Lucid Dreaming Tips

I have been meaning to write this blog for a while. So here goes my tips for Lucid Dreaming!

 

  1. Practice mindfulness. Throughout the day check in with yourself/become your own personal narrator. Describe how you are feeling. Describe in detail what you are doing presently. Describe your environment paying special attention to each of your senses. State your intentions/goals for the day. If possible speak out loud. Point out anything beautiful/intriguing/unusual that you happen to come across throughout your day. Get in the habit of asking yourself questions. Breathe consciously. Feel yourself inside of your body. For many people it helps to set a specific cue to test for wakefulness. I bite my tongue or cheek.
  2. Practice mindfulness when asleep. This will be much easier if you have established the habit in your waking life. Ask lots of questions! Fact check with yourself. Who am I? When is my birthday? Where am I? Approach the characters in your dream. Unlike in real life dream characters will sometimes struggle to provide basic information particularly about their identities. They may also give nonsensical or nonstandard answers to basic questions such as “What is your name?” and “How are you doing?”
  3. Check in with your senses. If you notice that your senses are impaired this can be a good indication that you are in an altered state of consciousness.
  4. Once you have identified that something weird is going on. Try asking yourself “Is this a dream?” Usually the question alone is enough to elicit awareness. I ask myself this when I am awake and spaced out as well. Once you feel pretty sure that you are asleep, say confidently “This is a dream.” Just saying those words should leave you feeling pretty empowered.
  5. Once you have established that you are asleep, focus on your body. Focus on your feet in particular. Imagine the ground underneath them as solid. In dreams it’s suggested that you float around, don’t float walk (you can fly later).
  6. Once you have centered yourself and you’re comfortable in your dream body then you can start exploring. Before you change anything I recommend exploring the dream in progress. I find it difficult to stay asleep during a lucid dream because of the heightened sensory input. You need to give yourself time to adjust.
  7. Before you make major changes start with smaller changes. Explore what your body can do. Try jumping really high or flying around.
  8. If you want to dream about a specific person, invite them into your dream. Say it out loud before bed and then in the dream ask for them by name. Ask the dream characters if they have seen so and so or if they are so and so. Look for so and so behind doors and in various places you might expect to find them, maybe in places where you have met them in real life. Call them or text them in the dream and invite them to a location just as you would in real life. Consent is important even in a dream! Always treat them with respect.
  9. To manipulate the content of your dream it is important for you to understand what type of learner you are. I am a read/write learner which means that if I want to program myself to dream about a certain thing it works better if I write down in detail what I want to dream about or if I read about the places I would like to visit during the day (for some it works best to do it right before bed). If you are a visual learner you will have a lot more success looking at pictures or watching movies. Obviously it helps if you can visualize well in your waking life. The more senses you can recruit in your visualizations the better but for those of you who are very one-sided, one-tract learners like me you can achieve faster results by focusing on what you are best at.
  10. It can be enough to simply state your destination in the dream. “I want to go to Paris.” Your brain should already have plenty of stored information about Paris to aid you in your re-creation. 
  11. Ask the dream characters to perform certain actions and/or favors for you. Dream characters can get stuck on a script and be somewhat inflexible like NPCs in a game so you might not have much luck talking to them in an active/conscious way but stating what you want can still help it to manifest.
  12. Meditate daily. I have a lot of success using Lucid Dreaming Meditation Music which can be found on Youtube.
  13. Keep a dream journal. Keeping a dream journal can give you little insights and clues that will aid you in detecting dreams, it also sends a message to your brain that dreams are important and worth remembering.

 

Special Notes Nightmares

 

  1. The first step is to create a safe haven for yourself during your daily meditation practice. This can be an actual place or an imagined place. During the day whenever you are feeling stressed take a time out and visit your safe haven for a few minutes. With enough practice you will be able to visit your safe haven when asleep. You can also try closing your eyes within the dream and calling up a happy memory.
  2. Go into the dream knowing every character you meet is yourself (unless you have invited someone into the dream and this isn’t really possible unless you have a special bond). 
  3. When possible take the opportunity to do a little trauma therapy. The “villain” in any dream is just a wounded and/or neglected part of yourself. Ask them questions in a genuine attempt to get to know them better. Invite them back into your life. If possible attempt to brighten the space they are in (open the blinds, turn on the light, take them to a location with lots of natural light). Offer them comfort (a hug, a shoulder to cry on, a hand to hold, an ear if they want to talk). Offer forgiveness/acceptance. If at some point doing your therapy session you discover that they represent a younger version of yourself treat them as you would any child you wish to bond with and comfort.
  4. If someone is chasing you say “Goodbye” and walk away normally. If you scream or run they will just pursue you. If you come upon a terrifying scene close the door and move on.
  5. Say “I don’t like this dream. I want to dream of something else.” This works wonders for me.
  6. Use humor to diffuse the situation. If a villain is chasing me I will stop, turn around and run after them instead. You could even try turning it into a game by tapping them on the shoulder and saying “Tag your it!”
  7. Confuse them. Kiss or tickle them when they least expect it. Be prepared though if you kiss them they can occasionally turn quite amorous.
  8. If you’re really not feeling the dream vibes use lucid dreaming to change the scene altogether or simply wake up and try again! If the dream is really scary I will stay awake for several minutes before returning to sleep. If you wake up on your back, roll over. Sleeping on my back does improve my chances of lucid dreaming but I am also more likely to have nightmares when sleeping on my back.
  9. So what happens if the bad guy attacks you? Talk to them if you can try to deescalate the situation. If you can’t just kick their ass. It’s your dream and in a dream your power is unlimited.

8 responses to “Lucid Dreaming Tips

  1. i love this post. i remember trying to do this years ago after reading carlos castaneda, where he discussed lucid dreaming. fascinating.

    • I haven’t read that one! I first learned about Lucid Dreaming in a psychology textbook in high school. It has really helped me deal with my nightmares and I taught it to my own daughter when she was very small so she has never had issues with nightmares. I am by no means an expert though and the tips I gave are just the ones that work best for me.

  2. Thank you beautiful poet, I will have to read this over a few times to really digest it. Sometimes it can be tricky telling the difference between lucid dreaming and being fully awake. I have wet the bed a few times like this. I was much younger but still. Ha. ha. Sending you lots of love. a heart emoji

    • Within the dream everything feels so real it can get pretty confusing, the trick is recognizing that it is a dream, that you are asleep/in bed. It requires quite a lot of reality checking. I have becoming intimately familiar with the phenomenon uncanny valley. Uncanny Valley was originally used to describe robots with very life-like appearances, mannerisms and so forth. They were made as human as possible and yet there is still something about these robots that tells the brain they are not real/not right. They make you uncomfortable. They feel surreal. Sometimes the idea of Uncanny Valley is extended to anything that feels real but isn’t or seems one way but is another. You might have had this experience if you have ever spoken to an identical twin. Once there was a girl in my class with a twin and for April Fool’s they switched places. I didn’t know my classmate was a twin so nothing should have alerted me but I was still immediately struck by her. I started talking to her and she felt off despite how comfortably/naturally she conversed with me (they exchanged info beforehand so she knew enough to get by without giving herself away in casual conversation) after a while I said to her “This might seem strange but you don’t feel like you.” Followed by “Are you you or someone else?” (weirdest question I have ever asked a person lol) She was absolutely shocked she said they had been doing this for years and no one had ever caught on (not even their close friends/family)! I could not tell them apart by voice or appearance but there was something else that I can’t really define. Look for that sense and you will know immediately the difference between being awake and asleep. The brain can tell rest-assured.

  3. I can lucid dream. It happens if I fall back to sleep after waking in the morning. Because of lucid nightmares, I never sleep in. Lucid dreams are wonderful and horrific. I need to analyse them to find out what influenced them otherwise I will be out of sorts all day.

    • It sounds to me like you might be suffering from sleep paralysis. I used to get sleep paralysis a lot when I was younger. I got in the mornings too when I was sort of half-awake/half-asleep. Some of the triggers for it are: stress, irregular sleep patterns, adolescence, sleeping on your back. Tips for prevention include keeping a regular sleep schedule, sleeping on your side, avoiding food, exercise, and stimulants 2 hours before bed, stress-management (exercise, meditation), keeping your bedroom as dark as possible, if you get up in the night for whatever reason you need to avoid bright lights, avoid looking at your phone during the night. Light is a huge trigger!. Avoid naps after 3 pm, and if possible don’t work or study in your bedroom (if you are a student this might be difficult).

      “Sleep paralysis is a feeling of being unable to move, either at the onset of sleep or upon awakening. The individual’s senses and awareness are intact, but they may feel as if there is pressure on them, or as if they are choking. It may be accompanied by hallucinations and intense fear.”

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