream.
2. You Can Be Awake and Slip into a Lucid Dream
Lucid dreaming happens when you are asleep; it does not affect the real world in any way. So don't worry, you won't find yourself walking into a store with no pants on! That said, if you are prone to sleep walking, it is entirely possible that you could lucid dream and sleep walk. However, because of the consciousness you have within the dream, you would most likely be able to control this event.
Also, the micro sleep people describe – when they nod off for a few or more seconds while continuing the activity they are doing – is not a lucid dream. This is caused by over tiredness and the brain wanting to sleep so badly that it shuts down into sleep mode for a few seconds.
So no, in a nutshell, when you learn to lucid dream, it won't suddenly take control of you and happen spontaneously.
3. Lucid Dreaming is Dark and Evil!
Lucid dreaming occurs naturally and is in no way related to any occult-like activity. It is enjoyable and fun and many lucid dreamers enjoy writing about their experiences and sharing them with others.
Lucid dreaming is not linked to a dark side of any sort. If you choose to create a dreamscape that contains dark characters that is up to you. And this is a case in point: you control the dream; what happens is up to you.
During my lucid dreams I tend to create beachside settings where I invite friends to relax and chill, or I simply sit there on my own and watch the sea roll in and out of the shore. Everything I create is positive and stress free, never negative.
4. Lucid Dreaming Only Happens to Spiritually Gifted People
This is complete rubbish, but many people think that only psychics and yogis can achieve lucid dreaming. The reality is that any person can learn dream control; it just takes some brain training.
The power of the mind is incredible, and as you probably know we hardly use any of our brain power. You just need to start engaging with your dreams. So let's move on to how to lucid dream.
How to Lucid Dream in 6 Simple Steps
To start learning to lucid dream you need to be motivated. It won't happen overnight, no pun intended. There are steps to get there and belief is required all the way. The first step is Dream Recall.
1. Recall Your Dreams Every Day
Try to become familiar with your dreams, their patterns, features, characters, settings and entire environment. As soon as you wake up, try to recall your dream. Do this at intervals throughout the day too. Eventually, this practice will enable you to recognise your dreams when they are actually happening, and enable you to take control of them.
2. Document Your Findings in a Journal
Use a journal to document the things you remember about your dreams. This is actually really fun, especially when you read back over your dreams at the end of the week. You will begin to notice patterns and reoccurring themes, often that reflect your real life experience.
3. Practice Reality Testing
Here is a technique called reality testing that the institute for lucid dreams recommends for beginners. They advise that you do this several times a day, especially when something odd occurs or when you are reminded of dreams. Choose regular specific actions like when you see your face in the mirror, look at your watch, arrive at work or home.
The idea is that you check in with reality to make sure you aren't dreaming. Sounds strange, right? Well, not really. You see: you need to entrain your brain to identify what is and isn't a dream, because otherwise you won't know when you are lucid dreaming.
For example, when you reality test in the mirror, see if you make a hat appear on your head, or, when you reality check with your watch, see if you can change the time just by looking at it. If everything is normal and stable, you aren't dreaming!
4. Practice Virtual Dreaming
okay, so your reality test says you aren't dreaming, but what if you were, what would it be like? Visualize that you are dreaming. Imagine that what you are seeing, hearing, smelling, feeling is all a dream. Imagine instabilities in your environment, words changing, scenes transforming. Perhaps you are floating in the sky. Create the essence of a dream and engage with the environment.
In addition, think of what you'd like to do in your next lucid dream and visualise it. You've probably heard me say before that “what can be visualised can be realised”, well, this goes for LD too!
5. Use The MILD Technique (Mnemonic Induction of Lucid Dreams)
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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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 dream sign; 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.
- 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.
Source Reference: http://www.lucidity.com/LucidDreamingFAQ2.html#techniques
6. Use Binaural Beats to Help You Access the Lucidity Zone
Lucid dreaming isn't easy, as I'm sure you've gathered from this post. However, binaural beats make it that much easier to slip into the dream state with the awareness required for lucidity. The reason for this is that by using binaural beats, usually in the theta and delta ranges (sometimes alpha and low theta) a blueprint conducive to lucid dreaming can be created,
The audio will take you into a not dissimilar to that of deep meditation, but drop you further into delta, the frequency state of deep sleep. This gradual easing into sleep, along with your previous practice of dream recall and reality testing, will put you in the perfect zone for lucid dreaming.
From experience I can tell you that the best time to lucid dream is first thing in the morning, right after you wake up, or in the afternoon when you feel the need for a nap; you know, the type of nap where you kind of fall into a light dream but still have some awareness about you.
I highly recommend the following three lucid dreaming tracks:
I hope this post helped you understand a lot more about lucid dreaming: what it is, what it isn't, how to start preparing your mind, and a methodology to follow for achieving your first lucid dream.
As always, hit me up with questions below. I'd be happy to share my experience.