Lucid Dreaming FAQ
“Dreams are a reservoir of knowledge and experience, yet they are often overlooked as a vehicle for exploring reality. In the dream state our bodies are at rest, yet we see and hear, move about, and even able to learn. When we make good used of the dream state, it is almost as if our lives were doubled: instead of a hundred years, we live two hundred.”
-Tibetan Buddhist Tarthang Tulku.
As this is a frequently asked question tutorial, and these are the most commonly asked questions on this forum, the purpose of this tutorial/FAQ is to inform all the newbies about the basics of lucid dreaming, and to cut down on the multiple, similar posts. Feel free to contact me if anything in here needs editing or re-arranging! - Lowercase Society
What is a Lucid Dream?
-Lucid dreaming means that you are dreaming and you are aware that you are doing so. The word lucid can mean ‘clear’ or ‘transparent’. While lucid you can do a number of tasks, such as talk to a relative/friend that has passed away, live your wildest fantasies or just fly to the heavens and marvel in the beauty of the environment you create in your dream! Lucid dreaming occurs in the REM (rapid eye movement) period of sleep.
How fast can I learn how to dream lucidly?
-It differs with the person, and how dedicated one is, as well as how much sleep you can get. Some people have lucid dreams on the first night; some have them a couple months. There are many ways in which to induce lucid dreams that will be discussed below.
How can I have a lucid dream?
-Dreams are very commonly a reflection on your day, your thoughts, and what has been processed through your mind during the day. It is important to remain conscious, right up to falling asleep, to help induce lucid dreams.
Is it important to keep a dream journal?
-YES. Everyone has difficulty, at first, recalling dreams. Before trying to have a lucid dream, it is important that you remember at lest 2-3 dreams a night, and you write them down in a personal notebook, or journal. This dream journal can help you recognize your dreamsigns, and will definitely help on your recall, which is important to someone interested in lucid dreaming. Keeping a dream journal involves some dedication, the last thing you are going to want to do is to get up in the middle of the night or early morning, turn your light on and write down your dream. It is very important that you do, because the next day most people forget that they have even had a dream. Everyone dreams, but most people cannot recall their dreams the next waking day, because they have not trained their recall. By training your recall, you can open up a bigger door to gaining lucidity!
I have included the most common forms of induction; there is a pool of induction techniques available. If you need more, feel free to PM me if you need other forms.
What is Reality Testing (RT)?
-Reality testing is merely what it sounds, it is testing the reality you are in, and in this case, it would be “Am I dreaming, or am I awake?” This provides a clear way of defining and distinguishing the dream world from the waking world. There are many ways of doing this, but it is good to ask yourself the question as many times as you can in a day. Or you can make a list of things each day to test your reality. For example, everytime you see yourself in the mirror, every time you hear a dog bark, every time you see an attractive person. Hopefully as this becomes a day-to-day task in the waking world, it will become one in the dreaming world. It has been noted that things in the dream world seem very ‘fuzzy’ or words and letters tend to re-arrange themselves in the dream world. If you wear a digital watch (regular ones don’t work as well), look at it once and note the time, look away, and look back at it: if the time has changed or the numbers re-arrange themselves, you are dreaming! You should try this every time you can with reading something, like billboards, a book, or anything similar. You might perform a reality test, upon recognizing a DREAMSIGN, which will be discussed below.
What is a Dreamsign?
- This term, coined by LaBerge, refers to elements of dreams that indicate that you are dreaming. (Examples: miraculous flight, purple cats, malfunctioning devices, and meeting deceased people.) By studying your dreams you can become familiar with your own personal dreamsigns and set your mind to recognize them and become lucid in future dreams. A very common dreamsign is that of malfunctioning devices. If you are curious to whether or not you are dreaming, try flipping the switch for the lights, or turning on the microwave, or anything mechanical, if there is a glitch, you are probably dreaming.
How do I find my own dreamsigns?
-Finding your own dreamsign can be done by reading through your dream journal. First, you must have many dreams written down to be able to recognize dreamsigns. Take notice of similar objects, ways in which you perform certain tasks, or even certain people. Pinpoint a few things, and every time you see them in the waking world or think of them, do a reality test, to see if you are awake or dreaming.
How does the Mnemonic Induction of Lucid Dreams (MILD) work?
-This is a form of induction that was created by Stephen LaBerge at the Lucidity Institute. It works by setting your intention to remember to recognize you are dreaming. A good approach is waking up after 5-6 hours, remember a dream and tell yourself: "Next time I'm dreaming, I will remember I'm dreaming." You need to really mean it. Concentrate on this thought only, if you find yourself thinking on something else, just let the thought go and return to your intention. Also try to imagine that you are back in the dream, but this time you recognize that you are dreaming. Look for unusual things that suggest you are dreaming and tell yourself: "I must be dreaming!".
How does the Wake-Initiated Lucid Dream (WILD) work?
-This is perhaps the most common asked question here on Dream Views. It works by remaining conscious until you start dreaming. The Lucidity Institute also first presented this technique, but it is not easy if you don't have a clue what to do. But it is quite easy and effective if you do it right. Again, you need to sleep 5-6 hours before trying this. This is because you don't dream much during the first 5 hours, which is mostly non-REM sleep. You enter REM a lot faster after 5-6 hours with sleep, and you don't go down to stage 3 and 4 as you do when you first go to bed. The problem is remaining conscious until your dream start. Many strange things may happen when you remain conscious until the REM-period starts. The first thing you see may be Hypnolgogic Imagery. It is a pattern, like the one you see when you press your fingers against your closed eyelids. Remember that this is hypnotic, and getting too involved with them will induce unconsciousness. Just let it flow, don't get too involved and don't suppress them either. The next thing you may experience is Hypnagogic Sounds. It may be as real as the sounds you hear in waking reality, but they are nothing to be afraid of. It is a good indicator that the REM-period is right around the corner. Just don't let these sounds scare you. If you start to experience Abstract Thoughts, the logical part of your brain is falling asleep and you are not far from losing consciousness. You might be lying in bed thinking about a friend and the hypnagogic imagery starts and you see your friend's face. You have also worked a stressful day so you start to remember stocking the shelves at work. Soon you are thinking that you are putting cans of food on the shelves with pictures of your friend on them. All this might seems perfectly normal. But it's not logical. What you need to do is try thinking logical, do some math or start over again. Tactile Sensations can feel like you are paralyzed and high-voltage painless electricity is jolting through your body. You may experience these vibrations and find yourself leaving your body or having a Lucid Dream. But remember that all this is nothing to fear, it happens every night, whether you are consciously aware of it or not. Now that you know what you might experience when trying to consciously enter the REM-period there is another problem we need to conquer. And that is losing consciousness, a very common problem that is rather easy to overcome. A good solution is Caffeine and Theobromine. Caffeine is found in Coffee, Tea, Coke, Chocolate and Pills. Theobromine is found in Chocolate. The problem is finding out how much Caffeine works for you. A lot of experimenting has to be conducted. A good place to start is with 0.5 liter Coke, a cup of Coffee or Tea, half a pill or a chocolate bar. If you take too much you will not start to dream at all, if you take too little you may lose consciousness. But drinking 0.5 liter Coke is not very wise, it has a very disturbing side effect. You should also stay up for about 30-60 minutes after waking up after 5-6 hours with sleep. This because it takes about 45 minutes before the Caffeine reaches its full effect. Another way for keeping the mind active and to bring on the hypnagogic images is to imagine doing something that involves imagery, audible and tactile sensations. Like driving a car, imagine the car and the road, hear the engine-/radio and feel the steering wheel. Remain focused on what you are doing and avoid thinking about anything else than driving that car. Or you might include smell, and taste, by imagine a good meal. Keep the room as dark as possible. Close your eyes and concentrate on your breathing, the slower the better. Breath with your stomach, making an "Ahhh" sound at the end of the exhalation that will help your mind to stay awake while your body falls asleep. With time may you notice mild vibrations and that your body becomes paralyzed. At that point will you notice that you no longer have any problem concentrating, everything becomes clear. In this state stop concentrating on your breathing and just be aware of your surroundings. If you begin to loose consciousness, start paying attention to any light in your vision or any internal sound. Some time later will you begin to experience the second vibrations. It will quickly rush throughout your body, sometimes accompanied by various sounds and then end. This is your astral body being released. Dream images will start to form. You can go with these images and enter a Lucid Dream, or you might just sit up and walk away from your physical body.
What is DILD (Dream-Initiated Lucid Dream)?
-This is a name for every Lucid Dream where you become aware that it is a dream in the dream. Meaning that you are unconscious before you become Lucid. Most Lucid Dreams are DILDs.How does the Nap Induced Lucid Dream (NILD) technique work?-It works by staying up for an hour or two after waking up before going to bed again. This has proven to be a very effective technique, maybe the most effective around. Sleep for about 5-6 hours, then stay awake for about 1-2 hours and go back to sleep. Maybe doing some MILD a few minutes before falling asleep could help, or try staying conscious (WILD) until the dream starts. This will in many cases cause you to have Lucid Dreams. Also a good way to have vivid dreams, or will at least make dream recall easier. Staying awake for 90 minutes seems to work better than 60 minutes, though 60 minutes seems to be effective enough in most cases. And sleeping for 6 hours seems to be better than 5 hours, though it might be harder to fall asleep again. The time spent awake should be used thinking or reading about dream related issues. Like reading about lucid dreaming or related newsgroups.
Upon Becoming Lucid
Once lucid, I get excited very fast, and wake up. How can I prevent this?
-This is the most common problem for newbies, when they become lucid. It is a stumbling block for those who have been having lucid dreams for years. Ways in which to prevent premature awakenings will be described in the following. If your dream show signs of ending, maybe loss of detail or your dream just go black, then spinning may help bringing the dream back. Before you feel your physical body you should spin your dream body. That is going round and round. Also remind yourself that the next scene will be a dream. To ensure that it is a dream should you do a RT. Just moving, running or jumping can prolong your Lucid Dream, you might also want to try spinning out in the gravity-free universe. When you open your eyes you may be surprised to find yourself in the most beautiful environment with stars, galaxies and planets. Another technique is saying out loud: "Clarity now!". Just stating out loud your desire and intention may do incredible things to your dream. You might want to try other commands like: "Increase lucidity now!", "Create visuals now!" and "Stay calm!". It sounds kind of corny, but it works to verbalize commands. Another common way is to notice detail, by using your 5 senses. Rub your hands into the grass and feel the texture, if you are in some kind of public place, smell the food being cooked, or look around and perceive everything through your eyes, noticing the smallest detail. It is important to find your own way, through these suggestions by which to increase awareness.
How do I change the scenery, once becoming lucid?
- This can be done in many ways, but the most common technique is spinning. If you want something to appear, then expecting it around the corner or behind you is quite effective. You can find a big TV and a remote, and start changing the channels to a scene you like, and then just jump in the TV. If you want a special scene can you expect that to appear when you change the channels. You might also try finding a bridge, were you see a lot of scenes flowing by. If you find you like, just jump. You might try asking a dream character where you might find what you are seeking. You can try finding a door and imagine a person/place on the other side. And you can give slow morphing a try. You can also try closing your eyes and imagine the scene forming around you. But the key is to expect things to happen. It is also important to find your own way of dreamscaping, because sometimes methods used by other lucid dreamers might not work for you.