How To Lucid Dream

016 how-to1Many tips and techniques on how to lucid dream are found in these articles (below) by lucid dream experts, Robert Waggoner, and Lucy Gillis. See how to create a stable, longer lasting lucid dream tonight. Learn simple techniques that can spark lucid awareness in dreams.

The Crucial, First 30 Seconds – Responding to Lucid Awareness

© Robert Waggoner 2009

When the first spark of lucid realization illuminates your mind and you gleefully announce, “Hey, this is a dream!”, what happens next?

When the first spark of lucid realization illuminates your mind and you gleefully announce, “Hey, this is a dream!”, what happens next?

For many beginning lucid dreamers, their success will be determined by how they respond in the first 30 seconds. In those initial crucial moments, taking four important steps can set you on the path to an exciting and lengthy lucid dream. These are the MEME steps: 1) Modulate your emotions, 2) Elevate your awareness, 3) Maintain your focus and finally 4) Establish your intent.

The joy or euphoria that often accompanies your realization of being in a dream will lead to its quick demise, unless you rein in the emotional intensity. Lucid dreaming newbies quickly learn to modulate their emotions, since intense emotions lead to the collapse of lucid dreams.

Lucid dreamers change their emotions in a number of ways. Some visually focus on something boring, like their hands or the floor; visually neutral stimuli serves to decrease any emotional upsurge. Others mentally tell themselves to “Calm down,” before their emotions get too high. While others begin to concentrate their energies on other tasks, which naturally reduces the level of sensed emotion.

Once the emotional level has stabilized, you will want to elevate or clarify your awareness. Some do this by performing a ‘reality check’ (they levitate, put their hand through a wall, etc.) to re-confirm that they exist in the dream state. Some engage in a solidifying ritual, such as rubbing their dream hands together to ground themselves and spark the kinesthetic senses. You can take this further by shouting out a suggestion to the dream, such as “Greater clarity now!” or “More lucid awareness!” These vocalized intents normally show immediate results.
An elevated awareness makes the next goal of maintaining your focus much easier. Newbies frequently discover that their focus can wander, and suddenly they will get interested in some aspect of the dream. If not careful, this new aspect can become so interesting (or en-trancing) that your lucid awareness vanishes, and you slip back into regular, unaware dreaming. Maintaining your focus requires an ‘active’ realization of lucid dreaming. Some lucid dreamers perform repetitive actions to remind themselves that they are dreaming. They may repeatedly announce, “This is a lucid dream” or perform reality checks at certain intervals.

One caution about focus involves staring at objects in a lucid dream. For some reason, lucid dreamers find that staring fixedly at something for more than a few seconds often causes the dream to feel shaky and then collapse. Some lucid dreamers notice the shaky feeling and immediately look back at their hands or the ground to stabilize the dream state. Others have discovered ways to create a new dream scene (by closing their eyes for a second or spinning around); however, for inexperienced lucid dreamers a new dream environment may feel bewildering.

In my book, Lucid Dreaming: Gateway to the Inner Self, I suggest that the easiest way to maintain your focus involves establishing an intent or goal to accomplish, and then establishing a new intent or goal immediately after the initial accomplishment. You can think of this as the ‘focus & re-focus’ technique. By re-focusing on a new goal, you maintain an active state of awareness. Without an active focus on a goal, new elements will spontaneously enter the dream and capture your attention. Within seconds, your focus will likely become en-tranced by these new elements and you will lose lucidity, as you slip back into unaware dreaming. By habitually establishing goal after goal, you keep your awareness active.

Of course, a lucid dreaming goal may be a very simple thing, such as “I wonder what is behind this door?” or “Should I ask that dream figure what it represents?” Each goal focuses your awareness and keeps your conscious activity illuminated. By stringing these simple goals together, a beginner can maintain lucid awareness, and have a surprisingly long lucid dream.
Each of these four MEME steps to successful lucid dreaming — 1) modulate your emotions, 2) elevate your awareness, 3) maintain your focus and finally 4) establish your intent — requires you to focus on them for a moment in your lucid dream. Feel free to memorize the MEME – modulate emotions, elevate awareness, maintain focus and establish intent. With practice, these steps become second nature and create a strong foundation for your lucid dreaming. Enjoy your journeys into the larger dimensions of the Self and its incredible creativity.

By Robert Waggoner ©2009 author of Lucid Dreaming: Gateway to the Inner Self
All rights reserved.

Five Successful Techniques for Lucid Dreaming

Here are five simple and successful techniques for becoming consciously aware in the dream state. Look them over and select one. If you practice it consistently with a positive expectation, then you should soon be enjoying the world of lucid dreaming. Additional ideas can be found in Robert Waggoner’s new book: Lucid Dreaming: Gateway to the Inner Self.

Five Successful Techniques for Lucid Dreaming © Robert Waggoner 2009

  1. Suggestion:
    Clear your mind. Relax. Repeat to yourself thoughtfully one of the following:
    “Tonight in my dreams, I will realize I am dreaming and become consciously aware.”
    “Tonight in my dreams, when I see something strange, I will realize I am dreaming and become consciously aware.”
    Or fill in the blank with a dreamsign which is both common and unusual in your dreams (for example, if your dead Aunt Ruth frequently appears in your dreams):
    “Tonight in my dreams, when I see ___________ (my deceased Aunt Ruth), I will realize I am dreaming and become consciously aware.”
    Imagine yourself happily writing down your lucid dream in the morning!
  2. Waggoner’s Modified Castaneda Technique: Finding your Hands
    Using the Carlos Castaneda approach consistently each night before sleep is how I had my first lucid dream. I believe it works by establishing a simple stimulus-response associational link. Practicing repeatedly develops the association between the stimulus (the sight of your hands) and the response (“This is a dream!”).
    1) Sit in your bed, and become mentally settled.
    2) Stare softly at the palm of your hands, and tell yourself in a caring manner that, “Tonight while I am dreaming, I will see my hands and realize that I am dreaming.”
    3) Continue to softly look at your hands and mentally repeat the affirmation, “Tonight while I am dreaming, I will see my hands and realize that I am dreaming.”
    4) Allow your eyes to cross, and unfocus; remain at peace and continue to repeat slowly.
    5) After about five minutes or once you feel too sleepy, quietly end the practice.
    6) When you wake up in the middle of the night, gently recall your intention to see your hands and realize that you are dreaming. Try to remember your last dream; did you see your hands?
    7) At some point in a dream, suddenly your hands will pop up in front of you and you will instantly make the connection, “This is a dream!” Try to stay calm and explore the dream environment. Later, when you wake from your lucid dream, take a moment and write it down in your dream journal — write the entire dream; how you realized you were dreaming; what you did while aware that you were dreaming, etc. Congratulations!
  3. Stephen LaBerge’s MILD Technique
    The following is my interpretation of LaBerge’s visualized role-playing technique:
    1) Get into the practice of memorizing your last dream in detail, when you spontaneously wake up at night. Simply lie in bed, and recall the last dream in detail.
    2) Then LaBerge suggests that you take your recalled dream, and clearly imagine that you have become lucid at an appropriate point. Visualize yourself becoming aware in the remembered dream.
    3)  Next, intend to become lucid in the next dream by suggesting, “Next time I’m dreaming, I want to recognize I’m dreaming.”
    4) Do the above until you feel determined. Expect to become lucid and aware in your next dream as you fall back asleep.
    LaBerge also recommended that lucid dreamers conduct a “reality check” to verify that they were dreaming. A “reality check” could be something as simple as levitating or flying — if you can do these actions in the dream state, then obviously it is a dream!
  4. Paul Tholey’s – A Critical Question? Or a Lucid Mindset
    In 1959, Paul Tholey developed an idea to achieve critical awareness in dreams, writing: “If one develops a critical frame of mind towards the state of consciousness during the waking state, by asking oneself whether one is dreaming or awake, this attitude will be transferred to the dreaming state. It is then possible through the occurrence of unusual experiences to recognize that one is dreaming.”
    Throughout the day when confronted with an odd event, ask yourself, “Am I dreaming or not?” Then consider, “How do I know?”
    Some have suggested putting a red ‘C’ on your hand with a marker, and then each time you see it, ask yourself, “Am I dreaming?”  You could then do a reality check, like try and levitate. Eventually, this may transfer over to your dream state, and when you wonder “Am I dreaming?” and do a reality check, you will find yourself levitating, and realize, “This is a dream!”.
  5. Nap to Lucidity Technique
    Independently noticed by many lucid dreamers (and confirmed by the Lucidity Institute), the Nap to Lucidity Technique significantly increases the probability of a lucid dream.
    A) Wake about 90 minutes before your normal waking time.
    B) Spend the next 90 minutes reading or thinking about lucid dreaming, then return to sleep with the intent to become lucid.
    Using this technique, the number of lucid dreams skyrocketed in the final sleep period, when compared to baseline records. ( Lynne Levitan, Nightlight, Vol 3, # 1, “Get Up Early, Take a Nap, Be Lucid”)

Miscellaneous Thoughts

For some people, lucid dreaming requires some persistence. So try to do one of the above practices consistently.

Also, consider what you might like to do in a lucid dream. Get interested, curious and excited about that! This develops emotional energy. If you don’t know what you’d like to do, start reading the lucid dreams of others at The Lucid Dream Exchange and find something that make you wonder, “Could a person really do that in a lucid dream?”

If this is your first lucid dream, remember not to get too excited upon becoming lucid, since this normally will wake you up. If getting excited, look at your hands, or the ground or focus on something boring in the lucid dream to stabilize it. Good luck!

Robert Waggoner

Author of Lucid Dreaming: Gateway to the Inner Self

So, Was That a Lucid Dream?

Lucy Gillis

As your interest in lucid dreaming grows and you begin practicing some lucid dream induction techniques, you may notice that your “ordinary” or non-lucid dreams begin to change. If you have never had a lucid dream before, but experience some dreams very different from your usual kind of dreams, then in some cases you may not be sure if you were lucid or not.

So, Was That a Lucid Dream? © 2003 Lucy Gillis

As your interest in lucid dreaming grows and you begin practicing some lucid dream induction techniques, you may notice that your “ordinary” or non-lucid dreams begin to change. If you have never had a lucid dream before, but experience some dreams very different from your usual kind of dreams, then in some cases you may not be sure if you were lucid or not.

As an example, perhaps you never fly in your non-lucid dreams. One night, you dream that you need to get somewhere fast. Suddenly, you decide to fly instead of rushing about on foot. In this case you weren’t lucid, but your ordinary dreaming has changed.

On the other hand, you might be sure that you were not lucid, but like the above example, you behaved as though you were. For instance, after experiencing my first few lucid dreams, I once dreamed that some milk had spilled on a shelf. I wanted to wipe it up, but there were no paper towels or dishcloths handy. Instead of going to get something to clean up the mess, I just stood there and thought to myself “I’ll just make cleaning motions with my hand until a cloth materializes.” I then moved my hand in circular motions over the spill, pretending that I was wiping it up.

When I woke, I knew immediately that what I had done in the dream was not my usual dream behaviour. I didn’t act as I normally would by going to get a dishtowel, (meaning that I didn’t mimic waking life responses, which at the time was typical of my dreams) instead I behaved as though I knew I was dreaming. Yet, I was not lucid during that dream; at no point did I think anything like “I know I’m dreaming, that’s why I can make a dishcloth appear.”

My first impression of the dream was one of disappointment. I was so close, yet I hadn’t taken that next step and realized I was dreaming. I admonished myself for failing to become lucid. I was being hard on myself, which was not helping future expectations at all. However, a friend and accomplished lucid dreamer, matter-of-factly pointed out that I was not ‘failing to become lucid’, I was instead incorporating lucid skills in my non lucid dreams. She was right. As time went on, even my non lucid dreams were evolving and becoming richer now that

I was open to new ways of dreaming, new ways of thinking and doing things.

So as you practice your lucid dreaming techniques and read more about lucid dreaming, remember to keep an eye on your non-lucid dreams for clues that your dreaming self is expanding its horizons and opening to lucidity. If you notice a dream where you were close to being lucid, but not quite there, don’t let it be a disappointment. Think of these dreams as “progress reports” indicating that you are incorporating lucid dreaming skills into your non-lucid dreams. You are expanding your dreaming repertoire!

Learning to lucid dream is not a progression where each dream is “more lucid than the last”. Even long term accomplished lucid dreamers experience varying degrees of lucidity throughout their dreams lives.

Just as your waking consciousness isn’t always operating at a high degree of clarity (we all daydream from time to time, get tired, get distracted), your dreaming consciousness is also not operating at one continuous level of awareness. Illness, preoccupation with problems or other matters, lack of sleep, etc., are just a few things that can affect both waking and dreaming consciousness. Therefore, in not all lucid dreams will you experience the same level or degree of lucidity. In some dreams you may recall your waking life with great clarity, be fully cognizant of your dream environment, and be relatively uninfluenced by the dream content.

For example, you may dream that you are carrying luggage and running to catch a train, when you see a tiger in a tutu waving at you. The absurdity of the situation makes you realize that you’re dreaming. You recall that you are really asleep and now, not only do you not need to run to catch train, but you also don’t need to carry any luggage with you. Ignoring the tutu-ed tiger, you decide to create a totally different scene and do something else.

Sometimes however, your lucidity may not be so ‘clear’ or ‘strong.’ Using the above dream as an example again, you realize that you are dreaming and that the tiger in a tutu is no threat, but you may still experience the urgency to race to catch your train. Instead of running, however, you decide to fly to your train. You are aware that you’re dreaming, but you are still caught up somewhat in the dream plot.

In both cases, you were lucid. But in the first example your lucidity was at a “higher degree” or “level” than the other. Does that make it better than the second example? Only you can decide which dreams are more rewarding to you: being detached from your dream scenes and stories, or participating in them with the knowledge that it’s not a waking life situation.

You may also experience varying degrees of lucidity within the same dream. Again using the train, the tiger, and the tutu example: at the beginning of the dream you may be very lucid, choosing to ignore the whole scene as you attempt to create another. But as the dream progresses your lucidity may fade or falter and you find yourself once again running to catch the train, or getting involved in something else entirely, forgetting that you are dreaming. You may regain lucidity later in the dream, or you may continue to dream non-lucidly until you wake.

Many people, myself included, have tried to categorize levels or stages of lucid dreaming, using terms like semi-lucid, pre-lucid, partially lucid, low-level lucid, etc. Personally, I found that when I tried to categorize each of my lucid dreams into a nice neat package, the attempt seemed to curb my lucid dreaming – I had fewer and fewer lucid dreams. Ideas of limitation and differing levels seemed to dull my dreams – my non-lucid dreams too – as though draining the richness from them. When I decided to become looser with my labels (after all, I wasn’t recording only certain lucid dreams for laboratory study) and just have fun with dreaming, my dream life once again became more rich and creative, much more fun!

My advice to the novice lucid dreamer would be, to not get caught up in categorizing or labeling your dreams too strictly or trying to define them in only one way. Don’t put limitations on your dreaming self. Keep practicing, using whatever technique works best or is most comfortable for you. And don’t fret if some of your dreams are “not quite lucid,” instead, congratulate yourself on a great job of expanding your dreaming horizons!