We will continue to build on some of the basic principles that we put into place in the last week. The focus up until now in your practice should have been on creating the right setting for a night of dreaming. Hopefully with continued practice of the ideas shared last week you have started to have more frequent, vivid dreams and more dream recall. When I fully commit to this practice and do all of the steps needed to raise my vibration I can often have up to 5 dreams a night.
I also suggested last week, that you start to write down any details from in the dream and any feelings or emotions that come up for you, in a dream journal. These are all key symbols that will help you understand the messages that are coming to you as well as distinguishing what the origin of the communication is. Next week we will focus on the symbolism that comes up within the dreams and how to interpret the messages that come through to you. We will identify ways to discover if you are engaging with your subconscious, your higher self, experiencing past lives, hypnagogia or other common occurrences in the dream realm.
This week I would like to focus on some techniques for actually becoming lucid within the dream. There are many methods that can be utilized but I am focusing on those that resonated most with me and that I have personally had the most success with. Not all of these methods work for everyone so feel free to focus on what intuitively feels right for you.
Just to give some context, we all know those people who say they never dream. This is simply not the case, everyone dreams. Laboratory studies have shown that we experience our most vivid dreams during a type of sleep called Rapid Eye Movement (REM) sleep. During REM sleep the brain is very active, the eyes move back and forth rapidly under the lids, and the large muscles of the body are relaxed. An interesting correlation has been found between those people who tend to respond more easily to sound when they are asleep and wake up more frequently with those who have more dream recall. I always joked about how I slept so lightly that I could literally hear a mouse moving around(true story). This end up being a blessing for me in terms of dream recall. In other words, those of us who are light sleepers, also have the tendency to remember more of our dreams. This is not to worry, those who sleep heavily can simply set alarms to wake up throughout the night, in order to increase the opportunity for the brain wave needed to stimulate dream recall, More on this later.
The first technique for Lucid dreaming is done through Suggestion. This is what we have set up the groundwork for last week by beginning to set the intention that you are going to have and remember your dream. You will be taking this suggestion one step further by setting the intention to become conscious within the dream.
Clear your mind. Relax.
Repeat to yourself the following: Tonight in my dreams, I will realize I am dreaming and become consciously aware.
You can also fill in the blank with a sign or omen which is either common and unusual in your dreams. This serves as a trigger for you to be aware that you are in a dream. For example, if you have a friend who frequently appears in your dreams you would use the suggestion: Tonight in my dreams, when I see ___________ (friend) I will realize I am dreaming and become consciously aware.
Self hypnosis is another powerful way to incubate lucid dreams. I would group this in with Suggestion technique. Like meditation, it draws on the same relaxation response that helps calm your body, reduce stress hormones, and focus your mind on affirmative thoughts.
However, hypnotizing yourself is different from meditation because it uses auto suggestions to plant specific thoughts and affirmations. As mentioned above the technique of using the suggestions before going to sleep in this way, you can essentially hypnotize yourself to improve your recall, program your dreams and increase your self awareness, teaching you to habitually recognize when you’re dreaming and thereby trigger lucidity.
Carlos Castaneda Technique: Finding your Hands
Using the Carlos Castaneda approach consistently each night before sleep is how I had my first lucid dream that wasn’t by accident. I believe it works by establishing a stimulus-response link. Practicing repeatedly develops the association between the stimulus (your hands) and the response (This is a dream). This method is discussed in the book The Art of Dreaming.
If you are not familiar with the work of Carlos Castaneda he was an American writer and anthropologist who wrote a series of books that described his training in shamanism, particularly a group that he called the Toltecs. His primary teacher was a sorcerer named Don Juan. He wrote, “Dreaming is the vehicle that brings dreamers to this world, and everything sorcerers know about dreaming was taught to them by us. Our world is connected to yours by a door called dreams. We know how to go through that door, but men don’t. They have to learn it.”
Sit in your bed, and become mentally relaxed. Stare softly at the palm of your hands, and tell yourself, “Tonight while I am dreaming, I will see my hands and realize that I am dreaming.” Continue to softly look at your hands and mentally repeat the affirmation, “Tonight while I am dreaming, I will see my hands and realize that I am dreaming.” Allow your eyes to cross and unfocus. Remain at peace and continue to repeat slowly. After about five minutes or once you feel too sleepy, end the practice. When you wake up in the middle of the night, gently recall your intention to see your hands and realize that you are dreaming. At some point in a dream, suddenly your hands will pop up in front of you and you will instantly make the connection, that this is a dream. Try to stay calm, now you can begin to explore the dream realm.
Stephen LaBerge’s MILD Technique
MILD stands for Mnemonic Induction of Lucid Dreams or “Mnemonically Induced Lucid Dream”. This technique makes use of your ability to recall your intentions in the future (prospective memory), making you more likely to remember to question your dream state. Over time, as your prospective memory improves, you’ll notice more consistent results, not only in achieving lucidity, but also in remembering actions and plans you have for your dream adventures, and even having an easier time remembering to wake up in the middle of the night. Dr. Steven LaBerge created this technique and wrote about it in his book, Exploring the World of Lucid Dreaming. Since he first wrote about this technique lucid dreamers have developed several variations.
Get into the practice of memorizing your last dream in detail.
When you spontaneously wake up at night or with an alarm simply, lie in bed and recall the last dream in detail. You’ll want to take some time to recall your dream and imagining it with you lucid.
LaBerge suggests that you take your recalled dream and clearly imagine that you have become lucid at an appropriate point.
Visualize yourself becoming aware in the remembered dream.
Next, intend to become lucid in the next dream by suggesting, “Next time I’m dreaming, I want to recognize I’m dreaming”
Do the above until you feel determined. Expect to become lucid and aware in your next dream as you fall back asleep.
LaBerge also recommended that lucid dreamers conduct a reality check to verify that they were dreaming. A reality check could be something as simple as levitating or flying. If you can do these actions in the dream state, then obviously it is a dream.
Paul Tholey’s Lucid Mindset
Paul Tholey developed an idea to achieve awareness in dreams,“If one develops a critical frame of mind towards the state of consciousness during the waking state, by asking oneself whether one is dreaming or awake, this attitude will be transferred to the dreaming state. It is then possible through the occurrence of unusual experiences to recognize that one is dreaming.”
The Technique :
Throughout the day when confronted with an odd event, ask yourself, am I dreaming or not? Then ask, how do I know?
Make it an everyday practice to do this reality check. One common one is to try to levitate.
Eventually, this may transfer over to your dream state and when you wonder, am I dreaming and do your reality check, you will find yourself levitating, and realize that you are in fact in a dream.
Nap to Lucidity Technique
This is one of the techniques that I have the most consistent success with. Many lucid dreamers (and confirmed by the Lucidity Institute), the Nap to Lucidity Technique significantly increases the probability of a lucid dream.
Wake about 90 minutes before your normal waking time.
Spend the next 90 minutes reading or thinking about lucid dreaming, then return to sleep with the intent to become lucid.
This is also the best time to utilize the aid of the lucid dreaming pills that you received for those who purchased the kit.
I have also had much success with waking up at 4–6 am specifically. Many spiritual teachings claim that the period between 4 and 6 am is the best time to for lucidity, creativity, meditation. This is because this is the time that the pineal gland is most active(more on this in future workshops) In addition, there are several brain entrainment audios avaiable online and for purhase that can be utilized as this time to assist with stepping into your dreams consciously. I also recommend usng any type of herbs or supplements that help with brain function as this increases the presence of serotonin. Like with all things, for some people lucid dreaming will require much practice and persistence. For others they will be able to achieve the desired results with very little effort. So try to do one of the above practices consistently.
Also, consider what you might like to do in a lucid dream. If this is your first lucid dream, remember not to get too excited once you become lucid, since this normally will wake you up. If you start getting excited look at your hands or the ground or focus on something boring in the lucid dream to stabilize it. We will talk much more about some of the things that you can do once you have become lucid within the dream in upcoming weeks. Have lots of fun. And good luck with all of these techniques.