lucid dreaming

Have you ever wondered what it would be like to fly? Ever wanted to be the President? Maybe you’ve always wondered what it would be like to time travel; perhaps even take a ride on the back of a brontosaurus. Once you learn how to lucid dreamall this and more is available to you on command. The only limit to what you can do is your own imagination.

Put simply a lucid dream is a dream in which you become aware of the fact that you are dreaming. For most people the ability to differentiate between a dream and reality is only available when they are awake. It may happen like this: We have a nightmare that causes us to jolt awake. It may take us a few moments, but once we wake up we can usually reassure ourselves that “it was only a dream”. If you have lucid dreams you are able to realize that you are dreaming before you wake up. Not only that, but if you’re having a nightmare you can consciously pursue many options to make the dream less distressing.

Most people already have some level of lucid dreaming skill. Many people have had the occasional dream where the sequence of events is so unusual or unexpected that they can only conclude that they must be dreaming. Often when this happens the person will either wake up, or continue dreaming passively. Unless they have learned how to lucid dream, rarely will they be able to take control of the dream from that point and direct the action as they see fit.

Lucid dreaming can best be likened to writing and starring in your own movie. Once you have developed the ability to distinguish dream from reality whilst asleep, you’ll find that the entire dream world is your movie set. Limitations that restrict you in your waking life simply no longer apply. Causality, Physics and even language barriers can be overcome simply by wishing it so. Want to fly? Try it and see what happens. Feel like a afternoon tea with Genghis Kahn? Grab some scones and your teapot and get comfortable. Leap over a building in a single bound? Stop a speeding locomotive with your bare hands? Tie your cape on and have at it.

As fun as this sounds, for most people it can be difficult even to recall a normal dream, much less be consciously aware of it while it is happening. Learning how to lucid dream is something that can be done easily with a little practice and determination.

If you want to learn how to lucid dream you’ll need to first learn to recall your dreams. Often you might find that you’ll recall a dream from the previous night only when something happens during the day to remind you. Dream recall is important for two reasons. Firstly if you can’t recall your dreams it’s possible that you may have achieved some level of lucidity and forget all about it when you wake up. Secondly the ability to identify common themes, symbols, people or places in your dreams will become an important aid to your becoming aware of a dream.

As you practice dream recall, you may discover that you regularly dream about penguins. Unless you see penguins frequently in your daily life the sight of a penguin may be enough to trigger a reality check inside a dream and cause you to become lucid.

Reality checks are the second important skill to master. Most people find it helps to regularly ask themselves the question: “am I dreaming at the moment?” Once this becomes a habit during waking hours the act of habitually performing your reality check in a dream should be enough to alert you to the fact that, this time, you are dreaming.

When I first began to learn how to lucid dream, I found that performing regularly scheduled reality checks or setting up triggers that would remind me to perform reality checks was just too difficult. Instead I found that I had success just by focusing on the intention to have a lucid dream. When I started to focus on dreaming as I went to bed, and dream recallafter I awoke two things happened: My dream recollection increased dramatically, and in a week I’d had my first lucid dream.

Because lucid dreaming is a skill, you can expect to have some less-than perfect results to begin with. Let’s suppose that flying is one of the main reasons you want to learn how to lucid dream. You might find that initially you’ll have a dream where you either fly, or try unsuccessfully to fly. Because your dream recall is working, you recall the dream, but you won’t realize that you were dreaming about it until the next morning. This should not be interpreted as failure. Indeed it’s a signal that your unconscious mind is paying attention.

The best advice that I can give to you as you begin to learn how to lucid dream is to treat as you would any other skill. Have in your mind a clear understanding of why you want to be able to lucid dream: Do you want to create a dreamscape as your own private playground, or do you want to be able to do something very specific? Unless you’re very clear on your desire to develop the skill, chances are you will have limited or no success.

Once you’re clear on why you want to learn how to lucid dream, you need to focus your attention on it each time you think about sleep. Whenever you feel tired, remind yourself that sleep time equates to dream time. When you wake up make it a habit to exercise dream recall. Dream recall fades in direct proportion to your alertness levels so it’s best to do this as close to the time you wake up as possible.

Finally, search for ways that your unconscious mind might be trying to use to alert you to the fact that it is doing its part to help. Taking flying as the example again, are you perhaps noticing that you see more planes or birds lately? Maybe you heard “Learning to Fly” by Pink Floyd when you turned the radio on. In the initial stages you want to notice and reinforce approximately correct results so that your unconscious mind will continue to work with you.

It may take a little bit of time, and your initial dream results may be less impressive (In my first lucid dream, all I could do was change one person into somebody I liked better) but once you’ve learned how to lucid dream, you’ll never think about going to bed the same way again.

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