Lucid dreaming can be a very powerful experience for the dreamer. “You can be the absolute master of your dream world,” says MortalMist.com, a website and forum dedicated to lucid dreaming. “The very laws of nature can be bent and broken. No experience is beyond your reach, no feat too difficult or risky. If you can imagine it, you can make it happen.”
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Many people report wonderful experiences in the dream worlds they’ve created. For some, though, lucid dreaming remains elusive. But there is good news; becoming skilled at “waking up” in a dream may be easier than it seems. There are several techniques that can be used to enter the world of lucid dreaming.
Lucid dreaming requires three things:
1. the ability to recall dreams,
2. a technique, known as a reality check, to become aware of dreaming, and
3. strategies to remain in the dream.
Tips for Recalling Dreams
Everyone dreams, but not everyone remembers his or her dreams. Sometimes even people who revel in dream recall go through periods where they can’t remember dreams. But that doesn’t mean lucid dreaming is lost to those who have trouble remembering dreams.
Dream recall is a skill that improves with practice. In fact, improved dream recall can happen readily, and all it requires is lying in bed, according to Ryan Dungan Hurd, editor of DreamStudies.org and a member of the International Association for the Study of Dreams.
Hurd suggests that people use the Snooze Method for Dream Recall. The name of the method may seem strange, but most find that it’s a fairly easy way to remember dreams.
When people wake up, they usually change their body position almost immediately. “This actually dispels the body’s emotional traces of the last dream….And it’s totally over for remembering dreams once we start thinking about the day ahead.”
Hurd believes that memory traces are not just stored in the brain; he says they can be stored virtually anywhere in the body. The lungs, the belly, and the heart are among the largest of these body-cognition centers, and they process memory and emotion. He notes that people can use this same natural capacity of the body to help remember dreams, too.
So, to improve dream recall, remain in position upon waking; avoid moving into a new position. Then, actively attempt to recall the dream. If no images come, one may try focusing on any emotional residue that the dream may have left behind.
Once the dream is remembered, record it in a journal kept near the bed.
Becoming Aware in a Dream
Mortalmist.com says that there are two methods to becoming aware during a dream: Dream Initiated Lucid Dream (DILD) and Wake Initiated Lucid Dream. (WILD).
DILD involves recognizing dream signals – situations, people, and things that commonly occur in dreams, and practicing doing reality checks (RCs) any time these are encountered. RCs are consistent ways that people can use to determine whether they dreaming or awake. When an anomaly or something impossible occurs in a dream, do not ignore it or try to rationalize it. Let this odd occurrence be an indicator that it is a dream.
Some common dream signs include flying, walking through walls, or the appearance of someone who is dead in real life. Anything can be a dream signal and is unique to each individual dreamer. Select a recurring image, as it’s said that it has a better chance of appearing in future dreams.
WILD requires hanging onto a thread of consciousness while falling asleep.“WILD methods are both rewarding and challenging,” according to MortalMist.com. But the site warns that trying to stay conscious while falling asleep requires discipline and practice. It can be frustrating for people trying to have their first lucid dream. The site doesn’t recommend beginners use this method, but it’s noted that there’s no harm in trying.
While these two methods seem to be the most popular ways to enter into lucidity, there is one more method that can enhance the chances of getting lucid. This method is called the Wake Back To Bed (WBTB) method.
Even though it sounds complicated, it just means that at some point during the night, usually after at least a few hours of sound sleep, the individual will try to stay awake for a time while engaging in a lucidity induction exercise intended to cause the person to “wake up” a bit. it’s said that doing this will dramatically enhance the chances of having a lucid dream.
Finally, individuals should encourage lucid dreams, but one should not attempt to force them, as these kinds of efforts may result in an opposite effect. It is important to relax and be patient when trying to experience a lucid dream.
Staying in the Lucid Dream
One of the hardest challenges of lucid dreaming is staying in the dream once lucidity is realized. It is common to wake up immediately. For many people, the excitement of achieving lucidity the first couple times is pretty overwhelming.
The key to staying in the dream seems to be keeping the dream senses occupied with things in the dream. There are several ways people can accomplish this. They can:
– touch something;
– focus on the ground or their hands or feet;
– rub their hands together; or
– spin, hard and fast.
Anything the individual can do to improve awareness of their dream surroundings may help them stabilize and remain in the dream.
Lucid dreams can be vivid rehearsals for waking life, but they can be just plain fun, too. Dreamers can fulfill fantasies and increase self-confidence. In addition, recurring dreams that once left people frustrated can be overcome and result in a more satisfying dream life.
Remember, it may take time to have a lucid dream, but, in the long run, the experience is worth the effort.