Complete Recompilation by Diego Palma
Be patient and persevere.
You ever have that feeling where you're not sure
if you're awake or still dreaming?
- Neo, The Matrix -
What Is Lucid Dreaming?
Lucid dreaming is being consciously aware when you’re in a dream. That is, you’re physically in bed asleep and dreaming... but then you realize you’re a character inside a dream. Suddenly you become aware... lucid.
By recognizing you’re inside a dream, you can take control of the dream. That’s what lucid dreaming is all about... changing the direction of your dreams so you experience just what you want to experience. What can you do in a lucid dream? Anything.
Lucid dreaming offers a new approach to the exploration of awareness and the territory of the mind.
The Realism Behind Dreams
Most of the time we don’t realize, however dreams are actually totally realistic to us as we’re experiencing them. Our sense of touch, taste, smell, our emotions, our intelligence... it’s all exactly as though everything in the dream were actually happening. When you become aware that you’re dreaming, you feel everything much more acutely. To yourself, and to your mind, it’s as though it’s all for real. No difference.
If fully lucid, you would realize that the entire dream world was your own creation, and with this awareness might come an exhilarating feeling of freedom. Nothing external, could of society or physics, would constrain your experience; you could do anything your mind could conceive. Thus inspired, you might fly to the heavens. You might dare to face someone or something that you have been avoiding; you might choose an erotic encounter with the most desirable partner you can imagine; you might visit a deceased loved one to whom you have been wanting to speak; you might seek self knowledge and wisdom.
By cultivating awareness in your dreams, and learning to use them, you can add more consciousness, more life, to your life. In the process, you will increase your enjoyment of your nightly dream journeys and deepen your understanding of yourself. By waking in your dreams, you can waken to life.
The Five Stages of sleeping
A lucid dream can occur whenever regular dreams occur. Dreaming happens during the Rapid Eye Movement (REM) stage of sleeping. This is when your eyes move rapidly from side to side, when dreams are “created”. REM occurs at various points during a typical night of sleep.
Stage 1. From rested wakefulness, you go into Stage 1. The eyes are closed and if awoken, the subject may not even realize they’ve been asleep at all. This lasts for 5-10 minutes.
Stage 2 - Light sleep. A period of light sleep, with spontaneous muscle twitches and general relaxation. It last about 10 - 20 minutes.
Stages 3 and 4 - Deep sleep. A period of extremely slow brainwave activity. These stages represent the “deep sleep” and you’ll find it difficult to wake someone during this period. You may have been woken during this stage in the past: you feel “groggy” and find it difficult to adjust to your surroundings.
The above four stages last around 1 1⁄2 to 2 hours.
Stage 5 - REM. Then you move onto the most important: REM sleep, the home of your dreams. REM sleep can last between 5 and 30 minutes. Your brain flurries with activity and dreams burst onto the scene. Blood flow to the mind increases. Your muscles are safely paralyzed by the brain to stop you physically “acting out” your dream. Your mind creates its own inner reality, as it explores the realms of the subconscious.
So, let’s look at exactly what happens. You fall asleep... then you experience Stage 1, Stage 2, Stage 3, Stage 4, then (curiously) back up to Stage 3, then Stage 2, and then onto Stage 5, REM sleep.
This cycle typically happens between four and five times per night. However it isn’t constant. As the night continues, the length of Stage 3 and 4 wanes, while Stage 5 REM sleep gradually increases from around 10 minutes up to an hour in length.
The first goal is to remember your dreams
Before you can have a lucid dream, you'll have to remember your dreams. How else would you know you had a lucid dream when you wake up? When you succeed in remembering at least one dream every night, you are ready to try to become lucid.
Everybody dreams, multiple times a night. Those who claim that they don’t dream simply don’t remember their dreams. Without being able to remember your dreams, you’ll forget any dreams in which you became lucid! It is extremely likely that you’ve already experienced several lucid dreams but just don’t know it because you forgot them during the course of the night. So how do you remember your dreams? But getting into the habit.
A dream journal is the most common way of recording your dreams. A dream journal is simply a writing pad that should be kept within reach of your bed. If you seriously want to learn to lucid dream, you MUST keep a dream journal. It is not an option.
Don’t wait until morning. You need to record your dreams upon awakening from them. Five minutes after the end of a dream, half of the content is forgotten. After ten minutes, 90% is lost. So actually catching your dream is extremely important. No matter how clear your dreams may seem upon waking during the night, you’ll have almost completely forgotten the previous ones when you again awake in the morning, so don’t wait until morning.
Make it an habit. If you make a habit of writing down your dreams your dream recall will improve. It is like exercising your muscles. If you neglect your dream journal, your lucid dreams will become slightly less frequent.
High energy level and relaxation
It is essential to have enough energy to maintain focus, recall your dreams and success in the practice. Use all the methods possible to save your vital energy:
Getting enough sleep at night is essential to improving your ability to recall your dreams. As long as you’re well rested you’ll find it easier to focus your intent on recalling your dreams and your ambition won’t be clouded by fatigue. Also, if you’re able to get plenty of sleep during the night you won’t mind waking up repeatedly to record your dreams—and that’s exactly what you’ll have to do.
Don’t eat to much in the evening.
Save your sexual energy by not ejaculating.
Keep your mind free of preoccupations before going to sleep.
The following exercise you can do while you are in bed, ready to go to sleep. To start you are going to clean your head a bit of everything that happened during the day. Relax and go with your attention to the center of your head. This is the point between your ears, behind your eyes. Feel how you are in the center of your head. Feel how you breathe. Breathe in and out. Breathe in and tense the muscles of your feet. Breathe out and relax the muscles of your feet. Breathe in and tens the muscles in your lower legs. Breathe out and relax them again. Go on until you have come to your head.
What do you want to do? You want to wake up at the end of a dream. So tell yourself: When my dream finishes, I will wake up and I will remember. On your journal, write the date and the statement, “I will remember my dreams tonight” many times.
Now turn it into an instruction for your subconscious mind. Sit back and “send it” down to your subconscious. Don’t make it too forced or too much hard work. Just send it, rely on it and let go.
Visualize how you wake up and write down your dreams in your dream diary. If you find your thoughts wandering as you slip into sleep, reaffirm your intent. You want your last thought before drifting off to sleep to be of your intent to awaken from your dreams and remember them.
Focus your intent to awake from your dreams and remember them just before you lie down, and continue to repeat your intent to yourself as you approach sleep. Repeat to yourself over and over, “I will wake up after every dream period and I will remember my dream.”
Ask your subconscious, your Higher Self, God, the Universe, your spirit guide, or whoever you want. Make contact with the one you ask for help and ask him/her to help you remember your dream.
Setting a timer alarm
The website of Saltcube has a free online Lucid Dream and OBE Timer that is perfect for this purpose.
We’re going to set the timer at key intervals throughout the night. Your first few dreams will typically be shorter, and we’ll have more chance of catching ones occurring later in the “cycle.” Therefore we’re going to set your alarm clock to go off 4 1/2 hours after you go to sleep. And then 90 minutes after that. And then 90 minutes after that.
Set the first interval to 270 min, and the second one to 90 min. Set the third interval to 0. With this selection you will hear three beeps 270 min. (4 1/2 hours) after going to sleep, and will keep beeping every 90 minutes after that.
Checklist for computer:
Set energy saver to “Never disconnect”, plug power cable, disconnect wifi, lower display brightness, Set ramp interval to 270, 90, 90, 90, 0, set speaker volume to 7, one time beep, test volume and start timer when going to sleep.
"The Early Morning Technique"
Set your alarm for two hours before you normally would awaken. When it goes off, reset it to go off in a half an hour. Do this each time it goes off and you will have instant and plentiful recall. (Marc Vandekeere - The Ultimate Lucid Dreamer’s Manual).
Don’t move when awakening
Wake motionlessly and don’t move from the position in which you awaken, as any body movement may make your dream harder to remember. Upon awakening, don’t open your eyes. Lie completely still. Stay in the exact position you are in upon awakening and attempt to remember your dreams without moving a muscle.
You should get into the habit of asking yourself this question the moment you awaken: "What was I dreaming?" Do this first or you'll forget some or all of your dream, due to interference from other thoughts.
Also, don't think of the day's concerns, because this too can erase your dream recall. If you remember nothing, keep trying for several minutes, without moving or thinking of anything else. Usually, pieces and fragments of the dream will come to you.
Even if you have moved after awakening, try to lie back down and find the position that you awoke in. Close your eyes. Try to remember what you were feeling and thinking at the moment that you woke up. What were you thinking about? What mood did you immediately awaken into? This information may also trigger a memory of your dream. Remember, the sooner you concentrate on remembering the details of your dreams, the more you will be able to find.
To help yourself remember details of a dream, you might want to visualize the remembered dream in your head. Closing your eyes and replaying the scenario in your mind may help you to see details and remember feelings that would otherwise be lost.
Write it down in your journal
Write it on your dream journal immediately. Record all of your dreams with as much detail as you can. Even if something seems trivial, you should still write it down because it may turn out to be significant when viewed in the long run. Write down not only what happened during the dream but also what you were feeling and what you were thinking at the time. These emotional and mental notes will help you later when you are becoming familiar with your dreams. They are reflecting what you think and feel at a subconscious level.
When keeping your journal, it is best to write your entries in present tense instead of using past tense. For example, you would write, "I’m walking down this street and I see a man" instead of "I walked down this street and saw a man." By writing in the present tense, you may be able to remember even more of your dreams as you are recording them.
With each dream journal entry, you should include a date, a time if you can, and a title for each dream.
Reset the cycle
Also, even if you don’t remember a single thing, make a note in your journal. Why? By temporarily disturbing your sleep pattern, you cause the cycle to reset. Remember, it takes an average of 90 minutes to complete the cycle and finish your dream – so even if you didn’t catch a dream after 4 hours, you should remember the dream 90 minutes later. And rest assured, it’s easy to drop back to sleep after you’ve spent a couple of minutes recording your dreams. But if you don’t get out of your sleepy state to record the dream, you won’t reset the dream cycle and may not catch your later dreams.
Dreamsigns and Reality Check
How do we remember to do things in ordinary life?
Motivation plays an important role. You are less likely to forget to do something that you really want to do. When you set yourself the goal to remember to do something, you have made the goal one of your current concerns and thereby have activated a goal-seeking brain system that will stay partially activated until you have achieved it. If the goal is very important to you, the system stays highly activated and you keep checking to see if it's time to do it, until it is time. It never becomes fully unconscious.
Association. When, for example, you decide to buy some tacks the next time you go to the store. This is hardly important enough to keep on the front page of your mind, so you go to the store and forget about your intention. That is, unless while at the store you just happen to notice a box of tacks, or even a hammer which brings up tacks by association.
Memory aid. In everyday life we remember most things we have to do by using some sort of external mnemonic or memory aid technique (a grocery list, string around the finger, memo by the door, etc.).
Visualization. These associations are greatly strengthened by the mnemonic (memory aid) of visualizing yourself doing what you intend to remember.
As your dream journal grows and your dream recall increases, naturally you will become more familiar with your dreams. Certain people, certain places, and certain activities may be more likely to appear in your dreams. These recurrent patterns in your dreams are your dreamsigns, and they will be the first stepping stones on your path to lucid dreaming. They’re indicators that you’re in a dream. Sample dreamsigns could be deceased people, malfunctioning devices, flying through the air. Whenever you see one, you perform a reality check.
After recalling various dreams you would start to notice some consistencies, some illogical items would consistently pop up in your dreams. Identify your dreamsigns now and make a list of your dreamsigns and a mental note that WHENEVER you see these items again, you will stop and perform a reality check.
If there is something that seems to appear in your dreams a lot, then look out for related things appearing in real life. Get into the habit of looking around, asking yourself if you could be dreaming, and reality checking when you see these dream signs, or anything that seems out of the ordinary.
Imagine yourself recognizing dreamsigns in your dream
Send to your subconscious mind a powerful informal suggestion by playing with the idea of “What would it feel like to become lucid and explore the dreamstate fully?”, imagine yourself doing it and feel the sensations in your body.
Everytime you wake up at night and remember a dream, as you drift back to sleep, imagine that you are back in the dream that you just had. This time, however, imagine that you saw a dreamsign in your dream and recognized it. Try to think of a dreamsign that fits with the dream and falls under your most successful dreamsign category. As you fall asleep, keep visualizing yourself in your dream, recognizing your dreamsign, and realizing that you are in a dream.
Be aware of your awareness
Becoming aware of your thoughts and thinking patterns is just as important as identifying your dreamsigns and dream patterns. Try to remain aware of your awareness as if you were a witness just watching where it goes and how it flows.
The fact is that we aren’t in the habit of being aware, but this is a habit that must be changed. How is your awareness flowing from one point to the next? How often throughout the day are you aware of your awareness as well as your position in your surroundings? It is this kind of mindfulness that you need to cultivate. You must develop a questioning awareness. While awake you should be regularly doing "reality checks".
Reality Check: ‘Am I dreaming?’
"How often do I ask myself whether I am dreaming or awake during the course of an average day?" Unless you are a philosophy major or are already practicing lucid dreaming induction techniques, the answer is probably never. If you never ask this question while awake, how often do you suppose you will ask it while you are dreaming? Again, because the things you habitually think about and do in dreams are the same things you habitually think about and do while awake, the answer will probably be never.
The implications of this should be clear. You can use the relationship between habits in waking and dreaming life to help you induce lucid dreams. One way to become lucid is to ask yourself whether or not you are dreaming while you are dreaming. In order to do this, you should make a habit of asking the question while awake in every situation that seems dreamlike.
Reality check methods
There are two parts to a reality check. The first part is asking yourself if you are dreaming or not, and the second part is testing your surroundings to verify if in fact you are dreaming or not. These reality checks should be done frequently throughout the day. The idea is to engrain this habit into your daily routine so that it will spill over into your dreams. If you practice this consistently, it is just a matter of time until you perform a reality check while dreaming, and if you test your surroundings carefully enough you will realize you are dreaming.
Ask yourself: seriously this three questions: "Am I dreaming? Where am I? How did I get here?", and performing at least two reality checks. [Estoy soñando? Donde estoy? Cómo llegué aquí?] Look around you for any oddities or inconsistencies that might indicate you are dreaming. Think back to the events of the last several minutes. Do you have any trouble remembering what just happened? If so, you may be dreaming.
Examine your surroundings: Look around for anything that should not logically be there. Look for inconsistencies. Are you somewhere you have never been before? Are you with people who live on the other side of the country? Is there an elephant in your kitchen? These are the kinds of discrepancies that can spark your lucidity.
Read something: Read something, look away and read it again. If you are dreaming the text will have changed. It will maybe not even be text at all but weird symbols.
Look at the time: Find a clock and tell the time. Then look away and look back again. If you are dreaming, the time will have changed. In a dream clocks never tell the time right. Sometimes they will not even tell the time. The clock may have no hands for example. Digital clocks will have too much numbers or strange symbols on them.
Hold your nose: Simple and effective. Hold your nose and try breathing through your fingers. If you can breathe you are dreaming.
Look at your hands: Look at your hands and see if they look weird. For this method, you need to activate a link between "looking at your hands" and realizing that you are dreaming. You need to develop a strong intent to look for and find your hands while you are in a dream. During the day, you should look at your hands and perform reality checks to determine if you are or are not dreaming. You will train yourself to equate seeing your hands with performing reality checks until it becomes an automatic reaction.
Try to levitate: Go on, just try it. Try to levitate from the ground and let yourself float. If you can do that you must be dreaming.
Imagine yourself dreaming. After having satisfied yourself that you're awake, tell yourself, "Okay, I'm not dreaming, now. But if I were, what would it be like?" Imagine as vividly as possible that you are dreaming. Intently imagine that what you are perceiving (hearing, feeling, smelling, or seeing) is a dream: the people, trees, sunshine, sky and earth, and yourself-all a dream. Observe your environment carefully for your target dreamsigns. Imagine what it would be like if a dreamsign from your target category were present. As soon as you are able to vividly experience yourself as if in a dream, tell yourself, "The next time I'm dreaming, I will remember to recognize that I'm dreaming."
When to perform a Reality Check
Hourly check: Buy an alarm wrist watch and set the alarm every half hour. Perform a full reality check by asking yourself seriously the three questions and performing several reality checks.
The Friend check: Simply perform a reality check whenever you encounter any of your friends during the day. Whether it is your best friend, your mother, or your pet, whenever you see them take a few seconds or as long as needed to determine if you could be dreaming. Since the odds are that you will often have friends in your dreams, this check is very effective as long as you consistently practice it during the day.
LD writings on hand: Write the letter A on your hand or wrist and each time you notice the letter you perform a reality check. You can instead draw a dream symbol in your hand and use it as a reminder for RC.
Certain random situations: Make a reality check when certain conditions occurs, like, whenever you are in a bathroom, whenever you walk through a front door, whenever you see a clock or every time you check the time, whenever you see something strange, when you see a pet or animal, when you look at a mirror, when you turn on a light, when you hear music, when you hear a phone ring, when you drink or eat something, etc.
Planned situations: Choose in advance certain occasions when you intend to remember to test your state. For example, you might decide to ask, "Am I dreaming?" when you arrive home from work, at the beginning of each conversation you have, every hour on the hour, and so on. Use imagery to help you remember to ask the question. For instance, if you intend to ask it when you arrive at home, see yourself opening the door and remembering your intention.
Dreamlike situations: Perform a reality check whenever you find yourself in a situation which is in any way dreamlike, for example, whenever something surprising or odd happens or you experience inappropriately strong emotions or find your mind (and especially memory) strangely unresponsive.
At first you may find it strange to question the very foundations of the reality you are experiencing, but you undoubtedly will find that taking a critical look at the nature of reality a few times a day is an enjoyable habit to cultivate. Once you establish a systematically critical attitude in your waking life, sooner or later you will decide to try a state test when you are actually dreaming. And then you will be awake in your dream.
Dream Induced Lucid Dream (DILD)
This are lucid dreams which are induced while in the dream.
Mnemonically Induced Lucid Dream (MILD)
This is the most common variant of Dream Induced Lucid Dream (DILD). This technique involves doing something that somehow gets the idea of reality checking stuck in your head, or getting something stuck in your mind that will in some way result in you realizing it is a dream while in the dream.
Self-Suggestion. Before going to bed, establish the desire and intent to recall your dreams by repeating: “Tonight I will have a lucid dream”. Really focus on what you are saying and what it means. Repeat it over and over in your head for 2-15 minutes.
Self-suggestion might include the following: 1) while lying in bed and preparing for sleep, repeatedly say to yourself, "When dreaming tonight, I will realize I'm dreaming," or 2) "Tonight in my dreams, I will be much more critically aware and when I see something odd or unusual, I will realize I'm dreaming," or 3) "Tonight while my body sleeps a portion of me will remain alert and make me realize I'm dreaming." Choose a suggestion that feels comfortable to you and stick with it every night. Lucid dreamers who consistently use a proper suggestion before sleep invariably report a lucid dream. In fact, every induction technique rests upon the idea of suggestion.
Visualize yourself becoming lucid. Imagine as vividly as possible that you are in dream situations which would typically cause you to realize that you are dreaming. Incorporate several of your most frequently occurring or favorite dreamsigns in your visualizations. Imagine it vividly. What emotions would you feel?
Imagine carrying out an intended dreamsign action. In addition to mentally practicing recognizing dreamsigns, resolve to carry out some particular chosen action in the dream that is itself a dreamsign. For example, see yourself flying in your dream and recognizing that you are dreaming. The reason for setting an intention to do a particular action in the dream is that dreamers sometimes remember to do the action without first having become lucid. Then upon reflection, they remember: "This is what I wanted to do in my dream. Therefore, I must be dreaming!" The intended action should be a dreamsign, because you're more likely to become lucid if you find yourself doing your dream action.
Imagine doing what you intend to do in your lucid dream. Decide in advance what you would like to do in your next lucid dream. You may wish to fly or talk to dream characters or try one of the applications suggested later in this book.
Activate a “critical-reflective attitude” toward your state of consciousness before bed so that it remains sufficiently primed to function properly when it is needed to explain some strange occurrence in a dream.
Set your timer for ninety minutes in the future. Go to bet and become lucid. Try to make sure your last thought before falling asleep is about lucid dreaming.
According to LaBerge this method should be used when you have just awoken from an ordinary dream and you go back to sleep or after a Wake and back to bed technique. The most important thing is your intent. You really have to believe what you say to yourself.
Because the goal of a MILD is to remember to Reality Check in a dream, you need to be familiar with them. It is also helpful if you practice some RCs so you won't forget how to do them during the dream. When you RC you should do two different kinds so that if one works incorrectly the other will work the way it should.
If you happen to wake up in the night while trying to MILD and remember a dream you just had you can use it instead. Just imagine that you are back in that dream recognizing dreamsigns and doing a RC.
The Wake/Back to Bed Method (WBTB)
During a series of 1994 NightLight experiments, reported by Stephen LaBerge, Leslie Phillips and Lynne Levitan, it was found that disturbances in the middle of the night greatly increased the likelihood of a lucid dream.
Further experimentation found more precise timings – 6 hours sleeping, 90 minutes waking, 90 minutes napping – to be the best combination. And it’s this exact formula we’ll be following tonight.
Set the timer to beep after 6 hours (360min).
When it goes off, wake up. Stay still and think for a few seconds about any dreams you have just experienced. What do you remember?
Then get up. It is crucial that you get out of bed to increase your odds of success. Sit in your room in the dark for 60 to 90 minutes and build up the intention to become lucid inside the dream.
Go back to bed using whatever technique you normally use to induce your lucid dreams: the MILD technique, counting, etc. This is by far the best technique for inducing lucid dreams
Power or Resolution Method (Tibetan Technique)
For beginning lucid dreamers, the most relevant Tibetan technique is called "comprehending it by the power of resolution," which consists of "resolving to maintain unbroken continuity of consciousness" throughout both the waking and dream states. It involves both a day and a night practice.
During the day, "under all conditions" think continuously that "all things are of the substance of dreams" (that is, that your experience is a construction of your mind) and resolve that you will realize their true nature. At night, when about to go to sleep, "firmly resolve" that you will comprehend the dream state, that is, realize that it is not real, but a dream.
Twenty years ago I attended Tarthang Tulku's workshop on Tibetan Buddhism at the Esalen Institute in Big Sur, California. Rinpoche ("precious jewel"), as we called the teacher, had been forced to leave Tibet when the Chinese Communists had invaded, and had "just gotten off the boat" from India. He therefore spoke precious little English. The bits of his speech that weren't already broken were frequently broken with laughter. I had been expecting esoteric explanations of advanced theory, but what I got was something incalculably more valuable.
Rinpoche would indicate the world around us with a casual sweep of the hand and portentously announce: "This ... dream!" Then he would laugh some more and pointing at me or some other person or object, rather mysteriously it seemed, he would insist: "This dream!" followed by more laughter. Rinpoche managed to get the idea across to us (how, I don't really know; I wouldn't rule out telepathy, considering how very few words were exchanged) that we were to attempt to think of all our experiences as dreams and to try to maintain unbroken continuity of consciousness between the two states of sleep and waking.
Electronically/Externally Induced Lucid Dream (EILD)
This is another popular technique. With this technique you use some sort of device that does something while you are asleep. Normally, such a device would detect when you are in a dream/REM period and then trigger something as a means of communication from the real world to the dream world. This basically means that the device is reminding your dream self that it is a dream, allowing you to reality check (or often you will just realize it's a dream straight away).
A well known (but expensive) device is the Nova Dreamer (or the REM Dreamer). These devices are sleep masks that detect your eye movement, then flash a red light when you are in REM. It is a very successful device, but not 100%, which is why it may be a risk to invest in one if you can't spare the money. This particular use of EILD is a form of DILD. However, it is possible to use EILD to wake yourself up in order to WILD.
Going lucid with herbs
Certain vitamins and herbs can help naturally promote dreams, dream memory, and lucidity. The Secret “Dream Herb” Calea Zacatechichi is a well-known Mexican dream herb that increases the likelihood of lucid dreaming.
Vitamin B6 (100 - 250 mg) taken just before retiring increases dream vividness and dream recall for many people. (Recent research indicates that B6 also acts as a potent factor in preventing heart disease!)
Concentration is also a key element in being able to effectively use concepts such as autosuggestion. Keeping your mind set on one idea. Not letting your intentions falter. These are skills that will help you greatly.
An easy way to practice concentration is to focus on an object. A candle flame works well, but anything else that you are comfortable with may also do. As well as improving concentration, this exercise will also help you with visualization of objects, which is useful in dream control. Light a candle, and sit comfortably in front of it. Stare at it and concentrate on the flame. Allow no other thought than the candle to enter your mind. When you feel your eyes straining, close them and sit quietly for a few moments, imagining the flame before you.
You may want to begin doing this for a period of five minutes or so, adding length each time you practice. Try to work your way up to 15-20 minutes. Although it is a great effort of concentration, this should be a relaxing exercise. Make sure you are comfortable, and do not allow yourself to become too strained.
Wake Induced Lucid Dreams (WILD)
This kind of techniques presents a completely different set of approaches to the world of lucid dreaming based on the idea of falling asleep consciously. This involves retaining consciousness while wakefulness is lost and allows direct entry into the lucid dream state without any loss of reflective consciousness. Basically, the process occurs by carefully handling and manipulating your awareness. This is definitely a mastery level technique so keep in mind that you may not learn it over night.
How to Induce a W.I.L.D
Extract from Marc Vandekeere’s book “The Ultimate Lucid Dreamer'S Manual - From Basics To Beyond”.
Upon getting ready to go to bed, I will usually relax, say some affirmations, set up my intent, and then practice seeing what forms behind my closed eyelids. As I become detached but still aware, I just watch the imagery that forms. At first it is very basic, but it will eventually get more complex. Initially, it is like a gray hazy static that flows over a black background. I can eventually begin to discern lighter areas and darker areas on the black background. The lighter shades glide around and morph into different patterns much like quickly moving amorphous clouds. Once I get to this point, colors may flash in the darkness or even random shapes or fleeting forms will appear. I am becoming less and less aware of my physical body. I am becoming more absorbed by what I am seeing. Once I begin to see quick flashes of images I know that I am getting closer to my goal.
After this "phantom thought form" stage, the hazy background now becomes a more evolved backdrop for lots of fleeting imagery. Your thought forms are beginning to more easily take form. Objects, trees, people’s faces, animals, buildings, or other scenes begin to flash before my eyes. Once there is a notable presence of the fleeting visual images I know that I am entering into a hypnagogic state.
As the imagery appears it may begin to last for longer periods of time. It becomes more realistic and more life-like. You can loosely guide the imagery, but it cannot be forced. I say loosely because there is a certain amount of detachment that is required. If you try too hard you will never succeed. For example, if you begin to see imagery forming, the best way to allow it to develop is to use your peripheral vision. If you look directly at your forming imagery it will usually disappear. For some strange reason too much direct awareness placed on a forming image will cause it to dissolve or completely flash away right before your eyes. On the same note, if you think too much about controlling the formation of the imagery it will also disappear. You need to allow it to form and go with the flow. Just observe without disrupting like you are flipping through pictures in a scrapbook or watching quick clips from a movie.
Once the images start becoming increasingly complex, I begin to imagine that I am moving through the images. For me, movement seems to be the key to directly entering the dreamscape. If I see a house I will loosely attempt to move my awareness towards the house. Adding motion to the images begins to add a three-dimensional quality that a stationary image lacks. I envision the object as coming towards me so that my perspective is that of going through the imagery. After a while, I will usually start getting pretty realistic, moving imagery. This flowing of visuals can give me a pseudo-sense of being in the imagery. This is getting very close to being "in it" but I am still trying to really get in because it is still purely visual and only slightly interactive. The visuals are somewhat responsive to my thoughts because I seem to be moving through the imagery. I can chase and follow something with my transferring awareness, but I'm not completely immersed in a fully interactive dream. The transfer is not entirely complete because I cannot touch anything or move any objects with my hands while realistically "feeling" it at the same time.
If I can sustain this free flow of moving images while actively transporting my awareness through the flow, eventually it will come to a point where a threshold is crossed. At this point, I am no longer the "me" lying in bed who is visualizing these things. I am now the "me" who is running or walking or flying through these newly “realized" images. My awareness has now completely transferred into my new surroundings. I can now interact in this fully three-dimensional dreamscape. I am now completely "in it". If I were to walk up to the dream house I could open the door and feel the texture of the doorknob.
The hardest part of the process is the actual transition "into" the imagery, but it's not hard in a sense that it is strenuous or requires exertion. It's the exact opposite. It requires no effort at all just a mildly detached intent. As mentioned this kind of detached awareness is a crucial part of the induction process especially when attempting direct entry from a waking state. Another obstacle to overcome is not falling completely asleep in the process. It just takes discipline, determination and practice. Most importantly, do not be discouraged if you do fall asleep during the process because that will happen well over ninety percent of the time. It is the few times when it does succeed that will make all the time and effort worthwhile.
Well, that is the process. Hopefully, you will get to the point where you can directly enter into a lucid dream. It is an absolutely remarkable experience. For me, I will have consciously-willed WILDs sporadically, and they usually happen either right when I go to bed at night or in the early morning using the Sleep/Wake/Back to Bed Method. I highly recommend experimenting with your hypnagogic imagery by staying up as long as possible and observing "yourself" as you fall asleep. Cultivate the imagery behind your closed eyelids and experiment with it. You can learn a lot by just watching it and loosely guiding it, and eventually, you should get to the point where you can move through it and then cross over "into" it by completely transferring your awareness. If you keep trying, one thing is certain. You are bound to have some really wild W.I.L.D.s.
Another WILD technique
Extract from Robert Bruce’s book “Astral Dynamics”.
A WILD is a conscious-exit mental projection. This has many similarities with a conscious-exit OBE. WILDs are more realistic and true to life than are OBEs. Sensations like gravity, the feel of your physical body, your ability to taste and smell and feel pleasure and pain, and the limitations of solid matter are indistinguishable from real life. If you eat a candy bar, the experience is identical to the real-life experience of doing the same.
If you fail an OBE-exit attempt, this can be a good time to try a WILD. You will be deeply relaxed and ready to go. Keep i mind that your resting position will probably affect your ability to induce a WILD. Experiment with different positions until you get results. Start with the resting position you normally use to go to sleep.
Best time for a WILD: The best time to have a WILD is after you have had a few hours sleep. Allow yourself to wake up, get a drink and make yourself confortable. Then after ten minutes or so, go back to bed and begin inducing a WILD.
Target Scenario: A target is needed to induce a WILD. I recommend a shopping mall storefront scene that you know well. This work best because the marketplace archetype is strong in the collective unconscious. I also use the name of the store and repeat this silently during a WILD projection.
Wild Projection Method: Settle down and let yourself drift toward sleep. Observe yourself while you imagine your target. Hold the target i mind with as much detail as you can imagine, and allow yourself to drift towards sleep. Silently say the store’s name occasionally as you do this.
If all goes well, you will project directly there. There is no break in consciousness. The transition is sudden and breathtaking. You will feel like you have suddenly slipped through a magic curtain and into the dream environment while fully awake. You are dreaming but you know you are dreaming.
Suggested WILD Activities: Walk through the mall and explore. Walking will feel real and everything will be just like real life. Look for an elevator. Get a snack and drink on the way. Ask someone for directions to the elevator. Get into it and press the button for the highest floor. Hold an intention or expectation to find something when the doors open. Your intention will affect what you find behind doors, so before opening each door, imagine and expect to find what you want on the other side.
Once you know where elevators and doors are located, you can return and find this during future visits. You can use the scenario you first succeed in reaching with a WILD as a staging area for further explorations.
Dream Characters and Spiritual Beings: Most of the people you will see during a WILD would be dream characters. These are generally focused on what they are doing at the time. Conversations are usually pointless. However, occasionally you will encounter more advanced spiritual beings. In my experience, these will sometimes be sitting off to the side minding their own business. It pays to be polite to all dream characters, as you never really know just who they might actually be.
A return to your physical body will happen occasionally. Sometimes you will shift back to your physical body for no apparent reason. Just snuggle down in bed and repeat the WILD induction method. It is possible to have multiple WILDs in a short period of time.
90 Minute Nap WILD variant
This is a variant of the “90 Minute Nap” technique and enables you to actually fall asleep while you’re still awake.
Here’s how it works. You set your timer to wake you up after 6 hours, as in the “90 Minute Nap” Method. You make a note of any dreams you remember, as normal, in your dream journal. You also get up and set your intentions and visualizations for around 90 minutes.
Then you get back into bed... and let your body fall asleep, but keep your mind awake. This is commonly known in the lucid dreaming community as WILD, the “Wake-Initiated Lucid.
You do this by keeping the logical part of your mind awake. And the best way to do that is by counting. You begin counting in your thoughts: “1... I’m dreaming... 2... I’m dreaming... 3... I’m dreaming...”
You see, the mind isn’t supposed to remain active as you fall asleep. It’s supposed to... fall asleep. And it’s pretty difficult to resist.
Dream Exit Induced Lucid Dream (DEILD)
This is a popular variant to WILD. Many people claim that this is a very easy technique, so long as the conditions are good.
This technique is where you wake up, and instantly fall back asleep while keeping your mind aware. It's basically a very short WBTB. Just like any other WILD, this technique requires you to wake up from a REM period. This is a very hard thing to do. The best/easiest way to wake up from a REM period is to wake up naturally, without an alarm clock. But a lot of people have to rely on an alarm clock to get up for work/school. This is why it is important for the conditions to be good.
Hypnagogic Imagery Technique
Relax completely. While lying in bed, gently close your eyes and relax your head, neck, back, arms, and legs. Completely let go of all muscular and mental tension, and breathe slowly and restfully. Enjoy the feeling of relaxation and let go of your thoughts, worries, and concerns. If you have just awakened from sleep, you are probably sufficiently relaxed. Otherwise, you may use either the progressive relaxation exercise to relax more deeply. Let everything wind down, slower and slower, more and more relaxed, until your mind becomes as serene as the calmest sea.
Observe the visual images. Gently focus your attention on the visual images that will gradually appear before your mind's eye. Watch how the images begin and end. Try to observe the images as delicately as possible, allowing them to be passively reflected in your mind as they unfold. Do not attempt to hold onto the images, but instead just watch without attachment or desire for action. While doing this, try to take the perspective of a detached observer as much as possible. At first you will see a sequence of disconnected, fleeting patterns and images. The images will gradually develop into scenes that become more and more complex, finally joining into extended sequences.
Enter the dream. When the imagery becomes a moving, vivid scenario, you should allow yourself to be passively drawn into the dream world. Do not try to actively enter the dream scene, but instead continue to take a detached interest in the imagery. Let your involvement with what is happening draw you into the dream. But be careful of too much involvement and too little attention. Don't forget that you are dreaming now!
Probably the most difficult part of this technique to master is entering the dream. The challenge is to develop a delicate vigilance, an unobtrusive observer perspective, from which you let yourself be drawn into the dream. As Paul Tholey has emphasized, "It is not desirable to want actively to enter into the scenery, since such an intention as a rule causes the scenery to disappear." In Tholey's words, "Instead of actively wanting to enter into the scenery, the subject should attempt to let himself be carried into it passively."
What methods did you use to induce conscious awareness?
Extract from an interview of Ed Kellogg a proficient lucid dreamer, from “The Lucid Dream Exchange Magazine - Issue 35, DreamSpeak by Robert Waggoner”
Ed: I started off using a self-hypnosis approach, and even made up a series of programming tapes to listen to before I went to sleep. Because I had a lot of flying dreams, I set up "finding myself flying" into a cue to realize that I dreamed. So I incorporated this key post hypnotic suggestion into my self-hypnosis sessions and tape scripts: "Whenever you find yourself floating or flying in a dream, you will realize that you dream." This worked - if sporadically.
To this day, if I have a flying dream, or find myself floating, it will often serve as a cue for me to do a reality check. I created different, and I think improved, programming tapes as time went on, experimenting with techniques from sources as diverse as Milton Erickson and Carlos Castaneda.
I also tried a number of dream incubation techniques. I found the MILD technique promoted by LaBerge quite effective, and combined with everything else I did, it increased my frequency of success for intentional lucid dreams to about 1/5. After noticing that the lunar cycle had an effect on my lucid dreaming, I intentionally looked for other factors that might have positive or negative influences. Eventually I developed my "Lucid Dreamer's Checklist" as a mean of systematically ferreting out my own set of optimal conditions for successful lucid dreaming.
I found for example that, getting up at about 3 AM, reading for a half hour, meditating, and then using a specific dream incubation technique to set up lucid dreaming works very effectively. And of course, as far as increasing the number of lucid dreams goes, as with any other skill, practice makes perfect.
Controlling the Dream
Beginners goal: Remain lucid
The first most important thing for beginners is to maintain lucidity, and the first rule is to avoid getting overly excited. In the beginning you should contain your excitement as best as you can. It is a good idea to have a simple goal for your first lucid dream. Something as simple as looking at your hands or calmly looking around you at the dreamscape would be a great initial mission.
The goal is to remain lucid in your dream for as long as you can without either waking up or slipping into a non-lucid dream, and in the beginning it is crucial to pace yourself. So once you become lucid there are three routes you can take: you can maintain your lucidity, you can lose your lucidity by accidentally awakening, or you can lose your lucidity by simply forgetting that you are in lucid dream and slipping into a normal dream.
The length of a lucid dream depends on one's experience and ability at staying focused and aware. For many beginners, I estimate that ninety percent of their lucid dreams last fewer than five minutes. Intermediate lucid dreamers may find that they remain lucid for up to ten to fifteen minutes. Experienced lucid dreamers may go beyond that; some reports suggest as many as fifty minutes of continuous lucid dreaming.
Experienced lucid dreamers sometimes voluntarily cut short their lucid dream because if they stay too long, it often becomes hard to recall exact details that occurred much earlier in the dream. This is why lucid dreamers conducting experiments while lucid will normally tell themselves to awaken after getting the experimental results.
Levels of Lucidity
Slight Lucidity. Some people might become aware that they are dreaming for a fleeting moment, before lapsing into a conventional dream or waking up.
Medium Lucidity. Some people can be aware that they have achieved full long and short-term memory recall, (regained their identity), but take no active part in the dream. Instead, they observe in wonderment as the dream unfolds around them.
High Lucidity. Some people can enjoy taking an active part in the dream, even to the extent where you learn to control the events.
Stabilizing the dream (Staying lucid)
Here is a list of techniques that will help maintain your lucidity and prolong your lucid dreams. They are based on the idea of loading the perceptual system so it cannot change its focus from the dream world to the waking world. As long as you are actively an perceptually engaged with the dream world, you are less likely make the transition to the waking state.
Staying calm. As mentioned this will have a large emphasis in the beginning. As you progress you will be able to handle more and more, but there will always be a certain level of arousal or excitability that will cause the dreamer to awaken. You could take a few deep breaths and relax, and stay focus on your lucid awareness.
Spinning. The best way for continuing lucidity is to spin, like a child attempting to get dizzy. Spin around and remind yourself that the next scene is going to be a dream.
This technique has been used over and over again and is undoubtedly the most effective method of prolonging a dream, specially if the world around you suddenly starts to fade, or you inexplicably sense that your dream is ending, or you even feel that your dream consciousness is thinning.
When you stop spinning you’ll likely find that the dream clarity has returned, and perhaps your surroundings will have changed as well. In fact, if you focus on changing the setting into something else while spinning, it is very likely you will find yourself in your desired environment after you stop spinning.
If you find yourself awakened, don’t forget to make a reality check since it is very common to experience a false awakening. Be very critical on this point.
Rubbing your hands. Another common way to stabilize a dream is simply rubbing your hands together or something physical in the dream. The idea here is to keep your senses focused on the dream instead of thinking of waking. If you are dreaming that you are indoors, you can put your hands on the walls or furniture. If you are dreaming that you're outside, you can try putting your hands on the ground. Any of these things will help you keep the dream going.
Focusing on any detail in the dream. Sometimes you may feel that your dream is beginning to fade away. Your surroundings may seem fuzzy, or your sensations unclear. You may even get the feeling that you are about to wake up. In this case, focusing on detail around you can help you to bring your dream back into focus. Get a close view of the detailed parts of an object. Once you then look back at your surroundings, they too will appear more clearly. Besides vision, you can also focus on the details of other senses. Notice the sounds around you (birds, motors, wind, the hum of a television set in the next room) or the feelings you are experiencing (the pressure on your feet from walking, the feel of water on your skin, the taste or smell of something). Seeing these details of small parts of your dream will help bring the entire picture back into focus. Everything in your dreams requires your attention to exist. The more attention you give to one element, the more detail it creates in relation to what you are focused on. I want to note that strong emotions have an overwhelming role in shaping dreams, much like a colored lens.
Eyes have that real power to engage. I always try to catch the eye of any person or creature in this type of imagery. The closer I can get staring them in the face the better. When you get that engagement the scene will brighten to be just like a normal visual scene.
Use verbal commands. Verbal commands are generally the best way to exert control in your dreams. If you want something to happen, say it out loud. If your surroundings aren’t stable you can simply say forcefully and confidently, “Increase clarity now!”. If you feel your awareness fading, just command, “Maintain awareness!”.
Repeating “This is a dream”. Remind yourself that you are dreaming by repeating phrases like "This is a dream! ... This is a dream! ... This is a dream!" or "I'm dreaming ... I'm dreaming .. . I'm dreaming. . . ." This self-reminder can be spoken "out loud" in the dream, if necessary.
Having a goal. When we focus on a goal, the goal seems to remain active until the goal is satisfied.
The Joy of Flying
Since flying cannot be done in the waking world, it is usually one of the most rewarding and exhilarating experiences for most lucid dreamers.
Flying dreams and lucid dreams are strongly related in several ways. First, if you ever find yourself flying without benefit of an airplane or other reasonable apparatus, you are experiencing a fine dreamsign. Second, if you ever suspect that you are dreaming, trying to fly is often a good way to test your state. And if you want to visit the far corners of the globe or distant galaxies in your lucid dreams, flying is an excellent mode of transportation.
The dream space largely mirrors your ideas, expectations, and beliefs about it. By changing your expectations and beliefs, you change the dream space. Realizing mental space responds best to mental manipulations, you let go of physical manipulations and use the wings of your mind.
Limbo-Land is referred when you enter an in-between state where you have no sight, yet you have complete awareness. You are fully conscious in an empty void. It is completely dark and black much like a cave or a womb. Being in the void you should feel at peace. It is a wonderful place to meditate and contemplate.
Limbo-Land is like a regrouping zone where you restore your dreaming energy and relax while you wait for the next episode of your lucid adventure to develop. Limbo-Land is also a perfect place to incubate a dream as well as an ideal place for creative brainstorming and problem solving. If you have a particular place or person you would like to visit, you can think of that person while you are in Limbo-Land. Hopefully, your next sequence of dreams will incorporate that person or place.
The process of incubating a particular dream from Limbo-Land is quite simple. You continue to maintain full awareness, decide what you would to like to experience, focus your awareness and intent upon whatever it is that you would like to incubate and then simply wait for some new visuals to appear. It usually only takes a minute or so before some images begin to flash and fade in front of you.
As wonderful as your dreams can be, there are times when these thoughtscapes may become equally frightening. You can experience things in your dreams that you would never encounter in your normal waking world, and this can be for the better or for the worse.
Dreams can allow you the opportunity to transcend your fears. The beauty of dreaming is that compared to the vast amount of experience you can access, there are so few negative repercussions. Your dream cannot harm you. There is basically no sensation of pain while dreaming. In dreams you have all the bonuses of being able to experience anything yet no chance of getting hurt.
The quote, "You have nothing to fear but fear itself”, perfectly summarizes the dream realm. It is so incredibly important to internalize this idea that I’ll say it again. The only thing that can harm you is the fear itself. Whenever you sense the presence of fear, all you need to do is analyze the reason for the fear and act upon it. Use fear as an indicator that productive action is required. You can rethink your stance and change your perspective.
So, whenever you are confronted with fear, first, you do a reality check and determine that you are fully aware that you are dreaming, and since you are dreaming you have nothing to fear but the fear itself. Nothing can harm you except your fearful thoughts, and ultimately YOU are in control.
Nightmares are terrifying dreams in which our worst fears are brought to life in fully convincing detail. Whatever horrors you personally believe to be the worst things that could happen, these are the most likely subjects of your nightmares.
Thus, it is understandable that people who realize they must be dreaming in the midst of nightmares frequently choose to wake up. However, if you become fully lucid in a nightmare, you will realize that the nightmare can't really hurt you, and you don't need to "escape" it by awakening. You will remember that you are already safe in bed. It is better, as discussed below, to face and overcome the terror while remaining in the dream.
Paul Tholey also has reported that when the dream ego looks courageously and openly at hostile dream figures, the appearance of the figures often becomes less threatening.
Over the years, there have been numerous anecdotal reports of nightmares being resolved when the dreamer became lucidly aware and asked the nightmarish figure, "What do you represent?" or "What do you want?"
Fear is your worst enemy in dreams; if you allow it to persist it will grow stronger and your self-confidence will diminish. If, on the other hand, you choose to stay in the nightmare rather than waking from it, you can resolve the conflict in a way that brings you increased self-confidence and improved mental health. Then when you wake up you will feel that you have freed some extra energy with which to begin your day with new confidence.
Dream friends and guides
You will encounter and interact with many different characters in your dreams. Some dream characters will be people you have never met aside from the dream, yet surprisingly you may often feel that you have known this person for many years. You can use the help of these dream characters to make the most of your dreaming experience, and you make some wonderful friends along the way.
By interacting with the characters in your dreams you can get information, directions, and insights that may have not been so easily extracted if you were working alone.
Sometimes, I will ask other dream characters to bring a guide to me, and I’ve found that this is a great way to make contacts. Either the person will return with a guide or I will naturally encounter the guide within moments of intending to summon one. Upon receiving help or advice from your guide, be sure to thank him or her and ask if they would be willing to help you in the future if you were to summon them again. Showing gratitude is extremely important, and you may even want to ask if there is any way you can be of service. This type of courtesy keeps the welcome doors open for any future visits.
Change of scenario
Doors. If you want to change scenes in a dream, go over to a closed door, Consciously intend, even say your intention out loud, that when you walk through the door that it will open to where you want to go. Wait a few seconds, open the door and go through.
Spinning is also a good way to change the scenario. Think where you want to go while spinning and expect to appear there when you stop spinning. Also remind you that you are dreaming.
Change the channel. Some dream travelers have elaborated on Alan Worsley's example of the dream television. When they want to change the scenery, they imagine that the dream is taking place on a huge, three-dimensional television screen and they have the remote control in their hand.
Sometimes (and only sometimes) this means you go into paralysis before you actually drift off. We call this "Sleep Paralysis". The idea of that can scare some people, but there is nothing to be afraid of. Anyone who goes through a bad experience in sleep paralysis usually caused it themselves by having the wrong expectations.
Sleep paralysis, as this condition is called, can occur while people are falling asleep (rarely) or waking up (more frequently). If you don't know what's happening, your first experience with sleep paralysis can be terrifying. People typically struggle in a fruitless effort to move or to fully wake up. In fact, such emotional panic reactions are completely counterproductive; they are likely to stimulate the limbic (emotional) areas of the brain and cause the REM state to persist.
The fact is, sleep paralysis is harmless. The next time you experience sleep paralysis, simply remember to relax. Tell yourself that you are in the same state now as you are several hours every night during REM sleep. It will do you no harm and will pass in a few minutes. Whenever you experience sleep paralysis you are on the threshold of REM sleep. You have, as it were, one foot in the dream state and one in the waking state. Just step over and you're in the world of lucid dreams.
If you want to abort the experience altogether and wake up in your bed, all you need to do is focus on moving just one part of your body. You could start by concentrating on one of your fingers or toes. Once you begin to actually move it, have patience and realize that paralysis is not something that ends immediately.
What to do if you do awaken prematurely
Lie very still-don't move a muscle! Relax and wait. The dream will return. I've had dozens of lucid dreams in a row with this method.
You will definitely encounter a lot of false awakenings along your dreaming trails. False awakenings occur when you think that you have awakened from a dream only to discover that you are still dreaming. If you do however wake up, make sure you perform a reality check to ensure you’re not actually still dreaming. “False awakenings” are incredibly common.
Awakening on purpose from the dream
Withdraw your attention. If the secret to preventing premature awakening is to maintain active participation in the dream, the secret to awakening at will is to withdraw your attention and participation from the dream. Think, daydream, or otherwise withdraw your attention from the dream, and you are very likely to awaken.
Gaze fixation. Paul Tholey has experimented with fixation on a stationary point during lucid dreams. He found that gaze fixation caused the fixation point to blur, followed by dissolution of the entire dream scene and an awakening within four to twelve seconds.
Using the eyes. If lucid and you want to "wake up" (return to Waking Physical Reality), close your eyes tightly in the dream, wait a second or two, and then open them wide. Your physical eyes will usually open also, waking you up.
Manipulating characters in Lucid Dreams
Control the dream or control yourself. When faced with challenging dream situations, there are two ways you can master them. One way involves magical manipulation of the dream: controlling "them" or "it," while the other way involves self control. For example, you can either magically convert the other character into a toad, or send him love and acceptance. Both situation will change the dream.
Taking action in dreams can mean many things-you can command the characters, or manipulate the scenery, or you can decide to explore part of the dream environment, act out a particular scene, reverse the dream scenario, or change the plot. Although, as explained above, the greatest benefit from lucid dreams may come not from exercising control over the dreams, but from taking control of your own reactions to dream situations, experimenting with different kinds of dream control can extend your powers and appreciation of lucidity.
Inner state. The environment of a dream is strongly conditioned by the inner state of the dreamer. If the dreamer courageously faced up to a threatening figure, its threatening nature in general gradually diminished and the figure itself often began to shrink. If the dreamer on the other hand allowed himself to be filled with fear, the threatening nature of the dream figure increased and the figure itself began to grow.
Looking in the eyes. Manipulation by means of looking plays an important part in Tholey's model of appropriate lucid dream activities. He cites his own research in support of the hypothesis that dream figures can be deprived of their threatening nature by looking them directly in the eye.
Verbal commands. Manipulation by means of verbal utterances is explained thus: "One can considerably influence the appearance and behavior of dream figures by addressing them in an appropriate manner. The simple question `Who are you?' brought about a noticeable change in the dream figures so addressed. Figures of strangers have changed in this manner into familiar individuals. Evidently the inner readiness to learn something about oneself and one's situation by carrying on a conversation with a dream figure enables one to ... achieve in this fashion the highest level of lucidity in the dream: lucidity as to what the dream symbolizes.”
Assistance of dream friends. Other dream figures may be able to help you manipulate dreams to find answers, resolve difficulties, or just enjoy yourself.
Don’t try to convince the other dream characters that you are dreaming.
Dream characters with awareness. The expectation effect functioned best when used to manipulate objects, settings, or actions in the lucid dream. When it came to dream figures, however, the expectation effect showed mixed results. Sometimes dream figures did exactly what you expected, while other times, they acted unexpectedly. In fact, dream figures often acted as if they were semiconsciously aware and pursuing their own purposes.
With experience, lucid dreamers come to realize that the dream space contains various types of dream figures, behaving with varying degrees of awareness.
As any lucid dreamer knows, in dream reality "magic" works. You can create and use magic spells and incantations and become amazed of how they work far more often than simply wanting or wishing for something to happen. You only need to believe in your gained power to create a particular effect or type of phenomenon. Teleportation, visiting the dead, levitation, conjurations, materializations, and transformations of one's body and environment can become a routine part of your dream life.
In contrast to spells, you can use chants, like SHH AHH MASHH (Shamash, the Hebrew word for the Sun) as a means of tuning or resonate with something or someone, in the same way that you might use a mantra in meditation.
Communication in dreams usually occurs just as it does in waking life, but there are times when you will experience forms of non-verbal communication, like some form of telepathic communication that occurs between you and another character.
This type of communication is very effective because you can receive vast quantities of information in small periods of time. It also provides very accurate thought transmission. Due to semantic difficulties sometimes the little nuances of thoughts can be misinterpreted when using words. By transmitting or receiving whole thoughts and concepts, there is little room for misinterpretation. The only thing needed is for you to be receptive. The meaning is usually processed exactly as it is without any need for further interpretation.
In many instances it is possible to reenter the dream consciously and continue it, often, with the same dream figure and dream setting. Since a beginner's lucid dreams can be relatively short, learning dream reentry is a valuable tool.
Certain behaviors appear to assist the dream-reentry process. First, for some reason, it seemed to help if I matched the exact position of my physical body upon waking from the earlier dream. So to reenter the dream, I would reposition my body to conform to how it had been upon waking. I put my head just so, put my arms here, placed my leg just right, and so on. Now, my body felt ready for reentering the dream.
Then, I found it best to replay the dream in my mind while focusing on an event near the dream's end. At that place in the dream, I would visualize it completely in my mind for a moment while allowing my- self to doze off. Often, at this stage, I would slip back into the dream, consciously aware, as if by lucidly intended dream osmosis.
My final trick involved replaying the dream to the end and then "seeing" some portion of the dream as if inside the dream. By that, I mean I would seek to perceive the dream from some symbol or dream figure's viewpoint in the dream. Once I began to see the dream from an inside perspective, I suddenly would find myself back in the dream state. Usually, the dream would reanimate and continue, and my lucid awareness would be in the scene. Sometimes, the dream details would seem slightly altered, but all in all, a fair similitude would exist there.
Later, I discovered other lucid dreamers had created very similar practices for improving their dream-reentry chances. Once again, the dream state and lucid dreaming process showed a common platform of successful principles and activities.
The structure of dreams
Dreams are often so illogical at times because when we sleep we deactivate certain critical regions of our brain that normally override the presence of nonlinear thinking. Having decreased our linear thinking, our nocturnal adventures are a heaven of nonlinearity.
Without the dominance of logic and linear thinking we have thoughts that seem to evolve and freely associate from one linked thought to the next. Although it may seem chaotic, it is actually quite logical if viewed from the nonlinear approach.
As a matter of fact, during our waking state we are always trying to make sense of everything and fit it into a linear mold. This is because we are products of a linear thinking society.
Everything we can imagine is real
I would side with Pablo Picasso when he stated that "everything we can imagine is real". If we can conceptualize it then it exists as a comprehensible thought, and thought is the master building block of each and every one of our versions of "reality".
The theory that best explains this phenomenon is aptly and paradoxically referred to as the non-locality of time/space. It proposes that our whole view of linear time and space is actually an illusion which brings us back to Einstein saying, "Reality is merely an illusion, albeit a persistent one". The findings now indicate that our linear, bounded world is far more multi-dimensional in nature. It closely parallels the old Chinese saying, "Energy flows where attention goes.”
The realm of Dreamtime in the Australian Aborigines
Another culture that is extremely influenced by dreaming can be observed in the Australian Aboriginal way of life. They refer to dreaming as Dreamtime, and have the central belief in their culture that everything that exists originates within Dreamtime. In the beginning, all that existed was Dreamtime, and over time, the world as they know it was dreamed into existence. Dreamtime is an actual place or realm. It exists just as much as the waking world. As a matter of fact, it is even more "real" because everything comes from it and will eventually return to it while everything in our waking world gives the impression of being solid when in fact it is really illusory.
Another culture that emphasizes dreaming is found among the Tibetan monks who are also equally skilled in "other-worldly" traveling. Some of the Tibetan monks were required to develop their dreaming abilities and turn them into lucid dreaming excursions as a prerequisite for seeking enlightenment. It was and is taught that having control of the dream leads the dreamer to the realization that our material "reality" is as illusory as the dreaming realm. The Tibetan monks would ideally be trained to maintain awareness of their consciousness continually whether awake or asleep. Talk about maximizing one’s experience!
The power of Focus
Extract from Robert Waggoner - Gateway to the Inner Self.
Focus matters. Imagine yourself becoming lucid in the following dream: Coming out of a park, you see numerous skyscrapers and suddenly realize, "I don't live in New York City. This is a dream!" Looking around, you see fashionably dressed women walking past a pastry shop with incredible desserts in the window. To the left, there's a newsstand with tomorrow's issue of the Wall Street Journal next to a man dressed in an orange robe, like a Buddhist priest. To the right, you see a black carriage pulled by beautiful white horses. Lucid, what do you do?
When lucid, you do what you focus upon, according to your state at the time. A hungry lucid dreamer might focus on the pastry shop. A spiritual lucid dreamer might focus on talking to the Buddhist priest. A horse-loving lucid dreamer might focus on the carriage and horses. An experienced lucid dreamer might focus on something not apparent, like flying to the Statue of Liberty, and a more advanced lucid dreamer might ignore the whole scene and focus on an experiment she wished to perform.
When lucid, you can focus on the immediately apparent, the im- plied, and the potential. In effect, you can focus on the finite or the infinite, the perceived or the unperceived. Focus creates a sense of order out of all these innumerable possibilities. By focusing our attention, we concentrate our mental energy on a limited field of our particular interests and personal priorities. So focus performs a selective function by limiting our attention to areas of our own interest and making the experience of any reality practical and personally meaningful.
When consciously aware in the dream state, your focus matters for two fundamental reasons: 1) once lucid, your focus guides your experience, and 2) if you lose focused awareness upon being lucid, then you will shift realities and return to regular dreaming or waking. Focus, therefore, acts as a significant reality-creating principle in your lucid dreaming. By properly using focus, you can radically change your lucid dreaming and create longer, more interesting experiences.
Consider, for example, these lucid dreams from my teenage years:
Early Lucid Dream #1: At my childhood home, Dad and I and a friend are outside working. We all seem younger than our current ages. Dad gets upset about something and yells, "Hurry up!" This really embarrasses me in front of my friend and I'm just about to react when I realize, "This is all a dream!"
Lucidly aware, I go up to Dad and tell him, "This is all a dream! So it really isn't important what you say, and I'm going to ignore all of your idiotic commands!" Suddenly a policeman appears and takes Dad away.
Notice how I become lucidly aware and totally focus on confront- ing the dream image of my father. What happens when I say my piece and expend my focus on it? A policeman enters the dream. Did I, the lucid dreamer, consciously call the policeman forth? If not my conscious act, then what explains the policeman's entry into the lucid dream and subsequent action?
Early Lucid Dream #2:1 am walking in an apartment and see my girl- friend lying asleep on the floor near the door to the shower. That strikes me as odd, and I realize I am dreaming. Thinking about what to do, I decide to go and bite her rump, basically to see what this would be like, and if she, as a dream figure, would notice. Grinning I lean over her, and softly bite her rump. Well, this seems fun! So I bite the other side of her rump. It feels so real - just like one would think it should. She continues lying there, asleep. Suddenly, my brother comes to the door and she rises and puts a towel around herself. I feel embarrassed.
In the dream I had decided, while lucid, to conduct an experiment, wondering, "What will this feel like?" and "Will she notice it?" What happens when I conclude my experiment and no longer focus on it? My brother enters the dream, and my girlfriend gets up and puts a towel around herself. Did I, the lucid dreamer, consciously request his intrusion or her reaction? If not, then what explains those actions?
Early Lucid Dream #3: I'm coming up the stairs to a movie theater. I suddenly feel I could move very fast, almost propelled along. I whiz past people. Then right before I come to the door, I realize I'm dream- ing and yell, "I can fly!" and I do - zooming around the ceiling of the old fashioned movie auditorium, lucidly aware. I feel great!
Looking down, I announce to the audience, "The world is a belief!" I go on and address the audience, saying that they experience their beliefs and perceptions, and really not a fundamental reality at all. At this point, groups of people start to leave the theater. Suddenly a security guard and a lady manager appear and want to talk with me. I now seem at their level. The manager seems initially mad, but when we are alone, she asks, "How did you do this?" She seemed impressed or surprised in a pleasant way.
By looking closely at these lucid dreams, we see how focus relates to creating experienced reality. These simple examples teach the following:
The need to focus, then refocus: In each of the preceding lucid dreams, once I expend my aware focus on the task at hand (reproving my father, experimenting on my girlfriend, making my announcement to the theater audience), my active focus was empty, blank. At that point, new dream figures suddenly enter the lucid dream. Like many beginning lucid dreamers, I failed to refocus on any new objective, which allowed my unconscious to reassert itself and bring new dream figures into my lucid dream.
If an experienced lucid dreamer kept a detailed report, you would read something like this: "Became lucid, decided to do this: did it. Then decided to do this: did it. Then I noticed that and decided to investigate: did so." Experienced lucid dreamers (whether they know it or not) learn to refocus their attention as a means to maintain their creation of the dream reality. "Whether through taking action or simply deliberating, experienced lucid dreamers maintain their awareness actively and elongate the lucid dream.
Losing the battle of creating: At that exact moment when the lucid dreamer has expended his focus, something amazing happens: the dream reality continues as the unconscious creative dreaming system returns and introduces new elements, new objects, and new dream figures into the dream, as the policeman in my first example and my brother in the second illustrate. I did not consciously create these dream figures. Their introduction represents the natural, ongoing, creative progression of the dreaming (which comes uninitiated consciously by the lucid dreamer). Once the lucid dreamer's focus diminishes, the apparent creative dreaming system reemerges, causing new dream elements to appear.
At this point, new lucid dreamers often become totally fascinated by the new elements and lose their focused awareness. Within moments, they can become caught up in the swift flow of dreaming and immersed in its offerings. In losing their focus, they lose their creative power over the lucid dream reality and return to regular dream reality.
In effect, an aware lucid dreamer pushes back the ever-present forces of unconscious creation for the right to create his or her conscious creation. As the lucid dreamer's focused awareness emerges, the unconscious creations wane. Conversely, when the lucid dreamer's focused awareness wanes, the unconscious creations reemerge.
Understanding the importance of focus as a reality-creating principle can radically transform one's lucid experience from simple pleasure seeking to journeys into unimaginable experience. Focus serves to select our experience from the vastness available to us in the infinity of lucid dreaming. By focusing, we channel our creating powers to produce the dream's likely path.
The Expectation effect
One great way of controlling your dreams is through expectation.
So, if you want to see something or be somewhere: expect it to happen.
Expectation seemed a primary force in the dream realm. "To expect is to create” in lucid dreams. This basic rule of lucid dreaming has become known as the expectation effect. In the lucid dream state, I found that, in general, expectations of succeeding led to success, while expectations of failing led to failure. If I expected to fly with ease, I flew easily. If, for some reason, I expected trouble flying, I had trouble flying. If I expected to be approached by dream figures, they approached me. Expectation largely ruled the dream realm, but unexpected things and responses can happened all the time. Expectation seemed more of a guideline for the dream, not a "law."
Just like harnessing the power of your intent, you can develop the ability to manifest just about anything in your dreams if you can engrain the belief that what you expect is what you will find. For example, one thing you may want to do in a lucid dream is to find one of your friends or a deceased relative or anyone for that matter. You could look all over with no results or you may be lucky enough to find that person immediately, but if you use the power of expectation you will definitely increase the odds of finding whomever you are seeking. The process is very simple. Just say or think to yourself, "I know that I will find so-and-so just around this corner!" The magic occurs when you not only believe that you will see this person but you also expect it, and as you round that corner, voila! Not surprisingly, you will find that person. When it comes to expectations, you normally get what you expect, at the moment you expect it, to the degree that you expect it.
Since you can use lucid dreaming to actively go beyond expectation, you ultimately realize that lucid dreaming is not entirely a self-reflective mirror of your waking conscious processes. In going beyond your expectations and allowing the unexpected, you open up to the larger reality and unknown creativity of lucid dreams.
The boundaries of Belief
During waking reality, the brain bases its guess of what’s going on on the information being received from the senses mixed with your beliefs. When asleep, the brain creates a recreation of the senses based on what we hold to be true, what we believe to be possible.
In the dreamstate you are limited only by your beliefs.
What you hold to be true.
Assumptions play a more important role during dreaming than waking perception. If you think you can't, you can’t. A perfect example of this interaction is the power of flight while dreaming. As you learn various ways to fly around in your dreams, you will notice that the first obstacle will be overcoming the belief that you can’t fly. You will often be grounded and unable to fly merely because you have doubts as to whether you can fly or not. You may even think forcefully, "I know I can fly, I know I can fly", but if you possess doubts you may not even be able to make it off the ground. There is a subtle difference between thinking and believing and knowing, and these nuances will be the fine lines you will be exploring as you literally work your way towards getting your wings in the dream realm.
Beliefs seem closely tied to expectations in that we expect that which we believe possible. Our conscious and unconscious beliefs help order and structure our unique version of reality. When lucid in a dream, we generally act in accordance with our beliefs. If we believe something is possible, we attempt it; if we don't believe something is possible, we don't attempt it. Our beliefs delineate the boundaries of our experience to a large degree.
Some of our beliefs could be considered our private beliefs, while other beliefs we come to accept from society, our culture. We seem to attract to us and hold onto beliefs that agree with those beliefs we already hold.
Your lucid dream actions will be limited by your beliefs. For example, many lucid dreamers decide that dream figures have nothing to say, or at least nothing intelligent to say. After all, they conclude, "The dream figures are just products of my mind!" To prove that belief, they may point out that in their last twenty lucid dreams, not one intelligent comment was made by a dream figure. But how do they know the lack of response simply reflects their belief and expectation? Similarly, some lucid dreamers announce that the written word always changes in a lucid dream; however, after thirty years of experience, I find the written word to be relatively stable.
When we believe in limitations or difficulties, we help bring them about. So, cultivating an open mind and expansive beliefs about the possibilities in lucid dreams potentially broadens the scope of our experience. To discover the broadest nature of lucid dreaming, we must play with beliefs on numerous levels. Since our beliefs actively affect even the interpretation of our experience, they seem almost inescapable.
I don't so much encourage anyone to adopt what they perceive to be my beliefs as seek their own broader experience in lucid dreams - to consider new concepts, new ideas, and, with integrity, see where they lead in their experience.