Lucid dreaming is one of the most fascinating experiences you might have as a human being. Staying awake within a dream, you are able to consciously interact with it just as you interact in the real world. Everything is saturated with color and vibrantly alive, and it feels far more real than waking life does.
There are many practical benefits to lucid dreaming. For me personally, it reminded be of how much life is like a dream and helped me appreciate the impermanence. It helped me cultivate more consciousness and awareness in waking life by reminding me that I don’t have to be a victim to my surroundings, and can instead become lucid and take control. But most profoundly, lucid dreaming led to both of my out-of-body experiences, which confirmed to me my identity as an eternal soul inhabiting a temporary human body. Here are the top ten ways to induce lucid dreaming:
1. Reality Checks
Performing as many as 10 or more reality checks during the day, and these should be spaced out during the day. Does your reflection look normal in the mirror? Do the palms of your hands look normal close-up? How long do you stay in the air when you jump? Perhaps even make a marking on your hand and look at it throughout the day, and in your dream you will notice it missing and will become lucid.
2. Dream Diaries
Spending at least 10 minutes in putting down and recording your dreams in the morning. Even if you wake up in the middle of the night, try to remember and write down what happened.
Before you go to bed at night, repeat this to yourself: “I will remember to recognize that I’m dreaming”. Fall asleep repeating this in your head, and this awareness will subconsciously carry into your dreams. Know that in your dream, you will remember that you are dreaming. Affirmation is important.
Spending up to 20 minutes in the afternoon to incubate a lucid dream. The techniques to use here include meditation, self hypnosis, and visualization of what you wish to experience in your dream.
5. Imagination Of Desired Dream
Imagine yourself being back to a previous dream. But this time, you have to re-live the ending differently. Visualize the scene in the dream in such a way that the details are clearer than what is obtainable in the previous dream. Next, search for the dream signs. Of course, this should be some unusual characters, locations and objects which should reveal the dream to be mere fantasy; something you wouldn’t see in real life. Next, start telling yourself that you are dreaming. Although you are just day dreaming (and this is by no means a lucid dream) continue to experience an imagined lucid dream fantasy. Do whatever you would do if this were a real lucid dream.
6. Identifying Your Dream Signs
You may also have that nasty experience of always running out of fuel whenever you are on your way to write a final exam. Again, it may be that you always have that horrible experience of your teeth falling off from your mouth. The best and most reliable way of determining your personal dream signs is by keeping a dream journal. Whenever you check it, you can easily identify those dream signs that are regularly occurring. When your future dreams contain them, you will realize it’s just a dream sign.
7. Direct Your Half-Asleep State
At times, you may wake up in the middle of the night and found yourself in this dreamy state. If this occurs, there is no need for you panic for your body and mind are already relaxed. Just drift into the dream world and of course, this can easily be accomplished without the least effort.
8. Wake Up At Night
Research has shown that waking up during sleep can increase one’s chance of being lucid. So, in order to have more lucid dreams, you may want to wake yourself up in the night and bring yourself to full consciousness for a few minutes. You can spend those few minutes in reading about lucid dreams, meditating, visualizing, etc. Maybe even set an alarm for 3 or 4 am.
9. Snap Out Of The Dream. Fully Step Into Lucidity
This step involves stepping into the lucid world and this means submerging your awareness fully into the lucid dream as well as stabilizing the dream to eradicate any chance of waking up. Stay calm, don’t get over excited and wake yourself up. Realize that you are dreaming, and keep your attention concentrated in the present moment within your lucid dream.
10. Have fun!
It’s a wonderful experience to have, and there is nothing anyone or anything can do in a lucid dream to harm you. If you find yourself scared when you become lucid, know that you are always being guided and protected, and that you can wake yourself up at any time you wish. Talk with people, manipulate your surroundings, try to leave your body, appreciate the vividness of the world around you.
It’s important to remember that there is nothing to fear in a lucid dream. Some figures you encounter may scare you, but remember that everything you encounter is a reflection of yourself. Love them and forgive them, and know that when you do so you are loving and forgiving an aspect of you. Here is an awesome TED talk video about nightmares and lucid dreaming as a medium for spiritual development: