Lucid dreaming is the act of becoming aware or conscious of a dream. This dream could be a dream that you’re having during the night hours, yet I’m also learning that we take part in a waking dream when we wake up from sleep. Therefore when working with lucid dreaming techniques you may become more aware in waking and sleeping states.
There are many ways to achieve this lucid state and I recommend to pick a couple techniques that you resonate with and start there. If you find one technique more helpful than another stick with it and come back to others later.
This is a practice just like any other. You’ll be learning to “flex a new muscle” within your self. This is not always easy and may take time. These techniques will work best when used in conjunction.
The first technique that I rate most important to lucid dreaming is that of dream recall. Dream recall is the mastering of remembering your dreams. The best way to do this is to keep a dream journal. A dream journal can be as simple as a notepad and pen. Use paper and a writing utensil that you feel drawn to. Keep this journal close by to your bed so you can journal the moment you wake from a dream. Full sentences and punctuation is not a requirement, it is the recording that works the muscle of dream recall. As you’re writing you’re programing your memory to value the dream. As you do this more and more the mind will automatically recall more details and more dreams each night. I recommend to use this technique throughout the entirety of your dream practice.
The next technique is takes advantage of what science tells us about REM. Rapid Eye Movement tells us when we’re in the deepest state of sleep. This is unique to everyone but can be generalized to occur in the first 90 minutes of the sleep cycle. What you can do to utilize this portion of sleep is set an alarm for 1.5 or 3 or even 4 hours after you go to sleep. When this alarm rings, chances are you’ll be dreaming. Record any dreams that you remember. Then keep your mind busy for 2-5 minutes then go back to bed. This could be drawing, using the bathroom, or some light stretches. I do not recommend exposing your eyes to white or blue light during this time as it will begin to wake you up. Figure out what time works best for you, for me I prefer about 4 minutes of activity. Then go right back to bed, get cozy and let yourself fall sleep again. Do this once a night or multiple times for example if you go to bed at 10pm you may set an alarm for 2am and 3am. Test and see what works best for you.
Another technique that may be helpful is what I call dream testing. Dream testing is practiced in during waking hours, but the more I practice this technique the better chance I have of performing a dream test while in a dream. One dream test could be checking the clock. The way to do this would be to check the time, look away, and check again. If the time is the same when you look back, you’re awake, if the time changes or presents an abnormal time like 27:98 then you know you’re dreaming. This will trigger the awareness to become lucid. Another test could be to look at your hands. This test is my favorite since my hands never leave me! Look down at your hands 5 times each day, look at each finger, clap, or count the fingers. If you count ten chances are you’re awake, if you begin to count and all of a sudden new fingers keep popping up or they change color or texture, you’re dreaming. This technique is easy to remember and quick to master.
The trick now that you know some techniques to “wake up” in the dream, is to maintain awareness and control excitement. One way to do this is to develop a skill to practice the instant you gain lucidity. This could be spinning in circles or working with breath. So imagine yourself in a dream then awakening to the fact you’re dreaming, now you’re lucid, you spin in circles until you are fully present in the dream and you begin to slow down. You are now in control and will not over excite your mind and wake yourself up. You are now free to explore the dream realm.