Lucid dreaming is precisely what it seems, entering a dream state and becoming or remaining lucid (aware). It’s described as the process of realising that you are dreaming, and essentially taking the reins. You can become the director in your very own grey matter powered action-adventure, you can battle monsters and bad guys, and you can get the girl or meet the tall dark stranger. There’s no limit to where your wondrous mind can take you in a lucid dream.
But lucid dreaming isn’t all fun and games, there’s a serious side to dreams and dream psychology, so it follows that there’s a serious side to lucid dreaming. The obvious benefits of being aware of your state and being in control of your dreams, besides having a whole lot of fun, lie in gaining greater control over your subconscious mind, which can bring you more self control during waking periods, increased mental agility and memory capacity.
There are three distinct types of lucid dream, they are as follows: Dream-Initiated Lucid Dream (DILD), Wake-Initiated Lucid Dream (WILD), and Mnemonic-Initiated Lucid Dream (MILD). While the MILD type is the one we’re particularly interested in, it helps to know a little something of the other two types as well.
DILD type dreams are essentially accidental lucid dreams, they occur when the dreamer, already asleep and dreaming, suddenly realises that they’re dreaming, through no conscious effort of their own. This is somewhat rare and affords very little control over dream sequences and events, but essentially allows the dreamer to experience an extremely vivid and lifelike dream with the added bonus of feeling like you can directly interact with the environment of the dream.
WILD type dreams that were specifically initiated while the dreamer was in a waking or conscious state; experiences of WILD type dreams are often associated with psychological conditions such as narcolepsy and sleep paralysis, but have also been attributed to certain forms of clairvoyance and other psychic phenomena. People who experience WILD type dreams are often traumatised by the event and seek medical assistance in eliminating the problem.
MILD type dreams, not to be confused with dreams that are described as mild, are the most desirable and sought after form of lucid dreaming. A MILD or Mnemonic-Initiated Lucid Dream is a deliberate and controlled lucid dream. Meditation and directed thoughts are used, sometimes in conjunction with certain homeopathic medicines and even narcotics (though this is certainly not recommended), to facilitate an entirely lucid state throughout the dreamers sleep cycle.
There are many reasons for attempting and continuing to experiment with lucid dreaming, more famously to help control and eliminate nightmares, often recurring traumatic dreams, to cultivate and experience out-of-body experiences, to experiment with metaphysical meditation and time perception, and even to further map the human brain through Magnetic imaging and CAT scans.
Lucid dreaming has been a scientifically explored arm of psychology and neuroscience for decades and is readily accepted as a natural phenomenon within the realm of the human psyche, though it is widely regarded as exceedingly difficult to achieve on a consistent basis.
For the five basic steps to achieving successful lucid dreaming visit Bird’s Lucid Dreaming Website, you will also find tips and tricks to use to test you level of lucidity while dreaming, but beware, the subconscious mind is not a thing to be played with, you must be certain and convicted in your desire to achieve the lucid dream state and be disciplined with your mind once you’re there.
For those with less patience, here are the cheat sheets for Lucid Dreaming 101:
Step One) Doing the Mental Prep-Work
“Do you think you can do this?” For starters, you must always have a positive attitude. If you have any doubts, then your first assignment is to replace each and every doubt with a self-empowering belief.
“Do you think dreams are important?” Once you have a positive, confident attitude, the next step is to make dreaming a top priority.
“Do you really want to have lucid dreams?” The key to this question is desire and enthusiasm. The more you cultivate your desire to have lucid dreams, the more emotionally charged your intent will be. The more charged your intent is, the more likely that these desires will produce results.
“Do you know what you will do when you have a lucid dream?” The point of this question is to be purposefully prepared. It sounds so simple, but just by having a plan you increase the odds of becoming lucid. If you have a goal or a mission planned, you will have that much more reason to become lucid and carry out your mission.
Step Two) Increasing Dream Recall
Here is a list of tips and techniques that will help increase your dream recall:
1.) Wake Motionlessly. Upon awakening, don’t open your eyes. Don’t move. Lie completely still.
2.) Wake Slowly. Allow yourself time to naturally remember your dreams. Don’t start thinking about what you are going to do for the day. Don’t allow your mind to be flooded by your waking thoughts or your dreams will start fading or may even disappear entirely like bursting dream bubbles. Let your mind be focused on whatever you were just dreaming.
3.) Let your mind drift. Allow your thoughts to meander through whatever mental imagery you may have. Once you remember one part of a dream. Relax and allow the rest of the pieces to fall into place.
4.) Drift through your dream checklist. If you have absolutely no initial recall, then start running through a dream checklist in your mind. This list should include people you know, activities, places, foods, smells, music, anything that may trigger a dream fragment to surface. Allow your mind to drift through this list and ask yourself if this person or this place was in your dream. Movement is very common in dreams so try to think about action. Were you walking or running or climbing or flying? Emotions are also very prevalent so try to think about your moods. Were you happy or afraid or surprised or confused? The more familiar you are with your dreams the better you will know which questions will most likely trigger your memory, but in the beginning you can use any list as long as it is a big one.
5.) Think and question backwards. Try to work your memory backwards from what you can remember. You will usually remember the most current dream scenario first so for maximum retrieval it is helpful to think backwards, or think in terms of effect and cause instead of cause and effect. If you can remember one part of the dream, ask yourself how you got there? Or where did a certain dream object come from? Did you find it? Was it given to you? One dream fragment will usually lead to another until the whole dream starts to take shape, and your dream memories can be jogged by questioning yourself about what you already remember.
6.) Try different sleeping positions. Try all your common sleeping positions before getting out of bed to maximize your recall. You will have the best recall when you are lying in the same position that you were in when you were dreaming. If you wake up on your right side don’t move until you recall all you possibly can, and then repeat this process on your left side, then your back, and your front. This may jar loose some memories and it certainly speeds up your recall.
7.) Keep Trying. Sometimes, you may have no morning recall but flashes of dream memories will surface during your day. Be prepared to jot down any time-released memories. They may unlock your access to more memories.
Step Three) Keeping a dream journal
The single most important thing that you can do to increase your dream recall and to maximize your lucid dreaming progress is to keep a dream journal. This increases your recall by engraining the idea that dreams are important into your subconscious mind. It also helps you become familiar with your dreams which are the focus of the next step. The habit of writing down your dreams soon becomes a habit of recalling your dreams. If you seriously want to learn how to lucid dream, you MUST keep a dream journal. It is not an option.
Step Four) Become familiar with your Dreams
As your dream journal grows and your dream recall increases, you will naturally become more familiar with your dreams. Certain people, certain places, and certain activities may be more likely to appear in your dreams. For example, you may have a majority of dreams in which you are at your office or at school or at the beach. Certain dream themes might also be more common than others. You might dream of being a hero or you might dream of being chased. These recurrent patterns in your dreams are your dreamsigns, and they will be the first stepping stones on your path to lucid dreaming.
By learning your distinctive dreamsigns, your recall will increase further. Making a list of your dreamsigns is a great idea. If you are having trouble recalling any dreams, you can run down your list of dream signs and question yourself to see if any of them will spark a memory. Sometimes, by jarring just one dream fragment loose you can recover the whole dream, so knowing and using your dreamsigns will give you just the edge you need to overcome a morning bout of dream amnesia.
By working with your dreamsigns, you will develop an intimate relationship with your dreams. They will become more accessible and easier to understand. It is helpful to ask yourself why you are dreaming what you dream. What do these dreamsigns mean to you? The more you understand not only your dreamsigns but what they mean, the more you will benefit from them in both your dream life and your waking life.
Step Five) Adding Awareness to your Waking Consciousness
This step alone could be the source of countless books. It is almost a method in itself, but used in conjunction with the other steps, it becomes an optimal way to learn lucid dreaming. As a matter of fact, the whole process of lucid dreaming is achieved by training your awareness. The idea is to increase our daily awareness in order to benefit from the carryover effects it will have on our dreaming awareness. If you are more aware during the day, you will become more aware while dreaming.
There are many ways to increase our awareness, and we recommend sourcing, picking up and READING a reputable book on the subject, it will be well worth the effort. Our favourite is ‘Exploring the world of Lucid Dreaming’ by Stephen Laberge
Everyone who tries lucid dreaming achieves a different level of success, the many variables at stake make the experience truly personal and spiritual. Lucid dreaming is a rendezvous with your subconscious mind, just be sure you’re ready to hear what it has to say.