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Lucid Dreaming for Dummies

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posted on Oct, 4 2005 @ 03:39 AM
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 over.
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.

Dream Recall
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.

Getting Started
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.

Visualise It
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 effort.

Don't Panic
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

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]

posted on Oct, 4 2005 @ 07:39 AM

Wow. Awesome comprehensive guide Jeremiah. I suppose typing up a big guide will save you a lot of time in the long run over having to do it for every person that asks, like you said. Now whenever somebody asks about LD I can just be like... "GO TO JEREMIAH'S GUIDE AND SEE." (Bless that handsome devil) rofl.

I have never been that great at dream recall. In fact I'm horrible, and I only have a couple of really well remembered dreams a couple of times a month. I have always felt sort of silly about keeping a dream journal so I never did, because I don't want people to find it and read it. I guess I will start one though, and just keep it well hidden. lol. I think the few dreams that I have had were Lucid Dreams though. I always like to control my dreams and go through the same situation over and over, changing little variables and seeing every possible little outcome

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.

I had a dream once where I was in a place where it was actually possible to fly, but it was against the law. Something about the transportation industry holding people down and not wanting them to be able to get around themselves
. I got a lecture from some girl on the street when I tried. Maybe this sheds a little bit of light on it? I dunno.

posted on Oct, 4 2005 @ 08:00 AM

Originally posted by Yarcofin
I have always felt sort of silly about keeping a dream journal so I never did, because I don't want people to find it and read it.

I know what you mean - it always seemed a little poxy to me, too. But a dream diary doesn't have to be a grand, leather-bound tome with faeries and unicorns on it (although it can be, I suppose). I use a tiny little spiral notepad, the kind that fits into a shirt pocket. I just keep it in my top drawer for easy access. This way if anybody finds it, they will just assume its a notebook.

That, or hide it in your underwear drawer. If somebody finds it there who shouldn't, I'd say you would have bigger problems than having your dreams revealed.

[edit on 4/10/05 by Jeremiah25]

posted on Oct, 8 2005 @ 09:20 PM
I have a question that has been bugging me, and figure here is a good place to post it. Jeremiah, you mentioned that while lucid dreaming and flying, that it felt just like what the real thing would feel like.

First of all I am curious as to whether you "astrally project" or have "OOBE's"? If so, how can you discern the difference between lucid dreaming and astrally projecting? I have heard from multiple sources that while AP'ing it feels just like it would if you were actually flying, etc. So to all readers of this thread in general, how can you tell whether you're lucid dreaming or astrally projecting?? I've definitely experienced one if not both, that is why I'm curious.

Oh by the way, awesome post

posted on Oct, 9 2005 @ 01:52 AM
Hey Ajax. What a fantastic question!

A lot of people are of the opinion that lucid dreams and OOBEs or astral projection are the same essential experience. I personally do not think that this is the case. I believe, from my own personal experiences, that lucid dreaming and OOBEs are wholly different and I am usually able to tell the difference between them. Here's how:

Every time I have experienced an OOBE, I have done so consciously. I have used various techniques and have left my body and found myself in the same room. I can see my body, my bed and am able to walk through my house. Yes, a kind of flight is possible in this state, but I use it to travel about my neighbourhood or city. The point here is that my OOBEs take place within established reality.

Lucid dreams, on the other hand, take place within a very definite dreamscape. It is also pertinent to note that many lucid dreams do not in fact begin as such. Very often a lucid dream begins as a regular dream, but then something happens to cause you to realise that you are, in fact, dreaming. This might be something wholly outside the realm of normality, such as a monster suddenly appearing that causes you to go "Hang on a minute, here". Or alternately it may be a specific "trigger" that you have incorporated into your dreams so that when you see that trigger you realise you are dreaming. The end result is that you realise, quite suddenly, that you are not in reality but are in fact in a world of your own dreams. This realisation can be so sudden that your dream will end inexplicably, which is a very common experience for first-time lucid dreamers.

The other way to tell is that I have found my abilities whilst astral travelling to be somewhat limited. Although it is possible to fly, for example, it is difficult to interact with physical objects and impossible to affect the world in any way that defies the laws of nature. You cannot make it rain whilst astral travelling, for example. But you can do so in a lucid dream. When you take control of a lucid dream you have virtually unlimited control over every aspect of your dreams, since they are essentially your own creations. This ability to manipulate and affect the dreamscape is a clear indication that you are not experiencing an OOBE, but are in fact experiencing a lucid dream.

I hope this has helped answer your really excellent question, Ajax. Let me know if you have any further questions and I will be happy to answer them as best I can.

posted on Jan, 1 2009 @ 08:24 AM
reply to post by Jeremiah25

i had this dream the other nite where i became lucid but lost focus and realised i lost focus and dreamt that o woke up dissapointed that the dream was over, BUT I WAS STILL DREAMING!! and didnt notice untill i woke up. lol

Did you know???
The famous tryptamine '___' extracted from an native bufo of south america is actually allready inside your brain. and when u sleep it is pumped through your brain. also when u are an inch from death and your mind knows it your brain releases all its dmt in one dose causing you "life to flash before your eyes".

posted on Jan, 1 2009 @ 09:47 AM
Man that is an awesome guide.

d00d i challenge oyu to look in a mirror. apparantly it's meant to be all weird and stuff, and not meant to see yourself. But i managed to see myself in a mirror. My pupils were dialating going huge, then small huge then fast. very trippy.

posted on Aug, 18 2009 @ 10:28 AM
I got a question for anyone who thinks they can answer it. Actually, I have two..

I have read from some sources that Lucid Dreaming can be used to improve your ability to do something such as say, playing an instrument. Is this true?

Example, I play guitar and have been for numerous years now. However, would practice time spent in a Lucid Dream (I always fantasized about practicing n a completely tranquil place, and so this is one of my goals for a lucid dream) would I then be able to achieve what I practiced or learned in the lucid dream in the waking life?

I've heard that when you play pieces that are beyond your reach, you are capable of playing them flawlessly in the dream world, so how would this really benefit your instrumental abilities? Or would it just help you get closer to being able to tackle the piece in real life?

Similarly, would you be able to compose music and then accurately replay it in waking life?

Another thing I read is that Lucid Dreams can be used to seek knowledge or wisdom. How can this be possible? Or is this just false knowledge?

I don't mean spiritual stuff about yourself, I can see how that'd be possible, but I mean questions about the world or how to do something. Anything from the big to the small. Is it possible to get answers to your questions. Accurate answers that apply to real life?

Thank you to anyone who can answer this. These are just the things I notice when I read about Lucid Dreaming that I just don't fully understand..

posted on Aug, 20 2009 @ 06:34 PM
A dream notebook is a good idea.

I learned lucid dreaming on my own back in the 1970's.

One observation I had was the more I left the sleepy-mind dream state and woke up, the less I could remember my dreams. The more my mind woke up, the more details were lost.

My solution was the use of a cassette tape recorder with an external mike equipped with an "On-off" slide switch. I'd leave the recorder on the floor already set in the "Record" mode, ready to record if the microphone switch is slid to "On".

I was able to retain almost all of my sleepy mind while I moved the microphone off the bed stand and rest it on my pillow right in front of my mouth as I mumbly describe with incredible detail my dreams.

If I were to do it today I'd use an electronic recorder with one button, no fumbling recording.

I did it for a few months and sometimes didn't check the tape for a week, thinking there's nothing on it. Only to be very suprised to find a lot of entries.
Most of the time I didn't remember the dreams at all until I heard my sleepy voice and instantly recalled every detail.

Only using the tape recorder (No other techniques) I was able to (1) realize I was dreaming within the dream and (2) direct its path.

I stopped using the tape recorder after several months and the lucid dreaming reverted back to normal dreaming after a few weeks. I haven't done it since and I'd say I no longer dream .... but I know better now.

I still remember parts of those recorded dreams even today, more than 30 years later.

posted on Aug, 20 2009 @ 06:52 PM
I've just started lucid dreaming, since giving up recreational drugs- I dream all night and am acutely aware that I'm dreaming- I can get up, go into the kitchen get a drink or whatever and go straight back to my dream, can even do this up to four times a night- which isnt so good if its a nightmare

I have total recall upon waking, but by the time I'm drinking my first coffee, its gone! so your suggestion of a dream journal is a excellent one! and have been thinking I must put pen and paper next to my bed...

I'm trying to get my dreams in a 'nice place' so I can start having an OBE coz I just know I will create no end of terrifying matter if I do get a dream journal seems like a good place to times gone on my nightmares have decreased so I'm on the right track

I jumped out the other night just on falling asleep..but just as quickly jumped back in but felt the 'rush' for a couple of seconds longer than usual....

Lucid dreaming is fun but is taxing on my sleep...I seem to be dreaming all freaking night and after about two weeks of it I just go and get stoned so I can get some real sleep LOL norti I know

Thanks for the tips Jeremiah! and I think OBE's and lucid dreaming are different too.

[edit on 20-8-2009 by lifecitizen]

posted on Aug, 20 2009 @ 06:57 PM
What worked for me was to ask myself "Am I dreaming" about every 15 minutes during the day.

When I tried that, I kind of trained myself to ask that question.

Then, when I was dreaming, I would ask the question and basically become conscience that I was dreaming. It's pretty cool.

posted on Aug, 20 2009 @ 07:48 PM
Do you get all of that info from personal experience? also, whats the difference between A lucid dream and an OOBE?

posted on Jul, 24 2011 @ 05:23 PM
reply to post by Jeremiah25

That was very well written. Its been a while since the last time I had a lucid dream for me it's kinda hard to keep a hold of but your thread has inspired me to learn again. Thank you.

posted on Mar, 9 2013 @ 03:20 AM
A nicely written piece Jeremiah!
When I first discovered lucid dreaming, it was actually by accident. I cannot remember how I "discovered" it, but over the years I've developed my technique bit by bit. Because I did not know what the experience was at the time my only option was to replicate it whenever possible. Even now my technique is not every good and you could even say that it is horrible.

It is not always guaranteed, but I've entered lucid dream state by laying on my stomach with with my blanket over my head so it is completely dark. Yes this is very stupid because there is the possibility that I could have suffocated while in the lucid dream state.

"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."

I highly agree with this as I have experienced it before. I guess you would set your alarm clock to three or so hours earlier than your normal "wake up" time because it allows you more time for you to dream, but I have found that if I am awoken even half an hour earlier than my usual wake up time then I am still very likely to enter the lucid dream state right after as well.

Thanks again for the post Jeremiah. It is time for me to start at step one of your post and move away from the bad habits of entering lucid dreaming that I have developed.

edit on 9-3-2013 by petersmileyface because: More detail

posted on Mar, 14 2013 @ 06:37 PM
In my last lucid dream a few days ago I was able to sing this song, my voice becoming female and sounding just like the artist's voice. I noticed that I was replicating the whole song including all the instruments. It was if my voice itself was a speaker system. It started off me singing this song, but when I realized I was dreaming, I lucidly enhanced my singing to where my voice sounded like a recording of the song. I was pretty impressed I could do this in my dream to this extent. There were some dream characters around me, I guess they didn't think it too weird what I was doing, and they joined with me singing parts of the song too.

I'm actually better at levitating in my dream than flying I think. I like lifting off the ground and flying around slowly or stopping to hover in mid-air. My favorite is hovering about 20 feet off the ground and doing telekinesis on objects in the dreamscape around me. One time I levitated another person by this while I was hovering as well. My dream characters don't run around and yell, but they do look kind of amazed like I shouldn't be able to do that.

posted on Sep, 10 2013 @ 11:10 AM
I used to lucid dream often when I was younger, around 10-12 but obviously I had no idea what it was. I just thought I knew that I was in a dream. One that I remember in particular was me walking around my neighborhood, knowing that for some reason there were dinosaurs in my neighborhood and me stating "I'm not waking up until I touch a dinosaur!" Then I started flying around looking for dinosaurs.

But yes, I used to do it all the time without even trying. I would absolutely love to learn how to do it again, and I will definitely be using this guide! I was actually going to post my questions about how to lucid dream, but a quick search and your post popped right up! Thank you!

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