Lucid Dreaming

Lucid dreaming is defined as a dream where the dreamer is aware of the fact that they are dreaming. Often, the dreamer can exert conscious control over the dream as well. If you have ever controlled your dreams before, then you may have experienced lucid dreaming.

The only prerequisite to being able to control your dreams is that you realize a few things:
1) that you realize that you are dreaming
2) that you realize that everything that occurs in this world occurs because your mind invents it
3) that you realize that you have control over this world because this world was built by your mind.

Essentially once you realize that its all in your head, you realize that you can do whatever you want. Often the only limitation is your ability to suspend your own mind’s concept of reality. For instance, we all know that walls are solid. If you run straight at a wall you brain will expect you to hit it and it will react on instinct. In the dream world, you must override that instinct in order to run through that wall.

For a relatively comprehensive list of my dream abilities, see this page. There are a ton of other abilities but that list can give you the basic idea of what can be accomplished through lucid dreaming. These abilities grow and change every day and quite often I acquire a completely new ability that is added to my repertoire. In the world of our minds, we can possess all the power of a god because we have completely control over that world. In other words, there is no limit to what you can do in your dreams once you learn to control them.

Tips for realizing you’re dreaming:
The first hurdle you’ll encounter in lucid dreaming is the ability to realize that you are dreaming.

Dream Recall: First, if you can’t remember a dream, you won’t be able to tell whether or not you where able to control it. Keeping a dream diary can be extremely useful for this. When you wake up, do not move a muscle. Find your last memory from the dream and ask yourself “how did I get to that point?” This will trigger you memory to sift through the dream backwards. Run through the story several times, seeing if you can remember anything more. Then get out out bed and write it down immediately! If, like many, you take a shower immediately after waking, this is also a good time to think over the dream before committing it to paper (or in my case, a blog). I certainly suggest using a blog as a dream diary, it’s just easier than writing it down… and you can share it with everyone, which is even cooler.

Common themes: Often there are common themes in dreams. For me, I am lost and confused in many of my dreams. When I become extremely lost or find myself overly confused I stop and think about it for a while. Often I can realize that I’m dreaming simply by this theme. Lately, death, fighting, and conflict have become common themes. Since these things do not occur very often, or to the extreme degree that they do in my dreams, I can often realize I’m dreaming when I begin to fight.

Recognizing oddities: In your dreams you may experience odd things such as meeting Jesus Christ, or being chased by zombie turtles. If you realize that you are trying to find a magic kumquat for your gorgon employer… you might be dreaming.

Reading: For most people it is extremely difficult to read in your dreams. A simple dream test is to attempt to read a book. If the words make no sense… or the sentences read something like “monster pink turgid monkey mass flared my inner most quantum pizza”… you might be dreaming. This particular trick doesn’t work on me however… because for some odd reason, I can read just fine in my dreams… or at least the dream does well enough to convince me that I can. This particular technique was actually used by Batman in eppisode 26 “Perchance to Dream” It works well for many people.

Associations: You can also make mental associations. For instance in Star Trek Voyager “Waking Moments” the character Chakotay uses lucid dreaming techniques to combat an alien that has invaded the dreams of the crew. He uses the image of Earth’s moon to allow him to realize he is dreaming. Essentially with this technique you simply choose a common object and produce an idiosyncrasy associated with it. Every time you see this object, you ask yourself “am I dreaming?” once it becomes habit, you will begin to do the same thing in your dreams. The only difference is that you will realize you are dreaming in those cases.

Another tip is to constantly remind yourself as you are falling asleep that you want to control your dream. Repeat in your mind “I am going to lucid dream tonight. I will control my dreams.” and just keep thinking this over and over again. You will fall asleep with it fresh in your mind and hopefully this will aid in your remembering to attempt controlling the dream.

A search on the net for “reality tests” will also reveal quite a few other techniques for realizing that you are dreaming.

Tips for controlling the dream:
It is important to note that it is very difficult to override your natural instincts. We are all hard wired to understand certain things about the world. Most surfaces are solid. You cannot walk through walls. Bugs are icky. Fire burns. etc… You must find ways around this in order to get what you want.

For example, I have found that I cannot make items appear from thin air. My mind cannot seem to convince itself that items can materialize from nothing. So in order to accomplish the same effect, I will reach beyond my field of vision (like behind me, behind an object, or into my pocket) and pull out the item that I’m looking for. In this instance it is important not to think “I want to get this object.” or even “I will get this object”. You must be certain that the item is already there and when you close your hand, that it will be grasping the specific object you’re looking for. Another good example is that I cannot walk through walls in my dreams. If I can see it, then I know I can run into it. So if I walk backwards towards the wall, while concentrating on passing through it, I can do just that. When I want to teleport from one location to another or one time to another, I simply close my eyes, concentrate on where I want to be, and fall backwards… through the ground. I usually land on the ground in the place I was thinking of.

The tip here is that your mind works on a few basic principles. The thing to remember is that ALL reality is filtered through your perception. When you dream, it is a world built by pure perception. You must find ways to alter your perception to achieve the desired results. For instance, If I look through a hole in a fence I can see to the other side. Once am can “perceive” the other side of the fence, I can shift my perception so that I am actually on the other side of the fence. This is why I must reach out of my “perception” to pull something into my line of sight. It’s all about shifting your perception.

It is often quite useful to use skills you’ve seen on television in order to accomplish your goals. When watching television/movies your mind temporarily suspends reality and you learn to accept the rules and laws of that universe. It is then easier to copy, for instance, the energy blast techniques from Dragon Ball Z than to invent your own moves. Some of my favorites are taken from wrestling and kong fu movies like Crouching Tiger Hidden Less is more, more or less:
When controlling your dreams it is important to realize that the more conscious you are of your state, the more awake you will become. If your consciousness becomes too strong you will not only be aware that you are dreaming, but that you are laying on a bed asleep. Dreams don’t “want” to be controlled. Your subconscious might even fight back against the control. there are two ways to combat this. The first is to stop controlling the dream and just let it go. This does tend to work, but isn’t entirely satisfying to the lucid dreamer. Whether you give complete control back to your subconscious or not, you should “loosen the reigns” a bit. Too much control isn’t going to get you a very creative or interesting dream. Ideally, you should play a balancing act between your conscious and subconscious minds to find the perfect harmony between the two. One method that works particularly well for me at keeping me asleep even though I’m controlling a dream is movement. Obviously, if I am starting to wake, I am becoming more aware of the fact that I’m laying still on a bed. However, if I can create a sensation of motion which is stronger than the sensation of just laying there (which isn’t hard) then often I can hold on to the dream state. The easiest way to accomplish this is to spin around in a circle. I do this by planting the heel of one foot on the ground and kicking my other foot as if I were riding a skateboard. I used to do this as a kid as you can attain fantastic speeds when combined with socks on linoleum. In any case, the spinning sensation will draw your attention away from reality and back into the dream, which is what you want. If you want to fully master your dreams, however, I suggest you master the art of stillness. If you can control your dreams to the point to where you can sit, perfectly still, with your eyes closed and not wake up (effectively meditating in your dream), then you’ve truly mastered lucid dreaming. Even I cannot do this for extended periods. Flying, healing wounds, walking through walls, shooting energy blasts, transforming into animals, it’s all kids stuff in comparison to sitting there doing nothing.

Why Control a dream?
1) To adjust the outcome (escape from the monster, date the hot chick, heal a wounded friend)
2) Explore your own mind. Your subconscious hides quite a bit in there, it’s fun to poke around.
3) Experience things you couldn’t in waking life (I personally have killed myself several different ways just to find out what death might be like… Groundhog’s Day Style).
4) Act out your fantasies. If you always wanted to go to some tropical island and have a romantic fling with a well tanned local… by all means, go for it.
5) Overcome phobias. Fight back against those giant spiders, torch some zombie clowns, etc…

That’s about all I’ve got for now. Hopefully, this is of at least some help to someone out there. I have spent quite a bit of time learning how to do this on my own only to find out that there are tons of resources online for lucid dreaming techniques and the like. If you like to dream, this is definitely something worth checking out. If you’ve got any comments or questions on this article or on lucid dreaming, feel free to comment on this post. If I don’t know the answer, I can find it out.

Thanks for reading,
Type to you later,
~Nathaniel

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This entry was posted on Sunday, October 28th, 2007 at 1:55 am and is filed under Advice, Blog, Dream Journal.

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(11) Responses to “Lucid Dreaming”

  1. Sharon Says:
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    Nathaniel, you a Star Trek fan…… ?

    I’ve always been mesmerized with the ideas behind Lucid Dreaming. Unfortunately, I am not one of those who can control my dreams. In fact, I don’t think I dream at all…..

  2. Nathaniel Says:
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    Oh yeah, I used to watch Star Trek all the time. I’m not into TV as much as I used to be though. I just don’t have the time.

    The thing is, I would say that almost, if not, everyone dreams. If you enter REM sleep, then you dream. However, many cannot remember their dreams, leading them to believe that they never actually dreamed. My little bro is the same way. He insists that for him sleep is closing his eyes, opening them a moment later, and nothing inbetween.

    I personally don’t understand those who do not dream or remember their dreams. I dream several times a night and I usually remember a great deal in great detail. It’s just second nature to me.

  3. linda Says:
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    Hi

  4. Nathaniel Says:
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    er… hi?

  5. Sharon Says:
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    Ah, maybe i’m getting the early onset of Alzheimer’s…

    I’m sure my sleep is not full of void and emptiness, I most likely just can’t remember it.

    However, I do have a lot of moments of De Ja Vu. Which I account for something, I probably have dreamt before.

  6. Nathaniel Says:
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    Don’t be so quick to think Alzheimer’s. Not being able to remember things doesn’t always have to be that bad. It is very common for people not to remember their dreams. In fact, our brains are set up such that we tend to erase our dream experiences fairly quickly. So, even if you do remember when you wake, it could still leave you within moments. I have trained myself to remember my dreams so vividly. However, if you can’t remember your dreams at all… that’s not going to be easy.

    Try waking yourself up at odd times. Set an alarm to jolt you into being awake. Try not to freak out too much… movement tends to make you forget. The idea is to wake up during a dream, then try to remember it while it’s fresh in your mind.

  7. Sharon Says:
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    No, can do, Nathaniel. I love to sleep. In fact, if I don’t have to wake up, I will sleep THE whole day.

    So, waking about at odd times is not going to work for me :)

  8. Nathaniel Says:
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    LOL, yeah, I hear you… granted… I’m posting this comment at almost 1am… I’m a night owl… so I guess I like staying up too.

    Alrighty… my next suggest is to try sleeping in odd places or in an odd way. Often just sleeping with your head at the foot of the bed can trigger dreams. I find that I am not only more likely to dream when I sleep in an odd place but also that the dreams are more vivid… perhaps because I don’t sleep as well I am more conscious of the dreams.

    Now… I wouldn’t suggest being uncomfortable… certainly wouldn’t want to sleep on the little sofa and end up with a crick in your neck. I hate those. >.<

    That being said, you and dreams may be a lost cause. My little bro practically never dreams. On the rare occasions that he does, they’re usually fairly trippy and drenched with symbolism. His dreams tend to be more meaningful and he takes more meaning from them. Not like me, I think my dreams are mostly random and I tend to ignore any message they might be trying to get across… So I suppose there are advantages and disadvantages to dreaming often/rarely.

  9. Sharon Says:
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    Nathaniel, come to think of it, I sleep more soundly when I change my sleeping positions. And the dreams do come more vivid.

    Okay, so now that we are talking about dreams. Why is it I seem to remember feeling like I am falling on thin air when I wake up from one?

  10. Nathaniel Says:
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    You got me on that one. @.@
    The sensation of falling is usually created when your brain “randomly” activates the portion of your brain that deals with motion detection… Now, as to why it would do so just as you wake, I have no clue. I’m no doctor. :P

    It might be somewhat related to hypnogogic hallucinations… but I’m not sure. I get those just as I’m falling asleep and tend to have muscle spasms so strong that I knock stuff off the walls.

    At least it’s not like my wife, who attacks me with flailing fists in an effort to fend off the evil (insert random animal here).

  11. Sharon Says:
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    Zombies??? Lots and lots of zombies???

    LOL….

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