But ... I'm Not A Dummy
Hi guys. It seems that every week somebody asks about techniques and tips for experiencing lucid dreams and every week I type the same things over and
So, to save my poor fingers from wear and tear, I have created this thread as a definitive guide to lucid dreaming. It was going to be a
PODcast, but my microphone seems to have gone walkabout. I realise that this issue has been covered before, but it always seems to be raised in
response to some other issue with the result that these techniques are spread out over a number of threads, which is why I have gathered them together
in one place for your dreaming convenience. This guide is a little long, but experiencing lucid dreams on a consistent basis and learning to control
them takes time, dedication and practice. I hope you find it useful.
The first step towards lucid dreaming is perfecting your dream recall. The more detail and information you can remember about your dreams, the more
likely you will be to experience lucid dreaming. The easiest way to develop your dream recall is to keep a dream diary next to your bed. This
doesn’t have to be anything fancy – a small notebook and a pen will do just fine. Each night after you wake up, or if you wake up during the
night, write down any elements of your dreams that you can remember. The more detail you can recall the better, but be aware that this may be
difficult initially. If all you can remember is something vague like “I was walking through a park in the city”, that’s fine, write that down
along with the date and the time you woke up. You will find that as you begin to keep a record of your dreams and become more conscious of remembering
your dreams that they will become progressively easier to remember. You will increasingly remember more intricate details, until you are able to
remember almost the entire content of your dreams each night. Now, this sounds like a simple step and it is, but be aware that developing good recall
can take an extremely long time. It took me about 6 months and some of my friends took anywhere up to a year or more and as little as a couple of
months. If you find that it has been a few months and you still cannot recall your dreams with any degree of accuracy, don’t stress. It will happen
eventually, it just takes longer for some people. Lucid dreaming takes a long time to experience and patience and constant practice are required, but
the payoff is definitely worth it.
Once you have developed to the stage where you can recall almost all of your dream experiences, you are ready to try to experience lucid dreaming
proper. The following are a number of tips and techniques that I have used to great success. Most of them I stumbled upon by accident and later
learned, through books and the internet, that they had been used successfully by many people. I have taught my friends how to have lucid dreams using
these techniques and believe me, if they can do it, anybody can. You can try these techniques all at once or you can mix and match until you find a
combination that works for you.
Am I Asleep Yet?
It sounds weird, but the first thing I suggest doing is to try and pick the exact moment when you fall asleep. Now, before you think you’re doing
something wrong, let me tell you that actually picking the exact instant where you pass from wakefulness into sleep is impossible. I can usually get
pretty close, but the actual moment always eludes me. However, the point of the exercise is twofold: Firstly, it encourages you to recognise the signs
that you are beginning to fall asleep. For me, I know that when it becomes difficult to hold on to one train of thought, that sleep is not far off.
Secondly, it encourages your waking, conscious thought to carry over into your dream state. This sounds crazy, but it is an essential element of lucid
dreaming, since a lucid dream is basically a dream in which you are conscious and able to rationalise and think clearly. So, every night before you
fall asleep, try to identify the signs that let you know that sleep is imminent and try to then pick the exact instant when sleep envelopes you. This
simple act is a huge step forward in experiencing lucid dreaming.
Lucid dreams are intimately linked with good visualisation skills. Since dreams are constructs of your mind, the better you are at visualisation, the
more detailed your dreams will be and the better your chances of experiencing a lucid dream. One handy trick I have developed for improving my
visualisation skills is this: When I go to bed each night, I visualise a scene in my head. It doesn’t matter what this scene is, it’s more
important to visualise it down to the tiniest detail. For me personally, I always envision myself standing on the roof of a towering skyscraper,
peering over the edge. As I visualise this scene, I try to picture each detail – the traffic down to the individual cars, the pedestrians walking
below, the area around the rooftop. I also try to visualise the sounds and the sensations that I would actually experience in that situation. I try to
feel the roof under my feet. I try to feel the sensation of vertigo as I peer over the edge. The point is to make the scene as real as possible,
creating it in your head down to the tiniest detail. When you can do this with skill and confidence, your dreams are more likely to become more
detailed and life-like. Your dreams will increasingly seem closer to reality and less, well, dream-like.
Wake Up, Sleepyhead!
Another useful tip is to set your alarm to wake you up about three hours before you normally rise. So if you normally wake up at 6 in the morning, set
your alarm for 3. When it wakes you up, sit up and do something that requires you to be alert. Nothing serious – write the date in your dream diary,
for example. Now go back to sleep. I have found that you are far more likely to experience lucid dreams if your normal sleep pattern is briefly
interrupted a few hours before your normal waking time. Whilst I am confident that this has something to do with cycles of REM sleep and the
stimulation of rational, conscious thought via deliberate external activity during these cycles, I can’t say for sure. But trust me, doing this will
greatly improve your chances of experiencing lucid dreams.
Sleeping In Is Good For You
Similarly, if you are in a position where you can sleep in, such as the weekend, I find that I have my most vivid and spectacular lucid dreams between
6 and 9 in the morning. Why? Again, I don’t know. I’m confident that it has something to do with increased light levels and a subsequent increase
in the visual stimulation being processed by your brain, but this is just a guess. What is important is that, for whatever reasons, you are more
likely to have lucid dreams during these hours than any others. Combine this tip with the last one and set your alarm to wake you up at 5 with a view
to going back to sleep and actually getting out of bed at 8. Dreams that you experience during this time are far more likely to be lucid, especially
if you have been practising the techniques I have outlined.
Don't Take My Word For It
My final tip is to read as much as you can about lucid dreaming. There is tons of great information on the net, and lots of that is right here on ATS.
If you can get hold of any books or tapes, these can be helpful too, especially if the tapes offer some form of guided visualisation or relaxation
just before sleep.
With these tips and techniques, anybody should be able to experience lucid dreams. Again, be aware that it can take a very long time and a great
amount of practice to perfect these techniques and actually experience lucid dreams. Patience is the key word here. Believe me, it will be worth the
To wrap things up, I’d like to offer a few brief words of caution and advise for when you do begin to have lucid dreams.
The first thing is, don’t panic. I taught one of my friends how to lucid dream using the same techniques I have just shared with you. He is a prison
guard and is very sceptical when it comes to any form of paranormal phenomena. But when he rang me to say that he had just had his first lucid dream,
he was speaking a million miles a minute. He was excited, but he was also disappointed that the dream had lasted only a very short amount of time. He
said that he had been dreaming when all of a sudden he realised that he was in a dream and immediately tried to exert his will over the dreamscape,
only to find that everything lost its focus and became surreal and more dreamlike. This is a common situation that happens when you rush things. The
first time you have a lucid dream, just acknowledge the experience: “Hey cool, I’m dreaming. Jeremiah was right after all. Bless that handsome
devil”. Don’t rush, try to enjoy it.
I have found that the key to actually manipulating your dreams is confidence. I have had lucid dreams in which I have stopped bullets, destroyed
cities and reversed time, but I have found that it doesn’t always work perfectly if you have doubts about your ability to influence your dreamscape.
Just remember that it’s all in your mind and have faith and you will rarely be limited in your lucid dreaming actions.
I Challenge You
Finally, I have a challenge to anyone who does develop the ability to experience lucid dreams. There are things I have noticed whilst lucid dreaming
that perplex me. For example, flying seems to be okay – it’s great fun and feels exactly like what you imagine flying would feel like. However,
any time I hover a few inches above the ground, the characters in my dream begin to freak out and tend to point and scream in terror. Why? I have no
idea. I think that there are rules for what is and is not allowed in lucid dreams, but apart from the floating thing I have no idea what they are. So
if you do find yourself lucid dreaming, let me know of any rules or limitations you may come across.
Good luck. Lucid dreaming is a great gift and certainly makes going to sleep each night far more entertaining. I hope you found the tips and
techniques I have shared to be useful. Check out the following links for more info, or feel free to ask questions right here.
Wikipedia has an excellent article on lucid dreaming. It provides an excellent definition of what lucid dreaming is, as well as some elements common
to many lucid dreams. The article presents a list of common techniques for recognising and inducing lucid dreams, as well as an overview of
significant aspects of lucid dreaming research. This is an excellent place to start if you wish to learn more about lucid dreaming in general or want
some common techniques for experiencing them yourself.
Dream Views is an excellent resource for those interested in learning how to experience lucid dreams. As well as the obligatory explanation about what
lucid dreams are and what they are not, the site presents some excellent techniques for inducing lucid dreams, some of which I have used myself to
good effect. An interesting aspect of this site, which many people new to lucid dreaming will find extremely useful, are its sections on how to retain
lucidity once you achieve it and how to exert control over your dreams. This site will prove highly useful for those who have learned to experience
lucid dreams and wish to learn more advanced techniques.
[edit on 4/10/05 by Jeremiah25]